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Old 04-02-2018, 17:37   #1
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27ft cruising reality

So I know many people have cruised far in these Albin Vegas. They are a sturdy platform designed in a previous era of minimalism. In your experience or opinion, do they have enough capacity in food and water storage to safely provision 2 occupants for 40+ days at sea (Pacific Crossing) without overloading and degrading performance? I have been thinking about purchasing a watermaker and self steering vane, but something inside of me thinks that a 34-36 foot boat would be much better suited for this endeavor. This came about after a friend conveyed to me that his larger boat had a very rough journey (comfort and space wise) and would be remiss to travel in a small boat like mine. I have spent thousands on my current boat and am not savvy to spend any more if there is a possibility that it would be sub-standard platform. I also want to be able to maintain clean-cut, semi-professional look instead of looking like a beach bum. Apologies to the Captain Ron look alike, but that just isn't my look, especially in the resort areas. I would put my future spending money into a larger boat. Do I have big boat-itis or just unrealistic snobbery...? Cheers anyways.
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Old 04-02-2018, 18:02   #2
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Re: 27ft cruising reality

From your post, my advice would be to get a larger boat, or an eye patch.
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Old 04-02-2018, 18:12   #3
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Re: 27ft cruising reality

That size used to be the standard, but people were braver, and maybe better prepared then.

But lots still do long passages, even circumnavigation.

Face up to prepping even the soundest boat for safe (as possible) blue water is not cheap nor quick.

You two better get along very well, and both be fit and alert on minimum sleep.

A watermaker is less weight than X gallons of water, IMO good investment if you can power it.

wrt provisioning, think hiking-camping not a hotel buffet.
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Old 04-02-2018, 18:41   #4
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Re: 27ft cruising reality

Im putting safety before comfort at this point. When I start to add up items such a liferaft, drogue, spare anchors and chain, spare sails, spare running and standing rigging, engine spares, fuel, dinghy, etc.. It all adds up to a lot of stuff (space and weight). At this point I haven't added in food and water. Also add the fact that I am going from cold water to warm water and add in all the cold weather gear. A watermaker adds components like a generator and fuel to run it. How far below the waterline is safe? As far as resorts, it would only be on a sporadic basis to meet up with friends and family. Mostly it will be boatlife for me, but I want to keep it clean.
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Old 04-02-2018, 18:52   #5
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Re: 27ft cruising reality

People have. You probably could. Only you can make the tradeoffs for your situation. I would not but my situation is different and such a voyage is not in alignment with my personal goals.

A fact to consider is that a larger boat will be faster and more sea kindly, all else being equal.
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Old 04-02-2018, 19:11   #6
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Re: 27ft cruising reality

Look, we have friends who circumnavigated in a Cal 2-27 using celestial nav and no electronics. We met a family on a Vancouver 27, two adults and two mid size kids, started in LA and made it to Oz last time we saw them. We know folks who did long passages and cruises on 24 footers... it can be done, and all of them seemed to have a good time, none appeared to be starving and even the kids were happy.

I fear that you have listened to the doom criers here on CF too much. Very few of the ones who are discouraging have actually done a passage on a smaller boat, and the group-think about required spares, safety gear, water tankage, electronics and so on is somewhat overblown. You can happily cruise with much less. EG, spare rigging? Hardly needed if you start out with sound stuff. A spare anchor? Yep, but not a spare chain rode. Watermaker? Possibly, but you don't need a giant one. A Katydin (sp) 35 that will make around 5 liters per hour and run direcly off a modest solar panel will keep you going if the tanks run dry. Dinghy? Absolutely, but a small soft bottom inflatable is adequate, if not ideal. And so on...

Some folks will decry such cruising as merely camping, and refuse to consider it as a mans of realizing the cruising dream. That's their problem, not yours.

To be honest, the smallest boat we've done passages in was a Yankee 30, and that's a bit bigger and faster and more comfortable than a Vega, but well below the minimum standard professed by some on these pages. In your place, having invested a lot of money and time in your Vega I'd give it a trial run. Only if it proves unbearable would I change horses... as opposed as doing it now.

Good luck with the decision and the cruising.

