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Old 12-01-2019, 05:38 PM   #1
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Default Just wondering...

Greetings to all,

I am new to the forum and was wondering if I could trouble some of you with a few questions:

1) Is it unheard of to first buy a boat and then find experienced crew to help you learn how to sail? Are there any really knowledgeable sailors out there that, for one reason or another, are without a boat of their own and would find such an arrangement agreeable, even if just to get out on the water?

2) Is it better to just crew on somebody else's boat, first? I am worried that nobody will want to take on a person that has absolutely no experience. Also, I am not interested in racing or going out on week-ends or just for the day, unless it would be a means of testing our compatibility, before embarking on something more long-term.

3) Should neither of the first two be feasible, could anybody tell me where I might be able to find the highest concentration of cruisers, where I might be able to go to at the very least introduce myself, and start meeting people in the community? I would also be willing to offer my help to just about anybody that might need an extra pair of hands, while they are working on their boat, as long as I am learning while we work.

One way or another, I will eventually get my own boat, and I will live on it and learn how to do everything. To be clear, I am not looking to merely pick up sailing as a hobby. I mention this because, should anybody be willing to overlook my inexperience, they will find an eager, serious, highly capable and competent individual.

I guess, as far as relevant particulars go, I am fluently bilingual (english/french), hold a valid level III first aid certification, and I have completed the PADI Open Water course (which I would need to refresh, should it ever be needed in any kind of official capacity).

I am currently in Mexico (east coast) but would be willing to travel anywhere that might work out for the best. In fact, I was thinking it might be a good idea to head down to Panama, soon.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and I look forward to any answers or suggestions that any of you may have.
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Old 12-02-2019, 12:21 AM   #2
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Welcome to the world of wind powered boating. The first thing to understand is that sailing is really easy to get into...and to actually do at a practical level.

You don't want to buy a boat until you know what sort of boat will be suitable to your requirements. You may want to sail locally around the coast, on lakes or rivers. Or, you may want to cross oceans as a cruiser...or as a racer. You may want to sail singlehanded, or you may relish being part of a small, or large, crew.

All of these things are important, as is your financial position. You may want an older 30' sloop, or a 50' cruiser. The cost of running one is far more than the other. Maintenance costs and work increase exponentially according to the length, rig, age and underwater profile of the boat you eventually choose.

I started with a 23' drop keeled sloop which cost almost nothing. That eventually became a 55' ocean crossing sloop. So, you need to find out what sort of sailing you want to do. There are any number of sailboat owners looking for eager, fit crew. Most will be happy to teach you how to sail and, as you learn, you will find that your developing talents will be in demand. If you want to help owners sail, look after their boats both above and below the water line, and learn seamanship, navigation and the tactical science of sailboat racing, you just need to make it known that you are willing and capable.

The best way to get in touch with sailors is to join a sailing club. Most sponsor weekly racing and run cheap courses in sailing. Race committee boats are also happy to take learners out during race days.
So, look online for local sailing clubs, go along, say hello and let people know about your sailing dreams. Even if all you want to do is live aboard and sail where the wind takes you, you need first to learn what to do...and sailing clubs are filled with sailors who will all have a different reason and style of sailing.

Please keep us updated on your progress and feel free to ask any questions you may have.
Best wishes.
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Old 12-02-2019, 12:36 AM   #3
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Most Mexican cruisers have a VHF chat at around 8 AM. Bars and restaurants which cater to cruisers have a VHF you can use, to seek crewing positions and experience.

You want to learn a lot about boats ,before buying one.Most stock plastic boats are crap, many with rotted out balsa and plywood cores ,needing a major and expensive rebuild . There are definitely some good ones, if you know what to look for, but they are rare.


One can learn to sail on a cheap, disposable dinghy .
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Old 12-02-2019, 12:40 AM   #4
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I was Vavau Tonga in June, when a Fiji coup happened ,so most cruisers from New Zealand came there.As the route to Fiji from there is extremely reef strewn, there were far more skippers looking for crew (Extra eyes onboard) than available crew.
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Old 12-02-2019, 05:20 PM   #5
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Hi Auzzee, I already know I will probably want something in the 30-40 ft. range as I intend to eventually singlehand, with the intention of living aboard and doing crossings.

Brent Swain, thanks for the info about radios and such. This is the kind of thing that I probably wouldn't have stumbled upon by just reading, without reaching out. Now you've got me contemplating buying a portable radio. Would that be a good idea?
I have actually sailed cheap, disposable dinghies, as a child.

Thanks for the replies. I really appreciate the input.
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Old 12-02-2019, 10:21 PM   #6
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Yes a handheld VHF, would be handy if you tune into the 8am cruisers nets in most cruising destinations .
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Old 12-03-2019, 12:43 AM   #7
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Take a look on eBay. Some good deals, including submersibles, for around the $50 mark.
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Old 12-03-2019, 11:46 PM   #8
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A guy who sold them said Don't depend too much on the submersible claim.Altho it is an improvement ,keep it in a plastic zip lock bag, in doubtful conditions.
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Old 12-04-2019, 01:01 AM   #9
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Agreed. It's like the difference between a waterproof and water-resistant wristwatch. But, on deck a bit of spray shouldn't have a negative effect.
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