Join Date: Oct 2002
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I''m just a summer vacation cruiser, but I found that issues like ventilation, shelter from the sun and comfortable seats and berths are more important than boat size.
I think an economy cruiser makes sense. You just need to know which ones are "seaworthy" and which ones aren''t. Usually you can find a neglected boat like a Tartan 27 or Pearson Triton or ... for very little money. There are big differences between the older style keels and the newer fin keels, I like the newer, faster fin keel style, but the older full keel will work too. I would suggest that you find a boat that lets you add an outboard bracket, so you can pull the old inboard out of the boat. If you don''t have much room, you need that space for storage and you won''t want a stinky oily motor in your living area anyway. Under 30 feet an outboard will work fine, as long as you are committed to sailing as the main source of propulsion. I pulled my old inboard and sold it, then scrubbed the bilge and painted it, and my boat no longer has oily drippings in the bilge, it is clean. A solar panel provides enough electric for lights, music, autopilot, and depth sounder. I use a 6hp Tohatsu on an outboard bracket on my 28 foot Tanzer, it has got me out of channel mouths where I had to run through the 6'' bar breakers into the wind to get out to sailing water. Another good boat is the Tartan 30, which is faster and a very different boat than the 27. Take a look here:
and do some research on your own. If you look at a lot of the logbooks, it seems that people go cruising for a couple of years then burn out or change their minds, or run out of money. So if you set your self up for a couple of years of sailing and leave the future beyond that up in the air and you should be OK.
You definitely need a decent stove. If you don''t have much room, get a one burner gimballed propane cartridge stove that hangs on a bulkhead, it is safer than an ungimballed stove and will be enough for 90% of your needs. The stove linked below was used in a Pearson Triton (Atom) which circumnavigated twice:
Air conditioning? no way, don''t waste your time unless you have $$ to burn, use an awning and a wind catcher. Refrigeration would be nice but its not essential and its a luxury if you can afford it. A depth sounder, compass, handheld GPS, a pencil and a paper chart are all you need for coastal cruising navigation tools. Add a plastic sextant and tables for offshore. A handheld vhf will be enough as well, the modern handhelds are very high quality. Get a good anchor, a Delta or Bruce or CQR.
I''ve gone on long enough. The most important thing you need is time to enjoy yourself.