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Old 25-03-2015, 11:40   #16
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Re: The go/no go list

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Originally Posted by gathem View Post
Hello sailors!

We are looking for some guidance in the form of opinions.
What makes the cut for "cannot leave without it" in terms of gear.

Our situation: Family of 3 with a two year old + dog. We own a 44 ft sailboat more capable than we are (we are working on longer & longer trips every weekend). We are about to sell our house, have sold our car, and the only thing keeping us tied to the docks is the go/no go list. We are located in San Francisco, and plan to head south (no particular destination in mind although coastal for at least the first year). I do hope to find some work (I'm a software guy with a lot of experience and a stellar resume) along the way, so hopefully we can continue to outfit the boat while we cruise.

Everyone always says: "go now, go with what you have" or something along those lines... But we have a two year old, no epirb, no long range communication (beyond vhf), no life raft, a tiny row dingy, no generator/solar/wind gen, no inverter, no autopilot, or ability to live off the docks.

So I ask... What would you say is a "you must have X before you start cruising full time" list:
  • SSB

    not needed
  • Pactor modem

    not neeed
  • Solar panels

    useful but not needed
  • Inverter
    definitely not needed
  • Wind generator

    not needed
  • EPIRB

    personal choice, not essential unless you need it !
  • Iridum go/next device

    not needed
  • life raft

    maybe
  • reasonable dingy with an outboard

    yes
  • Spinnaker running rigging (I have a kite, but I need to run a halyard for it).

    no good ever came from racing sails LOL
  • Cutter rigging (I have the sail, the chain plate, but I need to run a halyard

    not needed at all
    and I think I need two additional backstays)
    depends on why you think you need a inner stay
  • watermaker

    water is typically available
  • self inflating life preservers for my wife and I

    Yes , but personal decision , prefer harness
  • WiFi extension gear (I'm a wifi geek, I could build this from scratch, and make it lock on to the coords of a given wifi SSID and keep pointing that way regardless of how the boat drifts)

    why bother ,several tech issue , including hidden node
  • a aft pulpit mounted barbecue
    not needed
  • autopilot

    Yes needed
  • microwave

    not needed
  • refrigerator

    not needed , but 21st century man needs cold beer it seems
Seriously you need to examine the prioritises , if you financially afford all this stuff , then just buy it.. If you cant , don't bother and go


PS you'll do no useful work either then simple emails over most yacht orientated comms gear. free WIfi sure, but YMMV
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Old 25-03-2015, 12:06   #17
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Re: The go/no go list

I see you're in The Bay Area.

Have you anchored out at China Camp?

Have you gone to the Delta?

Have you gone to Drakes Bay? Half Moon Bay? Monterey? Santa Cruz?

Those trips would answer a LOT of your questions.

Good luck.
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Old 25-03-2015, 12:27   #18
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Re: The go/no go list

Two adults and a child? I would consider selling the spinnaker to pay for other downwind options that are easier to handle single/short handed.
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Old 25-03-2015, 12:41   #19
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Re: The go/no go list

Storm trysail. Storm jib. Drogue.


Or were we all just assuming all that?
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Old 25-03-2015, 12:49   #20
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Re: The go/no go list

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Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
Storm trysail. Storm jib. Drogue.


Or were we all just assuming all that?
did three Atlantics , never had any of that stuff

with modern triple reefed . or furling sails, you can actually handle an extremely wide variety of wind. ( even if its not the most efficient )

in a modern yacht, a series of long warps is sufficient to make a useful drogue as you don't actually want to slow the boat down too much.
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Old 25-03-2015, 13:07   #21
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Re: The go/no go list

check out Attainable Adventure Cruising

Many people don't *NEED* any of that list.

Some will need all of it, and more.

Your life will be much easier (and likely more pleasant) with some things - but the best way to find out is go sailing on short trips, as you are doing, and discover slowly for yourself where your comfort level is.

no one here can really answer this definitively for you - although there are some good answers already. Get out there and figure it out in the real world...

best of luck!
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Old 25-03-2015, 13:22   #22
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Re: The go/no go list

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Originally Posted by gathem View Post

So I ask... What would you say is a "you must have X before you start cruising full time" list:

...
I think you MUST have a boat (but you can rent one) AND then you will need some 'money in the pocket' to buy you food, water and some goods and services.

I did not find on your list anything that would stop me from going cruising, be it full time.

It is all about the mindset and, if you have it, you will be a happy cruiser / sailor / live-aboard (pick at least one). You can buy everything else nearly everywhere today so why over-worry and over-stock beforehand?

So, here is my complimentary must haves list:

- a vision of where and what you want to: go / be / do (pick at least one),
- skills adequate to achieving the above, and the below,
- a safe (given) and comfortable (variable) boat,
- ways of funding the above (variable),
- time to achieve the above (given),
- persistence (given), health (given),
- a laptop or tablet (variable, to follow CF).

The rest is silence. (Pron. See-LAWNCE)

Cheers,
b.
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Old 26-03-2015, 09:12   #23
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Re: The go/no go list

Hate to say it, but most of your list is not needed. Here's my minimum list for you, based on my own experiences:

- 4 good buckets
- Autohelm
- Handheld GPS (etrex will do)
- Handheld VHF
- Cheap dinghy...avon redcrest maybe...oars work fine.
- Good stove...like an origo
- Bug nets
- 12 volt fans installed at all bunks

The sat phone is nice, but really, who are you going to call?

