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Old 28-12-2014, 07:30   #1
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Choosing a boat for a Lifetime of Cruising..

No matter our age there are many sailors out there right now that are committed to sailing/living aboard full time until they no longer can or no longer want to.
We have debated different construction methods from the tried and true solid hulls with stringers and tabbed bulkheads to mass produced full liner boats with plexus glue holding things together. We have talked about spade rudders and fin keel boats all the way to full keel boats with barn door rudders and the in between choice of skeg hung rudders and modified fin keels. We have discussed buying a newer production boat and outfitting it and we have talked about buying an older boat and refitting it.


So my question is this: what choices have the ďvoyagersĒ made and by that I mean sailors that are living on their boats 24/7 and cruising full time and crossing oceans as a regular part of their lifestyle.


Iím less interested in choices made for local sailing in Mexico/Med/ Caribbean or boats that have done an ARC, Iím much more interested in hearing about choices made by long term cruisers who have owned their boats for many years and expose them to offshore conditions over a long period of time as well living on them and maintaining them over a number of years.
Drawing on the experience of these sailors will hopefully give us a real life testament of the choices they made and why and how these choices have been working out over the years. Google sailors need not apply.
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Old 28-12-2014, 07:37   #2
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Re: Choosing a boat for a Lifetime of Cruising..

Robert,

We're only cruising 24/7 five months per year, but no doubt when we go full time 365 if that day happens, the perfect boat would be a Sunreef 58 catamaran or something very similar for many reasons.


1. Huge interior and exterior space as compared to a monohull.
2. Two rudders
3. Two engines
4. Comfort while anchored (not as much rocking).
5. 180-360 degree outdoor view from indoor living space.
6. Huge amount of storage space.
7. Shallow draft


Jeez.... I don't know where to stop


For a monohull, I think we got it right with our present boat, which fulfills our needs; BUT.... nothing beats a well-built catamaran for full-time live aboard. Most of our time on the boat is spent at anchor, so the best boat is one that provides all the amenities required and a comfortable motion. The cat wouldn't need to be a 58 footer, anything over 45ft would be perfect. We really liked the Isara 50 cat at the Annapolis boat show.
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Old 28-12-2014, 08:27   #3
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Re: Choosing a boat for a Lifetime of Cruising..

Hello Robert - similar to Kenomac, we are full time about 7 mo/year, but "commute" between the Ches Bay and E Carib/Bahamas. So we've done a fair bit of open water voyaging and staying in remote areas. And we never frequent marinas - OK, that one time in Clarence Town...

Once you decide on a hull form, suggest you focus on some things you didn't mention: tankage, refrigeration, power production, water production.

Tankage is self explanatory. With a reliable water maker, you can get by with less potable water capacity, but pay attention to fuel capacity. A better sailing boat needs less. Along with this goes propane/butane capacity. How many gas bottles can you carry? You can get refills in most populated areas, but we like to stay away from crowds and carry 4 20# bottles that get us through 7 months.

Usually, the bigger the boat the more tankage and refer space you'll have. Separate fridge and freezer are desirable, if not necessary. But then pay attention to the construction of the refers themselves as well as the mechanics of them. (This has direct bearing on needed power production, of course.) Decide if you want air cooled or water cooled. Water cooled is much better IMHO. Look at the cabinets for insulation. Many builders slap in the stand alone units that cannot be as efficient as REAL built in, thickly insulated units. They do this because it's cheaper to build.

Unless you get a cat with a lot of real estate for solars, you'll likely have to have a generator. Many cats have generators as well, but we do quite well without one. But even on monos, you can find space for solars, just usually not as many. With a genset you can also have AC, but we do very well without that also.

I can't imagine long range cruising without reliable water production (in addition to catching rain), but certainly some have done it. Maybe this is an item you were assuming as it's so fundamental.

OK, I'll stop here. Good luck.

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Old 28-12-2014, 08:43   #4
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pirate Re: Choosing a boat for a Lifetime of Cruising..

I think I'll keep out of this discussion..
Opinions of mine.. and others thoughts/advice can be found in the '$500' Thread...

Enjoy Guys n Gals...
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Old 28-12-2014, 08:57   #5
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Re: Choosing a boat for a Lifetime of Cruising..

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Originally Posted by robert sailor View Post
So my question is this: what choices have the “voyagers” made and by that I mean sailors that are living on their boats 24/7 and cruising full time and crossing oceans as a regular part of their lifestyle.
The long Termer's have just as wide variety of craft as everyone else.

A few years ago we were anchored in Bainbridge Island - there for a CCA dinner - also there were Lin & Larry, Steve & Linda, Cloud 9, Heart of gold, and three other truly long termers.

You could not have envisioned a more diverse set of craft from the 30' wooden museum piece, to the 80' aluminum battle ship, to the kevlar 'sled', to the 'RV" Amel, and a 'trad' steel full keel ketch. We were all on at least our 2nd boats after at least one circumnavigation. You would be hard pressed to draw any conclusions at all, except there are many many ways to successfully play the game.
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Old 28-12-2014, 09:45   #6
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Re: Choosing a boat for a Lifetime of Cruising..

