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Old 12-02-2018, 13:38   #1
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Cruising in a small boat, 2 months at a time?

Ok, so I just wanted to get some input from some folks here. No real solid plan but just considering some options and appreciate the advise and input here.

I am 33 and in good shape, my wife is about the same age and we have a 5 year old son and six month old daughter. I only work about six months a year (a couple months at work and a coupe off) and make more than enough to survive on. Not extravagant mind you but under 95k usually.

We have recently acquired a Columbia 29 sailboat. Details of which can be seen here The Columbia 29 Sailboat : Bluewaterboats.org

We will be putting her on a trailer next month and then the refitting process begins. We will be done this summer hopefully and then the fun begins.

So this is where I am asking for your input gang. If you were in my shoes (sandals at the moment) what would you do? Sure I could stay at my house in the mountains and just sail it a few months a year for fun, but we could also go on some trips in the boat. We will surely be limited by the space to provision and live aboard but we are adventurous, am I crazy to think we could do some modest voyaging? Maybe a week at a time, maybe more?

We could step up boat size but were not going to do that, we want to sail the boat we found through fortunate happenstance. Maybe we should call her serendipity? Anyway, traveling modestly with half the belongings we think we need and twice the money where do you all think we could get to?

Let me also add, were going to learn the boat first under the watchful eye of some instructors and lots of days out on the water to learn heavy weather sailing, navigation, etc.. But assuming were capable and fit, intelligent and able-bodied what do you all think?

Were not going to set out next week after taking only a few more boating courses like an unnamed couple in the news lately, just curious about what "might" come should we want to down the road.

I am sure there will be many questions and I look forward to them.
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Old 12-02-2018, 13:53   #2
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Re: Crusing in a small boat, 2 months at a time?

I did not see any mention of your location. It matters.

Your kids are small. The boat is relatively small. Whether it fits you all together for a week or weeks is up to you.

Since you have two small children I would install some lifeline netting. And purchase good PFDs and tethers for them.

I would choose a location with warm water, so you can swim, visit beaches, and enjoy gunkholing in a dinghy and not have to take cold water/weather clothing.

If it is new to you, start with a location and plan (time of year) that allows frequent stops on land for exploring.

Time of year matters. Avoid very hot August in the Keys, Galveston, etc.

If I had young kids, that is what I would do. Build everyone's confidence and love for sailing.

Good luck and Bon Voyage!
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Old 12-02-2018, 14:03   #3
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Re: Crusing in a small boat, 2 months at a time?

The boat itself is not your limiting factor. If it is properly maintained and operated, it can take you just about anywhere in the world you want to go.

Your only limiting factor is yourself, specifically your own mind and how you think. The boat has enough volume for provisions and equipment to cross oceans, but will your mind allow you to see the possibilities? Can you (and your wife) mentally cope with being in a confined space with your children? Can you get beyond the mental hurdles that will surely spring up regularly? Can you break free from societal norms and deal with the unending questioning of your mental state from those who do not see things the same way? The boat can do it, can you?
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Old 12-02-2018, 14:11   #4
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Re: Crusing in a small boat, 2 months at a time?

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Originally Posted by Steady Hand View Post
I did not see any mention of your location. It matters.

Your kids are small. The boat is relatively small. Whether it fits you all together for a week or weeks is up to you.

Since you have two small children I would install some lifeline netting. And purchase good PFDs and tethers for them.

I would choose a location with warm water, so you can swim, visit beaches, and enjoy gunkholing in a dinghy and not have to take cold water/weather clothing.

If it is new to you, start with a location and plan (time of year) that allows frequent stops on land for exploring.

Time of year matters. Avoid very hot August in the Keys, Galveston, etc.

If I had young kids, that is what I would do. Build everyone's confidence and love for sailing.

Good luck and Bon Voyage!

Thanks for the great input! Our boat is in San Diego, but will go onto our trailer. We have the ability to trailer it anywhere in the country. Your advise on warm water is well received and we would likely prefer to head south from San Diego or drop her back in the water off of Florida or Texas perhaps.

