Need some guidance for the turning leaf.

Discussion in 'Education' started by Dowesva, Dec 19, 2012.

  1. Dowesva
    Joined: Dec 2012
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    Dowesva Junior Member

    I need some advice, some direction, and some help. I only hope I've come to the right place. If you don't feel like reading the long explanation of why: skip to the second portion which is the "how" and is in such dire need of review.



    I'm twenty two right now, and five years ago I hit a crucial turning point. I had spent most of my childhood intricately planning for all of the amazing things I would do once I left home. Thousands of hours glued to a computer screen translating the hearsay and semi-professional doctrines of the internet into unfathomable lengths of excel sheets, outlines, and mission statements adorned with the misbegotten badges of glory I had not yet earned.

    Finally I woke up one morning and decided that all my planning had been for naught but an excuse to avoid the trials and tribulations I felt so capable of conquering. I woke up and decided that I'd rather fight my way through the layer cake than spend my time calculation the distance to the top. I grabbed the two saps gullible enough to be talked into my romanticized leap for challenge and I left home, and as familiar sights faded from the rear view mirror so did any hope of shamelessly embracing a normal life. But this is not a tragedy; everything I sought in that blind leap of faith came to fruition.

    I spent two years gallivanting about the western half of this country. I worked hard during that time to stay afloat, but I admit my path was drawn more with pen than laid with the shovel. It was during this time that I laid the foundation for my moral beliefs, the same beliefs that bring me to a forum of idols in search of answers. My first belief was solidified from the jelly of pride the first time I went hungry. I finally knew what belief was when I found myself incapable of asking the gratuity of others even at the cost of physical pain. My tricks prevailed and to this day that belief remains unshaken.

    I held no misconceptions about the effects of my decision to drop out of high-school. While I cannot say the path that I have chosen is for the wiser, I can say that there are always multiple paths. I spent many hours toying with pirated software's of collegiate quality, stolen at a glance over the shoulders of those whose tuition branded them long hours in coffeehouses across the nation. It was through this method that I found my knack for a long standing intrigue: Architecture. Not so long after that, at the ripe old age of 19, I reconnected with my godfather and wound up showing him the creations of my fancy. "What program is that? It looks just like the one I use..."

    Little did I know that my wild aspirations and lifestyle had been the perfect prerequisite for a career. Independent catastrophe adjuster. Just shy of two years were spent in apprenticeship, following natures wrath across every road in the country and picking up the pretty pennies left by the insurance companies in their wake. Upon completion I was supposed to go through the adjuster's rite of passage: wait three years for a company desperate enough to take on the new blood.

    I won't say I'm not lucky. I was immediately scooped up by a company in 2011; I was twenty at the time. I worked hard through the first half of the year, and played harder for the latter portion. I have spent an entire year redeeming the financial sins of my twenty first birthday, and today I broke even.

    But I came to you for help, not bragging rights. I find myself looking back on that morning, the day that I cast aside everything I was supposed to want and took my future into my own hands, however dirty they may get. I find myself longing for the passionate drive that fueled my greatest memories. While this business provided a gleeful challenge for some time, I simply cannot feel so devoted to chasing the buck.

    I remember that sirens call that kept this nomad warm in the darkest of hour: I am fortunate enough to be born in the century where one man can travel to every corner of the earth in a single lifetime, and I shall not waste such a glorious challenge.


    ((REVISED))

    My goal is to own a custom boat, to which I have significantly contributed, and set sail on a world journey in 2015. My plan for learning to sail is rather simple, however my plan for acquiring the boat is an entirely different story: I plan to add either naval architect or boat builder to my list of trades and use those abilities in the creation of my ship. A diverse skill-set is the secret to a life of perpetual travel. Like any other pursuit of mine it; serves a direct purpose in my desires as well as opening the door to future trades. Right now I'm weighing out builder versus designer in terms of which would be more beneficial and enjoyable, because from the responses I've gathered (mostly e-mail) I only have time for one before my planned departure.


    Builder
    Pros:
    - Hands on experience building a boat would be invaluable for maintaining one during my travels.
    - Current abilities in crafting with wood could provided a basis for study.
    - Skills in crafting with composites would translate greatly into other trades. (I know a half a dozen people who make a living building custom fiberglass speaker boxes, I'm sure there are hundreds of other niche industries this could apply to)
    - Apprenticeships would likely be easier to come by then in design.
    - Physical production requires less translation when working overseas, you can simply demonstrate and they can gauge your abilities for themselves rather than having to explain what you're good at.
    - Smaller repair jobs for other cruisers and ex-pats would be a viable supplement to income when first arriving in a new country.

