Cruisers Forum
 


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 21-06-2020, 05:09   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: San Mateo, California
Boat: Hunter 33
Posts: 9
Dingy-sailor wants to cruise

Good morning,

I'm an on-again off-again dingy sailor and COVID-19 has me dreaming of sailing off into the sunset. I've owned only two boats, one as a boy (a <18' brand-less dingy), before I went to University (1997), and one now as a father (an Ixylon; 17' bilgeboard sloop). I've never sailed a boat that needed winches. I have sailed perhaps ten different dingy models over somewhere between 60 and 100 outings. I now live in the SF bay area.

My plan is to learn as much as I can as quickly as I can. Theory first, and then buy a cheap (<20k) 28-39' brandname (resalable) weekend cruiser to learn how to handle a larger boat. First with friends and/or other sailors, and only then with my children. Assuming my family still has the will after some time weekend cruising around the Bay (and that starlink becomes a reality so I can work at sea), we move up to a bigger boat and follow the trade winds!

I'm not wealthy, but I'm also not poor. I know my electronics and the structure of a boat, but don't really know materials. I've never done fiberglassing, packed a saildrive, sandblasted a bottom, or even varnished wood. Therefore, to make a cheap boat safe, I will either need to learn a lot from someone who does or hire someone.

How unrealistic am I?

I've been steadily knocking off all the online nauticed course materials during lockdown. What do people think about their program? I mostly went with them because it seemed to be the only USCG and Mediterranean approved US sailing program. There is no RYA here. ASA seemed a bit like PADI to me (we are snobby BSAC divers), a rubber-stamp after a weekend of training.

I've also seen "equity partnerships" for boats on craigslist. Time sharing a better quality sailboat seems sensible for my early goals, but it sounds a bit dodgy to me. Is this a thing people do without getting into legal issues?

I welcome any and all guidance people can offer.

-- Wesley
terpstra is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-06-2020, 05:49   #2
Moderator
 
tkeithlu's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Carrabelle, Florida
Boat: Fiberglas shattering 44' steel trawler
Posts: 5,519
Re: Dingy-sailor wants to cruise

Welcome to the forum, Wesley.

Your plan and steps to it seem completely reasonable.

With extensive dinghy experience, I should think you are ready to go to a day/overnight 25-28 foot boat, adequate for your family or you alone. I would suggest staying away from time shares, and purchasing a boat that is ready to sail, in order to stay away from the repairs/renovation trap. Any of the name brand boats in that class are tame and designed by a committee. They can be trailered, a big monthly cost advantage Consider whether you want to go mono or catamaran hull - the cat will cost more and sail faster, and have more space on board.

Good luck with it.
__________________
Never let anything mechanical know that you are in a hurry.
tkeithlu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-06-2020, 06:23   #3
Registered User

Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Coastal Virginia
Boat: Maine Cat 38
Posts: 544
Images: 2
Re: Dingy-sailor wants to cruise

Welcome Wesley,

Your plan sounds perfectly reasonable. This is a similar path to how I got started, and I expect many others here.

Sailing dinghies teaches great boat handling and sail trimming skills, which are very useful on a cruiser.

Stepping through a smallish cruiser is an economical way to get into cruising and determine how well it fits in your present life. For me I found my boats needs evolved as my career and family needs progressed.

I agree with tkiethlu on everything except the partnership concept. I had a great partnership experience! A work colleague and I shared a boat using a simple written contract. The boat went out frequently and with two of us on it stuff got repaired and well maintained. Success was based on both partners trusting and respecting one another, and both partners wanting the partnership to work. The experience was a big win.

Good luck.
__________________
Brent
S/V Second Star
Sparx is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-06-2020, 09:54   #4
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: between the devil and the deep blue sea
Boat: a sailing boat
Posts: 20,409
Re: Dingy-sailor wants to cruise

Quote:
Originally Posted by terpstra View Post


How unrealistic am I?


Wes,



I think you are 100% realistic.


I think you are 99% on track.


