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  #1  
Old 05-30-2009
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Not sure what to look for.....

I've always wanted to cruise the world and live on a boat. I've been looking on boattrader.com and I've seen some boats from 5k-13k that to me (an idiot) look OK. Only thing is I remember a friend saying to me that not all boats are safe for the open water. How can I tell. I've been looking at some sloops around 30'-33'. We understand, or at least I do that it's going to be small, but we want to spend the first couple of yearsgeting to know what we are doing. I want to take the time to circumnav the globe, but do it in no rush, just us taking our time. I'm currently trying to find a job in the San Francisco area where I can work at a marina. Or even close to one. I may sound wierd but I just can't stand to not pursue my dream anymore. I plan on setting sail by Oct. 1 2010 if I have to nail a sail to a piece of plywood and swim. Any advice is appreciated. Thanks
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  #2  
Old 05-30-2009
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If you look at New and Used Yachts for Sale - YachtWorld.com and other similar sites, you'll note that 30 foot boats in good condition are selling for a lot more than 5 to 13K. The ones you see at the lower end of the range are there for a reason.

In boats, as with much else in life - you get what you pay for.

Good Luck
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Old 05-30-2009
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Forget the 30 footer for now. Find a 10-15' dinghy to play with. You'll be able to sail often, spend very little time in boat repair/maintenance and you'll learn tons about how a sailboat works. All this for very little cash. And while you're having a ball sailing a small boat (and believe me, you will have a ball) , you will have plenty of time to read everything you can get your hands on, meet other sailors and sail on their bigger boats, and become a reasonably competent sailor. By that time, you'll be able to make an informed decision about boats, cruising plans, other obstacles you must overcome in your quest, any number of other challenges you'll have to solve before heading 'out there.'

Check out the various threads and past articles here on Sailnet, too. There is a wealth of info here from some really great sailors. Welcome to the Net.
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Old 05-30-2009
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A few points.

First, take lessons and work your way up to doing a circumnavigation. This takes a lot of time and preparation of the sailors involved. Many recent circumnavigation attempts failed because the sailors involved did not prepare themselves properly. Start by daysailing, then coastal cruising, then short bluewater passages... and sail in as much bad weather as you can. Sailing on a nice sunny day with 10-15 knots of wind isn't usually the problem... sailing on a day when it is raining horizontally, with the wind blowing like snot, 25-30 knots and gusting up past 40... are the days that will really kick your butt. However, you'll want to work your way up to the really snotty days.

Second, get the boat you're going to make the passage on sooner rather than later. You'll want to get as familiar with the boat as you can. Knowing the systems intimately may save your life. Also, you'll probably want to modify the boat to suite your needs. I'd recommend you look at James Baldwin's Boat List as it has a number of relatively inexpensive pocket cruising boats that are bluewater capable. I'd also recommend you read the Boat Inspection Trip Tips thread I started, as it will help you determine whether some boats you look at are even worth going forward on, saving you the price of a survey on boats that aren't worth looking at further.

Third, save at least 20-25% of your budget for modifying, refitting and upgrading the boat you buy. Chances are likely that any boat you get will need some modification and work done to it to make it suitable for a bluewater passagemaker.

Fourth, getting a job in the marine industry is a good idea. It may give you a line on boats for sale, as well as experience in doing repairs and maintenance. You'll need skills in electrical, mechanical, plumbing, fiberglass, rigging, and electronics at a minimum. The more skills at repairing and maintaining the boat you have, the more likely you will be to succeed.

I'd point out that getting a boat ready for a bluewater passage is not generally an inexpensive endeavor. Nor it is one that can be done for just any boat. It will also probably cost you more than your meager budget... at a minimum, it'll be 13k rather than 5k.
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Old 05-30-2009
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While I agree with sailingdog and others that experience with small boats may be a good idea first, there are bargains out there - you might have to look a bit harder though. As an example see below:
1968 Paceship Acadian Yawl Mark II Sail Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com
While the engine is gas it looks like it would be worth a look - bit far from San Francisco though. It's one example of a solid older boat that is actually well equipped and appears in pretty good shape.
Here's one in San Francisco:
1973 PT 30 Mk II Half Ton Sail Boat For Sale -
It has a diesel and looks well equipped
Here's a 30' Tartan (one of the earlier good ones) fairly well equipped in Marina Del Rey
1973 Tartan cruiser Sail Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com
Here's a Cascade 29, a bit older with Atomic 4 gas engine but looks to be pretty solid.
1964 Cascade Sloop Sail Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com
While these examples may not be ideal, they show that there are bargains out there. Always get a survey before purchase. Look at as many boats as you can, walk the docks and talk to owners. You'll gather information about what to look for and what to look out for. Read as much as you can, either at the library or on the net, see sailingdog's boat inspection tips on this site, and for a look at the kinds of problems that older boats can have go to
The Plastic Classic Forum • Index page. It's a site of hands on sailors, most with boats in the size range you're looking at.
Brian
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Old 05-30-2009
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In addition to the above free advice, making some changes and additions can be very rewarding experience. It also means that you'll know your boat better mechanically and structurally. You'll be better prepared to fix a problem if you know what's there because you put it there. There are many owner's groups on the net and even if there isn't for the boat you eventually purchase, there are similar boats with owners groups and advice a plenty.
Brian
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Thanks for the replies

I thank you from the bottom of my heart for making me feel welcome and being able to get, honest and friendly advice. I am currently looking to leave the job I'm at so I can find something at a marina, boatyard or anything that has to do with boats. If I don't find anything by the time I purchase this year then I'll quit and force the powers that be in the world to help me in the direction I'm trying to go. I figure as long as I have a place to sleep, a galley, a head and she floats I'm going to be ok. My date is Oct. 2010 and at that time I'll do a coastal cruise to Mexico, then Florida and then the deep blue. Yes, I am crazy, determined and a bit insane, but my life needs to be on a boat or or I'll forever feel that I'm not living my life. I know the boat I get will be old in everyone's eyes but that'll just make me love her all the more. My wife is behind me %100 and as she has recently become stuck in Malaysia after over 25yrs coming in and out of this country it has given me the perfect time to pursue the dreams of my soul. My plan is to do the repairs on my boat and live the rest of my life learning to repair sails, clean barnacles off the bottom of boats, do repairs, paint or whatever needs to be done. I plan on raising my family on a boat and my wife and I know that this boat is just our starter. We will gain all of our experience with her and like a caring mother I know she will take care of us well. I have faith and desire and I know with all my soul I'm finally heading in the right direction.
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