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Old 22-01-2011, 19:34   #1
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Location: Eastern Shore, MD
Boat: Catalina 350
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Thumbs up When Can I Leave Maryland ?

Wind Seeker Here.

Some of you may remember me as the one who re-sparked the Great Debate on which knot to tie on an anchor rode for a bridle. Iím Sooo sorry to stir up such an emotional debate. For me, I chose the knot that Gord recommended since he said it was bi-directional. In other words, I couldnít screw it up for a first time practice knot. I hope you donít hold that against me!

Since this is an introduction, here it goes: (Please forgive the grammar in order to be brief)

Rewind to 1987. Just out of college. Relocated to Richmond, VA. Didnít know a soul in town. Moved into an apartment and made great friends still today. Work colleague Dick Pitman (thank you Dick wherever you are) took me flying one weekend. Later, I crewed on his boat (Daysailer) in a Regatta on Swift Creek Reservoir. If I remember, I think we took an award, but I doubt it was because of me. If I remember, it was his Handicap. He introduced me to Jim Richards. Jim needed a Spinnaker (middle) man for his 19-foot lightning. I took him up on it.

We sailed nearly every weekend in the summers. We took that boat to Lake Gaston NC, Potomac MD, Rehoboth Bay, De, Susquehanna, PA, Fishing Bay, MD and other point in the circuit. We did this for about 4 years and I learned so much about sail trim, tactics, ballast, navigation, etc. Once I was established, the dating and Girlfriend thing took priority. I need to find Jim Richards today and invite him sailing on my boat.

In 1992, I met Cheryl at a party the week before Valentines. For Valentines, I went out with her and her Girlfriends since she already had plans. How fun. Me and 4 women out on a date. I married her 3 years later. Cheryl went on a few regattas on Jimís and otherís Boat. She even got a trophy in one regatta.

Not long after we got married that her mother donated to us a 25 foot OíDay that we did not know she even owned. A little odd, but never kick a gift horse in the mouth right? The boat was located several miles down the York River. So from our house to the boat was 1.5 hours. To get to the Chesapeake was another 2 hours. The boat had no amenities, so we were forced to pull it into the slip for the night. We did this for at least 3 or 4 years. This is where I got skippering skills.

What we experienced was sweltering heat without a bimini top. We slept at night on an inflatable mattress stretched across the berths on top of coolers. We peed in a coffee can. If we were going to continue sailing, it was time for a change. The requirements for the next boat were a Bimini top, Hot and Cold running water and a Toilet. I scoured the used market for a year and we finally decided on the Catalina 350 from the 2003 Annapolis Boat show. It was a great end of the year show price deal. 4 feet more than I was considering and 10 foot more than the OíDay with a 13 foot beam! Itís a floating condo.

The main reason why I was allowed to buy this was because I could work on it. And, I have maintained this boat. We now live in Maryland 500 yards from the boat and a 20 minute boat ride to the Chester River. Itís ideal. We use it almost every weekend from April-November; including a weekís vacation cruise around the Chesapeake every year.

My big dream for a long time is to go cruising. I have no illusions to grandeur, but an opportunity for new experiences and to meet some new people. Subscribing to Cruising World was a big mistake. The big question I have now is how to prepare? Iím not rich, but Iíve done OK. I want to do this while I am healthy and before Iím too old and not able to do it. So, this all leads up to this question:

Assuming money is no object, then how would you outfit a boat for cruising? Wow! Is that wide open or what? Just kidding. Letís narrow the scope and say, what would you need if you cruised from Maine to the Caribbean? As much as I love the accommodations of my boat, and even though it is Class A, I would never take it too far off shore with a 13 foot beam. It beats me to death in a 25-knot breeze on the Chesapeake Bay. Assume a moderate living. Not lavish and not modest either. Comfortable so it is fun and not too much of a stretch. It would be nice to hear the different aspects or approaches for preparing for a cruising life.

Some things that come to mind:
  • How do you phsycoloically un-spool this tangled web called life in the USA?
  • What are the necessary mechanical, electrical, electromechanical and electronic devices necessary for outfitting a cruising boat?
  • How much money do you need?
  • How much money do you need to make?
  • What type of work is there on the water?
  • Do you need to carry firearms?
  • What skills need to be practiced?
  • How communicate, pay bills, Email, Internet? Satellite?

I do not think the intro is the right place for an extensive blog like this, but surely this topic has been covered. Links would be great. Glad to meet everyone and glad to be here!

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Old 22-01-2011, 19:52   #2
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Thats a lot of questions.
lets see...

first question...By nature, a tangled web is nearly impossible to 'un-spool'. It must be completely removed

2: you need a boat (check!) good anchoring gear, a few charts, and apparently, a really expensive pair of binoculars

3&4: all of it.

5: whatever you do now, just in a different place.


7:sailing (not motoring)


I think that covers all your questions, have a great time and keep us posted on your progess

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Old 22-01-2011, 20:01   #3
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I'm joking of course... I'm sure you will find numerous opinions on each of these points. I think you'll eventually find it best to focus on one thing at a time... you have a boat, so that's a good place to start for now... keep reading, lots of great info on these boards that address all of your questions.
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Old 22-01-2011, 20:11   #4
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That was really funny! I like the binocular joke particularly. thanks!
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Old 22-01-2011, 20:16   #5
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To be honest, this type of information doesn't come in a "brochure" format. The only way you will answer these questions for yourself is through extensive research. In the end, only you can answer these types of questions, because if one thing is constant in cruising it is one size does NOT fit all. Luckily, Cruiser's Forum is a great place to get started. Click the "Search" drop-down, and paste each question you asked into the Google Custom Search area. Then start reading!