Personally, I would skip the 'weekend cruiser boat'. I would just keep on doing the dinghy thingy, and doing it very very well. Anybody who can handle a Laser dinghy in all conditions (from dead calm to the point the mast snaps in a gust) is already capable of sailing a simple offshore boat across an ocean.


For the navigation part of it:


- piloting (inshore navigation, using land based and on water marks and similar aids) is a bit more complex, especially in tidal parts of the world (SF is tidal eh?) - this you learn slowly, by doing it, and by learning from others.


Piloting is difficult, especially the first 100 outings. Then it gets falsely easy and that's when we get caught in the trap of our overconfidence. Never trust your judgement and always use at least two methods of getting your data. Do not rely on gps only when you have other aids available (buoys, marks, transits, soundings, lights, etc.)



- offshore work (sights, gps, reckoning, etc.) is learned from books then deployed offshore. This is the easy part and you have plenty of time to exercise and auto-correct before you hit Hawaii. Level - easy.



For the maintenance part:


"...I've never done fiberglassing, packed a saildrive, sandblasted a bottom, or even varnished wood. Therefore, to make a cheap boat safe, I will either need to learn a lot from someone who does or hire someone...."


Well. Me neither. And yet we have sailed round the world. You do not mean it seriously varnishing wood is DIFFICULT or even worse: IMPORTANT.



If you can fix a car, you can fix a boat. Fiberglassing is just mixing resin and sandblasting is best done by a boatyard. ...


Nothing to it: fixing boats is not sailing. Building boats is not sailing. Licenses and course are not sailing. Only sailing is sailing. SAIL!



And if you get the right boat there is normally nil to only very small amount of skills and work employed - and these you learn by doing. It is OK to botch some, then improve and correct (sand it then varnish it again!). Most learners botch. This is how we learn.


Sooooo ...



In summary:
- I think you are doing it,
- I would skip the in-between boat,


When you feel like it, charter a small 4o footer in the Caribbean, get your family to join you in some fun doing there. You will learn the winches, they will understand what actually you are pulling them into.


And do not overrate licenses and courses - take the obligatory ones and take the ones that give you real benefits (e.g. vhf, firefighting, padi, etc.).


One last thing. When learning navigation, avoid the textbook approach. Read textbooks for pleasure BUT LEARN from solving actual practical tasks - for it is completely irrelevant what courses or not you took and what licenses or not you might have - in the end, all that counts on the water is always if you know where you are, and if you can take your boat and her crew, safely, from A to B.


Stay safe, have fun, keep the dream alive!


barnakiel
barnakiel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-06-2020, 11:53   #5
Registered User

Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: San Mateo, California
Boat: Hunter 33
Posts: 9
Re: Dingy-sailor wants to cruise

Wow! Thank you for all the responses and diverse opinions.

I hear the get-a-ready-to-sail boat message loud and clear. Especially given that, while I hope barnakiel is correct wrt. maintaining/fixing a sailboat, I could easily lose momentum and get stuck on a land project. Do you think I will find a ready-to-sail 30'+ boat for ~20k?

Regarding boat size, it seemed that above 28' is where you started to get into big boat systems, which I want to learn. Given that I rent, I don't have a big shed or yard where I could store a trailed boat. So it's paying for a slip or a storage lot, either way!

I've sailed lasers 1+2. What old dinghy sailor has not?! Fast and fun boats. I would never want to take my kids on a laser 1 in gusty weather over cold water, though! Not that my boyhood boat was a safe boat... I had to sail back once without a rudder on top of a broken jib tack buckle!

Now that I'm a bit more responsible, there have been no on-the-water break-downs with my Ixylon. Unfortunately, it's in Germany, where we cannot go right now. I also would not be comfortable taking a dinghy this size off-shore to practice navigation.

As an aside: why are bilgeboard dinghies not more popular? It points just as well, has way more cockpit space, is more stable, can beach, and is only marginally more timing-insensitive work when tacking.

