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Old 02-10-2007, 21:31   #1
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2 years planning, 2 years sailing...was it worth it? ABSOLUTLY!!!

For 2 years I planed, read, and refitted a boat to safely take me anywhere I'd like to go......And then I left, The route was unclear and vague, The boat was strong and reliable, but not " perfect ". Yet when I turned the corner leaving the bay behind me and headed south, life was perfect.

I appreciate all the knowledge I gained by reading the threads on this site, I feel if I should briefly explain what I learned from my singlehanded 2 year voyage from California to the Galapagos to Palmyra island, then relaxing on the big island befor I headed back home.

1) Make the decision to go...AND GO!!
2) Put the biggest engine in your boat you possibly can (diesel of coarse)
There will be many times you will appreciate the HP to get you out of bad whether, Also a way to get out of the doldrums. Entering a anchorage with the tide leaving and breakers coming at your transom, its nice to overpower the situation. If the space is there. you might as well fill it up with as much engine you can. empty space does not get you out of a jam.
Its hard to say this now, due to my sailing purist thoughts before I left. I figured I would sail everywhere. Reality is the wind and weather always seem to be coming from the direction you are trying to go.

3)Buy a comfortable boat...You will spend most of your time on the hook, or in the marina. You will sit or lay down more than you ever have before in your life. So make sure these areas are comfortable.
If you can find a way to sit down while cooking. it makes that first cup of coffee easy to make in the rolling and pitching boat. I am able to sit in my settee and cook, this feature was invaluable.
If you plan to have crew aboard, have separate closed off sleeping quarters, It also makes it much nicer for shift work.
The vee-birth is almost un-useable in nasty weather, or while under sail.
I suggest a pullman layout, aft cabin, or a nice quarter birth that has a cabin door separating it from the used space.

4) Put the largest ground tackle on the boat she will take. USE CHAIN...
It is much easier to go exploring or a good nights sleep, when you have piece on mind that your home is not going to wind up on the rocks.
Have multiple sets..

5) Keep all your spares and replacements. Take 2 of everything, and if you can afford it buy a third as a back up.

6) don't have a schedule. just let the wind take you. Don't rush. be sure to meet the other cruisers. There are a lot of great people out there, and some really beautiful sights. Spend the time to enjoy them.

7) stick to your budget, we all have different spending habits, and financial backing. Make a budget and stick to it. Its real easy to forget to keep track of spending. Your on vacation Right??

8)Make sure your boat is self sufficient. I.E. Auto pilots (electrical and mechanical)Solar power and or wind vane. I highly suggest solar. Its always working, no moving parts, and does not drive you and your neighbors crazy with the noise. Not having to worry about running out of power is nice.
Diesel is found anywhere you go. Gas is difficult,propane is spotty, and most alcohol is lower grade than I was used to in the states.

9) have a nice tender. its tough to have to bum a ride into the beach. AND BE VERY CAREFUL WHEN LANDING IN SURF.

10) electronics are nice, I would not leave again without GPS, Radar, and a strong radio. But if these items keep you from leaving, you dont really need them. But they are very nice to have. If you can afford a watermaker and spares, it is useful, but water is easy to find, just not always convient.

This list could go on for a while, In a nut shell:
Be comfortable, don't worry to much about the sailing characteristics of the boat, bring spares..allot.. and make sure your boat is safe when you are not around.

A hope this helps a little for you who are new and/or have questions.

For me.. another 2 years of planning, a new boat, and refill the kitty purse , and back to the sea with no thoughts of return.

Cheers
Fair winds and following seas
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Old 02-10-2007, 21:40   #2
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Great story and practical advice! What is your boat?
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Old 02-10-2007, 21:50   #3
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She was a early seventies English yawl. 32' with bow spirit, full keel, HP diesel aux. beautiful boat. She has been sent off with a new owner. and is on her way to blue water. My wife has finally decided that the sailing life is for her, and has signed on full time. so a bigger boat is in the works.
No more flying in to meet me.

Cheers
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Old 02-10-2007, 23:14   #4
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Awesome read, especially for a young person like myself that hopes to do the same in the future. Good to hear your wife will be sailing with you now rahter than flying down to meet you.

Do you have any good pictures from the journey you wouldn;t mindsharing?
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Old 02-10-2007, 23:25   #5
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Pics.. and documentery movie will be availible ( hopefully ) soon, I fortunately have freinds in that type of business and geared me up with some very impressive equipment for the trip. All images are now at a professional, and if all goes well will be avalible soon.
I will keep you all posted.
Cheers
D
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Old 03-10-2007, 04:38   #6
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Great read. Thank you.
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Old 03-10-2007, 06:01   #7
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A great set of observations and tips garnered from hard experience! I'd like to hear of your progress in choosing your next boat, all the above considered!! Will you return to a full keel? Will the next departure see you travel further or longer?
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Old 03-10-2007, 08:24   #8
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I will definatly go back to a full keel. I am looking in the 36 - 41' range. Hans christian 38 is a dream, I have looked into the islander freeport 41 and really like the layout. I definatly want something with a pilot house, or a full coverage dodger. I had a yawl before, and now I am looking to a ketch or a cutter type rig. Recently I have been looking at boats made of steel or ferro-cement. I like the heavy displacement, and I was very suprised to see how many other cruisers out there have boats of this matierial.
Boat choice will change depending on if I can unload my home at a decent price. As we all know the market is awful right now.
As to where I will be heading... Around the glode westward. I keep a pretty open itineray, but I loved Mexico, and look forward to the south pacific. The wife wants to see parts of europe so we will have to head up that way. As long as I am able,happy, and have some coin in my pockett we will keep going. We are selling all posessions, and both our businesses, Keeping our rental property for extra spending cash, and also a for a home base in case the trip has to end.
Cheers
D
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Old 03-10-2007, 10:26   #9
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Happy to offer suggestions on ports of call this side of the pond when the time comes - Med, Aegean, Ireland, UK, France, Spain, etc - best of luck with the plans!!
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Old 03-10-2007, 10:40   #10
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Islander Freeport