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Old 22-01-2011, 23:19   #6
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Thanks for that!

That post got me thinking. You are so right. There really isn't a one size fits all approach to cruising. You normally don't learn anything uless you have opened your mind to do it. For me, cicumstance, obsicles and challenges have given me my (sometimes) shining moments.

You will soon find out that I love stories because they convey so much. Back when we had the O'Day. Chery called it camping - and it was. If we wanted to cook anything, we used my portable Coleman stove. We brought our own water, the toilets were a hike and no AC. We had two 8 lb Yorkies keeping us company. When we upgraded to the Catalina, we had all the ammenities and more room, but not AC. It was much more pleasurable.

One day, cheryl is on a return flight home talking to a fellow passenger who is telling her how much she enjoys crusing with her husband, two kids and a Lab. She talked about the "picture Window" on her boat. Cheryl is thinking this must be a 50 foot Oyster. Turns out that she was talking about a 27 foot sailboat. And we thought we were cramped. What a paradigm shift.

So, you are so right in that everything is relative and everyone is different. This is a big site. It will certainly take some time. Thanks for the input.
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Old 23-01-2011, 00:46   #7
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35 too small?

If I could distill the essence of your questions it seems as though you believe the Catalina 350 to be too small for serious cruising and are asking what would be an appropriate size boat for yourself and your wife.

You'd also like some indication as to what might be suitable and the sort of equipment level to aim for?

From my perspective, money no object, I'd go for the Island Packet SP Cruiser. I'm not even going to check the price...
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Old 23-01-2011, 00:59   #8
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I love these posts. Do I need a six- or eight-man life raft, and by the way, what is the true meaning of life? There have been dozens of them with hundreds of answers, some of them actually useful, so you should work through the archives.

The questions are more or less impossible to answer, but I could say a couple of things. For one thing, I don't know anyone, and I don't think I have ever heard of anyone who has set off cruising who ever regretted it. Some people regret setting off on very long passages (witness all the boats for sale in the Azores), but going off cruising is different. So that means the deck is stacked in your favor to begin with!

I wouldn't psyche myself out, if I were you, trying to analyze it too much. Prepare as best as you can (in terms of finances, equipment, and skills -- all of these things) and go. Your boat is perfectly fine, that's one thing you don't need to even think twice about. People go all around the world on much less seaworthy craft. There is not any particular minimum of equipment and supplies which you absolutely need other than, maybe, food, water, spare parts and first aid supplies. It's nice to have basic safety equipment (EPIRB, SSB, life raft). But one famous circumnavigator cruising couple don't even have an engine on their boat. If you read this forum you will get an idea of what items of equipment are desirable.

Financially speaking, as others have said, there are no rules, just like there are no rules on land. The more money you have available the more you will spend, just like on land. Most people find that they get by fine on a similar amount of money that they are used to spending on land, and some people get by on much less.

How much fun you have is not all that much related to how much money you have to spend on it. What a coincidence -- just like on land.
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Old 23-01-2011, 11:24   #9
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Unspool? Or cut-the-cord...

I'm new to posting, too, but I've been lurking since last summer. My wife and I are working through many of the same questions. (Everyone on the site probably has had to work through them too and the answers have got to be pretty individual.

We've been lucky to daysail a J-35 owned by a friend every weekend from Annapolis (Back Creek) for the past 3 years. That's been wonderful to save pennies. We just signed the contract on the boat we've dreamed of, and will spend some time on her next summer on the Great Lakes before making a longer voyage 'home' to VA/MD the next year, with the boat just paid-in-full.

We both work full time and will keep doing that for a while longer to build up the "cruising kitty." How long? At least 2 or 3 more while gradually "unspooling" (your word). I've already told my boss that the boat will have an impact on my schedule, starting summer 2012. He's got over a year to come to terms with that. We will cruise locally, as far as New York and Charleston, then cut the cord in no-more-than-5 years for points farther afield.

Skills?... That's something I work on just about every weekend. Last summer I built a CLC rowing/sailing dingy to learn basics about woodwork, resin and fiberglass. The two years before was building a kit car ... learning basic mechanical skills and 12v electrical in the process. Years before that I picked up a commercial sailing license (and I'll be taking the required 5-yr renewal BST training at MITAGS next week to keep it up).

I've been working towards having "my boat" to "sail around the world" for well over a decade, saving where possible and learning "relevant" skills at every chance. Next year I plan to take a diesel mechanics course at a local community college, while reading the staples, e.g. Calder. There's nothing like a focused goal to work towards, and at this point my wife and I can actually see it. I'm sure fortunate that she shares the dream with me, and could even be called the instigator.

Keep sight of your dreams; keep learning; keep smiling!
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Old 02-02-2011, 10:53   #10
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Aloha and welcome aboard!
Good to have you here on the forum. Since you are no stranger to the forum you probably have read lots already but if you haven't then try the search link after my signature.
For you and your wife I'd recommend no larger than 36 feet and I'd keep the Catalina. It might pound a bit to weather but most modern designs do and you'll spend most your time anchored or next to a dock anyway. Just my opinion of course.
kind regards,

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