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northoceanbeach 04-24-2013 04:25 PM

Amuse me, sailing small boat offshore.
Hi there, I have always wanted to cross the ocean, someday I will. I've been reading offshore cruising books in my spare time, and I have a pretty decent idea of what boat I would need.

However at the same time, I like the go small, go now approach. Well, because of the go now really, ;). The go small part I could go either way on.

So at my current marina, there is a guy on a 20 footer, and he went fom Hawai'i to Tahiti, Tahiti to Hawai'i, and Hawai'i to Seattle. I also have a movie I am about to watch called the Dove about a 16 year old on a Cal 24 that circumnavigated. So it can be done.

Now, this is not my plan for this summer, I have a plan for this summer, but I just want to know HOW to do it on a small, inexpensive boat. I understand that obviously there are going to be more risks, and it is less comfortable, and probably less likely to make it. But I don't understand some of the finer points.

I have a Ranger 23. It is in very good shape. I would say for boats this size not specifically designed for bluewater(Flicka, Pacific Seacraft), it's about as good as you would get. It's very beefy, I used to have a Catalina 22 and if you look at them side my side. THings like the spars, the Ranger has big, solid looking spars, it looks like a fat mast, where the Catalina, no offense to Cats, I had a great time on it, the mast looked like, well, much flimmsier. The chainplates were connected to the deck with a nice aluminum backing plate. On the Ranger, they got almost 2 feet down into the fibreglass bulkhead with big fat bolts, and the stays wrap over the bow and stern and bolt along there. Everything, the tiller, feels get my point.

Of course I have to singlehand, for me that's the dream.

So I can sit around and dream, ands in case maybe next summer I don't get a bigger boat and keep this one, what would I have to:

1. Do to the boat.

2.Learn myself.

3.What supplies are essential for a small ocean crosser.

1. For the boat I need some way to self steer. Those windvane's look like the way to go, but do any work on my boat? Are they too heavy? Can they hook to a small transom? Where does the motor go? I have a 6hp four stroke mounted in the center of the stern. I've got to sleep, is it possible to go without one? Don't kill me for asking, but can you just take the sails down and float while you sleep? Heave to? I've found threads about sleeping and keeping watch singlehanded, but not the steering issue.

I would replace the standing rigging, if so, should it go up a size? I have heard from some that is a good idea, and some say not to, and to go with the size the boat was designed with. The designer knows more than I do, and if I put stronger rigging on there, it may put too much strain on the chainplates and the mast can't bend like it was designed to.

What else would I need to do, what do I nee to learn. It sounds awfully hard to take a small boat alone, 2400 miles from Washington to Hawai'i say, and make it.

Rhys05 04-24-2013 04:31 PM

Re: Amuse me, sailing small boat offshore.
I'm also interested in hearing what people have to say on this, as a current owner of a samll (26') boat.

Shinook 04-24-2013 04:43 PM

Re: Amuse me, sailing small boat offshore.
I found this book really helpful in answering those questions:
My experience is limited, though, so take it FWIW (nothing). He definitely covers all those issues, though.

barefootnavigator 04-24-2013 04:49 PM

Re: Amuse me, sailing small boat offshore.
FYI the boat in the movie is a Ranger23. I spoke with Robin about his trip and I think he may advise you against it. The lamest trip I have heard about is a guy sailing his 14' wwp to Hawaii. I'm just curious, what are you going to do once you get there? sell the boat and go back to your cubicle or continue on. I would say Columbia 25 would be a great cheap boat to do this in. I would say follow your dream but get some experience first, long solo passages blow chunks! Above all you might want to sail out the straights at night in a gale before you commit to Hawaii :)

Barquito 04-24-2013 04:56 PM

Re: Amuse me, sailing small boat offshore.
I think you will find a lot of threads about what small/inexpensive boat can go off shore. Keep learning, and keep dreaming. In the meantime, get out and sail that boat!

tommays 04-24-2013 04:57 PM

Re: Amuse me, sailing small boat offshore.
In complete honesty everything depends on how much risk willing to take to come back alive if things go less than perfect

How you feel about something like bring a basic Liferaft or EPIRBS or and SSB

Or do as others have and take the risk

Morild 04-24-2013 05:03 PM

Re: Amuse me, sailing small boat offshore.
According to what I have "learned" here is that you should NOT go, unless you have a 35' double-ender with a full keel with no thru-hulls. (If you HAVE to have thru-hulls you must change them to uranium-types with titanium pipes)

The thing is, it is always safer not to go (or is it?), but then you would wind up in an IKEA sofa, being "safe".

