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Old 25-09-2008, 08:47   #31
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I just recently started to seriously look at boats to buy. I have a lot of specific things that I am looking for in one but nothing too insane. Most of it comes from experience on the ocean and seeing way too many good people die.
First I don't know squat about fiberglass hulls. I've done repairs on a few 40 footers and less but that's all I know about them. How to patch holes and repaint. I'm researching them all I can and planning a few trips with people that own them. When I take a 50 foot, or worse, wave over the bow I want to know that I can keep on going and not start going for the liferaft. I've been on steel ships that nearly broke in half at the expansion joint and even capsized once so I do understand that anything can happen to any ship at any time. When I make the decision about hull material that will be my highest priority. I can say I am looking at lot more at steel boats than fiberglass though. I am confident I can fix anything on steel at sea if I had to.

My specialty is engineering, not rigging sails. I'm learning that now. My second highest priority in the boat I choose to cross the oceans will be the engine, or engines. I've got my preferences in brands like everyone else but all I know for sure, is if it's a brand I don't care for then I'll replace it and if it is one I do like then I will overhaul it myself before I ever leave the dock. Regardless of how many hours are on it. At least I will have confidence in it then. It's just no fun being on a single screw ship out in the middle of the ocean and not having the engine work. I've been there way too many times in the past. I served on three 4 screw ships and 3 single screws. On the last single screw I didn't serve in engineering but sure got called down a lot to fix things. It rarely made it from point A to point B without the engine failing.


The next priority for me, mainly because of my wife will be the size of our boat. She wants longer than 40 feet so we're looking at 40-50 footers. I know the bigger the better in riding out storms generally. Or maybe more accurately the heavier the better. Still size counts for at least something on a sail boat. I seriously doubt I would ever be able to drag my wife across the ocean on anything under 40 feet.

With my criteria in mind for a blue water cruiser we can sail with confidence there isn't a whole lot to choose from but they are out there and not too awfully expensive. I've already got my needle gun and paint gun ready to go for when we find it. That's my biggest thing though I guess, confidence in my boat. It's kinda like a dog. If you are scared of the dog then you will probably get bit. If you aren't scared then you probably won't. Most of the accidents at sea that I have personally seen were because someone got scared and screwed up. If you are going to sail the ocean then you have to have confidence in whatever you do it in.
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Old 25-09-2008, 11:33   #32
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Originally Posted by Fishspearit View Post

Some people set certain criteria. Like he has to have a college education, he must have made a lot of money, he must be articulate, he must have large muscles or be able to run fast .

Hahaha. I love your statement!

I'm one of those guys who has been going to college for 30 years, don't have a degree (well, I kinda do, but I don't count it for anything) - but I get educated in more than book learning (which is what I want to do now, I want to SAIL!)

I'm articulate, when I haven't been drinking my homebrew, mead or rum...

I've got pretty good muscles (for a guy that's 50-something) and still do weight training (used to sword fight... damn it I know I've got pirate blood! Arrr!)

I grew up in Detroit so I sure can run fast. LOL

So - my question is this then... If my wife and I know what we WANT to do, how and where do we actually begin to decide on the right vessel (having not actually sailed)?

We want to sail this spring and summer and learn it, but we also want to purchase a boat in the next year - not a new one, probably an older, monohull, probably with two masts, probably around 42-50 feet long, we are going to LIVE in it, and we are going to practice our sailing IN that boat to get to know it, and we DO plan on making some "blue water crossings" - but not for a few years (except the Gulf probably).

So... how do we START to begin to figure out what's right and wrong?
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Old 25-09-2008, 12:02   #33
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Rick...First, you should read a bunch about cruising sailboats and decide what is important to you in a boat. Full keel, center cockpit, sea berth, lots of teak, fuel and water capacity, draft and mast clearance etc. etc. (Suggest Beth Leonards Voyagers Handbook). From there, my quick solution would be to peruse the Mahina "cruising bluewater boats" list and check off the ones whose size seems suitable. Then go to Yachtworld.com and look at the pictures and layouts of those boats together and cross off the ones which don't seem suitable to you or are out of your budget range. Then start making appointment to look at the ones you like and narrow down the possibles. Find a good one....get it well surveyed and you are on your way.
Doing it this way will not insure that you have considered every possible boat, but it will insure that the boat is suitable for your purpose.
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Old 25-09-2008, 12:42   #34
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Originally Posted by camaraderie View Post
Rick...First, you should read a bunch about cruising sailboats and decide what is important to you in a boat. Full keel, center cockpit, sea berth, lots of teak, fuel and water capacity, draft and mast clearance etc. etc. (Suggest Beth Leonards Voyagers Handbook). From there, my quick solution would be to peruse the Mahina "cruising bluewater boats" list and check off the ones whose size seems suitable. Then go to Yachtworld.com and look at the pictures and layouts of those boats together and cross off the ones which don't seem suitable to you or are out of your budget range. Then start making appointment to look at the ones you like and narrow down the possibles. Find a good one....get it well surveyed and you are on your way.
Doing it this way will not insure that you have considered every possible boat, but it will insure that the boat is suitable for your purpose.
Thanks very much! We'll do just that!
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Old 25-09-2008, 12:57   #35
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Yes but.....that is just a tad bit harder to quantify.

