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Old 10-30-2005, 01:02 AM   #1
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I know this is a vague question, and I'm certain I'm going to be chastised for it. . .My husband and I (and our two boxers) are beginning the process of buying a boat. We want to just go down the coast of California, down the coast of Mexico and Central America, and maybe down to South America. We are going to liveaboard. We are not looking to do blue water sailing. Can you give us any advice with such vague parameters? Thanks!
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Old 10-30-2005, 05:07 PM   #2
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Saucy, I would suggest you become subscribers of Latitude 38 (and also visit www.latitude38.com to see what they might have on their website). Tho' free at the chandelries, getting a copy each month would provide very useful reading for you, and their large monthly Changes in Latitudes column frequently provides reports from their readers all up & down the E Pacific Coast (and everywhere else). Personally, I view L38 as the best single publication on the topic of sailing; diverse content, thoughtful, iconoclastic editorial content, and much provided by readers who are 'doing it'.

I think you are misleading yourselves to view your planned route as anything other than offshore sailing. While you can do quite a bit of daysailing along that coast, you also will need to deal with multi-day passages in conditions that at times can be very challenging. (It's also for this reason that I'd encourage you to do a little offshore sailing, upfront, with your two boxers. Boxers are a wonderful breed, so loving and protective. But on a lengthy run such as you plan, I think you are being unkind to them to consider taking them along).

Jack
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Old 10-31-2005, 01:01 PM   #3
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Hi Saucy,

Please take heed of Jack's coments and advice. As always, this is very sound.

I have not sailed the area you mention in a sailing craft but in 1973 (if my fading memory serves me correctly) I was a navigating officer cadet aboard a ship bounf for Tokyo from Panama. Roughly half way between the US mainiland and Hawaii we spotted a capsized trimaran. What had happened was a long and sad story. The vessel had left Tacoma bound for Costa Rica. On board were three people, two men and a woman. One of the men was going to Costa Rica to carry out missionary duties. The other, his brother-in-law, was a lecturer at Washington State University. The woman was wife to one of the guys, and sister to the other (i have forgotten which). Anyway, whilst coasting along the western seaboard soth of San Francisco they were hit by a storm. The boat capsized and the three managed to struggle onto the upturned hull. One of the guys was wearing a belt with a large, metal belt buckle. With this they managed to cut their way through the plywood centre hull and access their water, juice and stores that remained undamaged. They also got to their tools and using the had-drill bored a series of holes through the hull and above the water level. They then passed cord through these holes creating a bed on which they could lie.

To cut a long story short, we found them after they had been 72 days adrift! During this time a number of ships had passed without spotting the upturned vessel. We launched a boat and went to investigate as we had seen no sign of life aboard the wreck. When we were close the sound of out boat's diesel engine was heard and one of the guys poked his head out of the hole in the hull and waved to us. Unfortunately, the woman had died before we arrived on the scene. We picked up the two men and put them into the ship's hospital. Both seemed to recover well to begin with but after a few days improvement, one relapsed. We landed the guys at Midway. Not long after, we were informed that the one who had suffered a relapse had died of hepetitus.

Why do I tell you this? Not to put you off in any way. Go for it and do the trip you have planned. No, I am passing this on to you solely to support what Jack has already written. The west coast of America (north, south and central) is not always a calm aquatic playground. Be prepared and accept that your cruise is definately a blue water affair. Get the experience necesary for blue-water cruising and ensure your boat is also capable of it and well equiped and you will have a great time.

Bon voyage // Stephen,

skipper s/v Nausikaa
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Old 11-01-2005, 01:06 AM   #4
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Thank you Jack Tyler and Nausikaa for your sound and generously given advice. Obviously, we are at the beginning of our dreaming stage. Thank you for your honest advice. Thank you even more for not being patronizing and/or judgmental.
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Old 11-01-2005, 11:52 AM   #5
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Hi again Saucy,

Thanks for your kind comments. I am very pleased you took my opinions in the light in which they were given. I am sure that, if you prepare yourselves correctly, you will have a great time.

There is absolutely no reason to be either patronising or judgemental. We have all been in the position of harbouring dreams of distant shores at some time, and to be honest, I still am. That is half the joy of cruising.

In a nutshell, my advice is:
  • buy the most competent boat you can afford
  • ensure you have sufficient knowledge and experience to handle the boat
  • ENJOY IT!

My own preference (not shared by so very many) is to go small. Small ships - small problems. If I was in North America, I would consider a Flicka or a Nor'Sea.

As for the dogs....well, I am sorry but I agree with Jack there too. I grew up with dogs and I love being in their company. However, I decided long ago that the lifestyle I have chosen is far from compatable with the lifestyle they need. Dogs will come into my life again when I no longer am physically capable of heading out to sea. But, on the other hand, I have almost no experience of dogs at sea so I may be wrong.

All the best // Stephen
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Old 11-02-2005, 11:42 PM   #6
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Hello Saucy

I'd just like to put a couple of penn'th. It is potentially the most exciting time of your life, but as someone who is three months away from doing a similar thing...

1. Set yourself a budget and a 'launch date'.

2. Double the budget but stick to the launch date!

3. Get all the qualifications you can

4. Get some experience crewing for others

5. Buy a boat on recommendation, condition and advice, NOT on your hearts desire!

I can't really comment on anything else, apart from hull form and rig...

Good luck

Ben

3 months, 29 days and 2 hours to go
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Old 11-09-2005, 06:58 AM   #7
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Thanks again for all your sage advice. I'll keep coming to you guys with questions!
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