I understand the cat vs. monohull debate is still raging strong! I do not yet have an opinion. I'm sure you are aware that most dinghy catamarans sail super light, fast, and terrifying for passengers. I've never felt comfortable sailing them. I'm constantly terrified I'll go too fast and trip or be too slow to release the main on a broach and turtle it!

That said, I understand modern large cats are much more stable and probably react a bit slower. The space and comfort at anchor seem very appealing for the eventual cruiser. However, because I am more comfortable on monohulls, I was planning to stick to them first. One reason to get certifications and licenses is to be able to charter a few big cats to get a hands-on comparison.

I totally agree that I need to learn navigation. I've done all the coastal navigation stuff on nauticed and got my laminated U.S. Chart No 1 ready, but need to put it all into practice!
terpstra is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-06-2020, 13:10   #6
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: between the devil and the deep blue sea
Boat: a sailing boat
Posts: 20,409
Re: Dingy-sailor wants to cruise

Imho a 30'+ boat for ~20k USD may pose a number of challenges:


- in some places, there are no such boats,
- in other places there may be, but maybe you are not there,
- it is more difficult when it is your 1st big boat, for you may not know to tell the important factors from the cosmetic factors.


I calculated the 15k we paid, adjusted for inflation, and converted to USD. So our boat would cost 22k USD (bare, clean and ready, but NOT fitted out). And our boat is only 26'. About 25k for a 26 footer ready to go 'anywhere' (no raft, no epirb, no watermaker, no fridge, no sat trackers, mobile plans, etc. etc.) Just us and the wind.



I think that an additional thing is a boat for coastal sailing is different from one for offshore work, and although it could reasonably be expected to be less expensive, prices are driven by demand and more people sail daily or inshore. This is good news for buying an offshore boat, not quite for buying a boat to sail locally.


Well. My 2c about how much a boat costs.


Today, I could buy an ocean capable boat for 2k, outfit her for+3k and sail her to Caribbean and back for 5k. But this only comes with my lifestyle choices, sailing experience, boat size preferences, and the fact that old men in some countries give away boats. For it costs them heaps to keep them and their children do not want them (boats, not their parents).


+30 for ~20 and ready to go ? = not impossible, but possibly not easy at all.


Cheers,
b.
barnakiel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-06-2020, 15:42   #7
Registered User

Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: San Mateo, California
Boat: Hunter 33
Posts: 9
Re: Dingy-sailor wants to cruise

Thanks for the guidance. The good news is there do appear to be a lot of sailboats for sale in the bay area. All the ones that don't look like project boats on Yachtworld are in the 25k+ range. However, there are "owner listed" boats for sale in local listings.

Just a sampling that I see today and sent inquires to inspect:
- Islander 28 (7k); AFAICT, more a dinghy with a cabin
- Catalina 30 (12.k) -- might be dodgy quality
- Ranger 33 (16k)
- Hunter 33 (17k)
- Islander mkii 32 (19k)

As you note, I do not have the experience to really gauge if the boat is a lemon or not. So I was thinking to inspect them and make an initial judgement call based on whether or not the boat has the larger boat systems I need to learn and/or is truly decrepit. Then, pay to survey the surviving candidates. I'm not sure how private sellers will react to my contingent on survey offer, though. My guess is they went with no broker because they want a fast sale.
terpstra is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-06-2020, 16:33   #8
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: between the devil and the deep blue sea
Boat: a sailing boat
Posts: 20,409
Re: Dingy-sailor wants to cruise

I do not know these boats and from looking at sailboatdata I reckon none of them would make a good offshore boat. However I found that the Islander 28:


https://sailboatdata.com/sailboat/islander-28


was designed by Robert Perry, who I believe was the man. Look up his other boats:
https://sailboatdata.com/designer/perry-robert



Stuff like this is what offshore dreams are woven of:
https://sailboatdata.com/sailboat/lafitte-44


I do not like that some images of the Islander28 boat show a wheel. Other images show a tiller and this would be my high preference.



Since the asking is definitely low (7k ex bargaining), I would suspiciously check out this one. And should this sample be free of defects (of which there is a long potential list with any older boat) I would cautiously consider maybe possibly having it on my list. At 7k, with help from an experienced friend, you could buy ex broker and ex survey (unless your insurers require one).



