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Old 13-09-2010, 19:03   #1
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New Sailor, Hoping to Go Bluewater Cruising

Hi guys, I'm Ben. I was a sonar technician on a submarine out of Pearl Harbor for about 4 years, and recently took a sailing course from Michigan State University on Lake Lansing on Flying Juniors. I'm hoping to meet up with a buddy in Seattle and buy a boat for live-aboard and ideally do some blue-water sailing in the future. We met in Hawaii, both have some time spent in East Asia, and she taught English in Japan for a few years. We are both food-obsessed and want to do a Pac-rim tour of e.g. Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, and other cuisines in the area. We'd also like to hit Europe at some point, but we're not sure how to transit the PanCan, nor when to navigate the Atlantic.

That's all in the future, though. For now, I'm just saying hi. If anyone has some advice about international, blue-water, or other travel, I'm all ears. I'll be browsing the forums in a bit. My current plan is to build up experience in coastal piloting around the Seattle area before embarking on any long-term passages. Cheers!

\Ben
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Old 13-09-2010, 20:23   #2
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Sounds like a fun plan. The views better on top of the water I bet Welcome to the forum Ben.
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Old 13-09-2010, 22:21   #3
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Welcome Ben, and it sounds like you have a fun plan.
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Old 14-09-2010, 01:10   #4
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Originally Posted by ben_r View Post
We are both food-obsessed and want to do a Pac-rim tour of e.g. Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, and other cuisines in the area. We'd also like to hit Europe at some point, but we're not sure how to transit the PanCan, nor when to navigate the Atlantic.

That's all in the future, though. For now, I'm just saying hi. If anyone has some advice about international, blue-water, or other travel, I'm all ears. I'll be browsing the forums in a bit. My current plan is to build up experience in coastal piloting around the Seattle area before embarking on any long-term passages. Cheers!

\Ben
As far as route and schedule planning get the:
A) USGS/DMA/whomever pilot charts for the part of the ocean you will be sailing on. 5 atlas's, n/s pac, n/s atlan, indian, each containing 1 sheet for each month. Some are downloadable as .pdf's at http://www.offshoreblue.com/navigation/pilot-charts.php.
B) British Admiralty #136, 'Ocean Passages of the world'.
C) 'World Cruising Routes' by Jimmy Cornell

In Seattle Armchair Sailor and Captain's nautical supply are the places to get maps and books. Captain's is an correcting distributor for BA, meaning they will update the BA chart will all current corrections before it goes out the door with you.

Do you know what kind of boat you want or the parameters?

There a lot of interesting places to go near Seattle. Once you get settled in let me know and I'll give you some destinations to try.
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Old 14-09-2010, 01:21   #5
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G'day, mate. We learn to sail back in Michigan as well. You'll want to put New Zealand on your list of places to spend some time in during your "rim" trip.

Had an unexpected encounter with one of the sister subs outside of San Diego awhile back after coming back down the coast from Seattle. Could have handed them a "cuppa tea".

All the best with the plan. Cheers.
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Old 14-09-2010, 09:13   #6
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Do you know what kind of boat you want or the parameters?

There a lot of interesting places to go near Seattle. Once you get settled in let me know and I'll give you some destinations to try.
I plan on spending quite a bit of time with the relevant charts before attempting a long passage, and I'll have an eye on the weather calendar as well.

As to that kind of boat I want, that's a good question, and one that you guys are far better equipped to answer than I. Since I'll be sailing with only two people, I'm looking for something not much larger than 30' (and possibly as small as 26'), set up for single-handing. Not knowing too much about various makers, I've been researching gear more than hulls right now. Since it will be a live-aboard for me, as well as a distance cruiser, I've had an eye towards equipment that will make her more self-sufficient than not:Some of the boats that I've browsed that I have heard good things about are C&C, Catalina, Hunter, and Tartan. I imagine that five sailors would have six different opinions about each hull...

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G'day, mate. We learn to sail back in Michigan as well. You'll want to put New Zealand on your list of places to spend some time in during your "rim" trip.

