Howdy, I'm a tall ship sailor and sail bum, looking to share some experience (1 Viewer)

Ptarmigan

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Jan 20, 2020
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Hey, guess this is kinda an intro post but I'll just cut right to the chase.
I was looking for other sail bums on the internet, so here I am. I got started back when I was a little lad of 16-17 when I bought a cheap sailboat with some friends of mine. We fixed up that boat for a year or two, lived aboard for a few months sailing without an engine, and it got me on my first tall ship.

If anyone has questions about finding a good sailboat, renovating it to be a liveaboard, etc, feel free to ask, we made many unnecessary mistakes in the process, like buying a boat with inboard engine trouble lmao.

I can answer some questions about tall ships also, some can be a good way to travel with free room + board + maybe a paycheck, some can be the opposite.

To add a bit of info to contribute something, the Kalmar Nyckel has a pretty cheap square rig crew training course, $140~ ish dollars for two weeks of training in spring and fall. All volunteer based but they're used to training unexperienced retirees, so you don't need any prior experience. It doesn't get you any certifications, but the US tall ship community regards the Kalmar pretty well and there's some int'l recognition too.

For online resources, the Billet Bank (Billet Bank - Tall Ships America - https://www.tallshipsamerica.org/billet-bank/) is the main listing for available tall ship jobs, most require experience and ratings, but there's also a lot of entry level jobs, like working daysail schooners.

If you're in Sydney, the harbour tall ships are hiring in the summer. (Deckhand - Permanent - $150-$300 p.w. + meals + bed + tall ship training - Australia - https://www.crewbay.com/job/2581) But watch out, everything I've heard is negative, low pay, long hours, expensive beer, and poorly maintained ships with cheap captains. Could be pretty interesting.

If you're in Gothenburg, Sweden, the Ostindiska Göteborg is accepting volunteers, free lunch during dock work and a free place to stay in an expensive city, although it's basically full time work there except for weekends if I recall correct. (Volontär ombord | Ostindiefararen Götheborg - https://www.soic.se/volontar) The Swedes are really great sailors though, so worth a look into.

Maine is a pretty popular spot for daysail schooners, especially in Casco bay.

Then of course there's the sail hitching websites like crewbay, crewseekers, and find a crew, sometimes there's paid stuff too.

BUT, if you actually want your own boat, craigslist and facebook marketplace are actually really great, especially at the end of summer and fall when people want to get rid of their un-lived in and un-loved sailboats. Anything under 30' is what you want to be able to one hand it, and remember PROJECT BOATS ARE MORE EXPENSIVE THAN GOOD BOATS no matter how cheap the listing is. Good sailboat meaning something you can at least put into the water and sail away, usually around $3-5k. Or if you wanna say fuck it, here you go lmao: Home - Free Boat - Free-Boat.com - https://www.free-boat.com/


Also all the videos and whatever we took while sailing are on the channel in my signature, mostly boring stuff and just sailing footage lol

Cheers dudes
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iamwhatiam

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We have a sailor Crow, now a sailor Ptarmigan..... maybe I should change my moniker to Raven or Seagull or something. Welcome to STP, man....I just started learning to sail this last summer and what a blast it has been. What kind of boat ya got? I have to disagree with you however on one thing.....there's no SUCH THING as boring sailing vids, unless yer a land lubber that is! :)
 
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Ptarmigan

Ptarmigan

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Jan 20, 2020
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New Hampshire
What up sail bum!
Im on the road so cant write much, but welcome! Ive been looking into boats these days, will definitely be asking you some questions in the near future here
nice dude, do it up

also to add to my first post, if people are feeling adventurous, there are some pretty good deals on sailboats in Sweden if people don't mind living in europe/crossing the atlantic
10,000 crowns is more or less 1k usd
 
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Ptarmigan

Ptarmigan

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Jan 20, 2020
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New Hampshire
We have a sailor Crow, now a sailor Ptarmigan..... maybe I should change my moniker to Raven or Seagull or something. Welcome to STP, man....I just started learning to sail this last summer and what a blast it has been. What kind of boat ya got? I have to disagree with you however on one thing.....there's no SUCH THING as boring sailing vids, unless yer a land lubber that is! :)
Haha, STP sailor birds

The boat I used to be a part of was a 32' Dreadnought Tahiti Ketch but rigged as a single mast staysil cutter. Ultraheavy displacement with a full keel so it was slow as hell but definitely sturdy.

Buuuut I'm currently a boatless sailor, I find I like working on other people's boats more than actually owning my own right now. I've definitely got plans to change that in the future though! I still barely know how to sail anything that doesn't have a square sail so I still have a ways to go lol
 

Lynora

Pilgrim
Joined
Mar 17, 2019
Messages
21
Location
Farmington Maine
Hi! And welcome. I'll add that the sloop Clearwater has a great trainee program. They're full up for next season,, but they take total greenhorns for a little over a month and you learn everything, get fed and housed, and make 100 bucks a week to boot.