No matter what you do you will encounter trouble, but it's a part of the deal. From what I have seen from your posts here, you have the right spirit, and the need to be at sea.
A "small" boat is just as safe as a big one, as long as the basics are covered.

Someone once said that the most dangerous thing to a boat is land. Go!

krisscross 04-24-2013 05:14 PM

Re: Amuse me, sailing small boat offshore.
There is comfort in going out on a long trip in a boat that you know really well, and which can take a lot of pounding when out on the sea. There is risk in everything we do, like our every day commute to work, and there is our personal risk tolerance factor. Ranger 23 is a very solid boat but my concern would be room to stow all the stuff you are going to need on such a trip. It is not a roomy boat by any means. And I would take with me a decent life raft for sure.

northoceanbeach 04-24-2013 05:20 PM

Re: Amuse me, sailing small boat offshore.
Thank you, the spirit is there. This summer I am learning alot, I'm leaving in a matter of days for my first big cruise in the Beautiful Pacific Northwest. I will learn alot that will help me make a long passage one day.

I don't know where that cubicle thing came from, seemed insulting since I have never been in a cubicle, but once in Hawai'i, I am currently on the waiting list for a slip in the Ala Wai, as is my best friend, so I would now have a boat and live in Hawai'i and get ready for about a year to go to the South Pacific.

I've been looking at boats in Hawai'i and there aren't any cheap ones these days, actually, if you go on craigslist there is a yellow and white Catalina 22 that I used to own, that if you saw it in person would probably sell for $2000 most places, and they want $4200. The boats in Hawai'i are either "yachts", well loved sailboats that the owner's don't sell, or barnacle encrusted, jerry rigged "fun" boats that get passed around year to year.

What if I bond with my boat? What if I get really good this summer and think come August or September..."I can do this" It would be nice to think I could go. I know while I'm in Wash/CAN, I'm going to be rocking at anchor, thinking of what it would be like to cross. I would love to have this boat in Hawai'i, it would be sooooo much fun, island hopping, racing friday nights, and just sailing in front of Waikiki.

I realize that it's not always super fun. I think I have a good grasp on this. I would imagine the best moment of my life would happen one night, when there was a light wind blowing, and I could see every star in the sky, and feel just total peace and perfect solitude, but...half of the time I would probably be scared or bored.

My risk tolerance is an 8 out of 10. But understand my risk tolerance may be high, but my care and planning is equally high. I would not just say F it, and go without a reasonable belief that I could make it.

Alex W 04-24-2013 05:22 PM

Re: Amuse me, sailing small boat offshore.
"The Dove" movie was shot with a Ranger 23. "The Dove" book and true story were done with a Cal 24. The trip was finished on something larger, he didn't do the whole circumnavigation on a Cal 24.

I think the primary problems with increasing standing rigging size would be:
1) Drilling out chainplates to allow for larger clevis pins would weaken them.
2) You couldn't tension to the max safe limit for the new standing rigging, you'd probably want to stick with the max tension of the old. The chainplates and other parts of the rig probably wouldn't be designed for the higher tension.

There are a few 27' boats (Pearson Tritons and similar) at Shilshole marina with windvane steering systems. An easy one to find photos of is "Darwind" aka "The Pink Boat" which is setting off for an around the world trip soon. Some have outboards. It should be possible fabricate or model one for a smaller boat. The Triton only has 4" more beam than your Ranger, and the transom may actually be narrower, but it doesn't share the transom hung rudder.

I think you could find a boat that has proven around the world trips, like the Pearson Triton or Albin Vega, for not much more than you can sell the Ranger 23 for. The extra 4' of length would provide a lot more storage room for essentials like water. It would also have much better carrying capacity.

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