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  #131  
Old 02-09-2010
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I think there's something to be said form sailing either east or west until you end up where you started... if only to prove to yourself that the world is actually round.

I hope to do it someday. I'm an intermediate sailor, racing a lot on Olson 30s on the SF Bay these days. I want to get a small boat and do it single or double handed. I guess my philosophy could be described as minimalist. Perhaps this is by necessity, as I may never make enough money to do it "right," as the people with the Beneteau 45s might frame it.

I think storm avoidance and great ground tackle are probably essential elements to any offshore sailing/cruising.
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  #132  
Old 02-09-2010
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Oh, and the blessings of Aeolus are clearly essential as well.
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  #133  
Old 05-24-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruisingdad View Post
The items I feel are essential to cruising are:

1) SSB
2) Radar
3) Chartplotter
4) Autopilot
5) EPIRB
6) Solar/Wind generation
7) Refrigeration
8) Tankage
9) Boat
10) Room for a tender
Other than #8/9 those sound like luxuries that are absolutely not essential to cruising, and most cruisers never have, or need. That stuff sounds like more hassle than it's worth, even if it were free (and I doubt that it is).

Even #8 is questionable- you *need* drinking water, but it doesn't have to be in a tank. 5 gallon water jugs work great for me. I don't see how one could cruise without a boat, so on that we're in agreement

Food, water, and a seaworthy boat are all that is essential for cruising. Essential implies that if you don't have it- you shouldn't go at all.
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Last edited by casioqv; 05-24-2010 at 08:01 PM.
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  #134  
Old 05-25-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by casioqv View Post
Other than #8/9 those sound like luxuries that are absolutely not essential to cruising, and most cruisers never have, or need. That stuff sounds like more hassle than it's worth, even if it were free (and I doubt that it is).

Even #8 is questionable- you *need* drinking water, but it doesn't have to be in a tank. 5 gallon water jugs work great for me. I don't see how one could cruise without a boat, so on that we're in agreement

Food, water, and a seaworthy boat are all that is essential for cruising. Essential implies that if you don't have it- you shouldn't go at all.
I understand. The point of this thread were the things YOU feel are essential, which is why I reached out to a lot of different cruisers to see how they cruise and what their philosophies are. For example, you will find those that think I am being too light on my needs. There are others, such as yourself and Vega that are more minimalists. There is no right or wrong answer here, only opinions. I also asked that the posters outlie their experience cruising and background so that each person can get a feel for where they went and what their environment was like.

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  #135  
Old 06-08-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruisingdad View Post
I understand. The point of this thread were the things YOU feel are essential, which is why I reached out to a lot of different cruisers to see how they cruise and what their philosophies are.
Brian,

As usual, you're too reasonable to have an argument with

I want to go cruising as soon as possible, and I'm tired of purchasing, installing, and repairing equipment that's not essential. As it is, the essential items for basic safety are a stretch in the time and money I'm willing and able to put into my boat. If I were to expand the "essential" list beyond what is truly essential, actual cruising would never happen- certainly not in the next few years. To put this in perspective- I'm 25, have a full time job, and have an $800 Catalina 22 I found on Craigslist in need of major repairs. I trailer it with my $150 Volvo station Wagon. I'd like to take a weekend or week off here and there and gradually explore the Channel Islands. My total budget is probably less than most on this forum put into their dinghies.

This basically sums up my philosophy:

"Most of the luxuries and many of the so-called comforts of life are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances"
Thoreau

Last edited by casioqv; 06-08-2010 at 12:57 PM.
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  #136  
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A Discussion of the Philosophies of Cruising and Circumnavigating

To circumnavigate, to navigate a circumference, such as an island, a continent, or the Earth, is to travel all the way around the edge, particularly when in control of the route taken.

I think that circumnavigating is a subset or maybe speciality of cruising, just is the Great Loop, European Canals, gunkholing the Gulf of Mexico or the Bahamas, or any other mode of travel that requires passage over portions of water. Each has its challenges, rewards, and proponents and you, the cruiser, cruise as you want.

I'm planning on a circumnavigation primarily because I've done the Med, Caribbean, Atlantic crossing, and have no desire to cruise the US East Coast. For me, the places I want to see are west and that seems to fit in with a circumnavigation. I've visited a good part of the Pacific just not on my boat, long enough, or to the locations I'd prefer. So, if I sail the Pacific and cross my outbound track (I'm leaving from the East Coast of the US), I can say with pride that somehow I did a circumnavigation.

