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Old 21-08-2009, 20:15   #16
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Originally Posted by twinkles View Post
My wife and I are contemplating the cruising lifestyle for retirement. We are neophytes...

For cost effectiveness we will buy a used catamaran....

1. “almost new.” A boat 1-4 years old.
2. “older but refit.” A boat 8-10 years old that has been refit in the past 1-4 years.
3. “project boat.” A boat decidedly in need of refit. Only if very solid.
4. Other ideas

Here is what we are thinking that we need:

1. We want a catamaran ~ YES
2. Big as we can afford ~ NO! As good quality and well equipped as we can afford.
3. Small enough to be singlehanded if something should happen to one of us and the other has to get to get us to a port. ~ BETTER — Re-layed-out for single handing.
4. Sea worthy enough to do a circumnavigation if we should decide to do so.
5. We consider the following to be essential
a. Appropriate sails, including sufficient back-ups to get us home in the event of major sail damage. + sewing machine.
b. Navigation/electronics
i. SSB radio
ii. VHF radio
iii. Radar
iv. Electronic chart plotter ~ As a back up to paper charts.
v. GPS
vi. Whatever else should be on a well equipped blue water boat. 2 plastic sextants, corrected. 2 spare self steering pilots; wind & compass. Air navigation tables and print outs of useful tables in Bowditch Practical Navigator.
c. Parachute
d. Life raft
e. Personal safety gear including auto inflating vests, harnesses, epirbs
f. dingy
g. Water maker
h. Air conditioning
i. Refrigerator/Freezer
j. Stove/oven
k. Washing machine
z... The world is getting hit with over population and recession: complete self reliance could be a very satisfying venture.

Boat performance we would rank things as follows:

1. Ease of sailing—I don’t know enough to know exactly what this entails. But I gather from my reading so far that boats can be equipped so that most sailing operations can be performed from the cockpit, including switching between a jib and genoa, and reefing the sails. (I could be mistaken about what some of the terms I have been reading mean and this might be unrealistic; if so tell me.)
2. Speed
3. Comfort

Budget is probably in the $400,000 range.
You are getting good advice. I'd just add the trial cruise so that you begin to see practically what is going to work out over the next 15 ~ 25 years. It might be rather different from the last 50 years ?
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Old 21-08-2009, 20:21   #17
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Wellington
Without derailing too much off topic, it had nothing to do with people, all of whom were great including most of the customs bureaucrats. Weather condition are what they are and although we got caught in one memorable storm, weather is what you make of it. All boats require maintenance and have breakdowns, regardless of the name of the manufacturer and there was actually some joy in both effectively dealing with the problems and the empathy all cruisers share in this side of cruising which, as the saying goes, is fixing the boat in different places.

What I was referring to are the constant tedium of sailing which gets boring to everyone, cooking, sleeping and generally living on a small, constantly moving platform, the repeated sadness on leaving a great port and friends only to do it again a few weeks later. I could go on but you get the idea.

I'm sure there are many people who consider these a small price to pay for the absolute enjoyment they feel when cruising and it's not my intent to say only my view is important or even relevant.

What I am doing a poor job of explaining is that if someone can confidently go from nothing to a big boat and sail offshore for an expended time expecting to have a great time that he/she is often in for a huge surprise. The dream often doesn't live up to reality.

Hope this hasn't come across as too negative of the cruising lifestyle - just one person's opinion.

PS We spent some time in Wellington in 1999-2000 and loved it
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Old 22-08-2009, 08:24   #18
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Excellent thoughts. I had not thought to share our self prepatory plans, I just thought looking at boats and dreaming was fun.

But since you asked, and feel free to critique this plan, here was our self prep plan:

1. Take the ASA classes 101, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 108, 114. (Admittedly we might decide somewhere along that way that "we got it." When ever we feel like we got it, we will jump to step 2. But that is the plan.)
2. Charter a boat for two weeks by ourselves in the Virgin Islands and find out how we do on our own.
3. Buy boat jump off end of pier.

Timing for this plan is a year and a half (and for six of those months I am planning to hike the Appalachian Trail).
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Old 22-08-2009, 08:42   #19
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Dear Illusion,

A most important post...most inexperienced people do not realize how hard cruising can be. Even when you have experience and a well founded boat it is hard...

