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Old 03-24-2011, 06:09 PM   #1
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I have a Cal Cruising 35 which is a great boat, but extremely complicated. It's got a great-running 4.108, a diesel generator (not working right now), 2 solar panels (working), fresh water maker (not working), radar (not working) hot/cold pressure water (not working), 4-burner propane stove/oven (not working), Lefrans Tigress Windlass (not working)... you get the point. Probably everything that doesn't work just needs to be re-wired. Hell, the central AC actually works if plugged into shore power. The rig and sails are in great shape, though!

I'm not rolling in money, and have little experience with most of this stuff. I'd prefer manual over electrical whenever possible. I bought the boat for a great price, and could easily re-sell it and possibly get everything I have into it back, maybe more.

I recently found an Aquarius Pilot Cutter (24' hull), also for a great price. The owner sold it to a friend, who ran it aground in front of the Coast Guard Station. The Coast Guard boarded him and found pot and firearms aboard and he got ticketed all to hell and died before things got finished it court. The seller already got paid for most of what he wanted out of the boat, and the current price reflects that. It has a working diesel, new batteries, wheel-steering, "C" interior, electric fridge, basically all the factory options. It needs new running rigging and a bottom job, but so does my current boat (though they are both cutters, the 35' will obviously need more, bigger, line and a hell of a lot more paint).

I could sell my Cal for enough to buy this boat, haul and paint it, and pay off my credit card. I'd have so much less to maintain while cruising, but I'd just be living in about half the space... and it would be that much harder to convince a girl to go cruising around with me!

Sistership photo

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Old 03-24-2011, 06:47 PM   #2
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You're smart to be looking at "all" the options rather than just plugging away on your existing boat. Especially if the existing boat has a lot of work needed to get all the "systems" up and running.

You could, of course, ditch the systems or let them sit unused until you've got money to work on them. That doesn't mean you can't cruise, it just means you'll be carrying some baggage that doesn't work for you (e.g. the watermaker).

I'm all for simple in terms of systems. Both boats will allow you to cruise with very little, but the larger boat might end up being cost effective because it will allow you to carry more food, water, fuel and spare parts aboard so you won't be paying the high spot-market price in unfamiliar or costly ports when something is needed. For example, you'd actually probably need the watermaker more on the smaller boat because you can't carry as much water on the smaller boat. Things like that.

It seems that on the 35' boat or a smaller one, you should be able to use a manual windlass (does yours have a manual setting?). You can just haul the anchor up by hand (we did that on our Rawson 30 because it was faster than using the windlass). Without a windlass, you can use a combination of hand-hauling and break-out using one of your sheet winches if needed. It seems you can, like many people, forego using refrigeration and AC on either boat. You can, forego using radar on either boat. You can pretty much live simply either way. While the larger boat will take more paint and the haulout will be more costly, it sounds like the larger boat has nothing needed for sails and rigging whereas rigging the smaller boat will cost you a bit. New batteries--well how old are the ones on the 35' boat?

It's all sounding like a wash, to me.

The sister ship shown is a sweet looking boat, btw.

The decision more largely depends upon a couple things we don't know: where you plan on cruising is most important. If you're staying close to home, coastal cruising, then the smaller boat might serve you well. If you're crossing oceans, you'll be glad of the size of the larger vessel. So--what are your plans? And, getting a girl to go with you? That's totally up to you, not the boat.

Fair winds,

Brenda
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Old 03-24-2011, 07:39 PM   #3
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I fully agree with all that "Red" has said above.
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Old 03-24-2011, 11:40 PM   #4
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The Pilot Cutter was designed as a blue-water cruiser, so I don't have any objections to it with regards to that.

I need two new batteries, at ~$500/each, to be happy with the electrical system.

I know it's stupid, but I just feel... bad, about ripping out all these conveniences and replacing them with a simple manual unit, or not replacing them at all. Like the AC- it's factory installed central AC! It even works, but I never plug into a dock and I'd rather have that giant closet that it takes up for storage.

I have pulled the anchor up by hand. The windlass has a manual setting but I haven't figured out how to operate it like that. It has hundreds of feet of 3/8 chain and a 55LB Rocna (which cost $700!), so even my young back hurts by the time I get it all aboard. The chain needs replacing, at a cost of around $2,000....

There are miles and miles of wires running around doing nothing aboard this boat. I need to just yank the majority of them and start from scratch. That is the biggest draw of the smaller yacht- so little wiring already there, and what is there already works.

The biggest draw for me of my current boat is actually the diesel generator. I've heard that of all the cruising careers, a mobile welder is the most lucrative (relatively speaking). That generator would make running a Tig welder a very simple operation, and while I haven't done Tig yet, I have done Arc and Mig, so I am confident I could figure it out.

Thank you for your reasonable words, I really needed to hear (read) them. I'll keep plugging away at what I've got and try not to feel so bad when I rip out the multi-thousand dollar energy-hungry autopilot with 3 back-up boxes and stick a windvane on there instead.

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Eventually, I would like to do a transom extension similar to this... I can only imagine what that will cost me!

