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Old 14-05-2021, 12:17   #1
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Cruising dream

Hello,

I would like to request advice about choosing a sailboat. I am 64 years old, in very good health, very athletic and nearing retirement. My dream has always been to make an extended cruise on a sailboat.

Most of the time it will only be me on the boat with occasional visits by family (2-3 people). I have been a sailor for for 50+ years with most of my experience on smaller boats (<= 26í) on inland and the Great Lakes. I have no offshore experience. My intent is to cruise along the eastern seaboard / ICW, the Gulf coast and possibly the Bahamas. My priorities for a boat are; safety, comfort, and sailing qualities (I have done a lot of one design racing and actually enjoy sailing upwind and in light air!).

I am targeting a purchase price of about $50,000 and budgeting about $25,000 for outfitting. I would appreciate any thoughts or recommendations you might have about the right sailboat to help me realize my dream.

Kate
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Old 14-05-2021, 12:18   #2
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Re: Cruising dream

There is an excellent search function here. You can hours reading the answer to your question.
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Old 14-05-2021, 12:24   #3
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Re: Cruising dream

Thanks, I have spent many enjoyable hours reading comments on this forum.
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Old 14-05-2021, 12:58   #4
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Re: Cruising dream

Hi Kate,

I'm a few years further from retirement, but I bought a boat a couple of years ago after several years of research. I'd also mostly done lake and costal sailing and one-design racing. I also had my experience colored by watching my parents age and giving up sailing. I went with a 36' Ketch.

I decided that smaller boats are less work to maintain and operate. I wanted a boat big enough that I could take people with me, but small enough to single-hand. One of my goals is to cross an ocean, and I asked an insurer what the smallest boat was that they would insure. I figured that their risk assessment had a lot more hours behind it than I could ever give the question. The answer I got was "35 feet" but with possible exceptions for slightly smaller boats (the HR Rasmus at 34.5 feet was on my list, so I asked about it specifically after the initial answer). So I went for boats around 35'.

I also thought I wanted a ketch, although all my previous sailing had been in sloops. Smaller individual sails make for easier sail handling was just one reason. Having now sailed my ketch for a couple of years, I think I made the right choice - the sail combinations make it easy to adjust for various conditions. In 30 Knots, I can sail comfortably with just the Mizzen and a bit of the jib.

I wasn't looking for a performance racer, so I decided I wanted a full keel or a skeg protected rudder.

Having at least 6 births was another requirement, to have plenty of room for friends and family.

Anyway, the list goes on and on and on. Ultimately, I do plan to retire to my boat and sail it all kinds of places. It's a Dickerson 36 aft cabin Ketch. As it happens, there is a recent listing for a sister ship in CT.
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Old 14-05-2021, 13:55   #5
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Re: Cruising dream

Thank you for your wisdom. Great video, I am eagerly awaiting the next installment to find out why the motor didn’t engage!
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Old 14-05-2021, 15:01   #6
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Re: Cruising dream

Hello, Kate from Maryland, or Dr. Kate,

All your previous sailing experience will stand you in good stead, although freshwater waves and ocean waves are noticeably different (you'll see.)

Your budget limits you to something old, and I think you should be looking in about the 28-32 ft. size range. The older boats, the brand name doesn't matter so very much, but their condition is everything. Big $ items are re-engining; re-rigging; new electrics; repairing soft decks; and even if it really needs a new suit of sails.

Depending on your physical size, keeping it small like that means that all the work will be easier on your body (except the groveling: "boat yoga" can be really hard on your knees), as well as your budget, as will keeping it simple. One big challenge is how do you arrange your emergency water supply? For most people, their longest trip will be from Mexico, or Panama to the Marquesas. You need to have about 50% more than your hot weather water consumption for 30 days or so, depending on your boat's rate of travel, so pay huge attention to water tankage.

If you search on Trente Pied's posts, just within the last two weeks or so, he has written for someone who shares the dream you have, about how to estimate the long term costs of boat ownership. He may even keep a separate file of his own with some of his long, informative posts, but I'd suggest you take a look at it, because your suggested expenses are in the low end of the range, and his post provides a useful framework for considering your options. [Use the CF Custom Google search under the Search button.]

Imho, you should try crewing on a few ocean passages before you commit your future to this dream. While your previous sailing experience stands you in very good stead as a preparation for coastal cruising, looking to crew on a few long passages, over two weeks will tell you a lot about the ocean and how you like the whole experience. If you can, try to find a small, very simple boat to do it on.

If you plan on taking on crew for passages, you may want a slightly larger boat, perhaps a 30' to 36' boat. The two women singlehanders we have known best one had a 30 ft. ("Mighty Merry"), one a 32 (Pat Henry from "Southern Cross") ; however CF's very own gamayun has a Freedom 38 on which she did the singlehanded Transpac; and our KelseyB restored a 30 ft. Dutch steely that she has singlehanded. Jeanne Socrates, a Najad 38 (iirc) [oldest woman singlehander to circumnavigate]; and Suzanne Cuber-Hurphy, an aluminum Dutch design Kloopman built 40 foot expedition one-off monohull [first woman singlehander to do the NW passage].

Boats look biggest when you are looking up at their bottom in the haulout yard, holding up your 2" carbide blade scraper to strip off the paint sickness, or your sanding block, for smoothing the bottom in prep for new paint.

