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Old 25-03-2015, 09:15   #1
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The go/no go list

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
  • Pactor modem
  • Solar panels
  • Inverter
  • Wind generator
  • EPIRB
  • Iridum go/next device
  • life raft
  • reasonable dingy with an outboard
  • Spinnaker running rigging (I have a kite, but I need to run a halyard for it).
  • Cutter rigging (I have the sail, the chain plate, but I need to run a halyard and I think I need two additional backstays)
  • watermaker
  • self inflating life preservers for my wife and I
  • 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)
  • a aft pulpit mounted barbeque
  • autopilot
  • microwave
  • refrigerator
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Old 25-03-2015, 09:26   #2
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pirate Re: The go/no go list

Before you get totally stressed mentally and financialy over what to do and what you NEED..
Have a read of this book by 'Rosie Swales'

"Children of Cape Horn"
Might help you get things slightly more into perspective...
There's sailboats.. and there's 'Flying Fid's..'
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Old 25-03-2015, 09:26   #3
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Re: The go/no go list

I would not include all in your list and might include others but there is one glaring omission for me.

"Wind vane steering"

Mine works all the time needs no power and makes cruising a real pleasure. I have used it light winds up to 40kts they are amazing.
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Old 25-03-2015, 09:32   #4
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Re: The go/no go list

Pretty fancy list...I'll go more basic:

Bucket or two....never leave the dock without them.

Duct Tape

Blue Tape

Loads of tools and spare specific to your boat

Well stocked First Aid Kit that you know how to use from the advanced first aid training you took before leaving.

Basic navigation tools & charts and the knowledge and skill to use them...for when all the fancy electronics crap out.

weather gear">Foul weather gear appropriate to intended venues

Means of jury rigging a failed stay...like long sections of Spectra or similar.

Knowledge of how your boat heaves-to gained from practicing before hand.

Oversized ground tackle

Jerry Jugs for water & fuel

Baha Filter or similar for dirty fuel siphoned from old barrels in remote locations

Water catchment method...for when the watermaker craps out

Sun awnings (assuming your going tropical)


...
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Old 25-03-2015, 09:38   #5
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Re: The go/no go list

How long have you owned this boat?

Is this boat new to you?

You mention "go South." Do you mean to Mexico (or further) or just coastal California?
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Old 25-03-2015, 09:48   #6
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Re: The go/no go list

My list will follow similar thought process to that of Belize Sailor.

When I first cruised the Caribbean for two years I had basic engine tools, depth sounder, knot meter, VHF, RDF, sextant and manuals, liferaft, dinghy. No radar, SSB, watermaker, EPIRB, fridge, etc, etc, etc.

What I would consider necessary, when considering also you have children on board.

- Sound boat and rig (this assumes all basic gear like good anchor, windlass, sails......)
- VHF, depth, speed.
- Jack line, harnesses and lifejackets.
- Netting on the lifelines
- dinghy
- EPIRB and lift raft
- Dodger, bimini, boom tent
- Tools and spares for engine; belts, impellers, hoses for coastal. Long distance maybe add pumps, starter, alternator.
- GPS and charts and guidebooks
- HF receiver for weather.
- self steering, autopilot or windvane.

Nice to have but absolutely not essential for cruising.

- SSB and Pactor
- water maker
- solar panels
- wind generator
- wifi
- microwave
- fridge
- etc, etc, etc.

If you wait until you have every gadget and every single comfort of home you will never leave the dock.
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Old 25-03-2015, 10:02   #7
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Re: The go/no go list

Quote:
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
  • Pactor modem
  • Solar panels
  • Inverter
  • Wind generator
  • EPIRB
  • Iridum go/next device
  • life raft
  • reasonable dingy with an outboard
  • Spinnaker running rigging (I have a kite, but I need to run a halyard for it).
  • Cutter rigging (I have the sail, the chain plate, but I need to run a halyard and I think I need two additional backstays)
  • watermaker
  • self inflating life preservers for my wife and I
  • 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)
  • a aft pulpit mounted barbeque
  • autopilot
  • microwave
  • refrigerator
Suggest you read this re some choices made by Beth Leonard and Evans Starzinger...

http://www.bethandevans.com/pdf/Leftoff.pdf

What's always striking about such 'Lists' today, is that sailors have cruised for generations before many such 'must-haves' were ever thought of :-)

The one thing that will define your needs more than anything else, is whether or not you choose to go with/without refrigeration. A massive amount of your energy budget will go towards supporting a reefer, if you decide you can live without it, there will be a major trickle-down effect in terms of needing less solar and wind power, and so on...

Of all the things on your list, the 2 I would prioritize at the top would be "a reasonable dinghy", and an autopilot... Pretty much everything else you've listed can be done without, at least in the short term, and their absence should not prevent you from taking off...

Of course, if you already have a spinnaker, it makes no sense not to make it usable... And, one thing I might add to your list if you don't already have one, is some sort of downwind pole, I consider that to be an essential for any sort of extended cruising...

I agree with taildragger that a vane is a wonderful piece of gear that would suit your boat nicely, and is another thing that can result in cutting your energy demands... But they're pricey, and it would be understandable if you chose to spend money elsewhere initially and when coastal cruising... But when you get to the point where you're contemplating long passages, a vane could be worth it's weight in gold...
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Old 25-03-2015, 10:07   #8
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Re: The go/no go list

[QUOTE=gathem;1784191]
What makes the cut for "cannot leave without it" in terms of gear.

We are located in San Francisco, and plan to head south (no particular destination in mind although coastal for at least the first year).