Lifeline netting is going on the list of things to get also. All the advise from everyone is VERY appreciated, you all are a wealth of knowledge.
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Old 12-02-2018, 14:21   #5
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Re: Crusing in a small boat, 2 months at a time?

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Originally Posted by SailsWithFists View Post
The boat itself is not your limiting factor. If it is properly maintained and operated, it can take you just about anywhere in the world you want to go.

Your only limiting factor is yourself, specifically your own mind and how you think. The boat has enough volume for provisions and equipment to cross oceans, but will your mind allow you to see the possibilities? Can you (and you wife) mentally cope with being in a confined space with your children? Can you get beyond the mental hurdles that will surely spring up regularly? Can you break free from societal norms and deal with the unending questioning of your mental state from those who do not see things the same way? The boat can do it, can you?
THIS I BELIEVE WITH MY WHOLE HEART! I have found this to be true in the military, your body can go far further than your mind. If you learn to make your mind and emotions comply, you can accomplish almost anything. We are "nuts" according to our friends and most family. But they said the same when we moved from southern Ca to rural Montana and bought thirty mountain acres.

Before we moved I had never towed a trailer, run a chainsaw, split wood, serviced a generator, killed and processed a deer, run an excavator, done plumbing, roofing, worked on house electric systems, etc. But yet after four years we now heat our house almost exclusively off our own wood, stock our freezers with our own meet. We work our land with skids, excavators and dozers. We have cleared out acres of land for new buildings, learned how to run our snow plows, recover vehicles off the roads and hills (not ours lol), etc.

So what I'm getting at is were up for the challenge but realistically we have a lot to learn about sailing and I'm not to proud to ask for advise and learn from others who have lived the way were looking at.

So again keep the input and advise coming please, were keen on being together and we love adventure. I wont get to the end of my life and think "I wish I had made more money, bought more material things" but I will likely reflect upon the time with my family and this may be a great opportunity to embark on a new adventure together.

Thanks again everyone
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Old 12-02-2018, 14:30   #6
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Re: Crusing in a small boat, 2 months at a time?

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Originally Posted by 406Columbia View Post
THIS I BELIEVE WITH MY WHOLE HEART! I have found this to be true in the military, your body can go far further than your mind. If you learn to make your mind and emotions comply, you can accomplish almost anything. We are "nuts" according to our friends and most family. But they said the same when we moved from southern Ca to rural Montana and bought thirty mountain acres.

Before we moved I had never towed a trailer, run a chainsaw, split wood, serviced a generator, killed and processed a deer, run an excavator, done plumbing, roofing, worked on house electric systems, etc. But yet after four years we now heat our house almost exclusively off our own wood, stock our freezers with our own meet. We work our land with skids, excavators and dozers. We have cleared out acres of land for new buildings, learned how to run our snow plows, recover vehicles off the roads and hills (not ours lol), etc.

So what I'm getting at is were up for the challenge but realistically we have a lot to learn about sailing and I'm not to proud to ask for advise and learn from others who have lived the way were looking at.

So again keep the input and advise coming please, were keen on being together and we love adventure. I wont get to the end of my life and think "I wish I had made more money, bought more material things" but I will likely reflect upon the time with my family and this may be a great opportunity to embark on a new adventure together.

Thanks again everyone
Yeah, you will be just fine.

The quickest way to learn sailing is to crew on some local race boats.

I was the Alex Rust (Chasing Bubbles on Youtube) type. I bought a 30 sailboat (similar to yours) when I was in the military and taught myself how to sail, with no previous experience. You have kids, so I would learn seamanship first, then take off. Learning how to sail is the easy part - seamanship is what will see you through.

Pick up a copy of Royce's Sailing Illustrated.
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Old 12-02-2018, 14:40   #7
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Re: Crusing in a small boat, 2 months at a time?

You lucked into a great boat there, 8' beam no permits needed to trailer, no slip fees, DIY upfitting at home or a cheap bit of land with a shed.