Once you start looking at boats, you'll start getting an idea of which ones will work for you, at that point, you will be able to ask here about them, and there are a few surveyors here (boatpoker is one, who has written "Boat Survey 101" which tells about how to look at an old boat you might want to buy). https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums...1-a-78671.html

My own 30 ft. experience includes coastal cruising and a roundtrip from San Francisco to Hawaii on a Yankee 30, 22 days on the return trip, but as a couple, not a singlehander.

All for now,

Ann
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Old 14-05-2021, 16:44   #7
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Re: Cruising dream

I’m often looking for comely crew to cruise the Sea of Cortez. Plenty of boats for sale in La Paz at good prices - assuming you want to put in a bit of sweat equity.
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Old 14-05-2021, 18:12   #8
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Re: Cruising dream

One of the best things you can do is to just start looking at boats in your size range (upper 20s to mid 30s seems ideal for single handing). Try to find opportunities near you to crew on boats of that size and take a look at yachtworld.com and craigslist to find boats that suit your budget and desire to single hand.

For single handing, take a good look at the placement of the winches in the cockpit. The relative placement of winches to helm can make or break a single handing experience!
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Old 14-05-2021, 18:49   #9
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Re: Cruising dream

With your racing background and your professed enjoyment of sailing performance, such as windward work, and considering your budget, I would suggest a performance cruiser or a retired racer in the 32-36' range.

A fin keel sloop with a spade rudder will give you a joy of sailing that a more traditional boat will not.

Retired race boats usually have deck and cockpit layouts for efficiency and ease of handling and usually have good winches and other sail handling equipment.

You will spend your money on minimal cruising equipment and maybe sails, but keep the boat mostly original and simple.

A friend of mine in Vancouver BC told me they had a fleet of Peterson 35's, now all mostly retired. Similar to Doug Peterson's Ganbare, boats like this will be strong and fast and make excellent cruisers, in my opinion, and there are many others.
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Old 14-05-2021, 20:33   #10
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Re: Cruising dream

[QUOTE]Retired race boats usually have deck and cockpit layouts for efficiency and ease of handling and usually have good winches and other sail handling equipment.[QUOTE]

Fred, this is true in terms of a boat to be sailed with crew, but I've found that this means that emphasis is placed on having room for multiple crew to have access to multiple winches or other trim devices. For a single hander, this is antithetical, for the solo sailor needs access to everything from the helm or other single position. Crowding ain't a worry for a single hander!

This was one problem we faced when we went cruising in our retired IOR racer... had to move the cockpit winches closer together and nearer the helm. That said, with these mods she was a very good cruising boat for us (two up... ie two single handers sharing a boat!)

Jim
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Old 19-05-2021, 04:13   #11
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Re: Cruising dream

This guy has already sailed most of the places you plan to on this Southern Cross 31.

He completed it from a kit and is the original owner.

I believe he said the engine has been replaced. It may be near you if you are in Maryland.

He is late 70's and isn't sailing anymore.

https://www.yachtworld.com/boats/198...ss-31-3821489/
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Old 19-05-2021, 06:01   #12
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Re: Cruising dream

Iíve been boatbuilding and sailing for over 60 years so Iíll try to be brief.
Recommendations to purchase any performance boats are simply wrong for you.
Sea kindly motion means length, displacement and moderation in all design components. Survivability is equally important.
Forget race boats. Performance vessels will beat you up at sea. Sailing is sport for young people. Sail fast, sail hard...they can take a black and blue beating.
Length is your friend, weight is your friend. Kind motion is a requirement not an option.
Survivability. Can the vessel keep me alive if I get hurt, have to ride out a storm,
get hit by another vessel, make a navigational error and run aground.
Youíre chances in a life raft are much less than a person half you age. Forget fin keels, catamarans, ex charter boats and most new OEM boats.
There is so much floating junk out there itís laughable.
Take your time and spend it researching seaworthy, solid, proven ocean vessels.
This alone may take a year. Talk to custom builders about the perfect boat for you...not kids. Then look for something used that gets close to that construction and design. Pay well for two good surveyors. You ought to visit boatbuilders and yacht designers and learn what elements would constitute a survivable vessel for you. Design for you and one crew. Itís not a hotel. As in medicine, specialist prove valuable. I had a custom design done by a proven architect. We told him what we wanted and what we did not, what our physical limitations were and where we wanted to sail. Itís big, heavy, solid and survivable. Itís slow and very comfortable and we love it. PM me if you need more advice.
Happy trails to you.
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Old 19-05-2021, 06:15   #13
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Re: Cruising dream

OP, get a boat your are comfortable with for most of your expected use and don't let "fears" convince you otherwise. Yes some boats "may" be underbuilt or too much race oriented, but there very few of those really and you will probably rule out 95% of those as lacking something else. On the other hand if you do find one of those trhat ticks off all your boxes, get it as you are probably misunderstanding forum or some other "noise".
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Old 20-05-2021, 01:04   #14
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Re: Cruising dream

https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums...ds-250918.html
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Old 20-05-2021, 03:43   #15
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Re: Cruising dream

https://bluewaterboats.org/

https://atomvoyages.com/planning/cla...ers-list-html/
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