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Old 09-08-2015, 12:37   #1
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3 months next summer "camp-cruising." Where to go?

A warm hello to the CF community!

I've been enjoying perusing the forums and coming up with ideas on how to further get involved in sailing and work toward a cruising lifestyle. I've just completed a ASA 101 - 104 liveaboard course and spent a week skippering a charter. Now it's time to figure out my next move.

At the moment I'm interested in developing my sailing skills in a relatively low-stakes context. I was thinking to buy a 70's or 80's pocket cruiser in the 20 - 25 foot range and strapping my bike to the bow and spending a summer gunkholing and anchoring out with my backpacking equipment. I would have to single hand, simply because I don't know anybody able or willing to join me for more than two weeks at a time. Being coastal sounds great, but I'd even be happy to spend a summer on interesting freshwater (or maybe get something trailerable and bum around on 2 or 3 lakes). Some ideas and details I'd love input on:

Budget : 7 - 11K including boat and cruising costs for summer. I envision anchoring out or tying to a mooring 70% of the time. I'll basically eat noodles, pastries or buy groceries in delis. No stove or sink strictly necessary, I'll make do with a Jetboil. Not sure about alternatives to a head (camp latrine? bucket?).

Boat: Catalina 22ish, Cal 22ish, O'Day 22ish, Hunter boats have come up. With a stretch of the budget, a Newport 27 might be possible. I've even toyed with the idea of "backpacking" out of a sailing dinghy, but have not researched this option much. Perhaps the biggest catch here is that I want to avoid spending my budget and summer on repairs and improvements. I'd gladly downsize boats and comfort if it means I can get out (and stay out) on the water. Another consideration here is getting rid of a boat after summer is over. I don't want to deal with storage costs or the like because I'll be back to work for the next school year.

Location: I don't have much of an idea here. This also would include a good starting region in which to acquire the boat. I'm eyeing the inside passage between Ketchikan and Haines up in Alaska, because it's close to home. But how about recommendations on Great Lakes locations, segments of the ICW, Florida, Georgia, Texas, etc.? Getting down to Mexico seems great too and like a good way to reduce costs. Where can I find protected but interesting water to mess around?

I'm flexible on all the details. This is still in the hare-brained scheme phase of development. I have a calendar year to figure it out. Right now, I'm soliciting the experience and knowledge of more experienced folks to maximize my chances of pulling something like this off and working toward being competent as a cruiser. What do you think? Am I on the right track here or should I scrap the whole idea and focus on finding a way to crew for someone? What would you do with the budget and time available?

Kind regards and and thanks in advance for your input!
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Old 09-08-2015, 14:06   #2
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Re: 3 months next summer "camp-cruising." Where to go?

I highly recomend the puget sound in wasington/ BC Cannada. Lots of seafood to supliment your food buget. There are several different regions for different tastes. Busy,cities, secluded, salt ,fresh, brackish, difficult or easy sailing, mountains and forests for viewing or sidetrips. Two countries to visit. Make sure you research different requirements for US and Canada. Its not onerous but there are differences and you may want to aquire travel documents well in advance. Passport or enhanced drivers licence will be required at port of entry. Canadian waters require official hard copy charts...
There are several good cruisers guides to help plan ahead, waggoner's is a common well respected one. While protected from the open ocean there are still some dangerous currents and wicked storms at times and there will be rain, not this year mind you but usually. The key to the weather is being out at the time it clears and despite the reputation there is some clearing most days.
You also can run up the inside passage up the coast of Cannada.
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Old 09-08-2015, 15:44   #3
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Re: 3 months next summer "camp-cruising." Where to go?

I'm in the Pamlico sound now, or rather just outside it. Met a few people camp cruising down here and it looks awesome!


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Old 13-08-2015, 00:05   #4
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Re: 3 months next summer "camp-cruising." Where to go?

Thanks for the input. Puget Sound seems very cool and I had the chance to explore the San Juans a bit already. Pamlico Sound is a new one for me, thanks for the recommend: it sounds like it could work on a barebones small boat. The more I read, the more the "microcruising" option seems to make sense my limited means.
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Old 13-08-2015, 04:09   #5
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Re: 3 months next summer "camp-cruising." Where to go?

I would recommend the Canadian waters up to Alaska They cannot be beat anywhere! We too are heading that way come springl We have sailed the South Pacific for a few years and are now going to concentrate our sailing to the PACIFIC northwest for the next few years and hope to see you there
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Old 13-08-2015, 05:29   #6
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Re: 3 months next summer "camp-cruising." Where to go?

I've recently taken a keen interest in camp cruising and the topic excites me. The first few boats you mentioned Catalina 22 etc are a little more than I personally would consider to be camp cruisers, they're proper pocket cruisers in my opinion.

From my research, the benchmark camp cruiser is the wayfarer, or if purchased in Canada- CL 16, but you might be hard pressed to get a full sized bicycle onto one.

I'm currently elbow deep in research for building my own camp cruiser which doesn't sound like a good fit for your situation.

