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Old 01-14-2010, 03:15 AM   #1
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Hi there. I'd like to give you a very brief bio and then introduce myself and ask a couple of questions.

I am a 20 year old male living in north east England. I am currently a civil servant, although with cut backs this may not be the case for long! I am a pretty active person with a keen interest in climbing, hiking and cycling. I am also a creative person, having completed my diploma in Graphic Design last year. Following on from this I am quite a keen photographer, shooting mainly urban landscapes and street photography but also the occasional sunset and the odd bit of wildlife. I now only shoot on film (it can be pretty hard to charge a digital camera after 5 days in rural Russia!) and have had quite a few photos published. Like most people here, I love to travel and I have visited quite a lot of mainland Europe. I am an atheist with a libertarian ideology. I enjoy reading, particularly Jack London, and I am a big film nerd, enjoying mainly British and European cinema. I like all sorts of music from electronic music through to rock.

I can't think of any more useless information you may wish to learn about my short life, short of giving you my bank account details. As far as sailing goes, I have little practical knowledge and no experience. I have done a fair bit of kayaking, a bit of scuba diving and I adore snorkling although I don't believe any have anything in common except that they all require water. I'm not sure how much I can contribute to your website being so green to the subject but hopefully I can pick up both some knowledge and some advice from you guys. I simply love learning new things, particularly engineering and physics related.

I would like to ask a few questions after having browsed your site for quite a few hours now. I hope that is okay to do in my introduction although I'd be happy for it to be moved to a different area if that was more appropriate.

I have quite a keen interest to take up sailing, or crewing (if that is the correct term) a powered boat, over quite long journeys. I have pretty much no idea where to initially gain any practical experience on a boat and was wondering if you had any advice on how to initially gain this? Should I be asking down at my local harbor if people need extra crew members?

I am aware you provide a crew finder service on your forum and that it is possible to simply join a crew with no prior experience, paying only for your food supplies, but how often does such an opportunity realistically come along, presuming there are a ton of adventurous young men and women out there wanting to travel the world on a pittance to compete with for each position?

Is it recommended I go on a yachtsman course in order to gain experience before going to sea or is it better to just go out and learn on the job so to speak?

I think that about covers all of my initial questions for now. I had a quick browse over the forums but couldn't find anything that would answer these questions although I hope you don't get such questions every week.

Regards,

Ben
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Old 01-14-2010, 04:22 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Veevoh View Post
Is it recommended I go on a yachtsman course in order to gain experience before going to sea or is it better to just go out and learn on the job so to speak?
To get up and sailing quickly, I would say yes.

Considering where you are, look for somewhere that will take you on a RYA competent crew course (don't bother about any of the higher levels for a start). That will give you a good basic introduction to how a sailboat works and how to crew on a s/v.

Then hit up your local marinas and yacht clubs and ask around if someone needs crew. Someone almost certainly will, and there will be a few applicants for each crew position, but if you've done your competent crew certificate then you'll probably get the nod at some point.

Then you're off and sailing. Get as much short distance stuff in as you can, offering to crew in races if needs be. Learn how everything works on a boat, move from boat to boat and position to position, and you'll soon pick up the practical side of things.

Once you've done all of that for a year or two it might be worth going back and getting some more qualifications, but only if you feel the need. Alternatively look for longer voyages, something trans-Atlantic or a trip around the Mediterranean or similar.
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Old 01-14-2010, 08:45 AM   #3
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In your shoes (young independent one without family) I would start sailing immediately.

Asking around your local harbour is definitely a good idea. If people see that you want to sail, they be happy to crew you: there are people who feel more comfortable out there with someone else, and finding crew can be sometimes difficult.

If you want to do it seriously, look at www.findacrew.net. There is a tall ship in Malta (if I can remember correctly) which is recruiting crew for immediate start, and one in Rostock which departs at april. They even pay. There are also various other ships, I just noticed these two. Maybe because I admire tall ships, or maybe because these the ones which seem to be the best ones for the inexperienced.

As you gather miles, you will find ships more and more easily, and learn about sailing. You are English, so you don't really need certificate for small crafts. It would be important if/when you decide to earn a living by delivery, and of course it always help to look at the knowledge you have already gathered in a structured way. But no point in hurrying with it. When you have experience, you can do the tests more easily. Maybe keeping your logbook and making a point of figuring out things for yourself in the old fashioned ways, and using GPS and the skipper's results as a check is a good idea.

If you want to sort of hitchike the world by boat, again findacrew.net is the place to go. The time window now isn't ideal, because the majority of the boats have ealready crossed the pond, but I remember one which is scheduled to start off at February, you can catch it if you are lucky. When you reach the Caribbean you will be a crew with an ocean crossing, and will know if this life is really for you
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Old 01-14-2010, 10:27 AM   #4
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If you really want to get a really good start, contact a sailing school and see what they can do for you in terms of introduction to sailing courses - probably starting with a weekend.

While you may be tempted to wait for the warmer weather to do this, I'd suggest that you do it now or nowabouts cos there's nothing much worse than the cold and damp of winter sailing and nothing much better than a hot sausage "buttie/sarnie" and a mug of tea when you think that you can't take any more! After that, everything other than your first 7 or worse, is pretty much plain sailing!

I started from scratch on a fast track thing with British Offshore Sailing School BOSS, Hamble some years ago on and I'd be happy to recommend that sort of experience to anyone starting out with a definite interest in making a lifestyle or a career out of it. UK Sailing(?) offers similar courses with lots of promises about finding you work but costs are quite high - slim/fat chance but depending on what happens to you workwise, of course, you might want to explore how generous our government would be prepared to help with "re-training" costs ...

.... as with sailing, or anything else for that matter, you'll never know until you try (it on!).

Good luck whatever you decide.
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Old 01-16-2010, 04:07 PM   #5
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Thanks for all the advice and warm welcome guys. I'll look into all the things you suggested and I hope to see you around the forum.
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