Phil
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Old 22-08-2009, 08:53   #20
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the repeated sadness on leaving a great port and friends only to do it again a few weeks later.

Yes. T'is sad. Theres always another port but friends are special.
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Old 22-08-2009, 11:32   #21
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When looking for the boat concentrate on the boat, i.e. structural soundness, rig, layout, etc. Most of the items you mentioned are just "add ons" and on a 4+ year old boat you will probably end up replacing or just removing many of those already on the boat.
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Old 23-08-2009, 01:50   #22
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We have been cruising continuously for about two years on a catamaran. Before we left, we enrolled in a few courses at the local sailing school: basic keel, coastal navigation, and also intermediate cruising. Afterwards, we bought a small monohull and we sailed her for a few years, in addition to chartering in Caribbean.


Some people I know have just taken off, bought a boat and learned along the way and they've been fine. The sailing, especially out in open ocean, provided the weather is co-operative, is not the hard part. In fact, that's probably the easiest part about cruising. By far the trickiest parts are the anchoring (depending on the location), and the docking. Although a catamaran with its two engines makes both of these things much simpler.

The second most troublesome aspect of cruising is all of the boat maintenance. It really takes up a lot of your time and it must be done. It doesn't matter if your boat is new or old, you will still have things to fix, to maintain, to buy. We met a couple who bought a brand new catamaran from the factory (which shall remain nameless) that had all kinds of problems: water pipes literally exploding, watermaker failing, head not working, etc. Another couple we know on a huge luxury monohull are performing the same tasks as us, but theirs just costs 3x as much! (Monohull folk say the same about us, and it's true, things cost about twice as much for us cat owners. It's worth it though, so don't let anyone talk you into getting a single hull *shutters*)

We bought a newish catamaran, in the 1-4 year old range. One of the benefits of this was that the previous owner had already put all of the stuff on it and had worked out most of the problems. This saved us considerable time and cost. The charter boats that are for sale don't typically have all of the stuff you have listed on them, and it will cost you quite a bit to get all of it installed or to install yourself, which you should know how to do before you go. You can hire people down here to fix and install stuff, yes it's true. But will it be done properly? There's a high probability that it may not. True back home as well, I might add, but smaller pool of people to choose from here

Anyway, I hope I'm not sounding like a downer. I love cruising! And besides, the boat and its needs does provide an unusual view on your travel experience.
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Old 23-08-2009, 20:45   #23
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twinkles,

I am in a similar situation as you. My wife and I are dreaming of getting a boat and "sailing off into the sunset". Note: I am not naive enough to think that it is that easy, but we do have the dream to get away. Hey if the kids on bumfuzzle can do it why not twinkles?

We are not sailors but have the advantage of taken 5 previous crewed charters around the carribe. We also plan to take the same lessons you are. (Although a walk along the Appalachian Trail is not on the agenda) We have enjoyed each and every trip we have made. I agree with the recommendations made that you and your wife need to spend some time on a boat to make sure it lives up to your expectations.

I like the description of cruising being more like camping than living in a floating condo. Perhaps, deciding on what you like about camping and what you like about a condo can help you decide what you really have to have on a boat. Sure there are negatives, but without planning nothing happens.

There are books by Kanter, "Cruising Catamaran Communique" and "Catamarans" by Tarjan that are helpful.

How about helping twinkles and I out. Comments have been made about maintenance. How much should one budget per year for maintenance and repair? I have heard a number of 10% per year of the cost of the boat? Is it really that high. For the boat twikles is looking at $40k per year is quite a reality check.
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Old 23-08-2009, 21:21   #24
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Taking a few crewed charters, or for that matter any charters, and cruising are mutually exclusive things. On a charter, you don't have to be your own self-sufficient diesel mechanic, plumber, electrician, refrigeration repairman, rigger, sailmaker, cook, supply officer and, if you have kids, teacher all simultaneously while on a moving deck. Cruising and chartering comparisons are unrealistic.

