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Old 29-08-2012, 20:10   #1
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Preparing for Cruising

So I'm planning a two year cruise going from Charleston, SC up the East Coast of the US, then across to Ireland, England, Portugal, into the Med, down to Morroco, back across to Brazil, up to the Caribean and finally back home. So my question would be, what should I do to prepare my boat for this? I've got a 1963 Pearson Alberg 35 that had a refit in 2009. The engine was rebuilt in 09, a wind generator was installed and the standing and running rigging was replaced. What should I do to prep my boat? I'm currently planning on replacing the tiller with a helm, updating and replacing her wiring, adding radar and AIS, chartplotter, autopilot, painting her bottom, topsides and deck and installing a two burner stove and oven. Is there anything else I should plan on doing?
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Old 29-08-2012, 20:29   #2
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Re: Prepparing for Cruising

Get lots of food and water then go!..
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Old 29-08-2012, 20:37   #3
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Re: Prepparing for Cruising

A few routine things that you have probably done already but didn't mention:

1. Inspect and repair as needed all seacocks and hoses. Double clamp all hoses with marine grade, all SS clamps.

2. Emergency bilge pumps: manual and electric.

3. High water alarm?

Enjoy the trip. I have similar plans but a couple of years further down the road.
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Old 29-08-2012, 21:03   #4
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Re: Prepparing for Cruising

Actually, my trip is a few years down the road as well. But on the plus side, it lets me gradually do everything I need to do. I've got two electric bilge pumps installed. Not sure about the high water alarm (probably don't). All the hoses coming from the seacocks that I can see are double clamped.
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Old 29-08-2012, 21:16   #5
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Re: Preparing for Cruising

Seacocks, very important. On my boat I made a drawing of the boat showing location of all the seacocks and put that in a red, emergency binder.

If you ever find water in the boat and you haven't recently heard a load bang from hitting something you will want to know exactly where all the seacocks are located and if necessary send a crew member to check or close them all.

If you are still a few years from the trip I might see you there. I've been to Ireland on business and loved it. Beautiful country and friendly people. First place I've ever been where the customs officers at the airport smiled and seemed glad to see me.
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Old 29-08-2012, 22:00   #6
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Re: Preparing for Cruising

Why woud you want to replace the tiller with a wheel??? The tiller is a fool proof steering system with minimal parts to fail and those easily reached. You want to stick something on that has cables, pulleys, etc that add up to a failure waiting to happen and all of it hidden in the hardest place to get at on the boat. Wheels are way more tiring to steer for long periods than a tiller as well.

Wheels also don't work nearly as well as a tiller with a pendulum servo self steering vane. BTW, get the vane ASAP, it will be the most valuable peice of equipment that you will have on the boat. Here's one for sale on Ebay now that would work wll on your boat: MONITOR Windvane - Very Good Condition! | eBay
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Old 29-08-2012, 23:36   #7
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Re: Preparing for Cruising

Stick with the tiller. Get a vane and practice with it. An Alberg is a great boat, have fun.____Grant.
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Old 30-08-2012, 06:54   #8
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Re: Preparing for Cruising

I would also ensure adequate tankage, consider solar, redundant fuel filter/water separators, make sure fuel tank is clean, etc. Maybe a keel-cooled Frigoboat DC refrigeration system. Good house battery bank and starting batteries. Also make sure you have a good medical kit with prescription items for long passages. A lot to consider...
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Old 30-08-2012, 08:02   #9
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Re: Preparing for Cruising

As a fellow Alberg owner (Cape Dory) I can NOT say this loud enough...LEAVE THE TILLER...

Good Luck with your voyage
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Old 30-08-2012, 08:17   #10
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Re: Preparing for Cruising

Again leave the tiller!
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Old 31-08-2012, 18:42   #11
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Re: Preparing for Cruising

Thanks guys. I do have to update the refrigeration. The previous owner put a system in, but it runs (for some reason) on 110V A/C. Only works when I'm plugged into shore power. As far as solar power goes, I was thinking about it, but not sure how big the panels should be. I was thinking either one or two 120 WATT panels. The boat currently has two house batteries and one dedicated starting battery. I was thinking of adding either one or two additional house batteries and a built in inverter to run my 110V system. As far as the tiller, I've sailed her a few times, and I honestly don't care for it. I'm planning on leaving it above deck for emergency use, but not as the primary control system. What about installing a small water heater, pressure water system and a water maker? Are those things I should consider, or would they take up too much room? My boat currently hold aprox 70 gals of fresh water and 30 gals of fuel. Oh, I was also considering replacing the Atomic 4 with a diesel. Would that be worth my time or should I just leave the engine as is?
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Old 31-08-2012, 20:08   #12
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Re: Preparing for Cruising

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Oh, I was also considering replacing the Atomic 4 with a diesel. Would that be worth my time or should I just leave the engine as is?
Well depends.

1. Is the Atomic 4 in good shape?

2. How long will you keep the boat?

3. How much money do you have to spend on the boat?

4. Most important, how will you use the boat? Motor only to get from the dock or out the channel or for long distances when the wind is calm or up and down the ICW?

There are cruisers who have no engine at all in their boat and sail everywhere so having a gas engine is not necessarily a big handicap. Will depend on your style.

For me, among other things a diesel will give you a lot more range so the ability to motor through a long calm in crossing the ocean, if you want.
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Old 31-08-2012, 20:15   #13
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Re: Preparing for Cruising

Thats kind of what I was thinking. That if the weather got really bad or the wind completely died away, I'd be able to motor out of the weather or out of the calm area. I'm planning on keeping the boat for probably in the neighborhood of eight years.
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Old 31-08-2012, 21:47   #14
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Re: Preparing for Cruising

Most important thing to do, IMHO, is to go dancing with her, out in the Atlantic. From that experience, the answers to your questions will recommend themselves.
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Old 31-08-2012, 23:48   #15
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Re: Preparing for Cruising

You've got a boat that is worth maybe $20,000 if it's in very good condition with a Diesel and good sails. Unless you got the boat for free, anything you add to it is going to be a money losing proposition. You can cruise with the boat as is with the addition of a self steering vane. You could sell he vane for what you paid for it if you buy a used one. monitor windvane | eBay

Refrigeration is going to be a total loss and not necessary. Done many thousand miles on two oceans without it and really haven't missed it. Running an AC frig system on an inverter is a losing proposition unless you are recharging the batteries totally with solar and/or wind. There is just too much loss in converting DC to AC for a big load item that will run a lot like a frig.

Think how you can steer your boat with a wheel with both hands working the jib. Simple to steer using your legs with a tiller, nearly impossible to do with a wheel. Also the wheel may defeat a self steering vane in light air. That won't be a problem with a tiller. But hey, if you want a wheel I'll sell you the Edson Wheel I took off my boat for $500.

With just a little care in your water usage, shouldn't need a water maker. Use foot pumps, disable the pressure system if you have one and your consumption will plummet.

Diesels are nice but hardly worth the $10,000 plus dollars installing one will cost. You might be able to squeeze two years of cruising out of the expense or leave that much sooner sticking with the A-4.

What it really sounds like is you should sell your Alberg and buy another boat that comes with all the things that you think you want. Adding them to your current boat is a money losing proposition.
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