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

[*]reasonable dingy with an outboard

/QUOTE]

assuming your boat is in reasonable condition this is all from your list you must have

to that I would add:
- depth gage
- VHF
- charts or "something" etc to navigate

and I would HIGHLY support some type of self steering, I don't care if it is an autopilot (my choice) or a windvane
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Old 25-03-2015, 10:08   #9
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Re: The go/no go list

Solar panels - yes

Wind gen - nope. Reasons posted by many: Why would I want to anchor in a windy place? When I run downwind the apparent wind is so slight it doesn't work much. Solar is cheaper and quieter. Can't stand the noise when it runs. Neighbors hate the noise. The list goes on...

Your list is infinite. I'd recommend a few good offshore/coastal cruising books or blogs, do your own research in addition to these replies.

Here's a good account my friend wrote of his coastal trip:

1500 Mile Interim Refit Report & 3596 Update
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Old 25-03-2015, 10:14   #10
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Re: The go/no go list

You have three things (Wife, 2 year old child, dog) on the boat that cause me to suggest the following as a priority over getting a BBQ or Microwave or WIFI:

1. PFD for the Child
2. Harness with tether for the Child
3. Lifeline Netting (helps keep the child and dog aboard)
4. Jacklines (to which you attach the harness of the child or yourself)
5. EPIRB
6. Life Raft
7. Life Sling
8. Boarding Ladder
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Old 25-03-2015, 10:15   #11
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Re: The go/no go list

Quote:
Originally Posted by gathem View Post
  • Solar panels
  • Inverter
  • reasonable dingy with an outboard
  • Spinnaker running rigging (I have a kite, but I need to run a halyard for it).
  • self inflating life preservers for my wife and I
  • a aft pulpit mounted barbeque
  • autopilot
  • microwave
  • refrigerator

Another way of looking at it is "what things do you currently have on the list"

Above is what I have. The rest of the things on your list are things I don't plan to have when I leave next year. Since I'm just going to be coastal hopping for at least 2 years all things are wait and see if they appear to really be worth it. Instead I'm going to focus on more critical things for cruise enjoyment, things like good mattress etc.
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Old 25-03-2015, 10:25   #12
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Re: The go/no go list

PFD for the dog, too. And speaking of which...
Some nations allow you to bring a dog in. Some require it to stay on the boat. Some require a 90-day quarantine at five-star prices. And a few will remind you that you may not import any meat, live or frozen. Check out noonsite.com, the dog may be problematic.


Equipment list? No leaks in the boat, rigging less than 20 years old, survey's solid, sails are strong, engine runs faithfully? OK, all the rest is discretionary. Including the life raft and EPIRB, although those two might top your list.


Microwave, watermaker, radios, satphones...people did this 40 short years ago and had none of that. Personal choices.
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Old 25-03-2015, 10:44   #13
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Re: The go/no go list

My thoughts based on trying to simplify/control preparation:


SSB/Pactor modem, You need some way to find out/predict weather. Initially you can rely on others nearby or a small SSB receiver in FL/Caribe.
Solar panels Just a high output alternator is an option , but you might want at least some solar also.
Inverter NO
Wind generator NO

EPIRB Yes
Iridum go/next device NO
life raft Depends on where you are going and how you store your dingy for Fl/Caribe..
reasonable dingy with an outboard By all means. 10ft.
Spinnaker running rigging (I have a kite, but I need to run a halyard for it). NO, leave the spinnaker in storage.
Cutter rigging (I have the sail, the chain plate, but I need to run a halyard and I think I need two additional backstays) Depends on headsail size. Staysail is nice to have to stay under control simply in a blow. I lean yes.
watermaker YES can do without for coastal and Bahamas etc, but you will be glad you got one.
self inflating life preservers for my wife and I NO, seldom wore them in the Caribe. If you want a LJ, just put a regular one on. No maintenance req'd either.
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) NO
a aft pulpit mounted barbeque YES and it's own Propane tank.
autopilot YES, YES, YES
microwave NO
refrigerator YES
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Old 25-03-2015, 10:48   #14
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Re: The go/no go list

Don't over think your List once I started sailing longer and more often I found I had the basics and the rest we really didn't need.

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Old 25-03-2015, 11:08   #15
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The go/no go list

We went through the same considerations about two years ago before we gave up our slip and took off. We had categories of lists. Ours included the following but yours may well vary.

Safe sound ship: through hulls, rudder, hatches, steering, etc.
Sails, spars and rigging
Anchoring: anchors, chain, electric windlass, snubbers, chain hooks or stopper
Engine: tools, spare parts, manuals, belts, filters, oil, coolant, transmission fluid, hoses of various sizes and types, hose clamps
Fuel: tankage, filters, pumps
Electric: batteries, charger, generator, monitor, lights, inverter
Autopilot
Navigation: basic instruments, GPS, radar, chart plotter, AIS?
Other systems: cooking, refrigeration, fresh water, black water, toilet, ventilation, cleaning
Dinghy: motor, stowage, towing, fuel stowage, rail mount, lifting harness, outboard davit
Safety: PFDs, harnesses, jack lines, tethers, PLBs, EPIRB, life raft, USCG required items including flares (get real SOLAS flares... worth the extra cost)
Emergency: plugs, patches, epoxy, glues, tapes, nuts bolts screws, fire extinguishers, fire blankets
Communications: VHF, handheld VHF, Delorme InReach, SSB receiver, computers, printers, tablets, chargers, cell phones and cellular data service
Comfort: foul weather gear, clothing, bedding, mattresses, head lights and flash lights, toys, games
Tools and spare parts for everything and some way to contain and organize and find them
Food and stowage, pots, pans, implements, small appliances, dishes
Money, credit cards and banking
Visa, entry permit, TIP etc.

The lists get endless and the costs get overwhelming but eventually you sort out your own needs. Best wishes. Hope you and your family have a beautiful life afloat.




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