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Old 25-02-2014, 12:05   #1
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I'm Going For It!

Ahoy sailors!


I've been shopping around for a bigger boat to go cruising in for a year now and I've decided: screw it! I'll go cruising in the boat I have now!


I have been living aboard a 26' Columbia for just over two years now and initially I had no idea what I was doing. I had never even stepped foot on a sailboat before. First I tried to make it comfortable inside because there was no cushions, the cabin lights didn't work, the water tank was not working, etc. I got it comfortable and then I wanted to start sailing her. So, I hauled out for a few weeks and had everything checked and or replaced. New standing rigging, keel bolts inspected, rudder inspected, thru hulls rebid, mast inspected. At the time I still didn't know where exactly I was going with all of this boat work but it's experience and builds character, right? I felt like it was preparing me for the next step up because at that point I was in love with the lifestyle.

The thing is, the next step up is several years away because I am trying to pay off all of my debts and have enough money in the bank for a bigger boat, and of course everything in my budget needs significant modifications and or work. All the work basically that I've done on my boat. The thought of the next step is too daunting, and the thought of staying put for several years to save up for this is even more daunting. I am getting stir crazy and if what I have right now can get me to Mexico I'm not seeing any reason why I should wait!


My question for you folks is about the little stuff. I need an inverter and a DC outlet, I need 12V electronics like a drill and vacuum. I know I'll need a solar panel but will most likely need a much smaller one than most people have that I could mount on the forward hatch. I know I'll need a GPS and a new VHF radio with AIS. I will probably want to get a spot tracker to let my friends and family know where I'm at. Cockpit cushions would make it more comfortable. I am in the process of rebidding all of the deck hardware and I've almost gotten the boat dry when we're out for a day sail. Other than that is there anything I'd definitely need to have aboard for coastal cruising?


By the Spring of 2015 I should be able to set sail from SF to MX and have enough to live off of for several months. Everything I own is with me on the boat, I don't know if that's a good idea or not. There is no inboard, it was removed and there's no exposed prop. I have an outboard but it really only works in glassy conditions, the prop easily comes out of the water when there is any chop.


Suggestions/tips/criticism is welcome! Thanks for reading
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Old 25-02-2014, 12:37   #2
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Re: I'm Going For It!

Start with safety related items.

You really should get an engine if your outboard is inadequate. Imagine getting blown towards a lee shore with a rigging problem that prevents you from sailing. The sad part is that the cost for an engine may be more than the boat is worth(monetarily).

Get some type of PLB in case you go OB.

Forget the Spot. You can manually update your location on the net when you have access.

I use an 18v Dewalt drill and vacuum that take the same battery packs. It is a right angle drill which comes in very handy in tight spots. The vacuum is a wet/dry vac which is also very handy.
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Old 25-02-2014, 12:56   #3
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Re: I'm Going For It!

Wouldn't I be able to throw down a couple of anchors to keep me from getting blown towards the lee shore until the weather calms? The outboard works, it's even a long shaft, the transom on the boat is just huge so the outboard mount can only be attached so far down. I'm not in the market for a new engine at all.
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Old 25-02-2014, 13:04   #4
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Re: I'm Going For It!

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Originally Posted by SassySailor View Post
Wouldn't I be able to throw down a couple of anchors to keep me from getting blown towards the lee shore until the weather calms? The outboard works, it's even a long shaft, the transom on the boat is just huge so the outboard mount can only be attached so far down. I'm not in the market for a new engine at all.
Ideally, yes, the first thing to do is deploy an anchor. So many more factors though. Is the rode long enough for the depth, is the anchor suitable for the bottom, do you have enough food and water if this lasts days and you cannot repair the problem. People have been known to cruise without an engine but they do it without a lot of electronics either.

So you have no primary charging source. You can do a lot with solar but it will need to be bigger than your hatch.

How do you currently charge your batteries? Have you ever been out for more than a daysail? Go out for a couple of days and then a week. Have you ever anchored?

I don't want to discourage your dreams but I do not want to encourage someone who may not be prepared for this type of adventure without more experience.
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Old 25-02-2014, 13:21   #5
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Re: I'm Going For It!

I would say from the questions you are asking that you are not really ready. How much have you went out and cruised for a week away form a power source and the dock?
Having said that.... people do it with little experience and you could too.
Having said THAT, I've personally seen 3 cruiser's boats on the beach/rocks on the west side of Baja. Unless you are the ultimate sailor, you need an engine that works for you and if you have any electrical appliances, you need a charging scheme.
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Old 25-02-2014, 13:48   #6
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Re: I'm Going For It!

