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Old 03-24-2011, 07:09 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!

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Old 03-24-2011, 07:47 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, 08:39 PM   #3
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I fully agree with all that "Red" has said above.
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Old 03-25-2011, 12:40 AM   #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, 06:30 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, 07:04 PM   #6
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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, 05:18 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, 08:38 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, 09:41 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, 11:37 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, 01:50 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, 03:30 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, 03:40 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, 05:50 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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Old 03-27-2011, 08:00 PM   #15
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Your last post makes me like your existing boat even more. I do like keel hung rudders, but I also like the idea of getting out there and cruising asap.

I really think the smaller boat is style-wise very lovely and having the full keel very nice. But, seriously if you're really crossing oceans you'll like the larger boat. The larger the boat, the more likely you'll stay right-side-up in big seas

Back to my apples-to-apples discussion--have you made of list of all the things that you can't do without (e.g. how many hundred feet of chain, et al) so you can figure out what will work for both vessels?

What is your timeframe for taking off? How close are you to leaving?

You mention that you're welding and thinking about taking along a welder so I surmise that you're going to work-as-you-go so having room for proper tools and equipment will help you out quite a bit. That weight capacity must be considered with whatever boat you choose. Dreaming is one thing, but a realistic assessment of the boat's payload capacity and the weight of expected tools and supplies is really needed here since the smaller boat just doesn't have capacity for a whole lot.
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Old 03-27-2011, 09:43 PM   #16
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Remembering that SV Watermelon was a moderate to light displacement "racer cruiser", I have always wondered why people wanted a heavy boat for cruising - as one circumnavigator called it, an "oyster crusher". The arguments are always that the boat can carry more than a lighter boat.

I suppose that's true, but it seems that most cruisers-in-planning talk about raising their waterlines 2 or 3 inches after they've got all their "stuff" aboard. That has to affect performance, and safety. Our approach has always been to keep things as light as possible. Buying something new meant getting rid of something old or little-used. We certainly weren't perfect about our weight discipline, but we tried to always be conscious of it.

Another issue is where that weight is placed. Too much weight in the bow and stern of a boat and one has to worry about the boat hobby-horsing in heavy weather conditions. Not comfortable for the crew.

3/8" chain seems like way overkill for your boat - Watermelon used 5/16" chain and never had a problem, and we saw some pretty nasty/scary lee shores occasionally.

There are so many discussions about anchoring, choice of rode, and on and on, but here are links to two of them that might provide some food for thought. Chain, Rocna Knowledge Base and Steve Dashew's "The Right Rode"
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Old 03-28-2011, 12:01 AM   #17
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JeanneP,

I always look at weight capacity as relative to size/displacement, indeed. Most folks aren't disciplined enough to limit what they carry. Nor to put it in the right places. That's a sad fact that I agree with you on. Given that most folks are packrats who carry too much, they might as well be doing it in a boat that will manage that load. I know you had great success, using good discipline in what you carried, being smart about weather windows, and not rushing to cross oceans. Not everyone has the good sense to cruise carefully given the particulars of the boat. Sad fact.

Before getting into discussions of fin keels + and -, I keep saying if I were Seafarer, I'd take his existing boat hands down over the smaller (full keel) boat. And, indeed 3/8" is quite hefty for that boat.

However, the whole "fin keel" vs full keel and keel hung rudder thing is a matter of ease of sailing, limiting rudder and prop damage, and storm survival, IMHO. A very good sailor can take almost any boat and make it work in a broad range of conditions. Just read Pete Goss's Close to the Wind. A lousy sailor is going to be a lot better off with a "forgiving" boat. Full keel boats are generally (but not always) more forgiving to sail. Most folks are in between the very good and the lousy. Very big and very small boats aren't the best for neophytes, either, IMO. Something in the middle, middle of displacement, middle of size is good. People call almost every full keel boat a "heavy displacement" boat. However, they're not all heavy displacement--they're moderate and they're mostly modified full keel anyway. Even our classic wood boat is a modified full keel w/cutaway forekeel and at a whopping 29Ton doesn't even rate as "heavy displacement" for it's size (in some references I've found). We're somehow "moderate". Amazing. But ours does, like other full or modified full keel boats have the keel hung rudder. That is a very nice thing from a design reliability and damage tolerance perspective.

