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oceanguy 05-21-2003 01:56 PM

Dream of Sailing as a living
Now I am a long way off from reaching my dream; still have to learn to, and get a boat, for one. But I have no clue as to what kind of costs to expect at Marinas, maintenance, and just general living. But from what I hear, it is a small fortune. Short of having ALOT of money saved up, what can you do to earn money as you sail? I hear chartering is already a packed industry.

Also, if you know of any good books, non-fiction prefered, that cover all the aspects of long-term cruising and good destinations, please drop a line. Thank you.

oceanguy 05-21-2003 02:19 PM

Dream of Sailing as a living
I also ask for some opinions on a boat good for long-term cruising. I''ve been looking at a C420 and 470, but like I said...I''m rather new and not quite sure what to look for in a good boat. It would need to accomadate 2-3 people, as I do have a fiancee just as eager as I am to live that dream.

Jeff_H 05-21-2003 06:30 PM

Dream of Sailing as a living
A couple quick thoughts here, I am not sure that there are easy ways to make a living while cruising. I guess one way to produce income while cruising would be to develop a good set of boat husbandry skills. Refrigeration and engine repair skills are needed almost anywhere that cruisers gather. Marine Electricians can usually find work easily. Good marine carpenters can usually find paying projects of varying types. Even refinishing skills will yield some income while cruising. I suggest that you try to get a copy of Anne Hill''s book, "Voyaging on a Small Income" for other ideas.

In terms of a ''good boat'' I have a couple suggestions here. First of all, asking "what to look for in a good boat" is a little like asking "how long is a piece of string". We each develop our own set of goals and priorities for what we want out of a boat and that some what shapes what each of defines as important criteria for selecting a boat for ourselves.

For example, in my case I wanted a boat that would be easy to single-hand or cruise long distances with two people on board but comfortable with a small group (maybe 4 or 5 people) for a weekend. I wanted a boat that was optomized as a coastal cruiser but which I could take offshore. I wanted a boat that offered good performance in both extremes of heavy and light air. I wanted a boat that could be raced at the club level but which was optomized as a cruiser. I am very much into the engineering of a boat and had certain structural criteria that I felt needed to be met. I had a limited budget (under $50K) for the size and type of boat (38 feet) that I ultimately bought.

Those were my criteria and so would not be everyone''s ideal but I mention them as an example of the kinds of criteria one might set for themselves.

There was a very recent long discussion on the merits of Catalina''s that included a long list of happy Catalina owners praising their boats and some counterpoints as well, so I will not talk to the specific issues of the Catalina other than to suggest that you look for that recent thread.

I will say that Catalinas, like Hunters and to a lesser extent like Beneteaus are optomized as good family coastal cruisers. (Beneteau makes a number of model lines, so while most Beneteaus that are seen in the US are similar in intent to Catalinas or Hunters, Beneteau also makes more specialized lines that are more biased toward racing and other lines that are optomized as offshore boats.) While boats built by the big three builders (Beneteau, Hunter and Catalina) are certainly taken offshore that clearly does not appear to be their intended purpose.

This is not to be viewed as an automatic bad thing. Coastal cruising places different demands on a boat than offshore cruising. Coastal cruisers need to be able to quickly adapt to changing winds and currents, they need to be more versatile sailors. Offshore boats are often deeper for a more comfortable motion, coastal boats are often shallower to sail in shallow venues. Coastal cruisers often optomize openess and lounging areas while Offshore boats often optomize storage areas and have tighter passages and berths so that you are not thrown about and berths and galleys that are set up to be comfortable at all angles of heel and pitch. Coastal boats need really good ventilation; offshore boats should have small portlights, ports, and hatches. Coastal boats should have large open comfortable cockpits,while offshore boats should have smaller cockpits with big drains. Every aspect of a boat can and ideally should vary between a boat aimed at coastal cruising vs a boat aimed at offshore work.

So in order to advise you properly you need to know what you want to do with sailing. To do so, you really need to spend as much time on the water sailing as many different kinds of boats as you can. After a while you will learn what you like and dislike in a boat.

I will tell you that to get that kind of experience you really should to learn to sail well and I will also tell you that it is way harder (if not imposible) to learn to sail well on boats of the size and type implied by the C420 and C470. These are big boats and so feel is pretty minimal compared to smaller sized boats. I would suggest that you learn to sail on boats that are maybe 23 to 30 feet in length (with 23 to 26 or so being most ideal), with a tiller, a fin keel and a spade rudder. These tend to be more responsive and show give you more feed back on what you are doing right or wrong. I would suggest that perhaps you consider buying a small keel boat to learn on. Small, older boats make a great platform to learn to sail on and practice boat owning skills. They can be bought with minimal investment and if cared for properly can often be sold for close to what you have in them especially if you do not go hog wild trying to make them into something that they are not namely a new boat.

I will also tell you that there are a lot of cruisers who have sailed many successful miles who are really not very good sailors. They understand basic sail trim and boat handling but really do not understand in any depths how to properly trim sails for speed and comfort. That is not meant as put down. Like I said, we all come to sailing with our own goals and priorities and I don''t fault someone for not caring about developing sailing skills.

