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Old 08-11-2015, 22:53   #16
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Re: Does it really matter which damn sailboat you pick to go down the west coast?

A Tartan 30 is a good boat around your budget.
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Old 08-11-2015, 23:56   #17
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Re: Does it really matter which damn sailboat you pick to go down the west coast?

When I read the title to the thread, I was going to write something along the lines of "it doesn't matter as long as you get a boat with a halfway decent reputation for bluewater..." but that's when I thought you had a realistic budget for ocean sailing/cruising. You've got a hitch-hiker's budget and I'd seriously take a look at crewing rather than investing what you've got in a boat OR I'd sit down with someone who really, really knows a particular boat (I used to own a Rawson 30-had about $7K in it and it would have been world-cruise ready at $10K...and that's what the guy we sold her to had in her total when he took off cruising) and who really, really knows how to pinch a penny and ask that person to help me get into something. You can blow through $10K and not have a boat ready to leave the harbor. So--yeah--when you're looking for "magic" to happen, you've got to be particular.

Still suggest, from your post, that you consider car camping, motorcycles, beach bumming, or crewing rather than getting your own boat. But--if you do follow through with it, don't let folks intimidate you with their talk of sailing the PNW. You'll pick up what you need to know, watch the weather, figure out how you handle yourself in your vessel and it will all work out. The cruising grounds along the west coast of Vancouver Island are spectacular--you could spend an awful lot of time sailing the PNW before ever heading anywhere south, btw.
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Old 09-11-2015, 00:27   #18
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Re: Does it really matter which damn sailboat you pick to go down the west coast?

It matters a lot in that price range. Not so much the boat, but the condition. To get a even a pretty decent cruising boat ready for a trip like that, and reasonably equipped, can easily cost tens of thousands. So to make your budget, you will have to luck into some very old, shabby boat which just happens to be in really excellent technical condition having just been refitted.

It's pretty tough to do this on $10k. There are plenty of boats for sale in the $5k price range, but they typically need more work than they will be worth after you do it. Your chances would be much better with a budget of $25-30k, of which spend say $20k on the boat.

All these figures assume you are mechanically adept, have tools, and lots of time.

I think the suggestion above about crewing on someone else's boat is a very good one.


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Old 09-11-2015, 00:43   #19
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Re: Does it really matter which damn sailboat you pick to go down the west coast?

I think this plan is seriously flawed from start to finish.

Moving on to the end bit...nobody even thinks of sailing coastwise in Peru... 200 miles offshore is the norm even if going from Ecuador to Arica. Call at any Peruvian ports and it will cost you $$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Chile southbound to Pto Montt close inshore? Very Very hard work even in a large well found yacht.

Back to the drawing board methinks....
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Old 09-11-2015, 01:28   #20
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Re: Does it really matter which damn sailboat you pick to go down the west coast?

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I think this plan is seriously flawed from start to finish.

Moving on to the end bit...nobody even thinks of sailing coastwise in Peru... 200 miles offshore is the norm even if going from Ecuador to Arica. Call at any Peruvian ports and it will cost you $$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Chile southbound to Pto Montt close inshore? Very Very hard work even in a large well found yacht.

Back to the drawing board methinks....
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Old 09-11-2015, 03:21   #21
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Re: Does it really matter which damn sailboat you pick to go down the west coast?

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Originally Posted by MikeAndMichelle View Post

Can't we just get whichever boat we like most? (And can afford?) Does it really matter which sailboat you get? As long as the damn thing floats and takes you from point A to point B? I mean, there have been (crazy) people who have taken kayaks, rowboats, and a bathtub across oceans.
Welcome to the Board M&M.

The short answer is 'no' it does not matter which boat you buy.

The reason it does not matter is because you are not in a position to make a choice. Without knowledge of the right kind, you would flounder in a 1 million dollar boat as quick as a 10k boat.

Let me explain. EVERYTHING about boating is about knowledge and experience. There is a base level of which every person taking a vessel on the water needs to know. In the learning, comes understanding of sail configurations, comes comments from your instructor regarding what works and where and weather handling, comes bits and pieces of information regarding offshore requirements and necessities, and finally, if highly experienced, the instructor will give his or her comments on which types of boat are suitable for coastal or offshore.

