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Old 30-03-2016, 23:02   #1
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What Prompted You to Cast Off?

Maybe you've been here...

For many years I've dreamed and saved $$$ to get to a point where I could finally achieve the goal of roaming the world's oceans, SCUBA diving in far flung exotic locals.

Now plans to do so are developing rapidly as the relationship with my new boss of 5 months is rather toxic, and deteriorating rapidly. I sense he's searching for evidence to can my ass, but is having difficulty figuring out a way to do it without having a wrongful termination suit slapped on his arse in response, since my last decade's worth of performance reviews are stellar.

My original plan was to save for another 24 months to buy a Catamaran. But as said "life is what happens to you, while planning something else. Or perhaps, more succinctly; **** happens.

So what has all this got to do with this forum, anyway?

In light of recent events at work, I now find myself seriously in the market for a blue water cruiser, like never before. I have many books on my shelf, and have read dozens maybe even hundreds of articles over the years on type of boat to buy, so I'm not going in totally blind.

Stability of a small 38' Cat is good, but for the price of one, I can get a awesome monohaul like a Benateau 44 Oceanis, or a Bavaria 40 something - love those German built boats.

Moitessier says keep it simple, strong and smallish, like a 36' steel cutter, but I'd like a little more room. Love the steel though, as it would allow me to bash into a few reefs without sinking it.

What are your thoughts?

In your estimation what would be the largest monohaul you would recommend for someone that plans to sail it singlehanded across oceans? What material would you suggest? Steel, aluminum, fiberglass? What hull configuration would you go for? Cutter, ketch, other?

I'm 54, 5'9 tall, and in excellent physical condition.
Budget is under $100K. I figure if I'm gonna embark on this adventure, now's the time to do it while I still have the strength to handle the challenges that a life at sea are sure to bring.

Member feedback is welcome and appreciated.

Thank You

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Old 30-03-2016, 23:42   #2
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Re: What Prompted You to Cast Off?

Why don't you hire a skippered charter on/for a day when the wind will be 24-35 knots. Experience what that is like, on the ocean, on all points of sail. In the meantime check yourself out for seasickness or lack thereof, or ability to cope with (it's worse for some than others). Consider whether you have skills for maintenance of major systems on the boat.

Will you have a sailing partner? Life is somewhat more difficult singlehanded.

Buy the smallest, best boat you can handle, and keep it simple. The more fancy stuff, and especially electronics you can do without, the more self sufficient you will be.

Finally, consider if you are running towards something you desire, or running away from a situation you don't like. The former is more likely to sustain you over the long haul.

Good luck with it.


PS., if you're really serious about this, and few actually are once they get into it, you have a lot of work ahead before you'll be ready to head offshore open-endedly. Also, if you want input more specific to yourself, rather than anyone new to the sport, it will help the respondents to know approximately where you are located (which boat market, climactic area, etc.) and specifically what your goals are.

Steelies are a law unto themselves, generally slower performers than grp, and require constant upkeep of paint systems and ferreting out of rusty places to treat or replace, and re-protect. They are NOT maintenance free. Grp is much more forgiving. And, IMO, older grp is more solidly built, and slower than more modern, but there is the "tabula rasa" phenomenon: you strip out what is poor (like the wiring), and start over, and when you're finished, it's better than new. Tricky to know where to stop, though.

One rule of thumb I've read around here is that if you have $100,000 to spend, look at the $50-60K boats and plan to spend the rest on upgrades. Jobs are cheaper when you do your own work, and many here will guide you through them, step by step.

Also, there is a thread here called Survey or possibly Surveyor 101, which takes you through a bunch of stuff to look at and understand when you go to look at a boat you think you might like.

Since you don't know me from a sign post, I'll tell you we left the second time in March of '89, and have been cruising since, with time out for a few surgeries. It has been a wonderful life for us. There have been costs we didn't anticipate. And this life really isn't for everyone. There are many who are content to cruise only coastally, and love it.


Who scorns the calm has forgotten the storm.
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Old 31-03-2016, 02:40   #3
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Re: What Prompted You to Cast Off?

'What Prompted You to Cast Off?'

Fleeing my creditors worked for me ....

I went through a similar situation 10 years ago...already had the boat and was already out and about but still had the day job..... my last month was utter crappo as I found myself working for 'truck drivers in suits'. Not easy to give it up and accept that $$ wise what you had was what you had. Sent an email to management from somewhere south of Melinka some months later saying they could stow their job where the squirrel stows its nuts. Flying back to the campo a few weeks later I was asked 'can you taste that retirement yet?'.. I can now and it tastes good..

Moving right along... 35 to 40 foot is ample... I would avoid steel... plenty of good GRP boats out there in that range but I would avoid some of the more 'popular' modern brands..

