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Old 01-02-2013, 13:17   #16
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Re: 2 Years

We are leaving next fall/winter for a couple of years sailing with our kids who will be almost 14 and 4 when we leave. Oh yeah, we are doing it on a Tatoosh ( a Nassau is a Tatoosh just with a different import name) so if you are really interested in them give me a shout and I can tell you what works well, what is brilliant, what sucks and how she is with kids aboard.

I wouldn't be overly concerned at this point with what you will do with the boat at the end of your cruise just yet. Keep a cash reserve so you have options but its more important to figure out how you will leave and to get ready to leave than to worry about selling versus shipping. I am of course coming from the perspective of someone who is on year 3 of a universe dictated hold on cruising so I just assue everyone will run into a delay so its better to just get going sooner rather than later.
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Old 01-02-2013, 17:00   #17
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Re: 2 Years

Thanks again everyone for the advice and support!

I was wondering when the "wife and boss" question would come up! Yes, they are two different people, and both support this crazy idea.

OK, dumb questions- you asked for them.

Can a couple comfortably sleep in a cruising boat v berth? And which direction do you lay your head? bow or stearn? In my tropical charter experience, it's just too hot and cramped and you're climbing over each other to get in and out. (I have to sleep comfortably or I'm in a bad mood) Would an aft cabin, like in a Valiant 42 be a better option?

Ventilation and hatches- leave them open at night with screens? What about the bad guys? Nightly squalls? Mosquitos? Compainion way open/closed? Alarms?

GPS alert for anchor drag at night? or other options?

Is a self steering vane necessary? Can it fit on a transom where there are also dinghy davits?

Wind generators, solar panels, oversized alternators, what is a good set up for a boat that will be "on the move".

Radar?

SSB? HAM?

Water maker?

Paper charts and electronic plotters?

I'll think of more.
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Old 01-02-2013, 17:12   #18
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Re: 2 Years

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hillsrus View Post

Can a couple comfortably sleep in a cruising boat v berth? And which direction do you lay your head? bow or stearn? In my tropical charter experience, it's just too hot and cramped and you're climbing over each other to get in and out. (I have to sleep comfortably or I'm in a bad mood) Would an aft cabin, like in a Valiant 42 be a better option?

Ventilation and hatches- leave them open at night with screens? What about the bad guys? Nightly squalls? Mosquitos? Compainion way open/closed? Alarms?

GPS alert for anchor drag at night? or other options?

Is a self steering vane necessary? Can it fit on a transom where there are also dinghy davits?

Wind generators, solar panels, oversized alternators, what is a good set up for a boat that will be "on the move".

Radar?

SSB? HAM?

Water maker?

Paper charts and electronic plotters?

I'll think of more.
V berth- very comfortable for me because I require ventilation and lots of it. See our blog to see how we are making our V berth more comfortable. We sleep with our head to stern, feet towards the bow. Installing screens and as to bad guys- if they really want to get in they will. Squalls? They wake us upand then we close up the hatches until it passes.

Equipping a boat is a personal preference thing. Some like simplicity, some want all the bells and whistles. Search the archives here for more opinions.

Watermaker? Not necessary from the perspective of my friends who have done long passages but really nice to have.

Paper charts and electronic plotters? Yes, both please for us.
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Old 01-02-2013, 17:24   #19
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Re: 2 Years

too fast for me. Buy the boat, go and see how far you get... no big deal right? Get your brain on "island time". I could easily spend 2 years in the Caribe alone. You want to enjoy the time, culture , water etc? or just want to be able to say "we sailed to Oz"?
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Old 01-02-2013, 17:50   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hillsrus
Thanks again everyone for the advice and support!

I was wondering when the "wife and boss" question would come up! Yes, they are two different people, and both support this crazy idea.

OK, dumb questions- you asked for them.

