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Old 09-27-2012, 09:12 PM   #1
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Default flying to sailing

Hi all
After flying for many years, and at risk of loosing my certificate due to some health problems I am looking into another stage… sailing.
I must confess, which I guess is the first thing you have to do in order to survive any new activity financially and in healthy way.
I can truly say I know nothing about the seas, other of what I can translate weather wise for my years of flying.
So this weekend I am out to Galveston for a three-day course and to start what I expect to be a rewarding experience.
Having said that, my intentions are to travel places around the gulf, some southern destinations, Florida and (why not? please tell me!) Bahamas, Caribe, etc.
And then the first of many questions;
1- Equipment wise; what are the characteristics that I should look in a boat/yacht that would minimally provide a safe vessel for such trips?
2- What electronic equipment / web sites for shopping is available?
3- Where can I get info on the know-how to do the legal aspects of moving around within US and to other countries?

I know is a lot to ask, but I would appreciate any pointers, literature, must reads, web sites… and ..

Thanks a 1000!
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Old 09-27-2012, 09:41 PM
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Old 09-27-2012, 09:46 PM   #2
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Hi fdon and welcome aboard ... The weather is the one basic and most important part of sailing and an understanding of the weather is a great away to start. When we go sailing its always with the weather in mind as none of us really wants to get caught in storms etc. A part of sailing is to learn how to react and cope with storms sure but we try to avoid them.

When sailing or cruising, time tables go out the window ... yep you got it ... because we are governed by the weather as to how far and how fast, or slow we travel.

The mechanics of sailing isn't rocket science and I am sure you can learn the basics easily.

When looking for a boat to buy, remember bigger isn't always better, there are lots of boats in the 30 to 35 foot range that are great live aboard options. Check out different boats and keep your options open. Learn the basics of sailing and try to do a trip or two with someone else while checking whats available.

Get out on the water and gain some practical knowledge and experience. Above all have fun with what you do.

The rest will come as you progress and I am sure others will chip in here with their advice as well.

Lexx
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Old 09-27-2012, 11:47 PM   #3
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You ask hard questions to which there are no good answers.

I would say a couple things:

1) Don't be in a hurry. Sail with other people, rent boats, etc. for a while till you get a feel for it.

2) Start with a starter boat. Something cheap and easy enough that you can learn on it for a while. Then sell that and buy the real boat. The starter doesn't have to be crap. Just something easier and smaller that you can afford to make mistakes with. It sounds like you aren't destitute, so this should be easy.

If you want advice my own highly biased opinion is that a well built, simple, 28-32 foot boat is big enough to use, small enough to handle and maintain. See what works and what doesn't.

3) I am not a fan of electronics. This is again highly biased and an opinion which many people will correctly disagree with. I like a moving map GPS, a backup GPS, depth and wind. AIS is cool EPIRB is a good safety tool, but I would suggest simply not sinking. It doesn't have to be fancy, especially at first.

The starter boat can do cruises, but keep them short for a while. Sailing 10 miles, dropping the anchor, sailing home the next day can be a GREAT starter adventure. The mistakes won't be as painful and you will learn what you need and more importantly what you don't need.

Again, my OPINION is that more stuff complicates your life and decreases your pleasure. The stuff you have should be solid, simple, and reliable.

There is a lot of expensive gear about that doesn't really work. People don't sell you gear to improve your life. They sell you gear to improve their lives. Sometimes there is an intersection between those facts and sometimes there isn't.

I know a guy who spend a cool million figuring all this out.
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Old 09-28-2012, 02:18 AM   #4
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Good books which will explain the mechanics and spirit of sailing are written by a lifetime cruising couple Lyn and Larry Pardey. If you have a Kindle, just search 'Pardey'. Some of their books are on special at the moment.

Sailing is similar to flying is many ways. You operate in a three dimentional environment, totally dependent on currents, wind and turbulence (of a much more fluid and constant nature). You are much closer to the hard stuff in a boat (reefs, rocks and such) than you are generally in a plane, but you have more time to identify hazards due to the sedate speed at which you travel.

Navigation is navigation, only in a boat there is perhaps a more general reliance on instruments (treat everything under your boat as dense cloud, possibly hiding mountain peaks) and the operation of a sailboat requires more practical than academic application.

