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Old 03-05-2013, 12:43   #1
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Old boater planning for offshore cruising

Greetings,

I have been following the forum as a visitor for awhile and decided to join up and put my plans out there. As someone on here suggested, God must be laughing!

I am really not that old, 56, and retired a year ago. I am married with three kids, two out of college and one who will be a Senior in high school next year. My wife still works. We are financially secure and as financially conservative as you can be and still enjoy boating, diving and driving high performance driving events... I have sailed since I was a kid on the lakes in Indiana and Michigan. My wife and I have taken the Bareboat Course years ago and have frequently bareboat chartered in the BVI.

We have always loved sailing, but did not have the time necessary for sailing. Accordingly, we have always had a powerboat. When we were in Miami, we could go down to the Keys and back in a weekend (or on more than one occasion, the day) Likewise, now we can shoot to Bimini, over and back, for the day. I have the boat on a lift behind my house two canals off the ICW and 10 minutes from the Hillsboro Inlet. Since I am retired, the lack of time to sail is no longer a concern. In theory, I can skipper the boat to any location and she can meet me there.

My timetable goes something like this; 6 months to 1 year to find a boat. 6 months of prepping the boat. Sailing the boat from So. Florida to the Bahamas, BVI and further down the eastern Caribbean for 3-4 years on short trips. At that point assess how much we still enjoy sailing and then moving onto the boat for longer cruises. My hope is to be able to cruise the western Caribbean and eventually take the boat to Europe for sailing in the Baltic and the Med. I dont think it is likely that we will live aboard indefinitely, so we will always have a home base in Florida, maybe not the house we currently live in.

I have always followed sailboats and their development and have read a lot on the subject on perfecting a cruising boat. We sailed a monohull in sailing school, but all our charter time has been on cats, up to 45 feet. Although there is no question that I am the Captain, my wife is the Admiral and she has one non negotiable requirement. The boat must have AC! I also want to get the boat right the first time, I don't want to trade up each time our horizon expands.

My current thinking on boat selection is a used monohull, 45-55 feet, aluminum hull with large fuel and water capacity. A pilothouse would be nice, no converted ex-race boats. If I could find one that has no topside paint, I would be thrilled. There are a couple of fiberglass production boats I would consider though, Amel and Caliber. I want a boat that is comfortable and secure in all reasonable weather, can be sailed by one person if necessary for short hops. If going offshore, I would use a professional crew. My wife's definition of comfortable would include hot and cold running fresh water, functional HVAC, a good queen or larger mattres, a head with seperate shower, and a full compliment of safety gear including life raft, EPIRBs, stocked Abandon ship bag. Needs to have a dingy and a way to secure the dingy in bad weather.

I mentioned diving as one of our hobbies. I assume that I will need to modify any boat selected for ease of diving. Diving from a dingy sucks, I wont do it. I will add a air compressor to the boat for our tank fills in remote locations, and secure storage arrangements for the dive tanks. I may have to add a platform to the stern that folds up when not diving. An aft-cockpit boat might make this more practical. We are in the water a lot and need a good way to re-board the boat.

Well that's enough for an intro, I'm sure I will be posting more as I move forward through the boat selection/modification process.
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Old 03-05-2013, 13:05   #2
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Re: Old boater planning for offshore cruising

FWIW, I'm looking at trying to keep the purchase/modification budget under $300,000. I don't mind an older boat. I would never consider an older powerboat, but I look at sailboats like old houses. If you have a solid "foundation" you can make it whatever you want. I am pretty good with tools and can do most basic maintenance/repairs. There are numerous yards around here for those items that require rigging or pulling the boat out of the water.

Boat has to have a generator for the AC and to run the dive compressor. I would like a bowthruster, too. I know the bowthruster can be added to almost any boat, so that's just a question of money.
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Old 03-05-2013, 13:20   #3
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Re: Old boater planning for offshore cruising

Your thinking of some pretty big boats if you want to single hand. Too big, in fact. What is it about aluminium that attracts you? As you know, boats are a constant maintenance project. Aluminum has it benefits, but it also brings on a whole new set of new issues.

We do have some members (including mods) who have aluminum boats, and they are much more qualified than me to comment on those issues, but I would think fiberglass boats would be less of an issue.

You should be able to get a LOT of boat in a monohull for your target price range.
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Old 03-05-2013, 13:23   #4
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Re: Old boater planning for offshore cruising

Nothing wrong with Aluminun for sure, but I think you would have more selection in fiberglass and it's a bit more forgiving if you dont end up being fastidious about maintenance. Worst case with FG is you get blisters, worse case with ALu is you get a very corroded bottom or hole.... especially if you might leave it somewhere for a while and return. Just a thought. Friends of mine had a Paul Luke built 48 ft aluminum.... they painted it 3 times in 10 years!.... so you are on the right track with unpainted topsides... but that grey alum oxide can get pretty ugly and rub off on everything when unpainted also.
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Old 03-05-2013, 13:55   #5
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Re: Old boater planning for offshore cruising

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Your thinking of some pretty big boats if you want to single hand. Too big, in fact. What is it about aluminium that attracts you? As you know, boats are a constant maintenance project. Aluminum has it benefits, but it also brings on a whole new set of new issues.

We do have some members (including mods) who have aluminum boats, and they are much more qualified than me to comment on those issues, but I would think fiberglass boats would be less of an issue.

You should be able to get a LOT of boat in a monohull for your target price range.
I know all about electrolosis, cost me a pair of lower units on brand new outboards on my previous powerboat...

