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GoneAstray 04-04-2008 10:39 PM

Hi all!

My name is Jeff and I'm currently living in Los Angeles. I'm in the process of slowly weeding out all possessions that aren't currently in use or have great sentimental value and have my home for sale. (Trying to sell a home in this market is a story in itself)

I have been sailing a Catalina 36' around Santa Monica and Catalina Island for the past year, but it is bareboat chartered when I have a free weekend. I've sailed the Windwards on a 39' Beneteau and have sailed around the Bahamas during college on a Morgan '41 OutIslander.

I retire in few years and my current plans are to find the right blue water cruiser and move aboard, spending the last few years at my job as a liveaboard. Knowing that I need to know a lot more about boat systems before setting off, this seems the most reasonable way to get to know the boat well.

Since I have a bit of time to research and select a boat, I'm in no rush.

I am looking for a "4 wheel drive" type cruiser. Tough and dependable, not necessary the prettiest in the fleet. I've been looking at Amels, Hallberg Rassys, Island Packets, Norseman etc. and my price range is around $200K. Size considering ~ 40 to 45'

I'm stuck on a couple of questions.

1) At some point I'll spend a fair amount of time in Florida and the Bahamas due to my ties there. Most of the blue water boats have a fairly significant keel depth. At what point does that become a killer for the Bahamas and the East Coast of Central America?

2.) Some of the boats have fairly significant windage profiles with raised salons and hard dodgers, at what point does this become significant when beating upwind? Something to worry about considering shallower keels required from Question 1? (Something like a Cal 46 with a raised salon, hard dodger and only a 5' keel)

3.) (Referee, feel free to step in and set ground rules>/smile.gif ) I've also been looking at cruising cats. I understand many of the plus and minuses, but in the real world, have cat owners found they were more limited in route selection due to upwind performance than monohulls? Or are the difference in sailing capabilities more numbers than real world? The reason for this question is a theoretical problem like this - If I decide to go to the South Pacific, am I stuck once I'm in Australia or can I get back east to say Tonga or the Cook Islands?

4.) I am also single, and whether I find someone to share the adventure with or not, I'm going. So the boat may be single handed for stretches at a time, should that factor into any comments.

Thanks everyone for a great site and I look forward to the lively discussion.

And for any of you lurkers seeking crew positions in LA, I'm out on the water about once a month if you just want a nice day sail. (No, I'm not looking for paid compensation... Ok, you can spring for my sandwich>/smile.gif )


JeanneP 04-05-2008 02:15 AM

SV Watermelon was a Jeanneau Sun Fizz, moderate to light displacement "racer-cruiser", it had a fin keel, 7'2" draft. After last winter in the Florida Keys and the Everglades I wouldn't want that much draft there.

We sailed through the Bahamas on our way to the Caribbean, and although we loved the anchorages we found, there were places we couldn't go because of our draft. However, not enough that we regretted the boat's draft. Once we left the Bahamas we didn't find any place we were kept out of because of our draft, and I think that for blue water sailing it was better than a shallower draft.

As far as going east from Australia, it is tough, no matter what sailboat you choose. We sailed from Oz up to Papua New Guinea, east to the Solomons, then east to Vanuatu, and on to Fiji. It was hard sailing, particularly from the Solomons to Vanuatu, and we were pretty beat up. It's an area where a singlehander, on his third (or fourth) solo circumnavigation, went on the reefs between PNG and the Great Barrier Reef. Better to sail to NZ and then back up to Tonga or Fiji. Much easier, though not easy.

Can't speak for multihulls, though we know several couples who have circumnavigated on one.

Just one couple's experience.

Lighthouse 04-05-2008 08:03 AM

Welcome aboard Jeff - good to have you here.

Good luck with whatever you decide.

imagine2frolic 04-05-2008 04:53 PM


I am biased being a cat owner, but if you search for Maxingout. Dave has done a circumnavigation on a 39ft. cat. His website is full of information helpful to any boater. Although you will learn a lot about a catamaran that has been there, and done THAT!!!!!! BEST WISHES

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