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Old 29-11-2011, 17:25   #31
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Re: Liveaboard Adventurer, Needs Sage Wisdom

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Originally Posted by Bash View Post
Realize that there are people on this forum who will scream "Go for it!" if you propose to depart for Cuba in a used canoe even if you don't have money for a spare paddle.

[...] In other words, start by accumulating knowledge, not possessions.

Your current venture reads like a bad headline: "Four Novices Set Sail for Cuba on Overcrowded Boat without Liferaft." Is that really how you want the story to read?

A four-man, offshore life raft is going to cost you about $3,500. If you're not ready to pop for that, you're really not ready to take responsibility for the lives of four people on an offshore voyage. However, even if you've only got $10,000 in your pocket, you've got more than enough money to cruise the world for a few years crewing for others.
I appreciate your perspective on my proposal. I started this thread to hear a diversity of opinions.

To respond, no, that isn't how I want my headline to read. My question about liferafts was genuine. Do you mean to say that nobody with good judgement goes out without a $3500 liferaft? Or is that the ideal, but some with good judgement go without? Not looking for you to revise your answer, just making sure you were also being genuine and not just using hiperbole to make a point.

That said, I in no way wish to put my friends or my own life at risk. Your comment has truly made me reconsider this idea in favor of spending a year crewing OOPB.

My concerns with crewing are:
-Paying money to do work for somebody else
-Missing out on really learning skills because somebody else is doing it for me
-Getting stuck on a boat with a creepy or boring old man
-Being locked in to somebody else's schedule or plans


Any more voices on either side?
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Old 29-11-2011, 17:31   #32
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Re: Liveaboard Adventurer, Needs Sage Wisdom

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You have gotten all sorts of good responses to your other questions, but no-one yet has commented on this aspect. Is there a particular reason for that goal?

It's a bitch to get from the eastern Caribbean to Guyana. Below is a snip from the pilot chart - you have both the wind (blue arrows) AND (more importantly) a quite strong current (green arrows) against you. It can be done, as most things can, but it is a bitch and a long slow slog. Its easier to get there from the Canaries or Cape Verdes.
Thanks for reading my post carefully and responding to details. The particular reason for Guyana is that I have a friend who will be working in the Peace Corps there and I'd like to use that as an opportunity to visit the country.

Besides that, no reason. I'm not looking for a complete bitch of a sail that'll be no fun, but I don't mind a small challenge. I don't see myself making the passage across the Atlantic to the Canaries so that I can make better use of the trades, that is what you're suggesting right?

My thought was that once in Guyana it would be cake to sail back toward Columbia, Panama, Costa Rica, etc.

I want to see the "real" "Third World" "developing" choose your adjective Caribbean, not the crazy expensive-exploitive-resort version. I guess that's what draws me to spots like Cuba, Guyana, and central America.
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Old 29-11-2011, 18:20   #33
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Re: Liveaboard Adventurer, Needs Sage Wisdom

Of course it can be done, and lots have proven it. I think the main hiccup in the plan is the 3 crew, who I assume are buddies that want to tag along...because of 3- you are looking at 30 foot, if it was just you, then 26-27 could be enough and bigger than 27- price jumps up like crazy - up here at least , you can buy really nice 27 footers all day long for 4-5 K or less, a 30 is 10K. The smaller boat still works for visits from your friends, but way cheaper starting point. Look 60-70s boats, check out the book on small boats that will take you anywhere- HELP fellow CFers, I forgot the exact name/author.
Then, outfit smart- do it yourself (if you are able)- one of my friends tells me i should rename my boat Ebay (not that I would ever do that- bad mojo), due to the deals I score to add/upgrade stuff.
The thinking Mans guide that was mentioned earlier is free download- great read.
Read, Read, Read...and sail your new/old boat a lot before you leave...get to know all its craziness...then go.and enjoy
We started a little later than you (by 20 years) and need a few years to shake off what accumulated...1325 days to go(apprx)
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Old 29-11-2011, 20:04   #34
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Re: Liveaboard Adventurer, Needs Sage Wisdom

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Originally Posted by RicknSue View Post
Of course it can be done, and lots have proven it. I think the main hiccup in the plan is the 3 crew, who I assume are buddies that want to tag along...because of 3- you are looking at 30 foot, if it was just you, then 26-27 could be enough and bigger than 27- price jumps up like crazy - up here at least , you can buy really nice 27 footers all day long for 4-5 K or less, a 30 is 10K. The smaller boat still works for visits from your friends, but way cheaper starting point. Look 60-70s boats, check out the book on small boats that will take you anywhere- HELP fellow CFers, I forgot the exact name/author.
20 Small boats to take you anywhere - John Vigor
Twenty Affordable Sailboats To Take You Anywhere - Greg Nestor


