Planning for 4-5 years in the future. Thoughts appreciated. - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 30 Old 08-03-2015 Thread Starter
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Planning for 4-5 years in the future. Thoughts appreciated.

I only have about 5 months of sailing a 15 foot boat on a lake. I've been a power boater most my life and love the ocean and lakes. Why I think I'd like sailing the world:
1) I love to travel over seas. My parents and I am boat retired military. I've been to about 18 countries.
2) Love water and the ocean
3) Been to many foreign countries and want to see a lot more
4) Lived in a 12 foot truck camper for about a year. I initially wanted to travel in an RV, the distance is too limited and want to see more.
5) Can fix about anything, electrical, engines, plumbing, etc.
6) I will be taking professional courses next summer when I'm closer to the ocean.
7) I enjoy the company of other was well as being isolated. Both suit me and my wife fine.


So, I'm still in the early planning stages and hope to charter a 40' cat this coming summer for a week or two to evaluate the life. I have "camped" ha ha ha, in the summer in Florida several times and believe we can handle the heat else where in the world. I have navigation, sailing, and storm sailing classes and trips I plan to take this summer. After retirement and the purchase of a cat, I plan to learn to sail by spending a year in Florida and up the ICW and then slowly branching to Bahamas and Caribbean before hopping over any oceans for the long haul.

1) I hope to retire at 51.
2) I hope to have enough investment income to make a boat payment of up to $2,000/month. I don't want to spend the investments and pay cash so when I'm done sailing (10-15 year??), I'll still have the investments.
3) I believe I can live off $2,700 a month after taxes not including my boat payment. That is my retirement income. I have IRA/ROTH, but that will come much later in life, like 70.

I put a list together with my wife and our priorities for traveling the world and living off the hook, not marinas is:
1. Fuel capacity. My biggest fear is breaking down, rigging, sails, etc exactly 1/2 way across the pacific. Hence I'd like about 200 gallons of fuel. I plan on living off the grid months at a time without a marina.
2. Helm protection (no fly bridges). I'll be at the wheel someday in a storm and want to be protected.
3. A cat with a width of 23' or more. Seems like I've been looking at 21'9" to 25'9" so far.
4. Length, 40 absolute minimum and 45' absolute max. I need to handle it with only two crew (self/spouse).
5. Fridge capacity. 2 would be great, but think there might be power issues. A lot of people do without, so this is debatable, but not according to my wife.
6. floor plan has to be right.
7. freezer capacity
8. Washer. Whatever it takes to keep the spouse happy since she will likely be doing it.
9. black capacity when I cannot dump. I think the Lectrasan systems will be fine.
10. Fresh capacity. I've re-evaluated this and it needs to move much higher. Initial thought was to just turn on and off the "mandatory" water maker. Well, they are power hungry, use a lot of water to clean them every time they are used so it's not something I'd use daily as initially thought. More like every 1 to 2 weeks.

So, thus far I found a nice cat I like:
221 gallons of fuel
221 gallons of fresh
43 feet by 24 feet
washer
AC powered fridge and inverter (I'll probably pull it for a good marine one.
Designed to be sailed short handed.
200 liter/hr water maker driven by the engine. Don't know if that is good or bad.
Large?? battery bank. They say 750 amp/hr. so I guess 6 batteries. Perhaps I could add 2 more. With solar and two batteries, I have camped off the grid for 6 months without power. However, boats don't use propane fridges, and they do have a ton of electronics. Perhaps it's an apples to oranges comparison.
400+ watts of solar. I'd like to add wind also if that isn't enough.

It's a new 2014 model, but hopefully I can afford a used one 4-5 years from now.

I see no one mentions fuel capacity. I know it's a sail boat designed to sail, but is it not important? I figure the boat generator might see some use, such as the water maker or charging when solar is not putting out for a 3-4 day gap of clouds. If I island hop, panama canal, or take the dreaded suez canal, fuel might be important.
I'd like some comforts like a fridge/freezer, but not sure how big to go or perhaps how small.
Still working on the logistics of taxes, bills (if any), sat phones, insurance, etc.


I'm open to thoughts. I'm still learning and planning.



