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Old 12-08-2014, 23:35   #1
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Hello

Hello, CruisersForum.

I've been lurking for a little while, trying to learn. Thanks for all of the knowledge transfer. The forum iPad app is cool and a bit different than just using the browser.

Here's some (possibly, too much) background on me.

I have loved being near or, when possible, on the water for over thirty years (now almost 50). I have not often done much about that, though. Many years ago, when we lived near Chicago, I had a 17' Smokercraft fishing boat. I enjoyed it, though it was a bit of a pain having to travel quite a distance to put it in the water. Within a few years, it was sold. Other than that, I have no real boating experience, though I would like to learn and gain some.

The situation has now changed. The home near Chicago has been sold and we have simplified down to full-time RV living as Texas residents, though I'm still working full-time also (software developer). Texas is too hot in the summer (and most of the year), so we are in the PNW, specifically, Anacortes, WA. Since I was born in WA state, this is almost like coming home for me. We both love the area. But, it introduces a conundrum. With all of the water and all of the boating in this area, I wish to join in the fun, especially since I could be out on the water in less than half an hour after leaving our RV. The issue I'm having is trying to decide what type of boat to get.

Maybe it is telling that I'm posting this on a mostly sailing forum. But, there are issues involved that may make sailing impractical. My wife has had both knees replaced and, though she is mobile, is not really stable. As much as I like the idea of getting a sailboat, I'm not sure if it is right boat for her. There's not much issue when she is seated. Having sufficient hand-holds may help her get around the cabin. Obviously, the degree of heeling over would be a factor. I'm just not sure how much of an issue this may be. Some testing would be prudent, though I'm not sure how to go about that. When we eventually get a boat, my wife would primarily be just along for the ride. Though she may be able to help some, I would plan to be single handed just in case.

As for our usage, I am still working on Central time. This leaves quite a bit of the afternoon available for boating. Given my full-time work schedule, most boating will be in the vicinity. However, the ability to overnight in the San Juans and a rare trip further north would be desired. Gaining some experience would encourage this, I think.

Given the ability to use it fairly frequently, I would like to keep usage costs on the lower end. That points me towards choices like a small cruiser (C-Dory?), a smaller trawler, or a sailboat. The small cruiser would be quickest for running around, though smaller inside than the other choices. The trawler and sailboat are both economical under power. The sailboat, though, would occasionally (?) have free wind power, though I would be outside in the cooler months (unless I invest in a full enclosure).

Anyway, that's me and where I'm currently at with regard to boating. It's quite the predicament. I'm in a boating paradise, but somewhat paralyzed by boat choice. Hopefully, I'll soon figure out which is our best choice for boat type. I would rather be right than right now, so I'm not in a hurry as I try to analyze the options.

Cheers!

Tim
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Old 12-08-2014, 23:50   #2
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Re: Hello

Hi TimButterfield,

Welcome aboard...and congratulations on a more simplified life.

I can't speak of the powerboat aspect, except that the fuel type/quantitiy/cost/burn rate should definitely be looked at prior to purchase.

I think that boaters can be generally thrown into two groups...process-oriented and goal-oriented...if you want to get to your destination, whenever, and just enjoy the scenery along the way...then a sailboat may be right for you. Conversely, if you need to get to the destination and the drudgery of going slower than a golf cart isn't to your liking, then a power boat may be right for you. The real dilemma is when one of you is bent one way and the other isn't. I've seen it many-a-times and it isn't pretty. Work it out before you spend the big bucks.

Anyway, congratulations again!

What part of WA are you from? I grew up in Randle (Lewis County) and still love the mountains and valleys and rain!
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Old 12-08-2014, 23:59   #3
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Re: Hello

Thanks for the welcome and the tips. I'm from Lewis County also, though we moved to Eugene, OR when I was very young and then to various other places, ending up on the east coast.

Good tip about process-oriented vs goal-oriented. We'll have to ponder that. Thanks.
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Old 13-08-2014, 02:53   #4
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Re: Hello

Hi, there, Tim Butterfield,

Welcome aboad.

Since I have around 25 yrs liveaboard cruising and have had one bilateral knee replacement surgery and one bilateral knee revision surgery, I have some thoughts about your post.