Can a couple comfortably sleep in a cruising boat v berth?
YES
And which direction do you lay your head? bow or stearn?
STERN, USUALLY FOR BETTER VENTILATION IN TERMS OF HATCH LOCATION.
In my tropical charter experience, it's just too hot and cramped and you're climbing over each other to get in and out. (I have to sleep comfortably or I'm in a bad mood) Would an aft cabin, like in a Valiant 42 be a better option?
MAYBE.

Ventilation and hatches- leave them open at night with screens?
ONLY IF THERE ARE INSECTS AND NO RAIN.

What about the bad guys?
DO WHATEVER YOU WOULD DO ON LAND - GUNS, WELCOME MAT, TRAPS, HOPE, PRAY ETC.

Nightly squalls?
CLOSE THE HATCHES.

Mosquitos?
SCREENS, WIND, REPELLANT.

Compainion way open/closed?
WHAT DO YOU DO WITH THE FRONT DOOR OF YOUR HOUSE? DO THE SAME, ADJUSTED FOR THE NEIGHBOURHOOD VIBE.

Alarms?
DO WHATEVER YOU NORMALLY DO ON LAND THAT FITS IN WITH YOUR VALUES, BELIEFS AND THE LOCATION.

GPS alert for anchor drag at night?
MAYBE. YES, IF IT IS WINDY, POOR HOLDING, STRONG CURRENT ETC.
other options?
DO ANCHOR WATCH.
PRAY AND THEN SLEEP SOUNDLY.

Is a self steering vane necessary?
NOT NECESSARY BUT NICE TO HAVE. SEE OTHER THREADS ON THIS TOPIC FOR MORE DETAIL.

Can it fit on a transom where there are also dinghy davits?
YES, BUT WITH DIFFICULTY.


Wind generators, solar panels, oversized alternators, what is a good set up for a boat that will be "on the move".
NO, YES, YES.

Radar?
NOT NECESSARY, BUT NICE TO HAVE.

SSB? HAM?
NOT NEEDED, NICE TO HAVE.

Water maker?
NOT NEEDED, BUT VERY VERY NICE TO HAVE.


Paper charts and electronic plotters?
YES TO SOME PAPER CHARTS. OPENCPN ON A PC AND/OR INAVX ON AN IPAD. CHARTPLOTTERS ARE NOT WORTH THE PRICE AND ARE NOT DUAL PURPOSE, SO FORGET ABOUT THEM.

I'll think of more.
NO DOUBT YOU WILL....
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Old 01-02-2013, 18:03   #21
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Re: 2 Years

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hillsrus View Post
Thanks again everyone for the advice and support!

I was wondering when the "wife and boss" question would come up! Yes, they are two different people, and both support this crazy idea.

OK, dumb questions- you asked for them.

Can a couple comfortably sleep in a cruising boat v berth? And which direction do you lay your head? bow or stearn?
Yes. Best ventilation in the boat actually. Pullman berths are the worst for getting in and out. Aft cabin good but not good ventilation.
Ventilation and hatches- leave them open at night with screens? What about the bad guys? Nightly squalls? Mosquitos? Compainion way open/closed? Alarms?
I used a cheap 9volt trip wire alrm accross the cockpit floor if in an area that warranted it. Make a lockable companionway that can ventilate.

GPS alert for anchor drag at night? or other options? Yes, occassionally.

Is a self steering vane necessary? Can it fit on a transom where there are also dinghy davits? Not normally. It's a conundrum; the davits are one of the most useful things you can have, the vane is nice on long passages. for 2 years I'd go with a good autopilot. (actualy I'd go with that however long)

Wind generators, solar panels, oversized alternators, what is a good set up for a boat that will be "on the move". Big decision, no easy answers. Depends on refrig and water maker etc. Off the cuff I'd go big alternator (100amp) and a couple of solar panels.

Radar? Handy for sure. Yes. Must have? No. Takes the stress off night passages, landing visibility, storm cell location etc...

SSB? HAM?
For 2 years a reciever to listen to nets.
Water maker?
YES.
Paper charts and electronic plotters? YES.

