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Old 10-04-2012, 19:53   #1
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questions from a novice aspiring coastal cruiser..

A little background.

I am a complete novice who will be doing some powerboating courses in the next couple of months in order to prepare me for my first purchase. I am really excited and have been doing (premature!) research into small outboard coastal cruising boats that are within my budget.

My intention is to cruise solo around the mediterranean popping into ports and enjoying the good life, and venturing no more than 20 miles offshore (am i being too cautious?).


I would like to purchase a small (i cant afford bigger) outboard powered coastal cruiser such as the Beneteau Antares 6.80/Jenneau Merry Fisher 6.45.


Googling indicates that these types of boats (antares 6.80/Merry fisher 6.45) have limited ranges. With a fuel tank of 135L approx and a 115 hp outboard you get about 1 mile/litre cruising at 20 knots, if i am correct.


Is this type of boat suitable for my requirements?
Can you fill up with fuel when out at sea from Jerrycans? (maybe this is a silly question! I have no idea of where you even put fuel in such a boat)
Is such a boat safe to camp out at sea for a couple of days at a time (max 20 miles offshore), being that it is a small cruiser?
Are these strictly fair weather boats due to size/stability? ( of course i would head inland in bad weather)


Since i dont know any boaters i was going to wait to ask my instructors such questions etc.. while learning, but I am losing sleep

Any suggestions, advice is much appreciated!
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Old 11-04-2012, 06:57   #2
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Re: questions from a novice aspiring coastal cruiser..

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, HernandoMauro.
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Old 11-04-2012, 07:21   #3
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Re: questions from a novice aspiring coastal cruiser..

I am not familiar with the boats you mention, but we began coastal cruising in a 22-foot C-Dory, powered by a 90hp outboard. We lived aboard the C-Dory for as much as 2 months at a time, cruising the challenging waters of British Columbia and Southeast Alaska. Learning what to bring aboard and what to leave behind is a key to success. Also, keeping in touch with weather conditions and forecast. Build your skills step by step - learn as you go. Plan ahead, and don't do anything you think is way beyond your skill and experience level.

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Old 11-04-2012, 07:47   #4
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Re: questions from a novice aspiring coastal cruiser..

My first big boat is my 36' mainship. Twin inboards.

My experience is 10-15 meters is a good size for a coastal boat. The weather can hurt you even in a bay. 20 miles out you will have to watch carefully in a small boat. Around here squal lines can form 5-10 miles from shore trapping you out so you have to go through a severe storm to go back in.

Refueling offshore from jerry cans is a bad idea.

Have the tankage installed that you need, and be conservative, (don't use more than 1/3 fuel going out), If conditions change wind, currents, wave size, etc...it can take twice as much fuel to return.

Trying to refuel off shore wrestling a 50lb jerry can on a rolling deck and hitting a small fuel port is unlikely, more likely you will spill fuel all over your deck getting very little in the tank, one spark and you will be swimming home.

You will have to shut down outboard to do this safely, which means no control until engine restarts, a broad side wave will roll you.

Twin engines are recommended for going offshore, I've limped back in on one engine, hard to do if the one engine you have stops working.

Other than that, good luck, buy a good sound Hull, with a good engine, (drive train), in well maintained condition, everything else can be fixed.
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Old 11-04-2012, 07:56   #5
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Re: questions from a novice aspiring coastal cruiser..

Oh on the camping offshore, Ah? no. I wouldn't do it. Weather can change with no warning, (hard to see storms in the dark). You would need to post a watch, Med has lots of traffic.

I always go to a protected anchorage at night, unless overnight fishing where the boat is actively being used, and all hands are on deck, captain at wheel etc...

Try to plan trips from point a to point b giving plenty of time to arrive, and set anchor before nightfall, with backup plan in case something goes wrong.

For example if engine trouble 1 hour out - abort return home; if 2-3 hours out, weather change, delay - go to a close backup anchorage, etc...
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Old 11-04-2012, 08:20   #6
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Re: questions from a novice aspiring coastal cruiser..

Hello and welcome to CF.

You also might consider sail. Some will make it sound hopelessly difficult to learn but it is not. I can teach anyone to make a boat go in one lesson, and while you would need to develop your skills more then that before you go off shore you have a great many options available when you are not tied to the limited range of the boats you are looking at.

Many enjoy cruising on power boats, and as a delivery captain I appreciate the merits of both. You may find that sail would suit you.

Good luck what ever you choose to do!
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Old 11-04-2012, 08:34   #7
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Re: questions from a novice aspiring coastal cruiser..

Twin engines might be nice, but they have their disadvantages, especially in a small boat. They weigh more, cost more both for the initial purchase and for maintenance, and usually reduce fuel economy as compared to a single main engine.

We use a single main engine and a small 9.9hp "kicker". The kicker has saved us quite a few times over 20 years and nearly 40,000 miles of cruising. Think of the exposure if your main quits when you were close to a rocky shore with an onshore wind - we've been there. The kicker is one example of "backup" systems that are key to successful longer-range power boat cruising.

With its 10-gallon gas tank, it can take our diesel cruiser 30-40 miles, although slower than the main engine. It's also a good way to go slow for fishing.
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Old 11-04-2012, 08:36   #8
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Re: questions from a novice aspiring coastal cruiser..

Quote:
Originally Posted by HernandoMauro View Post
Is such a boat safe to camp out at sea for a couple of days at a time (max 20 miles offshore), being that it is a small cruiser?
The Antares is a cool little boat, but I think that 20 miles offshore is a long way to venture on a single outboard.

If you're going to push the limits on such a boat, keep three considerations in mind:

1) Don't use short cuts. If you need an auxiliary fuel tank, for example, install one properly. The jerry jug solution is just a disaster waiting to happen, especially offshore.

