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Old 09-09-2012, 03:25 AM   #1
Join Date: Sep 2012
Home Port: Prairie Village
Posts: 2
Default Questions upon questions

To start off I would like to say that my knowledge base is almost nil. I don't even know if I am posting in the right forum.

Here is the deal. I am a 30 year old woman, I have worked in advertising for the last 12 years, and I hate it. It occurred to me the other day that I should try to make my dreams actually come true rather than spend my life in this fashion.

My dream is to live on a boat, at least part of the year.

Obstacles to this are many. The first of which is that I live in Kansas. The second is that my sailing experience amounts to sailing a sunfish at camp and being on sailboats before. I own a speedboat on a lake out here, although I realize these are vastly different specialties.

I have quit working in advertising, and I am bartending. I say this because I am also poor. Still, I have this dream, I want to sail the world. I really do. This is not a fickle dream of an unhappy person. I have been wanting this for years.

My problem is that I don't really know where to start. I want to know what it would take to achieve my dream. I have been trolling forums, and trying to read the advice of people who have the same dream, but my problems are specific.

So, with that background, here are my questions.

Where do I start?

How much do you have to spend for a sea worthy vessel?

What are the general daily costs involved when trying to do this on a budget?

What does this take?

I will do whatever it takes. I want this for my life. Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you for your time and consideration.

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Old 09-09-2012, 05:24 AM   #2
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Home Port: Darwin
Vessel Name: Sandettie
Posts: 1,917

I don't think it's possible to get any further from the sea on mainland USA, than you are in Kansas. However, there isn't a single person out there cruising, who didn't first dream of a life afloat. There are a few lucky cruising people who have no financial concerns, but there are far more who are counting pennies every step of the way.

The question of experience is not one of great importance. Sailing is easy. What you do need to learn is what to do when things get tough either because of weather, the rapidly approaching rocks off the beam, or because you just went below and stepped into a foot of water. Shouting out "S**T" at full cry is of little use...unless it's a toilet blockage!

The thing is, reading books about this sort of stuff may give a deal of theoretical knowledge, but there is no substitute for practical application. Getting a gig on a boat is simple...as long as you are near the water. Getting experience on a cruising boat is equally easy providing you are near cruising grounds.

To facilitate this, you may need to change location. However, people near the water probably drink a little more, and in perhaps a greater variety of locations, so getting a job in a boozer should not be difficult. Getting a job serving beers in a yacht club would be ideal, especially with a background in Advertising and PR.

The thing is, as a 30 year old woman, you will find crewing opportunities will be offered on a much more regular basis than they perhaps would, if you were a 30 year old man. The trick is determining the motivation behind the offer. But, after a time both in advertising and bar work, I am sure you can spot the difference between sincere and sleazy.

So, that's how you start. Get as much experience on sailing boats as you can, you don't need to learn to navigate (but you need to know the terms and the basics) and look for books to read by Pardey, Roth, and I heartily recommend a book written by a man who, as a youngster, bought a boat and circumnavigated with little experience and even less money. The book is 'Across Islands and Oceans', by James Baldwin. It is available for little money as an Amazon Kindle download.

Buying a seaworthy boat is somewhat of an objective exercise. A seaworthy hull, deck and rig, is not so expensive. But it's like a steak dinner. A good steak by itself is okay, but it's much better with vegetables, sauce, after a soup and before desert. It's those 'bits' that cost the money. I recently looked at a Petersen 31 in Boston which was all but ocean ready and as a result of a financial bind, the owner was looking for just $13,000. That's extraordinary; however you'll get little which is seaworthy for less than $50,000 and it's not hard to spend $300,000.

The problem with buying your own boat is the cost of upkeep especially if you like to sail offshore for extended periods of time. Stuff breaks and can be repaired by Popeye, or Olive Oyl, providing Poopers and Ollie have the knowledge and the spares to do the job. Otherwise things can become expensive.

