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Old 28-07-2015, 21:56   #1
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Realistic boats for blue water cruising

hello, my username is Smithpurd, and I am set to graduate from college in two years. In the meantime i would love to get to know the people on this site and try and glean more and more information about what it is going to take to get me on the water as soon as possible. heres a quick bullet list of some things about me, along with some relevant questions
- i own a Hobie 16, what would be a good midway boat to learn about the open ocean on, before i make the big purchase for my long term boat?
- my expected price range is roughly 30-40 thou dollars. is this realistic for a boat that can
A. house two or more people?
B can cross the pacific safely
C does not require another 40 thousand dollars of work put into it?
- Is it best to sail under another captain for a period of years? or is approximately five trips under another captain sufficient to glean enough knowledge to travel the oceans safely?
-is a sloop or a ketch best for long term, blue water cruising?
- is a full keel necessary for safety for long distance?
-what can i expect to have to put into my boat to make it seaworthy?
- a catalina 38 seems spacious enough for my means, and easy enough to singlehand. however, they do not seem to come up in the forums i have read about affordable bluewater sailboats. are they out of the question?
- if i were to want to sail un interrupted upon this boat for a span of about a year, how much would you reckon that would cost?
thank you so much for your time, and i would love to hear what you have to say. also i hope that i am posting in the right section of this forum. thanks again
Smith purd
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Old 28-07-2015, 23:39   #2
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Re: Realistic boats for blue water cruising

Hmm, where to start. First of all a Hobie 16 is a great boat to learn on! There has been quite a bit of discussion on here about how much one needs to spend to be able to purchase a boat that can cruise safely. I would say yes, you can do it. But you need more experience, not because you need to learn how to sail, but to get to know your own personal preferences in boats, how to work on them yourself and what to watch out for in certain boats and designs. Some people PREFER heavy displacement, full keel boats. Some prefer rudders mounted on skegs. Some prefer ketches and some prefer sloops. And even after you have sailed a while your preferences may change! People have sailed some pretty small boats across the Pacific safely, maybe you can be more specific about where you want to go. I would definitely encourage you to sail often with someone you know, trust and has lots of experience. The more you can learn from someone who has done what you want to do, the better! I don't know if 5 times is enough, I am inclined to say no. Also I would think you'd want to do quite a bit of coastal cruising to see how it feel and how you like it. As far as Catalina 38, I think they are ok, but I don't think they were designed to be ocean cruisers. Some may have concerns about their build quality, there may be some modifications and strengthening needed. But many here probably prefer heavier, fuller keel boats, for the comfort and safety records that kind of boat has earned. Some prefer multihulls. I can tell you from my own experience I am now coastal cruising, but my boat, and many like it, have successfully crossed oceans. I prefer a longer keel. But a full keel is not necessary for safe ocean sailing. I think it is more comfortable and tracks a little better but it is not as fast. I like the rudder attached to the keel for the strength and simplicity. I prefer a tiller for the same reason. I prefer boats built in the 60s for the strength and quality of their hulls. I prefer a keel molded into the hull (no keel bolts.) But that said I do like skeg-hung rudders and there are some boats with keel bolts I'd feel ok with. I would not choose a spade rudder on a cruising boat. They just seem too weak and too much of a risk to take. The Catalina 38 has a spade rudder. But this is all just one person's opinion! Also all the boats from the 70s and 80s should be scrutinized carefully for blistering in the gelcoat and weak spots in the hull. Many production boats from that era have garnered a less than favorable rep for construction techniques that left something to be desired. THAT SAID, people are cruising around in some of those boats very happily. As long as you know you boat's particular foibles, you can probably make it work. So I hope that helps a little. Welcome here and good luck!
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Old 28-07-2015, 23:57   #3
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Re: Realistic boats for blue water cruising

Westsail 32's come up often at decent prices. Very roomy boat and hell for stout. Plenty of room and stowage for two people for long term live aboard/cruising, btdt.

