Hi Cruising World community,
Just a quick background...My name is Sal and I am 25 years old. I currently live in Fort Myers Florida and I am completing my Finance degree at Florida Gulf Coast University! I didn't start my degree until the ripe age of 23! My father passed away when I was 17 and I ended up dropping out of high-school. I worked for a couple of years everything from concrete form and pour during the housing boom, to working as a rod man on a surveying crew. Just before turning 20 I had a great opportunity to move to Panama, where I lived on a private island in the Pacific and developed a small private resort for a German real estate mogul. It was one of the most amazing times in my life and over the two years I became quite proficient in Spanish. Upon returning to the states, I lived in Orlando for a while doing timeshare vacation phone sales (Yeah I was that Guy!), until finally realizing it was time to go back to school! With only a GED the options are limited however I was able to attend Edison State College (A small school which was previously a community college for years) for my associateís degree. When I finished there I moved to FGCU and here I am now, a Residential Assistant, with only two semesters to go!
All that being said brings me to my current position! I can't tell you exactly what happened as I don't really understand it myself but about a month ago I took a small Hobie Catamaran out to sail! Then it seems like a week or so later I became overwhelmed with this obsession to sail, and not only to sail but to cruise! Since then it seems like all I can do is think about sailing, awake or asleep. My dreams are now inundated with visions of me, traveling under my own power, with no one to answer to but the ocean herself! It's taken everything I have to stay on track with school and my responsibilities as an RA, but every waking second of free time is now dedicated to learning about the ocean, sailing, navigation of the seas, and anything else I find in my readings that lead me to something else you have to be a master of to captain your own boat and cruise!
I know this is the point where a lot of you will say, I've heard this one before! I can't tell you how many forums or articles I have read about people having this dream, buying a really nice boat, and traveling the world, only to get to the first major port where they put their boat up for sale! All I can say is this is not the kind of person I am and when I feel strongly about something I make it happen. On that note, suffice it to say, I have never felt stronger about anything in my life!
This brings me to why I joined these forums! At this point I have somewhat of an overall plan to make this all happen, I want to lay it out here and see if anyone would be kind enough to give me their opinions or tips on helping me get on my way! I'll start off with my sailing experience, itís very nonexistent! When I was around 12 or 13 I sailed Optis (for about 6 months) for a local sailing center here in Ft Myers, the Edison Sailing Center. That's it! Haha. I definitely know I have a lifetimes worth of knowledge to gain but I should have some years as I am pretty healthy! That being said I joined the universities sailing club last week and got out on the lake yesterday with them! It was a lot of fun, the wind was up, and I finally felt some relief because I was moving closer to my goal. I made my dream clear to everyone in the club also, and more than a few have been really open to the whole idea and helping me with whatever I need. Mondays and Wednesdays now for the next year until I graduate I will be practicing with them and learning everything I can.
I am going one step farther though also and buying my own sailboat! I am fortunate to have made some decent money up to this point and I have some extra I can use to get one. After looking for a long time, I found a 24í San Juan (Keelboat) in Punta Gorda for sale for a pretty good price. I am also fortunate enough to have a friend with a waterfront house and an open dock where I can store the boat with easy access to the Caloosahatchee River and the Gulf of Mexico! My plan is to buy the boat, store it at the house while learning everything I can about it and giving it some TLC. In the meantime I will look for a sailboat trailer so I can pull it in and out of the water and work on the bottom and hull when necessary. I should also make it clear that my roommate in college and a good friend comes from a family of cruisers and he will be coming with me every step of the way. This is really both of our dreams. We plan on making as many day sails and weekend trips as we can over the next year to learn everything we can about the art of sailing, our boat and what it needs (whichever we get), and the art of cruising and surviving in the ocean. I should also note that we donít plant to cross any oceans (yet, but one day) just to travel along the coast of Florida to Texas, maybe down to Mexico or throughout the Gulf of Mexico, eventually maybe making it to the coast of Central America and down to my old home in Panama!
Now that I have laid out whom I am and what I am thinking about, it brings me to why I am really on this forum and making this post. Please if you would share your thoughts on this I would be honored. I would really like to here some real cruisers opinions on this! If you think I am an idiot no problem, but tell me why I am an idiot so I can work on the things. I feel like I am on the right path to my goal but I know there are a lot of things to think about. Any guidance would be awesome! Also what is your opinion on the boat I am thinking of getting if you are familiar with it. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and I look forward to becoming a part of this community for the rest of my life!!!
Congrats on coming so far! You seem to have put in a lot of thought into your plans and it looks like you're being smart about not getting in over your head too quickly. And it's super nice that you have a friend who already knows the lifestyle!
I say carry on! And best of luck!
Keep us posted!
Jen Brett, CW associate editor
You are making a good start in building your sailing skills. But the San Juan 24 is more of a light wieght racing boat. I would encourage you to save your money to get a good old cruising boat, such as many of the ones listed here. http://atomvoyages.com/planning/good...oats-list.html They will be more suitable to the type of sailing you want to do. Read up on the Atom Voyages on that website, he has extensive cruising in an old Pearson Triton (2.