    Cons:
    - Finding temporary work in a shipyard that would further my abilities in the craft would probably be rather difficult, and building something independently would require a great deal of investment.
    - My abilities after such a short time would probably be very limited, meaning that a great deal of the work on my personal ship would still be outsourced. Meaning I helped build my ship, instead of someone helping me build it. (It seems trivial, but I live for my memoirs)
    - I've heard that working with composites is a terribly arduous task, and I'm almost certain my boat would be a composite.
    - Per Petros: "You will not save money, the pros can do it faster and better and likely for not much more cost than you can do it yourself..." (Although I think some of the expenses such as yard fees and retail material costs could be curbed if I found the apprenticeship)
    - Structured courses that are worth-while seem to be hard to come-by and super experiences or oriented towards hobbyists rather someone who plans to use it to make a living (even if only part of the time)


    Design
    Pros:
    - Experience in CAD and CNC programs has innumerable uses in other fields.
    - I would be able to contribute a significant amount to the creation of my ship, though I would still pay a true pro to review the design.
    - Work could be done anywhere in the world and marketed online.
    - Structured courses are available online and could be done while I work as a contractor rather than in the time between catastrophe's
    - Creativity oriented work tends to fit my skill-set better

    Cons:
    - Abilities in design would be far less applicable to my experiences traveling the ocean.
    - Courses and software tend to be very expensive.
    - Apprenticeships seem to be less applicable
    - Manual drafting is becoming so rare that the tools required are hard to come by, let alone the training.
    - Computer work tends to be rather mind numbing and tedious.
    - Full comprehension would require going back to school (even if not an official school) to re-learn advanced mathematics and physics (I'm not one to trust that a computer can do everything for me, besides what designer worth his salt doesn't have dusty old drafts in the attic?)


    Let me know what you think of the two options, or about anything I've missed in my comparison.

    Thank you for your time.
    Ryan Young
     
  2. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

    Its not clear whether you want to be a boat builder, designer, engineer or sailor.
     
  3. Landlubber
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    Landlubber Senior Member

    ..one step at a time mate, that is how you get there. You seem to be a bit of a romantic, so I would strongly suggest that you get some practical experience on boats of the sort that you are thinking of building. You may be surprised, many have lived the dream only to find out it is a nightmare.

    What sort of boat are you thinking of?
     
  4. Dowesva
    Joined: Dec 2012
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    Dowesva Junior Member

    My goal is to be a sailor who has designed and built my own boat, not by myself of coarse. Engineer would be the lowest focus, only enough to maintain everything on-board. Next would come designer, enough to modify a preexisting design to suit my specific needs but I don't expect to develop some super eccentric custom vessel. Boat builder would be a main focus, specifically the use of composites and fillers.

    My experience on boats has been somewhat limited, but I have been out enough to know that my passion holds true on a bad day. Most of my time afloat has been on a little 14' lido, although I've heard that's the best way to practice maneuvering. I lived on 32' in California with an older gentleman for a couple of weeks in exchange for helping him with some small repairs, we only took it out a handful of times though. Having lived out of a car for two years I'd say I have a thorough understanding of the lifestyle, if not the medium.

    In terms of the boat I'd like for myself, I'd probably lean towards a catamaran for the extra space and speed. Not that I plan to overload it, I tend to travel pretty light, but I'd prefer a little more room for the time I was docked or anchored. I'd lean towards a semi-displacement and likely somewhere in the 30' to 40' range. I wouldn't commit to anything until I have the proper knowledge.
     
  5. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

    Best thing to do is purchase a boat and sail ten thousand miles with it.

    You will then learn many details of design, construction and what you expect from a boat.
     
  6. Landlubber
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    Landlubber Senior Member

    ...good advice Mr. Pierzga has it right, second hand boats are sooooo cheap at present, certainly will introduce you to the game.
     
  7. Petros
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Petros Senior Member

    Ryan,

    good plan, except I think you are going to spend more money and time than necessary on it, with the risk of you loosing interest in it. You are really doing this the hard way.

    You need to get some time in sailboats, if you have a yacht club nearby ask the commador if there is anyone that can use an able bodied crew member who needs to learn about sailing. There are usually sailboat owners that could use some strong and eager hands on deck for club racing. Best way to go sailing is in someone else's boat. the more different types of sailboats you can get on the better, you will learn a lot more about boat design that way. You also need to find and read some books about people who have done what you plan, both building and sailing. there are lots out there, in every library or available on-line. like: http://www.atomvoyages.com/

    Next is to build yourself a sailing dingy from plans, and also get some time in it. This boat you can eventually use on your dream ship as a tender, but will give you some building experience, and sailing experience. It is much better to learn about sailing in a small sailboat, it is more responsive and you can feel what is happening better. You will need this boat anyway for both learning and for your cruising yacht, and you can build it for only about $1000, and it will take up much less space to build and store.