In the mid '70s we cruised for a year and barely spent more than a $100 a month. That's probably closer to $600 in todays dollars. Cost really depends on your lifestyle. If you play marina on your left and hang out in bars all the time, costs go way up. Anchor out, live off the sea as much as possible, hike and explore on foot when ashore, mix it up with the locals, cruising is relatively cheap.
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Old 28-07-2015, 23:58   #4
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Re: Realistic boats for blue water cruising

I think you can reasonably accomplish what you're looking to do within your budget given these two caveats:

1) You're willing and able to TAKE THE TIME to really learn how to sail. I strongly recommend taking sailing courses and joining a sailing club that allows you to charter a variety of boat sizes between 30 and 40 feet (which is this size range you're talking about buying). Once you've figured out what the right size and layout for your needs actually is, spend a few months looking at the market and finding the right boat.

2) You're a "do-it-yourselfer" who is tenacious and can put in the elbow grease to repair your own boat. I point this out primarily because I personally am rather lazy, and would rather pay others to do a lot of the maintenance. Boats require either hard work or hard currency.

For world cruising and offshore use, monohull full keel boats with hung rudders are safest for the simple reason that they can run aground without serious issues and are far less likely to lose a rudder or be capsized or turtled than other types. Again that's not the boat I have now, but if you intend to do long ocean passages, this is the type to prefer.

As for what it costs to cruise for a year, that depends entirely on you. It can be done for as little as $200/mo. if you're willing to eat beans every day, sail 100% of the time, and anchor out everywhere you go, or you can blow $4000/mo. on slip fees, food, fuel, and drink. Totally up to you.
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Old 29-07-2015, 09:33   #5
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Re: Realistic boats for blue water cruising

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithpurd View Post
I am set to graduate from college in two years. In the meantime i would love to get to know the people on this site and try and glean more and more information about what it is going to take to get me on the water as soon as possible.
Hey Smithpurd! I graduate College in a little less than one year after which I'm taking off on a boat to begin cruising for an undetermined amount of time! (probably until I run out of money). It's so refreshing and cool to see other people my age interested in sailing and the cruising lifestyle. Down in Texas I'm pretty alone in that regard. I've been sailing for 6 years and can totally chat if you have anymore questions that haven't been answered here! Feel free to shoot me a private message!

-Lam
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Old 29-07-2015, 10:04   #6
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Re: Realistic boats for blue water cruising

Sailing yachts is easy. Hobie 16's require concentration. It's yacht mechanical and electrical that is difficult.

Lots of great cruisers out there with good rigs and ratty interiors for $30-40k. If you can do woodwork and can learn about sailboat systems, you are laughing.
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Old 29-07-2015, 10:36   #7
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Thumbs up Re: Realistic boats for blue water cruising

People have written books intended to answer your questions, and the permutattions and combinations are infinite, so I will simply suggest several things based on my own experience both in the Navy and as a member of the Ocean Cruising Club. Plan on a crew of three or four, no more, no less. This is based on need for alert watchstanders balanced against food, water, and the potential for interpersonal conflict in larger groups, which is a very real problem after a week or two at sea. Four gives you the opportunity to have a designated cook and also a built-in reserve for illness or injury.

As for the boat, look for a protected rudder and prop. Between lobster pot warps and thin water, you'll be glad you did. Very important is righting moment. I like 120 degrees. This, of course, means a monohull. Two masts give you a better chance of recovery from a dismasting as well as more possible sail combinations and smaller sails. I suggest having radar, GPS and radio antennas on a separate stout post so they are not lost if a mast comes down. Look for small cockpits and a centerline companionway which mean easier recovery from knockdowns.

I like a boat in the 35'-40' range, strong enough to go anywhere, but without the forces of a larger rig. I also avoid interconnected systems so no single component failure puts everything OOC. Have some big bilge pumping system for dewatering in a hurry. You will need it it to have time to find and repair whatever is causing the flooding. Make your plans based on four knots. You will probably beat it most of the time, but being early is OK.

