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busytommy 07-29-2003 05:43 AM

29ft cruising

Just obtained a Compass 29 (Aussie built) full keel sloop, and intend to cruise the pacific and possibly back through indian ocean to mauritius (originating from Australia), ultimately to such I am curious as to others that have done this on a 29ft or smaller boat and their experience. I intend to do this with my wife and 4yo son.

Any feedback is much appreciated.

Best regards,

Tommy (Viva Vita)

cptnoz 12-16-2003 12:06 AM

29ft cruising

Your post is a little old now and I noticed that you have not had any replies. The fact is that the boat that you have chosen would not be known to many people outside of Australia and while I know you weren''t expecting that and more interested in people who had cruised in a similar size of boat without knowing about the boat most people would have shied off a response.

The boat that you have provided it is in good condition is well and truly capable of doing what you want and the Net is littered with names of people who have done it and continue to do it in boats of the size that you have. The Compass 29 commands a good sale price for a reason and it is a good solid and reliable boat with adequate if not spacious accommodation. Even good headroom for what is traditionally seen as modest boat.

The Pardeys come to mind immediately and their boat is about the same size as yours. With small boats it is more about the capabilities of the sailor and his or her ability to cope in the limited conditions. You will soon know how YOU will cope with a boat that size after taking extended on board stays even while just coastal sailing.

Folkboats also come to mind and several of them have sailed extended ocean voyages. The accommodation in Folkboats is a hell of a lot more cramped than yours. I have never sailed a C29 but I have seen them on water that scared off other boats. They sail well in those conditions and by now you would have found that yourself.

Even Annie Hill (of Sailing on a Budget or similar fame) when she first got going did so in a much more modest boat than yours and without I am certain all the features and amenities that you have on the C29.

Any smart sailor picks the conditions and times to go. Even sailing across Bass
Strait can be a breeze if you pick the right time and conditions. It is a bit hard to do that with a race schedule as the participants in that notorious Syney Hobart found out. But there are no guarantees and Kate Cottee and Jesse Martin have penned plenty of material about that which is readily available. If you read their accounts closely you will notice that the boats faired better than they did in some respects.

And that is the point of what I am saying. Your boat is undoubtably capable and as much as we like to put up our weights sometimes it is really us as the sailors who are wanting. Platitudes about going small and going now notwithstanding.

Both Jesse Martin and Kate Cottee had bigger boats but things like Contessa 26''s have done it. I know that does not answer your question but I suggest you read the accounts of those people who have done it in those boats. If your sailing abilities are up to that standard and you are comfortable with the accommodation and seaworthiness of your boat it may surprise you but you have the answers already. All you need is the confidence to take the plunge.

And aint that the truth with most things.


Sasha_V 02-28-2004 04:45 PM

29ft cruising
Well said, Johno.

I am based In Melbourne, Australia and am turning an Endeavour 26 into a pocket cruiser for Bluewater sailing.

It is really tough to get away form everyone telling you that you need at least 38 feet of boat to even leave the Heads....
But it can be done an done well.

Good luck.

By the way...a lot of my inspiration came from Dave & Jaja Martin who''s logs can be found at They did two cicumnavigations in a 25foot production boat and had children along the way.

Soem poeple just learn how to fit sanity into a smaller suitcase


debbieandpete 04-29-2004 12:49 PM

29ft cruising
HI Sasha,
Just joined the website so of course, am pouring over it!
Could you tell me where exactly you found the story of the people living aboard on the 25''? I''d love to read it!
Happy sailing and make yourself a great day!

Sasha_V 04-29-2004 06:42 PM

29ft cruising

Will take you to the webpage for the Martin family. Going into the archives for the Martini Voyages and Direction will be the archives dealing with the Cal26 they circumnavigated on twice.

They also wrote a book called Into The Light which I can highly recommend as a good fun read.

There is also a fellow at our local yacht club who spent six months living aboard his 25footer. Not sure of what make it is except that it was from South Africa, but it was basically a Jayco Campervan that floated. Horrible boat! It was so wide it was almost round, it had a winged keel less then two feet deep and had twin rudders and other over-complications galore!

I can only imagine the incredible leeway this pregnant guppy of a boat suffered...but internally, it offered two full, double bed staterooms, teak and brass everywhere, head with pressurized hot-water shower, four burner galley with oven and double sink, and dedicated nav station as well as a decent dinning table that became a third double bed. All this in a boat with 25foot LOA.


He also paid about the same for it as I would pay for a 32-38footer....

Some people are just peculiar.



jbanta 07-20-2004 05:02 PM

29ft cruising
I read her story she was so LUCKY...

Sasha_V 07-20-2004 06:29 PM

29ft cruising

Lin and Larry 12-02-2006 09:03 PM

Happened across these letters and wanted to encourage you to get out there and enjoy cruising as we did. Larry and I set off in 24'4" Seraffyn back in 1968 and heard everyone telling us we'd be back in a week or two, and want a bigger boat. We never understood their worries, Larry had crewed or skippered on large boats, size never seemed to make any difference as to safety, only meant a lot more money tied up in the boat and lot more maintenance to do. All during our eleven years of circumnavigating on her we felt she was big enough. When people asked how we got along on such a small boat we simply answered, "We own the whole world, we just sleep, eat and travel in a small but luxurious space."
There are still lots of folks out there on boats under 30 feet.

You can see pictures of our current boat, 29'9" Taleisin at She's wonderful, has loads of room and has taken us on over 65,000 miles of adventures. Our motto is still, Go small, go simple, go now!"

Best of luck,
Lin and Larry Pardey

sailingdog 12-03-2006 12:00 AM


I doubt that they'll be reading this as the non-spam posts are over two years old. I agree that a 40'+ boat is not a necessity...but it really depends on what your priorities and necessities are....

robwd 12-27-2006 11:55 PM

Row boats cross the pacific, big boats as well as small are lost. the common denominator is the "crew". Man/or wo, man :o)) can do as much or as little as they wish given the right equipment, and opportunity. I sailed a 25 jaguar in a f8 and a moody 29 in an 11 (during the bad Fastnet race, mid English channel) both single handed. Not something I enjoyed. I felt concerned as to whether or not the boat would hold up and the noise was terryfying, surprisingly (to me) I coped easily, I would have been happier with crew, possibly, and a bigger long keeled steel boat maybe, but thats just my preference. It is my belief that the vessel is more likely to hold up than the crew and so, as much preparation as you can do both before you sail and cetainly before the bad weather arrives get it done so you are ready (what ever size boat you decide to go in) particlarily as you have your "whole world" with you. I remember Larry Pardeys reply to someone who intimated that he was very brave, brushing this aside he replied(as far as I can remember) I am the opposite I deploy my parachute anchor early, sometimes when its not really needed. I think that says it all. With the use of the right equipment you will achieve your goal! More boat , more cost, more comfort? maybe, certainly more work to both sail and maintain! ( I am certainly no expert and merely an enthusiastic Amateur, I can learn something new every day) Robind

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