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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Cruising & Liveaboard Forum
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  #1  
Old 03-03-2010
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Talking We're outa here

We're out of here. Eighty+ inches of snow, property tax bills that keep going up as the market goes down. My wife's business just holding it's own. We're not going tomorrow But now we have a firm but we have a plan, we have a time. table and sooner rather than later we're gone.
The basic plan is to spend the next two years selling everything and making sure Enchantress is properly set up for cruising and living aboard. Then in the Spring of 2012 we head out of the Chesapeake and out to Bermuda then south to the Caribbean. We might change our minds and go inside but our 46-foot boat with its tall mast and 6-ft draft will be more at home in the ocean than on the ICW.
Once in the Caribbean we will island-hop for a year , but who knows, we may end up like a lot of other cruisers and stay down there permanently. Or we make start a snow bird existence going back and forth between the Chesapeake and the islands. As for Florida we'll probably visit but neither of us wants to make that our base.
I just finished reading soontobecruiser's post -- couldn't be more timely and full of great information. But because we're not going to be based in the states, there are other questions.
Foremost is medical. My wife is a type 1 diabetic on an insulin pump and while we won;t have a problem getting supplies and we'll have a back up pump in case the primary dies, we're gonna want good medical insurance plus anything anyone can tells about good and bad med facilties.
I also vaguely remember that a few years ago the islands were going to institute some sort of advance norification requirement for cruisers. Same type of thing visitors to the U.S. have to fill out before they arrive. I gather that the idea was abandoned but if anyone knows different I'd like to know.
We've lived on our boat for periods up to three months and found ti very comfortable. On the plus side we have a lot of storage including two hanging lockers. Good inner-spring mattresses in both the forward and quarter cabins. Two large solar panels atop our bimini seem to be well able to keep up with our electricity requirements as they are now. We're going to chart out what those requirements are likely to be when we're living away from shore power and then maybe add another panel. Also I've heard there is a wind generator that can be quickly converted into a towed generator. Anyone know who makes it and whether it's any good or not. We have AGC batteries, six 6-volt for house power plus a starter battery for the diesel. I've rewired to boat to ABYC standards and overhauled the engine (restored it to manufacturers specs). We also have five Caframo Sirocco fans (on recommendations of people in this forum and others) -- AC is not gonna happen since I don't want to install a generator.
On the minus side -- or what we have to buy and /or upgrade. A new main (we were going to get that no matter what. Two fiberglass propane tanks to replace our old rusty ones. Bigger primary winches, Another gps. we have two but they're rather elderly. I also have two sextants (yes I know how to use them). Latest paper charts for the area. . Add an ice box to our refrigerator -- will run about $600 . New jib sheets (all halyards replaced last year. Refurbish the liferaft. Complete medical kit and redcross first aid and cpr courses. New offshore stove (thinking of the force 10 2-burner open sea stove but hoping for advice from people here). Radar tending toward Furuno. New vhf, ours is probably 20 years old in any case I want to get one of those remote setup so it can be used from the cockpit. New mike for our SSB radio. We have a fresh water head so I'll probably add a water tank though we have 110 gallons of water now. Continue our replacement of all our light bulbs in and out with leds.
To watermaker or not to watermaker. They are expensive but having the extra water would be nice. I knwo there are plans to build it yourself out there but after looking at some plans I get the feeling that there's more I need to know about exactly how they work and and what the cost in electricity really is before I attempt DIY. Again, I'd appreciate input from anyone who's been there. BTW thanks again to soontobecruiser for the idea of a seawater washdown system. Never considered it here as the bay water in most places has too much silt to washdown anything.
In fact we'd appreciate any input from those who've been there as I'm sure there's lots of things we've left out because we don't know they exist.
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  #2  
Old 03-03-2010
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Excellent.

Fiberglass tanks are pretty inexpensive. You can get them for about $60 for the 17 lb. size.

Winches—it might be worth looking on eBay or waiting for the Defender spring sale.

Halyards and running rigging, call up R&W Warehouse in New Bedford, MA.... great prices, good people.

LRSE is the place to send the liferaft. If you can attend the repacking, I'd highly recommend doing so. They're in RI IIRC.

I like the Garmin 18 HD radar and think it is better than the Furuno, and you could get the display as your new GPS—killing two birds with one stone so to speak.

The Icom M504 is a good unit and allows you a remote command mic. Has full DSC support with NMEA out and in. Standard Horizon just came out with one that has a limited AIS display and provides AIS data. This would probably be a nice feature to add if travelling in areas with heavy commercial shipping. Don't remember but believe it can take a remote mic as well.

A saltwater washdown pump is a great idea... I'd recommend one both in the cockpit and one in the anchor locker. To reduce the number of through-hulls, it might make sense to combine the watermaker intake and the two wash down pump intakes in a single through-hull with a sea-water manifold.

Instead of taking Red Cross first aid and CPR courses, I would highly recommend taking a more advanced Wilderness EMT type first aid course. The Red Cross courses tend to focus on first aid where good medical help is relatively accessible. If you're out cruising, that won't be the case. The Wilderness EMT type courses tend to focus on the skills that are needed when medical help is hours to days away, rather than minutes.