Simple sailing was developed by Cromagnon man. So, how hard can it be? One thing is for sure, if you enjoyed flying, you will love sailing. You don't need a King Air, a Tiger Moth can be far more fun.

Best of luck and keep us posted during your quest.
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Old 09-29-2012, 10:46 AM
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Old 09-29-2012, 11:14 AM   #5
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Can someone get rid of dubaisafari112, he is popping up everywhere with no input to the thread topics at all and its starting to get annoying.

Lexx
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Old 09-30-2012, 02:49 AM   #6
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Thanks to all.. and yes…I know I ask a lot and probably questions that are open ended and have many answers. I can imagine someone asking me the same questions about flying… a nutshell is just that.
I had a small boat many years ago, which I used only in Lake Houston and Livingston.
As with aviation what I love is the freedom to go places. I flew all around US and many Mexico destinations. I want to do the same in a boat. To answer Coyote… what I have been looking at are in the maximum range of the 42'… so I will not go crazy.
Equipment wise I love safety and I love redundancy, but I don't believe in equipment so sophisticated that would you your job and will get you in danger when it potentially fails.
But I do understand the need for a slow comprehensive approach and I am not willing, not capable, in jumping into this with money to waste… that I don't have.
Having said that, my Galveston initiation was cancelled due to weather. Probably next weekend.
A couple of questions..
1- In aviation you can fly under the safety of a controller who will follow you (need a transponder) and provides you with traffic and weather (most cases) updates. Is this also in the sea?
2- One more… and again comparing to aviation… are there "sea roads" as there are airways in the sky? do you follow those when going A to B? Where can I buy charts?

Thanks again… every piece of info is welcome and I do appreciate the time and effort of those who answered and are willing to share.
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Old 09-30-2012, 04:56 AM   #7
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In answer to #1 above, there are plenty of options for gathering advice about weather but you need to seek them out via HF radio (or VHF if you are inshore). Also check out Marine AIS on google. AIS shows others your position and track, and shows you others' position and track as well as identifying the vessel and its size.

#2. Most tracks, usually referred to as shipping lanes where they exist between two ports, are along the shortest possible route with diversions around land masses and shallow water. Charts are available from most chandleries and from government hydrographic offices.
Cheers
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Old 09-30-2012, 04:15 PM   #8
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Thanks Auzzee,,,,
then AIS, class A or B?
and.. I assume for your answer #2 that it is not necessary to be in constant communication? but can you be in someone's radar screen (sorry keep on going back to my aviation experience)? and if so how?
I already ordered some books as suggested… "The capable cruiser", "Storm Tactics", and "Coast Conscious Cruiser"… I will be busy…and yes, I understand the need to jump in rather than reading… but it does not hurt…I will soon rent something to get wet...any other book or info "for Dummies"?

thanks to all!
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Old 09-30-2012, 07:18 PM   #9
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One more… of many to come…
Are there areas of special designation or use? … or all water is unrestricted for anybody to use?
Thanks again
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Old 09-30-2012, 11:16 PM   #10
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fdon ... I am not going to answer your question above re areas of special designation etc.... giving you all the answers is just too easy and most of what you read might well be forgotten quickly ... you are a pilot so you know about charts for aviation and how to read them ... go and buy yourself a chart of your own area or an area you are primarily interested in sailing in and then study the chart... get to know what the chart symbols mean and learn first hand how to read and understand a chart ... its not that hard and it will give you a lot of information as well as answer some of your questions.

Try this site ... NOAA's On-Line Chart Viewer

Hope this helps,

Lexx
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Old 10-04-2012, 09:02 AM   #11
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fdon, I am a retired airline pilot who has been flying since 1960. I have been sailing since the mid-seventies and can assure you that you will take to it like a duck to water. There are so many aptitudes, interests and skills that transfer from one to the other that it seems almost seamless; aerodynamics / judgement / navigation / planning / safety / weather, just to name a few. Jump in and enjoy!
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Old 10-04-2012, 06:27 PM   #12
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gts1544
Thanks for your words of encouragement… I believe in sailing gravity plays a lesser role than when flying… and that helps enormously!
I have been reading a couple of books by Pardey, as suggested by Auzzee and so far it is a great enlightening experience.
Thanks again to all… and as soon as I get more educated I will be back to ask higher level questions.
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