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I think that education is probably the most important part of the three. Without a proper background and skills, trying to go bluewater in a budget boat is going to be be far more dangerous than it would be otherwise. Also, they need to have some pretty solid sailing experience IMHO.
The next most important thing is having a good boat with solid bones. Some boats are far better suited for this than others... some good pocket cruisers include: most of the small Alberg designs: Cape Dory 25, Pearson Ariel, Triton, Alberg 30, etc. The Albin Vega, Southern Cross 28/31, Elizabethan 31, Flicka, PSC Dana 24, Westsail 32, and Bristol 29.9 are also good choices.
Some small multihulls that would be good choices are the Heavenly Twins 26, Catalac 8m, and the Iroquois. Some of the Cross, Piver and Brown designs are quite good, but most were home built, and will probably have construction and durabilty issues, so I'd avoid them unless you have special knowledge of them.
IMHO can be relatively minimal. This is especially true on a smaller boat, since it won't have the ability to support a lot of the more complicated systems found on larger boats. It also doesn't make sense to stock up on expensive systems that aren't well suited to the pocket cruising lifestyle or mentatlity.
John Vigor's book, Twenty Small Sailboats to Take You Anywhere is a good starting point for anyone thinking about doing this. The Pardeys have written quite a bit about this, and I'd recommend their books and Don Casey's The Sensible Cruiser as starting points for the budget cruiser's library. Thomas Firth Jones's Multihull Voyaging is a good book for those interested in budget cruising in a multihull.
Paper charts, a GPS, hand-bearing compass, dividers, parallel rule, pencils, binoculars are a minimum.
While I'd agree with most of what CD said, I think the lighting depends on what size boat you've got. A masthead tricolor is probably a necessity for offshore work, and deck level lights for in-hoarbor/coastal work.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.
—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)
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Still—DON'T READ THAT POST AGAIN.
Last edited by sailingdog; 02-17-2008 at 10:15 PM.