Sailboat advise please...? - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 19 Old 08-21-2007 Thread Starter
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Thank you all for your help. I am very sorry if I am giving the impression that I do not appreciate the experience required for sailboating. I think I do. Still, I cannot yet envision days at sea tossing around so much you can't cook a hot meal and an entire body bruised from slamming against the inside of boat while trying to walk from the head to the berth. I watched a person try to navigate a canal in a private community housing area while his boat was crashing against each shore with winds not in his favor. I am aware I will have a serious rude awakening trying to develop the skill to safely navigate a sailboat and I would not take passengers until I was more capable. I was told by one person a 40' boat can be piloted by one person although not as easy I guess. One fear I have now is buying a smaller boat only to trade up when I learn to sail it. In most other things I think it is best to start out with what I intend to end up with but maybe that will be one of my biggest mistakes

Thanks I do appreciate your replies
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post #12 of 19 Old 08-21-2007
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One thing I'd mention is the passage from Beth Leonard, in her book the Voyager's Handbook, 2nd Edition. I'll paraphrase the passage, which was in the July/August 2007 Good Old Boat magazine:

Disadvantages of a larger boat:

Cost: Costs to maintain a boat roughly triple with every 10-foot increase in length. Initial expenditures for the boat, to purchase and outfit the boat, also tend to triple with a 10-foot increase in length.

Seamanship: A larger boat is more stable and considered by some to be "safer" than a smaller boat, however, a smaller boat can be more forgiving of mistakes made. A larger boat generates forces that aren't manageable without mechanical assistance, and mistakes can be deadly instead of being correctable.

Fitness: A bigger boat will often have bigger winches, but bigger winches and such will not help you move the larger anchor the larger boat requires, or help you flake or bend-on the larger, heavier sails a larger boat requires. The mechanical aids only go so far to helping manage a larger boat.

Reliance on Mechanical Aids: You generally have to rely on the mechanical assistance, in the form of larger winches, electric windlass, etc... and if those mechanical aids fail, you're in trouble.

Scale: On a bigger boat, everything is bigger. Lines are thicker, so to coil them you need larger hands. The boom is higher off the deck, so you have to be taller to reach it. The gear is larger and heavier, so you need to be stronger to manage it. Often, getting a larger boat means that the smaller crew members can have trouble doing things by themselves... and if the larger crewmember is injured... they're going to be in serious trouble.

Leonard goes on to say that starting out with the larger boat would have been a mistake. That the smaller boat was more forgiving and allowed them to learn from their mistake by helping them get out of trouble, where the larger boat would have made their mistakes worse.

Leonard also says that the boat should be limited by the strength and fitness of the regular crew. If the furler breaks, the crew still has to be able to drop the headsail, even in gale conditions, and stow it safely. If the windlass fails, the crew must still be able to retreive the storm anchor quickly. If this isn't the case, the larger boat becomes more of a danger and actual safety decreases with boat size.

I do highly recommend you get some serious experience in... working your way up to making a Pacific passage. While people who were relatively inexperienced have made such passages, their success has involved more than their fair share of luck IMHO.

Look at the differences that were demonstrated earlier this year. Ken Barnes had a 44' steel boat... and on his first major passage, he was forced to scuttle the boat and get picked up by a Chilean fishing boat. Donna Lange, a fifty-something grandmother, in a much smaller, but in many ways more seaworthy 28' boat, finished a circumnavigation. The storm system that caused Ken to abandon his boat was one that Donna also passed through as well. She was one of the people who responded to his Mayday call IIRC.

I hope this helps... I encourage you to pursue your dream of a trans Pacific crossing, but think that it needs to be tempered by a dose of reality.


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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.

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post #13 of 19 Old 08-21-2007
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very well said sailingdog,
when we began looking for "our" boat, (we are 51 and have been sailing since we were 20) We began looking at 40-50 something sailboats, stability, bluewater, displacement, then it was coring, maintance, cost etc...we knew we wanted a vessel that we BOTH felt comfortable on if something would happen to the other weather it be seasickness or worse.
We wanted something that would deal well in bad seas and cruise comphy. Maintance costs kept us from the bigger boats we loved. but we never thought we would end up with the "home" we have, what we did was not put in a size any more when we did our searches instead we put our price. When I found our little 33 HC. we began doing research on her and well...that is the end of the story...
there is a lot to be said for some of the smaller bluewater boats. some have wonderful layouts, and will take you around the world and back again; you just have to look.
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post #14 of 19 Old 08-21-2007
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Have you considered renting a few boats - for a day or for a week? This will enable you to get a better idea on namebrands, equipment, how big, what you need and what you want. Another thing to consider if you are intending on insuring the boat is how the insurance company will feel about insuring a first boat so large without substantial experience. Renting helps to fill the resume with experience. But hey - this is only a short term, help in planning scheme and not meant to delay your departure


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post #15 of 19 Old 08-22-2007
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What you are planning is certainly doable. But you don't need a 42 foot boat to do it. To be honest, I can't understand wanting a 42 foot boat unless you have a substantial amount of money to purchase and maintain a decent one. It is an awful lot of boat for two people...but I am a proponent of smaller and simpler.

