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Old 14-03-2013, 16:01   #1
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More Advice for the Perfect Boat Please

Well I have followed the sage advice given to date and have signed up to take my second USCG approved boating safety/intro to boating class and I have sent for an application to join the Pelagic Sailing club as a crew member so I can get some ocean sailing experience. Providing I like ocean sailing and decide to invest in an ocean capable sailboat, I will be looking for a boat that is seaworthy enough and big enough to comfortably and safely (as much as that is possible) sail the coastal waters of the Atlantic seacoast and forays offshore. I am cautious by nature so I am leaning towards a boat that can handle pretty much any weather that might be expected and then some. I can see myself sailing and living aboard for up to a month (with stops for provisioning). My wife will come and sail with me (hopefully) sometimes, but I do not anticipate she will be with me all the time. Moral is, I will be sailing single handed. So my questions, are (always erring on the side of caution please) 1)are there options to consider besides a full keel or modified full keel boat? I know from the ladies comments that I need a full head with a closing and LOCKING door! See girls we can listen when we want something bad enough!, 2) What is the smallest/shortest boat I should consider so we don’t end up like the Honeymooners (My wife and I are quite compatible and like to be close)? 3) What equipment would you consider NECESSARY for single handed sailing in most conditions (please consider reliability, simplicity and safety as paramount). Please be specific as possible, examples rollerfurling (what brand if it matters), boomvang, rigging, sail material, etc.? I have read everyone from Joshua Slocum to Beth Leonard (Both remarkable), but I want to know what works now in the most minimalist and safest way with the necessary, but minimal creature comforts. I know this is dependent on each individual, but I want your opinion. I am a minimalist to the extreme. I once lived for 5 months with only a backpack and 40 pounds of gear. My wife……………………………….Nope! Perhaps I will never get to the point that I put your advice to use, but I Love to sail in inland waters and I Love the ocean (Almost got to spend 2 weeks with Jacques Cousteau!) And I am determined! Someone once said that, “The whole world steps aside for a man who knows where he goes”. Please comment so I can get there. Thank you.
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Old 14-03-2013, 17:04   #2
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Re: More Advice for the Perfect Boat Please

I single hand and live on a morgan OI 33.There's PLENTY room for 2 I Do the travels you mentioned.. Tampa to charleston SC and back with forays to islands and offshore fishing. Its served me well since 2004 when I bought it for $6k off an ebay auction.

Good autopilot is 1st priority for my singlehanding. A helm operated windlass makes it simple easy to stop and go. Go large with the solar. You will want to watch tv, mess around with computers etc... A full enclosure makes life much easier, especially when its cold dark and wet and shore is far off.
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Old 14-03-2013, 17:26   #3
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Re: More Advice for the Perfect Boat Please

I think it's a mistake to equate a boat's size and the ease with which it can be short-handed. I used to race a 30' ULDB that was far more difficult to singlehand than the 46' cruiser I currently own.

The biggest contributor to how a boat performs short-handed is the autopilot. You want a system that can not only handle the boat downwind in confused seas, but also that can auto-tack.

To me, the second biggest contributor is how the boat is rigged. Are all lines led back to the cockpit? Can the sails be shortened without leaving the cockpit? Can the helmperson ease the traveler without leaving the helm?

Finally, I think the question of size should be directed to your wife rather than this forum. You say, "My wife will come and sail with me (hopefully) sometimes, but I do not anticipate she will be with me all the time. Moral is, I will be sailing single handed" [emphasis added.] That's the wrong moral. Find a boat that she not only feels comfy in but also enjoys spending time in and you may actually find that she spends time in it. The galley in my current boat is three times larger than I think we need, but it's just right for her. I'm cool with that if it means less singlehanding.
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Old 14-03-2013, 18:37   #4
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Re: More Advice for the Perfect Boat Please

Free advice...charter a few times with your wife, different boat designs/lengths...you will eventually get the picture of what will work for you. Also, visit boat shows like Annapolis' and Miami's. Good luck! Mauritz
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Old 14-03-2013, 18:38   #5
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Re: More Advice for the Perfect Boat Please

The crucial prerequisite for a singlehander and perhaps the only one (apart from a boat) is a fertile and curious brain.

It is not a question of "what do I need to buy", it's largely about "how do I use what I've got", especially my imagination.

Think through manoeuvres beforehand, then afterwards compare what you expected with what happened. Rince and repeat.

I prefer to think of technology aids as an optional extra. Perhaps I misunderstand, but to me your sounds as though you are taking a checklist, almost a 'bucket list' approach (what are the things I MUST have?)

To take just one example: If I already know how to singlehand without an autopilot, (eg heaving to to carry out all sail changes) the availability of one becomes a delightful enhancement.

If I don't know, the autopilot becomes a tyrant, on whose whims I depend and on whose failings I dread.
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Old 14-03-2013, 18:55   #6
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Re: More Advice for the Perfect Boat Please

I first saw this request on SN so I will post there, rather than cross post.
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Old 14-03-2013, 19:00   #7
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Re: More Advice for the Perfect Boat Please

If there are only two of you on board, why do you need a locking door on the head? Can't figure out that someone's in there?

You would do well to read the thousands of posts on these and other forums about singlehanding. So much has been written already.

