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Old 09-10-2007, 04:36 PM   #1
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Labor day weekend we travelled out of state to one of my wife's cousins funeral who passed away at age 51. On the return trip the discussion moved to us and our goal to sail away. The option we came up with was to bump the schedule up. When I first began asking a few ? on here I received a few PMs telling me to go now. I can't. Daughter heads to college in 4 years, then I am ready.

The plan we came up with was to move to the coast, Portland or Seattle and live on the boat. The plan would be to live on the boat. Fix it up and ready it for departure, 18-24 months. During this time take several shake down sails to Alaska and BC coast. Does that sound feasible and reasonable? I can envision a few risk. This knocks 4 years off the old plan.

I have read a lot and listen to what you guys have to say. I was initially considering a 37' monohull. With the 2 years of live aboard in the equation would you increase the size to make the 2 years of live aboard more harmonius?

If you bought an older boat with electronics in the 5-10 year age range, would you replace with new?

I see a fair amount of boats with dingys hanging from davits from the rear of the boat. Can you leave the OB kicker on the dingy or does it need to come off? Is the dingy secure there in rough following seas?

Some of the 37" boats I have looked at have fuel tanks in the 40-50 gal range. Would you haul extra fuel or upgrade the tank capacity?

That is what is on my mind for now. Again I appreciate your help.

Duckwheat in Idaho
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Old 09-10-2007, 08:09 PM   #2
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Hi Duckwheat,

Moving to any coast would help move up the plans, and help with preparations and shake down trips.

Concerning several shake down sails to Alaska and BC coast. I certainly am not the expert, but I recall from reading, you may be fighting difficult to nearly impossible currents. Perhaps someone else can add facts to this.

Boat Size, time living aboard, and preparing.

Obvious the boat has to fit your budget. More space would reduce "Cabin Fever". You have to live with the size choice for two time periods, living aboard for the next few years and than when shoving off. Bigger boat means more cost to buy and operate, and more time and labor to maintain.

Is it correct to assume, three people living aboard, and two people when shoving off? I lack the knowledge of your situation, to comment how your daughter would adapt to moving in the first place, or how she would adapt to living aboard through the teen years. Having raised three step children, two girls and a boy, I know they would have had problems moving and adapting to living aboard. I think most everybody needs time and space, some personal space, especially in the hormonal active years.

Maybe living in an apartment, near the coast is an option, during preparations.

There are other issues you have not mentioned, selling your house assuming you own one, cutting ties to land, no place to return to. When we first caught the cruising fever, we discussed and were of the opinion that we would sell the house and cut our land ties. Since, with more reading, more advice, and more thought our new plan is to retain our house, rent it out, have it managed professionally, with the rent applied to the payment, or as a source of additional income when we get it paid off.

Down sizing is a good idea. Start now, first for moving, than for living aboard and cruising. Don't move it, than dispose of it. Moving and storage will use up a lot money, time and resources, that could be applied better and towards your goal.

If you bought an older boat with electronics in the 5-10 year age range, would you replace with new?

I probably would. It depends what it was, what I wanted, balanced with my budget, perhaps a compromise of what I really needed. Electronics would be one of the last things I replaced, because electronics and technology changes so rapidly.

Fuel Capacity

I am in the planning process as you are, and likely behind you. I am not experienced.

For cruising I would want much more capacity, and I want it in fuel tanks, not cans. Why? Maybe because I don't know any better. Maybe because of over planning for the unknown. Not sure when and where I can refill. Being able to have more in reserve. Being able to buy more when and where the prices are less expensive.

What I do know is that I do not plan on propelling a sailing vessel with an engine. Well, unless I must because of lack of wind, or I need it to help in rough seas, or avoiding obstacles on or under the surface, or with docking or anchoring; things of that nature. Using it as auxiliary propulsion when needed and to power auxiliary equipment if needed. My engine choice is diesel hands down.

From reading, some use very little fuel, while others use very much.

The Dingy

Generally those with cruising experience advise to have nothing stored top side, or expect it to be washed off in rough seas. Granted a rigid dingy is impossible to take below. I think a dangling dingy would be trouble, and maybe gone in severe weather.

I don't know if that helps you much, but it is my current opinion and some thoughts.

Jeff
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Old 09-11-2007, 08:59 AM   #3
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Duckwheat

(where did you choose that name?)

Agree, if you are going to live on a boat - chooses warmer water - don't give up on fresh water

lakes.

