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Best yacht for a beginner with my needs?.

Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by xryanx, Mar 21, 2015.

  1. ranger42c

    ranger42c Member

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    I've not heard anyone say celestial navigation is a requirement for a captain's license. It certainly wasn't for mine.

    Where in Maryland are you now?

    -Chris
  2. RER

    RER Senior Member

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    Although using a GPS may be easier for you, an understanding of the fundamentals of navigation, including using actual charts and dead rekoning is still necessary.
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2015
  3. Norseman

    Norseman Senior Member

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    I looked into the celestial option for my license some year ago, but decided not to spend 2 weeks and a $500 on the course.
    It sure would be a neat course and one would learn a lot, but these days with multiple GPS units on even basic boats, and after the errors were taken out of the system under the Clinton Administration, it may be more nostalgia than needed. The U.S. Naval Acedemy thinks so too, they quit teaching Celestial Navigation some years ago.
  4. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    Well, it's baaaaaack. Required for 500 Ton / Oceans per STCW and raises from support to operational level licenses. MPT's course which satisfies the training and assessment aspect is a 14 day course.
  5. ranger42c

    ranger42c Member

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    Sounds to me like OP wouldn't be jumping into 500 Ton for his first license, though...

    -Chris
  6. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    Obviously not. My response is more to Norseman's comment than to the OP.

    To the OP however and the implication he couldn't learn and on other things maybe could learn, it seems to me he's speaking more to his current knowledge than what he could learn. I would think given time and proper instruction he could learn all the requirements of licensing at the entry level and then any additional topics he desired. Of course if you've never been trained they all "confuse the crap out of you."

    Now, back to his original topics, as a total beginner, he's really jumping the gun in talking about what boat he'd want or like. Back to my original statement, they'd all be too much for him today. He needs to get some exposure, then some experience. Charter or go fishing with a professional captain and see what he likes and dislikes. His exposure obviously isn't going to the Bahamas when the first boats mentioned are Sea Ray, Whaler and Edgewater, not that they can't go, they're just not the first to come to mind for that. And right after the Whaler and Edgewater mention he tosses in flybridge.

    I see people trying to pick out the boat they need in South Florida before ever coming here. I suggest getting down here and then exploring naturally. Perhaps taking some courses while you do. Go to one of the maritime schools while trying to get out on the water. Look at what others are using for similar purposes and think about them. Make friends with some boat owners with similar interests to you.

    To the OP, you're not close to the point of being able to select a boat, but learning boats and deciding what will be right for you is a lot of fun along the way. Just come, immerse yourself, and enjoy. You're not close to being able to handle a boat or reading charts or celestial navigation, but come, immerse yourself, and enjoy learning.

    You learn what you need for your goals. But don't jump the process. Enjoy the process of getting there. We recently purchased a center console. I'd never paid much attention to them. When I thought of CC, I thought of Boston Whaler. I didn't know much about Yellowfin, Jupiter, Seavee, Powerplay, Contender and others. I had no idea what size would be best for my purposes. I enjoyed the process of learning, educating myself, talking to others with far more knowledge in the subject, then getting on them and trying them out, even though it's not really for our use but for those who work for us.

    Three years ago I'd never even taken a first aid course, although my wife had. Now, I'm trained as medical person in charge. I thought I'd hate the courses. I admit to being squeamish. Don't like the sight of blood, especially my own. But I loved every moment as I learned how to handle situations and that carries over beyond boating. Just simply if something would happen by or in my pool, I now wouldn't stand there feeling completely helpless, but would know what to do for the five minutes or ten it took for paramedics to arrive. I know my skills are still very little compared to professionals. But with 10 days of training I'm better than I was. I admit to being very uncomfortable with lab time in an Emergency room, but I learned to focus on what needed attention and not turn away. Honestly, I conquered some fears of mine.

    So to the OP, enjoy the trip to get there. Don't rush it. Don't overestimate yourself at the starting point, but don't underestimate what you can learn.
  7. xryanx

    xryanx New Member

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    I do plan on getting first aid / CPR certed when possible. Fun stuff!. Thanks for the help btw!. I most likely would be going on a charter anyway before purchasing my own vessel at some point. I have heard of both Power Play and Contender but haven't looked too much into them. Also, I mentioned both BW and EW as those were the two main brands I'd known about when it comes to fishing,but, obviously I'm open to learning about others.