Had an unexpected encounter with one of the sister subs outside of San Diego awhile back after coming back down the coast from Seattle. Could have handed them a "cuppa tea".
Oh wow, we try not to do that. Crashing into boats is bad for business... I'd hate to have been in that piloting party during the debrief.

NZ is a beautiful country; I hope to visit someday.
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Old 14-09-2010, 17:07   #7
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As to that kind of boat I want, that's a good question, and one that you guys are far better equipped to answer than I. Since I'll be sailing with only two people, I'm looking for something not much larger than 30' (and possibly as small as 26'), set up for single-handing. Not knowing too much about various makers, I've been researching gear more than hulls right now. Since it will be a live-aboard for me, as well as a distance cruiser, I've had an eye towards equipment that will make her more self-sufficient than not:Some of the boats that I've browsed that I have heard good things about are C&C, Catalina, Hunter, and Tartan. I imagine that five sailors would have six different opinions about each hull...
I doubt if 5 sailors would give you less than 10 opinions.

Singlehanders regularly, though not commonly, go as small as 26'. A very few couples go that small. It sounds like you want to go small to keep the boat more managable. Is there a cost component too? What's you budget to buy & outfit? Have you spent time in a confined space with your companion so you have some idea how small you could go? For a couple, 30'-33' I believe would be a better compromise on storage space, managability, cost and available personal space.

Tartan seems to have a consistently good rep. Sailors tend to love or hate Catalina or Hunters for offshore. My opinion of Catalina is they might be a little light generally for offshore, but there are so many of them that all their shortcomings are documented, whereas boats with smaller production runs may still have unknown issues. I have no opinion about Hunter. I have a slightly ambivilant opinion of C&C in that they have a decent rep but used a lot of coring in their boats.

Consider also Cal(28,29,30,34), Columbia(28 - 34), Ranger (33), Islander(Misc), Morgan(28,30,33, but not Out-Island Models), Pearson (30,33, Triton, Vanguard). Keep in mind some of these may have centerboards which may or may not be to your taste.

Water makers: Most places you can catch and treat rainwater to drink. There are some destinations that are pretty dry, at least during certain seasons. Watermakers are a consistent power drain and require maintenance. If the maker is unused for more than a week or so the membrane needs to be pickled. That said they can be very handy. Even if you have a watermaker you should have tankage for the longest passage you might make, with no reserves. If the watermaker packs in early turn around and go back. Later, you have reserves equivalant to how many days into the passage the maker quit, more if you go into conservation mode.

A real head is a selling point for crew and not to be discounted. A holding tank is a necessity when traveling with in the waters of various nations such as the US and Canada.

I understand the attraction of the diesel, but a lot of the older boats have Atomic 4 gas engines. If you have no money constraints then there's no problem replacing them. If you do the trade off is considerable price reduction, 2/3 the fuel economy and a slight decrease in safety. Atomic 4's are less safe than diesels, but that doesn't make them dangerous, just less safe. Anyone that feels differently should be asked if they have propane on-board for cooking. Some of the shorter boats may have outboards. Again, don't eleminate these boats just for that reason. consider that they are easier to remove and service, lighter, and a lot cheaper.

A pair of medium-large (75w) solar panels on tracking mounts may be able to keep up with your electrical demands if you are careful about tracking the sun and about how much you consume. You might even have enough for refridgeration. I believe the concensus is that solar is all-around worthwhile. The opinion on wind is more mixed. Some can't deal with the noise, some indicated production is less consistent than solar, and there is always a safety issue of spinning blades near loose halyards and trying to stop and remove the unit during storm prep.

Whatever boat you get it is real nice to have enough seaberths for each member of the crew minus the person on watch that don't have to be converted from the meal table. The best berths are pilot berth, second best would be quarter berth, 3rd would be bench seats opposite the table, converted dinette 4th. The v-berth is pretty poor for sleeping underway, too much movement.

ta
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Old 16-09-2010, 10:48   #8
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I had a long reply typed up yesterday and my Win32 decided to reboot and wipe it . I'm on the Mac now.

