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Old 31-05-2009, 00:02   #16
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Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post
You could buy a kindle and some "electronic" books for the cost of a few stainless steel shackles or an anchor. Before you plunk down the purchase price for a boat, be prepared to spend alot more than that.

Now watermakers, those are expensive, plus you probably want at least one solar panel to keep it running.
Admittedly, I made my previous comment without doing proper research. I was told that books for Kindles cost an average of fifteen dollars, so I figured if I bought all the books I currently own I would be spending somewhere in the vicinity of $7500 (USD). That's one third the cost of some of the Ericson Independence 31's for sale at the moment - for books! (As a writer I feel it necessary - or at least extremely valuable - to have all of these books on hand.) However, on going to the Kindle Store, I discovered many of the books which I own for sale for as low as $0.80 (USD), which is about how much I pay for my books, since I buy them all from thrift stores. Some of the newer books, of course, were ten dollars, but that's the most I've seen for any books I checked on.

With that in mind, a Kindle might, in fact, be a wise investment, saving me a lot of space and weight on my boat. My only worry would be that the Kindle is an electronic device, and therefore susceptible to the elements on a boat which books are basically immune to. I would just have to be very careful with the Kindle. I do think it's a good idea, though, now that I've researched it. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

And yes, I'm aware boats are endlessly expensive, and I'm prepared for that. I only shied away from the Kindle because I figured five to seven thousand dollars was a ridiculous price for books...

As for the watermaker, I've no clue how much they cost, but that's a worthy investment in my opinion no matter the cost.

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Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
Books are heavy, they will mildew on the boat. If you really care about them, leave most of them with someone ashore. I dragged books around for years, but what was the point, I was not going to re-read them in most cases. If you are a reader you will want to be trading books with other cruisers all the time. A lot of boats dont back that well, it's a matter of getting to know your boat. I could probably count the times I HAD to back into a place in 30 years of boating on my 10 fingers....
I do re-read books, on a regular basis. And I refer to them often for my writing purposes. However, as Curmudgeon has mentioned, a Kindle would probably be a wise enough investment to replace the books. And as I mentioned, my only worry with the Kindle is that it will be destroyed by the elements, which is far worse than mildew on books. However, Amazon.com, (and I'm not usually one to plug a product), has made it so that once you buy a book you can re-download it for free. Therefore, if the Kindle were destroyed, I would only need to buy a new one for a few hundred dollars and all the hundreds of books I had would be replaced in no time. Some books I would still keep in hard copy, but I'm starting to be sold on the Kindle thanks to you and Curmudgeon. (You two work for Amazon???)

As for the backing up, are you saying you don't have to do it very often? I mean, I don't know if you cruise all over the place or what, but it seems to me that every time you pulled into a dock you would have to back in, otherwise you would have to back OUT on the way out, so ten times in thrity years seems odd to me. But then, as I mentioned, I'm currently the idiot when it comes to sailing (and docking).
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Old 31-05-2009, 07:43   #17
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The Ericson 31 is a beauty. I do not have any personal experience with it, but can tell you that is is close to the average size yacht in which couples were cruising the world 20 or 30 years ago. In the meantime, a lot of cruisers have determined that they need more space for all their possessions and the watermaker, washer/dryer, flat screen TV, expensive electronics, etc. It sounds like you might be inclined to cruise more like they used to, in which case I think the Ericson would be super. If this minimalist approach is your style of cruising, you should be looking for thre older books about sailing by Hal Roth, Tanya Aebi, Robin Knox-Johnson, Bernard Moitessier, etc. You will be out there having the time of your life while those who think they need a 50er will still be earning the money to buy it.

You do realize that you will need to refit an older boat for cruising, a minor refit is probably OK for coastal cruising, but I would go right through it if you plan to cross oceans. This refit will not be cheap, and will cost more than the boat if you don't do the labor yourself.

The only thing you might want is more water tankage, either in a second tank or jugs. I don't like the idea of small water tankage and counting on a watermaker that might fail. With more tankage, you don't need the watermaker. I would also look for a boat with a diesel instead of the original Atomic 4 gas engine.

