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Old 11-01-2014, 23:13   #1
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Cruising Plans and Boat Advice

Hi Friends
Long time lurker First Post
A little about myself. I learned to sail as a kid in the 60ís
at camp Bennett on Cape Cod. Then sailed a bit in college
(dingy racing) then started a business, had two kids
and didnít have the opportunity to sail much. Then when my kids were
a bit older I hooked up with a bunch of guys racing out of Huguenot and
American Yacht clubs on Long Island Sound. I will Never Ever Forget
My first big boat race start. It was just plain out of this world exciting and intoxicating, 11 boats aiming for the start, The Captain calling out time by the second
Big boats closing fast and clearing each other by inches.
Everybody yelling Starboard and Protest. !!! Absolutely Wild
We did Wednesday and Thursday nights and one weekend day
It was called the ďCan OneĒ series because the western most mark was always The first can east of the Throgs Neck Bridge.
It was more fun then should be allowed on this earth. Anyhow I did that for many seasons and had tons of fun. Then I moved with my family from NY to NJ and bought my first boat, an Ericson 27 with an Atomic 4 Gas engine. I nicknamed this engine the ďAtomic BombĒ because I believe that if Iím not water-skiing there is no place for Gasoline on a boat . I bought the boat on the Hudson in Haverstraw NY and then sailed it down to Port Imperial NJ. Didnít really plan the relocate that well because developed engine issues just above West Point and had to shut it down. I then had
this monumental tacking duel to clear the point. I learned lots about preparation on this run. I had this boat for about 2 years then sold it. I found it was just not enough fun sailing in the upper and lower bay, way to much traffic and huge Hudson River Current. Then two years ago I had the opportunity to help a friend (just the two of us) sail his brand new Jeenneau 45 Sun Odyssey from New Jersey to Florida by way of Delaware River,DC Canal, Chesapeake, Dropping into ICW at Norfolk till Beaufot NC
then finishing on the outside.
I was the navigator for this trip, Yup I was old school with paper charts and a set of Weems & Plaths. Although I did fall in love with the chart plotter for close in work Like Norfolk Harbor and the Albemarle sound and the Auto Pilot so Icould stand watch by standing in the companionway and
not get constantly splashed and wind lashed. The Albemarle sound can be a fun place in a nice blow, when you draw 5Ē6Ē and have to stay dead center in the channel. This Boat had everything from electric winches to hot showers, from bow thrusters to radar. Huge Huge Battery Bank and a rather large genset, Heat and AC
This was a great trip and started the wheels turning, not just turning but
Really Mashing Forward
And I hatched the plan below which is where I seek some advice

My Plan is To:
Cruise the Caribbean during the Winter 0f 2015
The first step is going to be the purchase of a boat which
I plan on doing in Florida sometime during the Fall of 2014.
The 45 Jeenneau was something else But not in my budget by a country mile. No, Make that 50 country miles.
So Iím thinking about boats in the 15 to 20 thousand range
(used of course)
And have kind of come up with the following as a starting point
All mid 80ís or so
Pearson 30-32
Ericson 30-32
Catalina 30
I plan on inviting friends and family and sometimes seeking crew
for some onboard company and help. No more than 4 at any given time.
Some of my requirements are (not in any order)
Canít be in need of major refitting.
Diesel Engine
Roller Furling Jib
Shore Power Hook Up
Wheel Steering
Auto Pilot
Good Water and Fuel Capacity
Lines led to cockpit (in case I have to single hand)
VHF Radio, GPS
Chart plotter (although I know how to use SeaClear
on my PC with a GPS receiver, Iíd like something at the helm)
I would like to keep all else as simple as I can because I am a believer that
If it can break, it will, especially all the electronic goodies
I plan to carry a handheld VHF and GPS and Paper Charts for Back up.(as I did on the Juneau)
The Plan is to Island hop all the way down and then Island hop all the way back, I think this is referred to as the ďThorny RoadĒ. 3 to 4 month cruise,
With overnight stays at marinas every 5 or 6
days to tour around, get a good shower and reprovision..
The other days either sailing or on the hook.

