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Old 17-11-2010, 19:56   #1
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(In) Sanity Check - Do I Need a Bigger / Better Boat to Cruise the Caribbean ?

My boat is Islander 34 1969 / 29HP Perkins Very good shape. I feel I have read through whole internet and still cannot make my mind… Any idea if this boat is good enough to safely cross from NC to VI and do some island hopping for a year or so? I will travel together with my brother, so it is two of us. I would also appreciate any advice on what would be the minimum spec. on the “MUST have” equipment that my boat needs. Not looking for a luxury life style though just must haves.
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Old 17-11-2010, 20:28   #2
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If the boat is currently floating and the standing rig is in good condition you already have the "must" haves. Everything else is just extras!!
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Old 17-11-2010, 20:30   #3
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If in good shape do not see why not.marc
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Old 17-11-2010, 21:26   #4
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The boat would be perfectly acceptable for the trip, assuming a few things.

All important systems are good including but not necessarily limited to:

- standing rig: wire, turnbuckles, chainplates, etc.
- boat structure: hull, deck,
- rudder and steering
- all through hulls with proper seacocks
- sails and running rigging in reasonable condition
- charts and basic navigation skills to use them
- good anchor and rode of your choice.
- dinghy or liferaft of some variety "just in case"

Watch the weather and don't leave when a big storm is imminent.

Have fun.
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Old 17-11-2010, 21:41   #5
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Wise “Chesapeake bay locked” marina neighbors suggest that the standard equipment is not enough for my Caribbean plan:
Water 35 gal
Fuel 20 gal
Winches – not Self Tailing need to upgrade to ST
Rigging is good but just a regular – need to “upgrade” to “indestructible”
Portholes (no leaks) but need to be resealed to feel safe in the Sea
Garmin 498 is not enough - need to add Radar
Standard Radio is not enough
Should buy Dis.Generator or Wind.Gen
Hearing those advises makes me feel that if I start doing all these upgrades, I may be better off just buying new vessel.

I really have no clue what I have to be prepared for, so I appreciate any further advise.
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Old 17-11-2010, 22:01   #6
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You need new advisers.

Radar is not necessary in the tropics. Self tailing winches are not mandatory equipment on any boat. They are helpful but not compulsory. You do want long range communication but a satphone would be OK in place of HF radio. No need for genset or wind generator but the downside is that you will have to run your diesel longer each day to charge the batteries. You can get by without refrigeration and just use an ice box. Refrigeration is your biggest power drain so without it you might only have to run the diesel every second day. The Caribbean is full of marinas meaning buying ice every 2nd or 3rd day or so is no big deal. Resealing portholes is easy.

It all depends on how much luxury you feel like paying for.
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Old 17-11-2010, 22:11   #7
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Bring cash and have reserves...

Sounds like you have an old boat, so being very careful about the weather as suggested and using the inland route where possible would be good ideas.

Anacdotal evidence suggests that picking good weather windows and managing the Gulf Stream well contibutes towards a good trip. My feeling is that being able to get weather reports off the internet is also good for safety.

Rather than loading up with a whole lot of gear that you don't know if you will use why not bring enough cash for small emergencies and have access to enough money for big ones.

I'd be thinking enough for an engine replacement plus a similar amount for routine maintenance would be a place to start.

I'm assuming that you already have all the usual safety gear (epirb, vhf, lifejackets, inflatable...).
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Old 17-11-2010, 23:01   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lttl View Post
Wise “Chesapeake bay locked” marina neighbors suggest that the standard equipment is not enough for my Caribbean plan:
Water 35 gal
Fuel 20 gal
Winches – not Self Tailing need to upgrade to ST
Rigging is good but just a regular – need to “upgrade” to “indestructible”
Portholes (no leaks) but need to be resealed to feel safe in the Sea
Garmin 498 is not enough - need to add Radar
Standard Radio is not enough
Should buy Dis.Generator or Wind.Gen
Hearing those advises makes me feel that if I start doing all these upgrades, I may be better off just buying new vessel.