That's interesting E You have listed some of the boats, are you able to list them all? I know Heart of Gold is a Schumaker design around 50+ feet, we know yours is an aluminium 47 or so. The Pardey,s is a wooden boat designed by Lyle Hess. Amel is a French builder of very well built boats. Help me with the rest.
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Old 28-12-2014, 09:51   #7
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Re: Choosing a boat for a Lifetime of Cruising..

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Originally Posted by robert sailor View Post
So my question is this: what choices have the “voyagers” made and by that I mean sailors that are living on their boats 24/7 and cruising full time and crossing oceans as a regular part of their lifestyle.
That is an interesting definition of "voyager" you have. I wonder how many out there are regularly crossing oceans, vs. crossing an ocean a couple of times in their entire cruising life in order to get to new regions - where, according to your definition, they fall out of the "voyager" category and into the "local" and "google" sailors.

Do you regularly cross oceans? What about those people/boats who are in their 4th or 5th ARC? Don't they count? What about the World ARC, where they cross all the oceans in 14 months?

So far, we have only "locally" sailed the entire Caribbean for 6 years 24/7. We will at some point go into the Pacific, but probably spend a few more years merely sailing "locally" there between Mexico and Ecuador. Then we may cross the Pacific - but not all at once, since we would want to do some "local" cruising of all those islands throughout it. Right now, we don't have a desire to go to the Med, so probably won't cross the Atlantic.

So I guess any data I could provide is useless to you.

BTW, have you ever actually sailed in much of the Caribbean in 35kt winds and short, steep waves? It is much more boat-breaking than 35kts in a large, deep ocean swell. We always get a chuckle out of the Pacific sailors that sail down from the PNW, cross into the Caribe for the first time and end up after a short passage out of the Canal huddled in an anchorage afraid to move further until they have calm winds and no seas.

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Old 28-12-2014, 09:52   #8
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Re: Choosing a boat for a Lifetime of Cruising..

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we know yours is an aluminium 47 or so.
You have to chalk them up with a Shannon 37 also.

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Old 28-12-2014, 10:12   #9
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Re: Choosing a boat for a Lifetime of Cruising..

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That is an interesting definition of "voyager" you have. I wonder how many out there are regularly crossing oceans, vs. crossing an ocean a couple of times in their entire cruising life in order to get to new regions - where, according to your definition, they fall out of the "voyager" category and into the "local" and "google" sailors.

Do you regularly cross oceans? What about those people/boats who are in their 4th or 5th ARC? Don't they count?

So far, we have only "locally" sailed the entire Caribbean for 6 years 24/7. We will at some point go into the Pacific, but probably spend a few more years merely sailing "locally" there between Mexico and Ecuador. Then we may cross the Pacific - but not all at once, since we would want to do some "local" cruising of all those islands throughout it. Right now, we don't have a desire to go to the Med, so probably won't cross the Atlantic.

So I guess any data I could provide is useless to you.

BTW, have you ever actually sailed in much of the Caribbean in 35kt winds and short, steep waves? It is much more boat-breaking than 35kts in a large, deep ocean swell. We always get a chuckle out of the Pacific sailors that sail down from the PNW, cross into the Caribe for the first time and end up after a short passage out of the Canal huddled in an anchorage afraid to move further until they have calm winds and no seas.

Mark
Mark,
Your missing my point. I'm interested in the decisions long term voyagers have made when choosing their boat. I am not trying to put anyone down or suggest their type of sailing does not measure up. While it may appear that the decisions these sailors make when choosing a boat are all over the board my bet is that there will be some common ground. This group of sailors is quite small so I Don,t expect to get huge feedback but many might find it interesting.
To answer one of your questions, my view of a voyager is a sailor that is constantly traveling but also stops and spends lots of time along the way and yes crossing oceans is ongoing but with large gaps in between. Many of these folks gravitate to the roads less traveled so they tend to make decisions based on that mind set.
Yes I know that often local sailing can present uncomfortable sailing, I personally have next to no experience sailing in the Caribbean but surely it can,t be worse than the Med in a blow. I also agree that the milkrun across the Atlantic is generally not much of a test on man nor boat.
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Old 28-12-2014, 10:21   #10
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Re: Choosing a boat for a Lifetime of Cruising..

Mark
Your point about the frightened sailors from the PNW facing the rough weather of the Caribbean. I am sure this has happened as many of these sailors have harbour hopped down the west coast of America and then thru the canal however I can almost guarrantee you if they sailed from the Vancouver area and went offshore and got the normal strong winds and seas that this area is known for there would likely be very little concern with the Caribbean.
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Old 28-12-2014, 10:33   #11
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Re: Choosing a boat for a Lifetime of Cruising..