Then, outfit smart- do it yourself (if you are able)- one of my friends tells me i should rename my boat Ebay (not that I would ever do that- bad mojo), due to the deals I score to add/upgrade stuff.
The thinking Mans guide that was mentioned earlier is free download- great read.
Read, Read, Read...and sail your new/old boat a lot before you leave...get to know all its craziness...then go.and enjoy
We started a little later than you (by 20 years) and need a few years to shake off what accumulated...1325 days to go(apprx)
I have read the first but not the second book. From what I recall Vigor's has 1 or 2 boats that might be appropriate from a size and cost perspective, but not the rest.

Nestor's book has boats 30-38', so most will likely be out of price range.
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Old 29-11-2011, 20:29   #35
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Re: Liveaboard Adventurer, Needs Sage Wisdom

My old O'Day 27 I bought for $600 Bucks would get you there. Cuba is under 100 miles. They (The Cubans) do it in innertubes. I would say if you cannot afford a liferaft you should take a few with you. There are thousands of boats in FL. that would fit your need. Don't jump at the first one you see.
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Old 29-11-2011, 23:08   #36
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Re: Liveaboard Adventurer, Needs Sage Wisdom

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Originally Posted by Perepetia View Post
My question about liferafts was genuine. Do you mean to say that nobody with good judgement goes out without a $3500 liferaft? Or is that the ideal, but some with good judgement go without? Not looking for you to revise your answer, just making sure you were also being genuine and not just using hiperbole to make a point.
Read more carefully, and you'll discover that my point was not hyperbole. (A tricky word, "hyperbole; you may want to note the correct spelling.)

There's a difference between going out on your own and taking responsibility for crew. If you want to take risks, go ahead and singlehand, and don't bother with such expensive options as a life raft or an EPIRB. However, the moment you decide to take responsibility for other lives, it becomes irresponsible to ask everyone to make it the rest of the way to Cuba on an inner tube.

The same principle applies to developing your own skills as a skipper.
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Old 30-11-2011, 01:48   #37
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pirate Re: Liveaboard Adventurer, Needs Sage Wisdom

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Originally Posted by Perepetia View Post
I appreciate your perspective on my proposal. I started this thread to hear a diversity of opinions.

To respond, no, that isn't how I want my headline to read. My question about liferafts was genuine. Do you mean to say that nobody with good judgement goes out without a $3500 liferaft? Or is that the ideal, but some with good judgement go without? Not looking for you to revise your answer, just making sure you were also being genuine and not just using hiperbole to make a point.

That said, I in no way wish to put my friends or my own life at risk. Your comment has truly made me reconsider this idea in favor of spending a year crewing OOPB.

My concerns with crewing are:
-Paying money to do work for somebody else
-Missing out on really learning skills because somebody else is doing it for me
-Getting stuck on a boat with a creepy or boring old man
-Being locked in to somebody else's schedule or plans


Any more voices on either side?
Skip the Life raft.... just get a decent inflatable and a PFD each and go for it... with an inner tube your ass is always wet.... even liferafts get flipped... just have something to hang on to till you can get in...

A creepy, boring old guy...
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Old 30-11-2011, 07:26   #38
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Re: Liveaboard Adventurer, Needs Sage Wisdom

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The particular reason for Guyana is that I have a friend who will be working in the Peace Corps there and I'd like to use that as an opportunity to visit the country.

That's as good a reason as any. One option is you could park the boat somewhere and just land travel the upwind/up current leg.

I don't see myself making the passage across the Atlantic to the Canaries so that I can make better use of the trades, that is what you're suggesting right?

The alternative is to get right in and keep right in very close to shore in shallow water. We know a small power boat that did that successfully. That gets you out of most of the current. It will still be up wind and its a slow and tricky option but might well be very interesting to a couple young guys.

The rest of your trip is pretty plain sailing. I just wanted to point out that this particular segment is tough. If you do want to tackle it, just make sure you don't have any sort of tight schedule. You could well enjoy it, gunk holing doing say 15miles/day.

My thought was that once in Guyana it would be cake to sail back toward Columbia, Panama, Costa Rica, etc.

yes, that would be nice downwind sailing. The waves can get quite large along the Colombian coast - but nothing you can not handle. But all those places are easy to sail to from almost anywhere from Florida to the eastern caribbean - you are not gaining much (in sailing terms) by the slog out to Guyana.