Buying anything at 7k then sinking would still leave a smaller hole in the budget and in one's ego than buying anything else at 15k then selling at a loss. Always mind this 7k (ex bargaining) is as if your gf took your credit card and came back with 7k Blahnik shoes. Beautiful, but otherwise something not truly of use to the whole family.


Also mind as soon as you buy any boat, there will come insurances, new rigging, new sail, maybe en engine tune up, docking fees, harbour fees, fuel and consumables ah did I miss anything, yes I missed the antifouling then annual travel-lift and scrub ... etc. You are getting my drift probably.


Even a 7k boat can easily cost you 5k or more in the first year of happy (?) ownership.



But as I said earlier, my attitude is always to SKIP any in between boats, save up and go directly for the boat I want to spend my life with. Buying, fixing, loving and selling is always way less effective than saving then buying THE thing.


If in-between boat is absolutely a must, then simply charter one for the two weeks of vacations or whatever you get from your employer. Huge saving of money and time, better for your mental health and the world's environment.



Cheers,
b.
barnakiel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-06-2020, 16:54   #9
Moderator
 
Jim Cate's Avatar

Join Date: May 2008
Location: cruising SW Pacific
Boat: Jon Sayer 1-off 46 ft fract rig sloop strip plank in W Red Cedar
Posts: 19,923
Re: Dingy-sailor wants to cruise

Well, I must differ from Barnies opinion. I think that chartering is a waste of money IF your goal is to learn the ropes of boat husbandry, ie maintenance, upgrades, systems operations and the many responsibilities of cruising in your own boat. The charter operator assumes all those chores for you, and you learn little beyond having a good time.

And I believe that in the SF bay area you will be able to find a suitable starter boat with not too much difficulty or loss of money. Check the ads in Latitude 38 each month. They are mostly local and reflect the available market. Don't worry about this boat's ability to go offshore... that is not what you are buying it for. And any of the few that you mentioned would be fine for SF bay sailing. I did it for years in a Catalina 22, and then more years in a Yankee 30... and did coastal trips in the Yankee, followed by a round trip to Hawaii in her.

If you buy wisely you should be able to turn the boat over when it is time to go bigger, and without much loss of money... IF you avoid trying to make the learner boat into a perfect example of its kind. Keep her seaworthy, but don't spend much on improvements, for that money will not be regained when she is sold. Just sail her a lot, learning as you go.

Anyway, that's basically how Ann and I began, and how we have managed to enjoy a long cruising life aboard our several boats.

Jim
__________________
Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II, still hanging out in Port Cygnet. Spring has sprung and we're back aboard at last.
Jim Cate is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-06-2020, 17:24   #10
Registered User

Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: San Mateo, California
Boat: Hunter 33
Posts: 9
Re: Dingy-sailor wants to cruise

Thank you for pointing me at Latitude 38!
terpstra is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-06-2020, 17:37   #11
Seaman, Delivery skipper
 
boatman61's Avatar

Community Sponsor
Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: PORTUGAL
Posts: 29,064
Images: 2
pirate Re: Dingy-sailor wants to cruise

You keep saying 'Big Boat Systems' like its complicated stuff..
All any boat needs to function efficiently is a depth/speed log, a VHF radio and a cheap electronic chart plotter or hand held gps..
Anything more is just boys toys unless your going offshore.. then maybe radar and a transponder.
__________________

It was a dark and stormy night and the captain of the ship said.. "Hey Jim, spin us a yarn." and the yarn began like this.. "It was a dark and stormy night.."
boatman61 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 21-06-2020, 17:51   #12
Registered User

Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: San Mateo, California
Boat: Hunter 33
Posts: 9
Re: Dingy-sailor wants to cruise

I'm less worried about the electronics you mentioned. To my mind I am more worried about dealing with the head plumbing (my dad had a live-aboard and it seemed like this was awful work), diesel engine maintenance, bilge pump, through-hulls, seacocks, windlass, winches, ... and whatever else I am not even aware of yet. Those are big boat systems that my dinghies did not have!