As noted here, experienced people are giving you advice. Its different regarding aspects of what boat, but united in the information regarding the sailing area and weather conditions and time of the year to be doing it in.

You are proposing a trip that is a fabulous journey, but fraught with difficulties in terms of weather, and wave action and a knowledge of sailing that is not currently possessed by you. It is a trip that I would undertake after careful planning, an eye on the weather, and every contingency planned for.......and I would prefer an experienced sailor with me in those waters. and so far no mention of the type of vessel.

The boat does need to meet certain requirements. But with the above experience and knowledge you 'could' sail a bathtub in the right conditions.

The boat is no substitute for knowledge or experience. If you dont know what you are doing, its moot. It will be luck and chance that you survive. A good vessel for the conditions is required, but if you dont know what to do, you are screwed. People have got in a boat and sailed all around the world with no experience. Its the exception rather than the rule and to be fair, the people doing it worked HARD at learning quickly.

Im not of the school of though that thousands need to be spent on a vessel to make it coastal worthy for this trip. However I am of the school of thought that you dont have enough knowledge or experience to make this work in a $10k boat.

I have a 10k boat. Its a 26 foot Westerly Centaur. It has been sailed all around the UK, to Ireland, to France and to Spain. Under my hand on the Tiller, I have sailed the south west of the UK and south UK from the West to the East coast. Busy waters and the weather can be contentious. Its a plodder. The vessel is a known seaworthy best selling boat and highly desired. I like it. The boat is reliable and steady. However, in some weather cells, I dont want to be on it. Yes it will get you where you are going, but is about 20 foot too small for comfort when the sea is up to a force 7/8.

The boat has been upgraded by previous owners and ourselves to handle severe UK weather if caught out. We were lucky to get this boat.

The trip you are undertaking requires more knowledge than you possess. The boat you require will need to have more equipment and fittings than $10K will supply. If you had the knowledge, you would have known that.

Good luck with your plans.

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Old 09-11-2015, 04:25   #22
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Re: Does it really matter which damn sailboat you pick to go down the west coast?

You can probably find a boat for the amount you are speaking of, but you will need a lot more experience both sailing/boating.

So maybe you can buy the $7-$8,000 boat and just start sailing locally

You can add things and repair things on the boat as needed.

Then do your cruise if your boat seems to be holding up alright.

Hopefully by the time you do go you will have been in a few situations where you learned a few things

Most times it isn't about the boat. My boat is an old 1974 Bristol 27 I bought for $2,000. (I have about $7,000 in it now including paint, solar, sails, and rope lifelines) The boat is tough but you can get caught in situations that are hard to get out of.

In this video, there is really no place for me to go except downwind which is what I had planned. I need to sail 40 miles to get to a decent place to anchor. My 5 hp outboard will not push the boat into the wind and downwind (or upwind) the motor would come out of the water.

The wind would build to 30 mph and stay between 24-30 for 4 hours. (winds are around 22 in the video and building) The lee shore is 1-2 miles to port and there isn't any water over there or places to find shelter. Depth is 2' or less (my boat draws 4') then it's marsh mud. I haven't had the boat long at this point and am a bit seasick. I'm alone. The windward shore is 30 miles away. The waves are getting steep and close and this is all in "protected" waters but you can still get in a lot of trouble before you realize it. I have to sail the 40 miles period.

If I were to have gotten sick and incapacitated, it would have been ugly. I've sailed while seasick in the passed, and it's very hard. Thankfully, I haven't been seasick in a couple years and didn't get totally sick here after reaching down through the cabin hatch and getting some Dramamine I had put in there months before

It's just an example of what can happen to a beginner..........(with 35 plus years boating experience)

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Old 09-11-2015, 04:30   #23
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Re: Does it really matter which damn sailboat you pick to go down the west coast?

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Originally Posted by MikeAndMichelle View Post
We've spent almost a year researching boats, looking at like 2 dozen boats, and reading all kinds of conflicting information and contradicting opinions. It's becoming very overwhelming and I'm scared to even pick a boat now in fear of actually picking a crappy boat in some way or form.

