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Old 11-12-2017, 06:53   #1
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Full time cruising choices?

From those who have given up their land-based home to pursue a fulltime cruising lifestyle, we would appreciate knowing your boat choice and feedback on equipment you find indispensable.
With decades of racing experience, a background in military aviation and sufficient finances (based on all of the info I have read in CF), we are contemplating 5 years in the Med initially (2019) and then the Caribbean.
Thanks to all!
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Old 11-12-2017, 13:47   #2
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Re: Full time cruising choices?

What budget for purchase are you looking at? How many are going to be onboard full time. What cruising budget would you be contemplating? If your wife or partner is going with you what does he/she like in design/features.
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Old 11-12-2017, 14:09   #3
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Re: Full time cruising choices?

Indispensable equipment?
  • Sound hull (preferable solid FG, or steel)
  • Sound decks (Foam core or steel)
  • Sound rig with good sails
  • Properly maintained reliable engine
  • All chain rode with oversized anchors
  • High quality RIB with properly sized engine
  • Quality electrical system
  • Paper Charts and the ability to navigate without electronics
  • High Quality foul weather gear
EVERYTHING else is nice to have (I like nice things when cruising, but I have cruised on boats with none of the things listed below):
  • Small volume DC powered refrigeration system
  • Solar system
  • Lavac Head(s)
  • Watermaker
  • Quality plumbing system with multiple fresh water tanks
  • Easily accessed engine (for ease of maintenance)
  • Wind instruments
  • GPS
  • AIS
  • VHF
  • Quality cushions
  • Bimini Dodger
  • Auto Pilot/Self-steering gear
  • Three-burner propane stove w/oven
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Old 11-12-2017, 16:09   #4
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Re: Full time cruising choices?

I think only you can answer your question. Because as you probably know, everything that is important is a compromise. Figure out what's most important, in order, and you'll narrow down your search and find your boat.

For some examples:

- comfort, as a home (at anchor or on mooring)
- comfort under way (jerky or slamming vs smooth motion; proper handholds; sea berths, etc)
- good sailing performance (joy of sailing; plus not having to humiliate yourself by motoring when the destination is windward; plus speed .. we don't need to be first to arrive, but don't want to be the last)
- draft limitations you can live with

Each of these compromises the others in some way, at least for us in our current search for Last Boat III. Your priorities will likely be different than ours, of course, but the same kinds of compromises are likely to arise.

Make a list of your priorities, and the boats to choose from will probably shrink dramatically.
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Old 11-12-2017, 16:19   #5
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Re: Full time cruising choices?

there's a good story on this on the last issue of SAIL..
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Old 11-12-2017, 16:27   #6
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Re: Full time cruising choices?

After about 1.5 years now of living on the boat I would say the generator and WiFi booster have had the most impact on happiness. We have the normal boater things, but I think too many wannabes focus of sailing stuff and not on living on a boat things. As an example If you think spending $1500 on a spinnaker or storm jib makes sense, but spending $500 on a mattress is crazy, well you are on the wrong mental track.
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Old 11-12-2017, 16:30   #7
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Re: Full time cruising choices?

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Originally Posted by Caribbeachbum View Post
I think only you can answer your question
Exactly

Our list was extensive and based on 40 years on the water so will differ from many but one of the most important thing after all the boxes were ticked was the passive income stream to keep it all chugging along

Once those boxes were ticked my partner was happily on board.
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Old 11-12-2017, 17:10   #8
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Re: Full time cruising choices?

Simi, I agree with that. Without the income stream, everything becomes harder. However, whatever level that is at is something the individuals have to select for themselves.

We chose a boat that ticked 20 out of 21 "non-negotiable" requirements that we wrote out that reflect our particular boat prejudices. We showed this list to various brokers, with very different reactions. If you find a good one, he or she will be grateful.

What we ended up with is a fin keel, skeg rudder mono with a store size double berth forward, and aft, another almost that big, and two singles on the other side. Both aft cabins are now functioning as garage and shed, although we can pack tighter for guests, as needed. This boat is 46 ft. overall, and 44 on the waterline, and loaded for full time cruising, displaces about 12 tonnes. She has a 7/8 fractional rig with swept back spreaders, but we use the runners all the time, to lessen forestay sag. I think a mast with inline spreaders is a better deal for a cruising boat, because you can wing out the main further for downwind runs. She is solent rigged, two furlers. The main has slab reefing. She is quite responsive to puffs, and does surf occasionally. Would more, if we drove her harder, but we rarely use her spinnaker any more. In the right conditions, we sometimes pass similar sized catamarans with our relaxed sailing style. Her designer, Jon Sayer, designs fast boats for the Melbourne to Osaka Races, and her builder commissioned Sayer to draw him a cruising boat. We are the second owners, and have made minimal changes.

Advice from here: take a specially close look at boats shipwrights have built for themselves. Their knowledgeable care and forethought can make beautiful, enjoyable boats.