    How long do you think one should have a captain aboard for?. 6 months at the least just to learn all you can?.
  8. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    Depends on the boat and how much you use it, as well as how quickly you learn. Also depends on any courses you take. I personally would say for a beginner, at least 30 sea days and twice that would be great. One other thing I think would be important too is who accompanies you on the boat. Very helpful if they have experience or at least the same training.

    Now, just to put that time into perspective, the lowest level Captain's license requires 360 sea days. While I'm not saying that is necessary to run your own boat, I'm just putting 30 and 60 days into perspective.

    One option I think worth considering is starting with something like a center console for day cruising while maintaining a land home of some sort. A great way to learn on a smaller boat and then move up. When we started on our first coastal boat and first larger boat, we had years of lake boating with a 30' twin engine bow rider. We also had started taking courses and so that gave a head start in other areas. This meant the captain could concentrate on more challenging areas of training.

    My main advice to you is not to rush into a boat that you're not yet prepared to evaluate. Also don't rush into trips to the Bahamas. Learn closer to shore first. I guess overall it's patience. Take time to learn and hopefully avoid mistakes like the wrong boat.
  9. ranger42c

    ranger42c Member

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    I've found boat shopping submits to analysis of the way we'd use it.. so we never start with the idea of brands or styles, but rather features we'd be interested in having.

    So... does "fit two people" mean for overnights, or day trips? How many (or often) of each type? Does "decent galley" mean extended snacks or 3-course meals, or somewhere in between? And so forth.

    A big center console (these days) actually can offer sleeping accommodation for two, head, shower, microwave and coffee maker. OTOH, that's maybe not comfortable for 2 weeks aboard. At the other end, a modest sportfisher -- with a flying bridge over an enclosed saloon -- could well be comfortable for a family of 6 for a month.

    The "which is better" for you doesn't come (at this point) from a discussion of brand names or specific boats. At this point, I'd suggest it's better to lay out in your mind -- in much more detail -- how you see using it. That could obviously evolve (morph) as you think on it, but it's a much more useful starting point. It'll help you decide how to charter, too.

    -Chris
  10. xryanx

    xryanx New Member

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    That's very true, thanks Chris!.

    They would be overnight trips, maybe 2-3 times a month at the most. I really like the idea of a sport fisher though, one with a fly bridge over an enclosed saloon as you've mentioned. Being as it would only be myself/a buddy, that would be more than enough room. A decent gallery by my standards would be something to cook 3 course meals in definately, as I cook a lot.

    To olderboater, thanks for the advice!. Would maybe 100-130 days be "enough" if you will if one wasn't set on getting a captains license?. I would hire the best captain I could find to teach me, obviously.
  11. ranger42c

    ranger42c Member

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    In that case, sounds like you can (temporarily, at least) eliminate the idea of express boats.

    And maybe it's approaching time to look at boats.

    Partly in person, but not necessarily a complete internal inspection unless something really catches your eye. Where in MD are you? It'd be easy enough to walk the docks in Annapolis or Baltimore (for example) just to eyeball some various possibilities. From what you describe, a decent 34-36 sportfisher or "convertible" could well be sufficient for you and bud for overnights; most in that range have galleys sufficient for 3-course (or more) meals. (A "convertible" is usually a dual-purpose flybridge boat, with cockpit and helm station for fishing, and with interior for more comfortable living.)

    And partly in yachtworld.com. Rummage through there for Hatteras, Viking, Bertram... maybe Henriques, Luhrs, Ocean, Silverton... sportfishers and convertibles in that general size range... and compare all that to your budget. Look at the nice pictures, get an idea of features you might find useful, and so forth. At this point, still concentrating on features you might need/want, not specifically the brand names or boats. (Homing in on all that can come later.)

    Then come back and mention a few specific models that look like they might float your boat. Tell us what features get your attention. That'd give folks here a better dartboard to help you with.

    When you say "beginner" do you mean you've never drive a boat, any boat? Or just not big boats? The question speaks to how long you might need your training wheels...

    -Chris
  12. ranger42c

    ranger42c Member

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    And... do keep thinking/postulating about how you might like to use the boat... because that will influence your choice of features.