A watermaker is good for several reasons: First, having a watermaker allows you to be more self-sufficient... the longer you can stay away from marinas, the better off you are. Second, some places have either no water, expensive water or bad water... and if you have a watermaker, passing through these areas is easier.

Try and size one so that you don't have to use it everyday, but every third or fourth day. You'll probably want to install a separate tank for the RO water, so that you can check the quality and so that you can keep it separated from the shore-supplied water, which is often chlorine treated, since chlorine will destroy the RO membrane and you need RO water to backflush the membrane when shutting the watermaker down.

The wind gen you're probably thinking of is the DuoGen unit. It is regarded fairly well and the water generator is good for long passages, though it will cost you some boatspeed.

Hope that helps.
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Old 03-03-2010
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Yikes that is a long list. Your boat is going to be so complicated that it will break every day!
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Old 03-03-2010
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Uncomplicate your boat a little. If you don't you'll just be "fixing your boat in paradise" not cruising! I am an advocate of this guys style.

Introduction to the junk-rigged Corribee Mingming

I mean, just think of all the stuff that can go wrong! Building in redundant systems for all of those things would take the rest of your life!

Just go cruising. If you have a sound hull, solid rig, reasonably good sails, and lines that are in one piece, you are fine. You are going to need the sextant, paper charts, and tables anyway, so why bring the GPS? Maybe a handheld gps would be good, and simple, pretty failure-proof.

I just don't understand the floating condo idea. I guess if you have all kinds of money and pay someone else to maintain it, then it could be a good thing. Good luck finding a boatyard in the middle of the Atlantic ocean, though.
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Old 03-03-2010
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I would suggest holding onto at least one of the old propane tanks, it is more common to find replacement full tanks with a swap for your old tank than refill stations.
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Old 03-03-2010
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Good on you Enchantress!

Vane Brothers in Baltimore is excellent for inspecting & repacking the liferaft, they promote your being there when they inflate & inspect the raft. Marine Safety and Services

Halyards & running rigging, price out Bacons in Annapolis, last year their pricing was unbeatable.
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Old 03-03-2010
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Why would anyone need a sextant to cruise the Caribbean? Just curious.

As for health insurance, we are American Expats living in the TCI and we have health insurance with a group called BUPA. we pay about $ 5K a year for two of us, in our 50's. After the deductible is met, they pay 100% of just about anything. I just had a knee replacement in the US, and they paid for all of it. Look em up online. It's not that bad a deal, actually.
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Old 03-04-2010
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Talking Thanks

Thanks all for the great input. This is going to be another long post.
SD -- appreciate you taking the time for that post. Never would have thought of the wilderness EMT type course that's great suggestion. Actually just got a pair of Lewmar 55s on e-Bay . Also for the idea of a separate tank for the RO is something I never would have thought of. Am looking in to the DuoGen seems good but if anyone has any experience with them I'd like to know about it.

Solare -- thanks for telling me about Vane Brothers. Was going to ask about repackers int his area but you beat me to it. Bacons is like a second home, like to go there to see what they have. I see that they have a Force 10 stove of the type I'm looking for so I'll probably go this weekend to check it out.

2Gringos -- Thanks for telling me about BUPA will check them out. This is a very important issue for us. BTW about the sextants. A number of years ago (pre-GPS days) We were sailing out of Lauderdale across to West End to start a 2-week cruise through the Islands. At that time West End had a really tall radio tower with a light atop which you could see for miles (assume its still there but haven't been back so I don't know). Great landmark, especially after dark. We got to within sighting distance and no light.The Stream runs pretty fast in that area and I wondered if I hadn't compensated enough when calculating our course. I finally took some star sights with my sextant which showed we were pretty much where I expected to be so we continued on course until we were able to pick up the entrance lights to the anchorage. Probably wouldn't apply today what with GPS and all but that sextant sure came in handy then.

Tager -- don't see how my boat is gonna be any more complicated than it is now. I may add three items that I don't have now, --
the watermaker, the wind gen and the radar but otherwise I'm using systems I've had around for a while and that , with proper maintenance, have given me minimal trouble in the past. None of this affects safety or the sailing ability of the boat so I can still cruise around if any of these things break down. And sure I could live without them as well as without the GPS, pressure water, refrigeration, the propane stove-oven and a host of other things. But you reach a point where you have to ask 'Is this what you call living?' Everyone draws the line at different places, no one is right or wrong, so this is where we draw ours.

Ulladh -- never thought of that. Maybe I'll save one of the tanks and store it . But I'd better paint it with Rustoleum or something otherwise they're liable to throw it at me.

Again thanks to all for your responses
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Old 03-04-2010
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Bloodhunter-

Although I have no advice to offer, I commend you on having the courage to change your situation in a radical way instead of just living with "the devil you know". It's people like you who show others that you don't have to just sit there and take whatever your government dishes out.

Even though you're not leaving for a couple years, good luck.
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Old 03-04-2010
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Fair winds. I hope to see you there.
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