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

1091 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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you posted this on another board and my answer is below - but will post it here for the sake of others

if you are seriously thinking if sailing down the usa west coast to the canal and across why buy a boat to try and sell later.

as for courses, in the med there are occassions that you have to show your certificate of competence and they do accept asa. have no idea on the others and i must say asa did provide us with a firm foundation.

we were never on a sailboat until dec 2000 when on a lark we took the first asa sailing course.. liked it so much took 2 more lessons in march and the boat 3 days after the lessons. we chartered a couple of times and in 2003 bought a brand new jeanneau ds40. at the time we lived in miami and we sailed 3 weekends out of 4. we kinda learned to sail. 2007 at age 62 i retired, we got rid of everything and headed out. we have not been back. and we are still learning how to sail. we will never be great sailors but then we know a lot of sailors who are much better who can't seem to get much beyond their home port while we have sailed the east coast of the usa 3 times, bahamas twice, the western caribbean from mexico to colombia and across the caribbean to jamaica and down the eastern caribbean to trinidad the back up to antigua and across the atlantic on a 2 peron crossing. we just completed year 2 in the med. great sailors we will never be - adequate i guess would describe it. we can hold our own but will never be great.

as for a small boat in our opinion not. a few reasons.
first boats never appreciate in value and depreciate a lot and the curve is steep. how much of a loss are you willing to take?
second the market for used boats is not great. we know of a couple of people who went small and could not sell small or took a huge hit on it. how long are you willing to sit and read about those out cruising while your small boat is for sale and you sit.
third you can write off some of the cost of the as a second house and get it partly paid down while you have an income.
fourth you will get to know your boat and what works and what doesn't and what you think the boat needs and spend some time getting her ready.

good luck and lets us know if we can help in any way. in 8 years out now we have made more than a few mistakes but what a wonderful life.
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