    For instance, do you dream of anchoring out overnight. If so, how might you cook? Electric? If so, you might need a generator. Might you want aircon? If so, yep, genset. Or will you limit yourself to overnights in marinas, only short periods on the hook? If so, perhaps an inverter (for the coffee or the microwave popcorn) might be sufficient.

    If you anchor, might you want to leave the mothership and go ashore? Dinghy. Which means thoughts about propulsion: manual, gasoline, propane, electric? Where would you carry a dinghy, how would you launch it, how much motor weight can you lift?

    And so forth.

    A boat is very much a "system of systems" and quite often the arm bone is connected to the foot bone... eventually.

    (FWIW, about 3 minutes ago, I discovered I may know where there's a probably-decent-bargain on an '80s (I think) 35' Bertram convertible, that's been repowered/re-gensetted (?) with Cummins diesels -- here in our yard -- about 3-4 years ago. Hardly any hours on the engines, been for sale for a while, owner moving (moved?) to FL, thought it was sold... but I think I can see it just across the way at the nearby broker's. Not a recommendation, but if you're near Annapolis it'd be easy to check it out, get some ideas about how similar boats are laid out inside.)

    -Chris
  13. btyson

    btyson New Member

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  14. btyson

    btyson New Member

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    Hi Senior members,
    Thanks for all of your pearls of wisdom. They are very helpful for so many of us. My wife and I are experienced lake boaters of 25 years with mostly 20-28' sterndrives.
    Kids have moved away and we are considering a (coastal) move. Probably Florida. Twenty years ago we owned a 40'express cruiser that we overnighted on at the dock.
    We are interested in a boating course with hands on experience. Researching on the web I seem to see predominantly on-line courses. While this could be helpful, we both want to learn-by-doing. Idealy, utilizing a day or two aboard a 40'(?) with twins. Boat handling, anchoring, utilizing a chart, weather conditions, learning from others common mistakes. I realize a day or two does not make us Captains, but would it wouild certainly increase my/our confidence to safely enjoy cruising. The other reason to do this is to sustain/increase my wife's interest in moving forward with the idea of weekend cruising. Thoughts and reccomendations appreciated!
  15. CSkipR

    CSkipR Member

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    A 40ft Cabo is an excellent option. Overall great boat. It has everything you want and probably more. As I speak we are spending two months in the Bahamas on our Cabo 43. Every week we cook and eat several nights in the boat and enjoy it.
    As to insurance requirements to operate a vessel in this size range I know a couple of friends who never went through a course and own yachts (boats) a lot larger than ours that had no issue getting insurance. Personally I would suggest some type of courses as it makes you a more knowledgeable and safer boater. As stated a couple of days with a captain and I'm betting you will be ready to go.
  16. g collis

    g collis Member

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    Here I sit, once again shaking my head. 45'-50' and no experience. Your not going to like this post but......that's a lot of boat to dock in a strong current, high winds etc and no experience. Plus issues of draft, beam and maintenance to name a few. Perhaps for the safety of all those that will be around your boat you may want to consider a 20-25' for a year or two. Just had a newbie in our marina do $100K++ damage to his boat and two others he hit when the current took over and he had no idea what to do. Then again it can be fun to watch.
  17. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    I agree. I just dealt with an owner who went from a 30' bowrider to a large 60' MY. No clue on anything, I spent 4 days with him where over half the time he wasn't even on the bridge. Now he's doing a 3 week trip all through the Bahamas without a Captain and has the attitude that he'll figure it out AND he'll just pay for what he breaks......VERY dangerous. He doesn't even know how to use the safety equipment.
  18. g collis

    g collis Member

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    Hence, an excellent argument for either licensing, course work or some other mandatory form of school. If someone wants to plunge head long into this with no experience, no knowledge of rules of the road, navigation etc. etc. etc. Thats3 fine and their business. However, The general boating public is at risk every time one of these guys leaves the dock.
  19. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    I'm surprised he was able to get insurance.
  20. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    It only took him about 12 companies till he found one that would cover him.......

    I agree, licensing should be required as well as some sort of course and possibly even a simulator for yachts over say 45' or a certain tonnage.....maybe 40 GRT.

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