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post #1 of Old 11-09-2009 Thread Starter
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Too Much Boat?

Hello everyone,

I'm in the process of researching before buying a boat to live aboard and single hand - probably in the Caribbean. I'm planning on doing this alone, at least to start, I'm 57 and have no family - and I don't have a lot of sailing experience. I'm going to the USVI in April to take an extensive Ocean Sailing and Navigation course. My experience to date is many years ago in university - took a good, basic sailing course and went on a few cruises, piloted by others.

I've posted questions here about rigging for single-handed sailing a 34-40 foot boat and got some excellent advice.

I've also read a few other threads on this site about cruising.

Up to now, I've identified the following 'needs'.

1. I want to spend as little time in a slip as possible - preferring to try being 'on the hook', so storage of water, fuel, waste and basic living needs is important. I'm quite comfortable being on my own and don't want to blow the budget on slip fees.

2. From what I've learned here and from my own research is that a cutter rig with furled 100% yankee headsail (to clear the mid-stay when tacking), self-tending furled staysail, gale sail that can be raised over the furled yankee, no furling on the main (unreliable), below deck autopilot (and wheel mounted autopilot back-up) are what is recommended for single-handed sailing - although some people recommended a fractional sloop.

My budget is $80k - $100k for a used boat that would suit my needs - but I wouldn't mind spending less. So far I've been looking at the 20-30 year old Tayana and Hans Christian because of their large tankage, sturdiness and good below deck storage. Don't know if insurance would be an issue with older boats like these.

Here's my question.

Am I crazy?

I don't want to spend tens of thousands every year on maintenance and repairs (I'm not currently all that knowledgeable about doing my own repairs), and I certainly don't want to get a boat that would prove too big for me to handle either at sea or when docking. I've read that 'smaller is better' for cruising, meaning lower costs and fewer worries - and I really don't intend on sailing across oceans any time soon.

Do I need to re-evaluate my criteria - and look for a smaller boat?

Your advice and responses would be greatly appreciated...

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