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Old 02-02-2013, 03:43 AM   #1
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Default planning for my first boat

I would like some input on the following: we are in the planning stages of our eventual move to the live aboard life. Unfortunately we are land locked in central Indiana. So at this time my "plan" is to buy a good solid boat that needs interior work. I am very handy and have an extensive woodworking shop at my house. I would like to have the boat for 6 to 8 months prior to our departure so that I could fix and modify the boat to our needs. We are looking at 30 to 38 footer. Is it possible for me to transport a boat of this size? I estimate one way transport fees of 12000 to 1500. Could I put in on the Ohio River and make my way to the Gulf with the mast up? Any thoughts about the practicality of this plan?
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Old 02-02-2013, 06:37 AM   #2
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Default Go for it

Unfortunately we are land locked in central Indiana. SCould I put in on the Ohio River and make my way to the Gulf with the mast up? Any thoughts about the practicality of this plan?

Do it!

Being down here in Oz (or actually up here in Borneo at the moment refitting our 44' Antigua Ketch) I can honestly say I know nothing of the topography of Indiana or the Ohio - apart from the fact I think you race go karts there and someone is always sitting on the banks singing their heads off!

Who said us Aussies we're out of touch with the rest of the world?

Seriously though, moving a yacht to work on at home is probably one of the most economical, efficient and time saving things you can do.

No hardstand or marina fees, no noise curfews, no spray painting or welding restrictions, no time constraints (you can work 24x7 if you desire) and no interruptions!.

Just make sure your yacht in its final form is transportable. Some states and municipalities have road restrictions and here in Oz, any vessel over 28' requires a road escort whilst vessel with very wide beams can only be transported at night with two road escorts. All these up the transportation price.

But saying that - you'll save a packet and can go out and purchase that do-her-upper knowing that you'll have the facilitates and the time to dedicate to your project.

We shipped a bare hull to our front lawn in the middle of Perth and fitted her out within 12 months for our trip across the top of Australia. You could always find where we lived - just follow the wafts of fibre glass shavings across people's front lawns and along the gutters a few suburbs away! Agreed - perhaps a rural block would have been more appropriate than an inner city suburban lawn but it did become quite a talking point with the neighbours!

In the end, only you know your capabilities and stamina to see the job through but on the whole - I'd say go for it!

(I'm currently cutting 16mm teak-faced marine plywood in a luxury resort marina in Borneo and expecting the resort patrons to complain at any moment about the noise - although I have tied a tarp between our yacht and the neighbours and am jig sawing under a blanket to lessen the din! - oh to be at home and free to jigsaw and roam!)

Fair winds,


Australis
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Old 02-02-2013, 03:57 PM   #3
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Welcome to Cruiser Log. I would like to give you some long answers, but if you don't mind, could you answer a few questions for me first?

Are you a sailor, or do you plan to learn to sail?
If a sailor, are you familiar with the Great Loop? Do you know how to read charts?

Have you contacted any trucking companies about the cost and requirements for hauling a boat?

Where in Indiana? How close to Lake Erie, for example?

Look forward to hearing from you.
Jeanne
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Old 02-02-2013, 07:51 PM   #4
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To answer your questions:
limited sailing experience. spent 7 days on 25 foot hunter in the Floriday keys. I'm reading a lot on the subject and watching videos as well. I have a lot to learn. I can read maps and have experience with wilderness orientation back in the days before GPS. (had a job in college updating topo maps for US Forestry Service). Not much experience with charts. should be some positive transfer. I have read some on the great loop, just want to make sure I can leave a mast up to go from Evansville Indiana to gulf. We are close to Terre Haute ("armpit of America") and about 3 hours from Evansville, 4 hours from Chicago. Have not talked with transport companies yet, only estimating their shipping costs off of websites. I have seen a few boats that would work in the great lakes area, this could save me a few hundred dollars on getting the boat here.
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Old 02-02-2013, 11:58 PM   #5
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If you go through Chicago, you will have to take your mast down, there is a bridge there that is 19' high, and you have to get under it. After that it seems that you can travel with the mast up to the Gulf, though I cannot state that with complete confidence. I just found a blog that might help you with this part of your journey, Captain John's America's Great Loop

The charts for the river (central US) part of the Great Loop, bringing you to the Gulf of Mexico, are published by the US Army Corps of Engineers. Various sectors are responsible for different parts, so you need to do a fair amount of work. However, the charts are mostly free to download, all you need is a navigation program to read them and plan with them. You can do it all on you PC. Captain John has more information on this area of planning. He also points out that a maximum draft of 6 feet is able to make it down the river and canal system to the Gulf.

I use my PC and downloaded charts from NOAA to navigate in the US coastal waters. Outside the US you need to buy charts, be they paper or electronic.

I don't think you will be lucky enough to find somebody who has transported their boat as you are considering, so the hard work will be on you to see if that's a viable option. There are a number of specialist truckers doing this kind of work, you see them at the various big boat shows, particularly the Miami Boat Show.