Honestly, I had looked into a 26'-30' based on price. I don't know how much I'll have after selling off e.g. appliances and furniture, selling the house, and moving to Seattle, but I had set a speculative upper bound of $12k. Whether that goes into a $8k hull and $3k into a new motor and chartplotter or a $11k boat fully equipped, that's what I've been browsing. I'd love to move up to something like a 35', but I also want to keep the size manageable. Also, it appears that LOA is not the only indicator of how much space you'll have down below - beamier boats seem to have nicer appointments than slimmer racers, for example. Stowage would be pretty simple for us, just two bikes and scuba gear, mostly. Honestly, being horrible food nerds, galley equipment is most likely to be our priority. As long as the hull is sound, I have no problem, say, plumbing a holding tank or fixing a motor.

I have looked into some of the brands you recommended. What is coring, in the context of a hull? Also, how does one go about collecting rainwater on a boat? I hadn't heard of that before.

I had spec'd a diesel primarily because they tend to be simpler and more reliable than gasoline (though I don't know if that's true on the boat), and I like the idea of being able to use #2 bunker A if gasoline is unavailable. I've got nothing against gasoline engines as such. I had been discounting outboards, though. I guess I'll reconsider that. How does one charge the batteries from an outboard?

Thanks for your recommendations,
\Ben
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Old 16-09-2010, 16:18   #9
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Honestly, I had looked into a 26'-30' based on price. I don't know how much I'll have after selling off e.g. appliances and furniture, selling the house, and moving to Seattle, but I had set a speculative upper bound of $12k. Whether that goes into a $8k hull and $3k into a new motor and chartplotter or a $11k boat fully equipped, that's what I've been browsing.
$3k won't get you a motor and chart plotter, it will get you maybe 1/2 of an inboard diesel.
$1k or so will get you an outboard.
If you wind up on a budget, get paper charts. The costs up front are similar, but on the back side you will need to do a lot of wiring for the chartplotter, and a lot of maintenance, it's one more thing sucking power from the batteries,.... If the boat gets hit with lightning, most or all of your electronics will be toast.

Check this post I wrote to someone else.
Challenge: Sail Around the World on $15k ?

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I'd love to move up to something like a 35', but I also want to keep the size manageable.
My philosophy tends toward the smaller boats, cheaper to acquire, fix, berth, and maintain and much easier to sail. At 40' you need to have a lot more equip to be safe and even then everything has to be finesses, you can't man-handle anything. For a couple, I would top out at 35'

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Also, it appears that LOA is not the only indicator of how much space you'll have down below - beamier boats seem to have nicer appointments than slimmer racers, for example.
Racing boats of a certain age tended to be narrow. Racing boats of a different age tended to be beamy. Neither is what you want. Go for the middle ground

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Stowage would be pretty simple for us, just two bikes and scuba gear, mostly.
I assume you mean folding pedal bikes. There isn't room below for regular bikes until you get into the 40' range. Lashing full size bikes on deck won't work. It is dangerous because they will be in the way in foul weather and they will corrode to uselessness in 6-12mo.
You will also be storing a lot of food, fuel, clothes, water, books, navigation equip and spares

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Honestly, being horrible food nerds, galley equipment is most likely to be our priority.
Until you get into the 40' range galley space is going to be limited. What kind of equip do you need? The wife and I are planning a cruise and the one kitchen appliance we will make room for is a KitchenAide. Everything else will be done by hand. Keep in mind that if you cruise, there will be long periods where you will be eating shelf stable items and canned foods.

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As long as the hull is sound, I have no problem, say, plumbing a holding tank or fixing a motor.
If you are going cruising on a budget, you will need to learn all that and much more.

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What is coring, in the context of a hull?
Coring is when foam or balsa is sandwitched in between an inner and outter layer of fiberglass. Plywood has also been used, especially in decks. Coring of hulls began in the late 60's early 70's. The product will be thicker but lighter than solid fiberglass for a given strength. If one of the skins is punctured, water coming in can damage larger areas hull or deck by degrading the core or destroying the bond between the layers. Either leads to major loss of strength. More recent techniques limit how far damage can spread.

