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Old 12-10-2013, 16:00   #1
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Doing it the Right Way!

After a lot of thought I definately would like a sailboat over a powerboat ! This will be a five or 6 year plan , I want to take a recognized sailing coarse , start with something small to sail our local lakes and river system ( Ottawa, Canada) .and I would like to find a project boat to fix up and sail to cuba ! How small a sailboat can I safely make the crossing from the States to Cuba ?
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Old 12-10-2013, 16:31   #2
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Some of the refugees made it across in inner tubes. Smallest Really depends on the level of comfort you require and you crew size.

For a run to Cuba solo a Cal20 would be fine for me. With my wife a Cal25 or an Albin Vega27.
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Old 12-10-2013, 17:29   #3
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Re: Doing it the right way !

I know two ol' salts who each (side by side) single handed 24' Sharks from Lake Ontario to Portugal, Cuba and home. That's a little too much "roughin' it" for me but whatever floats your boat.
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Old 12-10-2013, 17:45   #4
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Re: Doing it the right way !

I'm running a 9 year plan myself. Have a Catalina 27 (smallest boat with a real head) we bought last November to learn on. We have spent close to a month out on it during our vacations (I am out of days for the year) and weekends. Love it.

Our plan was to get a bigger boat in about 5 years, then spend 4 getting her ready for retirement cruising. We are looking at a larger boat tomorrow. The good thing about making a plan is the ability to change it.

Good luck, see you on the water.
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Old 14-10-2013, 10:22   #5
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I'm running a 9 year plan myself. Have a Catalina 27 (smallest boat with a real head) we bought last November to learn on. We have spent close to a month out on it during our vacations (I am out of days for the year) and weekends. Love it. Our plan was to get a bigger boat in about 5 years, then spend 4 getting her ready for retirement cruising. We are looking at a larger boat tomorrow. The good thing about making a plan is the ability to change it. Good luck, see you on the water.
would you feel confident about sailing across from Florida to Cuba or Bahamas in the Catalina 27 ? When you say "real head " do you mean a full bathroom with shower ? I've been searching on yachtworld and it's hard to find a sailboat between 28-34 feet with a full bathroom with shower !
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Old 14-10-2013, 10:35   #6
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Re: Doing it the right way !

I would.... in one that is good condition that is. That trip (and most) is more about weather planning than boat.
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Old 14-10-2013, 10:40   #7
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Re: Doing it the right way !

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I would.... in one that is good condition that is. That trip (and most) is more about weather planning than boat.
That's where the sailing coarses will benefit me I hope !!
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Old 15-10-2013, 11:54   #8
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Re: Doing it the right way !

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would you feel confident about sailing across from Florida to Cuba or Bahamas in the Catalina 27 ? When you say "real head " do you mean a full bathroom with shower ? I've been searching on yachtworld and it's hard to find a sailboat between 28-34 feet with a full bathroom with shower !

Ours has a toilet with holding tank so you can pump out or discharge when appropriate. Smaller has a Port-a-let, usable but don't really fancy carring poo about, indoor plumbing was invented for a reason.

Our 74 has no sink in the head but newer ones do. We have a shower in the bag, use it in the cockpit. The stock tankage is a bit small on a 27 though they do sell add on tanks and you could make a shower in the head.

The previous owners of our boat sailed her to Puerto Rico and back. Our farthest jaunt off shore with her was only about 40 miles but I would take her further if I had the time.

Oh, she will be for sale in about a month as we just bought a Catalina 30. Once we get the 30 back into sailing trim the 27 will be on the market. Kinda sad as she sits 3 slips from our new boat.
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Old 15-10-2013, 12:17   #9
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Ours has a toilet with holding tank so you can pump out or discharge when appropriate. Smaller has a Port-a-let, usable but don't really fancy carring poo about, indoor plumbing was invented for a reason. Our 74 has no sink in the head but newer ones do. We have a shower in the bag, use it in the cockpit. The stock tankage is a bit small on a 27 though they do sell add on tanks and you could make a shower in the head. The previous owners of our boat sailed her to Puerto Rico and back. Our farthest jaunt off shore with her was only about 40 miles but I would take her further if I had the time. Oh, she will be for sale in about a month as we just bought a Catalina 30. Once we get the 30 back into sailing trim the 27 will be on the market. Kinda sad as she sits 3 slips from our new boat.
what are the amenities like in a Catalina 30 ? Is there a shower in the head and flush toilet ? Hot water ? I was thinking of a tankless propane heater they are light and don't take up much space ?
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Old 15-10-2013, 12:45   #10
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Re: Doing it the right way !