Much is written about the cost of cruising. Some can do it on $15,000 a year, some $50,000. It depends on your wants and needs and of course, the amount of cash available. However, if you can secure a crewing spot on a cruising yacht, you can probably survive (away from the USA, Oz, NZ, Canada etc) for $10 a day. If you drink and smoke..obviously a lot more.

You will not have the same independence if you crew as you would have if you own your own boat, but if you have no money and no experience, the possibility of getting away in your own boat is not perhaps practical.

The point remains, you want to go cruising. You are willing to suffer the occasional storm for the golden beaches and swaying palms just over the horizon. If you are independent minded, enjoy your own company and don't need to be entertained, have good interpersonal skills (Barmaid and Ad agency...it's a given) and can do the things we all can do in the way of homemaking (Most voyaging sailors are neat, clean, great cooks, organised, and good yarn spinners), you will be okay. You just need to plonk yourself within the environment, display your keen-ness, laugh a lot, and be willing to help and learn...and before you know it you'll be off and away.

There are many boats permanently cruising the Caribbean, there are many heading for Hawaii with the Transpac rally/race each year and somewhere between one and two hundred cruising boats will leave the west coast between Seattle and Panama each year bound for the South Pacific (Me included...YAY!!)

This is a great forum for serious cruisers. It's not so big for the day sailors, or fair weather people, but if you look through the pages here, and use the search function to seek specific topics, you will learn a lot from some very experienced and, more importantly, decent people.

Best of luck and please, keep us informed.

"if at first you don't succeed....Redefine success"!

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Old 09-09-2012, 07:02 PM   #3
Join Date: Sep 2012
Home Port: Prairie Village
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Default thank you!

that was most helpful. i feel a bit more solid about the decisions ahead now. i am grateful that you took the time to write a thoughtful response, and i assure you that it is very much appreciated.
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Old 09-11-2012, 07:20 AM   #4
Join Date: Aug 2012
Home Port: Lake Tahoe, California
Posts: 15
Thumbs up

Good Luck Yellowfaeryfly!! I think this is a great forum!! Auzzee is right there are some very experienced & decent people sharing their wisdom & depth of knowledge on all kinds of topics!! I've only been on the site a month (& I'm NOT a techie kinda girl), but have learned so much reading through a wide variety of threads. My advice is follow your dreams, trust your heart, create the life you want!! One can do anything they set their mind to with a little hard work, creative thinking, & a tenacious attitude!! OBSTACLES are only obstacles if you see them as that. I think quitting a job you hated is GREAT!! NO ONE should do things thay hate!! I walked away from an established lucrative business almost 10 yrs ago & have not regretted it a day since. BUT I made the choice to live a much simpler lifestyle. Our happiness in life is all about the choices we make as individuals for ourselves. In fact if you read a thread here called "how simple is simple" or something like that by Auzzee, you'll like it!! Read posts about engines, maintenance, etc... it'll help you realize that we as single smart women should choose carefully an experienced, competent, smart sailor to learn from & not jus hop on any boat with jus anyone. Best of luck to ya & DON'T listen to what others tell ya is the right way to live!! Listen closely to your heart, make your dreams your reality, CREATE your happiness, ONLY you can do it!!! :-)))

P.S. Great reply & advice from Auzzee, that I too have gleaned some great info from
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Old 09-11-2012, 10:56 AM   #5
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Home Port: Port Douglas
Vessel Name: S/V Travesty
Posts: 214

I agree with Auzzee and Watersign, its a great life on the water. I have owned sail boats for most of my life and have been living aboard for many years now enjoying life and cannot see myself back on land in a permanent way.

Sail with others, gain experience and work towards getting your own yacht if you feel that is the way to go. I know a few women sailors who own their own yachts and who excel in this wonderful marine environment.