I will be setting off later this year in my 32er, equipped for world cruising. I like to sail, so a slower passage is fine. When I get there, I would rather check out the scenery ashore and meet the locals than sit on my boat watching the TV. As long as I have a place to sleep, cook and read on the boat it is big enough. A 31er has that.
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Old 31-05-2009, 20:53   #18
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...a lot of cruisers have determined that they need more space for all their possessions and the watermaker, washer/dryer, flat screen TV, expensive electronics, etc. It sounds like you might be inclined to cruise more like they used to, in which case I think the Ericson would be super. If this minimalist approach is your style of cruising, you should be looking for thre older books about sailing by Hal Roth, Tanya Aebi, Robin Knox-Johnson, Bernard Moitessier, etc. You will be out there having the time of your life while those who think they need a 50er will still be earning the money to buy it.
Washer/dryer on a boat? Wow, I didn't know anybody did that! (No, I wouldn't even consider it. In my opinion the less appliances I can get by with the better so that less things can go wrong.)

I will definitely be on the lookout for some of the books by the authors you mentioned. I'll probably see if I can find some on Better World Books right after I finish this reply. Thanks for the suggestions!

Quote:
You do realize that you will need to refit an older boat for cruising, a minor refit is probably OK for coastal cruising, but I would go right through it if you plan to cross oceans. This refit will not be cheap, and will cost more than the boat if you don't do the labor yourself.
I don't know anything about refitting, so I'm glad you brought it up. I probably won't be crossing any oceans for a long time, until I get a lot of coastal sailing under my belt and thoroughly explore the places right near home and along the adjacent coastlines, so when it comes to that I may just do a minor refit until I'm ready to voyage across the sea. I don't know even what a minor refit entails, though, so I'll have to do some research. I would like to do the labor myself; I envision myself knowing everything about my boat and being able to do any maintenance on it myself, but I have a feeling that's a pretty big goal for someone who currently knows nothing about boats.

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The only thing you might want is more water tankage, either in a second tank or jugs. I don't like the idea of small water tankage and counting on a watermaker that might fail. With more tankage, you don't need the watermaker. I would also look for a boat with a diesel instead of the original Atomic 4 gas engine.
If more tankage is as viable as a watermaker I'll definitely go with that. My trans-oceanic voyages will most likely be few and far between, so having the extra potential maintenance headache of a watermaker may be inefficient anyway. It seems like a nice luxury, but if tankage can be increased enough to be comfortable with I'll just do that.

As for diesel instead of gas, I'm not sure what your reasoning is but I'll definitely do some research to figure out why diesel is better than gas. I'm guessing there's some threads on here somewhere about it. A newer engine might be advisable anyway, since an old one has more potential to break down. I'm sure it's a worthy investment.

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I will be setting off later this year in my 32er, equipped for world cruising. I like to sail, so a slower passage is fine. When I get there, I would rather check out the scenery ashore and meet the locals than sit on my boat watching the TV. As long as I have a place to sleep, cook and read on the boat it is big enough. A 31er has that.
I envy you and hope to be doing the same thing sooner rather than later! And I'm with you on the not watching TV thing. I don't even have a TV here in my land-based home!

Best of luck on your voyages!
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Old 31-05-2009, 22:50   #19
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G'Day mate,

I've been reading your posts with interest. In general, I applaud your quest for info, and in no way want to discourage your efforts. But, quite frankly, I would advise you to NOT get emotionally involved with any design at this stage of your marine education. You (as you often point out yourself) simply don't have even the basic experience needed to evaluate a potential yacht, or for that matter, to evaluate the advice you get in these coulmns.