Good luck. and remember "reliability through redundancy."
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Old 29-07-2015, 10:54   #8
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Re: Realistic boats for blue water cruising

My advice to you is to locate the nearest Power Squadron to you and take their ABC course. If you like the people in that squadron, join the squadron and take the Piloting, Advance Piloting, Weather, Cruise Planning and Engione Maintenance courses and you can be on your way with the knowledge and confidence that you can sail the South Pacific safely and return.

You can look around for a "good" used boat" and buy the heaviest anchor and chain, even if it means skimping on other "Nice to have" items.

Then bring up some great blogs of people who are doing it now. If you contact me, I will give you the names of some of those blogs. You will learn a lot from them. Start doing that first and you will realize how much there is to know.

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Old 29-07-2015, 11:08   #9
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Re: Realistic boats for blue water cruising

Read some moitessier


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Old 29-07-2015, 11:21   #10
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Re: Realistic boats for blue water cruising

Quote:
Originally Posted by mstrebe View Post
... Boats require either hard work or hard currency.
That is an awesome quote!
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstrebe View Post
For world cruising and offshore use, monohull full keel boats with hung rudders are safest for the simple reason that they can run aground without serious issues and are far less likely to lose a rudder or be capsized or turtled than other types. Again that's not the boat I have now, but if you intend to do long ocean passages, this is the type to prefer.
Everyone always talks about how great it is that you can run a full keel aground. How often does this happen? Why sacrifice sailing performance for the slight improvement in aground performance?

I agree on the rudder, though again, you can rig an emergency rudder for the very unlikely event of a lost spade rudder. I don't understand how a full keel has any effect on capsizing, though.

I have a fin keel, spade rudder bluewater boat and I wouldn't want a full keel unless my budget couldn't support anything else.
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Old 29-07-2015, 11:41   #11
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Re: Realistic boats for blue water cruising

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithpurd View Post
hello, my username is Smithpurd, and I am set to graduate from college in two years. In the meantime i would love to get to know the people on this site and try and glean more and more information about what it is going to take to get me on the water as soon as possible. heres a quick bullet list of some things about me, along with some relevant questions
- i own a Hobie 16, what would be a good midway boat to learn about the open ocean on, before i make the big purchase for my long term boat?
- my expected price range is roughly 30-40 thou dollars. is this realistic for a boat that can
A. house two or more people?
B can cross the pacific safely
C does not require another 40 thousand dollars of work put into it?
- Is it best to sail under another captain for a period of years? or is approximately five trips under another captain sufficient to glean enough knowledge to travel the oceans safely?
-is a sloop or a ketch best for long term, blue water cruising?
- is a full keel necessary for safety for long distance?
-what can i expect to have to put into my boat to make it seaworthy?
- a catalina 38 seems spacious enough for my means, and easy enough to singlehand. however, they do not seem to come up in the forums i have read about affordable bluewater sailboats. are they out of the question?
- if i were to want to sail un interrupted upon this boat for a span of about a year, how much would you reckon that would cost?
thank you so much for your time, and i would love to hear what you have to say. also i hope that i am posting in the right section of this forum. thanks again
Smith purd
Sorry if I'm an A-hole. It's not the boat it's the sailor. Dreaming is fine do some reading and sailing with someone.
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Old 29-07-2015, 11:49   #12
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Re: Realistic boats for blue water cruising

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Old 29-07-2015, 11:50   #13
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Re: Realistic boats for blue water cruising