Lines led aft to avoid ever having to go on deck.

Good autopilot and/or wind vane self steering or learn sheet to tiller (John Letcher's book is amazing to teach proper sail trim and boat balance).

All the rest is gravy and up to you about what YOU like or don't about layouts and arrangements.

Oh, I forgot: you need to learn to be a plumber, mechanic and electrician. Get started on that, too.

Them's the short answers, await the longer ones...
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Old 14-03-2013, 19:22   #8
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Re: More Advice for the Perfect Boat Please

Having spent our first two years cruising on a 36ft pearson 365 Ketch and then the final two on a Hudson Force 50...what did I learn?

Successful Cruising or living aboard has almost NOTHING to do with your boat size, it's 100% attitude. All four of us (yep...two kids on a 36ft-er) had just as much fun and enjoyed things on the 36ft-er as we did on the 50ft-er. Well, ok we were able to host better anchorage parties on the bigger boat.

A constant mistake I see people making is that they think they need a "Blue water go to hell and back boat" and blow WAY too much money on a boat and system when all they really need is a boat to go coastal hoping. Who wants to go to hell and back anyway? Sure if you are crossing big water....ok...but coastal hopping...you don't need a Valiant 40 for that!
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Old 14-03-2013, 19:42   #9
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Re: More Advice for the Perfect Boat Please

Quote:
Originally Posted by SV THIRD DAY View Post

A constant mistake I see people making is that they think they need a "Blue water go to hell and back boat" and blow WAY too much money on a boat and system when all they really need is a boat to go coastal hoping. Who wants to go to hell and back anyway? Sure if you are crossing big water....ok...but coastal hopping...you don't need a Valiant 40 for that!
3% of sailors actually go offshore. (A stat I saw from a Hunter rep)
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Old 14-03-2013, 20:21   #10
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Re: More Advice for the Perfect Boat Please

The main hazzard at sea is the land and no matter where you go you will never be more then 3 to 4 miles from it, An empty corked glass wine bottle will saill the earths 300 or so seas witout a problem intil it hits some rocks on a shore line. So, not to worry just stay away from the land, especailly the rocks and you will be able to sail on forever in any boat.
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Old 14-03-2013, 21:15   #11
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Re: More Advice for the Perfect Boat Please

Just like Kevin Costner did.
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Old 14-03-2013, 22:04   #12
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Re: More Advice for the Perfect Boat Please

I was child in the 70's and was taught (while building Panope the first time) that "fin keeled Tupperware boats" were not suitable for ocean passages. Over the years it as become increasingly apparent (to me) that this line of thinking, however prevalent at the time, was flawed. There have been countless people doing successful and safe voyages in just about every type of cruising boat.

I myself, have no plans for offshore so I optimized for coastal hopping as mentioned above. I took my fathers old "Blue water go to hell and back boat" and sawed a large chuck of the aft deck out and added a (somewhat) lightweight pilot house. No more "hurricane chasing" fantasies here. And that is just fine.

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Old 15-03-2013, 03:31   #13
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Totally agree with you. Have any photos of your pilothouse?
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Old 15-03-2013, 03:54   #14
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Re: More Advice for the Perfect Boat Please

I agree with the sentiment that don't worry about a blue water boat if you are doing coastal (and coastal also means sailing the Caribbean, that's island hopping).

Whilst almost any size will do, something starting about 30 feet, makes sense. One reason for the 30+ feet is HEADROOM. Your wife may need a lockable door on the head, but unless both of you are short, you will want minimum 6ft. 3in headroom. Nothing gets more tiring than having to crawl around below deck.

Don't worry if the boat is not rigged for single-handing. You can can rerig the lines etc for relatively little money. Yes a good autopilot is wonderful. But in a pinch you can make do without it - and mount one later. Learn how to set your sails in balance and the boat will sail itself straight ahead.

And make sure you either have good sized water tanks or can mount them. If you don't have enough water, you'll end up in marinas every night.
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Old 15-03-2013, 05:19   #15
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pirate Re: More Advice for the Perfect Boat Please

OK... here's my opinions..
30-35ft cutter rig
Furling headsail with twin grooves
Basic Slabreef Main (no boom/mast furling) with lazyjacks
Bruce and CQR on the bow, Fishermans in the cockpit locker, all chain to Bruce.. chain with rope to others.
Good dual electric/manual windlass
Self tailing winches, all lines led to cockpit, good sprayhood, tiller steering. (Tiller pilots cheaper/easy to rig emergency steering)

Port-Stbd water tanks under berths with manual transfer pump, manual to all sinks. Showers taken using a 5L solar shower.
3 burner stove with oven, twin sinks, large cold box with spillover system.. Taylors or similar cabin heater.
Headroom throughout with a large V double and a roomy quarter berth for offwatch at sea.. A convertable double in the salon is an asset for stop overs...
Comfortable lounging space below for those cold wet days..

Decent engine 35hp+, Wind generator and solar panels... 3 house and 1 engine battery.
1 x 125 genny for light to moderate
1 x 100 " " moderate to strong
Self tacking staysail.
1 Drifter
Full battened main.

Small rib with 9hp OB... (I'd have an inflatable with 5hp... )

But thats me... others...?
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