Quote:
Originally Posted by kingfish View Post
I have looked into the islander freeport 41 and really like the layout.
Cheers
D
I just talked to someone who has an Islander Freeport for sale in California. He is being moved overseas and wants to sell it fast "Make Offer" type of sale. I have his contact info if you are really looking for an Islander Freeport.
Quote:

This is a 41' islander freeport. boat designers made the 'biggest' 41 they could make. wide beam, 3 separate 'rooms' with separate aft cabin for mom and dad. above are some photos and info. let me know if i can send more.
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Old 03-10-2007, 11:28   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kingfish View Post
I will definatly go back to a full keel. I am looking in the 36 - 41' range. Hans christian 38 is a dream, I have looked into the islander freeport 41 and really like the layout. I definatly want something with a pilot house, or a full coverage dodger. I had a yawl before, and now I am looking to a ketch or a cutter type rig.

Take a look at a Lord Nelson 35 or 41 if you get a chance. It's like a Hans but with improvements.

We had a LN 35 and cruised Mexico with it. It was a great bluewater boat.

Steve B.
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Old 03-10-2007, 17:51   #12
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Our cruising grounds and style were very different from kingfish’s - Bahamas/Eastern Caribbean - mostly glorified day-sail island hopping. And yet our conclusions are almost 100% in agreement:

I wouldn’t replace an engine unless I had to. But if I did, I would probably upgrade the power - most production cruising boats are under powered. IMHO, the engine is the most important piece of equipment on a cruising sailboat. Even Hal Roth came to recognize them as a cruising essential. We spent many days in beautiful but coral head studded anchorages that I would not enter under many conditions and never enter at all even in the best of conditions without a strong reliable engine. And the idea that you will sail everywhere is simply unrealistic. We’re not sailors - we’re cruisers and sometimes you just have to motor/sail to safely get where you need to go.

#3 should be #2 - if you do not enjoy living on the boat, no amount of glorious days at sea or breathtakingly beautiful island beaches will keep you cruising. Most cruisers are couples and comfort level is intensely personal. You must be brutally honest with each other - there is a big difference between spending 2 weeks on a boat and spending 2 years on a boat. The boat must be a comfortable home for both of you. And yes, unless you have a very large boat, the V berth is for storage not sleeping (well, you can clear it out for the in-laws when they visit).

For the Bahamas/Caribbean wind power is a great supplement to solar - with a combination of the two, you can support a very large battery bank without the need to periodically run the engine and this only enhances your comfort level.

Watermakers are well worth the trouble and expense because they expand your cruising grounds, enhance your comfort level, and eliminate the need for bothersome docking or jerry-jugging. Also, the last thing you want to do is leave a protected anchorage in iffy conditions because you need to go somewhere else to get more water.

Nevertheless #1 is right on - Go simple, Go slow (see #6), and GO NOW:

http://www.boatus.com/cruising/littl.../200608_24.asp
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Old 27-05-2008, 17:55   #13
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just printed off your advice

I'm 51, 5 years ago was bitten by the sea bug on a trip from Tortola to Miami on a motor yacht.
pssst....I have a kinda severe case of dyslexia and am financially challenged, however, never before have I missed hitting what I've put my heart and mind to and both heart and mind are set to buy a small sailboat in 2010.
I'll go where the boat is Toronto Captains license in hand, limited funds, modest means of making a living moor until I set up my boat take small trips to build my confidence and see which way I blow.
On that trip 5 years ago we saw 3 days of large seas the Captain was very inexperienced and got us into a few jams ....running up a coral reef off the Bahamas was particularly memorable for me but I saw how I handled my initial seasickness my watch, cooking etc and have never forgotten the wind and the sea. Landlubbing has been made passe.
Tania Aebi is a revelation of sorts and I'm not expecting to live forever.
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Old 30-05-2008, 03:23   #14
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Great post and replies too. I'm sitting in my office about 250 miles from my boat and am champing at the bit to get away. My wife and I plan to let go the mooring lines next year with no timetable and a very flexible approach to our destinations except that they must include lots of sun. I have some blue water experience but my wife has none. She says that she is apprehensive but is nevertheless raring to go for it. Her biggest fear is something happening to me (its a reaction I have from all women - its hard to be a British Brad Pitt!!!!). However, next week she is going on a women only sailing course which will hopefully increase her confidence.

One problem I find is that because I spent many years singlehanding I tend to see something that needs doing I just do it without thought. I need to ask my wife to do more and explain why I want something done in a particular way so that she gains the experience and I share my knowledge with her.

We still have lots to do, and of course buy for our boat before we will let go but if we don't get round to all of it then we will prioitise and leave without it. As long as the boat is seaworthy and structurally sound then we go.

We went to the funeral of a friend last week and it has reinforced our determination to set sail and the adage "life's too short" keeps coming into our conversations.

Good luck Kingfish with your plans and to all of you other guys too. It doesn't matter whether you plan a circumnavigation or to sail locally as long as you get the most out of your boat. If any of you ever come across Dunkers of Tintern, our Westerly 33 then you are always welcome and we can find the odd can of beer or glass of wine to quench your thirst.
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Old 19-04-2009, 17:35   #15
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Sounds like a nice trip.
How did you manage to get your wife to accept the sailing way of life? This is a really important question for me, so your comments will be greatly received.
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