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Old 18-01-2021, 22:23   #1
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pirate Cruising Advice for a Widower

Hey all,
This is my first time posting here. Please let me know if I am breaking any etiquette or rules so I can edit and correct.

So small backstory. I am a recent widower. My wife, of nine years, and I made a trip to Kenai Fjords two summers ago and I fell in love with sailboats. I've studied sailing since then. My wife passed from stage 4 breast cancer in August. I am 29 years old and unfortunately with no children. My thought is I am never going to be this young and/or available ever again.
I can't imagine anyone has ever been on their deathbed thinking, "I wish I hadn't sailed the word."
I would like to circumnavigate the globe.

I know this is a bigger task then I realize currently. I am hoping some experienced salt may help me make a reality of my dream by sharing their experience.

I've talked to some of my friends about joining me and it looks like it would be just me, solo.
I sailed a little in the boy scouts (eagle scout here) but that's been over a decade now so for all intents and purposes I'm a beginner.

I've been enamored by the Catalina 36. It's well within my price range and I've seen it on the world ARC list before. What do you think this boat has for pros and cons in a circumnavigation.

I like the "usual" two-and-a-half year circumnavigation plan with the extra season in the South Pacific/New Zealand area. I'd start heading south and west-ish from the Seattle area around February 2022 as a target. I know please laugh, I don't know what I'm talking about, that's why I'm asking for help.

I haven't looked thoroughly at any real routes but have purchased Jimmy Cornell's World Cruising Routes and World Voyage Planner and Don Casey's Complete Sailboat Maintenance Manual.

Do you think that $1,500.00 per month (so 45K cash for the voyage, with an additional 2.5k set aside for the Panama Canal) would be a realistic budget for 30 months travel?

I know this is all still new to me so please excuse the naivety and offer experience and assistance if you are able. Please let me know any other information that may be needed or DM me.
Thank you in advance,
Kelly
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Old 18-01-2021, 22:35   #2
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Re: Cruising Advice for a Widower

Hi Kelly,
Sorry to hear about your loss, but ....you also have to continue on your path.

I don't know much about budgeting for around the world sail, but would say that as someone with 32 foot sailboat, I seriously doubt that 36' would be safe or comfortable for a new sailor to take around the world. Yes, it's doable - but you will be constrained in tankage, space for spares, gear for passage, food, etc. I would suggest looking at larger vessels.
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Old 18-01-2021, 23:05   #3
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Re: Cruising Advice for a Widower

Thank you for the prompt reply and sympathy, George.
There is stuff ~40 feet that still sometimes fall in my price range. I just worry about single handing something that large. Maybe with bow-thrusters it wouldn't be a big deal?
My main thought was passage time vs. all other time and figured I can put up with a few bumpy weeks??
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Old 19-01-2021, 00:01   #4
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Re: Cruising Advice for a Widower

bigger boats can go faster and you want to go faster and be more comfortable. you can single hand a 40-45 if it is setup right. they are more expensive to buy, update and maintain though. all comes at a cost.

a nice 38' would be a good in-between choice
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Old 19-01-2021, 00:29   #5
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Re: Cruising Advice for a Widower

Bow thrusters aren’t needed with anchoring and so isn’t added cash out of the budget. I have a 30ft. I’d be looking in the 38-42ft range if I was going to take this on
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Old 19-01-2021, 00:55   #6
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Re: Cruising Advice for a Widower

the bigger the boat the less likely you will achieve your goal. I use smaller boat with weight 4 ton or lower so that it's possible to easily sail as well as human power the boat.

Bigger boats are more dangerous:

1) falling from mast is too high. I fell from the top of my mast and didn't break anything.
2) accidental jibe more danger. I would probably be dead already on large boat.
3) running aground much more difficult to get off again.
4) anchor buried deep in storm, big hassle to raise
5) large boat difficult to sail puts you in difficult position. too many here rely on engine power, I have never used one. the engine often breaks and I never had this problem
6) large boat also costs a lot in too many different ways and the danger is to spoil your plans when you cannot afford to continue.

many people around the world are disgusted by wealth inequity. in many pacific islands they may smile but they are reasonably upset to see large cruising boat dieseling in destroying the reefs of the world when they are living in harmony. I know all about this because the people there told me so! In the most interesting places you can sail to the people prefer a visiting cruising boat without pollution engine. I received more kindness and friendly people and many special passes.

I encourage you and hope you select a boat no longer than 33ft, and prefer 4 tons or lighter in weight. Boats from 24-27ft are adequate. I strongly encourage you to consider the merits of engine free cruising!
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Old 19-01-2021, 01:27   #7
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Re: Cruising Advice for a Widower

These days, people seem to think that anything under 40' is too small for anything more then a daytrip ... while not too long ago, 30-32' boats were considered the bee's knees for a couple or small family to take them around the globe.

Honestly, the best advise is to pick the smallest boat you think you can comfortably live on and go with that. You don't need 2 heads or 4 cabins to sail solo or have guests every once in a while.

Yes, waterline = speed, so all things equal a 40' boat will arrive before the 30' boat. Are we racing or cruising?

If you can afford a decent 32' ish boat and have a $1500/month budget + reserve, I'd say go for it!

Most people who want to leave never do, because the boat is never big enough, safe enough, ready enough ...
And, the bigger the boat, the higher the costs of *everything* so suddenly the budget needs adjusting and it all becomes undoable.

Just google The Pardeys' cruising creed: 'Go Small, Go Simple, Go Now' if you need motivation

And remember: once you've left the richest parts of the world, suddenly 32' isn't small anymore
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Old 19-01-2021, 01:48   #8
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Re: Cruising Advice for a Widower

"I am 29 years old and unfortunately with no children. My thought is I am never going to be this young and/or available ever again."



