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Old 10-02-2014, 07:17   #1
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I Need Advise.

I am taking my Cal 20 to the Bahamas. I am in the process of outfitting it for the trip. The problem I am having is trying to figure out what is necessary and what is luxury. I would have been cheaper stepping up to a bigger boat that is set up already. I want to take this one because I like how it sails.

I do not want to get carried away on cost but I do not want to be unsafe. Most of the stuff I am purchasing will transfer to another boat. I have radios VHF/UHF and a tiller pilot now. I have the 45 watt solar panels and 900watt generator from Harbor freight. I also have a propane shower and stove.

I need to get a GPS, EPIRB, and a Dinghy. The problem I am running into is how much should I try to put on a 20 ft. boat. My power output will be limited to the solar because the genny is very loud. I am not sure how far to go with the electronics. I have no intention of even trying to sail in anything risky. I do not care if I spend a month waiting for weather because Florida and The Bahamas are better than Detroit in the winter. The main thing will be to stay as safe as reasonable. I am worried more about getting hit by another boat or finding a reef by mistake.

I could end up spending ten times what the boat is worth. Look at Robert Crawford. He spent over 20k on Black Feathers. I like mine but will have to upgrade because with a family there is no getting around room. It would be awesome to stand upright.

I would love to have AIS/Radar, an offshore life raft and the rest of the stuff the bigger boats carry but I have to watch my expenses and I am limited by room.

So what would you guys suggest. There is no substitute for experience.
Thanks
Oh and if I am heading down next month should I start in Bimini and go south or west end and head to Abacos. I will be limited on my supplies so I will have to find food and fuel over there.
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Old 10-02-2014, 07:23   #2
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Re: I Need Advise.

Keep it light so that it can actually sail in lighter breezes. I would get rid of the Genset. Good inflatable dink can be your liferaft and as long as you have a GPS/EPIRB and a depth sounder you should be good to go. Have fun!
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Old 10-02-2014, 07:42   #3
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Re: I Need Advise.

Personally, I think you are overthinking some of this. Check out this blog from two girls in their early 20s that took their Cal 2-27 (I know a little bigger than yours) over to the Bahamas and back.

There are plenty of others that have cruised the Bahamas and beyond with far less equipment than you are talking about. Check out Road Trip and Matt and Jessica's sailing blog. Road trip is using an iPad as their primary charting tool.

Based on what you have listed, I would personally do the following: keep the genny (you have it and it will be a cheap way to get power); buy an iPad with cell data (don't need the cell plan but that unit has the built in GPS ~$900) and download iNavx and/or Navionics (I have both on our iPad we use for navigation); buy a cheap Garmin 76cx or west marine brand (same thing, different sticker ~$200) as a backup; but an inflatable to strap down in front of your mast and keep it on deck blown up for the crossing (dinghy and life raft in one ~$500-$1K used); buy some 5 gallon Gerry cans for gas and water (separately of course); get some fishing gear (Hawaiian sling, mask and snorkel, rod and reel with tackle ~$300). All of this is assuming your boat is in good condition, which I believe it is from other posts you have made.

Go, have fun. Fair winds,

Jesse
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Old 10-02-2014, 07:51   #4
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Re: I Need Advise.

It would be a bunch cheaper and certainly a lot safer ( i.e. less risky) to go by air and stay in a nice hotel. Just sayin'.
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Old 10-02-2014, 08:11   #5
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Re: I Need Advise.

Sounds like a great plan, you seemed to have most of it covered, it really isn't that big a deal of a crossing so don't over think it, just make sure all your rigging and sails are ship shape, good weather window and GO!
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Old 10-02-2014, 18:42   #6
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Re: I Need Advise.

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Originally Posted by Tbrad View Post
It would be a bunch cheaper and certainly a lot safer ( i.e. less risky) to go by air and stay in a nice hotel. Just sayin'.

Yes and it's even less risky to just stay in your house and watch videos of others sailing to the Bahamas on YouTube. Maybe you should just do that.
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Old 10-02-2014, 18:49   #7
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Re: I Need Advise.

Spend your money on charts. Explorer charts. That and a cheap GPS will get you anywhere in the Bahamas.
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Old 10-02-2014, 19:00   #8
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Re: I Need Advise.