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Mark,
Your missing my point. I'm interested in the decisions long term voyagers have made when choosing their boat. I am not trying to put anyone down or suggest their type of sailing does not measure up. While it may appear that the decisions these sailors make when choosing a boat are all over the board my bet is that there will be some common ground. This group of sailors is quite small so I Don,t expect to get huge feedback but many might find it interesting.
To answer one of your questions, my view of a voyager is a sailor that is constantly traveling but also stops and spends lots of time along the way and yes crossing oceans is ongoing but with large gaps in between. Many of these folks gravitate to the roads less traveled so they tend to make decisions based on that mind set.
Yes I know that often local sailing can present uncomfortable sailing, I personally have next to no experience sailing in the Caribbean but surely it can,t be worse than the Med in a blow. I also agree that the milkrun across the Atlantic is generally not much of a test on man nor boat.
Well now, I'm really confused. Do you want data on expedition boats - just those that go to more extreme places? Or only from people who have already cruised around the world a long time ago?

We are long-term voyagers, although we are slow at it region-wise. All of the boat types I detect in your undertones are found throughout the world - and have gotten there by long-term voyaging. Reading this forum has led me to believe that we are both longer-term and longer-voyaged just around the Caribe than most people here are with their "properly designed, built and outfitted" boats. Four boats have been lost on the reefs here where we are in just the past 6 months. 5-8 boats lost or severely damaged on the reefs is pretty normal here each year. "Local" sailing can be tough.

I have never been to the Med - do the high winds/waves there go on for 4 months solid, then get into a period of a week or two break in between for the rest of the time? Are ports 2-3 days away? Do vicious squalls with terrible lightning and fast-clocking winds occur pretty frequently - enough that it is rare to have a 2-3 day passage without them?

My bet is either you will either keep refining your definition here specifically and narrowly until you receive a pre-determined answer, or you will find that the answers are all over the board.

And then what are you going to do with all those multihull examples?

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Old 28-12-2014, 10:35   #12
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Re: Choosing a boat for a Lifetime of Cruising..

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Mark
Your point about the frightened sailors from the PNW facing the rough weather of the Caribbean. I am sure this has happened as many of these sailors have harbour hopped down the west coast of America and then thru the canal however I can almost guarrantee you if they sailed from the Vancouver area and went offshore and got the normal strong winds and seas that this area is known for there would likely be very little concern with the Caribbean.
Obviously you have never sailed from the Panama Canal to Cartagena Colombia. There is a HUGE difference in the sea state compared to offshore Pacific. While I have never sailed offshore Pacific, I make this statement based on what every single person who has sailed both offshore Pacific and the Caribe has told me.

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Old 28-12-2014, 10:39   #13
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Re: Choosing a boat for a Lifetime of Cruising..

Golly I think there are as many answers to this question as there are cruisers, because as pointed out every cruiser is a bit different. I know couples that are circumnavigating on production cats who are in love with their boats, and others on custom designed aluminum high latitude boats who would never leave sight of land in a cat. Every yard is different in how they build a boat, and every yard has ups and downs.

I think if your point is to make a list of "must haves" for your dream boat, then that's going to need to be a personalized list based on your pocket book, your need for comfort, for durability, etc.

And then there is the fact that every boat is a compromise of one sort or another, and where you land on that spectrum of compromise is a function of what's important to you. Cross lots of oceans? A narrow boat with a "U" galley is probably important. Cross 4 oceans during a 15 year circumnavigation? Maybe that galley falls pretty far down the list of priorities.
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Old 28-12-2014, 10:46   #14
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Re: Choosing a boat for a Lifetime of Cruising..

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Obviously you have never sailed from the Panama Canal to Cartagena Colombia. There is a HUGE difference in the sea state compared to offshore Pacific. While I have never sailed offshore Pacific, I make this statement based on what every single person who has sailed both offshore Pacific and the Caribe has told me.

Mark
Mark
I have no intention of turning this thread into a pissing match. I have met several voyagers over the years and based on the feedback I have gotten from them they often do things differently. I am not trying to exclude people nor narrow the field down as this is already a small group. Please quit taking this personally, I'm sure you are a good and knowledgeable sailor.
As to the wind and seas off the Wash and Oregon coast I can tell you that in all the sailing I have done over the years this area was the biggest seas I have ever sailed in followed by the seas around New Zealand which were a very close second.
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Old 28-12-2014, 11:02   #15
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Re: Choosing a boat for a Lifetime of Cruising..

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My bet is either you will either keep refining your definition here specifically and narrowly until you receive a pre-determined answer, or you will find that the answers are all over the board.

Mark
People have crossed oceans, circumnavigated, and cruised out their years on many different types of boat. Many have written either books or blogs about their experiences and personal preferences.

Mark is right. These types of threads usually bounce all over the place until the OP directs it in a certain direction to match their own predetermined preferences.

It comes down to what someone is willing to compromise on. Will it be cockpit size or the ability to weather the roughest weather? Will it be pointing ability and speed, or beam?
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