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  #1  
Old 03-08-2007
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CD's and CM's checklist for a cruising boat

Hi all,

Here is a bit of a list my wife and I put together on seraching for boats. It is not complete and I am sure we forgot many things. We are liveaboard/Cruiser focused with kids. I put this in as a guidline for our thought process. This checklist is for an island hopper, not a ocean crosser. Still, a poorly sailing or poorly made island hopper can be just as dangerous in the islands as the middle of the ocean. Most production boats (with exceptions I will not name) will meet many of these requirements. This is not meant to complement any boat or discredit any boat... this is just our list as a mom and dad that cruise with kids.

First of all, I understand the need and desire for a well built boat. THe issue is making the distinction between weekending and living aboard and cruising. As a LA or cruiser, you really should look into the liveability factor. You will be on this thing night and day. When a front blows through, you ARE on it ALL DAY, stuck in there together... wife, kids, pets, etc. You better really think about that as you go look. It rains at 2:00 about everyday in s florida and many of the islands. Some storms are quite strong and a lot of lightning. So, knowing where you are going to cruise (be realistic with yourself or this whole conversation is pointless), make your own checklist. I would imagine it will be similair to ours:

Stage 1

Cruisingdad's:

Can you stretch out? Can you sleep comfortbaly? DO you have a place to escape from one another (even husband/wife)? Where will you sit up and read (you do a lot of it)? How comfortable is the cockpit - where you spend a WHOLE lot of time? Where will you store things? Where will you put the tools and spare parts? Geneator? Watermaker? Handholds (more important in a island hopper than a offshore boat b/c you have a LOT more open space to break a rib... though I am sure this will be contested)? Can I sit down and take a crap comfortably? What is the shower configuration? Does it have a lot of hatches and good air flow? How will I tend the lines on docking? (One of my most important): CAN I SINGLE HAND AND CAN MY WIFE? Does it have a nice nav station with a lot of room for charts and electronics? What are the wire runs? Can everyone be safe in the cockpit? What is the tankage: water, fuel, holding? Does it have a low transom (I will not buy a boat without a transom "step" as getting on off with kids or myself it is not worth the difficulty... you can add a sugar scoop to a swept back, but added expense).

CruisingMom's Check list

Will the kids be safe in the cockpit? How will the kids sleep in their bunks? Where do I put the stores? Can I brace myself in the galley? How many burners on the stove (She prefers 3). Can I put in some luxuries like breadmaker? How will I settle in pots and pans? Accessibility? Can I sleep comfortably? Can I single hand? Where will the kids play? Do we have an escape from the kids? Is the table comfortable to sit around and can we all sit around it? Is there room in the cockpit for all of us?

Now, stage 2

Cruisingdad

How is she built? Where are the tanks? Where are the pumps? What is the engine access? Where will I run jacklines? What type of rig? Sailplan? Easy room for solar and wind? Lazarette accessibility in and out? How does she beat to weather? How will she weather in a storm? Mast height (important)? Draft? Room for a liferaft and davits for a tender? Does she feel stiff?

Cruisingmom

Kids safety, kids safety, kids safety. Only other input: if she is tender, fooogeettaboouuuttit!


If I were crossing oceans, I would revers stage 2 and stage one and add many other things... but instead of going there, that is the basics of what me and mom look for on first glance at a boat for island hopping. We have 2 kids, 3&6. Our perspectives may be much differnt than many of yours. There are many things we have forgotten about, no doubt. Still, I thought this might help others that ask about boats and what to look for.

Good luck in your searches...

- CD & CM
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Old 03-08-2007
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Nice list CD. I started with - What am I going to use it for? That made it a sailing boat and not a canal barge. Where will I sail it? - Hmmm, chilly, it had better have a wheelhouse. How big a boat can I handle alone? (Took old advice and bought a little too small - but hey, less money). It was a slow process, but I actually ended up with just about the perfect boat - for me. (Giu would hate it).
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Old 03-08-2007
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Thanks Idiens. Giu is actually secretly envious of both of us. DOn't worry about it!!!! (smile)

- CD
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Old 03-08-2007
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Not a bad list CD. I am wondering though are the kids CK1 and CK2?
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Old 03-08-2007
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Oh, sorry, PB, Let me ammend:

Cruisingkid1:

Place where I can stash all my cars without little brother seeing me.

CruisingKid2:

Who cares as long as CK1 does not get his wish.


That about sums it up.
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Old 03-08-2007
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It must be love.....I end up in almost any thread here...even if it has nothing to do with me..

CD nice list...thank you for your time.
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Old 03-08-2007
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Nice list CD. What do you sail again, a 400 or 36? I am in he process of making my CS34 more livable by altering the table. I especially agree with the chart table comment. Mine has the fridge under the table, seemed good at first, but basically renders the table useless.
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Old 03-08-2007
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Thank you giu.

BF,

I have a 400 (which we are outfitting) and cruised with fam on a 380 before that. Had a Catalina 320 before that. Had a 250 before that.

Good luck on the outfitting and make ready, BF.

- CD
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Old 03-08-2007
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LOL... Nice list CD... are you looking for a non-catalina now???
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Old 03-09-2007
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Looking for a non-catalina??? There are many, many boats outside of Catalina I like, and MANY MORE I do not. Catalina makes the best production cruiser in this class, that is all. Of course, that is my opinion - other may differ (blind bastards... smile).

However, no, the boat search is not for me. I have my boat. My pops and mom are selling it all and going cruising with us. I am looking for them. Dad frequents this site a bunch too, but hardly ever posts. They are more of the typical poster/cruiser: Mid-late 50's, retired (retiring), looking for a live aboard that is a good island hopper, have not done ANY cruising (except with us when they flew in to visit) and not a lot of sailing (again, except with us). I suggested he take a sailing class (or several, actually) to see the book-version of how things work. He took it with a friend of mine. He kept telling Jeff, "Now, wait.... that isn't how Brian does it! Wait, no beer while sailing? No hold on, I have seen Brian do it differently..."

You can just imagine the ration of S*** I got from that!!! Oh well, live and learn!!!

I am on a similair search as many that frequent this site (for them)... but the funny thing is, I find a boat I love and they don't like it (usually the lines), while they find a boat they like and I put a REALLY QUICK VETO and reality check on it. It has been a bit of a humbling experience, as I have come to realize that what I like in boats and what other people like are often two very different things. I am doing better about slamming people about getting a bullet-proof shoe box for the islands, or a island hopper to cross the seas (at least I think I am... smile). But we have been there and know what works and what does not. Telling someone what works is like saying, "Don't do what I did," but they have to experience it for themselves to learn, "Oh crap... you were right!!!" But that is not sailing, that is life.

- CD
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