I'll think of more.
Answers in bold text... JMHO.
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Old 01-02-2013, 18:38   #22
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Re: 2 Years

If you like to drive 24/7, an autopilot or self steering is unnecessary. Selfsteering is a tireless workhorse that should steer the boat if it will sail. Maintenance is minimal to non existent and, if anything does go wrong, the average idiot can figure it out and fix. Can be hooked up to an inexpensive tiller pilot for very low drain compass steering. My vane is clicked on as soon I leave the dock and off before I hit the breakwater on the way back. Sometimes there's weeks between those two events.

Solar panels will provide a lot of electricity silently if there is a preponderance of bright sunlight. Fortunately, that is the case in southern cruising areas. A windmill will work if there is plenty of wind. Unfortunately, they need about 15mph wind to really generate much electricity. Fine while at sea but a 15mph wind is uncomfortable at anchor. We almost never saw enough wind in SoPac or Leeward Hawaii anchorages but hear that it's not uncommon in the Carribean.

A Ham Radio is a nice to have addition for long distance communcation. It allowed us to make phone patches back to the mainland, talk with other cruisers ahead of us on the cruising freeway or help those behind us. On my most recent trip, was able to email all the way to Hawaii. When I got bored, which wasn't very often, could always scan 20 meters for someone to talk with in Iowa or wherever. A marine SSB radio requires no knowledge to use but is somewhat limited as few people monitor the frequencies and virtually no commercial enterprises anymore. May be more people on Marine SSB in the Carribean but it's mostly Ham frequencies in the Pacific. Ham License requires an exam but it's easy to pass with the many 'cheat sheet' sites online. A ham radio can be 'opened up' to transmit on all HF frequencies though 'legal' only in an emergency. Icom 802 and most of the newer Marine HF radios will transmit on the ham bands as well the Marine HF freq's. Ham is way cheaper to buy though.

Davits are an abomination for the totally lazy. Ugly things on the back of a boat, even more gross with a dinghy hanging off them. Not safe to be used at sea. You can mount self steering with davits but you probably will have issues with trying to carry a dinghy and using the self steering at the same time

We slept in our forward berth, it wasn't a vee, for four years, two of which were in the tropics. It was very comfortable though my wife did have to crawl over me if she had to use the head in the night. She liked it since she has an active imagination and would poke me in the ribs to go up on deck and check out something she imagined. We had a fore deck tarp set up like a pup tent. It was stretched flat aross the cabin top aft of the fore hatch and tied to the headstay and the lifelines forward. The 'V' that acted like a wind scoop and always provided a nice breeze through the boat at anchor as well as keeping the sun off the deck.

Use an all chain rode and an anchor at least one size larger than reccomended and it's doubtful that you will ever have the need of an anchor alarm.

Our cruising was all in SoPac. We never had a bug problem on the boat and left the opening ports and hatches open almost all the time without screens. The aforementioned pup tent allowed us to keep the forehatch open in anything short of a tropical depression. The awning aft of the mast would keep a light rain from forcing us to close the opening ports. If there was any intensity in the rain, had to close the ports though the main hatch stayed open. If you are going to be in bug country, there are premade screen covers for the hatches from West Marine or make your own.

We caught rain in our awning and never had to hump water to the boat in a year and a half of cruising. If you are cruising Baja or other arid areas, a water maker could be a convenience. We used very little water, in any case, so doubt if we'd need a water maker even in Baja.

People swear by radar who have it. We've done 5 figure cruising miles without it and never missed it. GPS is so accurate in most cruising areas that I can't see ever using it. May want to check the accuracy in the Phillipines, however!!! For cruising in the tropics, see almost no reason to have radar. Entering the passes was almost always visual from the spreaders to avoid the coral heads that wouldn't show up on radar in any case. Fog or poor visibily is almost unheard of. I have always had a rule not to enter any unfamiliar harbor or pass in the dark which has proven 100% effective at keeping us out of trouble. It's no big thing to heave to and wait safely offshore to enter some place new.