So, here's MY unsolicited advice! Don't concentrate on any one design at this time. Get on with the really essential education, which is learning to sail. Doesn't matter too much what route you choose -- lessons (private, club or whatever), crewing for others, whatever turns you on. In the "old days" when I started down the slippery path the usual method was to buy a little dinghy of some sort and just go try it out, with maybe a look at a book or two. I still reckon that folks who start this way will become better helmsmen than those that start in keel boats, but many disagree with me. At any rate, once you have the basic skills, it is easy to get rides on other folks boats, in both racing and casual situations. Local yacht clubs often have "crew wanted" signups, the Latitude 38 folks have done crew matchups for decades, and there are many internet services that can be accessed. Then you can start amassing the relevent experience that will guide you in selecting the right boat for you.

It is awfully easy to fall in lust with a boat that "just looks right" to you. Lust, while enjoyable, is a really bad way to choose a boat whose competance or lack of it may determine your life span!! The Ericson that you so admire, while kinda pretty, would not be my choice for a smallish cruising boat. The Ericson line was never known for its robust building standards, and at nearly 30 years of age, I fear that many examples would require very substantial refitting to acheive structural integrity. Further, the rather short LWL and shallow draft mean that its sailing performance might not be the best... These are the sort of considerations that will become meaningful to you as you get some sea miles behind you.

Finally, don't let the small size worry you too much. There have been uncountable successful cruises, yes those spanning oceans too, that were done in boats of the 30 foot+/- range. The Hiscocks' famous Wanderer III was only 30 feet long, for instance, and she is still out there racking up the miles after at least two circumnavigations. Ann and I, who are surely not sailors of the Hiscocks caliber, did thousands of miles in a Yankee 30, including SF-Hawaii and return, and survived to go on to world cruising (admittedly in larger boats!).

But, until you learn basic sailing and then do a bunch of it, you are a victim looking for a predatory broker! From your writings, you seem to have your head screwed on pretty well, and I wish you both success and the sort of joy that we've had at sea and in the many anchorages we've visited over the years.

Cheers,

Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II lying Mooloolaba, Qld Oz
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Old 01-06-2009, 06:26   #20
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IMHO you have to love the boat you buy, and "lust" is part of that love, just as it is in choosing a mate.

Because if you do not love the boat, you will resent the drain on your resources.
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Old 04-06-2009, 04:13   #21
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G'Day mate,

I've been reading your posts with interest. In general, I applaud your quest for info, and in no way want to discourage your efforts. But, quite frankly, I would advise you to NOT get emotionally involved with any design at this stage of your marine education. You (as you often point out yourself) simply don't have even the basic experience needed to evaluate a potential yacht, or for that matter, to evaluate the advice you get in these coulmns.
I started this thread with the explicit intent to hear people support my lust for this boat, not try to stifle my fire. Therefore, your following critical comments regarding the Ericson Independence 31 - since they do not fit my paradigm relating to this boat - are falling on deaf ears. I'm completely ignoring your comments until you have something good to say about the Ericson's.

Just kidding. But you're right, I have definitely fallen into this trap you speak of, I definitely love this boat despite my ignorance, and I definitely created this thread hoping there would be only good things to say about it.

That being said, I will take your advice with a grain of salt in the same way I've taken the previous comments with a grain of salt. The framework I set for something when I'm trying to learn about it - not being confined to sailing matters - allows for a multitude of opinions and "facts" regarding the subject at hand.

With this boat, for the most part, the previous comments have done nothing but support my intense ambition to go out and buy one right now without a single iota of knowledge regarding sailing or maintenance of a boat, with the exception of references to financial issues. I have taken these comments with a grain of salt, not only because they are from people who are not owners of the boat, but also because it's my habit to take EVERYthing with a grain of salt.

True, it's a mite smaller grain of salt when the comments support my paradigm, but this is a natural psychological phenomenon which I have no control over. I do my best to get every side of the story before I take action. I'm much obliged to your critical input.