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Also, how does one go about collecting rainwater on a boat? I hadn't heard of that before.
Three main options:
A) Install collection points in your boat awnings, lead hoses from points to water tanks.
B) Most boats have a toe rail, so water collects on deck runs back along the boat to a gap in the toe rail or to a scupper. If it goes into a scupper put a 'y'-valve on the drain line and plumb to the tanks. If there is a gap in the rail, install a deck fill adjacent, and block the gap when you want to collect.
C) Rig a tarp under the boom to collect water dripping down the sail. Prep the tarp as in A).
Keep in mind with all these that you have to let the rain rinse all the salt and stuff off the boat for a bit before diverting water into the tanks. If there is much spray it will be hard to get uncontaminated water. Once in the tank, treatment with bleach is in order.

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I had spec'd a diesel primarily because they tend to be simpler and more reliable than gasoline (though I don't know if that's true on the boat), and I like the idea of being able to use #2 bunker A if gasoline is unavailable. I've got nothing against gasoline engines as such. I had been discounting outboards, though. I guess I'll reconsider that.
And they are much more fuel efficient. but if the boat comes with an Atomic-4 inboard or an outboard, converting probably not be cost effective. The best thing to do is maximize your tankage and make sure the boat has good light air sails and has plenty of regular sail area to begin with. If you can keep the boat going at 1 or 2 knots in really light winds, you will save a lot of fuel over the long haul.

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How does one charge the batteries from an outboard?
Very slowwwwwwly. Starting at about 8hp or so an alternator is an option on many outboards, but in the 7-12hp range you will be looking at the alternators put out 5-15 amps which means 4-10hr of charging a day if you conserve. Outboard alternators are fine for motoring lights, and most other uses when underway, but are basically not realistic for house power, while sailing. Get a couple of solar panels. And maybe a very small generator (1kw) for backup.
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Old 16-09-2010, 17:27   #10
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The costs I'd mentioned are basically based on some puttering around craigslist, sailing sites, and other internet sources. Whenever my perception conflicts with reality like this, please let me know - better now than later, of course. Regarding charts, maybe it's just the Navy influence but I had assumed that paper charts and at the very least a GPS-corrected DR track were to be maintained at all times regardless of other navigational equipment. I just like the idea of a chartplotter as a backup warning of e.g. shoals or other hazards.

I had also considered ~30 as the ideal combination of capacity, safety, and manageablility. Anything larger than that would probably overtax my abilities, especially in berthing/mooring. The price is right, too. What are the downsides to a beamy hull? It seems like an ideal way to increase the overall space in the cabin as well as improve handling in a seaway, but then, I'm not the expert . I did in fact intend to bring along two full-sized touring bicycles, stripping the frames and packing them in cosmoline and plastic bags and lashing them to the deck. That seems a bit naive now. Since the v-berth is undesireable at sea, and bicycles (with the pedals and handlebars removed) pack very flat, is there any reason I couldn't stow them there? I imagine that space would be used for storing sails and other gear anyhow. Speaking of stowage - on the boat (the big black nasty one), we stowed food anywhere we could, including some of the unused ballasting areas. Is there any reason not to store properly sealed shelf-stable foods (like retort-processed packs of tuna) in bilge areas or other interstitial spaces?

When I mentioned galley equipment I should have been more specific. We're more likely to have three slightly different dimensions of what to some people might look like the same frying pan than to have electric appliances. I'd love to bring my kitchenaid, not just for mixing, but because of all of the power-take-off gear you can hang on the front: slicers, grinders, sausage stuffers, and so on. I had just figured that the draw from the motor would be so taxing on the hotel batteries that it wouldn't be practical. Specialized knives, cookware, and hand-held gadgets are what we're more likely to bring. I'm sure Kari would love to bring her rice cooker from Japan, but the idea of using boat batteries to run electric heating elements makes as much sense to me as powering an electric car with a windmill on the hood. Alcohol or propane seem much more efficient.

