Sailing across an ocean can be done in many different boats, including some smaller ones, like the Pacific Seacraft Dana and Flicka. A good list to check out is the one by James Baldwin of Atom fame
. There are quite a few boats on that list that are very capable. John Vigor's book, 20 Sailboats to Take You Anywhere, is another good resource.
There is a lot you can do to check out a boat yourself, as Mimsy has pointed out the thread I started on boat inspection trip tips, I won't link to it (thanks mimsy
), but it is really only designed to help you decide if a boat is worth investing the time and money of getting a survey on it or not—and should not replace a proper survey.
I would also point out that even many production boats are far tougher than the crew, and that preparation of the crew is something that is often overlooked.
I would highly recommend that you also:
1) Do as much of the work on the boat and get as familiar with the systems aboard her as you can—as it may save your life.
2) Work your way up to crossing an ocean, and learn how the boat handles in different conditions, by day sailing, weekending, coastal cruising, etc. This can help you check out the systems on the boat before making the big leap.
3) Don't get too big a boat. When you're tired, sick, and working in heavy weather, a bigger boat can overwhelm you pretty easily. Get one that you're capable of handling in all conditions, even if you're not 100%.
4) Remember that people have been cruising long-distances for years in boats smaller than 30'. Larry and Lin Pardey have hundreds of thousands of miles beneath their keel over many years in boats less than 30' LOA. The size of boats has slowly been creeping upwards, but large boats ARE NOT NECESSARY for long-distance cruising.
5) Check out sailfar.net
, it is a website that specializes in sailing long distances on smaller boats... which is a very different mentality than most sites or magazines.
6) Remember that smaller boats are less expensive, both to maintain and to purchase. This often means that you can go earlier, and often stay out longer, than if you have to save up for a 40'+ monstrosity.
Hello from Texas!
I'll be moving to San Fran soon and have been looking in to buying my first sailboat! I'm very excited! I have some sailing experience, but all lake and nothing fancy. I am planning on buying a boat that I could live on while I go to school and by the time i get out (about 2 years later)I will have done the proper upgrades to sail it to Asia and beyond or back (haven't decided that far ahead
. I have done some research and asked different people their advice, but any advice would be greatly appreciated! Many people recommend that I get at least a 40 foot boat, others have said 35 is plenty, and of course every boat is different as well, but I just don't want to go into this blind. Also, since I'll more than likely be buying a used boat, how can I tell if there is something majorly wrong with it? Thanks for the advice in advance!