We don't have coastal sailing experience yet, but the plan was to sail around around Vancouver Island and the Inside Passages for a few months then down the west coast (Vancouver, BC to Chile). We wouldn't venture far from land, we'd probably always have land in sight, we would hug the coast at all times, and would keep a close eye on the weather and anchor when (or, before) it gets too rough out, or heave-to.

Can't we just get whichever boat we like most? (And can afford?) Does it really matter which sailboat you get? As long as the damn thing floats and takes you from point A to point B? I mean, there have been (crazy) people who have taken kayaks, rowboats, and a bathtub across oceans.

We don't care about looks, length, speed, or performance, we just want something cheap to get us from point A to point B. (I know, oxymoron, since sailboats are money sinks, but we can also live on the sailboat in Vancouver on the hook and around the world, so cheaper than renting an apartment or staying in hotels/hostels/airbnb down the coast.)

Our budget is under $10K. We found a Grampian 28 for $5K, and a one-off 35' ex-racer turned cruiser for $7K, and a Bayfield 29 for $12K but that's a bit out of our range, although I know it would be the best boat to take down the coast. We don't want a spade rudder.

I know they'd need some work, they wouldn't be as sturdy, stable, or strong as their heavier cousins (except the Bayfield 29). But, why wouldn't they (or any cheap crappy boat) both work, as long as we keep an eye on weather and went slow, port/marina/beach hopping all the way down? Getting off the boat and camping at an isolated empty beach if we had to, etc.?

I know the Pacific west coast is a lee shore, with not as many safe havens. I went on Google Maps and zoomed in close to land and went all the way down from Vancouver to Baja California, and it looked like from Vancouver to Ensenada there was a marina at least about ever 50-100km (I make a custom map for myself with markers on it). But then there are places like in Mexico from Ensenada to Rancho los Pinos and from Rancho los Pinos to Cońo that have almost 250km of coast along Baja California with no safe havens.

It'd be risky, but couldn't we sail through that during a 3 or 4-day good-weather window? There are dozens of secluded beaches along the way, couldn't we take cover in one of those, too? (Probably before a storm hits, as I'm assuming trying to anchor during a storm would more likely result in you getting blown into shore.)

Or am I just crazy and this is suicidal, and perhaps we should just stick to biking down the coast instead? Lol
There are people who have sailed boats bought for similar amounts on immense journeys. I would recommend my old boat (one of them): the Albin Vega 27. One of those completed a nonstop solo circumnavigation of the Americas a few years back. However… as others have said, you seriously need to develop skills and understanding first. Take several years sailing around the West Coast of Canada first. During this period read, plan, and prepare. Then you can decide what you really want to do. Sailing to Chile is really an arbitrary choice, it seems to me, dictated by your rather lubberly desire to stay within sight of land. Any seasoned mariner will instantly have clocked your statement about always keeping land in sight and hugging the coast "at all times" as the statement of a person who has no idea what their proposal means. Only the very inexperienced wish to keep in sight of land. Many years ago, when I was a much younger man and solo sailing long offshore passages in my old Vega, I recall my mother (a lubber) admonishing me to "stay close to land". I used to ask her if she would say the same were I an airline pilot?

Think about it. Shores are the MOST dangerous envionments for boats. Staying within sight of shore from Vancouver to Chile, while 'hugging the coast at all times' would be a really great way to wreck your boat and maybe die. Notwithstanding the fact that close inshore is where all the worst katabatic winds and thunderstorms and other turbulences are to be found… and Chile? That is truly challenging sailing. It is far easier to sail to Hawai'i and back in any boat that it is to do what you propose. The West coast of South America is some of the most storm lashed and barren coastline in the world, and down from the high deserts come screaming williwaws at night. Walk before you can run. Because the trip you propose is a marathon and a half! Remember, right now you are barely crawling.
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Old 09-11-2015, 04:42   #24
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Re: Does it really matter which damn sailboat you pick to go down the west coast?

In fact I was also looking for a boat in the 'budget' end of spectrum, but after reading all those posts from experienced sailors, it looks like the consensus is rather on the side of "get something good, or nothing".

Anyway, I don't know how much of the $$$ invested in a boat would be related to safety, and how much to comfort. As for me, I would make no concessions about the former, but could live with some inconveniences that could be fixed over time. If you're going to fix and take to top-notch condition every single bolt, or you want have a luxury cruiser, of course it will be expensive.