Safety gear:

You need anchor and rode. There are anchor threads for you to read here on CF.

You'll want a harness and tether and jacklines for going offshore in a small boat. The idea is that you do not want to go overboard. It is wise to have a boarding ladder, so there is a way to get back on your boat. There are other threads in CF for safety for singlehanders. You might have a look.

If your sole means of navigation is GPS, you'll need a backup because what if it fails when you're halfway somewhere. You can use old paper charts to plot your position, or you can use a sextant and get fixes approximately once or twice a day in clear weather. (Can't do star sights or sun sights when clouds obscure the sun.) Still need charts to back up chart plotter.) When I said old charts, what I meant is they don't have to be new: generally speakiing, the land masses don't change much over our lifetimes.

VHF radio.

Reliable engine. I personally wouldn't cruise with just an outboard.

Lead line or depth sounder.

Adequate food and water storage. You may want to cook food, so that's another problem to solve.

The lovely electricity needs. You are required to have navigation lights; those are a must. You will want some form of lighting below decks. You need a flashlight or a headlamp.

Comfort: closed cell cockpit cushions, which you can cut to fit, doesn't have to be fancy; and you need a dodger, and will want an awning. Sunscreen is a necessity unless your skin doesn't sunburn at all. Sun hat like tennis player wear that will protect your ears, too, with a string with a safety pin on the end, so it can be attatched to your shirt and won't blow away. Lifesaver hats that also shade the tops of your shoulders are popular, as well. Sunglasses, polarized, help you see into the water to gauge depth.

Enough.
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Old 25-02-2014, 14:10   #7
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Re: I'm Going For It!

I do anchor out but with friends, but never by myself. I charge my batteries via a battery charger that is charged when I'm at the docks. I've learned a lot and I know I still have a lot to learn, that's why I'm here! Thanks for the input.
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Old 25-02-2014, 14:12   #8
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Re: I'm Going For It!

I haven't cruised for a week because I'm never going to have enough vacation time for that. I live far from friends and family so traveling out of state is a common occurrence for me. My battery lasts for a month, but that's with only using my cabin lights in the evenings. I have nav lights that work and were inspected. How do sailors do the Baja Ha Ha with an engine? Isn't that disqualifying?
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Old 25-02-2014, 14:20   #9
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Re: I'm Going For It!

Regattas often allow boats to start engines for charging purposes. And they certainly would start them if needed to get out of danger.
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Old 25-02-2014, 16:22   #10
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Re: I'm Going For It!

The Ha Ha is a loose affair, you could motor all the way if you felt like it.
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Old 25-02-2014, 16:49   #11
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Re: I'm Going For It!

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The Ha Ha is a loose affair, you could motor all the way if you felt like it.


And then if they need to motor it would be safe to say that it's because it's too slow for them and not too dangerous?
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Old 25-02-2014, 17:41   #12
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Re: I'm Going For It!

Oh-oh. its starting to sound like you asked for advice, then push back when you don't like it. No offense, but you may want to listen to some of these people, some of them speak from a lot of experience.
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Old 25-02-2014, 18:09   #13
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Re: I'm Going For It!

Sassy, you should read the book Breaking Seas by Glenn Damato. It is about a sailor who bought a boat with little experience and did the Ha Ha. It is only $3.99 on Kindle but it is very entertaining and informative.

http://www.amazon.com/Breaking-Seas-...s=glenn+damato
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Old 25-02-2014, 18:13   #14
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Re: I'm Going For It!

It's ok to talk back to the forum, it all just opinions. I think it's time to head south, the sooner the better. Get a Honda 1000 or 2000 inverter generator. That will give you the back ups you need. If your out board is reliable then go with it. Forget the expense of cushions and get a couple of bean bags chairs. Noting more comfortable and they float! Spot is great for emergency s as well as updates. Sextant? Forget it. Just make sure u have charts and a cheap back up GPS. I carry 3. plus battery's to run them. Big anchors are a real stress reliever. You will need weather info. A high freq receiver should work. Ais is nice but no tankers close to shore for the most part. Bring lots of fuel. Maybe a cheep trolling motor for getting into a harbor in calm conditions if outboard dies.
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Old 25-02-2014, 18:18   #15
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Re: I'm Going For It!

Since you're in Berkeley, there is a lien sale on an Islander 36. No idea what its condition is, but make sure you have a look. You might be able to get a good deal on a better boat for offshore cruising.
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