Quote:
It is awfully easy to fall in lust with a boat that "just looks right" to you. Lust, while enjoyable, is a really bad way to choose a boat whose competance or lack of it may determine your life span!! The Ericson that you so admire, while kinda pretty, would not be my choice for a smallish cruising boat. The Ericson line was never known for its robust building standards, and at nearly 30 years of age, I fear that many examples would require very substantial refitting to acheive structural integrity. Further, the rather short LWL and shallow draft mean that its sailing performance might not be the best... These are the sort of considerations that will become meaningful to you as you get some sea miles behind you.
I'm aware of the meaning of shallow draft, but the rest of the things you spoke of are nearly meaningless to me. (I get the feeling you did this on purpose...)

Anyway, not that I'm ignoring your criticisms, (I promise I'm not!), but there is no doubt in my mind that no matter which boat I chose to start a thread about there would be somebody who would tell me they wouldn't be caught dead sailing in such a piece of junk! I'm just glad that your criticisms were tactful and informative.

I'm sure there will be compromises no matter which boat I end up buying, and I'm sure I won't know which compromises to make until I've logged a good number of miles at sea; as you said: experience will be the best way for me to figure all this out.

All that said and done, I won't "settle" on the Ericson Independence 31, but I'm not ready to abandon it just yet, either.

Quote:
I wish you both success and the sort of joy that we've had at sea and in the many anchorages we've visited over the years.
Thank you! And I'm glad to hear you're "living the dream"!
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Old 04-06-2009, 18:07   #22
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What's wrong with the Ericson? It looks perfectly suitable for what you want to do. Pretty boat. Having said that, there are many other boats that will also serve. Go read Nestor's book "20 Affordable Sailboats to Take You Anywhere."

I recently went through the same process you are going through and after about 4 months of research and hours of being talked at by brokers... there she was, and I knew right away what boat I was going to buy.

Get a good surveyor. I had two boats surveyed that I did NOT buy, and it was money well spent. Do NOT use a surveyor recommended by the broker.

As for brokers, well, they run the gamut. I worked with a couple of brokers who were terrific. Others were less so. Just remember that they are working for the seller, not you.
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Old 05-06-2009, 04:30   #23
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IMHO you have to love the boat you buy, and "lust" is part of that love, just as it is in choosing a mate.

Because if you do not love the boat, you will resent the drain on your resources.
I agree with this, but Jim Cate makes good points, too. I think there needs to be a healthy balance - as with everything else in life - between the lust for your boat and the compromises you make for safety and economic reasons.

As I said in my last post, I think every boat will have some compromises, and no boat out there can I post that will not be met with some criticism. I just have to pick my battles ahead of time. If I make the wrong compromises, I may regret it later.

Speaking of which, I'm curious about Jim Cate's comment:

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The Ericson line was never known for its robust building standards
Could you elaborate on this comment, sir? When you say it's not known for it, does that mean you've heard bad things about the building standards? I can't find anything referring to this anywhere on the internet, but would definitely like to know if my dream boat is going to bust on my first voyage!
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Old 06-06-2009, 04:05   #24
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The Ericson line was never known for its robust building standards

Could you elaborate on this comment, sir? "

G'Day end3r,

Well, I'll try...

Ericson was a fairly middle of the road production boat builder that was fairly popular in the 70's and 80's, at least in the SF Bay area where I was sailing. None of the many boats produced as "racer/cruisers" in that very price competitive market were built to a very high standard in any way -- structurally, OEM equipment, sails, and so on. They served admirably as weekend sailing platforms, with the occasional holiday cruise to the Delta or maybe for the bold, down to Half Moon Bay or up to Drakes Bay. They were seldom used as long range cruising boats, were not sold as such and not equipped as such. As I recall from many years ago, the Independance series were touted as boats with traditional appearance and with a more cruising friendly design, but had underwater lines similar to their R/C brethren. I can not recall that they mentioned increased scantlings as part of the package, but it was a hell of a long time ago!

IMO the upshot of this for you is that a boat that wasn't particualrly structurally sturdy to start with is fairly likely to be less than robust 30 years later. The appearance of the one you linked us to was very clean, and may well have been scrupulously maintained and improved over the years, or it could have been put in the hands of some good detailers for the broker's pix. Only a careful (and expensive) survey can tell.

