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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi. I'm not sure if this is the right forum to pose this question, but would greatly appreciate any feedback.

So I recently retired from the military and have big dreams of cruising as a lifestyle. I sailed lasers on a lake as a kid, but that's as far as my sailing experience goes. I've read some and realize the best way to get up to speed is to take lessons and join a crew, to not only see if it's really what I want but also to gain experience.

While I plan to do those things, if I were to try to get a job in the sailing world, where should I start to best prepare to live my dream?

Being a military retiree, I'm not wealthy, but I also don't need a full-time/career type job, unless it is more beneficial to pursuing my dream than, say, a part-time job at a sailing gear shop.

Due to family obligations, I can't join a crew in the near future, but I do live in Los Angeles.

Any advice? Thank you.
 

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I think I know what you are asking Mr.noob . First lets just talk about you want to get into the sailboat thing cruising . Excellent choice and the fact that you live in LA . is a plus , if you just want to test the water , I would say join a local Yacht club . and get to know the cruiser types , go sailing with them . Or you could Charter ,after some classes . For right now I would stay away from the race boats . Or if you just want to just go for it get a Catalina 27 or a 30 . I would forget about working in a sailing gear shop .
 

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Farr 11.6 (Farr 38)
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Gee, that's what I love about the Internet. I read the initial post and thought, the first thing this person needs to do is get aboard a race boat as crew. It's a cheap way to learn a lot quickly. The time spent messing about with Lasers would make a good foundation for that. Working at a marine supply seemed like a good idea that would give him exposure to all of the stuff, and a big employee discount when he bought a boat to fix up.

And then I scrolled down, and there was the complete opposite advice to what I was going to suggest.

It's a tie score at the bottom of the first inning. ;)

Jeff
 

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Mr H you are right , and I thought like you when I was writing that post . But here is why I wrote that post . Hook up with a race boat can be good or bad , bad because if your the new guy you are rail meat , good if you sail with the team for a few seasons you will move up . I know there are exceptions to this but Mr. noob is leaning to the cruiser life style , hence my join YC hook up with like minded people ,take lessons , charter. Now the reason I said don't worry about the work thing was probably a mistake but the guy has family obligations and doesn't seem really to need a job ( Mr. noob I hope you have one huge pension , thank you for your service ) My thinking was that working at say Westmarine would be a distraction . Sure you would learn a few things but Mr. noob can learn that stuff here . I don't know the size of Mr. noobs family or how old the children are , but I would like to add a Catalina 22 as to what might be a good first boat .
 

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I would recommend a race boat as well. Just be careful with what boat you go with. The goal is a low stress boat that would like to win but isn't driving the crew hugely to do so. There is just no way to learn to sail faster than taking some lessons then going racing. It is also a good wat to get on a lot of different boats without having to make much of a financial commitment.

But I would also join a yacht club with boats available to members and go day sailing as much as possible.
 

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I'd recommend starting with some lessons. You need the right reactions, especially when racing, so I would want the training to be safe. I'd get to a level of certification that allows you to charter / usefully crew. After that, you need to get out and crew as much as possible. There are many opinions about the best way to do things, so expose yourself to as many as possible, and form your own.

Enjoy!

Roger
 

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You sailed dinghys...you can sail a bigger boat. Get a small (25-30) and start living the dream. When you are comfortable then you can take the plunge for a big enough boat to "cruise"

Just my $.02 here but you can get all of the basics from a book and learn the rest as you go
 
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· bell ringer
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The way I started was:
- took ASA lessons to get bareboat certified
- joined a local sailing club at a 33' boat level
- sailed each weekend for 3 months
- bought a 39' boat and sailed it for 2 years each weekend and for a week each year
- replaced it with a 43' boat that was better for living on and have sailed it each weekend and for a couple of week long trips the past 4 years

The thing to do is be sure you reasonably like to sail. That doesn't mean you need to love it, but if the goal is to cruise to new places more like you don't hate it.

One thing I would NOT to do is start by joining a racing boat!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Cruising and racing aren't the same thing and the only thing in common is that they take place on a sailboat. Take it slow and move up easy in the sailing the boat hard world. Nothing I've ever read has killed as many cruising dreams as some guy taking his wife/girlfriend out for the first thing and it being a rough sail day, don't let the same apply to you!

BTW - if you start reading sailing boats don't be fooled by how hard they make it sound, sailing is pretty easy really.
 

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The other questions have been addressed quite thoroughly so I won't bother adding anything.

I will say that, as a military retiree, you should have more than enough money to sustain the cruising life, once you get away from California. That is, provided you shed all debt and monthly financial obligations before you start.
 

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...

One thing I would NOT to do is start by joining a racing boat!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Cruising and racing aren't the same thing and the only thing in common is that they take place on a sailboat. ...
The navigation rules are mostly the same and racing (even as rail meat) is a way to see in practice within a short time frame what you read about.
 
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The navigation rules are mostly the same and racing (even as rail meat) is a way to see in practice within a short time frame what you read about.
I'll heartily second what I believe is the underlying point DR made above. You can (and should) read a lot, and there's lots of great stuff out there TO read, but everything you read will click into place SO much faster when you're out on a boat, seeing it all in action. I can't tell you how many times I've read certain passages about sail trim or rigging, trying to visualize what's happening on my couch with the book in my hand for hours, then, once on the boat, in about 20 seconds of sailing, it just clicks... "Ohhhhhh!!!!! That's what they were talking about!" AND, once you're out there and your captain tweaks a sail a certain way and you feel the boat pick up a little speed or settle in, but you can't figure out why it happened, you can either ask the captain to explain it or go back to your books and research it.