By the way, we are aft cockpit (one of our requirements, actually), and have not added an enclosure, such as you often see on cruising boats. We have a one side awning that zips in whichever side of the boat it works best on for shade underway (no bimini), and clear side curtains and flaps for downwind sailing in the wet or cold. No impedimenta aft of the edge of the dodger, except a "targa"--a solar panel arch.

What's important has to be what you decide. We do have a 27kilo (60 lbs) Manson Supreme anchor. I do not think it is over-size. We do not have a watermaker, we carry 800 l. water, which does us about 3 months, but we are frugal with water. We have on the order of 575 l. fuel capacity, which we consume at a rate of 2.5 l/hr., with a naturally aspirated Nanni diesel, based on a Kubota tractor motor--parts come from the tractor store, not the marine vendor.

The boat has a diesel heater, which we use a bit when it is cold. No air con, but fans in all cabins, and two in the saloon. The u-shaped galley has a 4 burner stove with broiler and oven. One side of the U, has hinges aft, and the cover leans against the companionway, giving very good access to the engine, and the dripless seal.

We have Ham and Marine SSB, but no Satphone, or iridiumGo, etc. Do carry an EPIRB.

Our decisions have come out of a frame of mind to change the boat as little as possible after we bought her, and our backgrounds were both from ocean and round-the-buoys racing. This boat is strip plank red cedar construction, but we also considered aluminum, just didn't see one that lit our candle adequately. If you've followed the Bestevaer 49 thread, you'll see what can be done, and it's pretty desirable!

We use laptops for navigation, using Open CPN. No cockpit chartplotters for us, ruin night vision, and too many eggs in one basket for us. We have AIS transponder and radar.

I hope this helps. It is extremely idiosyncratic. Build on your own prejudices and desires to find what you want.
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Old 11-12-2017, 18:48   #9
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Re: Full time cruising choices?

That was an interesting description Jim and many of your ideas mirror ours. Man that's a long waterline for a 46 foot boat and its a lot lighter than I thought it would be, I expect that boat of yours would do very well in the trades. I will say I'm not a big fan of swept back spreaders for offshore sailing as it compromises the position of the main. That aside it sounds like it's well set up. R
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Old 11-12-2017, 19:30   #10
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Re: Full time cruising choices?

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Originally Posted by robert sailor View Post
That was an interesting description Jim and many of your ideas mirror ours. Man that's a long waterline for a 46 foot boat and its a lot lighter than I thought it would be, I expect that boat of yours would do very well in the trades. I will say I'm not a big fan of swept back spreaders for offshore sailing as it compromises the position of the main. That aside it sounds like it's well set up. R
Well, that was the admiral (Ann) posting, not me!

But the long LWL was one of our must haves in our search. I remember reading Steve Dashew who said that when specifying a boat, one should buy the longest LWL that you could afford, and not worry about LOA too much.

Back in my dragster days, there was a saying "there ain't no substitute for cubic inches". Same logic applies to LWL!

As to the swept back spreaders, I'm ambivalent: they do a very good job of supporting the mast, on a fractional rig they reduce the penalty for failing to get a runner set when tacking or gybing (a definite hazard when sailing two up, and one crew is asleep) and (at least in our case) reduce the number of chain plates required for shrouds to one on each side. The limitation on how far one can get the mainsail out when deep downwind is real, but we find that on Insatiable II it isn't a big deal. We get good boatspeeds DDW with main and a poled out genoa, and if we go to the trouble to set the kite, reaching up a bit from DDW really gets the speed up and the trim angle for the main is more nearly optimum. We're getting old and don't do that much any more, so good plain sail performance is nice to have.

She is surprisingly light! The launch weight (rig in, no liquids or sails on board) was measured at 9 1/2 tonnes. We carry a distressingly large accumulation of worldly goods, a total of ~1 1/4 tonnes of water and fuel when full up, dinghy, motors, lots of tools and spares... it's embarrassing, but results in the ~12 tonnes cruising weight. We do notice a perceptible improvement in performance when the tanks are nearing empty.

All in all, we are pretty damn happy with her: comfortable at sea (despite what all the "gotta be a crab crusher or it'll be a bitch at sea" pundits claim), fun to sail (important to us both), good in light air, enough stowage for passages and remote destinations, pleasing to live aboard in terms of accommodations (both aesthetically and ergonomically) and remarkably strong. The keel is steel with internal lead ballast and is bolted on, with the keel bolts going through a massive timber/glass 'H-beam" that extends from aft of the engine beds to forward of the mast step. She balances on her keel when on the hard... no need for fore and aft props, and when thus perched, all the lockers and doors open normally. The builders/previous owners careened her on a beach in Alaska years ago... on purpose! Try that in most modern boats!

Enough! I'm obviously prejudiced, but think we lucked out when we found this boat. The last good thing: after 14 years of ownership we are still good friends with Gary and Sue Macaulay who built her and did the first 8 years of cruising in her... how often do you find such happy buyers of a second hand yacht?