I couldn't fathom your loss, nor are there ever the appropriate words. But take it from someone more than twice your age, your life and journey have just begun. If only to be 29 again and to know what I know now.
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Old 19-01-2021, 02:08   #9
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pirate Re: Cruising Advice for a Widower

Quote:
Originally Posted by syPhilos View Post
These days, people seem to think that anything under 40' is too small for anything more then a daytrip ... while not too long ago, 30-32' boats were considered the bee's knees for a couple or small family to take them around the globe.

Honestly, the best advise is to pick the smallest boat you think you can comfortably live on and go with that. You don't need 2 heads or 4 cabins to sail solo or have guests every once in a while.

Yes, waterline = speed, so all things equal a 40' boat will arrive before the 30' boat. Are we racing or cruising?

If you can afford a decent 32' ish boat and have a $1500/month budget + reserve, I'd say go for it!

Most people who want to leave never do, because the boat is never big enough, safe enough, ready enough ...
And, the bigger the boat, the higher the costs of *everything* so suddenly the budget needs adjusting and it all becomes undoable.

Just google The Pardeys' cruising creed: 'Go Small, Go Simple, Go Now' if you need motivation

And remember: once you've left the richest parts of the world, suddenly 32' isn't small anymore
Wot ^^^HE^^^ sez...
Don't fall for the 'Go Bigger' bullcrap... folks are great at spending other people's money...
You can achieve your ambition just as well on a 32ftr as a 42ftr... all you really need is a decent galley, sea berths while sailing are your saloon berths whichever is the Lee side and a decent heads.
For water either get a couple of bladder tanks (one each side in saloon) to supplement your main tank and operate a strict regime to ration your water for the long legs like West coast US/Mexico to Marquesas and other ocean legs.. have done a 47 day passage with just 220litres and still had some left when I reached Port.
Or a small watermaker.. personally I vote tankage and catching rainwater.
The adventure and views are just the same be it 32ft or 52ft and the satisfaction is greater, the expense much less.. and when folks say "You crossed the Pacific in that.???" you can quietly smile and say Yup..
Also don't fall for the you need 5 tons of spares and tools.. You don't
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Old 19-01-2021, 03:48   #10
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Re: Cruising Advice for a Widower

At your age 32'-36' is large enough. When you get a bit older a larger, heavier boat with a less lively action tends to be more comfortable.

Your budget also looks doable.
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Old 19-01-2021, 04:07   #11
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Re: Cruising Advice for a Widower

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Kelly.
I'm sorry for your loss.
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Old 19-01-2021, 04:14   #12
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Re: Cruising Advice for a Widower

I concur with keeping it small and simple. $1500/month is way more than I had available when cruising full time with my three kids. You should live like a king on that if you're not wasteful.
Read some books on small-boat voyaging:
"Dove" by Robin Lee Graham
"Northern Lights" by Desmond Caulfield
"The Incredible Voyage" by Tristan Jones (take a pinch of salt with Jones--but be assured he knew about singlehanding small boats).
These and others--there's lots of others--were small-budget cruisers who did remarkable things in small boats.
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Old 19-01-2021, 04:55   #13
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Re: Cruising Advice for a Widower

Welcome aboard CF, FutureCapt.

I am strongly in the 'go small' camp for all the reasons mentioned by other above.

Perhaps the most difficult concept to understand is that a well found 30' is way safer than 40' in poor condition and the cost of of maintaining a boat increases at the cube of its length.

As an exercise, price up a mainsail for 40' and 30' or the amount of bottom paint needed. I promise you the difference in the costs are staggering.
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Old 19-01-2021, 05:10   #14
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Re: Cruising Advice for a Widower

Quote:
So small backstory. I am a recent widower. My wife, of nine years, and I made a trip to Kenai Fjords two summers ago and I fell in love with sailboats. I've studied sailing since then. My wife passed from stage 4 breast cancer in August. I am 29 years old and unfortunately with no children.
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.

Quote:
I would like to circumnavigate the globe.
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).
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Old 19-01-2021, 06:50   #15
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Re: Cruising Advice for a Widower

IMHO 36' is in the sweet spot for a single person or couple. The Catalina 36' is more than capable of the voyage.

The condition of the boat is what is important, so get a survey, and don't be too set on a specific brand or model if a similar boat in much better condition shows up.

It may not be as big a task as you envision. I left SF in July of 2018, West to Hawaii, and am now on the east coast, will be continuing through the canal after I save some more money. You learn fast once you get out there. Definitely take lessons. Tell the instructor your intentions, they have probably made a few ocean voyages and even if it is beginner course you can learn a lot more.

$1500 per month is probably the bare minimum, possible, but not really reasonable. I was much higher than that my first year, and by the beginning of 2020 was just under that as I was being very frugal and hurrying back to the US, out of money and with Covid getting underway. New Zealand isn't cheap, if you spend an extra season there, you are spending an extra season in a more expensive area.

Consider joining the Baja Ha Ha. You will need to sail to San Diego, but from there You will have the support of a group for your voyage, and the security of being coastal if you need to make repairs before the long trip to NZ. You can then join the Puddle Jump to FP, and will then have friends that you see again and again all the way around. There is also a crew list for the Baja. You will have no problem finding crew, maybe even in Seattle, but for sure in SF. Once you get off the west coast, you will have no problem finding crew. People walk the docks in NZ begging to crew on a boat.

I took the route to Hawaii, and didn't see any other cruisers until Fiji, and met none that I would keep seeing until I got to NZ. After that, every port there was another boat I knew, all the way to USVI.
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