If your short term plans have you acclimatizing and bonding with your home for the first 2 years the space is important - Catamaran - Centre Cockpit Cutter. (a boat that you can fish from !)

Keep the electronics simple.

A cruising boat that sails in tropical and sub-tropical waters will use lots of diesel - 100 gallons minimum in tanks.

Dinghy is best secured on deck when on passage - the O/B lashed or on a purpose made bracket.

Your plans are good

Richard
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Old 09-17-2007, 07:33 AM   #4
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Don't buy new electronics until 4 months before you are ready to leave. Far to many changes happenig and these things do wear out to fast. Do not want to replace one or have one go out while under way because you bought it to early.

Everything else seams to be personal choice or what you have to deal with.
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Old 09-17-2007, 05:43 PM   #5
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Refitting an old boat is the way to go as long as you know when to stop the refit and focus on the bigger objective. The refit gives you the intimate knowledge of the vessel and her systems that you will need when out on the open ocean.

Before you buy the boat, develop a budget and schedule...then double it. I have found that every project on my boat requires twice the amount of money and labor as I had intended simply due to the cost of installation materials like epoxy, brushes, screws, tape, wire, hose clamps, breakers, wood, varnish, special tools...and the list goes on and on.

Glass hull vessels built in the late 70s and early 80s are the best quality in my opinion. In general, they were all overbuilt. Personally, I think 45ft is a nice size for a couple to live aboard.
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Old 09-17-2007, 07:32 PM   #6
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Lots of good responses here.

Family:

I wouldn't simply assume that your teenager is a "hold-back" on your plans. I know a man whose parents went through divorce when he was 14--when he was 15 his mother re-married and they (stepdad, mom, and kid) all moved onto a 37' boat for several years of cruising. He went from regular school to home-schooled. When he was 19 he went to college and he had his choice of colleges on full scholarship--his standardized test scores were very high and his experiences of living aboard and world cruising were unique and seemed to help him. I met him a few years after he completed his MBA at Harvard. He's a very successful person. He states that when they "took off" with his mother and stepdad, he was resentful and didn't want to be living on a sailboat. It took him about 2 years to fall in love with the experience of cruising. He never did like or appreciate his stepdad, by the way their relationship was the only thing that he regretted about that timeframe, but he grew tremendously as a person while cruising. So, lesson here is that if you think its "right" for your family, its probably going to "right."

Boat:

You asked a lot of practical questions that have already been answered by others. Only two things I feel like iterating: If you want a simple, enjoyable cruising life--go as small and simple as you can. If you think this is going to be a "liveaboard" for many years into the future, be willing to take on some complexity to get into a larger boat. If you're on a budget, think small. I've said it before--you can cruise happily, safely, and successfully in just about anything, any size. Figure out what's important to YOU and then head in that direction.

Things on Deck:

If its there, it will be damaged or gone at some point. Just remember that when storing anything on deck.

Real Estate/Storage of goods:

We had so much equity tied up in our house that we decided to sell to use the money for income and for buying/refitting our boat. The money is invested in stocks, CD's, etc and is bringing in a good income stream and growing. If you think you'll go back to your house someday, it may be worth keeping, though. If you think cruising will change your life enough that you'll never go back to that particular house/town/city...sell it and don't worry. About storage--we moved from a 6500 sf house with 25 years of accumulated stuff. We sold and gave away so many things but still kept antiques, family memorabilia, tools and hobby-related items. We rented a very large (25x10), climate-controlled, storage unit that is not cheap. But, we remind ourselves that the annual storage fee is about what property taxes were on the house. Putting things in perspective, its worth it to us right now. Some day we'll buy a little vacation home somewhere near some ocean. Who knows where...and we'll put the stuff in a container, ship it to our little home and have it there. The cost of that home, no matter how small, no matter where it is will always be at least as much as we're spending on storage and keeping our options open. If bottom line, we didn't feel that we had the finances for this storage, though, we'd have farmed out the family stuff to family members, sold the antiques and tools, and simply moved onto the boat.

Your cruising goals:

No matter how you go about getting yourself onto a boat to follow your dream--its going to work out. These are your decisions to make and there is NO right way or wrong way of doing things. Its your life and your adventure. You may look back at this time frame with some regrets: "why didn't I go sooner?" and "why did I blow xyz $ on storage?" and "why did I keep the house?" or "why did I not keep the house?" but, I truly believe: it all works together in the end.