Id maybe try watching Craig's list or kijiji and checking out boats that are cheap with trailers and take the smallest one that will hold a bicycle.

I know little to nothing about Alaska, but BC certainly does offer nice cruising. For camp cruising in Western Canada, I might be inclined to give Lake Okanagan a try.

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Old 13-08-2015, 06:59   #7
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Re: 3 months next summer "camp-cruising." Where to go?

Add the O'Day Mariner 2+2 to your list
Good sailing 19' boat with a swing keel to let you get into
the shallows. There were thousands produced and are still being made
By another company. Parts are easy to obtain and a 5 hp outboard
Is all you need. Search around and you should be able to find one all in
for under 4k, including boat, trailer, motor
Consider a Trailerable for a few reasons
Increases your cruising range
Increases the range you can shop in
Park it somewhere over the winter and use it next summer

Check out the owners association
Home - Mariner Class Association

Cheers
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Old 13-08-2015, 09:34   #8
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Re: 3 months next summer "camp-cruising." Where to go?

Another vote for the PNW. You could definitely have a great summer here on your budget.

I think choice of boat will depend a bit on where you are. For example, if you're going to be on the Chesapeake, a swing keel will be nice. In the PNW you certainly don't need one of those!!

In fact, I don't think I'd stress on the type of boat that much. Show up in the spring and buy something local from Craigslist. Spend a couple weeks getting it ready, then head out.

You can find a nice Catalina 27 sized boat in the PNW for $8-9k with head, stove, water tanks, and all that stuff and then sell it for the same when you're done. One word of warning, though: it takes time to sell a boat. Don't think you'll have it gone in a week.
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Old 13-08-2015, 11:42   #9
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Re: 3 months next summer "camp-cruising." Where to go?

You could probably get a Cat 27, Cal 27 or a Hunter 27 (one of the cheribini ones) for that budget, and get a bit more room/speed.

Another PNW vote - you don't even need to go very far North, the Pudget sound, San Juans, Canadian Gulf islands etc is an amazing area and you could spend years here and still not find everything
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Old 13-08-2015, 14:44   #10
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Re: 3 months next summer "camp-cruising." Where to go?

Another whicked place out west would be Great Slave Lake and the McKenzie or the Yukon River, tracing the steamship route to Dawson City and the Klondike gold rush. Or if you're into literature Pierre Burtons Drifting Home (or is it Drifting Down?). Of course for these two trips you'd want to leave your bike at home and bring a 12 Gauge instead, serious bear country.

Dude if I had 3 months of summer to Dinghy cruise, I would find some very cool places to go. I just can't understand why everybody points their bow towards the BVI and Carribean, there are far more awe inspiring places one could explore by boat if they had the time.

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Old 14-08-2015, 22:43   #11
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Re: 3 months next summer "camp-cruising." Where to go?

Thanks a million for the input everyone. These were some specific and detailed ideas that will affect my decision making. Really loving the community here on CF.

I have some family out of Tampa, FL and the Mariner seems like a good fit for messing around there. Doing this on a dinghy hadn't really occurred to me previously, but in the PNW where free camping can be found, that might be a good way to do this.

Thanks!
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Old 15-08-2015, 10:36   #12
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Re: 3 months next summer "camp-cruising." Where to go?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CatLourde View Post
Thanks a million for the input everyone. These were some specific and detailed ideas that will affect my decision making. Really loving the community here on CF.

I have some family out of Tampa, FL and the Mariner seems like a good fit for messing around there. Doing this on a dinghy hadn't really occurred to me previously, but in the PNW where free camping can be found, that might be a good way to do this.

Thanks!
Thanks for coming back to check in. A lot of people ask a question and then just disappear. It gets a bit disheartening sometimes.

Your plan is great. Please pop back to this thread from time to time and give us an update. We're all subscribed to it, so it'll pop up on our screens even if it's in a year's time.

I'm in Vancouver, so if you decide to come this way, drop me a line for some local advice.
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Old 15-08-2015, 11:41   #13
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Re: 3 months next summer "camp-cruising." Where to go?

It sounds like you'll be alone much of the time which is just fine. If you choose to go the trailer-sailor route be sure you can step the mast and rig the boat yourself or with minimal help.
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Old 15-08-2015, 11:47   #14
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Re: 3 months next summer "camp-cruising." Where to go?

Sounds great--but do you want us to write a book? Your ideas and questions are...well, a boatload. Where to start? Geeze--you dont even know where you want to go., Dont ask us for advice on that one--go where you want to go....but a small light boat in the PNW may not be the best idea. I would buy better quality than the boats you mentioned...and any cruising will be slow in those boats.....but search this forum, read more, learn as much as you can and remember all you get here are opinions...and more opinions...You want protected but interesting water??? Great Lakes, Long Island Sound, Maine, Chesapeake, enjoy the ICW--but please--not with an outboard to push you....the bays and sounds of the east coast seem perfect...but where do you want to go???
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