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Spend your money on charts. Explorer charts. That and a cheap GPS will get you anywhere in the Bahamas.
+1...skip navonics..they are known to have issues in the Bahamas.

Skip the eprib. Find a used kayak for a dingy if your cal has shallow draft to get in close to the island.

Don't forget a few spares for the outboard.

Personally, I'd be figuring out how to store as much water, fuel and rum as possible.
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Old 10-02-2014, 20:25   #9
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Re: I Need Advise.

Quote:
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It would be a bunch cheaper and certainly a lot safer ( i.e. less risky) to go by air and stay in a nice hotel. Just sayin'.
Cheaper? Maybe not. Stay a week in a "nice" hotel in the Bahamas maybe shell out $100/day or more, plus restaurants so maybe $1000 plus air fare. That might be cheaper.

But spend a month at these rates and you've spent $3000 or more. That will pay for a lot of boat gear.

Plus on your own boat you can go places you would never get to go otherwise.
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Old 10-02-2014, 21:17   #10
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Re: I Need Advise.

+2 on what vasco says. get a couple of cheap hand held gps's like the garmin 72H and get the EXPLORER chart book for the area you are going to. skip the chartplotters.

and may i at this time recommend going to the northern bahamas, specifically the area known as the Abacos? the area is small boat friendly in that, once you've made the gulf stream crossing, you are in an area where there are both deserted islands/beaches and small towns where fresh water, fuel, food, and other supplies are never more than a day or two away. important on a boat with limited carrying capacity.

dump the harbor freight generator. i have experience with two of them. they do not hold up to salt air exposure. and there's no harbor freight in the bahamas where you can excercise your free replacement warranty. being in detroit you probably haven't experienced that yet. having a generator is not a bad idea for you, but i'm afraid you may have to step up to a honda 1000 (about $800). this, and the honda 2000, are probably the most widely used portable generators among cruisers.

propane stove is good. propane shower a waste of space. coming from detroit you'll have no problem bathing in water straight out of the tap - although with your limited water capacity you might want to bathe in sea water and then sponge off with fresh. we're from florida and we don't have a hot water heater aboard. get a solar shower or a garden sprayer shower.

ais/radar. don't even think about it. complete waste of money/space/power/time. and, you don't need it.

epirb is nice to have if you've got the extra bucks. don't forget to register it with the coast guard. but having a 25 watt full size vhf with a mast mounted antenna is nicer. the coast guard maintains radio antennas on the highest buildings in florida and can pick up your vhf distress call all across the gulf stream and beyond. a hand held vhf is handy and worth the bucks.

we use a 'fish finder' for a depth sounder. nice to have.

get an inflatable dinghy. hypalon is best, but if price is a problem go with pvc. you're not going to be there long enough to have sun related issues with it.

anchors. the worlds best anchor, imho, is the manson supreme. a 25 pounder would be good. but most bahamian boats use danforth anchors. so a 25 pound danforth might be ok too. you should have all chain rode, but in your case weight might be a problem, so maybe 25 feet of chain and then rope rode would be ok. one thing nice about the abacos is that you are never in more than 20 feet of water; usually you're in ten feet or less. so you don't need miles of anchor rode. 100 foot total should be sufficient. have a second anchor/rode even if you must store it away in the bilge.

maximize your water/fuel carrying capacity. although there is a lot of fuel/water available in the Abacos it's still nice to have 'extra'. we have large tanks but also stuff one gallon water jugs all over the boat.

although i don't like the complexity of a four stroke outboard, in your case i might recommend it because they get much better gas mileage than a two stroke, which could be important to you.

leave from miami, heading to west end grand bahama. you will get the gulf stream to help you along. you can clear in at west end and then head east to the abacos. for that you'll want the explorer chart book for the near bahamas, which covers the crossing and the northern bahamas including the abacos.

here are some links -

Welcome to Explorer Chartbooks

Amazon.com: Garmin 72H Waterproof Handheld GPS with High-Sensitivity: GPS & Navigation

FREE SHIPPING Honda EU1000IKC Inverter Generator 1000 Surge Watts, 900 Rated Watts, CARB-Compliant, Model# EU1000T1A | Inverter Generators| Northern Tool + Equipment
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