To give a personal example of these issues, Ann and I had raced and coastal cruised our Yankee-30 (a Sparkman and Stevens design that was regarded as a well above average production boat in the early '70's). Before we decided to take it offshore, we contacted S&S and following their advice did a bunch of midifications:
1. Reinforced the chain plate knees with considerable additional glass.
2. Poured "foam-in-place" polyurethane between the hull liner and the hull in the forepeak area to stiffen the topsides, which they thought had been built a bit too thin, and which tended to oil-can when driving to weather in big seas.
3. Laid up several layers of heavy rovings and chopped strand mat on the hull in the area below the Vee-berth. Again, this was to stiffen the hull structure where they thought that the manufacturer had been a bit skimpy.

We did all these things (not fun either!) and then did the trip to Hawaii and back, weathering a named storm along the way. We and the boat got through just fine.
Would she have done as well without all our reinforcing? Who knows? But, as the winds began to get interesting, we were bloody glad we'd done the work!

So, to sum up, my earlier comments were meant to alert you to the possible shortcomings of your lust object, considering that you proposed to eventually take her offhsore.

Again, I would advise not selecting and buying any serious boat until you have more experience, and at least know how to sail. I know that when the passion is upon one, it is hard to be patient, but deferred gratification can be pretty sweet... and an unsuitable boat can sour your whole outlook on cruising.

Parade raining isn't fun for me, by the way!

Good luck, and keep the queries coming. We (all the folks in the cyber-cruising world) will be here to do our best for you.

Cheers,

Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II now lying Manly, Qld Oz
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Old 06-06-2009, 08:25   #25
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end3r,
You sound like you are thinking this out well. I think your idea of having less "stuff" is great, and is a common attitude I see with bluewater cruisers. The more you sail the more you'll figure out what stuff you really need. You may of already seen it but "Good Old Boat" did a article on the 31 last year (sorry don't remember the month). Also, there is a neat web site Sail Calculator Pro v3.53 - 2000+ boats it gives you good info about capsize ratio and such, I used it to narrow my search for an offshore sailboat.
Erika

