I downloaded an app called Cruiser Forum that is a treat to read when you need to escape. Here is one of the threads about a guy (first time sailor) who bought a 34' used sailboat. He decided to head out of western FLA and learn as he goes:
Just a quick update. I left St Marks with Fort Pierce as a destination saturday morning in my seafarer, motored and sailed a little along the way, but the sailing part was only with the jib, as I could easliy take it down if bad weather came up. Saturday day was nice an pleasant, lite winds out of the north east sea at 1 to 2 feet...nicely motoring along.
Saturday night? SHEAR TERROR...winds at 15 to 20 knots, seas 4ft - 7ft, cloudy. There I was...zero sailing experience, zero open ocean experience, old boat I knew almost nothing about, being tossed around like a ceasar salad on the waves. All I could do was sit down in the middle of the sole and get religion. This little tempest went on for about 15 hours, and moved my little boat all over the place, sideways, thissaway and thattaway, till I realized, this was my time to die, and it would be here in the open ocean...why I cried...why did i do this stupid faking idiotic thing to get in a boat and go into the ocean, all alone, out in the middle of nowhere. This all night long, and into the morning did I plead, cried, screamed, beg God for mercy. I call the coast guard on the VHS and said...will someone PLEASE help me! Where are you at...and all the normal details, vessel name, long lat, description, name, how many people on board...and all the time I just asked Where is LAND...I need LAND!! I was weak, sleep deprived, in total terror. The CG guy said, "You are 85 miles from Ft Pierce, and 35 miles from Hommasass" I asked where is hommassas, CG says...due east..u gota a compass? yes I do..he said go east. I turned the boat due east....35 miles and 17 hours later...dark again, cold north wind, seas 2 to 4 feet, clear night..as I watched the last rays of the sun sink into the west...crab pot bouys ahead for as far as I could see, i dodged them all...ah a light in the distance..I headed for the light and LAND...depth finder beeping..7 ft.....I got a 5ft draft.....beep beep beep...6ft. Dropped anchor, 10 miles due west of the hommasssa river. I went to bed, CG called me and ask my position, just as I dozed off...I said I was anchored, gave him my lats/longs...he said great, be sure you have ALL your nav lights on, I said ok and went to sleep..or tired to go to sleep...chain locker rattling, squeeks and moans from the boat, fish flopping, and every few seconds it felt like someone was yanking the front of the boat real hard. Tried to sleep, but only short cat naps maybe 5 or 10 minutes long. Thought I heard people talkin on deck...jumped up the stairs and only the wind rattling through the riggins was there. Around 5am this morning, I go to crank up the motor...batteries FLAT...nothing....short end of the story...called tow boat, an 12 hours and $1050.00 later, here i sit in Crystal River at Petes Pier tied to the dock. At least I can get a decent nights sleep.
For ALL you romantics that want to go a-sailing in ships..stay the fak on land! Cause being out there all alone being tossed around, with no place to go is the most terrfying situation you will ever imagine!!!
I am taking a week here to piddle around on the boat and practice some, and hopefully get my nerve up to go back out there.
You can also access the Cruiser Forums site online here.