So friends what am I missing? What do you think of the boats Iíve have
decided to look at? If a boat is on the hard, somewhat disassembled what is the protocol to get a survey and look see? Who is traditionally responsible for stepping the mast? How do you test the engine of a boat out of the Water?I way much prefer a boat in the water and running,
Pros? Cons?
What about my island hoping plan? What gear is absolutely needed
and what would be in the nice to have class? I am no hero, I know my limitations and just want to experience the cruising lifestyle for a winter and maybe much longer.
Call it my 60th Birthday present to myself.
I have been a Four rated Hang Glider Pilot and have PADI Advanced Open Water Certification. In Aviation, the saying is the only things that are truly worthless are the runway behind you and the air above you because neither will do you any good in anemergency. So what is the runway and air above me in my plans?

I know this is a long post but I know for sure the collective wisdom here
is a great place to get my first Reality Check!
Thanks to All in Advance
Please No Negative Naysayers, Life is Short
and at Almost sixty, I'm on the back nine and I'M GOING
but don't fancy becoming a Coast Guard Statistic.

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Old 12-01-2014, 05:52   #2
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Re: Cruising Plans and Boat Advice

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Time2Go.

Gord May
"If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time/$ to fix it?"

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Old 12-01-2014, 06:10   #3
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pirate Re: Cruising Plans and Boat Advice

Hi... Welcome to CF.
Why must it have Wheel steering..?

Born To Be Wild.. Click on the picture.
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Old 12-01-2014, 06:35   #4
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Re: Cruising Plans and Boat Advice

a couple of thoughts - first we are in our late 60s retired at 62 and set sail on a40' Jeanneau ds40 and 6 years later and sailing both sides of the caribbean and crossing the atlantic last year - we have never looked back - (well kinda once or twice maybe)
my guess is you are talking about the eastern carib - 5-6 months from miami to trini and back is kinda quick and you will see little - it is a long way - the wx somedays really plays havic on your plans for a week or more - you did not say but i assume the admiral is coming along?? - if so a 30' is kinda small for the 2 of you and friends -
-- why not something simplier -- spend the 6 months cruising the entire bahamas - great cruising, great water, lots of islands - no marinas but lots of cruisers to help you find stuff like water - one of our 1st trips we left miami and sailed across to bimini then to a little island on the way to nassau and got stuck there for a week waiting wx before heading to the exhumas and on down to the ragged islands then across to crooked and aklins (not many boats there) then up the chain to rum and long and on up (i forget most of the islands) all the way to near walkers cay before heading back - one of our best trips ever and we still talk about it - we left miami in jan and got headed offshore in late may back to miami -

just my thoughts
and my admiral calls me a weather geek but each time we sit out a big one and others get caught out she says good call
so think about how you are going to get wx -- to me incredibly important
\good luck and keep the dream going
just our thoughts and opinions
chuck and svsoulmates
Somewhere in the Atlantic
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Old 12-01-2014, 08:14   #5
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Re: Cruising Plans and Boat Advice

Hi Time2Go. Welcome to CF. Boat wise, sounds like you're on the right track. I'd seriously look at the Catalina 30. For a 30 footer she's got a lot of room down below. Great little pocket cruiser. However, there are a few things to consider with these. Catalina designed them as coastal cruisers, so they will need some beefing up. You're going to want to upgrade your standing rigging (chainplates in particular) and install backing plates on all your deck hardware, I.e. winches, stanchions, cleats etc. When these boats we're built, all their deck hardware was suceured with washers behind the nut, not backing plates. I'd also make provision to carry water and fuel in jugs as below deck tankage can be somewhat lacking. If you're planning on using and auto pilot, make sure you've got a large battery bank and a means to keep it charged, like solar or wind generator. Or get used to running your engine. A lot. I'd also maybe investigate buying a second hand radar or installing AIS (ideally both, but one or the other if budget is a factor). Good luck finding your boat. If you'd like a buddy of mine is selling his C30 in Charleston, SC. Only wants 8k for it, but it is in need of new sails and some minor engine work.

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Old 12-01-2014, 13:58   #6
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Re: Cruising Plans and Boat Advice

Hi GordMay
Thanx for the welcome

Hi Boatman 61
Thanx for the welcome,
I prefer the wheel because I had a Tiller on my Ericson 27 and never
really liked it. I just could not seem to find a comfortable long term body
position and had a tendency to ďsnake wakeĒ I kind of like standing on
two feet, looking dead ahead, instruments in line of sight.
Just my own quirk.