Said this, my guess is that, as weavis pointed out, the boat itself could not be the major contributor to any accidents at sea. I don't think it's like aviation, where any component fault could easily lead to a catastrophe. What can go wrong in a boat, as long as it's structurally sound? My guess is that as long as water remains outside the hull, there should be no problem. Of course, that means that all through-hulls & seacocks must be in good condition, there are no cracks, etc... I've found a nice guide on what items to check before buying (The Ultimate Sailboat Buying Guide; You've Just Found It!) and it doesn't look so intimidating; it's just knowing what's serious, and what's not. And in fact, there are also many comments in the sense that many old boats have a much more solid engineering that recent designs (which are rather cost-optimized).

I don't have much experience, but I've sailed a couple of boats that would probably sell for less than 5000€ (the cabin looked like a storage room, and some serious cleaning would be needed), but sailed well and seemed pretty solid...
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Old 09-11-2015, 04:45   #25
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Re: Does it really matter which damn sailboat you pick to go down the west coast?

I stopped quoting after four, but the theme remains along with more detail throughout the thread...


Quote:
Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
Hi Mike and Michelle,

I will second what was already mentioned. Especially on the west coast, close to shore is not safer. There are stretches of the coast where you could be many days away from a safe harbor. In rough weather a number of the ports are impassable due to breaking waves at the entrance and aren't safe even for large, very heavy duty boats. The secluded beaches will be wide open to the ocean and better for big wave surfing than refuge for a sailboat.

If you want to buy a small, cheap, coastal cruiser the east coast is a lot safer option. More protected waters and more options for ports that are available in any weather, unlike many on the west side.
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Originally Posted by Mike OReilly View Post
It doesn't matter which boat you have ... until it does .

I've only sailed a small section of the Pacific coast (north from Vancouver to Desolation Sound), but I'm currently motorcycling down. It is a stunning shore. From a sailing viewpoint, it is one long lee shore with relatively few bail out spots. I would not take this coast lightly. If you were doing the east coast, heading down the ICW, then I'd agree that just about any boat would do. Not so on the west coast.
......
.....
Quote:
Originally Posted by avb3 View Post
Most who have made that trip south your proposing are first of all experienced, and secondly, prefer to be 100 mile or more offshore. Why? Wave action.

This is not the waters you want to learn in. Take some lessons. As example, Jackdale who is on this board, is very familiar with those waters, and is a highly rated instructor. You may want to contact him.
Quote:
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Thanks Andy.

Around Vancouver Island might provide some perspective.

To OP - feel free to PM me.
Probably one loop at that...
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Old 09-11-2015, 04:47   #26
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Re: Does it really matter which damn sailboat you pick to go down the west coast?

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Originally Posted by Bertie68 View Post
In fact I was also looking for a boat in the 'budget' end of spectrum, but after reading all those posts from experienced sailors, it looks like the consensus is rather on the side of "get something good, or nothing".

Anyway, I don't know how much of the $$$ invested in a boat would be related to safety, and how much to comfort. As for me, I would make no concessions about the former, but could live with some inconveniences that could be fixed over time. If you're going to fix and take to top-notch condition every single bolt, or you want have a luxury cruiser, of course it will be expensive.

Said this, my guess is that, as weavis pointed out, the boat itself could not be the major contributor to any accidents at sea. I don't think it's like aviation, where any component fault could easily lead to a catastrophe. What can go wrong in a boat, as long as it's structurally sound? My guess is that as long as water remains outside the hull, there should be no problem. Of course, that means that all through-hulls & seacocks must be in good condition, there are no cracks, etc... I've found a nice guide on what items to check before buying (The Ultimate Sailboat Buying Guide; You've Just Found It!) and it doesn't look so intimidating; it's just knowing what's serious, and what's not. And in fact, there are also many comments in the sense that many old boats have a much more solid engineering that recent designs (which are rather cost-optimized).

