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Old 19-11-2012, 17:42   #1
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You'll Think I'm Crazy

The crux of this will be that I want advice. Try to withhold judgement until you get to the end.

I'm 32 years old, been living the hobo life for the past 5 or 6 years. Literally; been riding freight trains and working seasonally to get by. I grew up on Puget Sound, so the ocean has been there my whole life, so it was natural for me to want to move my passion for traveling up a scale. With no sailing experience, of course. Me and my girlfriend saved like crazy, worked our butts off, and...

Fast forward, got a 26' S2 in good condition for the price ($4,000), lost the girlfriend who had the maintenance/slip part of the investment, and had to scramble to figure out how to do this myself. Got a few lessons from the owner of the boat, but not enough money to maintain a slip, so I have to anchor out in Richardson Bay, the local area the anchor outs tend to be.

I'm used to landing on my feet, determined, and smart; my life has been about being smart enough to avoid being killed by trains and caught by police, and figuring out what to do when I am somewhere completely unfamiliar to me. I'm confident in my ability to make my dreams of traveling internationally a reality.

I've been studying a lot and learning a lot; I've been going over the boat and gaining an understanding of boats and how the different pieces fit together. I understand different techniques of anchoring out, and what should be the best for my boat in the area I plan to anchor it; I've even talked to the local anchor outs about things that might not be on my charts.

What it comes to is that I'm asking for advice; I know what I've covered, but it never hurts to ask the experienced people what they would do under the same conditions, and what to look out for. Here's the things I've either looked over or am in the process of tearing out and redoing, so you know what I have covered:

- Going over the electrical system and redoing it; the 12 volt system has luckily not had a lot of tinkering, but also hasn't been maintained for some time. Lots of corroded wiring to replace with new, marine grade wiring. They were using a standard battery charger to keep the marine battery charged (inboard's gone, this boat's on an outboard)! Just sitting there next to the battery, with moisture build-up in the area and even in the battery charger itself! Not interested in dying in a fire.

- Learning about anchoring techniques. The bottom in Richardson Bay is mud, so I'm looking at using two danforth anchors from the bow with a rode of combined nylon and chain.

- Checking, double checking, and triple checking the through-hull fittings. They all seem to be okay, but I plan on going over and hopefully replacing them all in the future, when I can afford to have her dry-docked.

The rest is essentially small things; locating where rain water leaks through (at a few spots where cleats and winches were added and not properly done, water runs down the bolts). The keel isn't bolted on, so there's no keel bolts to check, and I've had a diver clean the bottom and he reported some small bubbling in the gel coat which I plan to fix up in three or four months when I can have her hauled out and begin learning the fun of bottom painting myself.

Any advice is welcome; I just won't listen if you tell me to walk away, but I won't get offended.
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Old 19-11-2012, 17:53   #2
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Re: You'll Think I'm Crazy

Sounds like you have a pretty good handle on things. Congrats on the new boat.
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Old 19-11-2012, 18:05   #3
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Re: You'll Think I'm Crazy

No, you dont appear to be crazier than anyone else here. DIY is very common amoung cruisers.

The crux of this is that you didnt ask any questions to give advice on lol.
What advice are you looking for? You told us what you know, thats cool. What do you need to know? :-D
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Old 19-11-2012, 18:17   #4
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Re: You'll Think I'm Crazy

Guess I should have specified...I'm looking for advice on what I don't know that I don't know. There's always things experience teaches that books never can.
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Old 19-11-2012, 18:44   #5
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Re: You'll Think I'm Crazy

First things first!... sorry to hear about the gf. Things are always more fun shared. I'd have to agree with Mark1977, it seems like you have a pretty good handle on things. It's not necessarily how much you know, but how you handle the things that present themselves that you don't already know about. That's the joy of boating. You'll enjoy it if you approach it positively and safely, and not get shook when things go haywire. And those around you will provide support when you need it: that's just the boating community and why it's soo great. It's difficult to give you advice on everything that you may not know. There's books written that would take a lifetime to cover. But, like you said, there's what experience teaches you. Keep doing what you're doing. Enjoy!
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Old 19-11-2012, 18:46   #6
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Re: You'll Think I'm Crazy

Sounds like you need to go sailing now, living on a boat shouldn't be all about working on her. Go sail to new anchorages and then do some more work. Don't worry about what you don't know, the boat will let you know what you need to know.
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Old 19-11-2012, 18:53   #7
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Re: You'll Think I'm Crazy