The Amel and Caliber are both fiberglass boats I would consider and I realize there are a lot more fiberglass boats. Fiberglass just isn't my favorite. The only reason I would chose one of them over steel is that the steel requires almost constant maintenance on the deck surfaces.

With aluminum there are no blisters, less leaks at fittings and the deck-hull joints, good strength to weight ratio and without paint, a lot less maintenance/cost. Obviously it needs periodic bottom paint, but that's a given on any kind of sailboat in this area.

Why do you think that the boat is "too big" to sail? I'd rather add systems to alow short handed sailing than be out there and think "You're going to need a bigger boat." Picking up a couple of crew would also be a possibility, if really necessary. A ketch rig might allow easier sail handling.

I'm pretty conservative, so shortening sail at night or before the weather gets bad is a given. I don't need to be anywhere on any schedule that will force me into being reckless. I know the Mother Nature sometimes has other ideas!
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Old 03-05-2013, 14:59   #6
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Re: Old boater planning for offshore cruising

Sounds to me like you might want to look into long-range trawlers, though I'm not sure you've got the budget for it. If you're going to be running AC 24/7 you are into huge tankage, generators, and power might be better overall. You may find you don't mind anchoring out without AC, which is what most of the sailors do. The Caribbean breezes tend to be stronger, and with good hatches and ventilation the boat can be comfortable. I know of some folks with larger aluminum sailboats who basically run the AC in the evening before bed to cool down the sleeping cabin when at anchor. If you can live with that, you might get away with sail.
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Old 03-05-2013, 16:08   #7
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Re: Old boater planning for offshore cruising

It will be sail, and I did say large fuel tanks!

I don't see running AC 24/7, but certainly at night in the summer in the tropics. So good ventilation is a plus. I have seen some boats with little provision for ventilation. There are too many sailboats with good ventilation for me to consider one.
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Old 03-05-2013, 16:13   #8
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Re: Old boater planning for offshore cruising

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Sailing the boat from So. Florida to the Bahamas, BVI and further down the eastern Caribbean...
Just in case you don't already know... Do a search for "thorny path." Going from the Bahamas down to the VI and further south is not nearly as easy as it might seem, just from looking at a chart. You are going directly into the prevailing wind and currents until you get down to about Anguilla.
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Old 03-05-2013, 16:33   #9
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Re: Old boater planning for offshore cruising

Sounds like you need one of Steve Dashew's Sundeer yachts. But if your wife wants AC offshore, that's code for "buy a trawler" or "stay at marinas with shore power".
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Old 03-05-2013, 16:45   #10
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Sounds like you need one of Steve Dashew's Sundeer yachts. But if your wife wants AC offshore, that's code for "buy a trawler" or "stay at marinas with shore power".
Indeed, he almost described our boat except for hull material and length. Easy to single-hand though... which brings up the matter of budget.
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Old 03-05-2013, 17:16   #11
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Re: Old boater planning for offshore cruising

Welcome to the Cruisers Forum.

While it's good to have clear specific requirements I would have thought that very few boats will fit yours. That said there's a handful of nice looking aluminium boats on Yachtworld. They all look fast.

Might have to go to France to see most of them though.

The main disadvantage of aluminium (electrolysis) has already been mentioned. If your boat is going to sit for months in strange marinas surrounded by other boats on shore power with absentee owners then fibreglass is the only way to go.

Is your wife really going to let you sail the world in a expensive yacht?
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Old 03-05-2013, 17:49   #12
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pirate Re: Old boater planning for offshore cruising

As someone on here suggested, God must be laughing! ...

I don't know if She's laughing but I am. I've forgotten the number but there are limits to how many pairs of shoes yer wife can bring aboard. I see trouble in yer future from the jump. In yer boots Major, I'd keep an eye out for the next, and younger, Mrs. Maj.

Don't forget that EPIRB!

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Old 03-05-2013, 19:46   #13
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Re: Old boater planning for offshore cruising

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As someone on here suggested, God must be laughing! ...

I don't know if She's laughing but I am. I've forgotten the number but there are limits to how many pairs of shoes yer wife can bring aboard. I see trouble in yer future from the jump. In yer boots Major, I'd keep an eye out for the next, and younger, Mrs. Maj.

Don't forget that EPIRB!

That ain't an option... She is younger and was the next...

I might have more shoes, too. Again, I'm not suggesting AC 24/7, but if i am in an anchorage in the Caribbean in summer, I want AC, too. I've been in the BVI in the summer and we use the AC at night, only. Cruising and comfort are not mutually exclusive. I don't want to be the crusty character on the crusty old sailboat that no one wants to anchor downwind from.

I'd like suggestions on how to do this from people who insist on the same level of comfort, safety and convenience. Thanks but no thanks for the motor yacht suggestions. If I wanted one, I'd get one. I don't think it is inconceivable to find a well equipped cruising boat for $200k and then refurb and refit for my requirements with the remaining $100k.
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Old 04-05-2013, 02:05   #14
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... I don't want to be the crusty character on the crusty old sailboat that no one wants to anchor downwind from.
Well, I didn't plan it that way. It just worked out.

I'd love to have AC and all that jazz. Sounds like you and the Mrs. have the wherewithal to start the next adventure. Good luck. There are many boaters on CF with larger boats. When you get some specific questions, these folks will have answers.
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Old 04-05-2013, 07:18   #15
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Re: Old boater planning for offshore cruising

Thanks!

I will be sure to ask a lot of questions I. The monohull section about the specific boats I am interested in.
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