As I've said before: Experience is a cold hearted bitch who does not give lessons freely.
HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.....I dated her twice. Once at Point Conception, and again between Puerta Vallarta, and Cabo. Now I am a much smarter man!
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Old 27-09-2008, 12:16   #36
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Don`t forget Jimmy Cornell`s " World Cruising Survey " written in the 80s , still a wealth of info for anyone considering cruising . Ist question is - where are you going ? The majority of cruisers surveyed that were going to keep cruising choose without question a metal hull boat . Read Beth & Evans reasons for building an aluminum sailboat . No deck leaks for starters . Plenty of junk floating these days to bump into. I lived in the Sth Pacific for 15 yrs and I can`t tell you how many fiberglass boats come to their end each year on the coral . Most don`t survive a tide cycle . My aluminum hull can be dragged off , kedged off , whatever , days later if necessary , dented and scratched but likely not holed . Some friends in NZ have an old 52 ft steel ketch thats been on the coral in Fiji various times , still sailing . Dragging anchor is common when it blows . Nothing holds well on coral but all chain and the largest anchor you can carry is a good start . Many atolls are not charted .
So again ---- Where Are You Going ? Answer that first and you`ll have a better idea
what boat will suit your needs . Don`t mean to scare anyone but I have seen so many
bad boat buying decisions that cost a lot of money . Good luck .
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Old 07-01-2009, 08:42   #37
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The Titanic was a bluewater boat.
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Old 12-01-2009, 05:49   #38
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Ice boats will be the next thread....
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Old 12-01-2009, 06:25   #39
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Don't be scared of fiberglass,no its not perfect,no material is.Many more successful voyages on fiberglass boats than any other,due to numbers alone.The key is to not hit hard objects!
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Old 12-01-2009, 07:17   #40
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uh, what was the name of the offshore race that killed so many sailors and sunk so many boats back in the 70's - the Fastnet. right.

sorry. I disagree. There are specific dangerous ocean waves that can occur and will roll just about any monohull over. Probably pitch a catamaran over as well. These are unusual monster waves with a certain frequency and height peculiar to the middle of the ocean - hope I NEVER SEE ONE> One may never encounter that particular killer wave...but what if you do.

Some monohull designs will not roll 180 degrees and come back up with deck on top. Very bad. those are not ocean worthy boats. I especially don't want to be on one of those boats in the middle of the ocean.

Me, after circumnavigating this forum for a few months, am convinced that an ocean crossing monohull needs quite a few distinct characteristics for my peace of mind. primary being sturdier rigging, sturdier equipment, thicker hulls, preferably a 3/4 length keel and A SKEG RUDDER!!!! I'll probably end up circumnavigating on a multi hull but that's another story.

from what I can tell, the most likely danger for a monohull in the middle of an ocean is hitting submerged debris that holes the hulls, not that that happens a lot either but it does indeed happen. it's a frightening thought. I want a very thick hull, preferably solid fiber glass hull all the way to the deck

After circumnavigating this site, I realize I need several years of training on all kinds of boat systems (not the least of which is the electrical system) and preparation before I cross an ocean. A passage of a few days here and there will be in near future, but a 30 day voyage away from sight of land? I need a lot of training and a very special boat. but that's just me - chicken little. I aint even got a boat right now so you pegged me right. But at least I'm looking for a boat.

best regards,
19 people died at sea during the 1979 Fastnet Race. most of them lost their lifes while abandoning their boats for their liferafts. 25 boats were abandoned, only a handfull actually sunk, another handful was later recovered.

"The fleet, which included 57 yachts competing in the Admiral's Cup, suffered through unpreparedness and from the inexperience of many of those taking part. Those with experience of strong winds and racing through stomrs came through unscathed, perhaps a trifle more apprehensive than in the past, but with their boats intact and good results in the lists."