The small sails are more important than the big sails.

Diesel engine with a big fuel tank.

Hope this helps. I agree with your original statement...just go. You will know what you need along the way. You should save a ton of money since you will have no rent/mortgage car payments, etc. Most of the equipment you need is relatively cheap. Used is good.

The hardest part of any trip is to cast off the bow lines.

Best of Luck,

Dave
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Old 26-03-2015, 09:15   #24
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Re: The go/no go list

Knowledge is way better than most expensive gear you might buy. I recommend you find used copies of these two books:

Sailing Alone Around The World (Joshua Slocum)
World Sailing Routes (Jimmy Cornell)

If these don't untie your bow lines, nothing will.
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Old 26-03-2015, 09:40   #25
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Re: The go/no go list

How competent a sailor is your spouse? Has she practiced a man over board drill?
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Old 26-03-2015, 10:44   #26
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Re: The go/no go list

I think the main thing you lack is experience, because you shouldn't have to ask about these basics.

Did your house have a fridge? Microwave? electrical power? Are you ready to live without those things?

Do they have mountaineering forums where people post "Hey I'm about to climb everest, do I really need caribiners? an extra rope? a radio? ice shoes (I have really high quality hiking boots)"
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Old 26-03-2015, 10:45   #27
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Re: The go/no go list

Quote:
Originally Posted by hamburking View Post

The small sails are more important than the big sails.

Diesel engine with a big fuel tank.
Well, if you subscribe to the first, the second is a necessary corollary, I suppose... :-)

I'd argue the opposite, actually... Sounds like the OP isn't heading offshore or towards higher latitudes anytime, but rather more likely towards Mexico, perhaps...

I think one of the bigger mistakes many cruisers make, is focusing on heavy weather sails at the expense of a light air sail inventory. I'm surprised at those who have suggested he ditch a spinnaker he already has - although I suppose I shouldn't be, given how rarely I see cruisers flying chutes or Code 0s... :-) But in my opinion, free flying sails can afford some of the most fun one can have under sail, and nothing else one can have aboard can so often make the difference between moving through the light stuff, and sailing instead of motoring...

I carry both a trysail and a storm jib on my boat, yet other than playing with them in the course of some trial runs, have yet to ever resort to the use of either 'in anger'... My spinnaker and Code 0, however, I could not even begin to estimate how many pleasurable miles I've racked up under both, nor how much they have saved me in terms of engine hours, and gallons of diesel...

:-)
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Old 26-03-2015, 11:06   #28
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Re: The go/no go list

Hi Gathem,

You are going through the decision making process we must all do initially, and continually revisit. Your own personal experience will be your best guide for determining what is 'essential'...

I think you answered your own question with your statement, "[We have no] ability to live off the docks..."

Along with the worthwhile opinions you can gather here, you may also benefit from reading [relevant chapters from] Beth Leonard's Voyager's Handbook. As I recall is has a great section discussing not only making the decisions you are asking about, but also regarding equipment selection.

To that end, I didn't see radar or AIS [at least receiver] on your list of electronics. If one decides to go with electronic aides to navigation, I personally consider these essential as well.

All the best with your preparations and impending voyages.
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Old 26-03-2015, 11:15   #29
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Re: The go/no go list

for your first coastal part:
  • Inverter 350W
  • EPIRB - your baby goes first
  • life raft - your baby goes first
  • reasonable dingy with an outboard
  • self inflating life preservers for my wife and I
  • autopilot
  • refrigerator
I would look out for a survival gear for your kid. Maybe some closed
small "boat" device to keep it above WL and to prevent waves slamming in.
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Old 26-03-2015, 11:43   #30
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Re: The go/no go list

Holly and I have lived aboard cruising the West coast of North and Central America for the last three years. We put almost everything from your list on-board - SSB, Pactor, spares, water maker, jerry jugs, extra this and that.

In hindsight, since we've always been coastal, we NEEDED only the following:
- Good shade
- refrigeration (and we met many others that live with ice)
- a windlass (you are way more likely to "re-set" an iffy anchor if it's simple)
- an iPad for navigation
- a depth transducer
- snorkel gear and knife (to get fishing line off, check anchor, etc.)
- a VHF radio
- a good dinghy and reliable outboard (many folks don't have an outboard, they row)
- a spare impeller for the engine and the tools needed to change it.

All the rest has actually been a burden. From anywhere in central america, a flight back to the USA is less than $500 so if it's a critical spare part, just fly there and pick it up. Having it with you is extra weight, tacked up storage, and is bound to be rusted and corroded by the time you need it (and we put all the spares along with a little oil and seal them with a foodsaver -- helps but not perfect.)

We spent thousands and thousands on all sorts of extra crap that we don't really need -- we could have either got a bigger boat or done more land touring if we'd left a lot of that crap off. Plus, the more crap you have on the boat, the more worried you are at leaving it at anchor unattended.

We've met folks that don't even do refrigeration, and they don't do much in the way of instruments or other modern junk. They have a big anchor, a kellet, and they are happy to leave the boat at anchor all over the place and go travel. We on the other hand, hate to leave the boat overnight un attended, unless its in a secure marina, severely limiting our options.

Next time, it'll be waaay different for us!

Cheers,
Mike

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s/v Wanuskewin
Currently on the hard in Cartagena, doing more boat work, spending dollars we should be spending living ...
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