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Old 04-08-2010, 13:09   #1
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Safest Family Cruising Boat ?

I'm new to sailing and intend to continuing sharpening my sailing skills on a daysailer, but my wife and I are talking about a long-term dream of a year or more of live-aboard sailing sometime within the next ten years. We want a boat that'll fit mom and dad and three kids. Priorities in order of importance: safety, roominess, maintainability. Livability is important, but I don't need leather upholstery. Budget is up to 200k. We're open to both mono- and multi-hull recommendations. We're in no hurry at all to buy.

I'd also welcome any book recommendations for long-term travelling. I'm not planning on being rich, so any books on self-sustained sailng are welcome. So far, the only sailing literature I've read is Moby Dick and The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner.

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Old 04-08-2010, 13:29   #2
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Sorry to not address your post directly (there are a lot of safe boats) but if you are from Morro Bay, California, that is one beautiful place. (close to San Simeon if memory serves me.)

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Old 04-08-2010, 13:35   #3
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G'day, mate. Mason's would definitely be on that list. Built rock solid to carry the weight requirements of living aboard, internal keel, and heaps of storage. We had an awesome whale sighting coming out of Morrow Bay after a refueling stop once. Cheers.
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Old 04-08-2010, 14:19   #4
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"The Intricate Art of Living Afloat," by Clare Allcard, I always found her readable: The Intricate Art of Living Afloat (9780393033342):…

"Boat Owners Mechanical and Electrical Manual" by Nigel Calder. You're GOING to need it. Boatowner's Mechanical and Electrical Manual: How to Maintain, Repair, and Improve Your Boat's Essential Systems (9780071432382): Nigel Calder: Books

While we're on the incomparable Calder, Nigel Calder's Cruising Handbook: Nigel Calder's Cruising Handbook: A Compendium for…

Can't leave out the Pardeys, although several of their books have overlapping chapters, so best to actually leaf through their books side-by-side in the store and choose one which has the combination of chapters you find most useful. One I enjoyed was "The Care and feeding of Sailing Crew": The Care And Feeding of the Sailing Crew (9781929214075): Lin Pardey, Larry Pardey: Books

I liked Eric Hiscock's "Cruising Under Sail," but you can't have my copy :-) There are some used available for a reasonable price (and lots for NOT reasonable prices): Cruising Under Sail (9780713635645): Eric Hiscock: Books

Bill Seifert's "Offshore sailing: 200 Essential Passagemaking Tips" Offshore Sailing: 200 Essential Passagemaking Tips (9780071374248): William…

Pick up and LOOK INSIDE a copy of Rousamaniere's Annapolis Book of Seamanship. It is a CLASSIC, but if he still has only one page on GPS (same space as devoted to, say Loran... do you remember Loran?), wait until he updates it and then buy THAT edition. If you'd rather just get it now, The Annapolis Book of Seamanship, 3rd Edition Revised (9780684854205): John Rousmaniere, Mark Smith: Books

This list expands if you are planning a circumnavigation. Some of the above can be checked out of the library. Check some of the recipes in Care and Feeding before you buy it, to be sure they are in line with what you might actually eat.

We cruised for a year and a half down the ICW, Bahamas, Turks & Caicos, Dominican Republic (using Van Sant's "Gentleman's Guide to Passages South," which was amusing and a good read), etc. We had to turn around and come back before we got all the way down, so we are totally looking forward to this upcoming trip, tentatively set for three years. The first time we were newlyweds in a 36' monohull ketch, an Allied Princess, displacing 7 tons. This time we are three - our son is about to be 12 - and we have chosen a 37' Prout catamaran, which is sturdy and narrow-for-a-cat, but which heels less and has more living space than a monohull. She displaces about 6 tons, and so she will not carry as much as the Allied, but I am not going to go as crazy about provisioning and specifically canned goods as I did the first time! I think we can manage with less cargo capacity; we didn't even use all of the space on the Allied.

Finally, and this may never be needed, but if it is you'll be glad you read it: Medicine for the Outdoors: The Essential Guide to Emergency Medical…

Again, there are others.

Have a WONDERFUL time, and if you can, definitely do some bareboat charters to get the idea of how it is to live for a week in one or the other of the boats you are considering as a cruising home. And so glad you asked, I'd like to see everyone else's reading list :-)

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Old 04-08-2010, 14:39   #5
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No worries TexSail. I love it here. The problem with living in Morro Bay is that there's not much place else for vacations that'll beat it. :-) Yes, it's just south of San Simeon, just North of Point Conception.