Speaking of power, solar panels seem to be the way to go. I had assumed that the motor was primarily for charging the batteries with navigating a distant second, which is why I figured that the outboard would be used for it (and another reason I like the idea of a diesel inboard). If a prospective boat had a working gasoline inboard, especially one as common as the Atomic-4, I certainly wouldn't replace it anytime soon.

Are any of my other assumptions mistaken? I'll be sure to read your article, and we are definitely concentrating on making this a budget endeavor. To that end, I have two final questions:

What is involved in transiting the Panama Canal with a small boat? I couldn't find any non-commercial fee information (I intend to have the boat USCG documented or buy one that already is).

How likely/common is it for cruising crews to make small change in ports? Marina work, selling tuna to hotels, etc. I have absolutely no idea if such a thing is done (certainly not legally, without a work visa in a foreign port). Just wondering.

Thanks again,
\Ben
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Old 16-09-2010, 22:13   #11
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The costs I'd mentioned are basically based on some puttering around craigslist, sailing sites, and other internet sources. Whenever my perception conflicts with reality like this, please let me know - better now than later, of course.
You found one of my personal myopias. A lot of my early sailing experience was on boats with poorly maintained engines, read unreliable. My experience repairing motors is good but not exhaustive so I am inclined to buy a new inboard, use the dinghy's outboard as a backup and get an electric trolling motor as a backup to that and a single 14-18' oar as the ultimate backup. I assumed new buy because that was what I was comfortable with if I were repowering and didn't question my assumption.

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Regarding charts, maybe it's just the Navy influence but I had assumed that paper charts and at the very least a GPS-corrected DR track were to be maintained at all times regardless of other navigational equipment. I just like the idea of a chartplotter as a backup warning of e.g. shoals or other hazards.
Budget vs comfort/safety-level vs extra maintenance time. You'll have to make tradoff decisions at some point, probably a lot closer to departure time. Start with the paper charts and learn how to navigate with compass, speedo/log and deptho, keep the GPS to check yourself. Cheaper up front and lots of needed experience.

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I had also considered ~30 as the ideal combination of capacity, safety, and manageablility. Anything larger than that would probably overtax my abilities, especially in berthing/mooring. The price is right, too.
I was going to get a Cal29 until the wife & kid came along. Even with the wife it would have been fine.

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] What are the downsides to a beamy hull? It seems like an ideal way to increase the overall space in the cabin as well as improve handling in a seaway, but then, I'm not the expert .
Beamy hulls tend to lead to a number of bad behaviors.
Deathrolling (45degrees each way with a 1 sec period, sometimes it damps out, some times breaks the rig, sometimes stuffs the spin pole into the water also breaking the rig) under spinaker being one of them. As a cruiser on a budget, skipping the spin except in light downwind situations is a viable option.
My impression has been they are a lot harder to manage in higher winds but that may be limited exposure.
Another impression is that they don't like to surf as well as other designs.
They are more likely to remain upside down if capsized. Look up Capsize Screening formula for a simple indicator of capsize resistance. Look up any individual boat's stability curve to get an idea of inverted stability. The point of vanishing stability is indicative of how long a monohull is likely to remain inverted.

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I did in fact intend to bring along two full-sized touring bicycles, stripping the frames and packing them in cosmoline and plastic bags and lashing them to the deck. That seems a bit naive now. Since the v-berth is undesireable at sea, and bicycles (with the pedals and handlebars removed) pack very flat, is there any reason I couldn't stow them there? I imagine that space would be used for storing sails and other gear anyhow
My bad assumption. You are diehard bikers willing to disassemble your bikes regularly, I have 2 friends like that so I understand but you are a rare breed. The V-berth would be fine for them underway if you don't need the space for food. That will be something you have to evaluate after you buy the boat, and maybe after you provision for the first passage. Then again where are you going to go biking? Pacific atolls tend to be small and doable with pretty simple bikes. On larger chunks of land used bikes would be more available to buy and resell on departure, though not necessarily top of the line. I have a friend that just got back from 3-1/2yr on Kwajeline who indicated they always got really cheap single speeds because they would corrode and die in 1yr or so just from the salt in the air. I imagine that had something to do with the amount of maintenance but it is indicative of corrosion issues. Another issue to consider is that after several months of voyaging you aren't going to be in shape for any kind of serious bike trips without weeks of prep.