I grew up with Paper Charts so like them. However, with the ease of navigating with a GPS plotter, don't use them all that much anymore. The bound chart books available from Charlie's, etc. work quite well for those times I need to look at paper. The bad thing about Garmin, etc. charts is you will easily have a boat unit in electronic chips if you are going to cover large areas. I haven't used any of them, but hear that you can't download charts for most everywhere to use on your computer or iPad. Of course, the plotter is made to survive in a marine environment, computers aren't. You'll need to exercise care using a computer or iPad and take along a spare or two.
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Old 01-02-2013, 19:10   #23
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Re: 2 Years

OK, excellent and fast responses.

OK, more philosophical;

Is it worth it? The phyicial risk, the loss of income, marital stress, separation from friends and loved ones. Personally, I think it is the drive within that makes some get in the boat, and others say, "no thanks".

Why and how does the sailing dream end for most? Most blogs only highlight the good, and then one day, there just aren't any more logs... You have to wonder what happened? How many "dreams" of sailing off from your daily troubles and anchoring on a white sandy beach, ended with, "WTF have we done!, I want to go home!" What's the reality one could expect? How do you prepare yourself and family for such envitiable setbacks. Here, I wonder if it is any different than life on land, excluding sinking or pirates!

For those who have done it, any regrets? Not sure I really want to know all the answers here. I guess I would rather live my life, take my chances, and play the hands dealt me. But, if you think it would be helpful, please share.

Thanks,
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Old 01-02-2013, 19:23   #24
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Re: 2 Years

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hillsrus View Post
For those who have done it, any regrets? Not sure I really want to know all the answers here. I guess I would rather live my life, take my chances, and play the hands dealt me. But, if you think it would be helpful, please share.

Thanks,
Could be a good(?!) subject for it's own thread........
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Old 02-02-2013, 11:40   #25
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Re: 2 Years

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hillsrus View Post
OK, excellent and fast responses.

OK, more philosophical;

Is it worth it? The phyicial risk, the loss of income, marital stress, separation from friends and loved ones. Personally, I think it is the drive within that makes some get in the boat, and others say, "no thanks".

Why and how does the sailing dream end for most? Most blogs only highlight the good, and then one day, there just aren't any more logs... You have to wonder what happened? How many "dreams" of sailing off from your daily troubles and anchoring on a white sandy beach, ended with, "WTF have we done!, I want to go home!" What's the reality one could expect? How do you prepare yourself and family for such envitiable setbacks. Here, I wonder if it is any different than life on land, excluding sinking or pirates!

For those who have done it, any regrets? Not sure I really want to know all the answers here. I guess I would rather live my life, take my chances, and play the hands dealt me. But, if you think it would be helpful, please share.

Thanks,
For those who have done it, any regrets?
I have done it twice as far as quitting the job etc. Sure I have some regrets, I gave up about 5 years of maximum earnings on the last trip. It equates to as much as I earned the rest of my carreer! but I dont think this outweighs the good stuff. It depends on who you are really. Some people take to it headlong and never look back, living aboard for 20 years. I suspect many of these people are not giving up a high earning career and have found their nitche in life. Cudos to them.
Why and how does the sailing dream end for most?
I see these scenarios :
1) A couple dreams of going, spends years getting ready mostly doing boat work and prep. They head out to sea and find they dont like ocean sailing, or the time it takes to get to the next destination, or cooking on a heel, or losing sleep with on and off watches etc.
2) Or, they go cruising for 1-3 years, get a little bored and worried about continuing finances and finally decide to move ashore. Why not? life is full of changes. Some people seem to think there is only one way to be a cruiser... head over heels into it without "coming back".
3)Those into it for the long term: medical issues.
Is it worth it? The phyicial risk, the loss of income, marital stress, separation from friends and loved ones.
To many it is not. You can only decide this. As I indicated in an earlier post, why committ so heavily? You want to sail to Oz in 2 years from the east coast. SLOW DOWN. take a year or two and do the Carribean. Easy to stop when you want that way. Less risk on the marriage, job etc. Less money to invest etc. Go cruising for a while and see where your feelings are. In the Caribe you will be 95% of the time at anchor. going to Oz you will be up to 3 weeks out of sight of land at times.
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Old 02-02-2013, 12:25   #26
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Re: 2 Years