Originally Posted by TexSail View Post
Sorry to not address your post directly (there are a lot of safe boats) but if you are from Morro Bay, California, that is one beautiful place. (close to San Simeon if memory serves me.)
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Old 04-08-2010, 14:41   #6
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Aquaticat, that list oughtta last me a year at least. Thanks for your recommendations!
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Old 05-08-2010, 06:02   #7
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So far, the only sailing literature I've read is Moby Dick and The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner.
Those are two classics. Most most recent reading list includes:
  1. Yacht Design According to Perry
  2. Used Boat Notebook
  3. Heart of Glass
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Old 05-08-2010, 06:17   #8
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safety as it's defined by the off shore boat is sometimes a hard nut to crack. One person's absolute requirement is often a non issue with others.

John Vigor's Book The Seaworthy Offshore Sailboat (9780071343282): John Vigor: Books goes through what, in his opnion, is needed.

It's full of very good info..

good luck to you

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Old 05-08-2010, 06:27   #9
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Originally Posted by jordanship View Post
Those are two classics. Most most recent reading list includes:
  1. Yacht Design According to Perry
  2. Used Boat Notebook
  3. Heart of Glass
- Armchair sailor
Second on the Perry book. Great primer on yacht design for the lay person who wants to understand what he/she is looking at and why hulls perform the way they do.
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Old 05-08-2010, 06:32   #10
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If you are considering a multi then a read of Chris Whites - The Cruising Multihull is a definite must read. As is Jim Brown, "The case for the cruising trimaran"

As for recommendations for boats - a quick check of Yacht World shows up a number of good boats, including a number of seawind 1000s and outremers of the low to mid 40 feet as well as a few very large wholesome tris.
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Old 05-08-2010, 07:07   #11
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Great place.. we uasally stop there in our travels and will be visiting within the next month on our way south..
My suggestion, and this is the right time of year to do it.....
Go down to the Yacht Club every couple days and see what passes throu for the next couple months.. this is the season for the anual migration to Mexico and Morro Bay is a stopover for many..
Cruisers love to show off their boats and uasally a smile and a nice greeting will get you a tour of the boat..
You can see first hand what people are cruising with and get first hand knowledge of whats on the water now,
Find Us At
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Old 05-08-2010, 07:19   #12
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Boat safety is primarily a function of the operators of the boat and less so the boat itself. One could go to sea in an enclosed ships lifeboat and still get into some serious trouble. My point is not to completely rely on the boat itself to keep you safe. Learn everything you can about being safe. It really is mostly up to you and less so the boat.

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Old 05-08-2010, 07:52   #13
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So, I've requested five titles from the county library. Thanks all for your great suggestions there.

Randy -- Great idea about checking out boats docking at the yacht club. I'm interested in joining the yacht club here . . . but the "club" part gets to me sometimes. :-P

David M -- I couldn't agree more. I'm still very much a newbie: still learning to read my jib on a daysailer. It's going to be a while before I tackle the big blue.
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Old 05-08-2010, 08:44   #14
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Cruising books I've really enjoyed:

Wanderer, Sterling Hayden (yup, the actor)
Snark, Jack London (THE jack london)
Two years before the mast, Richard Dana

I've read plenty of crap ones too, but the above are those I'd happily read again.
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Old 05-08-2010, 09:15   #15
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I'd strongly advise finding a "half step" between a daysailor and a blue water cruising boat for five. This will introduce you - and more importantly your family - to the experience. It will also be much less stressful for you if you don't have to find the "perfect boat" (which doesn't exist anyways).

My first recommendation is to buy a 26-30ft '80s era monohull for between $20K and $30K that's in good shape and has a caring previous owner. Buying your first boat from a fastidious and knowledgeable previous owner is worth at least $10K. You should be able to sell this boat for almost the price you paid when you buy your next boat (you won't get back the cost of maintenance, upgrades and repairs so that's you cost).
This boat will be big enough to cruise the whole family on long weekend trips although it will be a little like camping. Unfortunately, the waters around Morro bay aren't great for this type of cruising. You could consider keeping it elsewhere.

A second idea would be to buy a boat with a charter program like the Moorings. Don't do this to make a profit but it can be a very inexpensive way to own a boat. You get a bunch (I think six) weeks of almost free sailing and can use different kinds of boats and sail in different places. If by the fourth year you aren't using many of your "free weeks", you should ask yourself some tough questions.

Finally, be honest about seasickness. A few lucky people never get seasick. Many have occasional and manageable seasickness (myself included). But a small number of people have severe problems and don't get over it even after a few days at sea. I have a friend who had to give up on his three year family cruise after a month because one of his kids was in this last group.


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