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. Speaking of stowage - on the boat (the big black nasty one), we stowed food anywhere we could, including some of the unused ballasting areas. Is there any reason not to store properly sealed shelf-stable foods (like retort-processed packs of tuna) in bilge areas or other interstitial spaces?
No reason. Use some discretion. Heavier things like spare chain, dive weights and canned foods with contents marked in Shapie on the ends should go in the bottom of the bilge. Make sure the bilge pump can draw from under everything. Lighter items should go in higher locations in the boat. So was the big black nasty boat a boomer or fast-attack?

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When I mentioned galley equipment I should have been more specific. We're more likely to have three slightly different dimensions of what to some people might look like the same frying pan than to have electric appliances. I'd love to bring my kitchenaid, not just for mixing, but because of all of the power-take-off gear you can hang on the front: slicers, grinders, sausage stuffers, and so on. I had just figured that the draw from the motor would be so taxing on the hotel batteries that it wouldn't be practical. Specialized knives, cookware, and hand-held gadgets are what we're more likely to bring.
I have actually checked the draw on our KitchenAide. I forget the numbers, but it would be pretty reasonable to run one from batteries provided the motor would work on whichever funky wave shape your inverter puts out. Even a double batch of Tollhouse would not be too big a problem as the load would be relatively brief. All the attachments is half the reason we'll take ours with.

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I'm sure Kari would love to bring her rice cooker from Japan, but the idea of using boat batteries to run electric heating elements makes as much sense to me as powering an electric car with a windmill on the hood. Alcohol or propane seem much more efficient.
Anything that makes heat draws huge and often has to run for a long time. The one partial exception is a microwave that only heat the food and mostly not anything else. Correll is fairly good for not heating in a microwave. It is also very durable and cheap if you insist on ceramic dishes instead of plastic. Check some of the other threads about what stove fuel to use.

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Speaking of power, solar panels seem to be the way to go. I had assumed that the motor was primarily for charging the batteries with navigating a distant second, which is why I figured that the outboard would be used for it (and another reason I like the idea of a diesel inboard). If a prospective boat had a working gasoline inboard, especially one as common as the Atomic-4, I certainly wouldn't replace it anytime soon.

Are any of my other assumptions mistaken? I'll be sure to read your article, and we are definitely concentrating on making this a budget endeavor.
In order of preference I would get Solar cells, 1kw generator, extra large alternator on main motor with smart controller, wind generator. Generator is going to be a lot more fuel efficient than engine and lot less wear on engine too.

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To that end, I have two final questions:

What is involved in transiting the Panama Canal with a small boat? I couldn't find any non-commercial fee information (I intend to have the boat USCG documented or buy one that already is).
If you go out of country other than Canada and maybe Mexico you'll have to be documented to clear in. Can't tell you about fees at the canal. I know you'll need to be able to motor at a minimum speed of about 5kt, have 4-125' lines and a competent handler for each, not including the skipper.

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How likely/common is it for cruising crews to make small change in ports? Marina work, selling tuna to hotels, etc. I have absolutely no idea if such a thing is done (certainly not legally, without a work visa in a foreign port). Just wondering.

Thanks again,
\Ben
Varys with your skills, demand at each port, the rules and diligence of customs officers. There are people working their way around. How persistent are you and how willing are you to bend rules?
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Old 16-09-2010, 23:03   #12
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G'Day Ben,

I'll add my welcome to the CF, and throw in some opinions as well.