We had a friend experience the October 12 storm (2009) in the Channel Islands in his 27' Ericson. This is an around the buoys little race boat--not a cruiser, not even a coastal cruiser. However, our friend cruised on it for a while. See "overdue sailor safe" on this L38 Link. He stayed west of the islands to weather the storm since he was afraid of being swept onto one of the islands--not knowing how long the storm would last--and according to him, with what he estimated to be 25' to 30' seas (50-60' peak to trough), he thought he was dead for sure. His fin keel boat was not made for this stuff. Because of breaking waves, his boom broke during the time he was lying ahull to a sea anchor. Oh, yes, there's a detail of fin keels that isn't so great--they don't heave to like full keel boats. The geometry isn't there w/o playing with a drogue at angle or something else dragging off the boat. When things get rough, the choices for a fin keel are are run or lying ahull. In that storm, the USCG assumed our friend was dead. They told his best friend in the Bay area that he was likely dead--that no one in a 27' Ericson would make it through that storm. He had his miracle and made it. He is also an extremely bright and talented fellow who is fast on his feet. He made a drogue out of a jib and his anchor chain and an extra anchor. He had to let go all the chain when it was over--couldn't bring it back aboard.

However, I'd not want to be crossing big oceans with a tiny little boat nor would I want to be crossing big oceans with much other than a full (or modified full) keel boat. I like the factor of safety it affords. We all have our opinions.
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Old 03-28-2011, 12:59 AM   #18
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I've currently scheduled my departure date for (any day in) 2014. Mostly likely June if I'm still working for a school, so I can still pick up a paycheck for the first three months.

However, I'd like to be taking week-long trips sometime this year and one-to-three-month trips in the following years before leaving.

For now, I could settle with one 8D and the two G31s. That will at least allow me to get the wiring set up properly in the battery boxes.

If I measured the chain I already have, it is probably somewhere around 250'. I could live with that, but I would still use 3/8HT (I don't have insurance, so I'm paranoid about my ground tackle).

While I said the diesel generator is what I like most about my boat (as it will allow welding in remote locations), I'm not real thrilled with it being mounted all the way aft on the port side. The whole boat actually leans a little to that side. This is one of the big reasons I would like a transom extension. (Of course, that can wait.)
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Old 06-29-2011, 05:55 PM   #19
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If you shop around you can get a better deal on chain. 3/8 chain is big chain. Look at the breaking strength and see if you really need HT chain. I went the opposite direction as you and went with the lightest g70 chain I could get to save weight (I paid $1.77/f from West Marine on a price mismark I expect).

Really no one can make this call for you, but you know what you want. As others have mentioned comparing apples to apples is important, but if you feel better about the other boat, go for it. Your feelings on the matter will be a self fulfilling prophecy no matter what.

At the same time, boats are frustrating and there are times when you will be overwhelmed no matter what boat you are sailing, don't jump into something in a moment of fatigue.

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Originally Posted by Seafarer View Post

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 07-04-2011, 12:29 AM   #20
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Wow, can't quite stay out of this one... Please stop to consider why "you" called this post "desperate" measures. I travel with minimal insurance also. We own two cruising boats, one of full-keel design and one that is a fin-keel. We are anchored right now in a storm in the Caribbean (thankfully not a big one). I won't be as nice as most here, simply because I care (Not implying that they don't, for I know them better than that): 250 feet of 3/8ths BBB in the bow of a 35 foot boat is WAY too much weight unless you LIKE to pitch (hobby-horse) across the ocean. I love the design of the smaller boat, BUT... We live on a 34 foot boat, and it simply is the SMALLEST boat we would want to be on other than our 32 which has a better storage design. If you are not leaving until 2014 you have plenty of time to fix what you have. There is VERY little space for books, equipment, and stores on the smaller boat. ONE anchor and One rode does not make one safe... We are lying with two at the moment, 30 feet of chain on the Bruce, and 45 degrees off of that one 70 feet of chain on the Manson Supreme (The Rocna and the CQR and their rodes are still in the lazurette). IF our boat could comfortably carry more we would (Going to get a big light Fortress and a fisherman YET). Sounds like you need the advice of a good marine electrician more than another boat. Our Pearson is quite spartan, even down to the composting head. Our Tartan has all the bells and whistles except AC (but we have a WindScoop). When we sail the Pearson down here, I will really miss our refigerator on the Tartan. I will miss the hot and cold running water. But we will have more practical storage space, and a berth that is midship and more comfortable at anchor. Our Tartan draws 6'6" loaded to cruise and we may not be able to moor in the local field due to depth at low tide. Our Pearson draws 4'8" loaded to cruise and can go so many more places. If we could mix and match the best of both boats we might get OUR perfect boat, with the emphasis on "might". That said, We only know what will work best for us (but we learned alot of that here), and you only know what will make you happy. I sail larger boats for a living, so I know that they are not the answer for us. And I sail smaller boats for others to get them from place to place after they find them too small for their needs... Each seems to have a different reason. Conversely, I have two friends who sail Dana 24s that swear they are the only boat they will ever want. No one here can tell you what will trip your trigger, but please quit being so hard-headed when they offer advise you came here asking for... I promise, they are only trying to help!
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