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Old 12-08-2010, 21:02   #31
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Originally Posted by sneuman View Post
I would second the remark by Gord about paper charts. A recent Delmarva circumnavigation confirmed (for me) their value. Trying to sail the Delaware Bay would have been next to impossible with the myopic view you see on a chartplotter. Having the paper chart to get the "big picture" is a necessity in my mind.
Then scroll out and look at the big picture on your chartplotter. We use Maxsea and CM93 charts and raster charts displayed on a 12" waterproof screen at the cockpit and a 17" monitor at the inside nav station. Simple to see the entire world, a region, a territory, and scale down to a small part of an anchorage.

Our top 5 things:
1. electronic navigation system with multiple back-ups, including multiple GPS
2. proper auto-pilot with redundancy and secure means of powering (we have 12 house batteries & several means of recharging)
3. correct ground tackle
4. high-capacity watermaker and means of powering (ours produces minimum 160 liters per hour & runs on 7.5 kw generator). Neither my husband nor I would still be cruising if we did not have this watermaker. YMMV.
5. sails in good condition (thoroughly inspect prior to heading out to sea each time --repairing a few broken or worn stitches can save big-time headaches later)

Top 3 things wish we had known earlier:
1. Don't believe everything written in the books advising what is needed on a cruising boat. Some of it is quite out-of-date.
2. There are some cruisers who are best avoided. Just as some people on land are not desirable citizens. the same is true of the cruising "community."
3. It really is so easy and enjoyable. Don't delay and enjoy your learning curve as you go.

Judy
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Old 12-08-2010, 22:54   #32
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Originally Posted by svBeBe View Post
Top 3 things wish we had known earlier:

2. There are some cruisers who are best avoided. Just as some people on land are not desirable citizens. the same is true of the cruising "community."

Judy
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Yep. I missed that one too.

Some people leave a trail of unhappy faces behind them. Not so many, but it only take one to leave this lingering taste in your mouth.
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Old 13-08-2010, 00:44   #33
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After 4 years cruising Iīm just about to get a job again for a while and throw the money at the boat then head south again....
The top 5 list of favorite things on the boat or wish list, in no particular order...,
* Electric anchor windlass fitted recently in Trinidad. Transforms anchoring, I was singlehanded.
* Aries windvane steering. Flawless for 15,000 miles.
* Cutter rig, if wind gets up foresail gets rolled up put of the way, less to break and cutter sail keeps all the forces low and close to mast.
* AIS. Cheap nasa unit, fantastic at sea for instantly seeing if the big boats are going to hit you. (Again singlehanded)
* On the wish list, long range wifi setup for laptop.

Things I wish Iīd known or things i would/will do differently next time.....
* Throw more things out! If it doesnīt get used and isnīt a tool/spare/safety then off the boat. You donīt need all the stuff, it just gets in the way.
* Longer sails, more time moored in each place. A lot of people seeting off seem to try to see everything and every port. Next time Iīll prob sail for a week or whatever then hole up for a while, get to know a place better when the place seems right.
* Donīt believe anything you hear or read!!! I had/still have a selction of how to sail around the world books and kind of thought "So thatīs how you do it!" There is no "how you do it", just what happens to work well with you on your boat. And other peoples opinion of places varies enormously, some poeple love anchorage "A" because of this, that and the other, while other people will hate it for the same reasons. And you can love a place then go back a month later and hate it. Hard to train your mind out of a lifetimes training of trying to control the future but Iīve found just turning up and dealing with what itīs really like is a much nicer experience than finding that a place is different to what you expected it to be.
Enjoy!!
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Old 13-08-2010, 01:28   #34
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Just on that "Just Go" philosophy that's being discussed.

If your cruise starts with a puddle jump into the Pacific then there are NO chandlers for 6,000nms.

You just can not buy a solar panel, a Rocna, or 50 m extra chain etc.

The first stop with good equipment is Australia/New Zealand and then the whole of Asia is a wipe out so the next place you can buy kit is in the western Med.

Basically theres only 3 places on Earth where you can buy the stuff readily that is on your Top 5 list: USA/Caribbean; Australia/New Zealand; Western Med.

So I think this Top 5 list is a great idea.

Finally: What John says (ka4wja) is correct: each boat has a different list, and by the looks they are all totally different!
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Old 13-08-2010, 03:42   #35
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The two things we have on board that have made a real difference are the auto pilot and a cheap bimini. The auto pilot really does make life easier when short handed. Came with the boat but we ignored it for the first couple of years because I am used to sailing on crewed yachts. Now there are just the two of us it really makes a difference and has become a firm favourite. We are looking for a spare one just incase.

The other was a cheap light weight bimini. Originally bought to keep the sun off the cockpit it also does a pretty good job of keeping the rain out too. It may only have light aliminium poles in plastic fittings but stays up in an F5 quite happily. Makes life in Port so much more pleasant although we have also sailed with it up. Deffinately worth the $200 we paid for it.

Would like: more solar panels so less need to run the honda genny, it's on the cards.

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Old 13-08-2010, 03:50   #36
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The lists depend a bit on where you're going, plan to go and have been (ie experience you have).

We would put top of the list - good sails, good engine (unless you're prepared to manage without one at all including in crowded anchorages and harbours) and good anchoring tackle. Then navigation equipment. we've essentially navigated using paper and GPS for four years but are very slowly joining the 21st century with CMAP in our raymarine plotter/radar, and finding it an enjoyable imporvement. But the GPS and paper are more than adequate. (That's several GPS by the way, and we carry a sextant and tables too but would hate to rely on them.)