Jim
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Old 04-02-2018, 19:21   #7
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Re: 27ft cruising reality

Thanks Jim, my initial thought was that it was adequate but yes, group-think (Orwellian) has influenced me. As the spare rigging goes, its just one long cable with Sta-locs to be fitted if needed.
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Old 04-02-2018, 20:07   #8
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Re: 27ft cruising reality

Back in the old days nobody had watermakers, or electronics, or solar panels or a lot of the stuff you mention... and somehow they made it. We did have epirbs though, the giant canister kind. My buddy and I rigged his Columbia 24 (1000# less displacement than yours and considerably shorter waterline) to go to Hawaii for the 2 of us way back in 1980. Homemade windvane, lots of water, no liferaft but we did have a nice navy surplus kind of raft!, no electronics, no GPS, one long length of chain rode, the other was nylon/chain combo, Danforths, alcohol stove, stuff like that, and he still had room for his guitar!.. I was confident the boat was fine, but he was just too sea-sick so we ended up coming back, so take my words with a grain of salt! Sure larger will be more comfortable, but you may load up a larger boat too with lots of stuff too and then you'll want a bigger one! Still that being said, were I to be outfitting my current boat (small 29, very similar to yours but 1000# more ballast) for a longer trip, I'd still definitely be thinking along the "camping out" lines. I would not be planning on stepping off in HI ready to go to dinner at the yacht club. But the 40 day part, is that for the leg from AK to HI? Why not come down here before heading across?
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Old 04-02-2018, 20:20   #9
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Re: 27ft cruising reality

Tim, if you have or are going to change out your rigging, keeping the longest one and a stay-loc is a good idea. Most small diesels can be hand started (and atomic 4s) so you really dont need to carry that heavy spare starter. Spare sails or at least a good selection is a good idea (a nylon drifter is wonderful) and some sort of cockpit shade that also works as a rain catcher is needed. Spare anchors are a given, but as Jim said, you dont need tons of extra chain for each anchor. Your mention of a generator indicates that you have not come to grips with the reality of SMALL boat cruising. You should be able to cross any ocean with no electricity other than a few dry cells for hand held GPS. You mention a wind vane and I look at that as the most important gear on a small boat (actually any size) to make your journey easier. If you are worried about performance, you might want to consider a folding prop. Keep your fixed one as a spare and make sure you have whatever it needs to re-attach it. I did 2 years in the pacific (North and South) in an engineless 26 footer and it was a wonderful trip but I will admit that by the end of it I SOOO MUCH wanted a bigger boat. It got me started on many years of cruising. Just my 2 cents worth. ____Grant.
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Old 04-02-2018, 20:23   #10
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Re: 27ft cruising reality

Mike Rutherford circumnavigated the Americas in an Alvin Vega. You'll find lots of info online. You should try emailing him with specific questions.
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Old 04-02-2018, 21:19   #11
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Re: 27ft cruising reality

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don C L View Post
Back in the old days nobody had watermakers, or electronics, or solar panels or a lot of the stuff you mention... and somehow they made it. We did have epirbs though, the giant canister kind. My buddy and I rigged his Columbia 24 (1000# less displacement than yours and considerably shorter waterline) to go to Hawaii for the 2 of us way back in 1980. Homemade windvane, lots of water, no liferaft but we did have a nice navy surplus kind of raft!, no electronics, no GPS, one long length of chain rode, the other was nylon/chain combo, Danforths, alcohol stove, stuff like that, and he still had room for his guitar!.. I was confident the boat was fine, but he was just too sea-sick so we ended up coming back, so take my words with a grain of salt! Sure larger will be more comfortable, but you may load up a larger boat too with lots of stuff too and then you'll want a bigger one! Still that being said, were I to be outfitting my current boat (small 29, very similar to yours but 1000# more ballast) for a longer trip, I'd still definitely be thinking along the "camping out" lines. I would not be planning on stepping off in HI ready to go to dinner at the yacht club. But the 40 day part, is that for the leg from AK to HI? Why not come down here before heading across?
Thanks for the funny story. My current proposed route is AK to BC, then direct to Hilo. I could go down the California coast if needed. "Camping out" is the best way to describe living conditions on the boat. I still spend weekends on my boat in Homer Boat Harbor even though the nite temps get to below zero. I have heaters plugged in. My boat is currently frozen in. Camping is nothing new to me living here in AK. I once slept in my Ford Festiva for 3 weeks cause I had no money. Then, when I started a business and was trying to save money, I slept in my Cherokee 180 for 4 weeks at the Juneau Airport waiting to get it back to Fairbanks. Not to mention every time I salvaged a wrecked plane and slept at the crash site for weeks on end getting the plane ready to fly out. Now that I have some money to spend, I kind of like to have a change of scenery other than camping.
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Old 04-02-2018, 21:39   #12
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Re: 27ft cruising reality