1) Is your wife's instability due to the nerve damage from the surgeries, weak muscles, or is there some other cause? If it is weak muscles, then physical therapy can help. It is frustratingly slow to do so--no 6 week miracles, more like months--the loss of the nerve proprioceptors around one's knees is eventually compensated for by some around your ankles, and again, physical therapy can help, because they have diabolical means of helping you. But they do work. It depends on her decision how hard she wants to work. If other causes, then the picture might be different.

2) I'm an oldie, and you can see our boat on my avatar. And I'm still on board, knees and all. But... It is not entirely easy, and I do have great determination to keep with it.... and yet my body may not comply with my desires, so I have a great deal of compassion for your concerns.

3) There are some experiments available to you to make, if your good lady is up for it: first , for her to sail on a monohull sailboat, see how it is (some people find the motion difficult to tolerate; others, find catamaran motion too twitchy); then try a cat. See how she does. Encourage her input. At the end of that, if the sailing boats don't "work" for her but she'd still like to be on the water with you, look at motor boats, and decide how you feel about that, and the environmental impact of that level of fuel consumption.

4) The question of ongoing exercises for maintaining the strength one has struggled for cannot be answered by anyone but your wife. It is hard on board to find an appropriate area for the exercises, and an appropriate time of day, and appropriate aids (like weights). All those questions CAN be answered, but it depends on her what they will be.

5) You and your wife will have to decide whether or not it is acceptable for you to singlehand the boat with her as a passenger. What would happen, then, if you had a stroke or a heart attack? This is a really important issue, and you sort of glossed over it in your OP.

Sometimes life gives us hard choices, and it seems to me that you and your good lady have some ahead of you.

Good luck with it all.

Ann

PS. Feel free to PM me if you have any specific questions that you think I might be able to answer for you.
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Old 13-08-2014, 04:36   #5
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Re: Hello

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Tim.
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Old 13-08-2014, 14:19   #6
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Re: Hello

Thanks for the welcomes.

Ann,
Thanks for the comments. Here's the issue with my wife's knees. The right is fine. The left, which was done six months later, is not fine. The surgeon was rushed (limited time operating room lease and the head surgical nurse didn't show). He cut 3/4 of an inch too much off and did not use enough cement. It needs to be re-done, but cannot be due to a heart condition. She has been through physical therapy on both of them. She's stuck with the way they are and does the best she can.

I agree with the experimentation and she is agreeable to it also, especially if it can save us from a costly incorrect choice. I'm just not sure how to find where to do that. I was thinking of maybe asking a school if they had a short (2-3 hour) intro to sailing that we could try. That would probably test the monohull The possibility of a cat being too twitching is something I had not thought of and should certainly be confirmed. We need to find a way to test that also.

As for her exercise, we would not be living full-time on the boat. I like the idea, but do not expect her to deal with that. The RV on land is sufficient for her. The boat will be just for the fun of being on the water, which we both enjoy quite a bit.

I would have to single hand the boat and that's fine. I have great genes and am healthy so the risk there is reduced, though admittedly still not zero.

Thanks again.

Tim
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Old 20-08-2014, 11:08   #7
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Re: Hello

Howdy!

I read your intro with interest (due to your situation and goals).

Ann has lots of experience and knowledge that is relevant.

Here are some other thoughts I hope you find helpful:
Much of the time spent on a boat can be done sitting (at dock or underway). But a sailboat generally requires more active work on deck. If your sailboat is rigged for singlehanded sailing (lines led aft) you or your wife would probably have more fun and less stress. In your situation, I would let the wife become the helmsman (she gets to sit in a comfortable spot most of the time) and you become the deck monkey.

If there is significant wind, the mono will heel and I would think this would be more uncomfortable for someone with stability concerns. So a cat would be nicer (and flatter sailing). If at anchor, the mono may roll more (also possibly being more uncomfortable for anyone with stability concerns).

One other thing about the boat choice is the consideration of the possible multiple levels of the boat. Many monos have ladders/steps from the cockpit to the cabin/saloon. This may also be uncomfortable for someone unsure of their steadiness (going down the ladder etc.). I would make sure you look for or add lots of good handholds for the boat.

