Re: For experienced cruisers ...
1) Morgan 44 centre cockpit, circa 1989
2) I would change nothing about my present boat other than equipment upgrades
3) No comment
4) Oyster 50 centre cockpit or Swan 50
5) About 28000nm over 38 years, including two ocean crossings (Indian and Pacific) sometimes with family, sometimes on my own.
6.1) Make sure that you never run out of electricity - life becomes quickly and exponentially less tolerable when you have no electricity. I have oversize alts on my main engine, 280w of solar, a wind generator and a diesel 12v gen set all connected to 800 amp hours of house bank. I never want to be "powerless" again.
6.2) Make sure you never have a fear of running out of water - you do need less than you think but sometimes quality water is hard to find. Sir Peter Blake once said "Good water - good life, bad water - bad life, no water - no life." An RO watermaker these days is compact, reliable and affordable, rain catchers are easy to make and stow.
6.3) Try to make your live aboard as close as possible to the amenities you have ashore, maybe not as big, maybe not as complex but try to have as much of it as you can. Decent shower, heads, a comfy place to read a book, good lighting, good cooking/baking facilities and so on.
6.4) Do not underestimate the need for good quality storm management gear (drogues, sea anchors, etc), you life may depend upon it. Also educate yourself on the various philosophies for storm management, pick one that suits your psyche and fulfill it in all aspects. Try not to mix and match. Example do I lie to the sea on a parachute anchor or do I slow my boatspeed and run with the weather?
6.5) You will need far less food in stock that you think, most food supplies can be had just about anywhere and the majority of trips from one place to the next are normally less than a week.
6.6) When setting up a boat for extended cruising, remember that you will be at anchor far more of the time than at sea - pay attention to your ground tackle and make your boat a comfortable place to live.
6.7) Try to have good comms on board (but see 6.1 above) A decent GPS EPIRB, many successful rescues happen because of EPIRB. Good radio equipment is expensive but cheap equipment is a waste of time. A satphone is useful for staying in contact with family.
6.8) Look after your sails, they're your ticket to the next destination.
These are my own thoughts/philosophies and each person will have different views.
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