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Old 06-21-2010, 04:59 PM   #1
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Friends, I am a permanently disabled vet exisiting on VA disability. read, no money! A very kind and generous benifactor heard about me and decided to give me his 27 ODay as he has acquired a large boat project! The boat has only a compass. I know there are boat owners out there that are upgrading their boats with "the latest and greatest" cause the can afford to and it's fun---Like Christmas. I know I'd do it if I could afford to. Anyhow, if anyone has done this and replaced systems that still work and would be willing to help me I'd be greatful beyond words. I need, and in this order, VHF radio, Depth Sounder,GPS or GPS Chart Plotter, Wind Generator, Solar Panels and eventually a radar system. People, it is very difficult for me to admit this, but these items must be in working condition and free cause I just don't have any money. I can cover my food but probably will spend most of my time sailing or on the hook cause I can't afford marinas very often either.

Boat is in Georgia and I'll be trying to move northward as soon as I find a VHF Radio so can pick up anywhere along coast. Oh, Old Charts in good condition.. Where can I find them? Thanks for the help every one. avoisine at cox dot net
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Old 06-21-2010, 09:44 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AVoisine' date='21 June 2010 - 06:59 PM View Post

Oh, Old Charts in good condition.. Where can I find them?
Be careful with old charts. You will have to spend a lot of effort to update them.

I would recommend obtaining a used laptop, install linux and opencpn on them, and use NOAA charts.

I believe you can obtain a used laptop which is enough for this task for free.

Linux and opencpn are open source = free.

NOAA charts for US coasts are also downloadable for free.

Well, this setup needs reliable electricity while paper charts don't. But you would have an up to date set of charts.

I think making a quick sketch of route, dangerous rocks and approach on paper when planning daily route could be a viable safety measure.

(This is based on my limited experience, but I do think it would work even here on Croatian waters which means lots of rocks.)

If you have affinity for DIY (I guess you have huge amounts of free time), you might consider building your own wind generator.

Here is a site describing one: http://www.mdpub.com/Wind_Turbine/index.html

Of course building it seaproof needs some extra effort.

You can substitue the controller with a computer power unit, which is easily obtained for free or dirt cheap.

The only hard part is the DC motor, but I believe it is also solvable. Or if you are really at DIY, you can build that part also, thetre are sites on the net describing several designs (hint: used hard disks have very strong magnets).

I was thinking about suggesting to build your own VHF radio (there are plans out there), but that item should really be reliable.
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Old 06-22-2010, 01:29 AM   #3
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Congratulations on your boat, Al! How great. Unfortunately, I don't know where you can find used gear for free, or even discounted. The investment in a chartplotter also means investment in chart chips, which can be quite expensive. If you've got a laptop computer, you can, as mentioned, download OpenCPN and NOAA charts for free.

We have never had radar. I still don't think it's that important.

You can still get a hand-held GPS for little money. Ours is quite old, needs a stick to turn it on, but it still works and Peter won't buy a new one so long as it still tells us where we are.

If you do go with a computer and OpenCPN, you can have my old hockey puck USB GPS - for whatever reason it works on Windows XP but not on Windows 7.

I think the VHF is very important, I don't know where you can get one, though. People tend to use them until they no longer work.

Has everybody forgotten when there were no chartplotters? when you went below to check your chart, then went back up to the cockpit to change your course? You don't need to have a chartplotter in the cockpit to watch all the time. You don't need it even going up the ICW - just follow the red and green marks.

Good luck.
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Old 06-22-2010, 02:44 AM   #4
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Hi there,

I'm so glad that you're continuing on now with your own boat! This is very exciting I'm sure.

If you don't have a big budget, getting by with simple instruments or no instruments is really best. Some folks do just fine with a compass, paper charts, and depth sounder. It is nice to have a radio and GPS, but if money is really tight, money is really tight... and I know a couple folks who cruise w/o either GPS or radio. I would not do so, but that is another matter of personal preference.

Oh, Jeanne--the GPS puck might not work if your Windows 7 is 64 bit--the drivers aren't there for many USB things in 7.

Back to topic,

You might consider looking at the Craigs List ads in whatever town you're near. You can place a free ad there locally requesting an inexpensive, working, depth sounder and likely will find some fella with a fishing boat who's upgraded and has 3 of them sitting around. Of course, you'll likely install the depth sounder with the boat out of the water (unless there is a pre-existing thru-hull for it?) so that will take some planning anyway. Once you and your boat are in a marina environment, anchorage with other folks, etc, you can trade things with other boaters as well--and that's another place you might find a depth sounder. A friend of mine makes a habit of dumpster diving and has picked some expensive equipment (all working) out of the dumpsters at marinas. We've benefited in that the friend gave us some gas cans and fenders that he got in the marina. We actually were also given an extra depth sounder w/speed instrument thingy but have no transducer (the instrument sits in our storage in San Diego and we're in San Francisco so...can't send it your way...) and hubby tells me that a similar instrument sits by the dumpster in the marina we are in right this minute--but no transducer. You need to do some dumpster diving.