Best of luck to you!
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Old 09-17-2007, 11:49 PM   #7
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Duckwheat, you’ll never know till you try it, so if you are afraid that time is catching up on you then go for it now, but take baby steps, so that the rest of your family can have great first impressions and come to embrace the plan.

I would recommend Seattle as a base. Lots of protected sailing, strong sailing community and a short hop to the San Juan and Gulf Islands. Start out chartering a few times. Depending on your experience level, either with a skipper or bareboat so that the family and you can firstly enjoy and then prioritize what is important to them as liveaboards. A boat is like a sausage in that when you put something in one side something is squeezed out the other end. These decisions you can only make for yourself after gaining a little bit of experience by living on a variety of boats.

The Pacific NW offers a lifetime of wonderful seasonal cruising so may people are satisfied to buy a boat suitable for those waters and occasionally charter in the Tropics. (The currents are not an issue once you learn to slow down and use them.) Take time to actively sail and prioritise before you make your purchase as everything will be a compromise.

Good luck!
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Old 09-19-2007, 03:25 AM   #8
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Dinghy davits. You are NOT supposed to leave the outboard on them when underway. Our davits on the power cat broke when a stupid (&*AS&**^*!) go-fast boat raised a huge wake as it passed at high speed too close to us. the weight of the dinghy with outboard on broke the davit because of the extreme motion as we wallowed from the extreme wake. Our mistake. Had we tightly secured the dinghy there wouldn't have been the motion that put so much stress on the davits. It was still foolish of us to leave the outboard on the dinghy on the davits.

I do not believe that ocean-crossing sailboats should have davits. I don't think it is safe to carry a dinghy, with or without an engine on its stern, across oceans. Our best dinghy was an Achilles with an air floor that we could roll up and stow whenever we weighed anchor, outboard (4 HP) on its bracket on the stern rail. I still believe that decks should be clear - that means no jerry jugs of fuel or water stowed on deck. Nothing swinging, nothing that can break loose in bad weather. You sometimes will find yourself in big storms that were not predicted, and after two or three days, things that bounce around start to break loose. And the crew is starting to get very tired after several days of that bad weather. (example, Watermelon's log of our trip from Solomon Islands to Vanuatu - http://www.cruiser.co.za/hostmelon51.asp

SV Watermelon carried 44 gallons of diesel. 75 gallons of water. We also carried, below decks, in the lazarette, an additional 10 gallons of diesel in jerry jugs, and 10 gallons of water in jerry jugs. Only once, after several months in Papua New Guinea, did we have any difficulty with water, and we never had a problem with sufficient fuel. We were, after all, on a sailboat. I encourage you not to rely on your engine - when we lost our transmission in the South China Sea, there wasn't anybody to help us, so sailing was what we had to do (see log, part III - http://www.cruiser.co.za/hostmelon22.asp

electronics. Personally, a $100 hand-held GPS, a depth sounder, and our masthead wind instruments were sufficient. More than that is luxury and comfort. If you want luxury and comfort, be sure to get the best, easiest to see, most reliable you can. I must work more on this. I am starting to consider a chart plotter a worthwhile piece of gear. More on that later. However, 10-year old equipment on a boat that's not been used for a while as it waited for a new owner might not be working very well and might have to be replaced anyway. Budget for that.

Buy a boat you can afford, that you can sail and handle - just the two of you. Living aboard is stressful because of all the space you give up, but it's hard to find a boat under 50 feet that is going to be close to the space and comfort of your last house or apartment. So stay with your original thoughts and keep the boat and your investment in it, small enough that your savings are spent on the dream, not the gear that might get you there.

My opinion, FWIW.

Fair winds,

Jeanne
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Old 09-19-2007, 04:48 AM   #9
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The plan would be to move after my daughter heads to college. I appreciate all the good info. I am going sailing for a week in the San Juan Islandsstarting this Saturday. We have a 40' Hunter chartered and a couple from Colorado are joining us.

Again thanks for the info. There were some great comments about what to do with your stuff. George Carlin had a great routine about "stuff". Makes me laugh how attached we are to it.

Moving the schedule up by about 5 years makes it seems a little more possible. Seattle would be a good choice for us. I could commute to Alaska and earn decent $. The wife could work in Seattle.

I use to call my wife Buckwheat when we were first married. I am not sure why. When I needed a log on name on another site, I just came up with Duckwheat. Can't remember if I change log on and passwords...........

