New Posts New Posts RSS Feed: Three really basic questions about sailing...
  FAQ FAQ  Forum Search   Register Register  Login Login

Three really basic questions about sailing...

 Post Reply Post Reply
HamsterInABlender View Drop Down

Joined: 03 Nov 16
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 1
Post Options Post Options   Quote HamsterInABlender Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Three really basic questions about sailing...
    Posted: 07 Nov 16 at 3:32pm


My name is Steafan, I'm a swiss freelance webdesigner, traveling the world since more than a year and I'll probably keep going for another few years.

I know nothing about sailing, but I'd like to change that.

I'd like to sail (one day) around the Caribbean, the Philippines and similar areas (so sailing on the sea, not lakes) but not across oceans (for now). I'll probably be alone. I have a lot of questions about this but the most important three are those:

  • How long does it take to learn this type of sailinig with zero experience and get all the certificates necessary to start the trip? People tell me everything from „a few weeks“ to „at least ten years“.

  • What (type of) ship will I need for this? Shoud I directly start to learn on this type of ship or on something else?

  • What certificates and papers do I need? Do different countries need different countries require different certificates? Do some certificates require other certificates? I'm confused...

For me, sailing wouldn't be a sport, but a lifestyle. The idea would be, for example, to buy a ship in Florida, sail down to Venezuela and maybe over to Panama and sell the ship there a few months later.

I do not care how fast I get from place to place, I just have to get there before my supplies run out or a storm breaks loose. And of course I'd like to have all the papers to do stuff like that legally.

Any recommendations for places to learn sailing (worldwide but prefering Asia / Australia and warm water) as well as links, ressources and other advice are very welcome too.

I'm really new to this, so if I ask any astonishingly stupid questions, bear with me :)

Muchas Gracias & Greetings from Córdoba, Argentina


Back to Top
JimC View Drop Down
Really should get out more
Really should get out more

Joined: 17 May 04
Location: United Kingdom
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 6602
Post Options Post Options   Quote JimC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Nov 16 at 4:24pm
This isn't really a place where we talk much about that kind of sailing, so I don't know how much help you'll get here. Unfortunately I don't know where they do. Anyone?
Back to Top
MerlinMags View Drop Down
Admin Group
Admin Group

Joined: 19 Mar 04
Location: UK, Guildford
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 578
Post Options Post Options   Quote MerlinMags Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Nov 16 at 5:52pm
You're asking about offshore cruising, and you will need several months of training to be able to safely take a yacht from one county to another.

In the USA the training and certification is overseen by so your first task is to contact a representative in your area to find out about courses for yacht cruising.
Back to Top
iGRF View Drop Down
Really should get out more
Really should get out more

Joined: 07 Mar 11
Location: Hythe
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 6491
Post Options Post Options   Quote iGRF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Nov 16 at 7:53pm
There's a course you'll need to be proficient at here in the UK it's called Yacht master, they'll try to flog you the idea of doing it in various stages, and these days you need 'hours' at sea rather like flying before you get to go solo.

Essentially I'd approach it in two bits, 1st I'd learn to sail, that bit isn't that difficult if you have half a brain and reasonable motor skills and lots of us old guys taught ourselves as kids messing about in boats. You put up the sail, the wind blows and the boat sets off, the trick was finding out how to make it get back to where you started, by tacking upwind, sailing close to the wind and righting the thing if it fell over. So part one, learn to sail, probably quicker at a sailing school.

The 2nd bit is doing it in a bigger boat, they're called boats, the things we sail, ships are something different, usually commercial, passenger carrying or designed for war, sailing boats is what you'll concern yourself with and basically they get designated by how big they are and wether or not they have a big weight on the bottom to keep them upright and or berths on board you can sleep in which is your ultimate goal.

Navigation is the big hurdle, the Yachtmaster course deals with all the navigation stuff you'll need, and procedures, radio, gps, tides, charts, currents, tides, weather forecasts etc and how quick that is depends on your ability to take it all in. Having said that there are kids about these days that have these qualifications and last time i looked they were wetting themselves, 21 year olds, ocean going, personally I wouldn't let them navigate me across our local bay, but they tell me they've got it, been on a course and now they are qualified, so it doesn't take that long.

I found this link, it was a course a few of us were going to do but changed our minds It says fast track and you can probably get yourself up to speed, but like everything, these courses don't give you that much experience, but as long as your caribbean adventures stick to daytime line of site sorties you should be OK, I've done it, have no qualifications, but have age and experience and know the sea, and what it can chuck at you, so my advice, do it for a few years in the company of others who know it better than you, you'll soon find out why it's good advice.

Oh and the certificates? You don't actually need anything, it is a sad fact anyone can just buy a boat and set off in it, some countries like France make it a legal requirement for their citizens, but I guess if you just rock up in your own boat fro overseas, different rules apply.

Edited by iGRF - 07 Nov 16 at 8:02pm
Back to Top
DBS View Drop Down

Joined: 12 Sep 17
Location: Bridport
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 10
Post Options Post Options   Quote DBS Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Sep 17 at 5:58pm
Hi Stefan,
in an ideal world you would do several courses and get some qualifications before setting off, but sailing is very far from rocket science, so try a three day course to start with, then cadge a lift as crew to gain experience. Starting in a dinghy is by far the best way to learn as the consequence of a mistake is to get wet so you learn fast.
40 years ago I was a professional skipper, and one of the poorest seamen I met (and with a great opinion of himself) was a Yachtmaster Examiner. A little tuition and a lot of experience is much better than lots of courses and no time at sea, in my experience.
If you go to any marina on a Friday afternoon or Saturday morning, you should be able to find someone who is short of crew and will be happy to take you along. At this time of year boats in many Mediterranean ports are preparing to set off for the Caribbean.
Nowadays you need to have basic qualifications to charter a boat almost everywhere in the world.
I have been sailing for well over half a century, 5 years professionally and 30 semi-pro, and still have no qualifications, so take heart!
Back to Top
snowleopard View Drop Down

Joined: 02 Oct 17
Location: Cornwall
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 66
Post Options Post Options   Quote snowleopard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Feb 18 at 3:53pm
I have done a lot of what you are interested in, I have cruised the Caribbean, starting from the UK and sailed in a range of boats from 2m to 60m. I do hold a certificate, the British Yachtmaster Ocean but that was more for my own satisfaction.

As far as certificates go, it really depends where you are starting from: in the UK anyone can go to sea with no certificates or experience in any boat you choose. In other countries the rules are much more restrictive. You will need to look up the rules for your home country.

As far as learning to sail is concerned, many people including myself believe that starting off in a dinghy will make you a much better sailor. Sailing as a crew on other people's boats will help you gather experience and a navigation course with a school is important. Taking a qualification exam with your local authority will tell you how ready you are to take a boat to sea. Remember that when you are skipper of a boat at sea, other people's lives depend on your decisions.
One hull good, two hulls better.
Back to Top
 Post Reply Post Reply

Forum Jump Forum Permissions View Drop Down

Bulletin Board Software by Web Wiz Forums® version 9.665y
Copyright ©2001-2010 Web Wiz
Change your personal settings, or read our privacy policy