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Old 08-24-2011, 06:01 PM   #1
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Newbie on board

Hello everyone.* After a long hiatus from pursuit of the liveaboard "dream"*(divorce, kids to college, recession etc)*it's now time to re-focus and*create reality.* A little older,*hopefully wiser and certainly*with a*greater sense of urgency.**

The new woman in my life (Amy, can you still say "new" after 4 years) and I are*now officially both empty nesters.***With that event she is now paying a lot more attention to her physio-therapy patients when, after a debilitating stroke, they tell her*how they worked all their lives with the plan*that they would "see the world" AFTER they retired at 65.* But when that milestone was reached*they found themselves with physical problems that prevent the fulfillment of that life long goal.* Time to get serious about this while we still can is now her thinking and I agree.*

Back in the mid-90s I was an early subscriber to PMM, attended one of the first TrawlerFests and did 3 charters (can't believe this but my write-up on*one is still on the internet -*- anyone know whatever happened to a Krogen 42 named Toucan?)

To put the dream back on track the first thing was to get Amy up to speed on trawlers in general and get her hooked.* She grew up*spending*summers at the cottage*so was always around boats but didn't know what a trawler was.* To fix that*I tried to piggyback an instructional day on the water around a*trip to see family*in*the PNW this summer.* Despite some great recommendations from*members of this board*I* just*couldn't find anyone offering that service in the Bellingham area.**Too bad.* Only close trawler encounter was*on a sea*kayak outing in Nanaimo BC ...we*slowed*to admire a good looking pilothouse in the marina and the proud owner stepped out*to educate us on his new Canadian-built North Pacific*43.* My dream boat (with almost affordable older models) has always been the DeFever 49 so this 43 got my attention.* *

Then fate stepped in and got us going.**It was*6 pm on Friday July 1 and we were trying to book a last-minute condo on the beach*in the Panama City area for the July 4th weekend.* Unbelievably in the worst recession in 50 years EVERYTHING was booked solid at any price.**

Frustrated but anxious to get away for the weekend I took a flyer and left a message for Capt'n Jerry Chitwood of Chitwood Charters in Sarasota.* Remarkably he called back at 7 pm, had a single engine GB 36 available and by 9 pm we were*packed and on the road for the 8 hour drive from Atlanta.* After a checkout Saturday morning and some practice backing a single into a narrow slip in the*tight little marina at the Hyatt we were "cruising" Sarasota Bay.**

What a perfect weekend - offshore*powerboat races (Amy loves those things) viewed from the flybridge 200 yards from*the first turn, incredible fireworks viewing anchored off the city's waterfront park, a little "offshore" cruise the length of Longboat Key, anchoring and swimming to*the beach*in Sarasota pass, an incredible squall followed by*a double rainbow*and just one minor stick in the mud at low tide in an anchorage.**Mission accomplished.* Amy caught the but and*is on-board the*dream express.*

Next up - read all the books, re-subscribe to PMM,*attend a*TrawlerFest, maybe PMU or an instructional charter.* However I must confess after having read David Lavigne's advice in "Island Hopping to the Caribbean" about how much easier it is financially to cruise when you own the boat outright, that I'm thinking a better use for the $6,000 fee for P101 and P102 courses*offered by Southwest Florida Yachts would be to put that cash towards the boat.* Yes? No?

Cheers and we look forward to learning so much from all of you who so graciously share your experiences and lessons in this online community.* Something is gained from every visit.

Ken Ferguson and Amy Griffith, Atlanta GA*

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Old 08-24-2011, 06:11 PM   #2
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RE: Newbie on board

Welcome aboard, Ken!
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Old 08-24-2011, 06:20 PM   #3
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RE: Newbie on board

Holy smokes, Ken. I remember reading that article about you in the Krogen 42 years ago, don't remember where, but I'm a Krogen owner now. Seems I recall you had problems starting out at the controls working opposite or something like that. Anyway, welcome to the forum and especially back to your dream. When I read your article, I was living in Berlin and dreaming about coming back to the US and cruising. Here I am.
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Old 08-24-2011, 10:27 PM   #4
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RE: Newbie on board

Welcome to trawler forum!!! We live in Atlanta as well!!!!
you will find this site an amazing source of knowledge.
I don't know that i would pay all that $$$ for basic boat handling classes but it depends on your experience level prior to this.

Again, welcome to the forums!
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Old 08-25-2011, 03:32 AM   #5
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RE: Newbie on board

"$6,000 fee for P101 and P102 courses offered by Southwest Florida Yachts would be to put that cash towards the boat. Yes? No?"

Depending on the cruising radius some folks could cruise for a year on $6K.

What is required is a vessel set up for independant cruising , not a dock queen.