If you do chose to learn to sail well, you are more likely to be invited to sail with people and so get the kind of experience that it takes to learn what is right for you. More likely than not you will find that a 42 to 47 is really very big boat for 2 or 3 people, but then again there is no one right answer here,so you may decide that this is the perfect size range for what you have in mind.


tsenator 05-21-2003 08:25 PM

Dream of Sailing as a living
I concur with just about everything Jeff wrote. I think he articulated the conundrum between good off shore vessel and good coastal cruiser. Lets face it, sooner or later you are going to end up somewhere after crossing an ocean and when you do, you''ll want some of those coastal cruiser features when you get there. That "romper room" area I can make out of the port settee is great at anchor with kids on board, but would I want that at 30 Deg and 15 foot seas? What might makes my boat (C36) a great coastal cruiser may be a liability when on the open ocean for a long time. I understand that the big saloon and cockpit could be a liability, but that doesn''t mean one can''t blue water sail with it (as many have) You just have to be prepared and maybe make a few modifications, like easy access handholds & braces below. Also If I was blue water sailing for any length of time a smallish pilot berth would be great. It would allow you to sleep like a bug in a rug, even in heavy seas. In general Catalinas don''t come with Pilot berths (just like many boats) but you could easily rig up bunk lee cloths and make something work. Different features for different cruising.

A few other points you mention a C420 and C470. Do you mean C42? Catalina doesn''t make a C420 model, the C42 is a traditionally designed boat with lots of space and has quite a few people cruising on them. In fact, they are a decent "value priced" (hate that term) cruising type boat, with a good track record. I would think this nears the average upper limit size on what I think would be ideal for 2 people cruising. The C470 (and this is just my personal feeling) is just a big overgrown Coastal Cruiser thats more aimed at luxury Coastal Cruising than true blue water passagemaking. Don''t get me wrong, it can make a passage. And it has more amenities and luxuries than most Americans live with (it can even come with a washer and dryer). But I think if I had that kind of money there would be many other boats I would chose from.

Plus if you are even considering a C470, then I am amazed that you are even concerned about easy ways to make a living while cruising. My feeling is if you can afford a C470 then skip it and purchase a well founded C42 (or similar boat) and take the extra $150 and go cruising for years !

namaste04 05-22-2003 06:07 AM

Dream of Sailing as a living
jeff makes some great points. i highly suggest that you get the book, "The Cruising handbook''" by Nigel Calder. he has a wonderful discussion about what to look for in a good cruising boat, complete with checklists to take with you when looking at boats. We found this book invaluable when we were first starting our boat search. it also has lots and lots about cruising, navigation, boat systems, etc. A GREAT book.
You might also want to read the classics like "Desirable and Undesirable characteristics of Offshore Yachts". I have a stack of good books to suggest to you but they are all at home, where i am not right now. Send me an email and I''ll give you titles and authors:

Have fun!!!

oceanguy 05-22-2003 06:21 AM

Dream of Sailing as a living
I thank you both for your input, especially on what to look for between offshore and coastal cruisers. Yes I did mean a C42, gotta love the blissfulness of ignorance. That is the model we are leaning towards...but everyone loves to aim for the "big boy". Jeff, I''m amazed that you found a boat of that size for $50k...I''ve been looking and have not found anything under $100k for a 42ft. I imgaine that this being larger than the one you got had something to do with it. My needs would be to have a boat that can cross blue water, but primarily be a coastal cruiser, and can hold comfortably 2-3 people for long amounts of time. And from what you say the C42 can handle herself. Are there any other models that would be good for this.

As you can tell I am new, but do want to learn. In reference as to how much I want to learn...I want to be competant...I want to get good. I''m not talking excellent, but be able to hold my own.

No I am not independently wealthy, but very good at saving and investing. I just wanted to know of ways to make a buck as you sail, just in case.

Thank you for your knowledge, and thank you for answering my questions, though I know you''ve answered ones like them many times.

oceanguy 05-22-2003 06:24 AM

Dream of Sailing as a living
Thanks Stacey, I will do that.

Jeffamc 05-25-2003 07:49 PM

Dream of Sailing as a living
you could always fish for money, even though commercial fishing somewhat discusts me.

oceanguy 05-26-2003 06:07 AM

Dream of Sailing as a living
It''s an interesting thought, but I imagine every other sea dog and family can fish/shrimp/crab. But if I do see a demand, it definitely is an option. thanks.


jbarros 05-26-2003 10:19 AM

Dream of Sailing as a living
Sorry to hijack the thread agian, but you have inspired me.

The posts on Coastal vs Blue Water pin pointed my delema precisley. I have, for the most part, the desire to do coastal cruising... with the delema that the coasts I want to cruise along are seperated by incredibly large oceans ;)

So, what specific boats pop to mind when thinking of doing that? for myself, ones in the smaller (read: less expensive) area''s would be apreciated, although I''m sure other people would like to know as their size requirements vary.

I know it can be done in anything, but to do it well? There is the fall back of course of my current goal, the west coast triton, which I am hoping to purchase in the next 2 or 3 years, after I have deemed myself ready to move up from my little Josie, which I know people do cross oceans and enjoy coastal cruising in, but I do like other ideas as well.

I''ve also been looking at the Badger, but have yet to sail on a dory, and truth be told, yet to hear kind words about their sailing ability from anyone I know. :(

But for a small boat for coastal cruising, but with intent to sporadicly cross oceans, (I know, the horror of compromise, whoa is me) what boats would you experts look at? (once agian preferably in the smaller (cheap) range)

And to try to contribute to the actual thread a little; I am in the process (for the past few years) of setting up a web hosting company with a friend. He is learning to do the maintenance, and I am creating the system, and writing all the custom software. I have worked from the road as a software designer before, with a laptop. I work as I can, and every few weeks, pop in and drop my latest creation back on them, and get feedback from the previous version for revisions. Likewise, if you''re willing to take small breaks in your cruising, depending on where you are, many previously third world countries are diving into the tech world head first, and need geeks with skills.

Thanks agian. :)

-- James

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