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  #11  
Old 04-19-2013
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Re: US Navy Veteran_New to Sailboats_Need your Honest Knowledge and Experience_Thanks

Wow. Yeah, lot of things to address here. First off, I admire your determination, and I certainly have no desire to burst your bubble. But the truth is that I think your dreams need a bit of tweaking to be realistic.

For one thing, it sounds like you want to anchor outside of any nations sovereign waters and row a dinghy to shore for supplies. Sorry, but that is just not realistic. You are going to have to anchor in closer and that means that you have to check in and out with customs. Paperwork and bureaucrats to deal with.

Are you going to have an engine on this boat? If so, you are going to have to go into marinas now and then to buy fuel. And, again, that means checking in and out with customs. And if not, then you are going to have to become truly expert sailors.

The other point is that anyplace that you would want to anchor for the night is almost always going to be close to land. For the most part, you cannot just anchor out in the middle of the ocean. I've heard of a couple of atolls out in the middle of the Pacific where you can anchor, but those are thousands of miles from anyplace to re-supply.

And you definitely will have to anchor sometimes. When you are at sea, not anchored, you need to have someone keeping a watch at all times. That means 24 hour coverage between you and your wife. Whoever is on watch can catch quick cat naps, but every 10-15 minutes someone needs to be popping their head up and taking a look around. Most couples can sustain that for a few weeks during a passage, but eventually you will need to anchor so that both of you can go down for a good, long sleep.

Now, as far as going down the east coast and to the Caribbean, you need to do a google search for "thorny path" and read up about it. You will be going directly into the prevailing wind and currents most of the time, so it is not anywhere near as easy as you might imagine from just looking at a map. Especially not in a small sailboat (probably pretty easy in a 10,000 ton, 500 foot long destroyer).

On the other hand, there are a lot of people out there who are living the cruising life, aboard their boats, traveling from place to place as the wind and their whims take them. This part of the dream is very realistic.

You just need to make some adjustments to some of your other expectations/hopes. Best of luck to you.

Last edited by denverd0n; 04-19-2013 at 08:20 AM.
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  #12  
Old 04-19-2013
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Re: US Navy Veteran_New to Sailboats_Need your Honest Knowledge and Experience_Thanks

Aly, Mel,

I'm Navy Retired (ITC)
I also hate swimming with fish. I've stood the duty as the sharpshooter and shot a shark off Haiti

I also love the sea, and being my own skipper. The link to my blog is below with my signature line. Feel free to browse, particularly this recent one Journey in Patience: Since you asked...

Now then, can you do it? Yes, on the upper end of your budget if you want a good tight boat that will last for years and provide a moderate amount of comfort.
The Irwin 38 CC I just switched to can be had in the 50k range, but will need some upgrading for another 20-30k. That's just being practical. Solar power, systems upgrades, communications, safety and comfort matter, and none come cheap.

Boat and cruiser literature is out there all over the blog sphere and in print - and everyone talks budgets ad nausea. Here's the real deal, you can get by on very little if you sacrifice, or you can spend all you have. $500 bucks buys a lot of rice and beans, some chicken and some fish - but not a lot of beef and potatoes and microwave hot pockets.

Medical care is another area, you mention you are disabled. I assume you have Tricare or the like. Tricare, like medicare is only available in the U.S. I'm sure you've heard that. It's not true.
Go to the tricare web site and search out the overseas options.

As you get more posts (you'll need 10) feel free to private message me anytime.

See you on the water
Chuck
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  #13  
Old 04-19-2013
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Re: US Navy Veteran_New to Sailboats_Need your Honest Knowledge and Experience_Thanks

Sounds like you need something extra in the boat line; have
you looked at workboat-based cruisers? I highly recommend
reading "George Buehler's Backyard Boatbuilding". He is an
advocate of simple, *strong*, do-it-yourself-maintenance boats.
There's a good deal of outfitting info, and his boats have been
built and are sailing all over the world. You might find one for sale.

George's site (essays, designs, photos):
George Buehler Yacht Design Home Page

folks building George's boats (problems, solutions, photos):
BackyardBoatbuilding2 : Backyard Boatbuilding 2

Best wishes in your voyaging.

Fair winds and following seas,
Gary
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  #14  
Old 04-19-2013
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Re: US Navy Veteran_New to Sailboats_Need your Honest Knowledge and Experience_Thanks

Anyone can permanently live 300 miles offshore in any boat made. Its just a question of how long permanent is.

Seriously, its very hard to answer, given the simple question. Do you only plan to bob around out there and come in for food, repairs and medical attention or do you plan to move around? I suppose one could just sit on a permanently deployed drogue, if that's your plan.

