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Old 08-28-2008, 06:08 PM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 9


I am a novice sailor starting to plan for my first trans-Pacific passage. I am asking around to get as many opinions as I can before I send my plans into motion. Amount of expieriance needed is my main concern.

My Plans:

I just completed my ASA 101 class and my once dream is now an obsession. I plan on taking the coastal cruising and bare boat class by the end of the year. 2009 I plan on taking the advanced and offshore cruising classes as well as the navigation class. By 2010, I plan on purchasing a 40'-45' blue water cruiser. I'm thinking about an older 42' Valiant, 44' Bruce Robert, or 42' Island Packet. In the winter of 2010-2011 I plan on spending 4-6 month in Mexico living aboard the cruiser and getting familiar with her systems while gaining confidence in sailing ability. Upon return I will get my six pack or 50 ton captain licence. In in winter of 2011 I plan to begin my tour of the South Pacific.

My Expieriance:

Even though I have little sailing expierance, I am far from green when it comes to the water. I have spent omy entire 26 years in, on, or around the ocean. I grow up on the beach and my father and brothers taught my to surf, fish, and free dive at an early age. I sat in on my first boater safey class when I was 11. I started working deck on the sport fishing boats when I was 14 and continued off and on until I was 22. Presently I am on the water 3-5 days a week surfing, paddleboarding, racing outrigger canoes, and fishing. As a avid surfer and fishermen, I am very familiar with the tracting storms and forecasting weather patterns.

My Question:

With my experiance and my plans, will I be ready for a trans-Pacific passage in three years?!

Thank you for your time!

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Old 08-28-2008, 06:37 PM   #2
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 1,619

Originally Posted by SurfingSS View Post
With my experiance and my plans, will I be ready for a trans-Pacific passage in three years?!
When I did it, years ago, it took 36 months of sea time to sit for a Second Mates F.G. ticket, if you had followed a cadetship or 48 months if you had just been at sea on deck.

Three years, for a yachtsman who does not need to be involved in such delightful subjects as cargo handling, demurage, salvage (hopefully) etc is ample time. Enjoy your time preparing for the ocean passage but be aware that the ocean you will meet is not the one in your backyard.

Learn as much as you can, be prepared, be careful and enjoy the trip.

Aye // Stephen

Yacht NAUSIKAA | Call Sign: 2AJH2



= Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Lithuania
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Old 08-29-2008, 03:13 PM   #3
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WELCOME, and yes you can do it. I will say that all the things listed have nearly nothing to do with sailing. Sailing the ocean, and single-handed is a beast of it's own. I was once told if I could go out on any given day on S.F. Bay I could sail anywhere......WRONG! I will repeat myself. The ocean is a different beast. She is powerful, relentles, beautiful, calm, and none of her moods involve you. It is just the way it is.

You sound extremely realistic in your goals, but you are still green. We all start that way so this is not a knock. It is a point of view. Where you live depends on a lot of advice that can be given. If your purchase is 2 years away. I would buy a small 20ft+ boat for $2-4K, and learn to sail, and in any weather your area offers you. You can always sell the boat, and get your money back. If you buy a popular boat such as a Cal20 you will get all your money back.

BEST WISHES in moving forward with your goal. I believe it is a fantastic goal!........BE SAFE....i2f
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Old 08-29-2008, 05:52 PM   #4
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Home Port: Washington DC
Vessel Name: SV Mahdee
Posts: 3,236


I hope you enjoy your coursework and learn alot from it.

No one can really answer the question you've asked...except you. Some folks are quick to learn and intuitive about sailing and can do amazing things in very little time. Others can spend 30 years tootling around the local waters participating in beer can races, dreaming of voyaging, etc, but still not be "ready" for offshore work. Some folks will never be "ready." Most people are NOT intuitive nor savvy about the art and science of sailing. Thus, most folks rely upon years and years of experience to build a database of knowledge which allows them to safely undertake voyages.

That experience starts as soon as you can get it. So....

Getting "out there" even if "out there" is just sailing coastal in your area will really help you. Trade in the surfboarding, paddleboard, and fishing time on some quality time on a sailboat. Crew for someone locally if you can. If you cannot, then buy a small sailboat. You can pick up a used, seaworthy boat 20' to 30' from $2K-$10K and can sell it again w/o losing money. As an aside, realistically, if you don't have $2K-$10K now to buy your "practice" boat, unless you're planning on selling real estate you may own or have a big paying job, you probably won't have the cash you need in two years to buy and use the boat you plan to purchase and live aboard.

If you are planning on ocean crossing "solo" there's alot to be said for owning a small boat (30-37 ft max) rather than a larger boat like you've mentioned. It is much easier to "manage" a smaller boat alone and there are numerous older, bluewater boats available in these smaller sizes. You can "man-handle" a lot of things on a smaller boat. The sheer size of things on a larger boat often requires more knowledge and finesse in handling when things go awry and more savvy experience in properly maintainance. Not to mention money.

Taking a small boat in and out of your harbor, maintaining it in the water, anchoring, sail handling, getting used to what can go wrong on board a boat--this is good experience. You will not only gain sailing experience but also sailboat ownership/maintenance experience. With a couple years of sailboat ownership under your belt, you should be much more able to assess your own strengths and weaknesses as a sailor and sailboat owner. Then, you will readily be able to answer your own question about being "ready" for ocean crossing.

Best of luck to you.
"Do or do not. There is no try." - Yoda

What we're doing - The sailing life aboard and the Schooner Chandlery.

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