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Old 12-08-2008, 11:53 AM   #1
Join Date: Dec 2008
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I'm a newbie... I've spent a total of 8 hours aboard, but I know it's the "sailor's life for me." I've recently decided to put all of my energy into realizing my dream of living aboard. I'm 38, and have a 20 year career as a graphic designer/TV producer/web developer, I'm hoping I can work aboard, but if not, so be it. I've got alot to do ahead of me, I'll probably start off with working at a marina, or a boatyard, whatever it takes. But in 5 years I'll be crewing, and in 10, I'll be skipper on my own motorsailer cruising the world.

Can anyone offer me some advice on getting started? I figured my first move was to pass the "six-pack," but what else? What's the best path towards achieving full Cap'n status? Besides joining the Navy?

Any help would be eternally appreciated,

Thank you,



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Old 12-08-2008, 12:50 PM   #2
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Welcome aboard Trane. Others will be along shortly to answer a couple of your questions but as you have experienced SOME sailing, I would recommend you google search for a couple of sailing schools in your vicinity and see what they offer. Work your way through their courses for a good grounding.

Good luck with your plans and keep "asking" here.



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Old 12-08-2008, 01:24 PM   #3
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IMO, working for a marina is the least useful step you could take.

With regard to getting a license, you've got a lot of on-board experience to get first before you can get a license. You need to be on the water, on a boat, for 360 days, 90 days over the past 3 years. And that's not living on the boat while in a marina or on an anchor, but actually sailing/driving/crewing on the boat while it is moving.

Requirements for Six-pack lic. There are a lot more important things to do before considering whether you want to get a captain's license.

I would say that 95% or more of sailors do not have a license, whether the most liberal, a six-pack, or something higher.

Learn how to sail.

Learn the Rules of the Road.

Learn how to navigate.

Learn the basics of maintaining a boat.

Learn how to safely sail offshore.

After learning to sail on a small boat, learning to sail on a big boat would be next, and going that route, crewing is the easiest, and most important step, IMO. Join a local yacht club, volunteer as crew for their races, gain experience and respect from the boats' owners. You could start crewing much sooner than 5 years.

Check out our Crewfinder forums.

Good luck and fair winds,

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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Old 12-08-2008, 04:49 PM   #4
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Take some sailing lessons is the first thing to do. Get as much time as possible sailing on other people's boat if needed. Go from club to club asking to crew. Any kind of sailing such as lake, and dinghy sailing will hone your skills.

I sailed a couple of weeks with a friend over a period of a few years. I eventually took lessons, and bought a 30ftr within months. I honed my skills, and after 18 months left S.F. Ca for Mexico alone, and returned to S.F., and I sailed constantly. 10 years later I went from a 30ft mono to a 46ft cat. No big deal in the jump in size. I will admit it was a learning curve, but it's still sailing, and the basics apply to small & large.........BEST WISHES in your dream really turning out to be your DREAM........i2f
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Old 12-08-2008, 09:30 PM   #5
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Welcome to our group Trane. If you ask a sailor for advise on how to start a sailing life you will as many opinions as the number of people you have asked. IMHO try to spend as much time in a moving, not moored, sailboat. Any sailboat will do. Experience the good and the bad. Enjoy the magic of the sea and the occasional danger. I think that the cruising life is 98% sear bliss and 2% utter terror. Not everyone cup of tea.

Good luck!

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