I'm a voracious,obsesive reader, to a fault sometimes, and I'm hesitant to try or do anything until I feel I have complete comprehension of the task at hand. At least in my experience, that's not the best way to go about learning to sail. Read some, sail a lot. Don't read a lot and sail some. That's my biggest problem.

Enjoy!

Barry
 
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· Bombay Explorer 44
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There is a lot to be said for buying a smallish boat and just going sailing. Get someone who knows what they are doing to go out with you on the first day to show you the ropes.

This was the route I took, bought a Catalina 22 and just started sailing it. Be cautious, reef really early and go and have some fun.
 

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Yacht clubs, sailing clubs, co-ops, schools, community sailing programs, and so forth, come in many flavors, budget levels, focus areas, weaknesses, strengths, and personalities. Some are more like waterfront country clubs, some are obsessed with racing, some have boats you can use, and some vary on the snooty to down to earth range. There's a club or group for just about everyone, especially in a big port area such as LA. Many have open house days or are happy to give tours and many have on line crew message boards. There are also hybrid club-coop groups, either commercial or not, that combine instruction and boat access, with many of these associated with schools or charter companies. Some areas such as San Diego and Oahu also have military-affiliated sailing clubs that welcome retirees from all branches, and Orange Co. has the Legion YC.
 

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"if I were to try to get a job in the sailing world, where should I start to best prepare to live my dream?"

1-What kind of "job" had you in mind? Are you familiar with the specifics of what exists, or were you just thinking you'd like to mess around with boats?

2-And as to where...depends. Any port with lots of boats, but then, do you require that to be year-round? Or seasonal? Or near anything special? Housing costs and all?


As to the sailing part, I'd also say what counts is networking. Not just reading up and contacting people online, but meeting other newbs and sailors and getting first-hand referrals, which comes from sailing schools and, yes, walking around to any local marinas and docks and chatting them up.

Sailing lessons, from a larger older sailing school, help ensure you've been exposed to "the right way" to do things, or at least conventional ways, which will make it smoother to actually go out on other people's boats--where they usually are expecting that same conventional way. This time of year you may also find free or inexpensive boating safety courses from a local USPS (US Power Squadron) or USCG Auxiliary. More good information and connections to be had. Dunno about cali but more states are requiring some type of safety certificate for boaters as well, these courses will give you that too.
 

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For some sailors, there's a wee bitty cultural divide between racing and cruising...
One catch about getting a ride on a race boat is that the best skippers and boats generally have pick of the best crew. So, the noobie has a higher chance of getting on a boat whose skipper is a jerk, loudmouth, poor teacher or leader, or poor sailor, or just on a humbler, less well equipped or maintained boat.
One approach to this would be to grow a thick skin and resolve to learn from both good and bad examples while in the dues-paying noob phase.
Another might be doing a lot of networking before getting on a boat, such as helping out on race committee, which provides a ringside seat for seeing boats in action and maybe getting some good local info.
 

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In regard to something that Hellosailor said, California only recently signed a boating safety education into law and the requirements haven't phased in yet. The requirement will likely be a one-time on-line or in-person class that will be honored in other states as well as California. These classes are not about sailing, but cover basic navigation and rules of the road, common hazards, and safety equipment requirements. Usually the cost is low, and in some states may even be free.
 

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I'm just guessing, but I suspect that you, like most military retirees, has to find a job in order to make ends meet. So, why not go to one of the technical schools that you frequently see advertised on TV, get trained as a marine mechanic and also a rigger, then you can pretty much select the marina where you wish to work, and frequently set your own hours. This not only will provide you with a great income, but additionally, expose you to a wide variety of recreational boating aspects, sailing and powerboating, and also provide you with the ability to climb aboard many, many types of vessels and possibly come up with some great buys and rock bottom prices. All the while you will gain an enormous amount of experience, and learn all the pitfalls of boating at the same time.

Just my 2 pence worth,

Gary :cool:
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Wow... Thank you all for the replies. I'm overwhelmed. Thank you.

After reading, I'm getting a better sense of what needs to be done to best suit my individual situation.

The two big things are time and money. Like I mentioned, family obligations will keep in LA for several years. Already planned to use the time to learn and hone skills, while working on a stronger financial foundation.

Phase uno: Lessons - YC - network
Phase dos: Live aboard small boat - just sail - network
Phase tres: Race team - crew on big cruising boat - network
Phase cuatro: Shop for cruiser - work at retail shop - network
Phase cinco: Cruise! - network :)

Any comments on the steps? Also, regarding additional funds, hopefully over many years, I'll gain all-around boating and maintenance skills, but if I were to use my GI Bill for cruising-related education or job training, what would be the most useful? Mechanic's school and rigging were mentioned. What skill will save me the most money in the long run? Besides networking :)

Thank you!
 

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Use your GI Bill to take a class in diesel mechanics, low voltage electricity, and if you can find one fiberglass repair. If you can log the time (180 days at sea) then a six pac license would also be a good idea.

Otherwise skills in navigation and piloting are critical, classes however may be hard to find.
 

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One of the areas that you can get work is the charter business, specifically as a skipper / cook combo taking people out on skippered charters.

You will need some quals, and be able to demonstrate competance. Also they prefer to hire 'established' couples.

Moorings are reckoned to be the best employers so get to cherry pick the skippers/cooks but do a year with someone else and you can get in.

But I could not do it. 4 out of 5 trips will be great. However you will be ready to kill the charters by day two. I have never coped well with fools and a********s.
 
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