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New to sailing.. Very new.. Not even wet yet. Hey everyone.

1094 Views 7 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  turboduck
When I retire in 10 yrs. my mate and I plan on cruising the Caribbean and the east and west coasts of South America for several years on a live aboard. We're both new to sailing and have only limited experience out in open ocean as passengers on charter fishing boats.

No time like the present to start preparing. We both see this as a series of small steps, the first being getting our certifications completed.
As I research this I've become aware of the ISPA, then there is the CYA, the IYA, the ASA and perhaps others. What is the difference between the organizations I've listed? The reason I ask is because there is sailing certification training through ASA for example in Florida as well as the Caribbean where we want to retire to and a training vacation in a tropical setting sounds much more appealing than the colder inside passages of BC, Canada. However what's the point if the Certification we achieve isn't recognized where we live at present and doesn't get us on our own boat here.
Once we achieved certification and confidence to at least bare boat charter in our own waters, we see ourselves sailing as much as possible each season to build our skills and achieve the competence, confidence and the required training and certifications to make long distance passages. We thought we would follow with the purchase a smaller 27 - 32' coastal cruiser in two to 3 years, mooring it somewhere on Vancouver Island or up the mainland coast of BC.
As we get closer to the big day I expect we'll know what we want in a live aboard and would purchase her two or three years before we set off, sailing farther afield, taking longer and longer trips down the pacific coast (if we buy in Canada) or in the Grenadines if we buy there. Still not sure. It's a ways away yet.
We like the idea of setting sail from BC following the North American coastline to Panama and taking the canal through to the Caribbean and Grenadines or even to linger for a few months the first year along the west coast of Central and South America. However, we can be in Grenada in a day out of YVR. Anyways, that's seven or eight years away and there's lot's we need to do first.
Who knows, sailing or the live aboard lifestyle may not be for us, but I know of only one way to find out...
We'd certainly welcome your feedback and any guidance you would care to share.
Best regards,
Cameron & Isabelle
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So before I offer my thoughts, let me ask, what inspired you to have such a dream? The heart of your passion for this dream will be in that inspiration. I think it is important to think about, not to discourage you but to encourage you. There will certainly be freedom and adventure... but ultimately you are not talking about just sailing, you are talking about the sea, a boat and calling both your home. I wouldn't worry about certifications. Later on maybe, I don't know. I have sailed quite a bit and never been certified for anything. Here it is: Get a really fun and fast little boat. Like a Laser or a Hobie Cat. One for each of you. Then take them out and make them go fast for fun. Race each other! You will likely catch the bug for sailing and for all the little tricks to make the boat go with nothing but a big piece of cloth and a breeze. If you catch that bug you will become skilled out of your love for the sport not so much from any lessons you think you may need. Then you will start to look at all boats from the standpoint of how much fun they can be. As your love for sailing grows, your imagination for what you can do with these skills on the open sea will guide your choices as far as lessons or certifications you may need and the kind of boat that suits you. If you love the sea and you love to sail, it will work out beautifully. And you will have some great tales to tell... Give a shout when you pass by the Channel Islands, I'll come out and race you for a stretch!
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When it is time to start looking at boats I recommend reading what the gentleman has to say on the site called "Atom Voyages."

and if you are determined to get a 40 footer then look at the
bluewaterboats website.
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Very well said. If you look at, check out the ones that are also on the "vote for" list as many of those are also excellent candidates. And I would not discount the older plastic classics, in fact many are some of the best ever, and still are, in my opinion. I got one myself! The 60s were great years for strong, sea worthy and sea kindly boats. There are great performers like the Valiant 40, but one I'd love to sail one day is the Pearson Rhodes 41. But if I sail it I may have to buy it! I like the old school designs for the way they feel offshore. That's just me. Everyone has their preferences. I am just saying newer does not necessarily mean better. It helps to get some time in different kinds of bigger boats out in some big seas and big winds if you can. If you can't then call on the advice of those nearby who have before you buy.
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