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Old 12-03-2013, 17:07   #46
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Re: Getting discouraged

We bought a boat for 20k. Lived in the boatyard for 7 months and worked on the boat 6-7 days a week. We put another 20-25 into it. We sailed away, we're in Mexico.
Oh, my wife and son are disabled.
Tell them to stuff that up their hawse pipes.

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Old 12-03-2013, 17:07   #47
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Re: Getting discouraged

Sarah, I am going to disagree with a lot of what has been said about the dangers of the west coast. Your idea of taking a more experienced sailor for the Seattle to SF is actually a pretty good idea, but from SF south it is not a bad trip and there are many anchorages. On my first long cruise, I left SF and cruised the Calif coast and Baja, and only sailed overnight about 4 times. This was in a 26 foot engineless boat with no radar ,GPS,liferaft, transmitter of any kind, or most of the things that people wont leave the dock without. There were days that we only made 20 miles but almost always had a safe anchorage for the night. We learned of these coves from fishermen and the coast pilot. We only tied up at 2 Yacht Clubs(Morro Bay, and the Silvergate), and were welcomed even though we were young and poor and most often the smallest boat cruising thru the area. We never paid for commercial marinas and only sailed up to fuel docks to get water(which made them un -happy). The things that we did have were a windvane, a good selection of sails, a radio direction finder that we used as a hand bearing compass, and a good battery powered depth sounder. We also had what I think was the most important gear, was very good ground tackle. As I have said many times on this forum, "More cruising boats are lost to poor anchoring skills than are ever lost to poor sailing skills". On another note, I must completely agree with Dsandural on taking classes in boat maintenance. You will not only learn from the instructor, but from other students that have the same goals and dreams. That very basic 26 footer took us to Mexico,Marquesas , Tuamotus, Tahiti,and Hawaii. After 2 years of full time cruising, the size of the boat finally got to us, and we sold the boat in Hawaii, BUT WE DID IT. We went on to bigger boats and many thousands of miles, but I still look back with a smile about cruising in a small boat. Your goals are doable , but may not be in a lot of comfort, which is better than being comfortable and doing nothing. DO IT WHILE YOU CAN._____Grant.

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Old 12-03-2013, 17:12   #48
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Re: Getting discouraged

Originally Posted by sarahjh22 View Post

Anyone out there have an opinion about our plans, budget and make of boat? We'd love to hear from you!!

Just curious you said you have a 20k boat budget, but what about living budget?

Also plans are awesome, but have you expanded your horizons a bit? Tons of Sailboats for great prices in FL anf other states, and FL has great cruising grounds and the keys, Bahamas nearby, and cubas 90 miles, Mexico is only 450 miles away
Just wondering might be smoother "training / proving grounds" for new sailors and better priced. A great boat in your range, I am not the best Mono guy, but Bombay clipper 31 is alot of boat for the money, really a "33ft" boat, great head room, tankage, shoal or deep draft models, heavy nice "lil cruiser" lots for sale well under 20k.Nice ones for mid teens, rough ones for lots less. Island packet bought the molds in 82-83 and made it with same hull/ ballast config, its a beast of a lil boat.
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Old 12-03-2013, 17:29   #49
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Re: Getting discouraged

Draw a course line 2 nm from the shoreline, then sail it. This will give you a buffer zone from most shore hazards. Definitely, you will be cruising blue water all the way to your dream destination. Plan on placing as many way-points (fixes) on that course line, just in case you need a breather; way-points would include marinas, refueling stops, restocking supplies, drug store, etc... Make sure you have good nav/com GPS/radios on board. You want adventure...this will be it! Sail away! Mauritz
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Old 12-03-2013, 17:43   #50
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Re: Getting discouraged

Can you do it? that's up to you to answer.

I say go for it but take your time to get the skills, wisely learn from others. Get a good sailing dingy too. You can gain a lot of skills on it while learning all about the bigger boat. A cruising boat has many systems, interactions, and upkeep and that takes a little time. You wind up owning, power systems, waste management (all types), storage, the bilge, and a few dozen other things outside of the nylon thingies hanging off the tall wooden or aluminum thingies. I can not tell you the number of times I have seen people go back to a runabout or center console, day-sailor because of size and systems. Make sure at least one of you can read a Haynes manual and turn wrenches. Though I don't think there is a nautical Haynes manual, you get the idea. IMHO it is the tertiary skills that can make a bad trip livable or even fun.

I'd suggest switching coasts as others have if you are not married to the left coast. Here are my arguments...

1) Spring is coming and there are still some great deals to be had all over. There were a number of boats I looked at locally, from a 32.5 Irwin Center cockpit asking is $9500, a Young Sun 35, at ~19K and a Cheoy lee 35 that has most of the systems refitted on the hard over the years, needs the side decks and cockpit redone. The fore deck has already been re-cored from under. An Irwin 37C Mark III in Mass that needs new heads and a few other things but sounded pretty good and he was asking 14K. All of these boats are under 20K and some a lot less, allowing money for materials and goodies. All of them would be okay for three adults not killing each other after a month. Private cabin spaces save lives!