Quote:
Why not wait until the kids are old enough to stand a watch? In 2 years, they will only be 5 and 7. They will be additional work for you and the wife at that age, rather than a help. Are you going to take along extra crew to babysit the kids as well as babysit the boat?
I strongly disagree. 5 and 7 are GREAT years for taking your kids to sea. And a lot better than waiting until they are old enough to stand watch. Too many people wait for their kids to become teens, and then find that the teens DON'T WANT TO GO. Kids 5-7 are safe enough on a boat, and are happy playing with anyone aged 2-60, whereas a 14 year old only wants to "play" with 14 year olds. It's also much easier homeschooling them the younger they are.

We took our 6 year old out and homeschooled her while going round the Caribbean for 4 years, and it was a hugely positive experience in her life. People say repeatedly that she is one of the most "together" young adults they have met.

As for gaining cruising experience before you leave, first, join SSCA. Second, consider a week live-aboard cruise somewhere--either bareboat or crewed. Better yet, post as "crew available" on the internet for the nearest, soonest short hop near you (like the Baja Ha Ha, etc). Many people are willing to take on an experienced sailor as an extra hand for an offshore passage. But cruising is not just about passages.

As others have commented, your schedule is fairly ambitious, but it's a good goal. You have to choose between seeing a lot in 2 years or poking along, experiencing a lot. What suits you and your family is what's important.

However... the Pacific is a REALLY BIG ocean. The longest passage we did in 4 years in the Caribbean was 3 days, but the Pacific is a whole different matter, if you want to cross it. You could literally spend a lifetime cruising in the Caribbean and not get bored. So, if you only have 2 years right now, take time and make the effort to make sure that Wife and Kids also enjoy the experience, or you'll never get to go again.

If your wife is not a sailer/racer, I suggest sending her off to someplace like Womanship to help her feel better about the plan. Also, send her off to WomenAndCruising.com.

Good luck, go soon, have fun!!

Sherry s/v Soggy Paws, currently in Fiji
Cruising with Soggy Paws

Also, a lot about setting up Soggy Paws for cruising:
http://svsoggypaws.com/workshop.htm
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Old 03-02-2013, 20:44   #27
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Re: 2 Years

Yes, I agree that 14 year olds are probably "too old" for cruising. Better to be on land at that age. 8 - 12 is perfect because they are useful. I grew up that way, as did my brother and our son. Teenage years on land, pre-teenage years at sea.

My younger sister lived from birth to the age of three on a boat and, looking at it unemotionally, she was a net burden to the rest of us. My brother and I were truly useful crew members back then. As is my son now. When it was rough, there were the normal watches for the boat and additionally there were "baby watches" to look after my sister. What a hassle.

But my little sister then did the whole cruising thing across the Pacific 30 years later with her two toddlers. What an effort. They ALWAYS had additional crew when the toddlers were on board. It was impossible for them to look after two small kids and a boat efficiently and safely and still have a good time. They will not go long term cruising again until their kids are old enough to stand watches.

Whatever the age, it is a great experience for kids. But if I had the luxury of choosing an age (which we did) it would be when they are old enough to do a night watch (about 8 or 9) and before they get too inserted in their adolescent lives (about 12 or 14).

Of course, every family and child is different and YMMV, but over the last 35 years in our family we have 3 generations of cruising sailors, multiple boats, many different ages of cruising kids and we have seen what works best for us.
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