IF I were in your shoes (and PNW) I would look for a cat (if sail) and for a pilothouse boat mono or a trawler or motorboat with pilothouse. I have seen many "motor boats" that look like they would be a LOT of fun in the PNW. And I have seen some pilot house boats that look like they would be very nice for any weather and allow the crew to enjoy the outing without getting soaked.

Good luck!
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Old 21-08-2014, 01:03   #8
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Re: Hello

Thanks, Steady Hand. You mentioned some interesting things to think about.

I agree about the insights available here. After lurking for a while, I hoped some would be posted. They were. Thanks, all.

If sail, I was planning on a singlehand setup. My wife as helmsman would help also; that was a new thought. A sail cat would be nice, though we cannot afford one currently. With a sail mono potentially problematic, we're probably better off with power. I like sail, but it may not be the best choice for us at this time. I am coming to the realization a small power cat may be optimal for now.

Thanks again everyone.

Tim
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Old 12-09-2014, 19:58   #9
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Re: Hello

Aloha and welcome aboard!
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Old 12-09-2014, 21:37   #10
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Re: Hello

Welcome to CF!

We agree with all the comments thus far. We might add three further suggestions...

First (and as approached in Ann T Cate's post, packed with good thoughts) gain some experience on 'OPB', Other People's Boats. You will learn HEAPS. Every boat involves some compromises and it will hugely assist your decision-making to better understand your own priorities. We spent ~4yrs looking, during which time we sailed on 20-30 vessels (often chartering but also as boat buyers test-sailing boats for sale) and we ended up buying a vastly different vessel than where we started...and we are now (>3yrs and >20,000nm later) both delighted with our vessel and very, very grateful we didn't buy any of the others we considered. So invest a bit in chartering and seek out test-sail opportunities. Time on the water on OPB will give you both lotsa boat knowledge as well as the all-important knowledge of what each of you likes, or dislikes, amoung the many 'feature' and lifestyle choices available.

Secondly, we suggest you may possibly under-estimate the potential of "free wind power", both in terms of the savings available and in terms of how often you will able to take advantage of the wind in your passage-making...and even, with a wind generator, in your onboard energy needs. The savings available can be very large, by comparison to any vessel with engine power only. We sailed our beloved CatNirvana from Italy to Australia -- That's a bit under 14,000nm -- and burned 1400L of diesel for that entire voyage...and we now cruise the OZ coast ~6mos of every year, filling our diesel tanks (650L) roughly once a year. If it's really important that you "keep usage costs on the lower end", talk to some power boaters about their diesel bills! If you're going to be really cruising, as in able to move without timetable pressure, and you're going to be along a coastline, you should be able to often choose your conditions and thus maximize the wind(s) available for your passage-making.

Finally, TAKE YOUR TIME! You may -- We certainly did -- find yourself on a huge learning curve; give yourself plenty of time to move along that curve before you commit your hard-earned funds. Our experience suggests that time, more than any other single factor, guided our search to a very happy conclusion.

Anyway, we wish you good luck in your vessel search...and fair winds and following seas whenever you're on the water!
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Old 16-09-2014, 00:44   #11
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Re: Hello

I was surprised to see my thread resurrected. Thanks for the welcomes and more info.

I like the idea of OPB. I've been out on a couple with friends, though not of the type we're interested in. If we don't narrow down our choices some soon, chartering is an option. I've asked about testing some boats that were for sale. The responses were that the test would be part of the survey after agreeing to purchase, which is a bit late to determine if we like them.

I certainly do appreciate free wind power and am aware of some limitations with it. The benefits are why I'm here. Winds here can be light and variable. I often see sailboats under power instead of sailing. North of us in the Inside Passage, they are often referred to as stick boats. But, when sufficient wind is available, use of the sail would be great, though our usage will be localized to the PNW and not global.

The idea of waiting may normally make sense. In our case, we have extenuating circumstances. My wife's heart is beginning to fail and we would like to enjoy the time we have left together by spending some of it aboard a boat. We want to make a good choice, a sufficient choice, but are not as concerned with a long term fit.

Thanks again.

Tim
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Old 16-09-2014, 01:13   #12
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Re: Hello

Quote:
Originally Posted by TimButterfield View Post
I was surprised to see my thread resurrected. Thanks for the welcomes and more info.