Philosophy of my vessel -
I suppose I can be described as a dyslexic investor - I bought high and sold low. As a result, I don't have significant resources to buy new or custom or top shelf. I also don't seen to have any luck with lotteries, getting struck by lightning, or finding the right boat, perfectly prepared, for $1.98.

A lot of boats have made the loop around and I'd be willing to bet that if it's been made for water travel, it's either gone around or across. The vessels may not have been "blue water" designed and some have barely made it, but cruising can be done in almost anything that floats.

I'm looking for an early 80's 40' +/- sloop/cutter with a better than average build and reputation. My research indicates that during this time fiberglass boats were generally overbuilt and while slower than today's similar sized vessels can take the weight penalties of long distances. 40' seems to me to be the dividing line between "fine to live aboard" and "this is really camping, not cruising".

40' seems about the max length for single or shorthanded sailing, a good compromise between cost of maintenance and performance, and small enough to be hauled most anywhere. I sailed for 9 years on a 37' Endeavour that was a fine boat on the hook but took more than a puff to get rolling.

I want a simple sail plan and for me that's (1) cutter or (2) sloop rigged. I'd like a hard dodger but will probably set sail with a fabric dodger and bimini. I prefer solar panels to the real dangers of a wind generator but know that both are the way to go. I want a simple interior and a well thought out suite of gear.

Gear -

well thought out navigation gear with single point failure duplicates (DGPS, autopilot, windvane, AIS, depth and speed instruments, binoculars, sextant, cruising guides, books, barometer, charts, SSCA bulletins)

laptop - 2 (primary navcomp, navcomp backup and data digestion) for navigation charts, WEFAX, GRIB files, email, Skype, articles, photos,

good tankage ratio (diesel to fresh water)
Manual fresh water pump for sink, electric for shower

DSC VHF
SSB/Ham - really want this but I've gotten by with a shortwave/general coverage receiver and good external antenna
Stereo - iPod interface, CD inteface, AM/FM

Medical kit with "Where there is no..." books

well thought out tool kit
well thought out spares and consumables provisioning

Intelligent food and beverage provisioning

Dinghy and outboard

Solar panels - 2
Wind Generator - 1
Large battery bank w monitor
Wind scoops, dorades, fans, LED lighting

Spare line, blocks, cars, rebuild kit for winches and windlass, sail repair kit
all chain primary rode, 100' chain w 3-strand for secondary rode, kedge anchor
deflatable fenders or rectangular foam fenders

Inflatable PFD/harness w jacklines
Flares
floating cushions
EPIRB
Life raft or means to quickly inflate dinghy

Fishing gear
Cooking gear

Stove - x burners with oven, propane with 2x 20# tanks
Fridge and maybe Freezer

Proposed plan (subject to constant change)

I'm looking to get the boat fairly well prepared. There are a lot of threads with details elsewhere but suffice to say I have 3 priorities: (1) keep the water on the outside; (2) keep the mast up; and (3) avoid, at all cost, hitting any of the hard stuff out there. For some reason, I never get the punch list completely done so when I think I've got the top 3 covered well, I'm heading out.

"Cruising is doing menial labor in exotic locations". As I sail, things will either need repair, modification or replacement. If I do one simple thing a day and a couple toughies a week it shouldn't get in the way of cruising. I'll work my way down the Bahamas then the Caribbean chain to Trinidad/Tobago to wait out the hurricane season, do any big repairs, and prepare for the run to Panama and through the Canal. The idea is to be on the hook in Panama City around the start of the prime time to make the Pacific crossing.

It seems to me that in order to cross the Pacific, having a Pacific Puddle Jump (kudos to Latitude 38) or Coconut Milk Run philosophy is a good way to avoid trouble. Chances are I won't be going the same route as these but crossing the Pacific takes planning, timing, and preparation. Hopefully, by the time I get to the Canal, the systems will be in top shape, the vessel and I will be in good communications, and I'll be ready and able to do cross the Big "O".

I plan to do a lot of cruising, anchoring, exploring, and traveling. And somehow, through the magic of cruising, all those day cruises can magically add up to a Pacific Loop, circumnavigation of South America, Great Circle Route, or Canals of Europe. But first and last, I'm a cruiser who just happens to have stumbled on an interesting collection of cruises that are something bigger.