What all tall wooden boats have you sailed on? I've got a former shipmate who's doing resto on the Kalmar Nicole now, and I'm currently working winter maintenance for the Clearwater, but always looking to see more of what's out there.
 

r3yn

Rambler
Joined
Jun 20, 2019
Messages
75
Location
China / Canada
This is a god damned fascinating world that I have no idea about.
Thanks for making me aware of it.
Post more pics.
What's it like to live out on a boat? What's the longest you've been out on the high seas?
 
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Ptarmigan

Ptarmigan

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Location
New Hampshire
Hi! And welcome. I'll add that the sloop Clearwater has a great trainee program. They're full up for next season,, but they take total greenhorns for a little over a month and you learn everything, get fed and housed, and make 100 bucks a week to boot.

What all tall wooden boats have you sailed on? I've got a former shipmate who's doing resto on the Kalmar Nicole now, and I'm currently working winter maintenance for the Clearwater, but always looking to see more of what's out there.
Nice nice, I tried finding a winter maintenance gig this season but no such luck. I've volunteered on Draken Harald Hårfagre, the Kalmar, and Ostindiefararen Göteborg. Only ever been paid for rigging work on the Hazard Perry, but that's all steel so doesn't count lmao
 
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Ptarmigan

Ptarmigan

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Joined
Jan 20, 2020
Messages
14
Location
New Hampshire
This is a god damned fascinating world that I have no idea about.
Thanks for making me aware of it.
Post more pics.
What's it like to live out on a boat? What's the longest you've been out on the high seas?
Haha, the longest passage I've ever been on was only three days, but we got a 50kn storm in the middle of it so it was definitely an exciting one.

Living on a boat is nice and I do miss it, although ours always smelt like sulfur since our blackwater hoses needed replacing.

also some pics I found on my phone

photo_2020-01-27_23-53-02.jpg photo_2020-01-27_23-53-02 (2).jpg photo_2020-01-27_23-53-03.jpg photo_2020-01-27_23-53-05.jpg
 

rikki

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Joined
Feb 1, 2020
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3
Location
portland, OR
Hi! I'm new on here as well, also looking for info about boats.
I've just started looking into getting a boat to live aboard in New York City, partially because I think it will be cheaper, partially because I want to learn more about boating/sailing. Do you know or have any recommendations for marinas or spots to dock here? and whats a good first boat to live in?
Thanks for sharing!
 
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Ptarmigan

Ptarmigan

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New Hampshire
Hi! I'm new on here as well, also looking for info about boats.
I've just started looking into getting a boat to live aboard in New York City, partially because I think it will be cheaper, partially because I want to learn more about boating/sailing. Do you know or have any recommendations for marinas or spots to dock here? and whats a good first boat to live in?
Thanks for sharing!
I went ahead and compiled a craigslist search with some viable boats in your area [Craigslist Link]

Any smaller than 26 ft and you might go crazy, and any larger than 30 ft would be difficult for a novice to sail singlehanded imo. I sailed on a 32 footer with 4 other novices and we just scraped by. Remember maintenance cost scales exponentially with length, and also marinas/other services often charge per foot. Older boats around the 70s and 80s are pretty nice, they overbuilt the hulls like crazy since they didn't know how to use fiberglass properly back then, and made it the same thickness that a wooden hull would require. They're also cheap as fuck these days. But remember, initially cheaper boats are rarely cheaper in the long run. Also I'd say avoid free boats unless you can 100% the repairs yourself. Engine problems are a disqualifier for me, sailed on a boat that we bought without a working engine, absolute money and emotional energy pit. If you're to buy a boat, I'd definitely recommend making it your only living space immediately, it'll certainly motivate you to fix it up quicker, and do schedule at least a few months for the labour period.

No recommendations about NYC, never sailed my own boat around that area, it seems quite built up so a marina may be pricey, but I have literally zero idea lol. You might want to look into any public mooring fields to buy/rent a mooring at. I don't know how well going on the hook would be in that area, but here is the local nautical chart. Should show you where the mooring fields and anchorages are once you look up the proper symbols. You do need to learn how to read charts anyhow so two birds with one stone lmao.

Good luck!
 
D

Deleted member 27861

I deleted myself
I've watched Hold Fast after reading the boat travel section in The Anarchist Guide To Travel, and now, I just wanna go do it.

I'm not sure I want to buy my own boat, though. Rather just join a crew and make myself useful, at least at first.

Any advice for getting onto a crew and what kind of people they're looking for?
 