Hi ChuckR
Thanx for all the good advice, I've had another look at the charts and think
that what you say may change my plans. Iím not in any race and got nothing to prove to anybody. You got me thinking that it might be a good idea to shorten the trip( nm miles not time), gain lots of experience, get to know the boat, basically just figure it all out, and plan the run all the way down for next year. My son is seriously dating a girl from the DR so this would become my southern most spot. I'm sure they would both fly down
and keep me company for a few days. This is looking better already.
The important thing for me is actually to do it. Iíve got to make my first cruise a reasonably attainable goal. I can guess that the Admiral is your better half?
Unfortunately for me, my ďAdmiralĒ prefers Museums and Art galleries, so she will not be coming along, however she would be more than happy to jump a flight to the Bahamas
a few times and take short jaunts with me. I have selected boats around 30 to 32í mainly because they are doable on my budget. My budget is just not the boat, but the funds needed for any refitting and funds to support the boat and myself afloat and also the upkeep and expenses of my primary home which I donít plan on giving up.
No sense to plan something I canít pull off. One hears so many stories of people planning huge trips that need so much boat, so much gear and planning that they never go. All they do is collect a pile of wish list catalogs. I agree weather monitoring is gonna be very important to me and will be investigating that further. I know that Sirrus has a pay weather channel down there but donít know too much about it yet. Another item
for the checklist. Some of my friends think I'm nuts but all I can say to them is I'll have plenty of time for the Big Lazy Boy in the Sky
but no time for it it when I'm still on the green side of the grass.
Thanx again for some good insight and Happy Sailing

Hi Kevin,
When I started looking about and researching the Catalina 30 immediately popped up.
Lots of room, lots of boats available in good condition and within budget.
However once I started to drill down a bit I found out about just the kind of stuff you
mention. Not really stout rigging, washers instead of backing plates, decks going soft and so on. I donít even know if all are accessible to swap out.
That is why I expanded my search to both Pearson and Ericson, and am
certainly all ears for any other suggestions. I have not ruled out the Catalina 30
just have to rejigger some numbers to see if it works with the refits. I know about
the huge draw on the batteries for the autopilot and the need to keep them charged.
This is going to be another whole part of my planning. I do have some qualms
about so much electronics aboard just because of the need to keep charging.
This is another area where Iím doing research, reading, and accumulating a bunch of questions. I take a little refuge in my ability to read a chart, plot a course and get
somewhere with just my Handheld GPS, Hand Bearing Compass, Dividers and Parallel Rulers, With this set up the only thing that is truly critical is the GPS which have gotten both small enough and cheap enough to bring along at least one spare and a hand crank
or solar charger as well as a pocketful of spare emergency batteries.
Some other things on the list of things to look into are EBIRPs, Locator Beacons,
Life rafts and so much more. Itís a bit early but yes I would like to talk to your friend about his Catalina 30. Do you know if he has done any of the refitting mentioned above
and whats up with the engine?
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Old 12-01-2014, 14:30   #7
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Re: Cruising Plans and Boat Advice

Frankly I think you'll need more than 15-20K to get a boat equipped as you specified for the trip you are planning. A suit of good sails (which you will need) will set you back a few bucks. You will not find good tankage on a boat that size, especially if you intend to have four aboard, even for short voyages. And staying in marinas every week or so will kill a budget. When cruising you anchor. So you will need good ground tackle. And a dink, and a motor.

You don't mention a fridge. Very few cruise without a fridge nowadays. If you get a fridge (ask your wife) you'll have to review your power requirements. Batteries, solar, wind? Honda 2000i? It doesn't end.

I don't think you're at an age where you want to rough it. Especially for 4 months. Just some things to think about. A pretty good boat in the 30 foot range is the CS30. Well built, good accommodation for a 30. Lots of them on Lake Ontario, but most have a lousy Volvo 2002 in them.

3 to 4 months will get you down there. You'll have to store the boat and wait till the next season to get back. If you just have the 4 months stick to the Bahamas.
Rick I
Toronto in summer, Bahamas in winter.
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Old 12-01-2014, 15:48   #8
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Re: Cruising Plans and Boat Advice

Hi Time. To the best of my knowledge, he has not. However the boat is equipped with an autopilot and, I think it already has solar as well. Not sure on that though. I haven't seen his boat in awhile. With the engine, I believe it was a bad fuel pump. The engine turns and tries to fire but isn't getting fuel. The boat is the standard rig, not the tall rig. Which means you'll sacrifice some sailing ability, but rerigging her and buying new sails will be less expensive.

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