PS l ove my books (mold and all), wish I could warm up to a electronic one.
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Old 14-06-2009, 01:32   #26
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Here's some more suggested reading;
John Vigors' "Twenty Small Boats to Take You Anywhere" and that suggestion coming from the Ericson I 31 Owner you've been waiting for to turn up here!. I did read by the way Johns' book before buying Hull No. 63 about 4 years ago.
The Hull count is actually I believe 74 minus the No. 13 that Ericson never commissioned. I recently drove most of the way across the Continent and stopped off in Waukegan, Ill to see (blue) Hull No. 74 that's never been finished. Sits in a Yard there waiting for an inspired Owner to come along and rescue her.
There was this other batch of Hulls built from the Ericson Molds in the early 80's, only one of which I think was ever completed, maybe two? Hull 73 was scrapped a few years ago and the bow off her now resides at an acquaintence place in Santa Monica, Ca.
From the info I've seen over the past couple of years I've learned there's an I 31 in Ireland, one in Bermuda (probably got ther on her own bottom) and they're scattered thru the great lakes and up and down both coasts, and the Gulf of Mexico.
This little WebSite; http://e31.no-ip.com/ has a collection of data/ photos on the majority of the boats built.
"edit" Sorry, just checked and the link seems to be NF. I'll contact the webmaster and see what's amiss.
There was one lost recently, sank in her Slip in Marina Del Ray and potentially was scrapped? Haven't heard the final word on her yet. At least one was badly damaged in the New Orleans area during I believe it was Katrina. Storm driven well inland and I haven't heard her outcome either.
Mr. Cate there, cuising the World on his custom 46 footer has some interesting observations and I believe some misconcieved notions INMHO;
Production Boats are precisely that, designed and built for the masses. I would venture to say no production boat would leave the Factory and be considered a true "Bluewater Boat" Any boat has to be properly prepared as Mr. Cate mentioned about his able S&S deigned Yankee 30. And it had to be beefed up for Open Water service.
Same can be said for virtually any builders' designs. Hatches would be a good example, doubt theres' a boat delivered new that wouldn't require heavier closures before heading Offshore. Typical beefing up includes retabbing all interior structural Bulkheads to give the whole structure greater integrity. Hull to Deck joint is another example, some designs are better then others and typically they all need reinforcing.
Fin keel boats almost always at some point in thei lives have problems with Keel Bolts and leaks. Ground them heavily and they require close survey, even then Keels periodically fall off. The Independence/ Cruising 31 have integral ballast, that 4500 lbs of lead set within the keel profile which is part of the Hull.
It has a practical rudder arrangement, being stern hung you can get at it to effect repairs. Mine is wheel steered as are most of the Fleet, and I carry an emergeny tiller should the wheel steering ever fail. Further redundency is available with my wind vane which provides a third form of back-up.
Bruce King (try "googling" his name) and you'll be mightily impressed with his design career during and after his stint with Ericson.
Modern underbody;
<img src="http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2006-...railer2web.JPG">
Classic great looks;
<img src="http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2006-...erlaunch08.JPG">
And handsome under sail;
<img src="http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2006-...lPlan07web.JPG">
As someone aptly noted, "lust is definitely part of the appeal" has to be.
I corresponded with several people who looked at the I 31 in Florida this Spring who contacted me either on the above referenced I31 Site or The Ericson Owners Board; EY.o Welcome Page That was a relative steal.
My near term plan with LAYLAH is to upgrade systems over the next 3 to 4 years. I had a rebuilt 3 cyl. Diesel fitted last year. I am in the process of doing the bottom job/ barrier coat refinishing on the Hull Bottom this year. And interior renovations will go on over the next several including strengthening. I have now a HydroVane self steering System for installation (no power required like an Autohelm) She will carry a "Four Winds" Wind Generator, also in my inventory along with solar panels such that the engine will rarely if ever have to be started just to charge batteries. She currently has 3 Group 27 Gel Cells installed and 3 more to be added to handle "house loads" and a pair of sealed deep cycle batteries for emerg. back up and engine starting duty. She'll have modest 110v (1800 watts) to run a hair dryer or power tools, etc.
I believe the load factor for this design is roughly 800 lbs to each one inch of hull displacement. In other words, as I add 800 lbs she'll sit one inch lower in the water.
Is she comfortable, of course she is! Would you be more comfortable on a 46 footer, sp'pose it depends on the Company! Yes of course, the longer waterline is going to span an extra wave crest and make the ride more comfortable in some sea states.
Is she safe, all depends on the state of preparation and your knowledge on how to maintain her.
And to say people were going around the World thirty years ago in 30 footers is true, but they still are. Go read up on Cruisers' comments about who they encounter in the most remote places, anchorages with loads of 27 to 34' boats.
You don't have to be exceedingly wealthy to live this lifestyle, why anyone can be out there spoiling the solitude for all the wealthy folks who just want to reserve it for themselves! Ok, I'm being a bit sarcastic perhaps.
Preparation, knowledge and experience are the necessities. They all take persistance and dilligence to acquire the schooling, sailing knowledge, weather knowledge, storm survival knowledge, etc.
But you've got to start somewhere and I highly recommend you do it in a boat that you enjoy.
I intend to be cruising the warm waters of the Carribean some time in the next 5 years and spending winter months there away from the cold North Atlantic Winters.
Fair Winds and calm seas,
Greg Ross
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Old 14-06-2009, 08:00   #27
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For what it is worth, the first boat you buy will probably not be THE boat you end up with. Once you start living aboard (step one) and sailing her (step two) you will find a raft of modifications that you will want to personalise her with. At some point you will do a cost/benefit ratio calculation and realise that you can either keep on modifying her; or you can sell her to buy another boat which then seems to be more what you, now an experienced live aboard sailor, will want.