I will go out on a limb and say that you are not going to find anything over 40 feet for under 150 thousand that can safely go to sea. You might find a boat for sale for 50 grand, but to make it safe is going to cost you a lot more than you pay for it initially.

I would advise you to break the process down into two, three or even four stages. Start with a smaller boat - around 24 feet - that you don't spend a lot of money on. learn to sail, the basics of maintenance, and then sell it in a couple of years, get a bigger one, and work up to what you feel you need to be safe.

An awful lot of people think that they can buy a boat, drop a couple of thousand into cosmetics and gadgets and not have to worry about much more than gas and insurance after that.

In actuality, you will consistently spend substantial amounts of money as long as you own the boat.

As far as which boat to buy... it would be a great idea to spend a few weeks going through the archives on this site, as well as other websites. You will find that some brands are much better than others, and you will save yourself a lot of stress and expense by doing the research.

Good Luck and keep posting here as you progress....
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post #16 of 19 Old 08-22-2007
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Hi again Kldzx9r , heres an idea for you, offer your services as a deck-hand on a sailboat delivery crew . There are many people out there delivering boats to far off places to those that can afford them to. Thats how I gained my blue water time before I bought my cruiser. It will give you more information than you can ever read about here or anywhare else . Get a little salt on your resume and then go buy a boat. Your idea of what a boat is capable of will change after a week or so close-hauled in 10ft seas with25-30kts blowin. The knowledge of a saltydog skipper is beyond price and I am gratefull to those that took me under their wings . Besides its a good way to
meet new people that have the know-how and possibly know of the right boat for you , just a thought .
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post #17 of 19 Old 08-22-2007
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My boat ownership experience is somewhat unusual I would think. But it worked out fine, perhaps a lot of luck.

My college roomate asked me to help him with spring prep and a 31 foot sloop. I know absolutely nothing about boats. He then offered me the reward of sailing to his mooring (100 miles - 2 days). I loved it.

In the Fall he asked me if I wanted to get into a boat share with him. I, of course, sail I knew nothing and had to learn but loved the idea. He said he would teach me. We went to see the boat he had in mind. It was a 48' ketch - magnificent.

I had no idea of the issues of scale, but assumed he knew what he was doing and obviously someone sailed this large yachts. Why not us?

I then set about to read everything I could about sailing, cruising, yacht design, even boat partnerships and in the Spring took a Colgate sailing course. I was psyched.

His GF nixed the deal because she didn't want to share the boat. I was bummed. I went to the broker on my own and asked is he has something smaller by the same builder. He did. It was a new Contest 36. I told him that one day I wanted to go offshore etc. He said the boat could do it. I got a surveyor who told me the same, but it needed a lot of upgrades for offshore work.

I bought the boat and still own it. I spent the first 6 years sailing like crazy. Sailed whenever I could, in every condition including in a fall snowfall. Now that was weird.

I spent those 6 years upgrading the boat. Added a roller furler, windlass then an electric windlass, beefed up the electrical system, added a below decks autopilot, refrigeration, solar panels, Espar heating, inner forstay, storm canvas, assym chute, solid vang, dodger, instruments, pole and all sorts of deck hardware, running backs, new stanchion bases. The list of work and upgrades was endless and took 6 years... and probably cost half of what I paid for the new boat.

In '91 I was ready to go offshore and did the Marion Bermuda. Of course I had a crew and some good sailors including the broker who sold me the boat! We did fine, the boat performed well. I was ready and in the Fall left for 4 yrs of living aboard and cruising in the Caribbean. I was single handing and shorthanding the entire time, except for the first sail down to Antigua when I had 3 others with me.

I have continued to upgrade since then and almost everything but the hull, spars, engine, steering and cabinet work has been replaced and or upgraded. New hatches and ports, cushion covers, cockpit cushions, life lines, dodger.

I've done ALL the work myself, sometimes with the assistance and advice of a professional. What a learning experience! But I know the boat down to the last screw. For me it's the only way I feel safe and confident. No mysteries there.

And it's a never ending maintenance and upgrade operation. It's what I like more than anything.. messing about on boats.

I was lucky that the boat I started with is a great boat for MY purposes. It was solidly built, well design, very large sensible interior with great headroom, gorgeous teak joinery and comfy dry cockpit. It is single-handable for even an older person, though the 440 SF full battened main is pretty heavy to lift and the anchor with all chain is a back breaker.

And as SD points out in his reference to Beth... even with this size yacht the forces can get up there and "dangerous". I don't know that I would feel as secure sailing a larger yacht in heavy weather / conditions. This even applies to docking. I can do it all alone. This gives me freedom because I don't have to rely on crew to use and enjoy the boat.