Budgeting, in the context of boat maintenance, is similarly an illusion. For all the anecdotal stories, there is no real data and even if there were, it couldn't conceivably tell you with any certainty how much you will spend unless someone has figured out a way to predict steering vane destruction, autopilot gears stripping, engine oil pump replacement, stolen dinghy motors, fouled and lost anchors, etc... If someone can do that, I'd like to give him some money to invest...

Maintenance cost is what it is - it comes off the top of whatever your budget is. Only folks who are gamblers willing to do without proper maintenance will forgo needed repairs when it exceeds some imaginary predetermined budget.

Just another reality check for the dreamers.
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Old 23-08-2009, 21:49   #25
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What Illusion says about boat maintenance is absolutely correct. It's impossible to plan for what may happen, and all of those things he's listed can and do happen. What we do is keep enough money aside for any of those big ticket items and then also keep aside a certain percentage for general maintenance. For us, I suppose, we've spent close to 5% (of the hull value) a year on maintenance stuff. But this also totally depends on the boat and how well it's maintained. 10% seems high for general stuff.

What spares to take and what not is a whole other topic. For some good advice on that and other maintenance issues I'd look at Nigel Calder's books. You'll want these books on hand anyway.
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Old 23-08-2009, 22:41   #26
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Good Advice so far - here's a few more

Quote:
Originally Posted by twinkles View Post
My wife and I are contemplating the cruising lifestyle for retirement...

Where do you plan on cruising?

For cost effectiveness we will buy a used catamaran...

As others have said, IN GENERAL, newer will get you cruising sooner with more up to date equipment, but keep an open mind on new. Your budget (not including yearly maintenance) is in the ballpark to buy something new.

Here is what we are thinking that we need:

3. Small enough to be singlehanded if something should happen to one of us and the other has to get to get us to a port.

If you set it up for singlehanding "small" doesn't really come into play.

5. We consider the following to be essential
a. Appropriate sails, including sufficient back-ups to get us home in the event of major sail damage.

Buy a product called "Speedy Stitcher". It is a sewing awl and can get through several layers of sail material that a sewing machine won't begin to. Make sure you get extra needles!

b. Navigation/electronics
vi. Whatever else should be on a well equipped blue water boat.

Consider a sat phone; laptop; Wi-Fi antenna with signal amplifier; Skype headset; small hi-capacity hard drive.

h. Air conditioning

Depending on your intended cruising grounds and lifestyle choices, you can eliminate this. IOW, if you are at anchor v. marinas you probably do not need AC.

k. Washing machine

Again, you may not need depending... Many cruisers find their laundry needs are much less than on shore, plus you add another complicated, energy-hungry system to the boat. We see a large % of washing machine/dryers used as storage!

l. Bread maker

m. Solar panels and a QUIET (PLEASE!) wind generator


Boat performance we would rank things as follows:

1. Ease of sailing.

Not sure what "ease" means, but one thing to find out is when does the boat experience bridgedeck slamming? Lots of slamming is neither easy, nor comfortable.

2. Comfort - WAY more important than speed. If you end up like most cruisers, you will spend 90+% of your time at anchor/exploring/fixing/cooking/diving/fixing/drinking/drinking/dominoes & drinking/writing a blog, book, etc, etc. Comfort may even be #1, since you should be comfortable while sailing!


3. Speed
Seriously look into cruising on someone's boat as guests (search 7 knots). This will give you a much better view of the cruising lifestyle than chartering will ever do. Charter a boat that matches what you think you want to buy to learn the plus/minus characteristics of a particular boat.

Fair Winds,
Mike
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Old 24-08-2009, 07:33   #27
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Quote:
1. Take the ASA classes 101, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 108, 114. (Admittedly we might decide somewhere along that way that "we got it." When ever we feel like we got it, we will jump to step 2. But that is the plan.)
You never really "get it". There is always more and you need to look at it that way. You can always be better at almost everything. If you complete all the classes you are familiar with everything and probably not a master of too many. If you walk away knowing a lot more things that you don't know yet then you probably have the right idea. It's about learning how to learn about more. That's what getting should mean.

Every place you sail is different. Issues like weather are a constant thing. Always new things to learn and deal with. If you can enjoy going through the classes then you can enjoy all the other totally new things you have to face all the time.