I've read through your posts and it sounds like your goals are fine but that your expectatons for a small and inexpensive cruising yacht are a bit naive. Not surprising, that! We see many similar threads here on CF, and I suggest that you spend some time researching through them. The one mentioned above (saiing around the world for 15 grand) beats the subject to death, but does contain a lot of good advice. Inexpensive cruising is realistically possible, but there are many compromises required if you really must pare the costs down.

Newbies tend to concentrate on details before understanding some of the big issues. In your case, I wonder if you have a realistic idea about the available volume in a 26 to 30 foot yacht? Two full size bikes, a lot of specialized cooking gear, a "water plant", SCUBA gear and such take up a LOT of room, even when carefully packed. Then there are the things that you REALLY need, like a dinghy big enough to get both of you ashore in less than optimal conditions, foul weather gear, spares for all essential systems on the boat, sails, spare ground tackle, and so on.

So, one suggestion I'd offer is that you get down to nearby marinas, especially ones that cater to cruisers rather than weekend sailors, and ask to go aboard some boats in your prospective size range. These should be boats that are actually in use by real people, not ones emptied out and in the broker's hands. Most yotties are happy to show off their pride and joy, and while aboard you can ask about their solutions for the stowage conundrum. I think that you would learn a lot!

If taking all this gear along is an overwhelming priority to you, then moving up a bit in size may be the only option. Don't be very concerned about the "managebility" aspect of boats in the 30 to 40 foot range. Single and double-handed cruisers abound who are dealing with such vessels... the fiscal aspects are another matter!

Ann and I wish you success in your venture... there is nothing to compare with our lifestyle (IMHO)!

Cheers,

Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II lying Cairns, Qld, Oz
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Old 07-10-2010, 19:44   #13
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Aloha and welcome aboard!
You are getting some great advice.
Its good to have you here and posting. For boat recommendations take a look at some of the links and the book recommendation after my signature. If you find something and have questions then post that here too and you'll get lots of opinions.
I like the Pearson Triton for what you are attempting. A Fuji or Mariner 32 is also good but condition is a key. Never, ever attempt to buy anything without first hiring a marine surveyor to point out potential problems.
Thanks for your service. I used to teach sailing at Pearl Harbor long before the bridge to Ford Island (you can estimate how many years that's been).
kind regards,
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Old 07-10-2010, 20:11   #14
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Don't be afraid of a bigger boat. In my experience, the difference between single/short-handing a 30' and a 36' boat is pretty much nonexistent. And the bigger you get, the more options are available in rigging setups with extra masts/sails.

The things I would focus on when deciding on which boat to get into would be 1) weight (displacement), 2) keel depth and 3) room inside. If you're beginning, you'll probably want a little bit heavier boat, since they're more forgiving than the lighter ones if you leave too much sail up. Keel depth is a consideration if you're planning on island hopping or going into those beautiful, secluded bays. There's a reason many of them are secluded... Room inside is obviously an important consideration, especially if you're planning to cross oceans.

And mega-dittos to SkiprJohn's advice to never, ever, EVER buy a boat without first having a marine surveyer at the very least give it a good once-over. There are simply too many key components and things you don't know about sailboats which can go wrong. You need to have confidence in your boat, but that confidence has to be proven to a pretty high degree if you're going to take it into the open ocean.
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Old 07-10-2010, 21:03   #15
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Welcome aboard Ben. The previous posters have given you such excellent advise. It took me many years and much money to discover/learn much of the information they gave you in just a few minutes and for free. I just wanted to second NQL's statement that the seamanship requirements between a thirty foot boat and thirty-six is nonexistent. I wish I would have known that before I dropped over 30K purchasing and outfitting a Catalina 27 only to say "damn I need another 10 feet to put all the gear, food, spares etcetera necessary to take off for parts South WITH A MATE." Of course, the cost to buy and outfit a bigger boat is more, but not more than buying too small and then having to move up. If the budget won't allow for a bigger boat now but you need sailing experience, one idea is to buy something small and cheap, say a Catalina 22. Sail her all over the Puget sound while saving up for the bluewater boat. Just my two cents. Good luck and keep us posted.
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