Gratification -

I'm sailing solo or shorthanded, so it's probably easier for me to do this.

There are a lot of cruisers who head out, find a magical spot, get involved with the community, and spend significant time there. There are cruisers that come in broke, hump butt to refill the kitty, and take off. There are folks that cruise with family, kids, friends, or solo. There are cruisers who devote considerable time and expertise to helping out the community where they are anchored. There are cruisers who come in, stay quiet, and sail out.

Every one of them is a cruiser, not entirely because of their mode of transportation, but possibly as a result of their outlook. A lot of them are circumnavigators; sometimes multiple times, who've not written one word about their exploits. And "circumnavigator" can have a lot of meanings.
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  #137  
Old 06-09-2010
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A really really good post Oceanscapt....
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  #138  
Old 08-08-2010
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More mind-numbing details on the philosophy of cruising "stuff"

We've owned small boats and done inland and coastal sailing, with a few charters and have done the basic sailing classes through bareboat and coastal nav. We've also done a bit a club racing, race management, and safety training. We may get into more extended coastal cruising (up to 24 hours from port or 50 miles from land) in the next year; some friends are trying to persuade us to do the inside passage in British Columbia.

"Stuff flying around" and fiddle rails were mentioned. To that I'd add means of securing everything important: latches for drawers and cabinets, positive latches for cabin sole floorboards, a hold-down for the companionway boards, strong anchor points (pad eyes), etc. Positive, strong latching or locking for cockpit lockers. Strong latches for forehatch. Battery tie-down straps. And of course real seacocks, checked and maintained, with the soft plugs tied adjacent, double-clamped hoses, etc. Openable portlights should dog securely top and bottom and not leak even when "firehosed". Tie downs for shelves. And, for the crew, secure sea berths and lots of good hand holds.

Emergency stuff: Even for a "extended coastal cruiser", I'd have an EPIRB with GPS or at the very least a GPS-equipped PLB in lower-risk places. Sure, I won't go out with false confidence expecting to be saved from all stupidity. But, if I really run into trouble beyond what I can handle, I want to get help before subjecting me, my boat, and crew to needlessly prolonged hazard or suffering. And at the same time I want to minimize the time, expense, and danger to the people who are trying to help me.

Also, flares/signaling gear beyond the minimum...the cheapy 3 hand-held flare kit shouldn't be all that's aboard. Emergency water maker or solar stills (in ditch bag). Radar reflector of course. Cutters for rig, rigging knife on my harness or at helm. Jack line rigged toward windward midships in rough stuff, harness with double tether including short tether. Lights on life vests, of course, float coats or wet/dry suits, MOB pole / horseshoe buoy / Lifesling / spare hoisting rig. Basic easily accessible first-aid kid for routine crew use and heavier-duty first-aid kit. Boarding ladder. Fire-proofing lining for engine compartment, fire port or automatic extinguishing system would be nice.

Ditch bag -- accessible to cockpit, with flotation, with copies of ship's papers and personal identification (copies of passport info pages, etc.) in water-proof pouches, in addition to survival and signaling stuff. Spare eyeglasses or contacts, prescription medicines, personal necessities, emergency credit/debit card or pre-paid card.

Communication: Can't afford SSB right now but would get it if I were crossing oceans. Back up hand-held GPS. Would be nice to have back-up VHF antenna on stern rail in case main antenna fails or rig is lost. Modern base station VHF, of course. Solar-powered emergency chargers for cell phones, possibly for other communications that can be brought along in case of evacuation. Ship's bell, pump-up backup horn. Cheap phone card/local wireless access.

Navigation -- back up hand-held GPS. In addition to GPS and paper charts or chartbooks, have viewable electronic copies of charts on laptop and thumb drive. Binoculars, of course, and a nice portable searchlight, and various flashlights (electric torches), glow sticks. Radar would be nice if spending lots of time in fog but can't afford it now.

Back saver: electric winch, solid bow roller, fully adequate ground tackle with a good shot of chain as part of the rode. Snubbers, padding, no knife-edge chocks, adequate/enough cleats.

Sailhandling, steering -- most stuff led aft and run fair, easy reefing and dropping & flaking (Dutchman/lazy jacks). Big enough winches so petite spouse/crew could handle all loads. Turning blocks serviced/replaced. Bo'sun's chair or climbing rig. Sail inventory/rigging for light (whisker pole, cruising chute) and heavy (storm sails, multiple sets of reef points in main, probably a cut-down/undersized heavier main would be nice) conditions, efficient downwind work, sail repair materials. Would be nice if genoa could be removed from furler with minimum fuss in case of need. Autopilot, wheel lock, emergency tiller.

