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Old 19-01-2021, 08:58   #16
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Re: Cruising Advice for a Widower

Taking some sailing lessons would be a good place to start or charter with an instructor. Who knows you may not like living on a boat.
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Old 19-01-2021, 09:05   #17
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Re: Cruising Advice for a Widower

I am not sure of monthly costs however I know from going thru the Panama Canal that your budget for that is too small. I would plan on a bit more per month then it could give you a cushion for unplanned things on route. Go for it while you can.
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Old 19-01-2021, 09:06   #18
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Re: Cruising Advice for a Widower

I'm so sorry for your loss. I have a dear friend who, though older, has a similar story. He lost his wife suddenly about 4 years ago. He was pretty lost personally, and a friend suggested sailing. He is a delightful, easy-going guy to sail with, and so - through mutual acquaintances - he started out as a companion/crew for people who needed the extra hand, typically on catamarans. The sailing world is full of guys who love sailing with wives who love the guys, but not sailing so much. We have all met tons of those guys out on the seas - there seem to be lots of them in the Med for some reason. These are the people who my friend Joe really connected with.

In 2017-19, he ended up sailing almost full time, as he spent months at a time, all over the world, either sailing with people he got to know, or taking care of their boats while they were away.

If you are experiencing the same gut-wrenching dislocation that he was, my first suggestion would be not to make big commitments - like going out and buying a boat. Maybe you could explore sailing with others for a while. When you do find your next chapter, and if it includes owning a boat, you will know exactly what you want and how to get it.
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Old 19-01-2021, 09:11   #19
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Re: Cruising Advice for a Widower

As a therapist and coach I'd like to say that after you've grieved enough, moving towards your dreams is the best way to heal and recover from your loss. Good on you.

As a sailor who did a lot of single handing in the past and has spent a lot of time on a Catalina 36, I would prefer something heavier, more stoutly built, with a full keel or skeg hung rudder.

For safety, especially when single handing, it's important to have a boat that can handle the worst conditions you anticipate.

You want to be able to heave to or allow the boat to steer itself during gales at sea with huge waves.

I've been in those conditions in a Catalina 36 and got through it, but the boat required a lot of manhandling that can exhaust a single hander after awhile.

As other posters mention, bigger isn't better, and I do prefer the smallest boat that will do the job, but not a lightweight mass production boat with a spade rudder.

So the question I recommend asking yourself and this forum might be "What is the best, safest, easiest to handle boat under 38 feet for single handed circumnavigation?"
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Old 19-01-2021, 09:20   #20
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Re: Cruising Advice for a Widower

A. 2-1/2yr is not the usual schedule. That’s the very fast schedule the ralleys follow.
B. Bow thruster is something you want if you regularly are docking or maneuvering in tight quarters or in strong currents. If you are cruising that might be something you want to do once a year and can usually find ways to avoid.
C. The Pardey’s reported on the Xmas 1982 debacle in Cabo San Lucas where an unseasonable gale drove 29 of 45 anchored cruising boats onto the beach. Their observation, which others on hand also noted, was that for a couple about 37’ was as big as they could handle in those conditions. Larger boats that came thru tended to have more people aboard. It wasn’t a function of the anchors or that chain used, it was things chafing thru, breaking, and there just not being enough hands.
D. For a solo sailor I would suggest something in the 28-34’ range. 36’ probably wouldn’t overwhelm you.
E. Buy a Laser right now and go sailing for 3-4hr every other weekend for 6-12mo. Along about month 8 start looking for a small starter boat, Catalina 22, Cal 20 and start doing overnight trips once or twice a month for a year. Then you’ll have a lot better idea what you are getting into and what to look for in a cruising boat.

If you want to swing by San Diego I’ll take you out on my boat.
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Old 19-01-2021, 09:27   #21
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Re: Cruising Advice for a Widower

Couple YouTube channel suggestions.

Adventures of an old sea dog. Older Brit gentleman currently in NZ, halfway around. He's on a 32-foot-ish boat.

Project Atticus up until recently we're cruising a 1960s vintage Allied 30

Search CF for "monthly cruising expense" and you'll find several threads, one by SailorBoy includes an excel sheet of his running totals. He runs around $3500/mo but includes marinas, travel home, medical insurance, upgrades, haul every couple years, etc. You may want to find something like that and do a bottoms up build to see whats appropriate for your needs.

By far the most difficult and traumatic leg of cruising is the first boat length - just leaving the dock for good. Many circumnavigators do not leave with plan to circumnavigate, if just works out that way.

I see you're in Utah with west coast being your nearest ports. Check out Latitude 38, sailing magazine our of San Francisco. It's free online. They sponsor an annual Baja Haha cruiser rally each fall around Halloween. It's become a great trigger to launch many west coast cruisers. Puts a firm date in the Callander wherby you gotta leave. Good comraderie too

Best to you.

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Old 19-01-2021, 09:32   #22
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pirate Re: Cruising Advice for a Widower

Some examples to choose from.. encapsulated keels are a definite plus.

Born to be Wild.
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Old 19-01-2021, 09:33   #23
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Re: Cruising Advice for a Widower

First, I want to say that I am sorry for your loss. I can't imagine the loss of my wife. I wish you nothing but the best, and I applaud your plans.

To address your questions about the circumnavigation Let me tell you what My wife and I are doing.

We have plans for a circumnavigation with two aboard a Tayana 37 (unsafe at under 40 ft.?!?!?! Ridiculous! This boat is famous for it's blue water pedigree. Size is not the issue, build quality and your personal seamanship are what matter).