Our 30 has twice the interior volume of the 27 due to its wider beam.

Some differences in the 30 over the 27 , salt water rinse pump in the double sinks in the galley, much more cabinet space, factory installed shower setup with sink in the head, shore powered AC, Nav station.

She will have a watermaker, hot water tank, refrigerator, radar and ais before we go full time and has the space to install all the goodies.


On the 27 I ended up sleeping in the quarterberth with the wife on the folded down settee. The Vbirth was used as a locker as the wife found it closterphobic. Lots of bumped knees and contortions getting into the quarterberth.

We use a Max Burtan single burner butane stove. Comes with a hard case for storage and the butane cans stow nicely in a well ventilated the fuel locker.
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Old 07-11-2013, 11:34   #11
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Re: Doing it the right way !

I have definitely been in your shoes. And learned a couple hard lessons.

- Join one or more of the Ottawa sailing clubs and crew, crew, crew. You will learn more about sailing from racing and crewing more cheaply than buying into a boat right away. Knowing how a boat handles, and what you like in that handling will mean that when you take your first prospective purchase out for a test sail, you will be ready to judge her worth on the water.

- If you plan on hanging out in the Ottawa valley, there are a lot of good boats like the Tanzer 7.5 or Contessa 26 that are excellent for cruising the river and learning the ropes. The resale value is also good for when you upsize. I had a Tanzer which I sold for the same $ I bought it for. If I had to do it again, I would pay a little more and get a Contessa or small Alberg, or pearson, so I could confidently take it further afield.

- The Sailing schools out of BYC and NSC are pretty good and they have a group ownership plan that is a nice compromise for folks not into owning a whole boat themselves.

- A project boat teaches you about boat building, not sailing. If you want to sail, get out there on whatever you can find. Do it now! If you love tinkering and carpentry more than sailing, and dont want to leave, go right ahead and buy that project boat. I wasted 5 years and 50K restoring a 37footer - when really what I should have done was saved a bit more, bought a smaller boat, and left earlier.

For the bottom line on the bare-minimum it takes to get out there, watch "Hold Fast" by Moxie Marlinspike. Those guys got out of the harbour for 2 seasons on a shoestring and some sweat. If you want a NASA level safety and readiness equipped boat, you are going to pay a lot more, which is OK, if you can afford it. Even better, peruse 7knots or other crewing sites, and get out on someone elses boat for a year or so. For the amount you spend buying and fixing one boat for yourself, you could crew for a few years abroad.

Not to mention, some of the best deals are found abroad while cruising - not in the recreational sailing ghettos like Ottawa. And getting out on other peoples boats will let you figure out what kind of cruising style you like before you buy the boat.
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Old 07-11-2013, 12:05   #12
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WOW !! Thanks for the excellent advise !! I looked into sailing coarses at the nepean yacht club , but there's nothing available till spring ! I'm on their email list !! All the best !
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Old 08-11-2013, 19:09   #13
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Re: Doing it the right way !

For real cruising , say thru the Carib or farther a shower is not needed . You can not carry enough water to take showers anyway and all you gotta do is fall over and get your bath . I cruised 10 years on a boat with out a shower , it carried 29 gallons of water , and I never ran out of water. Then I bought a boat that carried 450 gallons and had two showers , I ran out several times a month . Salt water baths are the best .
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Old 09-11-2013, 07:09   #14
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Thanks ! It's great to get real life experiences on this site ! The shower was more for when were docked ! I've never sailed , I've had a few motor boats , so I guess I don't realize the importance of saving space and weight !
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Old 09-11-2013, 07:36   #15
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Re: Doing it the right way !

When you are docked....you can usually use the showers and facilities at the marina.
Not having a dedicated shower on a small boat is really a non issue. We had a what I called mini tub with a handheld shower on our 30' s2 but I never used it for a shower....was a great foot bath to clean your feet and nice wet locker for hanging wet stuff over though.
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