Go for it and good luck,

"No matter where you go, there you are".
I've Contributed to the Cruisers Wiki: https://www.cruiserswiki.org/wiki/Port_Douglas
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Old 09-14-2012, 01:42 PM   #6
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Vessel Name: S/Y Thetis
Posts: 559

Yellowfaeryfly you have received some great advise from Auzzee and there is very little that I can add to his. True, as many good things in life, cruising always starts with a dream. But you have to experience it to really see if it is for you. Crewing, as Auzzee advises, is the way to go. But, while crewing can be a very good experience indeed, in the wrong kind of crew members can also be very very bad.

So, my advice for whatever is worth is to do some crewing before you even think of your own boat but be very selective in choosing your mates.

After almost a life of cruising I prefer to cruise by myself rather then with people with who I may not be comfortable. Life on sailboat is always cramped and sometimes wet and uncomfortable and even dangerous. These conditions often make perfectly agreeable companions on land very bad crew mates in the sea.

Let me finish that I wish you the best of luck and if you need any specific information we in CL are here to offer help and support.

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Old 09-16-2012, 01:49 AM   #7
Join Date: Feb 2010
Home Port: the boat
Vessel Name: Skipping Stone
Posts: 79

After over 50 years of seagoing I always get a kick out of helping newbies get into what I love so.
I would advise that you get your STWC 95 and move to Ft. Lauderdale and get into the boating scene there. Bartenders are always needed and if you get into a boater's hangout bar you will find many opportunities to get started. There are even "crew houses" that are reasonable (kinda like youth hostels).
As a profession, yacht crew can earn a pretty penny and travel the world on someone else's nickel while learning what you need to get your own boat.
Alternately, each fall there are hundreds boats that leave the East Coast for the Caribbean (Newport, RI, Norfolk, Va, Charleston, SC, etc. There are numerous opportunities for those like you to learn and adventure on these boats and once you are in St. Thomas (you can work there, it's the USA) if you do not stay on the boat you sailed down on.
I think you are making a bold move; getting out of the "rat race" at an age early enough while you are young and healthy enough to really enjoy it.
Lastly, I highly recommend that you pick up "Royce's Sailing Illustrated", a great, inexpensive primer.
Good luck and have a ball sailing. Maybe we will meet up down this way and you can buy us a drink or two and we can exchange "sea stories".
"Any a**hole can make a boat go; it takes a sailor to stop one"
Spike Africa, aboard the Schooner Wanderer, Sausalito, Ca. 1964
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Old 09-16-2012, 02:47 AM   #8
Join Date: Apr 2008
Home Port: Stockton, MO
Vessel Name: Ceilidh
Posts: 160
Default Go for it!

First... Don't let your current location set you back! We hail from not all that far away... SW Missouri. Shucks, I learned to sail in Oklahoma. Lake Stockton, Missouri is an excellent lake to cut your teeth on!

But... You really will need to get nearer to water to get the full effect!

Rejoice... The gang here is full of experienced, talented folks who once had only the dream that you have!

Oh, and be aware that there are MANY cruising males looking for female crew... Some are even very nice people who are looking for the right reasons!

It wasn't all that many years ago when my wife declared that she wanted to go "Cruising". I thought she had gone nuts!!! I am writing this from our sailboat at anchor in St. Thomas, where I work as a Sailing Captain!

Read all that you can... Question everything... Learn from the many wise folks here... And NEVER let loose of your dream!

As for boat costs; The best answer that I ever heard regarding "How much does it cost to go cruising?" was... "As much as you've got!" That said: these hard times have made boats as affordable as they have ever been. I have seen bluewater capable boats go for as little as seven grand... Not all that often though. You may even find one on Lake Perry, Kansas!!! GET A SURVEY AND WISE COUNCIL!!! Additionally, learn all that you can about boat systems and repair... My favorite description of cruising is, "Working on your boat in exotic places."

Read JeanneP's ships' log on her site for some real-world perspective of various cruising situations.

Most of all; Enjoy the journey!

Fair winds,


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