I do not think you are crazy at all. I was a young man interested in sailing in 1970. I offered to crew on boats in the area to learn sailing and to get to know people. Ended up with a marine biology degree, a life long opportunity to sail but only wish I had followed my dreams. I have had a great career as a college professor, state regulator and consultant. I now own an Allied Wright 40 which I am refurbishing to cruise. Go! Go sailing and travel. Use your skills and your penanch.
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Old 19-11-2012, 19:07   #8
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Re: You'll Think I'm Crazy

Ditto what songbird said. Try to get some rides on other peoples boats. You will pick up a lot of skills as well as seeing how other people make repairs. Hanging about yacht club bars is another way to learn a lot. If there is a race fleet, you can occasionally pick up cheap 2nd hand gear that the racers have upgraded ;-)
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Old 19-11-2012, 19:14   #9
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Re: You'll Think I'm Crazy

Just be methodical on working through and understanding........everything (WTF does "that" do and why?). Big plus on a 26 footer is won't have a lot of complicated systems.

Don't get oversucked into repairing / replacing / upgrading everything before you fully understand why and what you are trying to acheive (overall) - think through the stuff that really needs to be addressed (water coming up = bad. Water coming down = PITA....apart from that it's mainly about making sure the stick don't fall down!)........and put the rest on a "to do" list, to chip away at as and when money allowd - or not! (no one ever gets to the end of their to do list....it always grows!).

Apart from that, get a hang of the sailing end of things (the fun bit!).

As said already, you do sound like you have the sort of mindset to acheive success (a willingness to get stuck in, to puzzle out and to ask - plus perhaps a certain degree of sheer bloodymindedness!).

Anyway, CF is one helluva resource........and not everyone here is on squillion dollar boats and budgets - and even those who are often started small (and broke!).
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Old 19-11-2012, 19:15   #10
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Re: You'll Think I'm Crazy

Songbird said it... go... go.... go.... you have a nice little pocket cruiser and little worry about the RR police giving you fits. If it has descent sails and rigging, there are a lot of places you can sail to.

Watch the weather and you'll be ok.

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Old 19-11-2012, 20:09   #11
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Re: You'll Think I'm Crazy

Well, I guess I must have a decent handle on things if so many people are being so encouraging. Thanks, guys! Just like to make sure I'm not missing anything that would be obvious to somebody who knew what the hell they were doing, but the more actual sailors I talk to the more I hear "go do it!" Strangely, people who have never been on a boat bring up the most stuff they know nothing about.
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Old 19-11-2012, 20:12   #12
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Re: You'll Think I'm Crazy

Go sailing!
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Old 19-11-2012, 21:03   #13
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Re: You'll Think I'm Crazy

sounds to me that you're off to a good start. as a former hobo you're accustomed to living in sparse conditions. that's good. stick to the 26' boat; it's actually enough to live and learn on at this stage of the game. systems are simple and relatively inexpensive. and since it's your home you may want to start by improving living conditions.

you probably already have a dinghy. hard dinghy's are best because they row better and are more durable than inflatables. one liveaboard here uses only a small sit in kayak. another has a wooden canoe. another an optimist dinghy (without the sail rig). none have an inflatable because they can't afford to buy and maintain an outboard.

nice to have a solar panel. keeps the batteries charged and allows you to use simple electrics. one liveaboard has only a 60 watt panel. it runs his anchor light, reading lights, phone charger, radio, and portable dvd player. another has a 135 watt panel and a windcharger; he runs anything he wants, including refrigeration.

you need clean water and some kind of head. for many years my head was a five gallon bucket with rope , improved by installing a removable toilet seat on it.

for a stove, consider a coleman lpg camp stove. they can be hooked up to 20lb bbq size tanks.

anchors; get the biggest, baddest anchors you can find. get some chain too. 90% of cruising involves staying put.

once you're comfortable living aboard you can start on the other systems. i think you'll find most of the folks here on the board are helpful. a few are sarcastic but well meaning. just ask...
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Old 19-11-2012, 21:13   #14
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Don't play on trains, would be my advice.
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Old 19-11-2012, 21:24   #15
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Re: You'll Think I'm Crazy

If you got it for $4000 in good operating condition, you get a hell of a deal. However, you should be aware that sailboats are known for deteriorating pretty rapidly, and proper replacement parts cost money. You should be thinking ahead about the upcoming costs of operating your boat, and what you will do if there is a major component failure.

Also, you may be enjoying the weather and sea conditions now, but those things change throughout the year. Talk to people locally and think about whether you want to start making your way south (or north). I don't know that area in particular, but I know that west coast seas get choppy in the winter. It could become uncomfortable for all-day living in a small boat.

Try to be aware of cleanliness. A sailboat can be a sweatbox, and it is not an easy discipline to keep yourself and your clothing clean in a marine environment. With nobody around to let you know when you've reached your threshold, it can be easy to "let things go".

How's that?
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