Loved this quote by alanr77:

Not everyone wants to leave dirt behind and live a strictly seaman's life. A lot of people just love being on the water, love to sail, and want to travel a bit by way of water. It seems that in the sailing world, there is a constant fight between the "old salt traditional keel swashbucket sailor" and the "modern electronic mod con sailor" Everyone thinks that they have the best way but one has to really look at what type of cruising that person is doing before they can figure out the best way for them to do it.

I think I fall into the Modern electronic sailor category. I would like to take a star navigation class though.
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Last edited by serpa4; 08-03-2015 at 01:37 AM.
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post #2 of 30 Old 08-03-2015
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Re: Planning for 4-5 years in the future. Thoughts appreciated.

Ditch the AC fridge and get something designed for a boat.

DECISION are you going to run an engine regularly to run a watermaker? If yes then why not have an engine driven compressor for a fridge and use it to pull down a couple of BIG cold plates. NB your engine hours will get significantly out of step.

I know quite a few people who have gone down this route and are very happy with it. I personally hate to have the engine running so run on solar 400 watts, the fridge makes ice and I can run a Spectra watermaker if I want.

In general I see nothing wrong with your plan. Go for a larger cat if you can 45ft usually sails MUCH better than 40ft especially to windward.
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post #3 of 30 Old 08-03-2015 Thread Starter
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Re: Planning for 4-5 years in the future. Thoughts appreciated.

I agree. The AC fridge is 99% likely to be ditched. It didn't sound like a good thing to me. The benefit is that the boat is outfitted to power it with a large battery bank and charging system. That is all the better especially when I don't have the fridge.

Really, a few extra feet makes a big difference? I know haul speed is determined by the length, but not sure of the formula. My top two contenders are 43 and 45 foot. Our shortest contender is the Lagoon 400 at 39'3" but only holds 105 gallons of fuel. The largest so far is the Lagoon 450 and it is quite wide also. It has only 92gallons of fresh so I "assume" I'll be running the water maker often which then means lots of service and cleaning.

I may be doing myself a disservice by finding the best model and then really hoping I can find it used at a reasonable price and good condition. I have not accepted the idea of not getting what I want, but that is probably reality. i will try to have 3 models picked out to buy.

Is 400 watts good? I've done a small RV full time on 120 watts but a 44 cat is a different beast. TV (maybe), lights LED, radar, nav equipment, SSB, laptops, etc. You can always add more solar right?
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post #4 of 30 Old 08-05-2015
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Re: Planning for 4-5 years in the future. Thoughts appreciated.

What are the odds that I click on a post I'm interested in and find something I wrote used as a quote?!?! LOL

When configuring amp hours and trying to decide how many panels you need I have found that .275/.325 x advertized watts on the panels gives you a realistic average positive amp hour number. I'm trying to find the credited source for this number and will acknowledge it when I do. However, in my real world testing, using battery tender style solar chargers, 10w up to 50w, I have found that formula to be pretty good in the South Eastern United States. Using that formula, .3 x 400= 120. If the formula holds true for larger panels, I would take that to indicate that your average weekly battery replenishment would be around 120 AH daily. Now, if you add up a realistic amp hour usage spreadsheet, you will be amazed at how quickly your actual amp hours add up; to the point that 120ah is not sufficient to run everything under the sun continuously. On a 12 volt system, a good way to get some average numbers that are close to reality is to take the listed amps of the device and multiply that by the hours of use per day:

Example:

Boat DC power requirments- Total AH per day of use= 44.7

Engle MB40 frdge/freezer- 36 WPH = 432 WPD= 36 AH per day
LED dome light avg .275 amps
Currently have 2. .55 ah x 6 hours= 3.3 AH per day
Standard Horizon GX1700B VHF. Standby- .45 ah= 5.4 AH per day

This was just the beginning of my boat. As I continue to outfit her, I have reached a point where I will no longer be able to maintain my batteries above 50% of their available amp hours on solar alone. If I choose to continue adding devices, I will have to supplement with either wind generation or IC engine usage. Remember, unless you want to replace your expensive storage batteries quite often, only draw down your batteries to 50% of their rated capacity. So if I have 400AH worth of AGM's, I really only have 200AH to continuously use. If I use 120AH a day. But my solar energy is only replacing 100ah a day, I theoretically will have 5 days before I need to start my engine. However, the plot thickens; this does not take into account losses in efficiency due to wires, connections and the corrosion of both. In addition, heat also causes higher losses. So ideally, you want to use the 50% minimum as an absolute maximum use.