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Old 12-01-2009, 08:04   #41
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from what I can tell, the most likely danger for a monohull in the middle of an ocean is hitting submerged debris that holes the hulls, not that that happens a lot either but it does indeed happen.
Weather and being unprepared is still the most dangerous aspect that you should worry about. You can prepare for bad weather and you can plan trips to avoid it and take the options to minimize the risk. Submerged objects you can worry about all the time about but there is darn little you can do about it. Focusing on the things you can effect takes enough effort that you really don't have time to worry about the things you have no effect on.

As noted above skills are the best thing you can bring on any trip to any location. Things you can learn and know about and activities you can practice will serve you best.
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Old 12-01-2009, 08:57   #42
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I love this thread. I bought a Cal 39 a year ago with plans to sail to the Caribbean and die there. I have been studying as much as I can and reading the abundance of threads on bluewater sailing. I realize I need to put some new equipemnt aboard (new ground tackle, wind self steering, solar panels, GPS and SSB). I cna't do aything about the fact she has a fin keel and spade rudder (which gets much criticism on this forum).
Point being, as I read and study, I find myself intimadated by some of the threads and encouraged by others. I need to take the boat outside due to it's 6'8" draft which precludes the ICW.
I keep waiting for the inspiration to take off but am immobilized by what I read.
Eventually, I'll bite the bullet ( or find the balls) to go. I'll either become one of the victums that people on this forum love to blast for doing something stupid or I'll succed and never be heard from again.
My boat is not one of those "bullet proof, full keel, skeg rudder, double ender, etc" boats but it is what I've got so she'll have to do. I'll let you guys know if and when I make it. Good luck to all who have the dream but not the money.
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Old 12-01-2009, 10:33   #43
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Solid hull and rigging, sound sails, and a reliable motor. To me, that is what you need. I would happily cruise blue water on a Cal 39 (or 29). The boat that is prepared for blue water is filled with someone who has extensive sailing experience, is resourcefull, and can function when occasionally under duress or tired, not with gadgets. The best way to know the right boat for your needs is to spend a lot of time sailing. A lot of the advice given on this forum seems to apply that the most essential gear on a sailboat is the battery monitor. You get the boat from "A" to "B" as much as it takes you.
Trying to pick a boat before you have done a lot of sailing is like trying to pick a crop before you've done any farming. There are yacht clubs all over with race boats looking to pick up crew. Club racing is like taking an immersion language course, as opposed to trying to pick up Spanish at a bar in a Mexican restaurant. One of the things that I picked up from years of racing before I took off blue water sailing was that I did not want a light, high powered cruiser/racer, but others came to the opposite conclusion and we all came back safe from our voyages, eager for more.
I would say that if you are looking for a boat to withstand a 50'(!) wave breaking over your bow with no worry, you might think about a submarine.
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Old 12-01-2009, 11:51   #44
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I love this thread. I bought a Cal 39 a year ago with plans to sail to the Caribbean and die there. I have been studying as much as I can and reading the abundance of threads on bluewater sailing. I realize I need to put some new equipment aboard (new ground tackle, wind self steering, solar panels, GPS and SSB). I cna't do aything about the fact she has a fin keel and spade rudder (which gets much criticism on this forum).
Point being, as I read and study, I find myself intimadated by some of the threads and encouraged by others. I need to take the boat outside due to it's 6'8" draft which precludes the ICW.
I keep waiting for the inspiration to take off but am immobilized by what I read.
Eventually, I'll bite the bullet ( or find the balls) to go. I'll either become one of the victums that people on this forum love to blast for doing something stupid or I'll succed and never be heard from again.
My boat is not one of those "bullet proof, full keel, skeg rudder, double ender, etc" boats but it is what I've got so she'll have to do. I'll let you guys know if and when I make it. Good luck to all who have the dream but not the money.
Jim,

No need to fret over it. Your boat can make the trip down if you take some time and care to make certain it's sound. Hire a pro to inspect the standing rigging, make sure your steering gear is sound, same with the sails and running rigging. Get the engine in tip top condition, install a Racor fuel filter if you don't have one, and check the fuel tank for slime and sludge. Check your through-hulls and hoses. Sign on two or three experienced crew and you're all set.

Here's a suggestion. Give Steve Black a call. He lives right there in Hampton, and he's in the phone book. Steve runs the annual Caribbean 1500 cruising rally, currently about 75 boats sailing in early November from Hampton to Tortola. Steve's a nice guy and an extremely knowledgeable sailor. Offer to buy him lunch one day and pick his brain. He'll give you the straight scoop.
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Old 14-01-2009, 08:02   #45
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Hud,
Thanks for the suggestion. I'll definetly contact Steve Black. I actually talked with him prior to this past 1500 as I was looking to crew with one of the participants (no luck). Perhaps I'll see you down there in a year or two and buy the first round.
Jim
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