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Old 03-25-2011, 05:30 PM   #5
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...besides the maintenance and the cost it will be the handling that will appear much more uncomplicated on a smaller boat, when coming down from a bigger boat!

We enjoy that when once in a wile putting back our 18 ft cabin cruiser back to the water. Everything seems so easy.

But for extended cruising two things are a must: Standing headroom and an inboard engine, just in case your Aquarius Pilot Cutter also has an outboard-engine placed on the transom like on the pic.: this setting does not work on open seas when any swell is going.

Also concider the lower speed and of corse the performance in fresh to strong winds (esp. the abilities of beating against wind and sea will be not as good as on a bigger sized boat).*

In former times many long term cruises have been made on boats of 30ft or less, so, at the end it is a matter of personal expectation concerning space and performance. *Maybe it was easier back then to excite someone to come along sailing on a boat below 30ft than it is today. This is at least our experience when we get asked more than once: How can you (still) be able to enjoy a 600 miles vacation cruise on an 18 ft boat when you normally sail on 32 ft... *Aren't small boats like this too slow to have fun... *(Yes the average speed is below 5 kn,* who will sail so slow today!)

So, downsizing is not at all a general reduction of *satisfaction and fun getting out of sailing, cruising and living aboard. But when you accept less room , maybe less comfort (because there is no freezer or fridge, but just a 12 cooling box... and no AC system...) and less speed it is a whole lot of fun to enjoy the lower costs and maintenance, the easier handling, the shallower ancorages, the bigger availability of berths in the marinas and so on! *

Uwe

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Old 03-25-2011, 06:04 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Seafarer View Post

I need two new batteries, at ~$500/each, to be happy with the electrical system.

I have pulled the anchor up by hand. The windlass has a manual setting but I haven't figured out how to operate it like that. It has hundreds of feet of 3/8 chain and a 55LB Rocna (which cost $700!), so even my young back hurts by the time I get it all aboard. The chain needs replacing, at a cost of around $2,000....
Me thinks you may be overestimating the cost of your batteries and chain? How much of the "hundreds of feet of chain" needs to be replaced? Can you work with some of it (100 ft for example) and use rode for the rest of your needs? Chain can be re-galvanized, too, you know.

3/8" bbb--

http://www.defender.com/category.jsp?path=-1|10391|32295&id=321084

We have a large house bank of over 400 amp hours--the cost (of 2 L16 6V batteries) was only a bit over $400 total at reputable battery warehouse (1 year ago and prices shouldn't be going up but down on batteries right now). Woulda' been cheaper if we'd used golf cart batteries but the tall L16's were what we wanted. We do have separate batteries for starter and our 36V systems...but the point here is you can do a lot with less than $500, me thinks.

So--use 100 ft of your existing chain that's still good, get some good new rode for not much money (low hundreds $). Or, price regalvanizing in your area.

If you're really on a budget, try looking at all the options
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Old 03-26-2011, 04:18 PM   #7
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Aquaria- the Aquarius has the same 6'3" headroom as the Cal, and they both have inboard diesels (2-cyl Volvo in the Aquarius, Perkins 4.108 in the Cal).

I expect my Cal would handle better than the Aquarius, due to it's "fin" keel and spade rudder versus the full-keel & attached rudder.

Redbopeep- my battery spaces were designed to hold 8Ds, and the best deal I can find on sealed deep-cycle 8Ds are $500 each/shipped. This will give me a 500amp/hour house bank. I will use the two smaller batteries I currently have as starting batteries for the engine and generator.

Regarding chain- none of the current chain is really salvageable without re-galvanizing, and nobody local does that cost-effectively. I want to use 3/8 HT chain, and I want an all-chain rode. Basically, I just want to buy a barrel (400') and use that on my primary anchor. My back-up can have a mixed rode.
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Old 03-26-2011, 07:38 PM   #8
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Hi there,

You know, you should be comparing apples with apples between the two boats. If you want 500 AH on your existing boat--what does the "new" boat have? Is it 500 AH? If not, price putting in whatever that boat has. Even if you decide to go for the larger 500 AH bank, your decision matrix should be apples-to-apples here. If you need 500 AH on this boat, why will you be able to get away with less on the other boat? We've already mentioned that you don't have to use all those systems just because they're there

How much chain does the other boat come with? Is it the desired HT chain? Smaller boat so it will be smaller diameter chain but if you want 400' of chain on the old boat, apples-to-apples says you want 400' of chain on the new boat. If the new boat can't handle the weight...what's the compromise? Give your old boat the opportunity to provide you with that compromise, too. BTW, one reason people go with HT chain is to enable the use of smaller chain (lighter). 3/8" sounds awfully beefy for your existing boat. With HT, you may be able to use smaller (less costly) chain. Have you looked into this?

Oftentimes people are willing to compromise on something "different" than what they have now. Give yourself the opportunity to make those came compromises on your existing boat if it will allow you to sail away, safely and happy, sooner.