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Ptarmigan

Ptarmigan

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I've watched Hold Fast after reading the boat travel section in The Anarchist Guide To Travel, and now, I just wanna go do it.

I'm not sure I want to buy my own boat, though. Rather just join a crew and make myself useful, at least at first.

Any advice for getting onto a crew and what kind of people they're looking for?
Hmm, what kind of boats are you thinking of, tall ships or something a bit smaller?

Here's some decent options for finding a cruiser boat, but it'd be a bit easier to find a boat when you already got some taste for the sea

For starting out and getting that experience you can volunteer to help out during races, but the better and easier way would be classes, I really got no idea though lmao, I learned how to sail after getting a boat.

There was some cruiser motto, I forgot most of it but the important bit is just "go now"
 
D

Deleted member 27861

I deleted myself
Hmm, what kind of boats are you thinking of, tall ships or something a bit smaller?

Here's some decent options for finding a cruiser boat, but it'd be a bit easier to find a boat when you already got some taste for the sea

For starting out and getting that experience you can volunteer to help out during races, but the better and easier way would be classes, I really got no idea though lmao, I learned how to sail after getting a boat.

There was some cruiser motto, I forgot most of it but the important bit is just "go now"
I looked at this school: ECY Sailing School Combined Classes - https://www.ecsailing.com/ecy_sailing_school_combined.htm

But I'm not sure I want to spend that much money for some classes. I'd rather take the money to go buy my own boat and put my own crew together, and just, read a lot of books and take a test.

I'm thinking I just need to head to New Orleans or some place on the coast and buy a boat, fix it up, and get out there. Hey New Orleans and the West Coast in general have a nautical subculture, right?
 
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Ptarmigan

Ptarmigan

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New Hampshire
Hell yeah, getting out and doing is the only way to learn. In regards to a test there might be some states that want you to have a license but I don't know which they are, I never had to get one. Taking a power squadron course is a good idea though, it teaches navigation and safety and all that fun stuff, more important stuff to know than how to sail. I might recommend renting a sail dinghy for a little bit to help with understanding the concept of sailing at least.

If you want a book recommendation, find "sailing made easy"

Also "sailing the farm", available on this site and it's stellar

And for boats definitely check on craigslist and facebook marketplace, lots of cheap boats in the pnw (and more crew probably). Just about anywhere on the coasts have big nautical culture.
 

iamwhatiam

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Some states (probably most?) require you to take a boater's safety/education course before you are legally allowed to operate a motorized boat. It's a pretty easy test though...I took mine online. You have to keep the card on you in my state when you are operating a boat. Louisiana, if that's where you want to buy a boat, is one of the states that require it if you are operating a boat that is over 10 hp.

I personally don't think you need to dish out a lot of money for classes, unless you are going for a captain's license or something like that obviously. You can literally learn the basics of how to sail in like an hour, it's not hard. What's harder is learning how to solve problems that arise on the water quickly and not panic when it counts, and learning how to think ahead and prepare for certain situations you might get yourself in to. You can learn to sail within an hour, the rest is experience you gain the rest of your life by just getting out on the water.

If you are trying to get on as part of a boat that's doing longer cruises, not racing.....I'd think most people are just looking for someone that can keep watch while others sleep and can help with cooking meals. And someone they can get along with since y'all will be living in tight quarters. I have no idea with racing crews or anything else, but I'd assume it's all about being able to follow directions quickly and not get in the way. Pretty simple. I'd head to my local marina bar and talk to people and ask around and post on the bulletin board that you are looking to get on a racing crew. Local facebook groups too. If you buy them a couple beers afterwards and especially help clean up the boat after you go out, you'll probably be invited back.
 

iamwhatiam

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I wouldn't buy a fixer upper for your first boat unless you really have the mechanical and other skills to DIY. "Free boats" are often more expensive than ready to sail boats in the long run. I've known several people that bought fixer uppers intending to fix them up and sail off, and never ending up leaving the marina cause they got in over their head
 
D

Deleted member 27861

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Then I guess I'll be off to Louisiana soon. Hey, I wonder, how far can I get being a river rat? People sail rafts down rivers all the time, right?
 

fig

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Then I guess I'll be off to Louisiana soon. Hey, I wonder, how far can I get being a river rat? People sail rafts down rivers all the time, right?
I'm new to sailing, been living on boats stationary and anchored for a few months but that's all. The thing is, though, that you said my two favorite words. "River rat". Ever thought about working whitewater? The training and startup supplies are cheap and then you have a new career path. It's an incredible time. As for sailing rivers, I hear alot about the ICW, intercoastal waterway. Alot of people apparently go up and down the east coast that way without even using sails, just motor and rudder. Stuff to consider. Glad we're all into this!
 

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