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Old 18-07-2010, 20:50   #1
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My Dream - Please Help Fill in the Blanks

Well as I sit here at my desk inching very close to 40 and wondering what it is all about and where all my time and money went, I find myself asking for a solid reason as to why I shouldn't take some time off and go on an extended cruise through the Pacific. So I thought I would put the outline of my dream in this forum and see if it moves me closer to achieving it.

What I want to do is buy a cheap yacht, perhaps in the US or Hawaii, and then head off with my surfboard to get some waves and finally become a competent surfer (my surfing is embarassing right now). I'd like to experience some remote, uncrowded waves in the Pacific. I think around 6 months to 9 mths would around the time I would like to take off.

As for funds...well that is going to have to be part of the plan too. I will need to do some saving but could probably put together $60K AUS in a year if I really knuckled down.

So if anyone has a suggestions for any of the above please let me know.
An itinerary?
A route?
The time of year?
What type of boat? Size, water capacity, brands to look for?
What type of surfboard?
The budget?
Good surfing breaks to check out?
Hurdles, visa, pirates, red tape etc?
Which islands are the best?
Is 6 months long enough?

Any ideas welcome...


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Old 18-07-2010, 22:16   #2
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I am largely without comment on your plans except to say my son surfs and would love it if we could sail close to a good srfing spot but it seems good surf means lousy anchorage. I may be wrong, still if your dream is to sail to the surfing your dream may also require a good tender to get from the anchorage to the surf. Best of luck!

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Old 19-07-2010, 14:59   #3
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"Is 6 months long enough?" - - The coconut run through the Pacific is about 8000 nm and and idea of doing the pacific in 6 months means that you are flying by airliner to the island(s) and renting boats. The average is one year for "rush" - 2 to 3 years for moderate and 5+ years for comprehensive cruising in the Pacific.
- - Even the Caribbean loop takes a minimum of one year. So as to your questions you need to first get trained to sail a boat then start chartering in different locales in the world. After a few years of that you will have a very good idea how to answer all of your other questions.
- - Life on a sailboat moves comparably to the speed of a bicycle on land. Think how far you could get in 6 months of touring on land at 6 to 10 mph and you will have an estimate of how long it will take to do it on water. Of course, not counting, training and experience time to learn how to sail a cruising boat.
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Old 19-07-2010, 15:16   #4
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Hey, just read your post. After starting at 39 myself (now 66), I know the dream and the vision you may be experiencing. My only advice is that you buy an inexpensive sailboat (a trailerable 22' catalina for starters, abo $2500.00), try it out and see what you like and don't like. You're wasting time figuring out what you want to do exactly. You can only know by experiencing any aspect of it first. So, just take stock of the closest body of water to you and begin. You can always 'catch waves' by driving or flying. If it works out, you will have a better idea of what to buy, how much you've gotta spend, and where you're going to use it. It seems easy reading the magazines. Go live it.
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Old 19-07-2010, 17:06   #5
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My Dream

Hi Guys...Thanks for the replies so far. A year + sounds better...and I'm guessing once you get started the time period will extend as the worries of shore life subside.

I can sail and have finished my Yachtmasters theory so I'm half way there in terms of experience. I also owned a little 24 foot trailer sailer which I used to love so I know I will enjoy the sailing part. I know I want a boat that has a reasonable keel on it and doesn't heel over to it's rail with the slightest breeze. I've also done a few offshores and overnighters, don't get sea sick and don't mind when things get a bit challenging.

Hummingway, thanks for your comment. I'm guessing getting to the waves and anchoring is probably a very tricky affair. In my minds eye I just pictured nice reef breaks where it was calm all around...I will reign in the fantasy bit a little more
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Old 19-07-2010, 17:13   #6
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From Oz?

From Oz why not think about doing the Indonesian surf spots? Living could be cheaper, support is much better and distances may almost be manageable. Fewer problems with the weather too.

They are fussy there about their visas and CAITs and talk about bonds and the like so some serious homework would be in order.

You'd need to do some pencil and paper work to get the maximum distances between islands but I'm guessing that a 500nm range may be a start for planning purposes.

There are a few 28' Cavaliers and the like around in Oz that may fit into your budget, but would need modification for such a trip, especially dodgers and biminis for sun protection.

Trucking one to Darwin and starting from there would save much time. Or you could even look at what's available in Phuket.
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Old 19-07-2010, 19:45   #7
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If you are going to live aboard you will find that you need more cumfort than if you are only sleeping aboard for a weekend now and then. I have lived aboard my Columbia 41 for just over a year. It has lots of room and storage space. Even so, I had to dispose of a lot of stuff in the process. And I always have to ask myself where I can stow some new thing before I buy it. Larger, older boats are quite affordable. But anything over 15 years old (regardless of the survey) will have to be paid for in cash. You will quickly find that financing for older boats is not be possible. Look around for an older fiberglass boat like a Morgan 41. It may cost you about $35K US in as is condition. The best thing about fiberglass is it can be neglected for a long time and be brought back. It is a forgiving material and does not require a highly developed skill level or a lot of specialized tools.

Pay for a survey before you commit yourself, financially or emotionally.

Avoid a wood boat unless you can build a floating Hepplewhite hutch. Marine carpentry is arguably the most skilled trade going. Boat yards are full of rotting wood hulls that were once works of art. Deferred maintenance catches up with them and they get passed around like a case of the clap (a little waterfront lingo there). The last guy buys it thinking he can fix up for cheap. Surprised at how much it costs to restore, he opts for lots of home builders caulk. And the rot goes on.

I will not bother you with pontification on fero or steel hulls. There are plenty of posts on those.

Boat technology is not something you can learn inside a day. You will need to read dozzens of books on a wide range of subjects. So, before you even spend $2,500 on that little trailerable catalina spend $250 on books ( is a good resource for used books) and 4 or 5 months reading every night. Crew for other people. Learn, learn, learn.
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Old 25-07-2010, 09:25   #8
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I just watched a great movie on Netflix last night that you (and most cruisers on here) would find interesting. Its called 180o South. Its about a bunch of surfers/climbers who sail from California to Patagonia, South America with surfboards strapped to the stanchions. A lot of great surfing and sailing footage.

Along these lines, a great way to fast-track your dreams is to crew with some like-minded sailors. Check out the Crew Wanted section of this forum.


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