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rtw

Blue water cruising books

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Hi all,

I have a project to take a year off from work to go cruising (and perhaps attempt a circumnavigation) with my wife and two of our friends. Worry not, we will not be begging for money on patreon nor filming ourselves, and I am not planning to do this on a Beneteau in the middle of hurricane season.

This is probably 5 years away but I do want to start educating myself on blue water cruising. I know how to handle a boat and make short passages but the skillset required to cross oceans and cruise in remote areas of the world is pretty different... While some of the learning needs clearly needs to happen on a boat (and we will make sure to crew on a transat before attempting this ourselves), I would love to start working on the theory of it. Any book you would recommend? 

Thanks for your help!

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I haven't read it yet, but next on my bookshelf is The Hotspur story: Twenty-five years of cruising and racing in one small green cutter by Alfred Loomis. It comes highly recommended.

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The Dashew's book set/publications are excellent, & free, at www.SetSail.com/free-books I'd suggest reading them all, though it's a huge amount to digest.

Beth Leonard & Evans Starzinger's books & articles are similarly good. Sadly their website is no more.

There's a huge amount of info available online, both in blogs, & websites. Such as www.Cruisersforum.com And once you start perusing Amazon, along with adding things to your favorites/wish list, it'll generate a lot of recommendations for you. Though you're likely better off to visit a good nautical book store, so that you can get a real feel for whether or not a certain pub. is a good fit for you, & worth the coin. Most mid-sized or larger seaports have several worth visiting, including used gear chandleries.

Also, the more you sail, especially with other people, the more stuff will be recommended or given to you. You can post adds offering to take old sailing magazine collections off of peoples hands, or to buy their whole book collections at a bulk price. Which, you often see the latter on CruisersForum's classifieds pages, & sometimes in Latitude 38 (online).

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Thank you all - these are some great suggestions.

At the risk of exposing my incompetence, would you have any recommendations for books or articles addressing the following:

  • Budgeting for the year (recognizing it depends on the boat - I am currently thinking of buying a Hallberg Rassy 46 / Ovni 445/455 or similar a couple years before setting off, and selling it right after we're back)
  • Monohull vs. catamaran... I know this has been debated ad nauseum and is a matter of personal preference... I have a strong bias towards monohulls because that's what I am used to, but for trade wind cruising and hanging out in atolls, I wonder if a catamaran is not far superior (although more expensive)?
  • Route (canaries, antilles, panama canal, tahiti and then what? we are pretty risk adverse and I am more worried about pirates than storms.. maybe the answer is we have to leave the boat in Australia and be content with a half circumnavigation)
  • Boat prep. (I think I understand the principles and the need to have two of everything, but for instance I thought the ARC surveys were very helpful) 
  • How to prepare the skipper and the crew and gather experience as quickly as possible? We probably won't have enough of it by the time we cast off, but we also don't have children nor jobs we can't leave for a year..

By the way, I found this blog inspiring and very well written: http://kenobicrossing.com. We are in a pretty similar situation as those guys, and I hope we have the balls to do what they did.

Thanks again!

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If you're asking these questions, you may want to put the project back a bit.

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Thank you for the word of caution. We are clearly far from being ready, but we have 5 years to get there and our next window is in 25 years realistically - which is why I want to make a go for it now.

If in 4 years it becomes evident that we can't do this (and I will make sure to get an assessment of our abilities and preparedness from a competent 3rd party), we will postpone or do a more reasonable version of what we were considering (perhaps an ARC rally? doing part of ARC world might actually be a good option A for us).

Regardless of where we get to, we will have learned a bunch in the process.

Given the work ahead, it is easy to give up and convince ourselves that now is not the right time. Another (maybe naive) way to look at this is that a lot of people with less experience than we'll have in 5 years have done this - including a 15yo dutch girl and a bunch of youtubers. A friend of mine (who I learned to sail with) is also crossing the Atlantic in a 22ft overpowered sportsboat in a few days, I won't get bragging rights for taking a 40ft+ cruiser across the pond at 5kts...

Thanks again for your thoughts.

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31 minutes ago, rtw said:

Thank you for the word of caution. We are clearly far from being ready, but we have 5 years to get there and our next window is in 25 years realistically - which is why I want to make a go for it now.

If in 4 years it becomes evident that we can't do this (and I will make sure to get an assessment of our abilities and preparedness from a competent 3rd party), we will postpone or do a more reasonable version of what we were considering (perhaps an ARC rally? doing part of ARC world might actually be a good option A for us).

Regardless of where we get to, we will have learned a bunch in the process.

Given the work ahead, it is easy to give up and convince ourselves that now is not the right time. Another (maybe naive) way to look at this is that a lot of people with less experience than we'll have in 5 years have done this - including a 15yo dutch girl and a bunch of youtubers. A friend of mine (who I learned to sail with) is also crossing the Atlantic in a 22ft overpowered sportsboat in a few days, I won't get bragging rights for taking a 40ft+ cruiser across the pond at 5kts...