Anchoring is no harder than parallel parking. If I need to move, I do it. If the water tanks are low, I pop over to the dock.

Yet the boat was comfy enough to live on without many "sacrifices". I have all the creature comforts, a huge galley, oodles of storage space, a huge nav station. shower, a separate aft cabin and a V for the occasional guests, a huge cockpit which can easily accommodate 8 people, but why would I want that?

Larger boats are nice for comfort and even for faster passages. But the latter is rather marginal and in my opinion offset by the downside of increased expenses and so forth.

However my main is about the size of a 40' masthead rig and so that would be the max size I think I would go for. The 40s I've seen are often no larger on the interior with the same 3 cabin layout and some, such as Hinkley are smaller!

My 36s is a brilliant design which I had nothing to do with. But it proved to me that this was more than adequate to sail offshore and live comfortably on. I was lucky 21 yrs ago... and I still benefit from that twist of fate.

Think about it and look around before you jump.

sv shiva
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post #18 of 19 Old 08-22-2007
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Originally Posted by kldzx9r View Post
Thank you for the replies. I picked one reply listing questions to reply to about me

How many people will typically be aboard the boat when you are sailing?
1 or 2
-Will you be living aboard?
-How physically fit are you?
Getting older but I work on a farm alone so I do hard work at times
-How experienced are you?
I am a scuba diver but not much boat experience
-Where do you plan to sail this boat?
From west coast USA to Philippines
-Have you owned a boat before?
-Are you good at repairs and maintenance?
-Do you have a particular aesthetic sense of what you like or dislike?
I like a functional design (hope that is a vailid answer)
-You mention a list of very antiquated rigs. Is there a reason that these rigs appeal to you?
I didn't know they are antiquated. I read in a book basic sailboat styles

My thinking on a boat is to make it as versatile as possible and also to grow into it instead of out of it.

My plan is to have the boat appraised as a condition before buying it. I was told a diesel engine is good to have in a sailboat. Although the boat may be used near a coastal area I still want to have the ability to be in open water for days or weeks.

I was told a Hunter brand was very good. So, far I am thinking I want a 42-46 foot sailboat. From what I have seen for sale I would like to find one for around 50K USD not needing major repairs. Do you think this is possible?

Also to answer another question: I was asked what I saw so far I didn't like. I went on about ten boats and a few more I didn't care to walk next to. Some were dry docked. I tried to look for indications in boats giving the impression they were currently capable and properly outfitted to go out immediately for a trip i.e. electronic gear in tact instead of someone having robbed parts from the boat... some boats had spares including extra sails and riggings. Some boats looked what you'd call "turn-key" needing no TLC while other boats appeared to me to have been neglected by the seller and out of service.
- Electronics - or lack thereof - should be the least of your concerns. Especially if you intend to gain experience on this boat over a period of time - at first, you will need only minimal electronics and by the time you are ready for your trip to the PI, you will need to upgrade your suite anyway (and will know what you need and want).

- The size boat you're looking for is too big. Further, you'd have to be extremely lucky to find a suitable boat that size for the price you are entertaining. 32'-36' seems more reasonable. For $20K, you could pick up something like an Alberg 30, a moderate fixer-upper. Good experience all around; trade up later.

- You will *definitely* want a diesel rather than gasoline auxillary - but only a few boats, mostly from the 1970s and on the lower-end size-wise, will have gasoline engines (at least that I've heard of).

Last edited by sneuman; 08-22-2007 at 08:38 AM.
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post #19 of 19 Old 08-22-2007
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Dreams are wonderful things. We should all work harder to make our own come true. That said, make sure the dream does not turn into a nightmare. When the tractor or the farm truck break down you can walk to get parts. In the middle of the have to have them with you. The bigger the boat, the bigger the parts closet you will need. Your concern about bouncing around at sea is a real one. However, the bigger the boat...the farther you can bounce!

You have been given some sound advise in this thread about your dream, your budget, and how to prepare. I would not disagreee with any of it, which has been pretty common in the thread as well. In my opinion, the best advise you have been given is to get some experience before you make a purchase. That can be crewing, that can be lessons and chartering, it does not matter. Experience does matter and will shape your purchase decision.

Having worked on farms you have probably seen a few gentlemen farmers along the way. They may be newly retired or just want to move to the country. They jump in with both feet only to find that they have to get their shoes dirty. They don't want to plant the seed...just see the fields looking pretty. They love the $200,000 tractor that they saw...but they don't really think much of the $10,000 tractor that needs work...but they own it. Their idea of an early morning is coffee on the porch at 8 AM...not milking a cow at 5 AM.

Same dream in reverse. What you want to do is possible and can happen if you do it logically and prepoare for it extensively. If you don't you may find yourself the gentleman sailor.
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