Mechanical, structural, rig, bo'sun's locker -- the usual spares, tools, consumables and I already mentioned cutters/rigging knife. Plenty of fenders, fender board, boat hook, spare ground tackle, Q & courtesy flags, club flags for seeking reciprocal hospitality, spare line and wire, swaging & riveting tools.

Raft/tender -- can't afford a life raft but already have a choice of a 6-person inflatable, 10' fiberglass hard dinghy, and two one-person kayaks.

Sybaritic luxury: a custom mattress or pad under our berths. Lots of fans. Lots of LED reading lights. Decent ventilation. Windscoop. Bimini, dodger, and side cloths for colder areas. Flopper stopper for rolly anchorages. Decent quality foulies... what we have now are inadequate. Spare foulies in drybag. Fishing gear and rail grill. Folding dock carts (the folding milk crate type or a collapsible wheeled pack) and maybe folding bicycle. Heady-duty modern insulation in refrigerator or icebox, with insulated lid. Bug goop/screens. Heater for when in port. Marina key with access to hot showers and laundry.

Not getting -- SSB, radar, wind vane steering (Monitor), life raft. These are the sorts of things I'd consider before crossing oceans. For long-haul short-handed sailing through busy shipping lanes I might also consider an automatic identification system (AIS) (at least an affordable receiver). Also rejecting -- freezer -- too much complication. Would be happy to do without pressure water but like having hot water.
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  #139  
Old 08-08-2010
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Steve Callahan and EPIRBs

Quote:
Originally Posted by kwaltersmi View Post
.... I'm a bit jaded about EPIRB's after having read Steve Callahan's book Adrift. His EPIRB didn't help and he was constantly rationing it's battery life.
I suppose emergency beacons are more or less related to the philosophy of long-distance cruising...

Of course, Steve Callahan sailed from the USA in 1981 and abandoned ship in February 1982, so the emergency beacon technology wasn't anything like what we have nearly three decades later.

Steven Callahan - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia says:

"EPIRBs were not monitored by satellites at the time, and he was in too empty a part of the ocean to be heard by aircraft."

Jean and John Silverwood's "Black Wave" describes the use and limitations of a more modern EPIRB. Their "Emerald Jane" cat sank at night on a remote atoll reef (possibly seriously mis-located on charts) out of Tahiti in on June 25, 2005, after they had begun a voyage in 2003. The initial signal from the EPIRB produced an emergency signal quickly but failed to send a GPS position; finally, after two or three hours their precise position was received. Rescue took about 12 hours and was just barely in time to prevent a death.

I think that one of the wonderful things about modern EPIRBs and PLBs is that, despite too many false alarms, they save time, fuel, and possibly the lives of rescuers by enabling lifesavers to search in a small or precise spot and find distressed sailors very quickly.
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  #140  
Old 08-08-2010
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From the mid-fifties to the mid-sixties I sailed little prams and a small sliding gunter rig in Ft. Lauderdale. In 1971 my wife and I bought a 30' Whitney in Annapolis and moved aboard. We've been liveaboard cruisers since that time. We raised our two children on Morgans and have cruised our current Morgan OI 41 since 1985. Our cruising style is the "cockpit potato" mode. We often spend the summer in Maine and take as much as three or four months to cruise to the Bahamas in the fall. Destinations are not committments and early afternoon anchorages are frequent. We have no goals to travel faster than the earth tilts it's axis for the sun's angle of incidence. We frequently sail without a destination and anchor where we left that same morning. We don't consume our ports and enjoy returning to our same forty to fifty harbors that we enjoy. Although we do not forsee an ocean crossing, we keep equipment and storage similar as most all posted above and spend as long as six weeks from a dock. Our essentials are: dinghy, outboard, radar, solar panel, wind generator, diesel generator, redundant ground tackle w/windlass, ample fuel-water-holding tanks, berths for guests, shoal draft, nav/communication toys and reliable propulsion with rig and diesel. We are definitely "cockpit potatos", but we own nothing ashore except our bank accounts. Take care and joy, Aythya crew

Last edited by CaptainForce; 08-08-2010 at 07:20 AM.
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