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Old 07-20-2005, 08:53 AM   #1
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Default New wannabe cruisers

Hi everyone,

We are planning on buying a yacht in the next year or so and doing some cruising (around Australia first - then further afield).

At the moment we are sailing as crew on a racing yacht in the local club every week - and doing whatever other crewing is available on non race days.

As we have a bit of time before we take off, we want to make sure we have learned as much as possible about sailing etc.

We have signed up for navigation and radio operator courses already and will be starting them soon.

Is there anything else you think we need to do to prepare?

ALL suggestions welcome.

(I have heard of too many people heading off to cruise and finding they had to quit because they could not handle the boat or the weather or the trip itself - and I dont want that to happen to us)

One of our future plans is perhaps to take people with us on various legs of our journey to share expenses etc.

Do we need a skippers ticket or anything to do this?

Will it impact on the boat insurance having paying people on board?

Hope there are not too many questions here - but I really want this dream to happen with the least amount of problems so we are trying to prepare as well as possible.

Thanks

Slainte
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Old 07-20-2005, 09:48 AM   #2
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Hi Slainte,

lots of questions. I'm going to base my answer on an assumption that you have some sailing experience as crew but not a great deal and have never owned a boat or been a skipper for substantial time periods.

Making the step from an OP (other peoples) sailor to an owner is a big step. Making a step to a new boat is a big step. You will want to make sure that you understand how this boat sails; what sail combo it wants in what conditions; how it behaves in tough conditions; how to get it to perform best - in light winds, going to windward....; you will want to work out how it handles under power, its steering and handling behaviour, how quickly way comes off etc.

This is a whole process in itself and needs to be staged. At the same time the humans in the system will be finding out about themselves. Yes you need to do a Radio Operators course - the law requires it. In truth though a MROCP is a WAFTAM as far as using a radio is concerned. You also need practise in actually doing it. The same applies almost everything else about sailing.

It will be tough at times when you are out cruising, it will also be brilliant at times. You need to know where your capabilities lie, where your limits lie and how you and your partner want to work together. That will take time on the water, challenging yourself within seaman-like limits.

You wouldn't buy a new semi-trailer, get a license and then head off to drive it over complex mountain roads straight away with a full load. You would gain skill first, gain confidence and understand what you were getting into. The same applies here.

I've been sailing for nearly 35 years. I learn new things about sailing and about me and my team every day.

As for the rest of your questions, I'm sure others will jump in and help there.

Best of luck.

Mike
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Old 07-20-2005, 10:51 AM   #3
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Sail. Go for a day. Two days. 3 days. Stay on the boat for a week or three. Read other experiences, and search out the problems, not just the "sail-into-the-sunset-isn't-it-wonderful" books. Find out Australia's laws regarding taking on paying "passengers", and explore insurance options before you make such a commitment.

Read Watermelon's logs and ask questions - I love to talk about cruising. And Seerose's, and so many others. And ask "what-if" questions - on the forum, of yourself.

Sail: http://www.cruiser.co.za/hostmelon.asp

power: http://www.sailblogs.com/member/mvmelon/

Have fun.

Fair winds
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Old 07-20-2005, 12:37 PM   #4
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Thanks for all the advice so far.

I should have also mentioned that we plan to get a boat at least 6 months before we plan to leave for our cruise adventure - then we can sail it in the Port Phillip bay here, and do short cruises in company of other cruisers in Bass Strait. That way we should get some experience in most weather conditions, and as you said, work out our limitations.

We have two good friends who have been sailing forever, and they are willing to come weekending with us or whatever it takes to let us get used to the yacht. The plan is to try to do all the work ourselves and just have them there as backup for advice and emergencies.

So, in adition to asking a million questions here, I am also looking around at the various types of yacht available and reading as much as I can on boards like this to work out what we think would suit us.

It is such a big adventure - and I can't wait to get it all happening.

Slainte
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Old 07-20-2005, 02:22 PM   #5
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Hi Slainte,

Do your "Yachtmasters".. very important.

Also join the Cruising Association ( in Melbourne) they have meetings monthly with some good speakers.

Join a Sailing Club and do the Tassie races, or perhaps find a crew job on a run to Refuge Cove ( great spot) for a few days.Get the taste of it , good weather and bad weather..