We have a 3K a month budget and by all measures this will be enough to live well and be able to enjoy the places we go and do the things we want. There are plenty of people doing it for much less, but they tend to not do the extra things my wife and I want to do. Those that claim to live of your budget don't seem to do anything except live on their boat and sail. Very cool, but I want to SEE the countries I visit.

Also, we have a "boat kitty" set aside for inevitable big cost items that will happen - like a new motor, etc. In fact, we have decided the magic number is 50K because we can literally buy a "decent condition" Tayana 37 for that amount.

Researching the Panama Canal led us to believe we should set aside 4k as a safety factor for unexpected costs.

Most importantly - get sailing and build experience.
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Old 19-01-2021, 10:09   #24
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Re: Cruising Advice for a Widower

Welcome to the Forum. You have my sincere condolences!
I, too, am a widower (2007) - grief is an individual process. Take the time necessary.
When I could focus on the future I took my new status as an opportunity to 're-invent myself', and I took up sailing (and regular long walks for exercise). Both have been a god-send for my serenity and enjoyment to the fullest of each day.
2020 was a weird year (understatement); on top of world health, January found me blue-water sailing my 38' catamaran from Rio Dulce, Guatemala (purchased in Belize several years prior) around Honduras to Isla Providencia, San Andres and through the Panama Canal to Golfito, Costa Rica with several friends [including my fiancee - my high school sweetheart; reacquainted at 50-year reunion...I'm old :-) ].
Panama Canal just doubled their fee so previous comment on budget for Canal passage is probably $1k short in my experience.
I agree with the previous suggestions: join a sailing club, hang around marinas, Baja Ha Ha (2009 for me), peruse sailing publications & sales periodicals, talk to everyone on every dock/marina you find - and keep an open mind (grain of salt...?).
I agree your most poignant question would be: "What is the best, safest, easiest-to-handle boat under 38 feet for single handed circumnavigation?" (I looked at Catalina 36 as an ideal [lines led to cockpit]....cost effective, safe, roomy, available parts, etc.). Found a good price on an under-used Moorings out-of-charter cat [had to find a way to get it to San Diego where I now live-aboard - LIFE-LONG DREAM COME TRUE!].
Also, there are several websites (and marina bulletin boards) with resources for crew persons....
At the very least you will meet some of the most enjoyable people and create lasting friendships - the spice of life!
Enjoy...(my Dad's last words to me: "HAVE FUN!")
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Old 19-01-2021, 10:16   #25
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Re: Cruising Advice for a Widower

While size is a factor, so is construction. Some boats are coastal cruisers, while others qualify as blue water cruisers. The stouter the vessel the more she will be able to with stand the times you'd encounter mother nature's tempest. Learn to sail and liveaboard on a coastal. Then you'll have some practical experience to make decisions about what you'll want to go off-shore in. JMHO
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Old 19-01-2021, 10:21   #26
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Re: Cruising Advice for a Widower

Originally Posted by blu3534 View Post
I am sorry for your loss. My thoughts when reading your backstory would be, take time to mourn but keep it simple. With 29 (plus a couple of years) you will certainly find a new partner and have children.

Why not? But on the other hand imho circumnavigating is no longer as much fun (adventure) as 30 - 40 years ago. Unspoilt places have become touristic, sometimes fees & bureaucracy are outrageous, quite some places became a bit dangerous. Could be that you get as much (or more) solace in a carefully choosen sail area than "just circumnavigating".

In any case I'd also plead for a small boat in this situation, 29 - 34'. 36' as the maximum (personally I'd prefer smaller).
I'd agree, sorry for your loss. At 29 you are a kid. Another right woman will come along. Try finding one with your sailing interests by frequenting the places or even forums they would likely frequent. Doctor Phil
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Old 19-01-2021, 10:25   #27
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Re: Cruising Advice for a Widower

It's not the length of the boat that should be your first concern. There are plenty of 26-30 foot boats that can and do circumnavigate. What should be your concern is the strength of the hull, mast and rigging. If you are single-handing, you will surely find plenty of space to store extra water and food.

What you should consider most is getting a good wind vane self-steerer like an Aries. This will unchain you from the helm and provide you with ample time for rest, which is very important when sailing alone.

Take sailing lessons and/or crew with more experienced sailors, then make short cruises on your boat to see if you can comfortably handle and dock her alone. You also need to determine if you like sailing alone.
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Old 19-01-2021, 10:32   #28
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Re: Cruising Advice for a Widower

I think you are spot on with a Catalina 36. It is well balanced and, if it has auto pilot you should be fine single handling. Your budget of $1500 a month should also be do able if you are at anchor most of the time and not on expensive dock space.
Go for it! you will just regret it in 30 years from now if you look back and wish for what could have been.
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Old 19-01-2021, 10:38   #29
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Originally Posted by George DuBose View Post
You also need to determine if you like sailing alone.
This is very relevant.. I have known big bold men turn around and sail home after 600nm into a Trans Atlantic they have dreamed of and prepped for for years..
The alone time coupled with the prospect of the days ahead broke them.. being alone for weeks in an empty seascape with nothing but Gannets and the occasional Terns is not for everyone.
Before setting off visit lots of Charity shops and stock up on some good books.. they are much more tactile and comforting than reading off a screen. Speaking books are also great..
You need to be happy with your own company.

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Old 19-01-2021, 10:57   #30
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Re: Cruising Advice for a Widower

I agree with the others who say you don’t need a large boat. It used to be 30-32 feet was considered ideal. Google Web Chiles. He has sailed around the world five times. For his last circumnavigation he chose a Moore 24. He also posted his fastest one day sails in that high performance boat. Twenty four feet may not be right for everyone but it puts it in perspective. Also, a small boat will be a lot easier on your budget.
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