If you're looking for isolation, there are many other ways to pull it off than to sit in storm seas that are going to eventually overwhelm any vessel in this price range.
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Old 04-19-2013
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Re: US Navy Veteran_New to Sailboats_Need your Honest Knowledge and Experience_Thanks

Plan on some solar panels that can be tilted to follow the sun.

Most people with your sort of dream find that they will anchor for periods of time in out of the way spots. Having a planing dink enables you to get to civilisation when you need to although a sailing dink works as well, it just takes longer. The raft idea is bad, you will get caught out and blown out to sea.

Where do you plan to be for hurricane season?

There are boats around in your price range. Something around 37 - 40 ft. A CSY 37 type A would be high on my list. Built like a brick outhouse.
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  #16  
Old 04-19-2013
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Re: US Navy Veteran_New to Sailboats_Need your Honest Knowledge and Experience_Thanks

Aly, you probably need to spend a week reading. Online and after a talk with your local reference librarian. All of your questions are well-answered but the answers are long and complex.

It should take about ten seconds online to find out there are 3, 12, and 200 mile limits established on coastal waters as well as thousand-yard exclusion zones and others. Most or all of which are charted, and if you don't know how to get that information from charts and coast pilots, you're nowhere near ready to go.

Similarly you should be reading the cruising guides, which you can labor through online, or buy used, or borrow from a library loan. There are major stretches of the east coast, arguably most of the east coast, where there is simply no place feasible to "anchor out" offshore. And limited options once you run the available inlets.

By all means pursue the dream, there are plenty of full-time cruisers out there, but most rely on their boats to get from one landfall to the next. Remaining out in international waters for extended periods? More likely to just get you bashed up and spat out by the weather gods. A 40' sailboat is very different from a warship.
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Old 04-20-2013
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Re: US Navy Veteran_New to Sailboats_Need your Honest Knowledge and Experience_Thanks

We have been voyaging and not tied to a dock for anything other than fuel and water since October 2011, so we may be as close as most to being unattached to the land. At times we go 5 or 6 days without going ashore at all when anchored, perfectly happy to be "home" aboard our boat. We have no house, no car and no permanent address and Uncle Sam HATES us!
Even on a circumnavigation under sail with 31 days as our longest crossing, I could not imagine just sitting 200 miles offshore, doing nothing. With the sails down, the motion would be pretty uncomfortable and as mentioned above, even if you aren't moving YOU would need to keep a watch to insure you weren't run down.
I have taken a few swims deep sea, with the sails down, in windless conditions, and in my opinion all you are doing is stepping down on the food chain a few notches. It is pretty spooky!
You can purchase any relatively seaworthy boat, set sail for where ever, but if you plan to live aboard indefinitely, it should be comfortable! What it looks like, how many masts and what engine/equipment it has and to some degree, it's sailing ability, all pale beside buying a boat that is just plain uncomfortable to live on, if that is your attention.
It is impossible to advise you on which boat to purchase; you must get out there and sail on as many boats as you can, either as crew or by joining a club (or however) and then when you have some experience, you should be able to make an informed purchase based on what you have learned and your needs.
Good luck.
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  #18  
Old 04-20-2013
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Re: US Navy Veteran_New to Sailboats_Need your Honest Knowledge and Experience_Thanks

Quote:
Originally Posted by capta View Post
I have taken a few swims deep sea, with the sails down, in windless conditions, and in my opinion all you are doing is stepping down on the food chain a few notches. It is pretty spooky!
Why? Because of sharks? There are just as many sharks around the shorelines as there are far out to sea. If you would be willing to go for a swim in 20 feet of water in Tampa Bay, then going for a swim in 5,000 feet of water in the middle of the Atlantic is really no different.
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Old 04-20-2013
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Re: US Navy Veteran_New to Sailboats_Need your Honest Knowledge and Experience_Thanks

A couple of comments. As a former merchant mariner with over 700 days at sea, I can tell you that going to sea on a large ship and going in a small sailboat are two very different things. Spending some time coastal cruising and getting some experience would be high on my priority list. With your limited budget, a boat on the lower size end of your range would make sense. It will still need work, but you should be able to find something that is basically solid but can be updated bit by bit. As to communications at sea, SSB with a ham license is the lowest cost way to go. You can send email with SSB, but its SLOW, even compared to dialup service.
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  #20  
Old 04-20-2013
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Re: US Navy Veteran_New to Sailboats_Need your Honest Knowledge and Experience_Thanks

Swimming in the middle of the ocean is odd. The first time I stood at the top of the ladder thinking, 'what happens if I just keep going down?'. The water was 13,000 feet deep and intellectually I knew is was no different than 13', but still ...

BTW, we kept someone on board to make sure there were no sharks and boat didn't decide to sail away. In terms of danger, going on the shore of Australia is much more dangerous with sharks, saltwater crocodiles, and poisonous jellyfish.
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