Bashing into reefs without sinking her? Hmmmm... plenty of big steel ships on reefs...
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Old 31-03-2016, 02:46   #4
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Re: What Prompted You to Cast Off?

And also... where you are will play a major part in what you choose to buy.... due to availability...if you were in the UK I would be suggesting something from Westerly or the US...????
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Old 31-03-2016, 03:34   #5
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Re: What Prompted You to Cast Off?

A sloop or cutter from 30'to 40' can be more than ample space for a single sailor and fiberglass is easiest to find and maintain. 'best not to bash into reefs, rocks, other boats, docks, etc. regardless of your hull material!
Take care and joy, Aythya crew
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Old 31-03-2016, 06:04   #6
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Re: What Prompted You to Cast Off?

LOL, I find my self in the same work position and age as you. However I found myself in the position of not wanting "stuff" about four years ago. Also happened to coincide with getting reconnected with sailing. I sold everything, downsized and bought a boat. I continue to work and maybe my work situation will right itself but it is great to know that if I want to cast off I'm free to.

Two years were spent investigating many types of boats. I viewed, chartered and sailed several (as well as took courses etc.).

For me 35 - 37 feet was the max that I felt would be able to be single-handed should I need to - which I really enjoy. Of course rigging and design also had a lot to do with determining what was the right type of boat. After beginning to understand the differences between a coastal cruising boat (I love the boats you mention for that use) and a blue water boat I chose a used island packet 370.

I really liked Hallberg Rassy (would have been top choice if funds not an issue), classic Hinckley's (there was a viscous thread of a guy tearing into IP's vs Hinkley, I spoke to an actual 28 year Hinckley owner, he shared some issues - of course still loved his boat but the truth is in an actual owner), older Albergs, Cape Dory's, Tayana's, Pacific Seacraft etc. but after chartering and reading various user forums the IP's made a lot of sense for me. Yeah, folks will call them "Island Piglets" and say they are slow - but they likely have never sailed them or any heavy displacement full keeled boat so save it. In light winds after working with trim I have improved performance significantly and when the wind picks up I can keep full sail up in 30 knots (of course I reef but you can). Cutter rig is a good sail plan as well. Do I wish it had less beam? Yeah but modern design has moved to more beamy. Sigh.

Also the layout for a mid size boat is excellent. Check them out, if you do consider them you can get a 350 in your range or a slightly older 38 which are great boats -sometimes wish I had saved $$ and done that. I wanted 2 cabins and have cruised doing weeks to places like Nantucket with 4-5 people and is really workable. Are there some things I don't like? Sure but that's any boat.

Also investigate if your company has retirement benefits you qualify for at 55 ( to enroll in at 65) before you cut, or if need to negotiate.

Good luck and fair winds
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Old 31-03-2016, 06:13   #7

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Re: What Prompted You to Cast Off?

Originally Posted by chalupo View Post
Maybe you've been here...

What are your thoughts?
I'm there and at 55 (56 next month) I'm 2 months away from the end of my current job, selling the house, and sailing away. I got into sailing mainly as a way to travel and sight see, but now also believe it can be a slower more peaceful life.

My thoughts are that you have read too many old books. Unless you desire to cruise like it was the 1970s you should stop reading them and their dated boat ideas!
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Old 31-03-2016, 06:29   #8
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pirate Re: What Prompted You to Cast Off?

But... remember.. the sea's and oceans are still dated.. also more rudders, keels and masts fail on boats built this century than the last..
Choose according to the waters you will stay in.. or move through.

Born To Be Wild.. Click on the picture.
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Old 31-03-2016, 06:41   #9
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Re: What Prompted You to Cast Off?

When someone says budget under 100k what does not mean? Does that mean you have 10k, 50k, or 99k to spend on a boat. That's the problem with not knowing how to ask the question people who know what they are talking about don't know how to answer the question. There are boats that could work in each of those price points, however more important than budget for boat is budget for after boat purchase. That means your life, will you have income to go or will you just have to get another job if you spend all the money you have on the boat. I have seen this many times where a person has a nest egg of 100k spends 90k on the boat thinking of taking the other 10k to live on and cruise. This is not a good plan and always ends badly. Had they have found a small bare bones boat for 20k and spent the other 80k to cruise they would probably still be out there having fun instead of crawling back into the same work force they hated.

So it's hard to just through out diff boats when all you know is a newbie says budget "under 100k"
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Old 31-03-2016, 08:43   #10
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Re: What Prompted You to Cast Off?

Bottom line, the more information you provide the more valuable the responses will be. Where are you located? Where do you plan to cruise? How much experience do you have? Is 100k all of your savings? Will you have an income after you quit your job? There are a few older good quality cats that can be had with this kind of budget. Prout comes to mind. A quick search of cats, 30' - 40' from $20k - $100k on Yachtworld came up with 119 boats.
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Old 31-03-2016, 08:48   #11
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Re: What Prompted You to Cast Off?