DW
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Old 09-19-2007, 05:29 AM   #10
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Hi Jeanne,

All your comments offer great advice and I can see that your years of experience have really honed those KISS instincts.

However, as I said before, there are no absolutes in sailing solutions if you design and prepare for the worst case conditions.

As you said about dinghy davits Had we tightly secured the dinghy there wouldn't have been the motion that put so much stress on the davits”. That is the key, which is why when I bought my steel boat, I modified my swing down stern ladder so that it could accept a cradle and swing up under the tender to carry the weight of the rigid bottom tender from its keel. That solid cradle is amidships on the tender with 2 canvas straps under the keel on either end, which nicely locks the tender solidly in place and removes the stress from the davits. I also made up 2 straps that spring from each davit to the tender to prevent side shift and chafe in a rolling seaway. I can now safely jump up and down inside the secured tender without any movement at any angle of heel. (Securing is a 2 minute job),

Like you, on an ocean passage, the OB would go onto a strong bracket inside my stern locker, but most of the time when coastal cruising; I keep it in place on the tender. My reason for this is that most of the dramas I have witnessed with outboards usually happen when someone is hurrying to pull it on/off and it goes swimming. To accomplish this I modified the davit that lifts the stern/OB so that when lifted and secure, the lifting harness on the OB is bowsed up to the davit to take the weight off the tender's transom.

Our worst case scenario would be a heavy rogue sea crashing into the stern if I was still running with it. My own feeling about this is that if I have a structurally secure tender, I would rather that wave hits the tender than any crew in the stern cockpit.

Obviously, all the above only works if your size and design (I am 65ft LOA with about 10 ft of freeboard on a very buoyant wineglass stern), gives you that comfort level. Also mindset, as I don’t plan on doing any more circumnavigations to a given schedule, so I expect my infrequent ocean passages to be of a shorter more controlled duration, (weather-wise)…..Cheers!



Enjoy the San Juans Duckwheat!
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Old 09-19-2007, 01:35 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pelagic View Post
there are no absolutes in sailing solutions if you design and prepare for the worst case conditions.
You're right! I believe that making safety precautions a habit - something one always does, every time - goes a long way to keeping one safe. It takes a long time, though, to develop those habits, and perhaps that's why I'm so adamant about taking things slowly and carefully. And whatever advice I offer is, of course, just one person's opinion and way of doing things.

60' - that's a roomy boat, eh?
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Old 03-13-2008, 04:27 PM   #12
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Quote:
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I do not believe that ocean-crossing sailboats should have davits.
This simply does not need to be true. Granted, many davits on the market are designed for sunday afternoon sailing. However, there are heavy duty, offshore davits that are cast out of solid Almag-35, a super strong super light aluminum-magnesium alloy that will not corrode in salt water. These davits have been rated for offshore sailing and have been around for the last 30 years without any issues. If you need more info, send me a private message.

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Old 03-13-2008, 06:00 PM   #13
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I have always been suspicious of davits. While sailing into St. Augustine with wind against current. The wind a bit over 20 knots. An approximent 45ft. mono was coming out with the steep chop. His dinghy was smacking the waves as the stern went down. My mind could only imagine the sucking power the water had on the bottom of his dink.

I worried about the location of our dink when I was having Imagine surveyed. The previous owner told me it was never a problem even in some snotty weather. He sailed from Germany to Africa, and the Caribbean for 3 years. So far I feel comfortable with the dink on it's platform between the sterns. Of course we haven't hit the perfect storm yet either....
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Old 03-13-2008, 07:21 PM   #14
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I have always been suspicious of davits.
And so you should be. Many davits are far overrated and are not designed for bluewater sailing. However, just because there are a few bad apples doesn't mean that you should throw the baby out with the bath water, if I can butcher two metaphors. The davits that are pictured above are rated to 750 lbs. and are available with optional riser arms which would get the dinghy high enough to avoid any and all problems with hitting the water.

The davit designer/installer made a huge blunder if what you say that you saw is true. We would never produce a product that had those kind of obvious weaknesses. This is just another example of how important it is to get these things done right by the people who have the experience that qualifies them for the job.

Proper davits can be a great addition to your sailboat if they are well designed and you are able to find the best way to mount them. For many sailors, the advantage of being able to keep your dinghy out of the way at the same time as being able to launch at a moments notice is something of a necessity.
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