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Old 07-06-2015, 07:39 PM   #1
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Default You only live once

As with many dreamers, my husband of 28 years and I are ready to embark on a new chapter of our lives. We have spent a quarter of a century working in education and corrections while raising two children on the shores and on the waves of the Great Lakes. My husband (suckair64) volunteered for 10 years as a Scoutmaster, for 5 years on the Dive Search and Rescue team, and for several years with the Coast Guard Auxiliary. He is a handy-man extraordinaire - have never found anything he couldn't fix. Our sailing experience is limited to a Hobie Cat (which he pitch-polled riding down a 15 foot wave) and small Sunfish-type monoholls. We have hosted foreign exchange students and have traveled as much as the bank account would allow. We are now taking early retirements to reduce our carbon footprint, learn as much as we can about this planet we all share and the people in it, and explore the cruising lifestyle. We welcome any and all advice on how best to get started! We'd like to set sail, one way or another, by 2017 or before.
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Old 07-07-2015, 04:29 AM   #2
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Welcome aboard! Where are you now? It sounds like you don't have a boat yet--right? Any ideas about what you'd prefer?

Brenda and David
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Old 07-07-2015, 04:58 AM   #3
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We are in Michigan (UP). We have a couple small pleasure boats at the moment for our Lake Michigan and Lake Superior excursions, but need to get the house prepped to sell before making the transition to an ocean cruising ship. We have a broker and started looking at 40 ft cats in March. Debating whether to jump in and buy or to try to help someone crew their ship first to get our feet wet. I'd like hubby to get captain's license, I want to take at least a few basic courses. Any advice on good instructors? Lessons learned by experience? Crewing?
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Old 07-07-2015, 10:06 AM   #4
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Try and sail as many cats as you can because without a doubt your priorities will change as you get more experience. Crewing is a good way to live the life, get experience but not have the stress of learning and being responsible for everything all at once
Good luck with your adventure and keep us informed as you go !
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Old 07-11-2015, 02:33 AM   #5
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Crewing is a great way to get experience. There are many clubs that offer courses as well as the normal US Sailing & ASA courses. I wouldn't focus on USCG Capt's license so early--it doesn't mean much in terms of sailing it just means you really know the rules of the road and you've got time on boats in general. If someone wants to make a living sailing, sure then get it, otherwise, don't bother.

If you're uncomfortable with heeling -- and that's why you're looking at catamarans, you might take the time to get comfortable on a monohull before committing yourself to a cat.

Fair winds.
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Old 07-19-2015, 02:16 PM   #6
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Default How we did it

When Peter announced that when we retired he wanted to live on boat, my reply was "it should be a sailboat so we're not held hostage by OPEC" (this was in the late 70s when that was a real problem). When Peter said "okay", my response was, "well, then, I'd better learn how to sail, I guess."

We joined the Boston Harbor Sailing Club, subscribed to several sailing magazines, and read lots and lots of books about sailing and cruising. I learned to sail, then we bought a small boat in partnership with friends, and sailed even more, taking weekend cruises where we anchored out at night rather than staying in a marina. (so we made mistakes, dragged anchor, and learned how we could get out of our predicaments).

Then we bought our own boat, SY Watermelon, a 39-foot Jeanneau Sun Fizz (model and mold for the O'Day 39 and O'Day 40). Did even more sailing, overnighting, anchoring, etc., etc.

In 1986 we left Boston to go cruising a for few years, and that went on until 2014(!). We never stopped learning, never stopped making mistakes, and loved every minute of our days on the water.

Every "situation" was a learning experience ("what could we have done better?" "why did that happen?", etc.) Every story of trouble, disaster, loss, etc. at sea was a discussion fest on how that could have been avoided, or how things could have turned out better than it did, etc.)

My #1 rule: there are no "blue jobs" or "pink jobs" on a boat. Both partners need to know how to navigate, steer, anchor, cook, trims sails, trouble-shoot engine issues, whatever. I was not, am not, competent to fix an engine, but I learned as much as I could, and was always involved in all of it. With a sail boat, life was easier in that we could get anywhere without understanding engine repairs, but knowing how to maintain and make minor repairs on an engine made our life much easier.

#2: Never underestimate luck. Bad luck happens, so be prepared always (the most important issue here is to always maintain a written position log - do not rely on your electronics to keep your records - 'cause if you don't, stuff happens). Good luck also happens, and remember this to keep yourselves humble when you successfully get yourselves out of a bad situation.

#1 (also) - don't buy a boat that either one of you cannot sail on your own - solo - for days on end.

I can't ever fully describe the joy and pleasure we experienced in all our years on the water.

Fair winds,
Jeanne
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Old 07-26-2015, 08:06 PM   #7
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I miss you Jeanne. Hope you are well and still making plans. Very best wishes. David.
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Old 07-26-2015, 09:27 PM   #8
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thanks, it's been too long, I know.

Leaving our liveaboard life last year was harder than I expected, and (pardon the phrase), I've felt adrift. I think I'm getting back to "normal" (whatever that may be for me). I think that nostalgia will be a recurring theme for a while as I toddle forward.

We still travel, (as I said rather tactlessly to a lady, we think that if we stop moving we'll die (!yes! -what a dumb thing to say)), it's just that the heavy lifting is being done by others. BUT we tried a big-ship ocean cruise, and were seriously underwhelmed!
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In 1986 we went cruising for a few years. After 20 years and 50+ countries and several oceans, we are STILL "cruising for a few years".

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= Cruiser's Dictionary, North America,
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