Be sure to have a survey done by a competent you (empahasise) surveyor. The money invested (several hundreds) could save you thousands and will give you a clear overview of what you are buying.

Anyway, good luck!
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Old 14-06-2009, 11:38   #28
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Back in "the day" I was extremely interested in the I31 when they came on the market. Having built a couple of boats myself, I went through one looking pretty closely. My impression of the 31 was that it was built better than the typical Production boat. After all, It's purpose was to compete with the hot market for the Westsail 32 and the Pacific Seacraft Mariah 31 at the time. Hopefully it wasnt overbuilt to the extent those two dogs were!
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Old 14-06-2009, 13:53   #29
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The boat is nicely equipped for coastal cruising. It has some things that are really just toys like the windpoint instrument but lacks an HF radio for offshore/long distance communication. The displacement is a bit shy for serious liveaboard/cruising as most people fill up their boats with a lot of stuff as they go along.

A wheel on this size boat is just stupid. Unnecessary mechanical, failure prone addtion that serves no useful purpose. It also makes it a challenge for a self steering vane to work well. Vane will work with a wheel but not nearly as well as they do with a tiller. You can cruise with just an autopilot but they are hungry, failure prone beasts. I'd never rely on one and would feel uneasy going to sea with one even if I had three complete back up units. An A/P is nice for coastal cruising where you may want to follow a compass course, dead downwind with a spinnaker, or under power. We managed to do well over 10,000 miles with just an Aries self steering vane and would have used an autopilot for less than two days in all those miles.

The boat has a three burner CNG stove. Haven't figured out how to use more than two burners on a small sailboat. Also wonder how the balance of the stove will be with a large pressure cooker off center of the gimbals because of the 3 burner configuration. CNG is safe, produces plenty of heat and unavailable except in a few major boating centers. It's available in Alameda and Seattle, and assume there is a chandlery in LA that has it. That's few and far between on the West coast but even fewer and farther between outside the USA. You'd find yourself sailing places just get your tanks refilled. Good to see they've got a seawater footpump as well as freshwater. Foot pumps really cut down on water consumption with little sacrifice in convenience and the saltwater pump helps even more.

The port saloon berth looks like it could be a problem. Wonder how your feet and the clothes in the hanging locker will get along?? Galley looks to be decently arranged though that open area is problematical in a seaway. Would probably have to add something to keep the contents in there. You could easily add an overhead cabinet to increase storage space. Don't see a whole lot of storage space on the boat. It's got a hanging locker which is virtually useless on a boat at sea. It turns into a storage area for large items and/or stuff just jammed in. Smallish compartmets and drawers are what are needed. Big open spaces are seldom needed and a real pain to access when the boat is heeled on the wrong tack.

The deck arrangement is a problem for single handing. You can't reach the mainsheet from the stupid wheel. Can't see from the pictures but wonder if you can winch in the jib from the wheel as well. If I'm invisioning the staysail sheet arrangement, the sail will balloon with lots of belly as soon as you crack off the sheet. Not a pretty sight and inefficient with lots heeling force and little drive. The sail should be led to blocks on the deck rather than a travellor to to be able to sheet the sail properly on all points of sail. Glad they don't have a staysail boom. Staysail booms are executioners just waiting to kill you and usually in the way. I'd feel better with 1/4" wire for standing rigging. Says it doesn't need running backstays. I'd have to see that to believe it. For most of the sailing, running backs for the staysail aren't necessary. When things get really snotty, I want to triangulate that staysail stay. Amazing how much the mast will pump when you put high loads on the staysail. There are no light air sails, reacher/drifter, asymetrical spinnaker, unless I missed them. Guess the owner figured he'd crank up the diesel if speed ever dropped below 4 knots.

