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post #1 of 15 Old 01-24-2008 Thread Starter
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Too much information

Well, I better start this off with an introduction. I have recently (7 months ago) acquired this beautiful bristol 32. She was a sinker (previous owner had no isolator rotted the thru hulls and down she went.) 900$ later I was the proud (and extremely inexperienced owner) of "Kibe".
Her refit has included new standing rigging,new running rigging halyards lines etc, new pro-furl furler, a yanmar 3gm30, new ac electric panel, new dc panel, new h2o pump,head plumbing, water lines, new mainsail and a repaired jib. Sadly, the mahogony interior was not salvageable so she has fresh paint throughout. I painted the hull, bottom, new thru hulls, etc etc. 90% of the work has been done by myself sans the roller furler and rigging.
I have posed many questions here as I honestly have very little experience, I have sailed off and on for 5 years but never as a captain or owner. I live aboard so I have countless hours of refitting, and seem to be getting a very good handle on all the systems.
My plans are to sail the Chesapeake bay for a few years and, if I am confident in myself and "Kibe" I would like to do a bit of blue water cruising.
What I need help with is the myriad of questions left unanswered, such as a definitive answer on batteries (number and type) navigation systems for a single hander (raymarine autopilots?) is a windvane a neccesity or preferable to an autopilot? radar? cart? wind or solar? My god I truly am amazed how so many of you keep a handle on all this information.
Can anyone point my in a good direction for basic info? Reviews? Is there a general consensus anywhere on the perfect single hander and its systems?
I would like to thank everyone here for there answers from both previous and undoubtedly numerous answers to so many questions.

s/v Kibe
ORF va
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post #2 of 15 Old 01-24-2008
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Couple of things.
First congrat's, and I'm glad to see you are realistic on your expectations and time line. You've got time, learn first then spend money on upgrades. Never save money on safety.
I'm sure you'll get lots of responses that are specific in nature, I'll be a little more general.
Subscribe to Practical Sailor and a couple other sailing magazines for product reviews; Cruising World comes to mind. There are many very good ones out there including DIY Boater, etc..
I prefer Nigel Calder as my boat system guru de jure for 'how to' and 'what the heck is that' and how do I fix it type questions. He does a good job of explaining for the common man. There are many many more writers out there, very few are bad, most are very good (especially if they have more than one title in print). Do pay attention to copyright date, the marine industry is evolving just as quickly as the rest of the world and literature can quickly become out of date.
Take courses in diesel repair, basic electronics, navigation etc.. from your local community college, diesel and electronics are the same on shore as on a boat - and it's far cheaper than a sailing school. USCG certification testing doesn't care where you learn either (but does on where you get time on the water).

It's far better to hirer a quality instructor for lessons on your boat than to go learn on thier boat. As to where you can find a 'quality' instructor - that's up to you and your specific's.

Take it slow, make it right. Dont be one of the guys we talk about here on sailnet unless it's 'wow, look at how good he did'.
Certainly do not be the guy we say 'why wasn't he wearing a PFD and harness" about.

Have fun, remember, bikini's and boats both start with 'b' for a reason (I don't know why but I enjoy the research).

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post #3 of 15 Old 01-24-2008
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With boats there are very few "definitives"! What one sailor may prefer, and have good luck with, ten others will berate him over that choice.

My advice is to take it one step and system at a time. For example the auto pilot. First thoroughly research this system and then decide for your self what you'll need.

Keep way in the back of your mind that many, many, many, with your same dream, NEVER see it through or decide a month or two into it that this lifestyle is not for them.

So for the auto pilot you could have many options. To save some money initially you could buy a Raymarine S1 Wheel Pilot and after you've done the ICW or sailed to the Caribe and still want to go further at that point you could sell the WP drive motor and buy the below deck unit. The electronics are the same but initially the WP is a much less expensive way to get into an auto pilot and test the waters to actually see if you're going to continue on with this endeavor. Again the wind vane could be installed anywhere along your journey and does not have to actually be done until you decide this is really the life style for you.

Trust me. Over the years I have watched more folks throw thousands and thousands of dollars at a boat before they leave only to be back in a month and taking a HUGE loss on their investment and upgrades which are usually NEVER recoverable and when they are it's about .10 cents on the $1.00..

I'd be more concerned with the status of the deck core, after a sinking, than some of the other stuff you mentioned. If you're planning any off shore work a structurally solid and dry deck is more important than an autopilot. Even though you only paid $900.00 for it a full structural survey before you set out should be a necessity if you have not done it. Replacing the rigging was a very good move and those things will make your boat more resilient but if you have a soft & soggy deck in high load areas the new rigging won't do much to save your boat in a solid blow..

Again take this one system and one task at a time so you can thoroughly and honestly research what is the right approach for you..