2) Learn the boat and cruising in safer waters, like the Chesapeake. Florida and the Carolinas are options too, still partial to the bay for sailing/learning.

3) Graduate from the bay/local cruising waters, take the ditch south and learn more before heading to the islands etc.

4) Watch the sun set from the cockpit.
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Old 12-03-2013, 17:43   #51
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Re: Getting discouraged

Originally Posted by ArtM View Post
The OP's description is all about traveling along coasts - it's definitely "coastal cruising". Even coastal cruisers get into the blue water now and again. The question is not whether the boat is capable of it, but whether the captain is capable of making the determination of whether the boat is capable of it under any given circumstance.
It's not so much the ocean here on the West Coast, but crossing the bars to the inlets that can be the problem.
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Old 12-03-2013, 17:49   #52
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Re: Getting discouraged

I'm not sure how to go about it, but I just wanted to encourage you to keep heading towards your dreams.
My husband and I sing this song to each other a lot, it reminds us we are together in this dream. Even when the nay sayers are plenty and loud, just you against the mindset of the mainstream crowd, keep your eye on the prize, hold on . Excuse the bad poetry
Godspeed to your adventures,
Mr. and Mrs. Rain Dog.

PS. Check out the Pacific Seacraft 25, she is small, but a well built plucky sailor. I bought mine for 5 thousand. Plus, they are trailerable, cheaper to trailer to fla. rather then sail around, but I'd also not miss a chance to go play in the Sea of Cortez.

Be sure to send the naysayers a postcard when you do make it, ya never know, you may just see them in the anchorage the following season.
Mrs. Rain Dog~Ocean Girl
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Old 12-03-2013, 18:40   #53
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For irreverent inspiration, read a few Fatty Goodlander books! He's managed to live on a sailboat most of his life on a shoestring. He has even circumnavigated. And he even has a successful boat marriage and happy boat raised happy boat children.
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Old 12-03-2013, 18:41   #54
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pirate Re: Getting discouraged

Originally Posted by sarahjh22 View Post
Our budget for a boat is about $20k and we're looking at 28'-32'. We are being told that we will not ever find a boat in that budget that is capable of sailing off shore.
Most Puget Sound boats are not "blue water" but "coastal". What is the difference? It's all about time. "Blue water" boats are designed to go 30 days between ports. A "coastal" boat is never more than three days from a friendly port so the boat is designed accordingly. In fact, that time feature is critical to how well either boat sells at boat shows. The "blue water" buyer wants to know all about time. That time ranges from speed (how long to get where he's going) to storage time (how long can he stay out). The "coastal" buyer is looking to trade time (speed and storage space) for living space (and price as "coastal" boats are cheaper to build.). The buyer at a coastal boat show will trade one knot of speed for extra beam (living space) and will write his check without ever knowing how many days worth of water and fuel and propane are in the tanks when they're full because he's only three days away from filling them back up anyway. And he doesn't care how fast the self bailing cockpit works because he's never going to be out in a storm. With three days weather notice, he's always in "any old port in a storm". The storm sails in his boat either don't exist or have never been brought out and may blow to pieces from age when they finally are. There's no sea anchor and his harbor anchor is probably just a bow anchor. His batteries are undersized because he only expects to power an anchor light and the only way to recharge them is with the main engine that has that undersized fuel tank. And because coastal boats are "fair weather" they'll often have more (and bigger) glass which is usually a negative in a storm. And not all coastal boats come with non-skid decks. "Blue water" boats are designed to consider the "ride" in a storm (determined by a lot of factors) whereas "coastal" boats give no consideration to "ride" at all (That doesn't mean you're going to sink in one but you might think you will.). "Blue water" can be unsinkable due to the dangers of tropical reefs. Coastal boats usually aren't. Something as simple as "how to get to the beach and back" can pose a coastal boat a problem. Are you going to carry a dinghy or a raft? If a dinghy, where is it going to be when the bad weather hits? If a raft, how are you to move it? With oars or an outboard? Ever paddled a raft? How much gasoline are you going to have to carry for that outboard and where are you going to keep it?

There is a reason why "blue water" boats cost so much more than coastal boats. And that brings us to why so few "blue water" boats are found on Puget Sound: Price plus what do you need it for?

we realize that the stretch from Seattle to San Fran can be daunting but is that really considered off shore/blue water sailing?
It is. The Oregon/Washington coast is littered with shipwrecks. It would be the most dangerous part of your entire trip. Notice what other posters said about a "leeward" wind.