Jim
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Old 11-12-2017, 21:08   #11
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Re: Full time cruising choices?

It's such a personal thing. My boat is a similar size to Jim & Ann's.

I wanted something that I was structurally comfortable with, a lead keel was important to me as well as substantial rigging and rudder setup. . Of course there are many other structural components that matter as well.

I wanted a boat that sailed well therefore performance cruiser was the design brief.

This is where we all differ, level of comfort. No right or wrong here, it's an individual thing. My boat is my home and I live at anchor more than I sail by a huge margin. I wanted a big bed, a stand up shower, plenty of shade, heaps of water and electricity. Yes I know this isn't very salty of me, but I enjoy the comfort, anyone can do uncomfortable! Pleasure baby I am.

With two onboard we use approximately 400 liters /week therefore a big water maker is important. I like jumping in the water and I like rinsing off after each dip. Also shade, the sun is intense and I like being to be out of it both at anchor and under sail, I have a large bimini and good dodger. In the future I will be improving this area so that during rain the cockpit is dry.

Electricity, no one says "I wish I had less electricity". Sailors like DH would hate my big arch, big bimini and 500w of solar. My boat performs well enough for me at all angles with all this extra windage, I prefer the comfort that comes with these add ons more than I enjoy the little bit extra performance I may get without them.

Storage, I carry lots of tools and stuff, once again this is my home, I want a boat that can carry my stuff without being a submarine. Like Jim & Ann I carry approx 1.1t of water diesel. I cruised on a 32ft boat for eight years that I was slowly sinking with stuff, I needed/wanted a bigger boat for both my comfort and stuff.

Loaded up with all my stuff we sailed 20nm on a beam reach yesterday sitting between 7-8k in 11-14k of wind.

My boat fits my desires, large enough, strong enough, fast enough, comfortable enough and I can afford it!
Oh I also think it looks cool.

I would like an engine room
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Old 12-12-2017, 00:31   #12
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Re: Full time cruising choices?

Engine room? I think only on an Amel are you gonna find an engine room... plus all of the other things you were after. I'm just about to survey hopefully my future boat, which I selected based on most of the same criteria... settled on a Super Maramu. After looking and thinking for a good year, at the end, there was no other boat I would consider for a safe, comfortable at sea, reliable passagemaking boat, within my budget.
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Old 12-12-2017, 00:51   #13
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Re: Full time cruising choices?

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Engine room? I think only on an Amel are you gonna find an engine room... plus all of the other things you were after. I'm just about to survey hopefully my future boat, which I selected based on most of the same criteria... settled on a Super Maramu. After looking and thinking for a good year, at the end, there was no other boat I would consider for a safe, comfortable at sea, reliable passagemaking boat, within my budget.
I understand you choosing an Amel, I like them and they are a good boat, the functional side that has evolved over the years is great, but they certainly aren't the only safe seaworthy boat for the money your talking about, there are a number of options out there. I like the watertight bulkheads and engine room on the Amel but their construction which is good is matched equally by other brands, I don't think they do anything particularly special in the construction area, we'll no more special than other well bit boats. I mentioned lead keels earlier, Amels have cast iron, this is one example.

Amels have a cult like following which often results in their reputation being a little more inflated than reality.

Amels are becoming good value, I've seen them as low as 200k. They are starting to get older and that means systems are getting older and need replacing. I've seen one friend spend comfortably over 100k in recent years refitting and fixing his Amel.

Don't get me wrong, I think they are good boats , I'm not an expert, my opinion is based by cruising with a number of them over the years, they have the same sort of problems that other cruising boats have, no more no less. Personally I like a more modern boat.
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Old 12-12-2017, 01:06   #14
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Re: Full time cruising choices?

Good points, but I didn't come across many that were the same value for money. I think the best comment I've heard about Amels is love them or hate them, not much wiggle room.... I guess I'm lucky I loved the layout, the old-fashioned feel. I didn't really want to live in what looks like an Ikea Anycase, I lucked out with an older SM that came on the market weeks before I found her at a very good price, with all major systems refitted and installed the last few years for an aborted RTW thing.
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Old 12-12-2017, 01:25   #15
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Re: Full time cruising choices?

Hah... the above posts reminded me of another facet of our Insatiable II that I like and that I didn't mention before: She has two watertight crash bulkheads forward, one aft of the chain locker and one aft of the sail locker. That's good, but not too uncommon. But she also has one aft, just forward of the lazarette. That one partitions off the rudder and skeg supports, so that in the unlikely event of hitting something hard with the rudder and tearing the whole lot off, the boat will not flood and sink. This is unusual, and I think a worthwhile addition... one not found on any production boat with which I am familiar. Not sure why this is not standard practice, for it is not so hard to achieve, and would have saved a few boats lost over the recent years.

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