    After you get sometime both building and sailing you will better able to know what you like and do not like about sailing, and about boats.

    If I were you I would not waste time in a NA school just to design one boat, for far less money you need to find a good designer or navel architect with a good reputation that will work with you, and have him design the boat for you. Take some on-line classes and buy a few books on sailboat design, and than you can work with your designer to develop the design you want to build. It would be money well spent, you will learn a lot from the right designer, get it done faster and have a much lower risk of a bad mistake that could cost you many thousands, or worse. His experience is essential in having every detail worked out to suit your goals. If you overlook one detail in the design it could be disastrous, you will need a good designer's guidance. There is also no reason to spend all those class room hours (and expense) just to design one boat. All of the schools are geared to teach you a career, not how to design a boat. This will short cut the design process, you will learn what is important to your goal, and have an expert do the tedious work that must be done to get a good design completed.

    As an alternative, as pointed out above, do your homework on existing designs and find a good used sailboat for sale. Move on-board (since you need a place to live anyway), keep your income earning job, and spend your time and money fitting it out for long distance cruising. You can also take short weekend trips learning it and sorting it out before your big departure. If you rebuild a good hull, you will get there faster for much less money and learn all the skills you will need to maintain it while underway.

    You can also find bargains on partially restored boats in many boat yards, where the owner ran out of money, ran out of health, or divorce forces them to sell off their project at a small fraction of what they have into it. Buy carefully however, many "projects" are not worth rebuilding even if free, too much rot or damage to make it worth the effort. Hire a professional to do a hull survey.

    building a boat big enough to live aboard and do deep water cruising is a major undertaking that most people never finish. Even skilled experts working full time on smaller boats take 3 to 4 years to complete a build and fit out. It is far more costly than you might think too, much more than buying a good used one that the owner is desperate to sell. Experienced builder Larry Pardee spent almost 4 years if I recall building Talisin, a 27' all wood cutter. Lin and Larry Pardee have many excellent books on this subject, they also have a web site and blog worth investigating.

    Building a deep water sailboat is a long term job, I would advise against it unless you like the act of actually building it as a hobby. You will not save money, the pros can do it faster and better and likely for not much more cost than you can do it yourself after you spend money on boat yard fees for several years, and hiring out the many skilled tasks that must be done. You might consider taking a job at a yacht builders at minimal pay to see if it is something you want to spend the next 5-7 years doing.

    Good luck.
     
  8. Dowesva
    Joined: Dec 2012
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    Dowesva Junior Member

    Your points are well taken Petro, I'm working on shaving this thing down to a reasonable endeavor.

    As for your suggestions for sailing experience: You hit the nail on the head and that is exactly what I plan to do. My uncle is loaning me his lido for as long as I want (with trailer) and any time I've been on a boat before it's been the result of stopping by a yacht club to look at the ships. Whenever I have free time I'm looking for a chance to hop on a ship for a few hours, or neck deep in a sailing book. To gain experience with sailing longer distances I plan to look for a crew position on a boat headed down to central America, I'm buying land in Bocas del Toro at the start of 2013 and hope to sail there and back a few times on someone else's boat before my big trip begins. The tough part is going to be getting storm experience, I would greatly prefer crewing through really tough weather before I face it alone in the middle of the pacific. I've also thought a lot about paying some salty old dog to sail with me for the first leg of my journey if I don't feel adequately skilled at that time.


    I should mention that there will be no such waste of knowledge following this effort. There are three major trades (contracting, digital design, and business consulting) that I have learned over the years, all of them are used at some point each year to make money. A wide range of abilities is the secret to a life of perpetual travel. Right now I'm simply looking for another skill to learn, and like any other ability of mine it serves a direct purpose in my desires as well as opening the door to future trades. Right now I'm weighing out builder versus designer in terms of which would be more beneficial and enjoyable, because from the responses I've gathered (mostly e-mail) I only have time for one before my planned departure.


    Builder
    Pros:
    - Hands on experience building a boat would be invaluable for maintaining one during my travels.
    - Current abilities in crafting with wood could provided a basis for study.
    - Skills in crafting with composites would translate greatly into other trades. (I know a half a dozen people who make a living building custom fiberglass speaker boxes, I'm sure there are hundreds of other niche industries this could apply to)
    - Apprenticeships would likely be easier to come by then in design.
    - Physical production requires less translation when working overseas, you can simply demonstrate and they can gauge your abilities for themselves rather than having to explain what you're good at.

