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post #9 of Old 11-25-2003
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29ft cruising

Tommy, there''s surely nothing wrong with your intended plan provided you insure the boat is capable of the offshore work and upgraded accordingly where it isn''t. There is a huge history of small boats being taken long distances - for starters, you might read John Guzzwell''s account of sailing his self-build TREKKA, a Laurent Giles design I believe. Because the boat was built for the voyage, he did a circle with few problems and TREKKA was 20'' LOA. John Letcher did a series of Pacific runs in his little 26'' self-built ALEUTKA. Dave ??, who has been featured with his family time and again in Cruising World, rebuilt a Cal 25 (a very light-weight, round the buoys weekender) from the hull up and did a circle, ending up with a family of 4 aboard! Or enjoy reading John Neal''s account, very early in his life, of taking MAHINA, a Vega 27, deep into the Pacific and back to Seattle. Log of the Mahina would be one good reference as it''s now available cheaply, has an appendix of what he did to upgrade the boat, and it shows how missed details (Vegas didn''t have an adequate bulkhead support under the mast) will be found by the ocean. (You might also read his follow-up book, doing 3 Pacific runs in a Monsun 31 built by Hallberg Rassy). Friends of ours in the 80''s left on a Robert Harris-built/Taiwan-built Vancouver 25, sailed all around the Atlantic and Caribbean, and were last heard of heading for the Phillipines from our U.S. Trust Territory. I could go on...

There are a LOT of cruising boats cycling thru Australia and by now weaknesses will have been found. Consider finding a few of those folks to talk to, look over their boats and gear, and do some sizing up relative to your Compass 29. You''ll need to think about the main structural components: the hull/deck monocoque structure (will a heavy green wave landing right smack on top of the cabin be rebuffed by the ports, hatches, deck structure, companionway?), the rudder, rudder post and steering linkage(s), the rig. And you''ll have to sort thru the basics before worrying about all the nice gear trinkets: reliable self-steering, decent range of healthy sails, a workable galley, a couple of true sea berths, robust & versatile anchor gear, and decent cockpit & sun protection.

This prep work usually ends up being a multi-year process; don''t scrimp on it with the family going along. You''ll have a ball and will find the effort well worthwhile. Good luck to you!

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