Trailerable blue-ocean: exists?

First thing I'd focus on is adapt the trailer and mast / rigging, get lots of learning / practicing on driving, getting the mast & rigging up and down, launching & retrieving in different settings, until you feel confident and make it look easy.

Then/meanwhile some lessons, maybe courses, hire a captain a few times, take every opportunity getting comfortable even if it's just weekends on a lake here and there.

Get a prioritized punch list together over time, probably worth paying for at least a light survey, more in depth if you want to do long passages one day, focus on big fundamental issues first not little superficial ones.

If there's some huge expensive dealbreaker buried in there better to find out sooner rather than later.

Once you feel ready, try to swing as long block of time as possible for cruising liveaboard. Pick easy grounds and nice weather to start, don't set any schedule mileage goals, just meander and practice.
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Old 12-02-2018, 14:40   #8
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Re: Crusing in a small boat, 2 months at a time?

Will do and thanks!
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Old 12-02-2018, 14:46   #9
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Re: Crusing in a small boat, 2 months at a time?

Err, uuuh,

San Diego? Snow Plows? Shooting deer on your own property? Perhaps you could explain what appear to be inconsistencies here? Like approximately where do you live that is wild enough to have deer and large enough for you to have done what you claim?

Thank you.
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Old 12-02-2018, 14:50   #10
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Re: Crusing in a small boat, 2 months at a time?

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Err, uuuh,

San Diego? Snow Plows? Shooting deer on your own property? Perhaps you could explain what appear to be inconsistencies here? Like approximately where do you live that is wild enough to have deer and large enough for you to have done what you claim?

Thank you.
Lol sure. We have land and live in rural MT, we bought the boat out of SD where she sits now. My wife and I both lived in SoCal for years and are both CA kids. SO we have a slip in SD currently, a house and land in MT and tons of family from here to there so we are back and forth all the time.
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Old 12-02-2018, 15:14   #11
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Re: Crusing in a small boat, 2 months at a time?

Understood.

Okay, then, you have demonstrated some skills, which is great. Suggest either hiring a good skipper to teach both the adults to sail, or taking the courses, whichever fits best for both of you.

Imo, it is important for women to develop sailing skills separate from their partners, because it makes them more competent sailors overall, than deferring to their partner all the time does. Plus, if you're doing overnighters, you will want to be able to rely on her skills.

There is some voyaging you can do in your time frame, once you both are comfortable sailing the boat. Perhaps some club racing might fit into your schedule, and you could do that, with the kids. You won't be winning, but you will be learning about sailing the boat efficiently, according to the extent you share the skippering. The kids will learn to cope. Now, mostly, SD, has very mild sailing weather.

I do not see the children as impedimenta, however, there are some here who will object to your forcing the kids to participate. I think it will be fun, and while you all are learning, your 6 month old will be learning to walk. As Steady Hand wrote, yes, netting is a good idea, and also a child size life jacket and tether, but just don't get all paranoid about the kids' well being. I personally know people who grew up on sailboats, and the kids all did just fine. Just as you would teach them how to use tools properly, you teach them boating safety.

Now, SD isn't going to prepare you for particularly challenging sailing, but SF will, and your boat can make that trip on its own bottom, with only one or two overnighters, iirc.
Your boat could take you to Hawaii and back in about 8-9 wks for the round trip, eventually. Jim and I did that in a Yankee 30, in 1983, whole trip was 8-1/3 weeks, with celestial navigation. Biggest concern will be water management. We made numerous coastal trips SF to SoCal and back within our 2 wk. vacation period.

Wait till the baby is toilet trained before you try that offshore trip.

Have fun with it all. CF has a women's group, the Mermaids, perhaps your wife would like to join. There are a few women skippers on here. One, gamayun, is preparing her Freedom for the Singlehanded Transpac this year. Also, there are a number of CFers who recommend the Women Who Sail on FB.

Ann
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Old 12-02-2018, 15:21   #12
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Re: Crusing in a small boat, 2 months at a time?

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Understood.