2) Keep the boat light. Once you get everything you need for a weekend aboard, including extra fuel and water, that 110 hp outboard is going to be struggling to move that boat around.

3) Treat the engine as if your life depends on it. Break it in properly, don't ever redline it, install an hour meter if it doesn't come with one, and a proper tachometer, and have the engine serviced professionally before it needs it. A thorough washout after every use. New spark plugs whenever it doesn't start instantly. New impeller at least once a year.

I second the idea of a small "kicker" engine.
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Old 11-04-2012, 13:37   #9
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Re: questions from a novice aspiring coastal cruiser..

Quote:
Originally Posted by s/v 'Faith' View Post
Hello and welcome to CF.

You also might consider sail. Some will make it sound hopelessly difficult to learn but it is not. I can teach anyone to make a boat go in one lesson, and while you would need to develop your skills more then that before you go off shore you have a great many options available when you are not tied to the limited range of the boats you are looking at.

Many enjoy cruising on power boats, and as a delivery captain I appreciate the merits of both. You may find that sail would suit you.

Good luck what ever you choose to do!
I wish someone had taught me to sail before I bought my power boat.

One big advantage of a sail boat is you don't HAVE to sail it. Motor around, and learn sailing at your leisure.
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Old 11-04-2012, 14:14   #10
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Re: questions from a novice aspiring coastal cruiser..

Guys, you advice is much appreciated!

I think the experience from a few sail courses will only add to my confidence and capability when motoring. So that is definately on the cards.
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Old 11-04-2012, 14:22   #11
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Re: questions from a novice aspiring coastal cruiser..

Quote:
Originally Posted by HernandoMauro View Post
Guys, you advice is much appreciated!

I think the experience from a few sail courses will only add to my confidence and capability when motoring. So that is definately on the cards.
Very good, hope you enjoy all of your classes. Where are you currently living, maybe there is someone here on the forum who might be able to take you out on the water for an afternoon and give you a bit of experience before your class?
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Old 11-04-2012, 14:32   #12
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Re: questions from a novice aspiring coastal cruiser..

A 30 foot or so sail boat with a good diesel engine would be much more economical and spacious albeit slower, learn to sail later, easy to motor and very economical talking more like 20mpg.

the boats you are talking about are more sports fishers, youd be better with an inboard ,a sealine s24 diesel or something along those lines would be a far better boat for this sort of trip, with a 8hp outboard as a back up (if you must go the planning motor boat route)

110hp outboard -if four stroke would get around 4-5mpg depending on weight loading
/sea state. a sealine s24 diesel around 3-4 mpg, both boats can get far more mpg if you trawl at say 5-6 knots rather than plane.

I highly suggest you look at 24 ft cabin cruisers, regal, sealine or the like, the 2 fishing style boats are exactly that, with very little accommodation space or facilities.

If you can bare going slower then a 30ft yacht can be had for similar money and fuel costs will be far less, even if you never use the sail or learn to and will most likely be safer in rougher conditions.
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Old 11-04-2012, 14:35   #13
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Re: questions from a novice aspiring coastal cruiser..

Welcome to CF! I did take a look at the Antares and find the boat to be versatile. However, I would hesitate to purchase a boat in that class for coastal cruising. While I have no doubt it could be fitted to travel longer distances, it's design does not lend it to be suitable for the type of cruising you described. I'd like to point a few things out.

1. The fuel capacity is low for a very good reason. In the United States, the United States Coast Guard issues ratings for production boats based on how capable they are offshore. If a vessel is rated for 75 miles, it indicates the vessel is capable of making a 75 mile round trip and can bear conditions found in such waters. Accordingly, a boat with this rating has proper fuel capacity, etc. The low fuel capacity in your boat is one of many indicators as to what it is capable of handling. There is no question fuel capacity can be increased. However, doing so will not render the boat better suited for offshore cruising.

2. I would hesitate making such trips in a boat that is equipped with only one small outboard. An engine failure can make it very difficult for you to even maintain a steady position (depending on conditions) as you wait for help to arrive. I would recommend at the very least in inboard/outboard design with a kicker motor. Should your main engine fail, the kicker motor will be able to bring you to shore.

3. An outboard motor has limited or negligible charging capability. If you plan on spending extended periods on the boat, you will use electricity for lighting, refrigeration, etc. This means you will need access to a source of power for recharging or have an onboard generator. At least with an inboard/outboard configuration, your engine's alternator can provide limited charging and make you less reliant on shore power. You will also need extra battery capacity with an outboard; such will increase your weight.

4. A gasoline engine limits your range. If you find something with a Diesel engine, you will gain a considerable amount of range.

These are a few things to think about. As I said, the Antares (and cruisers in that class) are great, versatile boats. However, I would have great hesitation in recommending them for your cruising needs.

Best of luck to you. Please keep us posted and feel free to ask as many questions as needed.
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Old 02-05-2012, 12:44   #14
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Re: questions from a novice aspiring coastal cruiser..

Hernando,

Agree with the above. Those boats you listed are both planning hulls. Look into a displacement hull.

Here's a description:

Boat Characteristics: Central Florida Fishing Report

Typically they are either fishing or small trawlers. Instead of getting up on top of the water (planning), they separate or slice through the water.

Most have a small diesel with big fuel tanks. The displacement hull uses less fuel and is generally more stable (and heavier), then the planing hull.

Read up a little on these and let us know your thoughts.....

PK
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Old 03-05-2012, 05:47   #15
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Re: questions from a novice aspiring coastal cruiser..

Something like this?

http://www.yachtworld.com/core/listi...g_id=1479&url=
Not as sexy, but a very seaworthy vessel!
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