I don't have much experience, but I've sailed a couple of boats that would probably sell for less than 5000€ (the cabin looked like a storage room, and some serious cleaning would be needed), but sailed well and seemed pretty solid...
There is nothing wrong with budget. You can pick up an excellent, seaworthy little vessel for not much money, provided you go for the likes of an older Westerly or Albin Vega or well found folkboat or any similar craft. Smaller and simpler is easier to maintain and more time actually sailing. In many ways safer as well. Bigger is by no means safer necessarily, and is certainly much more hassle and expense. Weavis is right about experience.
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Old 09-11-2015, 05:11   #27
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Re: Does it really matter which damn sailboat you pick to go down the west coast?

Keep reading and learning and asking questions, then buy your first boat without the big plans, keep it simple and stay close to home. Learn the only way possible, by experience. Give yourself a chance to learn about sailboats and sailing. You'll soon be able to answer all your own questions. But above all don't give up. Your perceptions of what you dream of and the reality of it will come together 'over time' and perhaps differently. However, the rewards will be awesome if you keep on learning and dreaming.
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Old 09-11-2015, 05:29   #28
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Re: Does it really matter which damn sailboat you pick to go down the west coast?

To the OP's original question, no - it doesn't really matter what boat you do it in - as long as the condition of that boat is suitable to taking on the trip you're proposing. There are some excellent suggestions here - Westerly's, Albin Vega's, Contessas - just make sure the boat is sound and has the equipment you need for the trip.

As for the trip itself - why are you doing it? If it's just to head south, take the bus or cycle - MUCH cheaper and makes more sense. If you're doing it for the sailing adventure though, spend some time practicing first and getting to know the boat. Sure, others have struck off without much experience (Chay Blyth made it to South Africa in the Golden Globe race without ANY experience, learning along the way, then there's the Bumfuzzles, etc etc), but unless you're in a rush (in which case see the bus or cycle suggestion), why not take a season to get to know the boat, get comfortable with living aboard and make the tweaks you think it needs? Much better to get it sorted in relatively sheltered and familiar waters than a random port / anchorage.

I don't see a problem with your proposed trip - it's a great adventure and one you'll look back on with (hopefully) fond memories. Just take some time to get some experience under your belt before setting off; it'll make the trip MUCH more enjoyable.

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Old 09-11-2015, 05:53   #29
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Re: Does it really matter which damn sailboat you pick to go down the west coast?

ok here goes.
i have friends who first sailed from pnw to panama in a cascade 29. they loved it. now they backpacking and walking and flying or whatever and they now are in south america, argentina, i think, or somewhere close by th there.
before you get stuck in a boat you cannot sell to anyone for anything, why not backpack and find rides whether on ocean or land to get to your kickoff point of choice.
there are many smallish boats for cheap in mazatlan, la paz, guaymas, san carlos.... for sale. much better choices , some are, than what you will find derelict in san diego. or lost angeles. research well before you leave.
there are good safe anchorages along the way--- they are used by baja haha and others on their way south.
heck i even used cedros island, which is not a tourist stop at all. it is a work town for the salt plant, and diagonally across water from bahia tortugas.
the stops used on the way south are generally safe, add bahia san quintin, for shallow draft boats, as entrance last i heard was only 6 ft. magdelena bay /santa maria is safe. there are many lil coves which have unsafe anchoring or entrances and are unused for anchoring.
find a used charlies charts cruising giuide to mexicoast.
study it well.
then decide whether you want to buy a boat you dont know if you want to keep or figger out how to scrounge and get to mexico to get one already here.
there used to be an islander 30 at mazatlan marina, in the brokerage, decent lil boat for your trip. there usually is a choice of boats for not that much money in the guaymas area as well, up in the soc.
get to mexico then find what you wanna sail.
sail with others before you commit.
there are sooo many ways to do this.
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Old 09-11-2015, 07:13   #30
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Re: Does it really matter which damn sailboat you pick to go down the west coast?

Your budget may be okay, it's the experience you need.

My boat is similar to a Folkboat. It's slow but very seaworthy. It won't point well, but it's very seaworthy.

http://sailboatdata.com/viewrecord.asp?class_id=521

You will find that simply "cruising" 50-100 miles at first is enough especially if you are still working. You can gain some experience on these short cruises which will help you plan longer ones

Check out this site, He has a list of boats most of wish are less than 30' that may be found in your price range ................maybe.

Atom Voyages - Good Old Boats List

You will have to be careful though not to buy junk. You may want to get a surveyor at least to check the boat out structurally if you cannot afford a total survey.
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