Okay, then, you have demonstrated some skills, which is great. Suggest either hiring a good skipper to teach both the adults to sail, or taking the courses, whichever fits best for both of you.

Imo, it is important for women to develop sailing skills separate from their partners, because it makes them more competent sailors overall, than deferring to their partner all the time does. Plus, if you're doing overnighters, you will want to be able to rely on her skills.

There is some voyaging you can do in your time frame, once you both are comfortable sailing the boat. Perhaps some club racing might fit into your schedule, and you could do that, with the kids. You won't be winning, but you will be learning about sailing the boat efficiently, according to the extent you share the skippering. The kids will learn to cope. Now, mostly, SD, has very mild sailing weather.

I do not see the children as impedimenta, however, there are some here who will object to your forcing the kids to participate. I think it will be fun, and while you all are learning, your 6 month old will be learning to walk. As Steady Hand wrote, yes, netting is a good idea, and also a child size life jacket and tether, but just don't get all paranoid about the kids' well being. I personally know people who grew up on sailboats, and the kids all did just fine. Just as you would teach them how to use tools properly, you teach them boating safety.

Now, SD isn't going to prepare you for particularly challenging sailing, but SF will, and your boat can make that trip on its own bottom, with only one or two overnighters, iirc.
Your boat could take you to Hawaii and back in about 8-9 wks for the round trip, eventually. Jim and I did that in a Yankee 30, in 1983, whole trip was 8-1/3 weeks, with celestial navigation. Biggest concern will be water management. We made numerous coastal trips SF to SoCal and back within our 2 wk. vacation period.

Wait till the baby is toilet trained before you try that offshore trip.

Have fun with it all. CF has a women's group, the Mermaids, perhaps your wife would like to join. There are a few women skippers on here. One, gamayun, is preparing her Freedom for the Singlehanded Transpac this year. Also, there are a number of CFers who recommend the Women Who Sail on FB.

Ann
Ann,

Thanks, my wife is following this discussion also so she will see all this advice. She's tough and capable for sure and again, we appreciate all the good advice and experiences you folks are all sharing. Making lots of lists and doing tons of reading and research.
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Old 12-02-2018, 16:16   #13
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Re: Crusing in a small boat, 2 months at a time?

And top priority should be getting sail time in ASAP, even if it needs to be on other boats.

Nothing worse than pouring loads of money into that boat-shaped hole in the water, and then finding out you (sing or pl.) don't actually enjoy the life much as you thought you would.

Don't rationalize you'll get upfitting investments back in any form other than cruising time.
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Old 12-02-2018, 21:13   #14
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Re: Crusing in a small boat, 2 months at a time?

I just read this post by cyan in another thread, and thought it might interest the two of you:

"Excellent post.

This is often an overlooked point. Like many here, I really like a fix-it challenge, and in an odd way, I like it even more when the seas are rough. I call it the MacGyver Hero Sydrome. You dangle from a mast in seas that are telling you to get down, and execute a makeshift spreader repair averting disaster and death. Hero.

There is a whole spectrum of repair enthusiasm. On the other end, there is a boat owner named Dan who I sail with... who calls "his guy" for everything, like installing the small cotter pin on a block last year. A cotter pin. Dan is not mentally equipped to cross oceans, and he doesn't want to anyway.

If you are closer on the spectrum to a MacGyver than a Cotter-pin Dan, well you may just be suited for a crossing after all the other training and experience recommended.


If both of your are MacGyver types, it will be a great help. I have never cruised on a regular basis with young children aboard, so take this with a grain of salt. I have raised a family of three. How I remember it is that it got a whole lot more difficult with the 3rd. I don't know how people with triplets survive it! Anyhow, it will be easiest if you keep it to two.

Ann
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Old 12-02-2018, 23:22   #15
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Re: Crusing in a small boat, 2 months at a time?

Honestly two kids is wonderful, were VERY happy right here and not looking to have more. as it is the boat has a birth for everyone, two quarter births for the kids and the v-birth for the adults, perfect.
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