Now another question - I am assuming that you are planning to move aboard the boat and go cruising. Is your search for a boat and restoration project the preliminaries to retirement?
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Old 02-03-2013, 03:33 AM   #6
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Thanks Jeanne. This is good information. I had looked at the Army Corp charts and did not see any low bridges, although I thinkl there is a lock that I would need to negotiate up by Evansville. I did not know the draft. Our plan is to liquidate assests and move onto the boat. We will most likely live on the hook for at least a year to see how it works. We are very resourcefull and lived together in a 30 foot RV for 1 year and LOVED it. We want to just cruise the east coast letting the seasons dictate out location. We do have a back up plan. We are both RN's and can pick up 11 week travel assignments in any costal city. So it would make sence to get a boat that could be our retirement boat. Marcia, my wife, is not crazy about the idea of crossing the Atlantic so I will have to wait for her to change her mind or die... but I would like to have the option. So i believe a 34 to 38 would be enough for us. now I have a question for you, do you think a water maker would make a good investment for the type of cruising we are considering.
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Old 02-04-2013, 01:53 AM   #7
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If you are in need of an extra crew member, I live just hours or so north of the Ohio river. I would be more than willing to meet you to get picked up if you are interested.
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Old 02-04-2013, 02:38 PM   #8
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There are lots and lots and lots of locks to transit whether you go down to the Gulf of Mexico or east to the Hudson River and New York. If you go East you will have to travel with your mast on deck. I suggest the East Coast route because you can head south with a mix of safe Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (AICW) motoring when the weather isn't so great, and some good sailing when the weather is fine. Planned right, popping in and out of the AICW trips are a good way to learn more about your boat and about sailing. Since you are able to find meaningful work as you travel, this is a nice way to do it, IMO.

Watermaker. I am not a fan of watermakers unless you use them pretty much continuously. They are huge power consumers, something that is a problem if you are living aboard full time and don't spend your time in marinas.

Lifestyles play a big part in this equation. Laundry - I did our laundry in a 5-gallon bucket (using only fresh water) for 95% of the time we were cruising, and didn't mind at all.

Bathing - our cruising was almost exclusively in the tropics, and we bathed in salt water, rinsed with fresh water.

Dishes - I had a salt-water foot pump in the galley - I washed and rinsed dishes with salt water, then a final fresh water rinse. This works really well in the islands, not so good in most US coastal harbors.

Crossing the Atlantic. Not easily or willingly done from the US, usual departure is from the Caribbean. Lots of people do it, and though it is lots of windward work, at the right time of the year it's a great way to get away from it all for a few weeks.

In my opinion the Caribbean has some of the best sailing in the world. Predictable and reliable winds most of the time. I loved the sailing there.

Another one of our logs that might be of interest to you and your wife, General Bits and Pieces
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Old 02-07-2013, 03:17 AM   #9
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when traveling through locks on the rivers, is there a fee to use them? Is there a resource available that would explain the ins-n-outs of traveling the rivres of the loop. I am enjoying the logs Jeannep, informative and entertaining.
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Old 02-07-2013, 06:08 AM   #10
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As always, Jeanne had a lot of useful information. I disagree about the water maker, however. If you stay in places where water is always available, don't mind lugging jugs of water around, then you probably don't need a water maker (unless you own a catamaran as the weight savings is very useful). Keep in mind that a 5 gallon jug of water weighs 35 lbs and you will need to carry a lot of jugs you have to find space for.
If you go to remote locations you will have a problem getting water safe enough to drink. I could list many places I have visited where water is just not available. You will find yourself scheduling ports and visits around where you can get water, not where you might want to go. You have to decide what kind of cruising you will do, then make the watermaker decision.
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Old 02-07-2013, 02:14 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dave watson View Post
when traveling through locks on the rivers, is there a fee to use them?
Did you go to the link I provided to Captain John's America's Great Loop? As far as I know, there are no fees for locking through. As far as other resources for traveling the rivers, your best bet is to just search the Internet.

There is a group, the AGLCA, America's Great Loop Cruisers Association, that provides lots of information, and a whole lot of marketing of "stuff". We joined it a few years ago when we were planning to do the Great Loop, but "things" got in the way of our plans and we weren't able to do it. I lost enthusiasm for the group due to a bit of condescension by a few (very few, admittedly) active members of the group. If you can ignore the crass commercialism of parts of the web site, I think it's worth joining when you are finally ready to set out on your boat.

Spike, in many ways you are right about a watermaker, but there are drawbacks.

First, in US waters clean fresh potable water is so easily available that the watermaker would probably go unused most of the time. That would entail "pickling" the membrane - once or twice doing that and the watermaker would sit unused until it was really needed in, say, the Bahamas - then it might not work - Murphy's Law, of course. It might help to search for cruiser's reports of problems with watermakers to get a better idea of what can and does go wrong.