Plan on cruising around locally for a while with any boat you get ASAP. You can cruise around locally and it still counts. Day sail every day as it practices the most difficult parts. Taking off and putting it away needs to feel comfortable. Otherwise you get into a mode where you feel afraid to go out. It takes more practice with every boat to figure the details out and where things are and where they belong. Give yourself the time to feel comfortable. You should learn quickly the limits of what you know how to do and can start expanding them because of your training.

Once you start you are already there. If you find yourself in a hurry you need to stop and think. Being in a hurry can hurt you really bad - don't go there.
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Old 24-08-2009, 18:30   #28
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radon, thanks for the input on maintenance costs. I suspect for those of us who have never owned a sailboat that upkeep and maintenance are grossly underestimated.

Gentlemen, I understand you are giving us dreamers a dose of reality. Which is something all of us old men thinking of retiring need. However, as I was driving home from work today, I recalled when I learned to fly. I had dreamed of flying since I looked up in the Encyclopedia about how wings worked. A dozen years later I was able to fulfill that dream. But I had to leave the ground and I had to learn. Many things I had to learn and experience during the training process. A few experiences:

The first time I entered a rainstorm. I thought the windscreen was going to break because it was so loud I thought it was hail.

The first time I had a near miss with a Lear jet. Took a while to get the heart rate back to normal.

The first time I soloed.

The check ride.

One difference, I was in my 20s. Now I am old (in my 50s), but I still have a dream.

I would have never left the ground without that dream. (And a job that actually paid a little bit of money)

Now I want to leave the harbor. I think twinkles thinks so too. Correct me if I am wrong with the flying analogy, but the only way to fulfill the dream is to go and do it. I don’t mind being the starry eyed dreamer. And I don’t mind being wrong. But the idea of having to spend years sailing in a harbor before you venture out somewhere seems to be a bit conservative. How else do you learn?
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Old 24-08-2009, 19:46   #29
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Now I want to leave the harbor. I think twinkles thinks so too. Correct me if I am wrong with the flying analogy, but the only way to fulfill the dream is to go and do it. I don’t mind being the starry eyed dreamer. And I don’t mind being wrong. But the idea of having to spend years sailing in a harbor before you venture out somewhere seems to be a bit conservative. How else do you learn?
Nothing wrong with the flying analogy.

I think the salty types get concerned when people join CF and say, "I have never sailed. I retire in 2 years. I always dreamed of sailing away into retirement. I am going to a) invest my life savings in a boat or b) by a 12 foot dinghy and round cape horn. What do you all think?"

They don't want to advise you to invest your life income into something you only have a romantic notion of. Boats are a PITA at times. They require constant TLC. 40 foot boats are extremely powerful. People break bones racing them all the time due to high sheet loads and winch loads. Living on a boat is something you have to get used to.

Sailing is something you have to learn. Managing and maintaining a boat is something you have to learn. It's not hard. Almost anyone can do it.

However - When you learned to fly you probably started in a C150 or C172. Not the Lear jet you almost crashed into and probably not a Cessna Caravan and certainly not a jumbo jet. You got your student license, PPL and maybe added instrument and commercial ratings. Some guys get a twin rating. Some guys get an ATP. It all comes with time and experience.

The point usually made here is get out there and get sailing. Get experience and get to know what it is about. I am a big fan of the starter boat. 25-30 feet. I did that and I sail 6-8 times a month. If I ended up with the boat being ignored for weeks at a time, I would realize that maybe I didn't have the passion for this. If I take my vacation climbing mountains or visitng wine country instead of farting around with my boat, I probably don't have the passion for this. If I stop reading CF because its getting boring () I probably don't have the passion for this.

Anyway - Pursue the dream but be cautious when jumping into the deep end without having had swim lessons.
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Old 24-08-2009, 19:51   #30
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I'm a few naps away from being 66 and I'm about to push off in a 63' steel trawler. First boat I've ever owned. The great thing about being old is you have nothing to lose by doing something crazy, we're going to drop dead soon anyway. Can't see sitting around watching judge Judy on TV waiting for biopsies to come back from the lab.
Then again, I was just as crazy when I was 20.
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