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Old 20-12-2007, 08:09   #76
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Hi Anne,

First, my wife and I commend you and your husband on 'refusing to go quietly into the night' - we too are about to sell off everything and, in our case, sail our cat down to the Caribbean where we have bought a small beachfront property and are building a small inn/bar/restaurant. Many of our friends also think we are crazy as we have no offshore sailing experience, speak minimal spanish (it is a spanish speaking island) and no experience in this line of business. Still, we believe that the best years of our lives are ahead of us, so long as we refuse to 'retire' - i.e. stop, and instead move on to some new and exciting challenges. We have dreams to pursue and ultimately, no one can stop you from pursuing your dreams except yourselves.

Having said all of that and with apologies to Johnathon Swift, can we make a 'modest proposal'? SLOW DOWN! Seeking the opinions of others concerning the 'ultimate boat' for your purposes is no more useful than listening to the advice of those who are trying to discourage you from this undertaking. Everyone has an opinion or mental image, but the 'perfect boat' is something like the unicorn - lovely to spend time contemplating, so long as you keep in mind that it does not exist.

At this point you can have no idea of what you will ultimately want - and believe me, what will ultimately work (or be perfect) for you will take some time and experience to discover. Unlike some of the earlier posts, we urge you to start with an interim boat. Buy something smaller and much cheaper than you will ultimately want, but get out on the water for a year to learn about sailing, anchoring, maintenance and most importantly, yourselves.

Get something that will be easy to re-sell and which, even if you are forced to take a loss, will be an amount you can afford to lose. What you cannot afford to lose is tens of thousands of dollars by getting it wrong at the outset.

Something like a Catalina 30 can be purchased for $20 - 30,000.00 equipped. They remain popular as they are good at what they do and provide huge 'bang for the buck'. For that price you will get a boat that can be readily used for short cruises of up to a month. Will you want something bigger? Of course, but you won't at the outset want something bigger when it comes to learning how to sail, dock, anchor etc., etc. Docking a 45 foot boat in a cross-wind can be an intimidating experience. Even reefing the mainsail (or for that matter, putting on the sailcover) on a 45 footer is much more difficult because of the height of the boom. The forces on the sheets are also exponentially greater and with that, the risk of serious injury should you incorrectly tie on a jib sheet, or misuse a winch. Think of how nervous you will be coming into a dock or a concrete wall with your shiney, new to you 45 footer. You will not laugh off the inevitable scratches (or worse).

Furthermore, if you have everything tied up in your dream boat, you will be risking it all should you make a mistake in navigation and run aground at the wrong time in the wrong place and the wrong conditions. You will lie awake at night worrying whether you have set your anchor properly and whether a forecast wind shift will cause you to drag into other boats, or the shore. You will replace the worries of shore life with a new and much more threatening set of worries - and ones that you will be, due to your inexperience, ill-equipped to handle. You will cease to enjoy what is meant to be (and can be) enjoyable.

Before we bought our current boat I had owned about 10 other sailboats ranging in size from 17 to 36 feet and Jane had owned a couple herself. We knew what WE were looking for and felt confident in our abilities to handle the boat (and more).

Prior to buying our property in the Caribbean we had numerous (over 50) trips to various islands in order to discover what worked for us - our wants, our needs and our budget. And ultimately we found what we believe to be the perfect location for US.

We urge you to compress what takes years of experience for most of us, into one or two. Afterall, you will have the time to do this full-time, rather than merely on holidays and weekends over a number of years. Get something which is manageable at the outset for two inexperienced sailors. Sail in various conditions, anchor over different bottoms, learn basic navigation skills. Don't sweat the odd scratch to the gelcoat, grounding or dragged anchor. Learn and have fun!

The Catalina 30 is merely a suggestion - I have never owned one but do know that in Florida and Texas it is a hugely popular boat. One that should hold its resale value and allow you some space for some short cruises to anchorages and marinas in the Gulf and to the Bahamas, when you feel up to it. There are, of course, many other boats that are available and which would well suit the short-term needs of neophyte cruisers. Just be sure to get one that has a ready market for resale.