In 16 years of cruising outside the US in sometimes (more often than not) remote and primitive destinations, water was only a problem twice - the islands of Misima and Bagaman in Papua New Guinea. Also, some hardships in the Bahamas (safe but dreadful water in many places, not enough rain to catch rain water); and Tioman Island in Malaysia (such silty water we had to let the silt settle out before siphoning the clear water through the primary silt filter into our tanks). But we had a very efficient rain catcher for most places where rainfall was reasonable, including the middle of the S. Pacific Ocean.

But I admit, a good watermaker can make everyone's life a lot easier. I'm just not convinced that it's needed while in US waters.
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Old 02-12-2013, 09:10 PM   #12
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Talk to me... I went to high school in Ft. Wayne, I understand your situation! The wife and I live on our Tartan 34-2 in St. Thomas (Yes, we sailed her here). I work professionally as a sailing Captain. Jeanne is a great sorce of information, so listen up when she speaks. She was a sounding board for us before we got salty!

Now: Why do you want to cross the Atlantic? We all have our dreams, and I won't pick on yours, but if you will tell us what is in your heart and in your head we can dispell myths and guide you to success... I promise!

What is your boat budget? There are some great deals right now, and you may be able to acquire something on the water now, that needs little work. (First lesson- Everything on your boat is broken, you just don't know it yet!) It does not sound to me like you have your spouse fully onboard yet, and I am going to prescribe some sailing time in the Caribbean to allow you to do that.

What is your time frame? Let us know just how you would like all of this to play out...

Even along the coast I often have to pick marinas that I can get my mast height into.

Let's get some time in there to see if BOTH of you enjoy sailing before we get too excited.

It cost me about $4K to send a boat from Missouri to Alabama just a few years ago. And a bit more to get it ready at both ends. That is an extra 5Plus Grand you could spend on a boat that is already on the water!

I seem to have read that you are both RN's, so I fully believe that you can learn any and all tasks required... And everyone here was at the stage you two are in now... Please; Ask away!

David & Brenda

My favorite definition of Cruising is: Working on your boat in exotic places!
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Old 02-14-2013, 04:09 AM   #13
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My wife is from Huntington... small world. I will try to answer your questions in order.
1. I have always dreamed of cruising the Mediterranean
2. We have a very modest budget. This is why we are looking for a boat that needs some work, but not a total refit. Like I said I feel very confident in my woodworking skills and my mechanical aptitude. I know my way around a car and can fix most everything. I have not attempted fiberglass repair but I have done some automotive bodywork and painting. I have used epoxy in my woodworking so I am familare with this product. I think our budget would be 20,000 or there about.
3. My youngest daughter is starting high school this fall so we are on a 3 1/2 to 4 year plan. I enjoy the research aspect of this project and plan on learning all I can to be as informed as possible when it is time to buy.
After reading you reply I have come up with a plan "B". Tell me if you think this would be a better use of our resources... We have an RV (lived in it for 1 year). We could purchase a boat... sell the house... buy an enclosed trailer and put most of my tools in it and move to an RV park close to the marina. We could even get a nursing travel assignment while working on the boat. This would save the cost of transporting the boat, but would add the marina and camp fees. Part of this would be offset by the nursing job. $300/month for camp fees + marina fees, + inconvenience of not having boat in my back yard VS transport fees.
Your thoughts
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Old 02-14-2013, 12:12 PM   #14
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This budget could be a problem, but it has been done before. Please understand that there are fees involved in cruising the Med' also. Others here on this site can help you with that, or you can go onto a site called "Noonsite" and research yourself. Many folks before you have crossed the Atlantic on meager sailboats... Most of them (but not all) had oodles of sailing experience before they left. I invite you guys down here for a week. We will sail from St. Thomas to St. Croix or Puerto Rico. It is a small trip (40ish miles) but will give you some better insight. Some things that you will need to start looking for will likely push your budget: Wind Vane, Offshore gear, Life Raft, Etceteras. Though I would never recommend two folks with little sailing experience head across the Atlantic, It has been done before. Your plan to move closer to a marina may work if the right boat is available there. Many boats today are designed for weekenders, NOT bluewater cruising... So picking a good boat is a start. Look up a sailboat called "Atom". She is a Pearson Triton (28') that the owner sailed across the Atlantic. I can't remember the name of the book, but I know he has some info online. I know where one of her big sisters ((32') is if that type of boat appeals to you. To have a boat in your yard requires jack stands, etceteras. To keep one in the marina requires marina fees. If money is short, the yard (your original plan) may indeed be the best. Do some research on what it will take for you to transport a boat to your house from about 500 miles away. Closer, if you know of potential boats. Otherwise Plan B may be a good option. We were lucky to have a great inland sailing lake about 2 hours from our home, but that is rare in the Midwest! Another option would be to save for the next 3-1/2 to 4 years and start the boat hunt during that time. In this econmy I know that is difficult, but I caution against going in-debt to do what you propose. Oh, and they hire travelling nurses in St. Thomas!

Fair winds,
David

P.S. My wife is also from Huntington!
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