This may be hard to find used, without installing loads of pri$y gear

Good Hunting!
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Old 08-25-2011, 07:59 AM   #6
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RE: Newbie on board

Take the US Power Squadron or Coast Guard piloting courses.* Charter or buy a boat.* If you are uncomfortable with handling the boat, hire a local charter captain for a day or so.* Much cheaper way and you will learn much

Welcome aboard* Hope to see you on the water
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Old 08-25-2011, 11:38 AM   #7
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RE: Newbie on board

Moonstruck wrote:
Take the US Power Squadron or Coast Guard piloting courses.* Charter or buy a boat.* If you are uncomfortable with handling the boat, hire a local charter captain for a day or so.* Much cheaper way and you will learn much

Welcome aboard* Hope to see you on the water
*Good advice Moonstruck

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Old 08-25-2011, 02:00 PM   #8
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RE: Newbie on board

Ken--- From what I read on this and other forums you might want to save yourself the price of subscription to PMM as that magazine has apparently gone downhill and may not have the sort of articles that interest you anymore.

Being as how boating is at least 80 percent common sense, and being as how you can't teach someone to have that--- they either do or they don't--- I don't think I'd bother spending a bunch of money on "how to cruise" courses. While the dollar figures for boating tend to be high--- purchase price, insurance, moorage, maintenance, repairs, upgrades, etc.--- and so make it look like a major undertaking, it is still a "just do it" sort of thing. I suspect most people on this forum simply "got into" boating. Bought a small boat, putzed around with that, made mistakes and learned stuff, bought a larger boat, putzed around with it and learned stuff, and here they are. It's certainly the path we followed.

Chartering a boat for a week or so can be a good way to find out if you really like the "sport." Taking one or both of the courses Don suggested is a great way to expose yourself to the basics of rules, practices, safety, etc.

But as Nike says, just do it. Start small if you feel more comfortable that way. Or charter if that makes more sense for awhile. Make a friend with a boat and mooch rides. Every boat is different, every situation is different, the water and wind are always changing, so in my opinion it is not the sort of thing you're going to learn very effectively in a classroom or from an instructor on a school boat.
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Old 08-26-2011, 03:42 AM   #9
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RE: Newbie on board

Operating a boat is no big deal, some skill sets to learn , done.

The legal concepts and nautical vocabulary portion is far larger , and takes much more time.

The most difficult part for a cruiser to understand is a boat is NOT a HOUSE.

The price of "house living" is not only cost . maint. but PIA to live with.

Matching the owners Desirements with the real world operation takes a specialist with experience , an Outfitter or lots of trolling and the ability to be honest with oneself.
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Old 08-30-2011, 04:43 PM   #10
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RE: Newbie on board

THANK YOU ALL for the wonderful responses! Just as I expected - sage advice from seasoned veterans with the experience.

We decided to take your advice and put the "training" money towards a 2 week charter next May/June. Amy has already spoken to her boss about taking that much time off consecutively as there is often a schedueling problem to someone to take her patients and it's easy for me as a self-employed IT headhunter.

Since our chosen cruising grounds for the liveaboard dream are the Bahamas/Caribbean (completely sold after reading Lavigne's book) we determined that our choices are the Bahamas or the Virgin Islands. Both easy to get to from Atlanta, lots of facitlities for boarters, great cruising grounds etc. Would love to hear y'alls (that's Southernese that I picked up, the Canadian in me would say "you guys' ") opinions - pros/cons of each.

Our initial research has come up pretty dry in terms of charter companies offering trawlers in either location...
- USVI - Trawlers in Paradise website seems to have been hijacked by a charter broker website - I remember stopping at their docks once on St. Thomas and touring a GB. Are they still around? CYOA appears to have a 39' Mainship and a 44' cat - we prefer monohull since that's what we'd buy - BVI - looks like bareboatsbvi has a 36' Heritage and a 43' cat

- Bahamas - Florida Yacht Charters appears to have a base in Abaco but I can't find any of the Mainships they supposedly have only a big Lagoon cat. Great Harbor has a charter program to help sell their vessels but not our style at all.

Any suggestions/experience?

Finally, since we are big users of to book vacation rental properties from the owner we thought there might be something similar in the trawler world. Perhaps a couple finishing up a winter in the islands wanting some shore time and having their trawler generate some cash for the cruising kitty. I imaging the insurance issues preclude this type of arrangement.

Regards, Ken & Amy
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Old 08-30-2011, 08:52 PM   #11
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RE: Newbie on board



Trawlers in Paradise is no longer, although the owner might be representing as such.* I won't mention his name but he is a good guy but the economy got the best of him along with some bad boat buying decisions.* I would charter from him as a friend but I would not reccomend him to a stranger because there is no guarantee of the shape of boat you will get.* or dinghy for that matter.* I know this well as I chartered from him for over 10 years in a row before going to another outfit.

But, across the bay is VIP Yachts.* I chartered from them the last time and they ran a pretty good operation as far as USVI goes.* Their boats were OK (ours was a Jefferson 48).* I wouldn't own one but the layout was great and referigeration was excellent.* Anchor too small, but then again you mostly on balls anyway.

If you want to charter (bareboat) in the BVI let me know.* I know all the places and even some people that can take you to places that you would not see otherwise.* No, not Foxy's and Willy* T.* I mean places that nobody knows.* Foxy is a cool guy, but you're better off meeting Ivan.
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