As Jeanne says READ a lot of cruising reports, sometimes it isn't fun out there , other times its MAGIC

Which Club are you sailing from now (Obviously on Pt P. Bay , but where ?

rumrunner...
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Old 07-20-2005, 06:26 PM   #6
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Dear Slainte

Congratulations on your plans, I'm sure you will succeed.

I to live in Melbourne and my plans are much the same, but my wife and I won't have the chance to do it for another five years or so. I have owned a trailerable yacht for the last 20 years and have done a fair bit of crewing on Bass Strait races as well as sailing to New Zealand and Tonga on a friend's boat. We get plenty of time to practice the cruising lifestyle by taking my yacht up to the Whitsunday is for a month each year.

My advice would be the first make sure you enjoy the cruising life. I know it sounds stupid, but the cruising lifestyle is hard to describe with words and some people don't enjoy it as they imagine they will.

At least try to get some crewing on offshore races. This will give you valuable experience and teach you what passage making is like. If possible also try and spend some time on the yacht actually cruising. Yachts can be chartered on the Gippsland Lakes reasonably inexpensively and this will at least show you what it's like living within the confines of the yacht.

My final bit of advice to add to the other's comments would be to include a first aid course.

Cheers John
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Old 07-20-2005, 08:58 PM   #7
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Hi there. Taking on crew always brings with it some great responsibilities. In Oz, if you wish to charge anything other than share expenses, you need to have your boat in survey. Hiring, rather than share expenses, requires commercial operators licensing and special insurances etc. That said, I suggest that share expenses as a means of defraying costs is poor economics and can be a real personal handicap. Find a boat which you and your partner can handle and shoot through when you feel you are ready. Longer inshore passages can be difficult for maintaining watches, but I think from a management perspective, it is preferable to find casual crew or mates, on a 'board only' cost basis from port to port. And make sure they see and sign a set of ship's articles so they know and understand what you regard as acceptable on board behaviour. David (Darwin)
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Old 07-21-2005, 08:55 AM   #8
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Hi Slainte,

we are also in Port Phillip. Send me a PM if you like.

What sort of boat are you after? I know of an Adams 35 that has done one circumnavigation - has all the cruising gear - that is for sale in Melbourne.

The advice about the Victorian Cruising Yacht Association is good advice. They meet at 8:00pm on the first Monday of the month at Bells Hotel in Moray St South Melbourne. There's usually a huge turnout. Go for a counter meal beforehand.

regards

Mike
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Old 07-22-2005, 05:33 AM   #9
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Hi again

Great to read all the comments and advice here.

Everything helps.

We are presently members of Hobsons Bay Yacht Club.

I will definitely check out the Cruising Group meetings - as they sound very interesting.

We will be trying to get on a few ocean races once they start off the season again - but I get the impression that most people are looking for VERY experienced crew for these races.

Perhaps Refuge Bay would be easier to get a sail to - as its not a competition?

So far we have only been sailing for about 5 months - so have a lot to learn.

Yachtmasters sounds a good idea too....I will check out how we do that.

We both already have level 2 first aid for work purposes so thats no problem.

Thanks again for all the information

Slainte
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Old 07-22-2005, 08:28 PM   #10
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G'day Slainte,

As a possible alternative to Yachtmaster, you may like to look at the Master Class 5 qualification which is available as a distance education program (correspondence) from OTEN TAFE in NSW. They have a number of practical exams and workshops that you will have to attend in Sydney including the dreaded clamber into the liferaft, fire fighting, navigation exercise etc. If you require more detail of this, send me an email.

You may also register ocean crewing interest with the Ocean Racing Club of Victoria who may be able to direct to a boat that needs an extra hand or two.

Regards,

Rod
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Old 07-31-2005, 04:48 PM   #11
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I am reading a book written by Les Weatheritt, called "The First Atlantic Passage" ; a no nonsense and funny written book. It takes you from preparing stage to 'finish'. Especially great when you have already read the watermelon stories...

Regards,

Marnix

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Old 08-17-2005, 07:12 PM   #12
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<font face="Arial"><font face="Century Gothic">Slainte,

Another thing to try are mileage builders. Sunsail and Southern Cross in Brisbane (www.southerncrossyachting.com.au) do trips up and down the Qld coast. Sunsail will also be doing a point to point trip from Koh Samui to Phuket via Singapore in Sept (I think). Even though you won't be in charge they still give you a taste of multiple days/nights at sea. They usually have instructors on board so these trips can also be very educational.

Have fun

Mark T</font id="Century Gothic"></font id="Arial">
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