I really have no clue what I have to be prepared for, so I appreciate any further advise.
My biggest concerns regarding the above list would be tankage.
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Old 18-11-2010, 01:25   #9
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My biggest concerns regarding the above list would be tankage.
Strap a couple of 6 gallon fuel containers to the lifelines and hey presto!
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Old 18-11-2010, 01:35   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lttl View Post
My boat is Islander 34 1969 / 29HP Perkins Very good shape. I feel I have read through whole internet and still cannot make my mind… Any idea if this boat is good enough to safely cross from NC to VI and do some island hopping for a year or so? I will travel together with my brother, so it is two of us. I would also appreciate any advice on what would be the minimum spec. on the “MUST have” equipment that my boat needs. Not looking for a luxury life style though just must haves.
Skipmac has summed it up for you, anything else is simply nice to have.
Many additional items are carried to either increase the luxury level or because we "like" them rather than need them.
IMO, go with what you got otherwise you mightn't go at all!

Quote:
Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
The boat would be perfectly acceptable for the trip, assuming a few things.

All important systems are good including but not necessarily limited to:

- standing rig: wire, turnbuckles, chainplates, etc.
- boat structure: hull, deck,
- rudder and steering
- all through hulls with proper seacocks
- sails and running rigging in reasonable condition
- charts and basic navigation skills to use them
- good anchor and rode of your choice.
- dinghy or liferaft of some variety "just in case"

Watch the weather and don't leave when a big storm is imminent.

Have fun.
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Old 18-11-2010, 03:44   #11
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My boat is Islander 34 1969 / 29HP Perkins Very good shape. Not looking for a luxury life style though just must haves.
If you are a multi-millonair it will not do. However if you are stoney broke it is a palace to aspire to.

If it fits you comfortably them enjoy it.
As others have said, its best to have money in reserve for fun along the way
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Old 18-11-2010, 03:55   #12
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MarkJ got it spot on.....
To many folks get lost in the details and the crap thrown out by the G&T experts and boatyard sage's.....
If your happy sailing it as is on coastal passages at home its more than adequate for the trip...
Reliable engine.
Good/fair sails and rigging.
Dry accomodation.
Compass, GPS, VHF, Charts, Flares.
Inflatable.... or unsinkable rigid dinghy.
Beer/Wine, Fuel, Water, Food.
Cooker, Bedding...
Desire/Ambition
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Old 18-11-2010, 04:07   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lttl View Post
Wise “Chesapeake bay locked” marina neighbors suggest that the standard equipment is not enough for my Caribbean plan:
Water 35 gal
Fuel 20 gal
Winches – not Self Tailing need to upgrade to ST
Rigging is good but just a regular – need to “upgrade” to “indestructible”
Portholes (no leaks) but need to be resealed to feel safe in the Sea
Garmin 498 is not enough - need to add Radar
Standard Radio is not enough
Should buy Dis.Generator or Wind.Gen
Hearing those advises makes me feel that if I start doing all these upgrades, I may be better off just buying new vessel.

I really have no clue what I have to be prepared for, so I appreciate any further advise.
Yes as others have said, change the advisor. It sounds as if your boat is already far better equipped than thousands of others who have completed far longer journeys. It is very rare for the boat to give up - its usually the crew - so provided you are confident in your own abilities then there is no reason why you should not go.

Enjoy
JOHN
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Old 18-11-2010, 04:34   #14
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Doesn't matter how good your boat you will still need a grab bag and dinghy that will either get you rescued by contacting by radio, or keep you alive until you reach shore. Handheld radio and GPS are obvious choices and will give you daily checks on DR postioning.
Depth gauge and speed log will help in coastal navigation and deep water position fixing.
And if you don't maintain a continual watch then sooner or later the lifeboat will come in handy.
Boatman61 has a lot of solo miles under his belt in small boats. Adequate are the ones that get you there. Barely adequate are the ones that get you there eventually.
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Old 18-11-2010, 04:45   #15
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Quote:
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Adequate are the ones that get you there. Barely adequate are the ones that get you there eventually.
Been there Eleven.... Got our T-Shirts..... ROFL
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