Catamarans? Definitely something you should (and we suspect, ultimately will) look into. But very few Cats are available at prices that will make this notion of a 'disposable boat' work. Still, if you are bound and determined to spend all (or a significant portion) of your available boat budget at the outset, then a cat may prove to be the way to go. Unlike a previous contributor, I find a catamaran easier on the knees than trying to walk on the heeling deck of a monohull - it is, as you know, sideways pressures that can really cause problems.

They are also much shallower in draft (depth) than monohulls of comparable size - this means you are much less likely to run aground. Significantly, it also means that you can anchor closer to shore in generally calmer conditions and with better scope (the ratio of the distance your anchor rode - i.e., line and/or chain, goes out versus down). The greater the scope the greater the holding power.

And while people can get sea-sick on any type of vessel, the literature actually suggests that sailing on a catamaran is less likely to bring about such a reaction: the inner ear is not confused by motion in two different direction (pitching and heeling); there is more light and the ability to see the horizon from down below; there is much less 'rolling' motion.

Most catamarans have twin diesels which makes docking and manouevering under power much easier - in fact, they can typically be turned in their own length. The second diesel also means that you have a 'spare' engine should one fail.

Meal preparation is much easier (and safer) in a boat that is not heeling - in fact, the same is true of virtually any physical activity from getting dressed, to using the head, to removing items from a locker (try opening a cabinet door when the boat is heeling towards you - you can guess what happens to the contents of the locker).

I suppose one compromise would be to buy a catamaran that is somewhat smaller and less expensive than the boat you will ultimately want/need. The Gemini series are built in Florida and are hugely popular. They are safe, reasonably easy to handle and capable of cruising through the Caribbean (and some would even say beyond). Used ones are readily available at a wide range of prices, many under $100,000.00. They seem to have a very good resale value (and related thereto, a ready market) and even though you won't be getting twin engines, you will be getting all of the other advantages of a cruising catamaran.

Anyway, please understand that our advice is no different that anyone else's - it is worth what you paid for it. But we do urge you to slow down and pursue this in a methodical way. Ask yourselves, what approach is more likely to create stress/worries rather than reduce it. Should I first learn to drive in something huge - i.e., a transport truck, or a car? Am I ready to decide what will be the ultimate boat for us, or am I apt to make a mistake at this point. If I buy the 'ultimate' boat now, is it apt to be my ultimate boat, or someone else's. What is the best way to pursue our dream and to enable us to learn all of things we need to learn, and to have fun while we are doing it.

Cheers!

Brad and Jane
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Old 20-12-2007, 17:54   #77
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Hi Anne

I'm Jane of "Brad ande Jane" and I would like to say GO GIRL!!!!! This is such an exciting adventure and good for you for doing your research. Brad is the #1 researcher here and in the world! Ha Ha. A little overstated but truly he is amazing at it. But you know...what ever works for you.

Just wanted you to know that we found a great little portable hand washing machine that is reasonably priced, light weight, holds a fair load, uses less soap and does a terrific job. I have even done jeans in it. The clothes come out cleaner than they do in my expensive Maytag. The web site if you're interested is smalappliance.net it's called "Wonderwash". You will also find laundromats in most Marinas. In some of the Caribbean Islands, you will find people who will do your laundy for a small fee.

Cheers
Jane
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Old 20-12-2007, 18:05   #78
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Hello Anne,

WOW. Ask a question in here and a person could be overwhelmed. Now I, the late comer to this thread, wish you WELCOME and see you are already surfing along in a sea of information (having read the earlier postings).

I'll keep it simple, WELCOME and hope to meet up with you guys, one day!