Agree with others here-- you can get US charts for free from NOAA (download) and you can run a freeware program on an inexpensive laptop/notebook computer. If you're not traveling to far too fast and have a flexible schedule, you can buy used paper charts from people leaving the areas that you're going to be sailing to. Just make sure the charts are fairly up-to-date. You can verify this by the free NOAA charts you've downloaded. Just cross check your routes. Again, once you're in a marina, you'll find people willing to trade things or who will give you things. We had another cruiser give us a complete set of US West Coast charts that are old (from the late 1980's) but we kept them as back-ups to the newer paper charts for the US West Coast that we purchased from a cruiser heading to Mexico. It will all work out somehow.

Rather than just using an old VHF radio, you might consider the purchase a good quality VHF radio with DSC and even AIS for between $200 and $400. It is money well spent. You can look through the HAM radio antenna handbook for information on how to make a variety of antennas cheaply. A good quality hand-held is also a reasonable option.

We don't have radar--keep putting off the purchase of it since the new units keep coming down in price and the options get better and better. We do consider it more-or-less not essential as long as we don't have to move the boat in fog! Even so, with a radio equipped with AIS and with a cheap handheld GPS (ours is a Nokia N810 with Maemo Mapper freeware Noaa charts, btw...not even a real GPS but rather a handheld internet tablet that we found on Ebay cheap...you can get one for about $150 or so there..and it will make phone calls on skype if you're near a wi-fi spot...I digress) you can pick your way through things and keep track of the shipping traffic.

Does the O'Day have an engine w/ability to charge a battery? If not, having a small solar panel would be helpful to you if you're in a latitude where you get some sunshine. In the USA, some liveaboards on shoe string budgets purchase inexpensive solar panels from Harbor Freight, btw. Unlikely that you'll find free solar panels in good shape so you might just have to buy those. On the other hand, you can make a wind generator yourself as already mentioned.

A lot of people have sailed many miles, happily, with very little. You'll be in good company if you keep things simple. You might wish to pick up a copy of the Pardey's Cost Conscious Cruiser and/or Annie Hill's Voyaging on a Small Income. Many, many cruisers have NO income--they work and save and then take off cruising making every penny count and stretch things as long as possible. I don't know what your disability percentage is but I am glad that you are receiving compensation from the VA for your service related disability. That income will really help you with your voyaging budget. If you are 100% disabled and cannot work, no matter what your military rank was, the VA compensation should be more that enough to support a comfortable life cruising a small boat. If you are not classified as 100% disabled but you cannot work because of your disability, I strongly encourage you to contact the VA to have your classification reviewed and updated to reflect your situation. If you are not 100% disabled and thus receive a smaller stipend than what you can live on, reading the above mentioned books can help you think outside the box of how to live cheaply while cruising and what jobs to consider taking up to fund your cruising kitty as you go along.

Best of luck to you in getting things in order on your boat. You mentioned going North from Georgia--what are your cruising plans? We'll all be very interested to learn about what you're planning and how you do.

Fair winds,
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Old 06-27-2010, 02:23 AM   #5
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I haven't been on Liz Clark's site lately, but just was there and saw a great little entry she did about Helmut, a fellow who recycles everything from the marina dumpster. Look at her site to see this nice story! Link.

Just goes to show that you can make a lot with just about nothing
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Old 06-27-2010, 01:42 PM   #6
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Dumpster Diving! I'll hold that thought and come back. Shutting down now for the day.
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Old 06-27-2010, 02:54 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by JeanneP' date='27 June 2010 - 03:42 PM View Post

Dumpster Diving! I'll hold that thought and come back. Shutting down now for the day.
I would not dive a dumpster myself, but recycling is a respectable behaviour. I don't know the English word for the occasion when everyone gets rid of duds which is not for communal waste, lets call its dedudsing

There is an entire city in Hungary where people live on dedudsings as far as The Netherlands. They pick useable items, and sell them here in very reasonable prices. It is good for them, for those who buy the items, and the environment. One of our family hobbies is duds-hunting in local dedudsing. You won't imagine what items people get rid off even in our relatively poor country.

I believe that one should put items which might be of value to someone else near the dumpster, not into it.

Sorry for being (slightly) off-topic.
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