The fifth thing nobody's mentioned is lots of eyesight enhancers - binoculars, monoculars, spare glasses etc. We're both getting more short sighted and find the bins (especially with a compass integrated) invaluable.

We have never had a water maker. We have about 750 litres in tanks plus another 90 in jerry cans, and so far that's been perfectly sufficient. You'd have to buy a lot of water to pay for a water maker! So, we're never convinced by the arguments here in the Med, but we haven't sailed the Med.

What we wish we'd known - just how simple you can keep it. This particularly applies to the electrics. We would not bother again with a big inverter/charger, useful though it is. We do have and love good solar and wind plus a second alternator on the engine, but the whole 240v (we're a UK boat) is overrated!

Good luck and fair winds.
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Old 13-08-2010, 06:17   #37
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not in order of importance:

autopilot- below decks strong
gps - plotter w/ back up handheld
radar and AIS
electric windlass with chain rode
radios - vhf, ssb
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Old 13-11-2010, 23:44   #38
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I would have to say KISS is the most important thing (systems and/or components that rely on electrical/electronic the require more reliable manual back-ups could do perfectly well with just the manual ). Creature comforts that keep it from being an over glorified camping trip. A well equipped galley.
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Old 14-11-2010, 05:47   #39
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The advice an experienced cruiser gave me when we were just moving aboard 9 years ago: "How to prioritize? First, safety. Then, tools. Then, everything else."

We cruise the US east coast, Bahamas, some Caribbean so our list wouldn't serve if you're planning to be at sea for 3-4 weeks on a long passage. For example, our water tanks hold 120 gallons which lasts us about 3 weeks; since I don't particularly enjoy being away from civilization for longer than that, a watermaker wouldn't be worth it for the way we cruise. YMMV.

My top 5: 1. sleeping soundly = anchoring: a Rocna one size bigger than recommended for our boat, 100 feet of chain + 200 feet rope rode and electric windlass. We've twice had unattended boats bigger than us, drag into us in an anchorage and the Rocna held us both, once at 3 AM in a gale.
2. knowing the engine will start when we need it = new Yanmar. The ICW is basically a motor trip. Also a Baja filter and a fuel-polishing system to provide an additional margin of safety in areas where diesel supplies are of uncertain quality.
3. quiet power for creature comforts = solar. We converted to LED lighting, installed keel-cooled refrigeration & super-insulated the fridge boxes, chose hand-powered galley gadgets (such as an antique eggbeater instead of a blender), and 12-V rechargeable tools. All to avoid needing a big inverter and generator. Two solar panels make all our power needs for a day or two so we're not tied to running the engine or noisy generator every morning.
4. knowing where you are = handheld GPS chartplotter (handheld means it can also come with you in the dinghy) and good paper charts
5. tools to be able to fix things - as someone else said already, things break even on a new (or newly refitted) boat

Things I wish I'd known: 1. the most dangerous thing you can have on a cruising sailboat is a calendar. I echo what others have already said - the weather, not the date, should set your cruising schedule.
2. it's fun to meet other cruisers, but really? If all I wanted to do is meet other cruisers, I would just stay in Annapolis and let them come to me. We tried to get away from the cruiser hangouts and meet the locals whose country we're visiting.
3. you read lots of stories about big storms at sea. Storms exist, but not as often as you'd expect from reading the magazines. Face it - who would read a story that says, "we left in sunshine, motored because there wasn't enough wind to sail, ate lunch, then motored some more and anchored for a starlit night?" Boring, right? Won't sell magazines. (But see #1!)
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Old 14-11-2010, 08:47   #40
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all that and trustworthy crew for longer passages.
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Old 14-11-2010, 13:18   #41
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wingNwing I forgot to mention safety equipment and tools (both are high priority)....for me they are a automatic, thanks for pointing that out. Those are two things I have lots of.
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Old 14-11-2010, 13:32   #42
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One of the most important things I have learned from seasoned sailors is people don't know when to cut their shore ties, they just keep trying to get everything just right and never get off.....my father did that and missed out on his life long dream.
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Old 15-11-2010, 05:07   #43
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wingNwing I forgot to mention safety equipment and tools (both are high priority)....for me they are a automatic, thanks for pointing that out. Those are two things I have lots of.
Wolf, that "safety/tools/everything else" was my mantra as we were moving aboard and deciding what to take! Served me well and delighted to pass it on. Sometimes what seemed to the experienced cruiser as just articulating the obvious is what helped me the most when I was starting out.
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Old 15-11-2010, 05:27   #44
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interview with a cruiser

someone has done all the work for you:

The INTERVIEW WITH A CRUISER Project
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Old 15-11-2010, 06:32   #45
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Remember, your vessel is a vehicle that is intended to move you over the surface of the earth. That the journey can be dangerous focuses our attention on the vessel and our ability to make a safe passage, then next to our ability to have a comfortable passage - but always the discussion is about the things, boats & equipment that create those opportunities. Diesel engines, watermakers, solar panels etc; all these things should be on the list of luxurious distractions that we suffer, not on a debated list of necessities that we need to acquire to fulfill our desire to be outside.

Outside, not just opposed to indoors, but outside of the mainstream consumer oriented debit card swiping petty politics television reality show society where the evening news substitutes for sunsets and landlubbers shop for shoes instead of beaches where no shoes have ever been worn.

Sometimes, we get focused on all this preparation of the vessel and her equipment, and we lose sight of what attracted us to the idea of cruising in the first place: a transformation of the soul.

Spend as much time preparing your self to embrace the joys and challenges of cruising as you would preparing your vessel to take your body someplace. Getting your boat ready is easy when you remind yourself that you are trying to leave a bunch of this stuff at the dock. Otherwise, just buy a plane ticket.
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