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Originally Posted by alaskaflyfish View Post
So I know many people have cruised far in these Albin Vegas...
If you peruse Chuck and Laura Rose’s YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/vega1860, your questions and many others will be answered. Good luck.
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Old 04-02-2018, 21:39   #13
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Re: 27ft cruising reality

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Tim, if you have or are going to change out your rigging, keeping the longest one and a stay-loc is a good idea. Most small diesels can be hand started (and atomic 4s) so you really dont need to carry that heavy spare starter. Spare sails or at least a good selection is a good idea (a nylon drifter is wonderful) and some sort of cockpit shade that also works as a rain catcher is needed. Spare anchors are a given, but as Jim said, you dont need tons of extra chain for each anchor. Your mention of a generator indicates that you have not come to grips with the reality of SMALL boat cruising. You should be able to cross any ocean with no electricity other than a few dry cells for hand held GPS. You mention a wind vane and I look at that as the most important gear on a small boat (actually any size) to make your journey easier. If you are worried about performance, you might want to consider a folding prop. Keep your fixed one as a spare and make sure you have whatever it needs to re-attach it. I did 2 years in the pacific (North and South) in an engineless 26 footer and it was a wonderful trip but I will admit that by the end of it I SOOO MUCH wanted a bigger boat. It got me started on many years of cruising. Just my 2 cents worth. ____Grant.
Thanks for good advice. I admit my only experience is sailing around Alaska so I am still trying to formulate needs versus wants. To say there are unknowns is an understatement. But, like most people in AK, we generally bring everything we can think of wherever we go because it is very harsh up here and there isn't a lot of places to pull into to get help. The mindset is "self sufficient". I do have a Yamaha 2000 watt gen set. Nice and light. A folding prop would be helpful and is on my list of wants as well as a rope cutter on the shaft. Cockpit shade, yup, now on my list too. The boat is getting heavier just thinking about it.
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Old 05-02-2018, 02:24   #14
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Re: 27ft cruising reality

I can only add to what has already been said. Of course you can do it. People are out there doing it right now as I sit and type on my computer. I'm going to do it in my Cape Dory 28. It will only be me but that's what I want.

Read Charles S. Dewell's "Kawabunga's South Seas Adventure." He and his wife sailed around the South Pacific in a Flicka 20. He talks about some of the issues with doing it in such a small boat. But they did it and had a great time !

I'm reading James Baldwin's "Across Islands and Oceans." He circumnavigated in a Pierson Triton with almost nothing including money ! If I may paraphrase him a little, he wrote something like this - "People sailing in large boats with all the luxuries are tourists traveling around. Those sailing in smaller boats with less frills are voyaging."

I want to voyage.

What do you want ? That Albin Vega is a great boat. I say go man go !!!
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Old 05-02-2018, 03:15   #15
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Re: 27ft cruising reality

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Originally Posted by alaskaflyfish View Post
This came about after a friend conveyed to me that his larger boat had a very rough journey (comfort and space wise) and would be remiss to travel in a small boat like mine.
This is subjective and "a rough journey" is bound to differ from person to person, from boat to boat and even trip to trip.

Quote:
Originally Posted by alaskaflyfish View Post
I have spent thousands on my current boat and am not savvy to spend any more if there is a possibility that it would be sub-standard platform. I also want to be able to maintain clean-cut, semi-professional look instead of looking like a beach bum.
You have spent the money and presumably know your current AV inside and out. Has to be tempting to go with what you have and is affordable. It would be a real shame to buy a big yacht then spend thousands of $$ to bring it up to a reasonable spec. Only then to set off and not have the money to cruise, go ashore and enjoy the places you visit. Those costs do mount up, for fun price up a AV main sail and compare that to a main for a 40ft yacht of your choice on this site: Hyde Sails Direct

If it was me and I wish I was, I would look carefully at water. Can you survive on say 5 litres per person per day? or do you want a shower each day for a more civilized life style? For me a small water maker would make life much more palatable even if it did only produce 5LPH. This removes the worry about trying to catch water in buckets from rain along the way.

A film called "Beyond the Western Horizon" will be worth watching, sadly now pay per view but it's about the Hiscocks sailing a 30ft wooden yacht around the world in a previous era. You can benefit from a watermaker, wind vane and weather forecasts via wireless radio to make life a little less stressful.

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