I like the idea of OPB. I've been out on a couple with friends, though not of the type we're interested in. If we don't narrow down our choices some soon, chartering is an option. I've asked about testing some boats that were for sale. The responses were that the test would be part of the survey after agreeing to purchase, which is a bit late to determine if we like them.

I certainly do appreciate free wind power and am aware of some limitations with it. The benefits are why I'm here. Winds here can be light and variable. I often see sailboats under power instead of sailing. North of us in the Inside Passage, they are often referred to as stick boats. But, when sufficient wind is available, use of the sail would be great, though our usage will be localized to the PNW and not global.

The idea of waiting may normally make sense. In our case, we have extenuating circumstances. My wife's heart is beginning to fail and we would like to enjoy the time we have left together by spending some of it aboard a boat. We want to make a good choice, a sufficient choice, but are not as concerned with a long term fit.

Thanks again.

Tim
All well considered and appropriate.

Again, we send our best for fair winds on whichever vessel you choose!
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Old 16-09-2014, 09:34   #13
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Re: Hello

Hi Tim,

Considering all of the above, I agree whole-heartedly with D&D...consider some"quality time" on OPB. Although it's quite a challenge to get to the Eastern Carib. from the PNW, you are welcome to visit us on our sailboat. We are committed to other stuff until 2nd weekend in Feb. but will have space after that, until end of April. I suspect we will be in St. Maarten or further south during that time. Our boat is, for the most part, set up for single-handing, but a bit on the small side...36' with two cabins. If you want, you can send me a pm.

Sandy
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Old 16-09-2014, 11:16   #14
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Re: Hello

Thanks D&D. Thanks for the offer, Sandy. I'm not sure it is practical just yet. For a long term choice, my idea for getting on OPB is to use a progression of time. After a short test (< 1 day) to confirm suitability, confirm with a slightly longer test (overnight/weekend). If still suitable, re-confirm with a test of a week or two. Performing this test progression to different levels on a variety of boats could take the multiple years mentioned by D&D. That is time we may not have available. Local charters would help with that, though they seem to usually start at the several day time frame and extend from there.

Our situation may make a different path a better choice. Since I still work full-time, doing many of those tests is not practical. If I can make an 'adequate' choice sooner, we could regularly use the boat multiple times per week much sooner. I'm in the PNW, but work a central USA time schedule. So, I am usually off work by 2:30-3:30PM each week day. With a boat in a slip only ten minutes away, that provides for a large amount of boating time each week once a choice has been made. Conversely, delaying the choice unnecessarily in hopes of making a better one loses a great deal of boating time. Proper testing is great for making a long term choice, but a short term choice may be more appropriate for us. Given our change in circumstances with the heart issue, the easy/quick choice is to get some type of small power boat that we can also cruise on as Steady Hand mentioned. The single level would be easier on her knees and the enclosed/heated cabin would extend the usage somewhat into the winter months. While perhaps not optimal long term, it should be adequate for the short term.

Thanks for the comments and for getting me thinking.

Tim
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Old 15-06-2015, 23:41   #15
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Re: Hello

Next update...

I passed my 104 this past weekend. The twin-helm Jeanneau 40 we were on was nice. I'm not sure I like the in-mast furling, though. While it is convenient, the previous charter had left it with a fold jammed at the top. We discovered that when trying to unfurl, but were able to work it enough to release it. I got a real kick out of the map for the 104 test. We were anchored in Echo Bay at Sucia Island on Sunday morning when we took the written and saw the map was for the area we were in. Cool!

I picked up the books for the 114 (Multihull) and 118 (Docking) certifications this afternoon after work. If the school gets a couple more students for them, I might be able to schedule those later this year.

While I was picking up the books, my wife was in the office talking to a woman who had spent a month circumnavigating Vancouver Island in an Island Packet 37. After that conversation, my wife mentioned me possibly passing on my 114 and trying out a mono-hull. Interesting. From another angle, my wife was in physical therapy earlier this year. The therapist had her working on her balance and, with the progress she was making, told her she should be able to handle a sailboat just fine. So, with the reinforcement she has received from others, she is wanting to try it. It'll probably be another month or so before we can test that. We'll see.

Tim
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