Others poster correctly advised you to just skip this altogether and simply buy the boat down south. You'll get a better price and odds are it will have more time features already built in it than a Puget Sound boat and it might spare you some of this: .

we're getting a bit disheartened by all the naysayers.
I'm not dumping water on your dream. But the best way to solve a problem is understand the problem and the problem is time. One poster pretty much summed it up in just one word; "watertank".

Anyone out there have an opinion about our plans, budget and make of boat? We'd love to hear from you!!
Actually, you have it in reverse. Although we're all cheering you on, we all want to hear from you on how you solve the problem of time. The best way to do that is to find someone who has already done it. Good luck I sincerely wish you success.
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Old 12-03-2013, 18:47   #55
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Re: Getting discouraged

Originally Posted by sarahjh22 View Post
Our budget for a boat is about $20k and we're looking at 28'-32'. We are being told that we will not ever find a boat in that budget that is capable of sailing off shore. we realize that the stretch from Seattle to San Fran can be daunting but is that really considered off shore/blue water sailing?
Don't get discouraged, get smart. Take that $20k down to San Carlos in the Sea of Cortez and buy a boat that some poor sucker doesn't want to have to sail back to Seattle. You'll get three times the boat for the money, and chances are good that it's already set up for cruising.

You ask whether the stretch from Seattle to San Francisco (please note the spelling) is "really considered off shore/blue water sailing." No. It's worse. Do yourself a favor and flush the term "blue water sailing" out of your mind. It's a sales term, something that wannabes and salesmen delight in, but not otherwise a useful way to describe the nautical landscape.

Someone on an earlier post told you basically to stay two miles offshore all the way down. That's horrible advice. Study navigation, and once you realize why it's horrible advice, you're probably ready to make the trip.
cruising is entirely about showing up--in boat shoes.
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Old 12-03-2013, 19:04   #56
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Re: Getting discouraged

You will find out quickly if sailing is for you. If you cross the strait of Juan de Fuca to play in the San Juan's and think the mess out there is fun, just look west....the whole world is out there. Only you will know what you think.

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Old 12-03-2013, 19:07   #57
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Re: Getting discouraged

Check out This guy went twice around in a 28' boat. Lots of very good info. When you are ready to go without, you are ready to go. Good luck!!!!!
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Old 12-03-2013, 19:27   #58
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Re: Getting discouraged

OK, most on here have more experience than me, but... if you are willing to look outside of the PNW, consider the Great Lakes. Fresh water boats will be in better shape (IMHO) for that price range. You can also get something like an Alberg 30 or similar that will be priced in your range and blue water capable.
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Old 12-03-2013, 20:01   #59
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Re: Getting discouraged

The wet coast can be rough at times for sure but coastal cruising is coastal cruising as you are always a day from a port, its simply not the same as a 2 or 3 week passage. I've sailed down that coast 5 times, always about 150-200 miles out and I have had my butt kicked but you get used to it. I've had lots of friends that have day sailed it and never had winds more than 2o knots and most of the time they motored. Weather forcasts are pretty good these days. Yes there are some bars there that you shouldn't be crossing in certain conditions but thats common sense. I really dislike day sailing so I don't do it but I recommend it to many sailer friends. You just have to be patient and be prepared to hang around some of those fishing towns for an extra day or two sometimes. The posters that say it can be real rough going down the coast are absolutely correct but it doesn't have to be if you take the easy day sailing route staying in closer and visiting on the way down.
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Old 12-03-2013, 20:15   #60
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Re: Getting discouraged

Bash has some great advice... whoever suggested staying 2 miles of the left coast is a bit of a nutter in MHO. That is a recipe for disaster! Perhaps he was referring to the Texas, LA and Mississippi coasts... if so I apologize.
I spent close to 30 years delivering boats from as far south as Panama to Alaska and never ventured closer than around 30 miles out unless for supplies, fuel or parts.
Out 15 miles you will find a hugh array of fishing boats, pleasure boats and all kinds of traffic north and south, as well as alot of floating crap day and night. Fifteen to 20 miles out you find the cruise ships and 40 miles out you are in tanker traffic. Separation zones for the PNW, San Francisco and LA extend out a fair ways and have heaps of commercial traffic. San Diego has the naval vessels to contend with along with a number of military restricted areas close to shore and San Clemente Island. Standing watch is not to be taken lightly as you transit these waters. It is very doable, however. Just school yourself in navigation, maintenance, boat handling, bar crossing, weather synopsis and night sailing. the PNW is a great area to practice with tides, currents, rocks, reefs and contrary wind conditions but it is very senic.
Once in Mexican waters, you will find very little in the way of navigation aids therefore best to stay way offshore. Same for Costa Rica and further south to Panama where there are some great aids entering the Canal but heaps of large traffic in and out with questionable watchkeeping standards.
I still think your best bang for the $ is in Mexico, but what do I know? Hope this advice helps and gets you pointed in the right direction. Remember, the advice you receive here is worth exactly what you paid for it... cheers, Phil

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