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithpurd View Post
hello, my username is Smithpurd, and I am set to graduate from college in two years. In the meantime i would love to get to know the people on this site and try and glean more and more information about what it is going to take to get me on the water as soon as possible. heres a quick bullet list of some things about me, along with some relevant questions
- i own a Hobie 16, what would be a good midway boat to learn about the open ocean on, before i make the big purchase for my long term boat?
Starting on a Hobie16 was a great idea. As you say, now it's time to get something with a cabin in the 22-27' range for a few thousand dollars and take it out every weekend for experience coastal cruising in lots of different conditions. Here's a recent article on what to look for in a "learner" cruising boat and another one on how much it might cost.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithpurd View Post
- my expected price range is roughly 30-40 thou dollars. is this realistic for a boat that can
A. house two or more people?
B can cross the pacific safely
C does not require another 40 thousand dollars of work put into it?
You will need to find a smaller, older boat and do without some of the luxuries, but yes you can probably do it for that. Don't choose a wreck of a boat, though. You need to be able to sail it a lot before you go to get to know it and figure out what needs changing.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithpurd View Post
- Is it best to sail under another captain for a period of years? or is approximately five trips under another captain sufficient to glean enough knowledge to travel the oceans safely?
You're best off doing a couple courses and then just getting out there and sailing a lot on your own to gain experience. Expand slowly to tougher conditions and trickier cruising grounds. Go on a few overnight sails, etc.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithpurd View Post
-is a sloop or a ketch best for long term, blue water cruising?
Either will work, but the sloop rig is simpler and more efficient. The ketch is only important on very large boats where the sails start getting too big to handle. Not an issue for you.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithpurd View Post
- is a full keel necessary for safety for long distance?
Not at all. Most boats out there these days are fin keel. They sail better, especially to windward and are easier to find. If you find a boat you love that you can afford and happens to have a full keel, though, it'll do just fine.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithpurd View Post
-what can i expect to have to put into my boat to make it seaworthy?
You'll want a hull and deck with no leaks, some sort of self steering gear, an EPIRB and liferaft, solar panels, good reefing gear, some sort of long range comms for weather forecasts, and an oversized, new generation anchor with all chain rode. Beyond that, most of the coastal stuff will be fine.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithpurd View Post
- a catalina 38 seems spacious enough for my means, and easy enough to singlehand. however, they do not seem to come up in the forums i have read about affordable bluewater sailboats. are they out of the question?
Not out of the question, but probably not the first choice. They have a reputation as a lightly built coastal boat.
Quote:
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- if i were to want to sail un interrupted upon this boat for a span of about a year, how much would you reckon that would cost?
As others have said, that depends on you. $500-$1500 is probably a good range for the South Pacific, depending on how frugal you want to be with food, alcohol, and marinas.

You should pick up a copy of Beth Leonard's Voyager's Handbook. It covers everything you need to know in excellent detail.
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Old 29-07-2015, 12:50   #14
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Re: Realistic boats for blue water cruising

Smithpurd, As you've found, there are almost as many opinions on what makes an ideal cruising boat as there are responses. It's great you're familiar with the basics of sailing thanks to the time you've had on your Hobie 16. The suggestion to join a sailing club to gain more sailing experience on larger keel boats is a good one. You may also look into getting a crew position on a local boat that is involved in racing. Generally, folks who choose to race their boats not only use them regularly, but often are also knowledgable sailors (sail trim, navigation, boat handling and more). Chartering also allows you to sail different boats to see what you might find appealing or objectionable on different boats. While not in complete agreement with all of Captain Fred's opinions, he raises valid considerations (e.g., crew size, boat size, redundant bilge pumps/high water alarm, small volume easily drained cockpit, non-integration of instrumentation) and can appreciate his suggestions regarding a protected prop and rudder, biases regarding rig type (sail size and associated loads are likely less of an issue on 35 to 40 foot boats with a crew of three, 20-something guys versus loss of sailing efficiency). A cutter rig would give you sail plan flexibility, less the added running and standing rigging. However, IMHO, I would still not rule out a sloop rig if the rest of the boat met your needs.

I have been cruising the Pacific coast of California and Mexico with an older (1982), sloop rigged, fin keeled, spade rudder boat. There have been times when I would have liked a full keel, heavy displacement design, but more often I've delighted in being able to sail well in light winds (less than 10 knots) which are more the norm. Good luck and enjoy the process.
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Old 29-07-2015, 13:52   #15
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Re: Realistic boats for blue water cruising

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