Handheld VHF and GPS, ... even my dinghies had those. :-)
terpstra is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-06-2020, 17:52   #13
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: between the devil and the deep blue sea
Boat: a sailing boat
Posts: 20,409
Re: Dingy-sailor wants to cruise

++1! on what Jim says above.


Jim is US based and knows your area and the boats and local custom there.


I am EU based and never cared about boats/systems/husbandry as my aim was always just to go and do sailing.



Also, our boat is SO SIMPLE, truly very simple and basic, and so there is no talking about 'systems' or 'husbandry'. We are still, in fact, sailing a biggish dinghy (well one with a roof). But most other cruisers have bigger / more complex and more specced out boats. We met only maybe half a dozen boats our size on our rtw adventure.



So I would strongly lean to Jim's advice, if I were in the US.


Different blokes, different strokes ;-)



barnakiel
barnakiel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-06-2020, 18:16   #14
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: between the devil and the deep blue sea
Boat: a sailing boat
Posts: 20,409
Re: Dingy-sailor wants to cruise

No, no, no: thru-hulls can't be seen as a difficult system. I am pretty sure they are not very complex. Possibly not complex at all.



Also, most cars have an engine and often a diesel one. Most people own cars (I do not, never had). A diesel engine seems something very simple to me though - air, fuel, compression, and a full battery. And sailboats use an engine as an auxiliary only, that's why we call them sail boats.


I have quickly looked up the bilge pump - damn me but ours looks like a steel lever attached to a rubber membrane. But maybe there are some based in quantum physics too. I always found quantum physics moderately complex indeed.


I swear last time I opened our winches for maintenance, all I found inside were some cogwheels and some grease. Complex? Nay nay, my dear. Impossible. Quite the opposite.


etc. ;-)



So where you say complex systems, I say : "compared to what"?



It is possible to buy a complex boat, or make a simple one complicated (by adding otherwise dubiously necessary systems). But I would not take this path.


Husbandry / mainetenance / complex systems and noble hobbies. But they are not sailing. Keep your boat simple.



b.
barnakiel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-06-2020, 19:11   #15
Registered User

Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: San Mateo, California
Boat: Hunter 33
Posts: 9
Re: Dingy-sailor wants to cruise

The big difference to car ownership is that if my car breaks down, I could just pull over, wait for service to arrive, or call an uber. That won't work off shore. If I take my children onto a boat, I am going to know how to repair every part of it and have as many of the tools and parts I need on hand as I can.

I hope everything is simple. That would be great. But I don't know what I don't know. My guess is that even the simple "thru-hull" is a modern feat of materials engineering. Presumably it is built out of layered and fitted materials to seal it up tightly and reliably. Use the wrong material and I assume it will leak or be unreliable under bad weather.

Sure, a diesel engine is "only" auxiliary, a backup. In my opinion, the backup is more important than the primary system. To prevent sliding down the incident pit, you want your backup systems to be at 100% and understand them fully. In a dinghy, swimming was my backup system. ;-) That won't cut it with my kids on board.

FYI, I never said complex. I said I need to learn. If it's simple, great. This stuff may all be obvious and straight-forward to you old hats. It's not for me. Yet.

If it were just me on the boat, my perspective might be different.
terpstra is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
cruise, sail

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Foldable dingy or nesting dingy alansmith General Sailing Forum 22 15-09-2018 01:03
Crew Available: Experienced Aussie female wants to cruise Asia yachtiemaureen Crew Positions: Wanted & Available 6 05-02-2017 07:28
Crew Wanted: Who wants to join an 2-week-cruise through Cyclades in September Clemey Crew Archives 0 03-08-2014 12:57
Lady Sailor Wants to Meet Gentleman Sailor Captain Pam Crew Archives 29 28-05-2011 13:16
Crew Wanted: Who Wants to Cruise the Bahamas ? svguidinglight Crew Archives 10 16-03-2011 18:19

Advertise Here


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 07:55.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.