Your boat does not have to be 110% done before you head down the ICW which is what I'd recommend for a newbie to cruising to do. Especially one from VA. Going the outside route, as your long distance shake down, is most likely not the best idea...

-Maine Sail / CS-36T

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Last edited by Maine Sail; 01-24-2008 at 09:18 AM.
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post #4 of 15 Old 01-24-2008
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Oh, and post pictures of the boat, even us condo sailors enjoy good looking slim ladies that are well built and maintained.
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post #5 of 15 Old 01-24-2008
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Bristol...good post. You've laid out your situation well. Since bluewater cruising is a few years distant...I would encourage you to understand and invest in the systems/products and learning that you will use on the Chesapeake first...and then worry about the bluewater stuff a bit later.
Rather than attempt to get the answers to all your questions in one thread, I suggest you approach each question as a separate issue and look for input as it will be rather confusing otherwise! You have a fine boat for single handing and it can take you anywhere. Check the reading list sticky for some good books on the topics you're interested in and use the advanced search function here and you'll be well on your way. Lots of helpers here to give alternatives and answers!
For single handing on the Chessie in your boat, I would first focus on:
1. Sail handling/layout
2. Wheel pilot
3. Anchor system

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post #6 of 15 Old 01-24-2008 Thread Starter
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Thanks for the welcome.
One other item, I did have the boat surveyed before the final decision. The survey per my request focused on structural integrity. The boat is sound, the deck to hull is strong, and suprising to me there where no signs of blistering. I did take the original hull paint down to the gelcoat and it was in excellent shape.
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post #7 of 15 Old 01-24-2008
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I would add that with the sailing you will be doing over the next couple of years on the bay, that a lot of your questions will be answered.
Its not until we get out and experience first hand on our own what is important to us. What is important to me may not be important to you.

You can and will get a lot of valuable opinions and information here, You will learn a lot more by going sailing.
Good luck to you.

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If a man is to be obsessed by something, I suppose a boat is as good as anything, perhaps a bit better than most - E.B. White
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post #8 of 15 Old 01-24-2008
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Aside from the good advice of going a step at a time, the first thing I would address is your anchoring setup. Doesn't do much good to get there if you can't stay put once you do.

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post #9 of 15 Old 01-24-2008
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Congrats on your boat and welcome to Sailnet. Good advice above. You've done many proper upgrades for your boat so far, now it sounds like you're in the "fine tune" stage. Basically, you need to prioritize.

For instance, if you plan to make some electronics upgrades, it's best to start at the bottom and work up. By that I mean first take a look at your battery and charging system. Eventually you want to run an autopilot, radar, etc along with all the other domestic requirements. So spec out a system that can handle those kinds of loads. For your boat, you probably want minimum 2 x Group 31 domestic bank, plus one Group 24 starting battery. More would be better if you can fit it.

Then you'll want an alternator/regulator package that can charge those batteries during the relatively brief motoring periods that sailboats typically experience. That would probably be a higher amp alternator than the standard that comes with the Yanmar 3GM, or at a minimum converting it over to external smart regulation. It would also be nice to install a shore-powered smart charger to keep the batteries topped off at the dock, so you're never starting your trips with a deficit.

You see where this is going. What I'm trying to suggest is that you create a road map, or logical path to completion as you approach these various upgrades. Otherwise, you could install a lot of electronics gizmos and never be happy with them because you simply don't have the infrastructure to support them. Work from the bottom up, start with a good foundation.

And P.S., others above are correct when they say you will be better off with the autopilot than windvane for the Chesapeake and ICW. Don't expend much thought energy on windvanes until you are truly planning some lengthy bluewater stints. Good luck to you!
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post #10 of 15 Old 01-24-2008
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Wow, everyone is giving some great advice today so I guess I'll throw in my two cents. I think John got the closest to hitting the nail on the head. With a refit like this, you are basically starting with a clean slate. This is a blessing and a curse, you can do things however you want, but you can royally screw them up as well. Approach this just like a design engineer would. Make a list of needs, nav system, autopilot, watermaker, radio system, etc.. As you research what your needs are, you will come up with alternatives in each category. For example, you could rip out most of your water tankage and use the room for storage and use a watermaker to get your water. The disadvantage is yet another system to screw up, and you lose some security with having less water. The advantage is more space and if you figure out how much water you absolutely need and keep just that much in two tanks, you still have backups and gain space. So, then you go through and start making a three ring binder with systems, subsystems, backups, spares, and ideas for how to make emergency backups for everything, all organized nicely. Then you can start looking at the system interactions and speccing things like wiring and batteries out. This way you get systems that fit the boat and you know exactly what systems are interdependent and need to upgraded at the same time, or which systems need to be made extra beefy to prepare for future upgrades, and which things (such as a windvane) can wait until they are needed. Good luck and I hope this helps and I hope you make it out there!
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