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Hi everyone,

My husband Chuck and I recently bought our first boat, a Hunter 356 sailboat in Key West. We lived aboard in Key West during August and September (no one told us it was not a good idea to buy a boat in hurricane season) and successfully brought her to Fernandina Beach, FL for the winter.

We are anxiously waiting for spring to sail her to the Bahamas. We have bought Matthew Wilson's Bahamas cruising guide but don't really know how to go about planning our first adventure there. Can some of you old sailors (age is not a factor here) help us? We are learning about the Gulf Stream, etc. but need some advice from those of you who have made this trip.

Also, if there is anyone planning on making this trip sometime in March we would love to talk with you and see if we could hook up and piggyback on your experience.

Thanks for any and all help,

Mary and Chuck
 

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Anything-Sailing Founder
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Well I don't speak from experience but one thing I would suggest is do some local sailing and get to know your boat and get a good grip on sailing before you try any offshore trips.

I'm sure a number of others on here would suggest the same.
 

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newbies in need of help

Great you guys - sounds like a nice boat you have - you have begun your journey. Get in as much sailing experience locally as you can, join a local yacht club, get a weekly spot on a yacht racing around the buoys and ask questions wherever you go.

This is all fantastic stuff, but at the end of the day, you have to get out there and DO IT yourselves. Fear of the unknown is the greatest impediment and will stop a lot of people in their tracks. My no.1 quote will always be 'You will NEVER regret doing it, but you will ALWAYS regret not doing it.

My book 'Voyage of the Little Ship 'Tere Moana' is my adventures over four years and is purely written to encourage folks like you to get started on their adventure of a lifetime. You can find me on [email protected]

Good luck

Vince
 

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I'd get the chart catalog and the pilot charts/sailing directions for the areas you wish to visit and transit. While you're learning how to navigate and use your compass you can pour over these to not only dream but learn. Navigation skills are very important, especially given that you're going to be on a boat doing, say, 6 knots and sailing across a current doing, say, 6 knots northwards!

I'd start with learning about piloting, otherwise known as the method and art of coastal navigation. While you can get lost offshore, and even have a collision, most of the things that will just ruin your whole day occur in sight of land or running into land, so to speak. You could do much worse than Leonard Eyges, The Practical Pilot: coastal navigation by eye, intuition and common sense

You'll also want to become vary familiar with your compass, it's errors, and how to use it when plotting a course to steer.

None of this is rocket science but takes a commitment of time and practice. Mark up a few charts!
 
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