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Old 07-07-2012, 03:22 PM   #1
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Default Sailing novice - how do I eventually get to sail the oceans?

Hi all

My Wife and I have decided to devote ourselves to the eventual task of sailing the oceans. We are 34 and 32 respectively, and have tried pretty much every conventional sport in the world and done so competitively....now we want to start sailing for our future as we both adore the sea.

We hope to have out first property payed off by the time I am 45, and we are soon after intending to look at sailing the world for a few years...

We are complete novices, so, where do we start (Should we start on local reservoirs with a 18 foot Dart Catamaran)?

We would *like* to travel the world in a Catamaran one day, but only because we like the feel of them and have been on a few in our time for day trips. We would porbably look to buy ourselves a pre-owned one in 10 years time, something around the 40ft range.

As much *starter* advice as possible would be greatly appreciated, to guide us on our way.

We live in the UK.

Bob
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Old 07-07-2012, 06:02 PM   #2
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Welcome aboard,

Enjoy the forums. There are many topics scattered throughout the forum about learning how to sail and getting started on cruising.

I suggest you start sailing on your own. It sounds like you have access to sail someone's cat. Fine, that works. I would also get into small boat "dingy" sailing as well -- it's fun and you'll be able to afford to get a little boat to enjoy in off moments. Sailing is sailing, the smaller the boat, however, the more you learn about sailing. Small dingy sailing is challenging because every nuance of what you do (weight location and sail trim) makes a difference in your speed, ability to beat to windward, and so forth. The larger the boat, the more forgiving the sailing and the less you learn.

If you do take classes to get certified for bareboat charter then you will be able to rent boats anywhere in the world during your holidays. That can be a lot of fun but the chartering can add up a bit in cost so this option is really dependent upon your income and budget.

If you have a bit of savings, you may think about taking a little time off on a sailing sabbatical (year or two) NOW with an inexpensive boat and planning on working while you travel (depending upon what your work is). This is a common way of cruising for many people today. They cruise a bit and then work a bit. Sometimes seasonal and sometimes a couple years of each.

Fair winds,
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Old 07-07-2012, 06:39 PM   #3
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Coooool

Thanks soo much for the advice redbopeep! Nice.

Jumping the gun massively with the following sort of question, but how expensive is cruising (let's say the Carribean) when you think of moorings? I'm thinking ballpark costs for a Marina berth for a week per se...

Would people tend to moor in Marina's as a rule, or just drop anchor wherever they please.....? what about Visa's for being in Jamaican waters for instance...

As i say, massive gun-jumping, but I'm like that haha :-)
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Old 07-08-2012, 04:46 AM   #4
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Anchor where it is allowed.
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Old 07-08-2012, 07:18 PM   #5
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No problem, buy a cat say 30' or greater, put it in a convenient marina, spend huge amounts of money on gear, insurance and booze and shove off for places unknown.
There is nothing better than just getting on to the job at hand.

Spend some money first and go charter a boat or find an offshore sailing school, it is far better to find out up front if it is really something you want to do. Plus it is far cheaper and easier to charter a boat for vacations than own one. You can charter in different locations, fly in, step aboard, have fun and then (the biggest reward!) step off and fly home without worry.

After having owned cruising sailboats for over 40 years in hindsight it would have been far cheaper and easier to simply have chartered all over the world, it would have saved tons of money and time. I'd far rather spend my time sucking down beer and munchies on a charter boat, while sailing into the sunset all the while knowing that in a few days it would be someone else who would do the dirty work needed to keep the boat going.

This is written about three quarters of the way into a major 30 year refit of our current boat so perhaps is a bit biased.
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Old 07-08-2012, 07:59 PM   #6
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A few comments:

1) Sailing on fresh water is not the same as sailing on the ocean. Try to get experience on the ocean.

2) Sailing your own boat is the only way you will ever learn some of the important skills, so sail your own boat. It can be cheap. A friend has one he sails frequently which he bought for $1400. It is old, a bit ugly, has missing bits, but it has an engine and three sails that work. He gets her out (just on SF bay, but that can be quite tricky.) He cooks and sleeps on her. You don't need to start big on having your own boat. Getting something you can learn on for a few years then feel OK about giving away is a good way to start. You won't die inside when you ground her or hit the dock. Also, whatever she looks like, your own boat is the prettiest one on the water.

3) People are happy to take you sailing regularly on their boats if you get in the habit of turning to when there is work to be done. Show up early, help rig the boat, stay late, scrub decks, varnish, polish, clean, volunteer for maintenance. You will find yourself welcome and you will learn important skills on someone else's boat. If you show up on the day the owner is putting in a long day of fixing things and work hard for him, you will learn a lot and will find yourself welcome for the sailing days.

4) Try to take the hardest, messiest, smelliest, wettest, coldest jobs whenever you can. That's where you learn sailoring.

5) Ask questions. Listen to the answers. Experiment.
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Old 07-12-2012, 09:42 AM   #7
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Super tips everyone, thanks a bunch. First sailing lessons this coming Sunday!
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Old 08-02-2012, 08:18 AM   #8
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Sailing on flat water in a tiny boat is a good way to learn. Being cold is one thing. Being wet is another. Being cold and wet at the same time though is something to be avoided wherever possible. And you are in the UK..the world capital of cold and wet! Ergo, bigger is better.

If your plan is to sail a big boat, getting practice on a big boat is important. After all you can't learn to drive a truck by riding a bicycle. All sailing is of benefit. Every day on the water, or on the hard, working on the boat is a day when you will learn something.

Trawl the second hand bookshops (always fun in blighty) and look for sailing titles. Look for books by the Pardeys and Hal Roth. They both mix technical talk with practical living on board and they write in an entertaining manner. And if you have a Kindle, you will find squillions of sailing and related lifestyle books for not a lot of money on Amazon.

As with every endeavour there will be suicide days, but as competitive sports people, you will take them in your stride. Have heaps of fun and ask lots of questions.

That's what we are here for.
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