If you use my list above as an example, notice that it does not take into consideration navigation lights, navigation hardware and auto pilot devices. My actual list is much much longer. That was a baseline for sitting on the hook.

You have to decide what features are important to you and then build a system to support those systems. The installation of the nice to have stuff and the pressing of the power button is the easy part. Obviously based on my quote you've been reading the thread where we are discussing those very things.

SV Salinity
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Re: Planning for 4-5 years in the future. Thoughts appreciated.

No one else has yet so I guess I will.
A sailboat is not an investment.
A sailboat is a hole in the water into which you throw money.

That said, bigger boat than I would. I prefer monohulls.
Army, comsec, tank turret and hull.
It can be done. I am still planing.

Lots of good advice from experienced sailors (not me) , on this forum.

Zen is a matter of recognizing reality.
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Re: Planning for 4-5 years in the future. Thoughts appreciated.

Quote:
Originally Posted by desert rat View Post
No one else has yet so I guess I will.
A sailboat is not an investment.
A sailboat is a hole in the water into which you throw money.

That said, bigger boat than I would. I prefer monohulls.
Army, comsec, tank turret and hull.
It can be done. I am still planing.

Lots of good advice from experienced sailors (not me) , on this forum.
Ya, definately not an investment! Boat=hole=money, ya definately know that from all my power boating years! Lots-0-money.
That is why I plan to not spend my investments and finance. Sure, I'll pay interest, but my investments will continue to grow and will still have them after selling the boat a decade later vice the convience of not haveing a payment, but no investments either.


So....
When configuring amp hours and trying to decide how many panels you need I have found that .275/.325 x advertized watts on the panels gives you a realistic average positive amp hour number.

How many hours a days does that formula work?

On my RV, I had a solar charger with a feature call max power point.
Basically it was a 130 watt panel, it takes the AxV=Watt formula and the 18+ volts from the panel, converts the 18 volts to AC current, then drops it to 12 volts DC vice the panel's 18volts DC, but at a higher current. So, there was some conversion losses, 5%, but the amps were WAY higher. I had a 7.1 amp panel and it would throw a REAL measured power level of 12+ amps at 13 volts to my batteries even though the the panel was 7 amps at 18 volts! My math is off a bit I'm sure, but I did pull over 12 amps. However, that was only during peak daylight.
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post #7 of 30 Old 08-05-2015
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Re: Planning for 4-5 years in the future. Thoughts appreciated.

Five years is a good horizon. You're already doing a bit of sailing and plan on taking lessons next year, that's great!

I would strongly suggest, though, that you look to buy a smaller and much cheaper first boat and sail the heck out of her for a few years. You'll learn a ton about sailing, living aboard for weekends up to a week, boat maintenance, what features you find most important in a boat, fixing boats, your personal style of sailing, boat maintenance and also fixing boats.

You can take some time to poke around bigger cats and do some chartering, but at least you're also building experience throughout the year at home.

In the end, you can sell it for what you paid for it and buy your cat.

Chris

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post #8 of 30 Old 08-06-2015
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The .275/.325 number takes into account peak sun and less than optimal. That's why I liked and used the formula so much. It gives you a good, conservative average amp hour output for 1 day. Obviously some days you may get a little more, some days a little less. But over a 7 day period of time, the averages balance out and I've found the numbers to be pretty close using a xantrex monitor. Manufacturers rate their panels and publish the maximum wattage in optimal conditions. Real world numbers are much much less over the entire day. I've been using that formula for a long time. I think it may have been a book somewhere hence my difficulties in referencing it. But it worked and my testing verified it so I kept it in my notes and use it in setting up my systems.
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post #9 of 30 Old 08-06-2015
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Additionally, here is another thread worth reading. Apparently others have had good results with that formula as well

http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...ator-6118.html
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Re: Planning for 4-5 years in the future. Thoughts appreciated.

The big thing I see missing here is Actual Sailing Experience........When are you going to get it? While it's great to wax nostagically about all the the requirements on the internet..how about your immediate plan to gain some water time? Think all is mute here without doing it on a much smaller boat to start...NOW. These kinds of threads are dime a dozen...
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