I'd suggest you make a list of what it would take to "sail away now" in your existing boat. I don't mean what it would take to be perfect in terms of repairing all those systems, I mean what it would take for you to go now if someone said "now or never" with your existing finances. Then, after that bottom line is established, you'll be far closer to the reality of which boat is really best for you to get away sooner rather than later. After you've made the bottom line list on your existing boat and gotten costs for things and really know what you can't live without--you can then make the same list for the new boat and figure out which is going to be the better boat for you. I'm not hearing "bottom line" information from your writing, rather I'm hearing a wish list of pretty nice stuff. There's usually a lot of room between the wish list and the bottom line. Folks who get out there and cruise are very familiar with their bottom line and, it seems, to me that they're usually working closer to the bottom line than to their wish list.

Cruisers are also incredibly good at adapting things for use on their boat--so if you can't afford the 8D's what will fit? If you really want that chain, what's available on the resale market in your area? Is there a boat with a lien on it that you can purchase and strip and then re-sell? and so on. Keep an eye on Craigslist and at the marine flea markets. You can end up with great stuff at 1/10th the price of new stuff if you'll take the time to think about what you "really" need and think about how to recognize those things in "used" places.

You still haven't mentioned what sort of cruising you're planning? coastal? crossing oceans? That's important to the capacity issue.
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Old 03-26-2011, 08:41 PM   #9
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SV Watermelon was a 39' Sun Fizz to which we added 3 feet on the stern. The four years that we cruised the Caribbean, anchoring almost exclusively, we had 30' of chain, the rest nylon 3-strand. When we went into the Pacific, with the deeper anchorages and more coral, we switched to 100' of chain, 200' of nylon. The worst anchorage, because it's so deep, was Bora Bora. Second worse was Pago Pago (deeper, but fewer boats, and some moorings). Otherwise, we rarely needed all the 100' of chain that we had, and always, always used a chain hook and nylon snubber to reduce shock loads. That was a lot of weight in the bow, I don't think I'd want to be in heavy seas with 400' in the bow of a 30' boat.

And where will you be cruising that you will need so much chain?
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Old 03-26-2011, 10:37 PM   #10
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not to be nit-picking you...but indeed I am nit-picking here . Why do you "need" sealed 8D batteries? If your budget it tight...? Do you already have proper ventilation for non-sealed batteries? If so, that (using regular non-sealed batteries) will save you a chunk of change, too.

If you really want to get out there... $$$ or compromises are needed here.
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Old 03-27-2011, 12:50 AM   #11
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My compromise is taking more time to get quality longer-lasting equipment, as I doubt I'll be making much money while cruising and thus be unable to afford such quality. It just so happens that on the smaller boat the equipment can be less substantial / robust and therefore less expensive.

I don't want to replace the gypsy on my windlass, and the weight of chain helps to increase the holding ability of the anchor, so I want to stay with 3/8. Everything else in the system (the anchor, swivel, and chain lock) is rated to 5,000lbs SWL, so it doesn't make any sense to me to buy chain that is considerably weaker. You're right that I probably don't need 400' of it though. I just don't want to use rope if at all possible....

I can fit two G31 batteries where each 8D would go (that's what I have now), but in the end that is more expensive. On the Aquarius I would just use whatever fit, it just so happens that the Cal fits two 8Ds... Technically, according to the hand-drawn wiring diagram from a previous owner, it had 6 of them aboard at one time

Oh, and the planned use is a (minimum) five year cruise around the world, so I can decide on where (and if) I'd like to settle down after.
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Old 03-27-2011, 02:30 AM   #12
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I expect my Cal would handle better than the Aquarius, due to it's "fin" keel and spade rudder versus the full-keel & attached rudder.
Agree :- "fin" keel and spade rudder, for round the cans might handle better. However, for cruising and long term living aboard:- full-keel & attached rudder, a better bet.
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Old 03-27-2011, 02:40 AM   #13
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For the 5 year sail around the world...I'd actually not choose either boat. Rather I'd look for something around 30' with a full keel...humm...something like the Rawson 30 we sold a couple years ago when we were making space for the (larger) boat we live on now.

However, people have circumnavigated very nicely with fin keel boat boats. Each of us has their own preference. If the only two boats available were the two you have mentioned, for a 5 yr sail around the world, I'd stick with the larger boat.
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Old 03-27-2011, 04:50 PM   #14
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This is a Cal Cruising 35

It does not have a high-aspect fin keel like a racing boat, maybe I should have called it a "modified full keel".



The spade rudder seems pretty well protected. Starquest was aground for almost a month due to a storm-driven high-tide when the danforth anchor pulled out and went into a milk crate on the river bottom I'd been saving up for the Rocna at the time, and it was much easier to install with the boat sitting aground Plus, I took the opportunity to scrape the bottom, so it wasn't a total waste. It took another storm-driven high-tide to float her off.

Of course, this thread isn't about the suitability of either boat for off-shore use. Both models have proven themselves to be capable.

Though both of these owners have since moved onto larger boats, both sailed Cal Cruising 35s for many years and thousands of miles:

http://www.vsdev.com/botanybay/botanybay/

http://expaticus.com/web-expaticus-com/
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