I want to see the "real" "Third World" "developing" choose your adjective Caribbean, not the crazy expensive-exploitive-resort version. I guess that's what draws me to spots like Cuba, Guyana, and central America.

You might consider the western caribbean. Going Florida to Belize (perhaps via Cuba) and then coastal onto Panama would be terrific sailing and could be very 'real' if you picked your spots. It is much more 'real' (in your meaning) than the eastern caribbean, and less expensive and easier to get to in a small boat.
On the 'safety' stuff (life rafts especially) . . . you will see that there have been long quite emotional debates here over the years on this. Some think you are nuts and irresponsible to go sailing without every bit of available safety gear, and others thinking its perfectly fine (even better) to go off with nothing. And lots of folks falling somewhere in between. You will have to decide.

But I think we all mostly agree that for safety - your attitude and skills and leadership are by far the most important factor, and the fundamental seaworthiness and strength of your vessel is the second most important factor. Whatever else you do, make sure you get those 100% squared away.

While it is a way to build skills, I agree with you that crewing on someone else's boat is nothing at all like sailing your own boat. Not at all the same sense of responsibility or accomplishment or freedom.
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Old 30-11-2011, 08:14   #39
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Re: Liveaboard Adventurer, Needs Sage Wisdom

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Originally Posted by boatman61 View Post
Skip the Life raft.... just get a decent inflatable and a PFD each and go for it... with an inner tube your ass is always wet.... even liferafts get flipped... just have something to hang on to till you can get in.... . .

Considering where you are dreaming of cruising - I would encourage that you go the "minimalist" way both in boat and equipment.

- - It is fine if you have better resources to afford bigger, fancier, and more complicated equipment and boats, but not necessary. I think we have a particular thread here on CF about "minimalist" cruising.

- - The specific advantages of not have large or permanently installed gear and equipment is that your boat will not be an attractive target for poor and nefarious 3rd World'ers to plunder. If you don't have it they can't steal it. And a big plus is that you will appear to be just another empty pockets young person roaming the world.

- - So that means, in my opinion, a small - 28 to 30 ft solid full keel monohull boat or a similar size popular but abandoned boat with a little fixing up. These boats are available, especially in the southern U.S. for free up to minimal cost for getting the thing off the previous owners hands since they have lost interest in the boat.

- - I would also suggest handheld everything - gps's (simple ones as mentioned by other posters) and handheld VHF (also a simple one you can find in used boat parts stores or on-line). Navigation using programs like OpenCPN or other free ones like SeaClear II along with a "hockey puck" gps. Plus borrowed or donated or copied charts in addition to simple DR Nav tools (the old-fashioned nav stuff).

- - Same way with outfitting the boat with portable butane stove top if the boat does not have a workable stove already. Lamp oil lighting for the interior at night.

- - Systems-wise, a simple 2-cycle outboard motor as opposes to an inboard engine that could be a money, repair time and fuel hog. An electrical system that consists of a Sears or Walmart deep cycle battery with connections to navigation lights and a cheap 300-(or so) watt inverter to power your computer. Plus small solar panel to recharge it. Everything else is "bare boat" except maybe a bucket toilet or simple boat toilet (MSD - which can get complicated what with the current regulations in the USA).

- - Skim through the "Under $500 month" thread to extract ideas for K.I.S.S. in outfitting the boat. Ignore all the "but you also need . . ." stuff. Although if you have the money you can sneak one or two on board.

- - The bottom line idea is keep the boat simple, straight forward and basic. For the places you are intending to want to cruise, remember, if you don't have it, they cannot steal it.
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Old 30-11-2011, 09:32   #40
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Re: Liveaboard Adventurer, Needs Sage Wisdom

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- - The specific advantages of not have large or permanently installed gear and equipment is that your boat will not be an attractive target for poor and nefarious 3rd World'ers to plunder. If you don't have it they can't steal it. And a big plus is that you will appear to be just another empty pockets young person roaming the world.

- - The bottom line idea is keep the boat simple, straight forward and basic. For the places you are intending to want to cruise, remember, if you don't have it, they cannot steal it.
While there is truth to osirissail's comments about theft, I believe he is somewhat overstating the situation, though I agree that a more modest boat is less likely to attract what thieves there are. A second reason for going smaller is that you are less likely to be seen as a rich american and people are more likely to interact with you.
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