Only through your experience will the perfect boat eventually present itself to you. Becuase it is only through personal experience, that you will know what you treasure most in a boat. Someone earlier in this thread said eventually the right boat for you will find you......Never thought of it that way, but it did happen to me. Yet there are plenty who would not have the boat I adore. In a sense, boat are very much like people, we are all different.
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Old 20-12-2007, 18:32   #79
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Southern Star View Post
Hi Anne


. Brad is the #1 researcher here and in the world!

smalappliance.net it's called "Wonderwash".


Cheers
Jane
I am not the greatest, went to the site and even put wonderwash in the search and came up empty.

????

Never mind.
Found it!
I am thinking a slightly larger model and "we-be-done"!!!

Thanks.

Then the wife said, "why larger, just do two loads since it takes so little time and would store more easily."

Me =
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Old 20-12-2007, 20:02   #80
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Sorry, the only site I know of that carries this is Septic Tank Systems, Portable Washing Machine, Clothes Dryer

Jane
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Old 20-12-2007, 22:05   #81
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Those have been around for a long time. I bought one in NZ one time (about 20 years ago) and it was all S/S. It was great. They'll wash a set of sheets or about 4 or 5 shirts and some underwear.

They work like a pressure cooker. You just put in about 2 litres of hot water and a little soap, and screw the lid closed. Turn the crank for about 2 minutes and let it sit for awhile. Then you rinse them the same way. It really does get the clothes clean.

I can't remember what happened to our S/S one, I think that we forgot it somewhere. When we went to get a new one, all that we could find were these ones with plastic handles. It broke about the 2nd or 3rd time that we used it.
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Old 21-12-2007, 00:54   #82
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Ocean crossers of steel give a feeling of security. Whale proof, container resistant, reasonably fast if well designed and economical of fuel if small enough. Adams, Van de Stadt, Tom Colvin and others all design superb steel easily driven steel hulls.

My late father designed a few fishing vessels after the war using a double-door deck acces system and intended that they survive capsize and total submersion to a depth of thirty feet, the equivalent of falling off a goodly sized Atlantic comber when the wind really gets up. Some of those fishermen sail in the worst of weathers, summer and winter, and the colder the water the richer it seems to be for the fish and crabs that live in it. Steel is the only choice--nothing else is good enough.

Tom Colvin has weathered a hurricane in a 42 foot Gazelle--and I have spoken to a person who claims to have been through part of a typhoon in one where he layed to a sea anchor and remained below for two days, drifting only a few miles in that time while waves at times swept the vessel from one end to the other.

My vessel is a forty-two foot trimaran with ample space and storeage and is very comfortable and relatively easy to sail. However--I would be reluctant to attempt an ocean crossing in her in any but the most favourable of weathers, because unlike a self-righting long-keel cruising monohull, if she does turn over in a freak situation, there is no way I can turn her back up again without assistance from another vessel equiped with a five ton derrick and twenty feet of lift.

The same goes for cats. Very comfy and safe--but if you ever do turn one over--it will be beyond the crew to turn her back on her keels again without another vessel and derrick. The likelihood of pitchpoling a cat is low, as is flipping a trimatran--but it has been done any number of times.

A well found steel Adams forty will take you around the world as it has for many others--and a Colvin or Van de Stadt will do the same as long as the hull is in sound condition and the vessel is well found.

I think you can get a good Van de Statd 40 or an Adams or Roberts for under $100K US in the States--you will pay a lot more for them elsewhere. A nice little thirty-six footer is the Griffiths--

The big boats have big costs--no doubt about it. I spent $9000 on mine to get it as good as when first launched--and I would still sell it and buy or build a steel vessel to cross a savage ocean.
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Old 21-12-2007, 00:59   #83
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Southern Star - What a great post! I read it through a couple of times and to my husband who said "He's right on the money"! I do appreciate your good solid advice and the time it took to write it. Once again, I am blown away by this forum and all of the heartfelt responses I have gotten. You guys (and girls!) are helping us achieve our goals. I can't thank you enough..
Jane & Kanani - looked up the "Wonderwasher" What a terrific idea, and only $50. I plan on getting one once we find "the boat". Thanks for he encouragement.
Hawkcharter - Thanks for the welcome. I am a hopeless romantic, so the idea that the right boat will find us certainly appeals to me. We will be out there looking until she does.