    Cons:
    - Finding temporary work in a shipyard would probably be rather difficult, and building something independently would require a great deal of investment.
    - My abilities after such a short time would probably be very limited, meaning that a great deal of the work on my personal ship would still be outsourced. Meaning I helped build my ship, instead of someone helping me build it. (It seems trivial, but I live for my memoirs)
    - I've heard that working with composites is a terribly arduous task, and I'm almost certain my boat would be a composite.
    - Per Petros: "You will not save money, the pros can do it faster and better and likely for not much more cost than you can do it yourself..." (Although I think some of the expenses such as yard fees and retail material costs could be curbed if I found the apprenticeship)
    - Structured courses that are worth-while seem to be hard to come-by and super experiences or oriented towards hobbyists rather someone who plans to use it to make a living (even if only part of the time)


    Design
    Pros:
    - Experience in CAD and CNC programs has innumerable uses in other fields.
    - I would be able to contribute a significant amount to the creation of my ship, though I would still pay a true pro to review the design.
    - Work could be done anywhere in the world and marketed online.
    - Structured courses are available online and could be done while I work as a contractor rather than in the time between catastrophe's
    - Creativity oriented work tends to fit my skill-set better

    Cons:
    - Abilities in design would be far less applicable to my experiences traveling the ocean.
    - Courses and software tend to be very expensive.
    - Apprenticeships seem to be less applicable
    - Manual drafting is becoming so rare that the tools required are hard to come by, let alone the training.
    - Computer work tends to be rather mind numbing and tedious.
    - Full comprehension would require going back to school (even if not an official school) to re-learn advanced mathematics and physics (I'm not one to trust that a computer can do everything for me, besides what designer worth his salt doesn't have dusty old drafts in the attic?)


    Let me know what you think of the two options, or about anything I've missed in my comparison.
     
  9. Petros
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Petros Senior Member

    I think having manual skills are much more reliable way to find work in far off places. the other skills might be useful, but who would hire someone to do important (high paying work) that is half way around the world? Not very realistic unless you have already established a business reputation, and you are sufficiently experienced, where they are willing to deal with a long distance relationship. I say this as someone who has his own engineering consulting firm with 30 years of experience selling my services, only a few places I can think of around the world where they would pay me a reasonable price for my professional design skills. But I know I can find work repairing a diesel engine inside some pricy yacht almost anywhere.

    You can not legally work in most foreign countries. What I have heard from long distance cruisers, sometimes you can earn money under the table in a ship yard doing manual labor (do not expect high pay in most countries). They say the best source of income when cruising is from other full time cruisers; many are either wealthy or retired and can not do their own repairs (do not have the skills), and do not trust the local "help", or specialized skills not available. Their large complex yachts ALWAYS have complex systems that need repairs (in fact is it rare that all systems are in working order at any given time). If you get one of those portable sewing machines for making sails, and know how to repair sails properly, you will never be out of work. Many also write for various sailing magazines, you can send articles out via satellite up links, or though email in almost any port or yacht club.

    I heard a story from Lin Pardee recently about a retired couple that had a large yacht and were sailing the south pacific in their long dreamed trip of a lifetime. They were at a remote anchorage on the back side (away from the major port) on the island. Their electric windlass had failed and they had no way to raise the heavy anchor themselves. They were stuck there for a few weeks until a fishing boat happened on them, and the crew helped them haul up and stow their anchor. they sailed to the other side of the island and there was no one there who could fix it. They could have sailed to Tahiti without the windlass working, but I guess they were so spooked now to cross the open ocean with unknown anchorages along the way, they choose to fly in a mechanic from Tahiti at great expense. He had to order the parts he needed from the USA, also flew in priority freight. They spent so much they had to cut their dream trip short. This is normal with most modern gadget filled yachts, and I am sure I could have fixed it for them had I been there. I could have saved them a lot of cost, and would have advised them to dump the electric windlass and either install a manual one, or one with a manual back-up hand crank. This is typical of what you find in marinas all over the world where cruising yachts make ports of call on their journeys.

    I would guess that not only woodworking and fiberglass repairs skills be very useful, but also sail and rigging repair, and as much knowledge of shipboard electrical systems as possible. All of the modern cruisers are full of all kinds of fancy electronics, from microwaves to navigation and communication systems. They are always breaking down from exposure to salt air or impact damage from being tossed around in a storm.

    These kind of stories are also a good reason to have your own boat outfitted with very simple systems, and with no more costly equipment than absolutely necessary. you can get by without a refrigerator, electric winches, fancy navigation system, etc. Have manual back-ups for all essential equipment and rigging.
     