The guy has apparently forgot about anchoring. He's got a couple of anchors but no rode or way to handle it. All chain rode is a must for the tropics. For me it's a must, period, on a cruising boat. You'll be spending most of your time at anchor and it's really embarassing to be driven ashore when the anchor line chafes through. A strong young back could probably get buy without a windlass but they make retrieving the anchor so much more civilized. Used to pooh pooh electric windlasses but after watching a couple treat their 30,000 boat like a dinghy, I was envious. They dropped their anchor and raised it a 1/2 dozen times in a couple of hours while they maneuvered around to check out the snorkeling. Our 45# CQR, 3/8" chain, and manual windlass tended to stay put once the anchor was down.

As far as tankage, we had 80 gallons, in two tanks, of water on our Westsail 32. Our longest passage, 24 days to the Marquesas, we did on one tank and still had water left. We filled the tanks with rainwater off our awning and never had to cart water from shore in a year in Polynesia. Arid areas could be a problem but we used very little water. Water consumption is something that varied tremendously depend on circumstances. Tied up at a marina using the pressure water system, we'd go through a 40 gallon tank in less than a week. Anchored out and using the foot pumps, we probably used less than 2 gallons a day for two people. On passages, it was probably only a gallon a day. We had 70 gallons of fuel, two tanks, and topped off once in a year. We used the engine almost exclusively for charging the batteries and getting in and out of anchorages we couldn't sail in/out.

Erickson was a typical California boat manufacturer. Their boats were designed to get you to Catalina for a weekend. They tended to be light air boats that were adequately constructed. They weren't offshore boats. Construction was adequate but not robust. The 7/16" rigging wire is an example of this. They are fine for coastal cruising, the Carribean, etc. but I definitely wouldn't want to take one to the Southern Ocean. Their cruising boats tended to be cutesy with someone, who'd seen too many Currier and Ives prints, of what a cruising boat should look like. Clipper bows were fine on Clipper Ships. On smaller boats, they look like they are trying too hard to say 'cruiser'. Putting a wheel on a small boat with an outboard rudder is simply, well you know my thoughts on that.

There are tons of boats out there under $50,000. I'd keep looking for something with a little more substance. Lots of older CCA boats that tended to be heavily constructed and for sail around $25,000. You'd need to add things to these boats but would be hard pressed to reach $50,000 with the exception of an engine replacement. If live aboard and offshore work is your real purpose, look at a Westsail 32. They can be had for under $50,000, ready to leave. The W32 is a boat I'd take anywhere, hey, we did that. If you want huge, look at Pearson 365, better performance, the Cal 36, anyhow there's a ton of boats out there in your price range.

Good luck in finding a boat.

Aloha
Peter O.
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Old 20-06-2009, 09:48   #30
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Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Prince Edward Island, Canada
Boat: Ericson Independence 31 Hull No.63 Cutter rigged, SV LAYLAH
Posts: 5
"roverhi" obviously likes the Westsail 32. That boat with a full keel would handle differently, and definitely track better then the Ericson 31. Close in manuvering would be something else all together different.
Tiller sailors are "tiller sailors" and are entitled to their opinion. There in fact were several of the E 31s' built with tillers instead of the wheel. My boat carries a spare tiller that drops on over the head of the rudder should there ever be a cable failure. I have created access to my steering system for preventative maintenance so likelyhood of failure is remote. My Hydrovane self steering machine does no connect to the main rudder as the Aries system does. The hudrovane has its' own steering rudder in the water. Trim is done with the main rudder and then it is locked.
Main Traveller access from the wheel, on LAYLAH I have a Harken "windward sheeting" setup. With the control lines run aft there's "no issue". And access to the sail winches? I don't understand "roverhi"s comments, the winches are readily accessible.
The Cutter rigged boat does in fact have running backstays!
I have to presume "roverhi" is directing his comments to the "red" California I 31. Yep, she's set up for Coastal Cruising, 99% of the production boats out there are.
Sounded to me like you're just starting a career and perhaps a liveaboard/ cruiser is a great option for you. I've been to Santa Catilina and weekends spent there would be delightful. For a novice sailor a trip over the Horizon is an adventure. And you do have to start somewhere.
Good luck with whatever you decide on.
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