Anne
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Old 21-12-2007, 10:58   #84
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Anne

Thanks for the kind comments and please, keep us posted. If you have any questions concerning specific boats/gear/etc., this seems to be a geat place to start seeking answers.

Brad and Jane

PS The plastic handled wachine machine hasn't broken for us over the course of a season, although there may be different manufacturers. Really, it is extremely easy to turn and seems to put very little pressure on the handle. Replacement parts are available.

Brad and Jane
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Old 21-12-2007, 21:14   #85
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Good evening, everyone. Took the advice and went to the Lake Travis marinas in Austin to look at 30 to 40' sailboats. Saw some beautiful boats, but saw a whole lot more that were quite neglected. They made some of the piers look like "ghost towns". I could hear the echoes of many of the posts on this thread talking about this very issue. People taking the plunge before they really stopped to count the cost. Dreams vs. reality. We have put back enough money to get us started with a nice boat; but, I don't want to "break the bank" every month with the high cost of repairs. I don't want to get such a large boat that it becomes one of the relics sitting at the dock awaiting repairs. I'd much rather be out on the water in a beautiful well kept smaller version of my dream boat. Just like you all said, my idea of the "perfect boat" keeps changing. But, one thing for sure, I am getting closer.
Mike Banks - You are right - the Griffiths are great boats. My husband and I are still intrigued with the safety features of steel boats, but we haven't found any here in Texas to look at except for the Custom Finot in Kemah. We are going to keep searching.
Next week, after Christmas Day, we are going back to Kemah, weather permitting.
Happy Holidays!!!

Anne
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Old 22-12-2007, 04:48   #86
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Anne

I have a steel 1995 Cartwright 36 pilothouse for sale. She was designed and built for circumnavigating and has never been in salt water. She has dual hydraulic steering stations, a solid teak, iroko and cherry interior, cast bronze portlights, andersen st winches, profurl furling, force 10 propane range and diesel cabin heater, raymarine below deck autopilot, atkins and hoyle deck hatches, etc., etc. She needs only installation of a ton of gear that sits in my garage including radar, a single side band radio and electronic tuner, a new force 10 water heater, additional tankage, an isolation/step-down transformer, a detachable inner staysail stay with running backstays and then trim ballast.

She can be had for about $80,000.00 - a huge loss to us. She was built and equipped by us, not for resale, but rather for an intended circumnavigation. If you are interested I can email you some photos and a virtual book written on the design and construction of 'the Edith Rose.'

Why are selling her? A change in plans - as I have said, we bought a beachfront property in the Caribbean and our new (to us) 40 foot catamaran will be used to take people out on snorkeling/sunset cruises. The problem for you, of course, is that it would likely cost about $8,000.00 to ship her down to Texas. But for comparison purposes (and for a pretty good read on the advantages/disadvantages of steel construction and how to avoid corrosion) you may want to have a look.

Brad and Jane
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Old 22-12-2007, 06:02   #87
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THis is the clear link for the wonderwash: Wonderwash Washing Machine It does seem like a very interesting machine. Makes you want to string a clothesline in a deserted anchorage to do the drying . . .
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Old 22-12-2007, 06:40   #88
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Waterworldly - just realized your name is perfect for this topic! Thanks for the link.
Brad and Jane - Would like to see your boat. I sent a PM with e-mail info.

Anne
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Old 22-12-2007, 07:09   #89
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Anne - already sent by email. And waterworldly, you got it exactly! Lets face it, when you are in marinas you can use the shoreside laundry facilities. But on board it beats the added weight, water and electrical demands of a built-in washing machine. Still manual, but WAY better than handwashing.

Brad and Jane
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Old 22-12-2007, 10:02   #90
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SS,
If I was thinking I could cruise/live on a monohull I would be all over your offer!!!
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