  10. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

    If you started to design and build right now ...nothing would make sense, everything would be numbers, questions would yield hand me down answers and first mistakes would cover all surfaces. The end result would be a very expensive pile of burnt cash.

    Far better to buy a secondhand ...pedigree yacht....sail it hard , then learn with your own eyes what first class design , attention to detail and construction really means.

    You're a young guy so think big. As a first boat I sugest purchasing a ten year old ,gran prix, one design race boat. Something like a MUM 30 or Beneteau Figaro. These are pure boats with the finest design, engineering interpretations of there time. Only pedigree design can help you calibrate your understanding of what type of boat you would ultimately like to build for yourself.
     
  11. Dowesva
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    Dowesva Junior Member

    Excuse me Frosty, but you know a few paragraphs of who I am and have drawn some rather extreme conclusions.

    I have a very well paying career that can, and does, produce an income on every continent. This year I will gross more than 98% of college graduates under the age of thirty, and I'm a high-school drop out. If money is your key to success then forget it, I've already kicked down that door. I'm in pursuit of happyness and legacy, and while I've had some rather Zen moments washing dishes for a living, I don't think flipping burgers will teach me anything about that.

    One of my idols is a sixty two year old I met in California. His career path changed throughout his life not because he couldn't make up his mind but because he couldn't settle for being a one trick pony. He's graduated from college a total of seven times in his life, and plans to enroll again soon. On the other hand, I've completed three full apprenticeships, each of which have yielded an income capable of sustaining a family at one point.

    I have no quarrel with someone criticizing me, but never tell me I've wasted my life. And please do not post in this thread any more. Petros offered criticisms that made me re-evaluate my entire plan, you only explained what your opinion of my choices in life were and offered nothing constructive in the process. Interaction with you would be fruitless.

    Petros
    Your advice is welcomed once again, I'm going to keep revising the first post to include everyone's opinions on which path would be more suited for my lifestyle. Mind you I'm not one to stop in an area just to check it off the list and keep going. I plan to spend an absolute minimum of three years on each continent, some more. Each decided stopping point I will find work using legal methods, like work visas, and the boat will provide a relatively cheap living situation. I consider myself done with North America once I own a home, Panama is the selected place and property will be mine within months. That means I have time to learn one more trade here in the states before I build the house, then the adventure begins.

    Michael
    I can't say I'd feel comfortable buying anything with how little I know on the topic, plus any kind of selection so early would seem to limit the diversity of ships I would sail on before making a decision. I do plan to buy a second-hand boat to keep on my island property, especially since that's the perfect temporary housing solution during construction, however that would be sometime mid 2014. For now I'm aiming for free-form and structured learning environments. Learning to sail and maintain a boat from a multitude of people as I travel the US (work has me going 15,000 travel miles per year) and enrolling in a trade school or finding an apprenticeship for one of the two trades listed above. What do mean by pedigree?
     
  12. Petros
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Petros Senior Member

    Just ignore Frosty, he is teasing you. he is the forum crumugen. He seems to have lived a rather difficult existence and always posts bitter and cynical tirades. Though he does occasionally posts some remarkably wise gems.
     
  13. Frosty

    Frosty Previous Member


    Forget the burgers-- you meet idiots on both sides of the counter which is good experience.

    I have deleted my posts as it seems you already know what you don't want.

    You can not follow other people lives you have to live your own.

    AND you are running out of time. AND I don't think your here for help but to tell us how good you think you are.
     
  14. Dowesva
    Joined: Dec 2012
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    Dowesva Junior Member

    I'm here to get advise from working professionals on what I intend to be my fourth career. I've found great wisdom in forums before and a responsive community is one of the best ways to identify a good career path. I provided a summary of my methods in life, that way I

    Already I've reached the conclusion that taking on boat building and naval architecture is not viable in a two year span. Next I will gather information, through online research and discussion in forums, and use that information to select which of the two paths would be wiser to invest my time and money in.

    Finally, I will find the best possible way for me to learn the chosen trade. Historically vocational schools or apprenticeships.

    Petros:
    If you don't mind me asking, do you work in either field? Your advise is valid regardless, I'm just curious as to where it is derived from.
     

  15. michael pierzga
    Joined: Dec 2008
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

    Pedigree.

    The world renown designers like Farr, Frers, Sparkman and Stephens, Peterson.............

    They dont make mistakes.

    The boat pictured is a BB10, built by Borresen in Denmark.

    You couldnt design and build a boat to this standard.

    But you can purchase one cheaply on the brokerage market, then put to sea and learn everyday
     

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