Just because you have $100,000 doesn't mean you should spend it all. Keeping a few extra $ in your pocket never hurts.

I suggest you follow your own advice, get a strong simple boat and start. There's no rule that says you can't upgrade later, along the way, if you see something you like.

If you are heading to thin water...caribbean, great lakes, etc...then an older Pearson 35 will get you there. CS36 (T or Merlin) would also be a good choice, especially if you can find one with shoal draft.

But realistically, look at whats available in your area. Don't take on a project. Lots of owners out there who prepped the boat and never left the dock. Thats what you want. Here's whats available in my area:

Corbin 39 Sailboat For Sale | sailboats | Oshawa / Durham Region | Kijiji

1986 Bayfield 36 Cutter | sailboats | Muskoka | Kijiji

Whitby 45 Comfortable Cruiser | sailboats | City of Toronto | Kijiji

passion 1 | sailboats | Cornwall | Kijiji

CS 36 Traditional | sailboats | Oakville / Halton Region | Kijiji

BLUE WATER TRADITIONAL SCHOONER FOR SALE ($ 25,000.00 CDN) OBO | sailboats | Kingston | Kijiji
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Old 31-03-2016, 08:49   #12
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Re: What Prompted You to Cast Off?

Been there....done that. Only I was 62 at the time. Put a memoir of the experience(s) together that you may find entertaining..... and perhaps educational. Good Luck.


Safe In Harbor | Pubgraphics Direct
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Old 31-03-2016, 09:45   #13
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Re: What Prompted You to Cast Off?

Welcome to CF

Firstly, ive not cast off yet, but I'm building to it. Ive worked since I was 16, and now at 54, most of my working life has been on statutory stressful occupations and Im just tiring of it. I need to be doing something though so preparing my boat for retirement is working towards my retirement and looking forward to forgetting what day it is, and what's on tomorrows calander.

Im a little surprised by your 'what sort of boat' questions. If you have been reading and researching all that time then you should already have a pretty good idea.

Ann's advice is very sound. If you have $100k to spend, then get a $50k boat. Because no matter what you get in the under $100k range you are going to have to sink some money into it. And given the size boat your asking about, you won't get much for $100k that wont need a lot of extra to be put into it. As an example i purchased a $30k boat 4 or 5 years ago. Ive now put about $40k into it doing it up.
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Old 31-03-2016, 09:59   #14

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Re: What Prompted You to Cast Off?

Fly to USA and buy here. A lot of boats availble, good selection, a lot of experienced sailors to talk to and learn from.

There is a great sailing school out of St. Petersburg, Florida, i forgot the name though. I took a week long course on a 45 foot Hunter mono. 2 days classroom with tests 2 days on the water with the instructor, and trsts
Then they hand you, and other students, the keys and tell you to go have fun. Very worthwhile and you get certified.

Sailing around florida for a year or more will give you exposure to the gulf, atlantic, shallow water navigation, various currents, etc...

Head up to hatteras, rougher water, strong winds, lets you experience a week plus on the water but keeps you close to dry land and the coast guard.

Then head to the bahamas and navigate the islands. Almost all sailboats head to the Bahamas, then further southeast until they catch the westerly winds. Using the winds they head southwest to the Caribbean. Great trip for learning.

Good luck
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Old 31-03-2016, 10:27   #15
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Re: What Prompted You to Cast Off?

Another Newbie what boat to buy thread question with no geographic location? How many per year of these do we get? IMHO Ann T Cate Has already so eloquently written out everything I would say on the matter. In hard core terms there is only two requirements for any boat,
1) stay afloat.

2) To move along...It is a hostile part of the world out there for a human to find food and freash water. But even at that; In the pacific 6,700 miles from the place he had set out from. One survivor drifted for 438 days.
The smallest sail boat to cross the Atlantic took on ridiculous contest madness... From Captain, Hugo Vihlen's 85 day crossing in 1968 in the 5ft 11inch sailing boat named April Fool. Followed by Tom McNally's crossing in 1993 in a 5ft 4½inch boat. - Causing Hugo to build one he called Fathers day which was half an inch shorter at 5 foot four inches. just to claim the world record back.

So perhaps size does not matter? It is all about comfort and mental fortitude concerning what one can handle? Some sail without engines and would row it out to find wind. However IF one has the convenience & expense of an engine then perhaps the old addage of "At the first turn of the screw all debts are cancelled" can apply...The best definition of madness might be just heading out there cold turkey because you do not get along with your boss. this seems like a recipe for suicide? I bet most people here worked their way into it over my years.
I had my first sailing lessons when I was 16 years old.

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