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  #1  
Old 02-21-2011
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USA to Australia

My partner and I are both 32 and planning on packing it up and taking a mini retirement next year.

The plan is to buy a boat in the US, cruise the Caribbean and/or west coast of South America for a while, and then back to Australia via the "Coconut Milk Run".

We have 10 months to prepare here in Oz - then planning on another 6-8 weeks in the US (Florida most likely) to locate, purchase and fit out a boat for the trip.

I've done a bit of offshore racing, fair amount of dinghy sailing, my girl's just a newbie to it all, so neither of us has done any serious cruising.

Looking for any and all advice on:
  • cruising in general
  • ideal boats to look at (limited budget but not paupers - budget ~$150k for everything)
  • items that are 'essential', 'nice to have' and 'waste of space/weight' when fitting out
  • other preparations (getting Radio Operator, Yachtmaster course, celestial navigation? etc.)
Thanks in advance.
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Old 02-21-2011
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I looked at this in detail last year, though I was looking at purchasing a yacht on the west coast of Mexico.

•cruising in general

That's a very broad question. Suggest you browse this website, in particular check out posts by SimonV a couple of years ago as he purchased a yacht in San Francico and sailed accross the Pacific. Also an excellent book is "The Voyager's Handbook" by Beth Leonard.

•ideal boats to look at (limited budget but not paupers - budget ~$150k for everything)

My budget was also around $150k and the breakup was (note all Australian$ and one person only)

Boat search costs $5k
Boat $60k
boat prep $30k
boat prep living costs $5k
6 mths living cost $22k
import duties / fees $12k
contingency $10k

Therefore with a total budget of A$150k my guess is you are looking at a total boat cost of around US$50k. That means a yacht under 40ft and / or over 20 years old. I was looking at a Tayana 37 over 25 years old.

Suggest you check out the Cruising boat list . Note that a lot of boats listed will be over your budget.


•items that are 'essential', 'nice to have' and 'waste of space/weight' when fitting out

This will be a very long / variable list. My "essential" list included:


- Between 34 & 40ft
- fibreglass
- modern keel & separate rudder
- Sail Area ratio above 15
- sloop or cutter rig
- no or little wood on exterior
- boom at safe height
- aft cockpit large enough to lay down
- doghouse / dodger
- permanent shading in cockpit
- lots of solar panels
- aft "tight" head
- "nice" front cabin (wife's opinion)
- at least 2 good seaberths
- L or U shaped galley with sink on centreline
- newish eng, under 1,000 hours
- reliable systems
- autopilot (primary & sec)
- charging / batteries
- fridge / freezer
- no low points / 6 ft access throughout
- navigation station with comfortable seat in rough weather
- refrig that does not pump hot air into cabin
- radar


•other preparations (getting Radio Operator, Yachtmaster course, celestial navigation? etc.)

Radio operator's lic is a must. Probably good idea for your wife to do a Yachtmaster's course (otherwise start reading up on singlehanding sailing ). Would not worry about celestrial nav, instead think about a weather course.

Feel free to PM me if you have any detailed questions.

Ilenart
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Old 02-21-2011
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This website maybe of some assistance Mahina Expedition - Selecting A Boat for Offshore Cruising
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Old 02-21-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhyWait View Post
My partner and I are both 32 and planning on packing it up and taking a mini retirement next year.

The plan is to buy a boat in the US, cruise the Caribbean and/or west coast of South America for a while, and then back to Australia via the "Coconut Milk Run".

We have 10 months to prepare here in Oz - then planning on another 6-8 weeks in the US (Florida most likely) to locate, purchase and fit out a boat for the trip.
I would recommend looking on the west coast, as that would make more sense if you're planning to end up back in Oz. The Panama Canal is pretty expensive and has become less small yacht friendly recently. You can cruise the west coast of central/south america before leaving, and avoid the pirate laden areas of the western part of the gulf of mexico.

Quote:
I've done a bit of offshore racing, fair amount of dinghy sailing, my girl's just a newbie to it all, so neither of us has done any serious cruising.

Looking for any and all advice on:
  • cruising in general
  • ideal boats to look at (limited budget but not paupers - budget ~$150k for everything)
  • items that are 'essential', 'nice to have' and 'waste of space/weight' when fitting out
  • other preparations (getting Radio Operator, Yachtmaster course, celestial navigation? etc.)
Thanks in advance.
I'd recommend looking at boat about 35-38' LOA. Anything larger may be too difficult for your SO to handle, especially given her lack of experience. I'd also recommend getting her into a learn-to-sail/navigation/cruising type set of courses, so she can hit the ground running.

Remember, most of the time you're cruising, you'll effectively be two people singlehanding the same boat at different times. She needs to be able to handle the boat in all conditions by herself.

I'd recommend you save at least 20-25% of your total budget for refitting/repairing/modifying or upgrading whatever boat you buy.

Other things to do to prepare—take courses and get practice in various skills you'll need for the voyage. Such courses and skills would include:
  • Fiberglass repair
  • 12 VDC/110 VAC marine electrical system repair and troubleshooting
  • Diesel engine troubleshooting and repair
  • Marine plumbing repair and troubleshooting
  • Sail repair
  • Rigging repair
  • some sort of advanced first aid course, like a Wilderness First Responder course

You'll want a boat that has a windvane and autopilot ideally. The windvane is a godsend when the weather is crappy and the batteries are low. Also, look for a boat that is as self-sufficient as possible—watermaker, solar/wind generation, etc.
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