Thanks again for your thoughts.

There are blogs that talk about it, and many, many books. Some better than others.

Jimmy Cornell's World Cruising Routes is a book refer to constantly for long-term planning of passages.

I don't know what your skill set is now, but you probably want to get on the water as much as possible. Learn as much as you can about maintenance and support, as well as routing, planning, and so on. It's not just the sailing, it's the "figuring out how to sort stuff when no one is around." Your own boat is better since you'll be responsible for more than showing up with sandwiches and beer, but anything that floats is better than not getting out.

One year is hardly any time. We spent a year in the Caribbean, and just the other day were bemoaning all the places we didn't do justice or didn't even see.

Though with the way the world is, even "remote" places don't seem all that remote anymore even though you can be very far away. I literally conducted the negotiations on the sale of my house from a phone booth under a palm tree on an atoll in the Tuamotus.

phonebooth_rangiroa.thumb.JPG.534f345f04acdb3d8d3609f44b96f5bd.JPG

There are several of us that have done some cruising on this board who are likely happy to chat more if you have questions.

My blog has some info, too.

 

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That is a great story. Luckily, I won't have much left to sell after I buy the boat. :rolleyes: 

So here's my background - I learnt to sail as a teenager (in the Channel, mostly), used to race sportboats in college, and have been skippering biannual cruises in the Mediterranean (usually on 45-50ft charter boat will all my friends and plenty of wine aboard) since the end of college. We've had some issues on these cruises over the years - mostly due to my mistakes or poor planning, and sometimes due to the poor condition of the boats we were on (happens when you always go for the cheapest one)

There are many other issues I have not had a chance to encounter yet, so there is not doubt I have a lot more to learn. The challenge is that I have 2 weeks of holidays a year, and I am already using them to sail. I am essentially trying to find ways to steepen the learning curve again. For instance, I've had a few bad experiences anchoring (interesting what a 90 degree wind shift does to a crowded anchorage in Greece...) and I never sleep well at anchor. I clearly lack experience and confidence, but I am not sure how to address it with only week-ends available..

Anyway, thanks for reading my psychoanalysis, and appreciate all the advice received.

If all goes well, I'll be back in a year with more miles on the counter and a more detailed game plan for you to critique. 

PS: will read the blog with interest!

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1 hour ago, rtw said:

That is a great story. Luckily, I won't have much left to sell after I buy the boat. :rolleyes: 

So here's my background - I learnt to sail as a teenager (in the Channel, mostly), used to race sportboats in college, and have been skippering biannual cruises in the Mediterranean (usually on 45-50ft charter boat will all my friends and plenty of wine aboard) since the end of college. We've had some issues on these cruises over the years - mostly due to my mistakes or poor planning, and sometimes due to the poor condition of the boats we were on (happens when you always go for the cheapest one)

There are many other issues I have not had a chance to encounter yet, so there is not doubt I have a lot more to learn. The challenge is that I have 2 weeks of holidays a year, and I am already using them to sail. I am essentially trying to find ways to steepen the learning curve again. For instance, I've had a few bad experiences anchoring (interesting what a 90 degree wind shift does to a crowded anchorage in Greece...) and I never sleep well at anchor. I clearly lack experience and confidence, but I am not sure how to address it with only week-ends available..

Anyway, thanks for reading my psychoanalysis, and appreciate all the advice received.

If all goes well, I'll be back in a year with more miles on the counter and a more detailed game plan for you to critique. 

PS: will read the blog with interest!

Anchoring is one of those "just do it" things. There's no other way, though you can read a lot.

When you have your own boat, you also get to choose your own ground tackle. Presently our main anchor is a 100# Manson Supreme attached to 100 meters of 12mm Maggi Aqua 7 chain. I put a LOT of metal on the bottom and I tend to stick pretty well. I'd be dubious of most charter anchor setups; I've watched charterers anchor (and also almost gotten whacked by them more than once), and I think many of them save money by putting chintzy gear up figuring most charters will use moorings. Pretty accurate assessment in the BVIs, but problematic when one of them decides to anchor.

FWIW, we bought our cruising boat in 2006, intending to spend "two or three years" getting to know the boat and knocking out the kinks. Our original plan was to leave in the year after we sold the house...you can see how that worked out; that picture was taken in 2014. We finally left in 2012 - we decided cruising with the kids was more important than waiting out the housing market.

Having the boat for a few years though (five might be overkill) is priceless for preparation. Yeah, with the bigass cruising boat we always won the party and were the center of every raft, but we got a LOT of hands-on experience with our own boat. And I learned a ton about the systems.

So if you're seriously thinking five years,  you may want to give strong consideration to getting the boat in 2-3 years, max. As I said to my wife when we bought ours in 2006 - if we decide for some reason not to cruise (and it was no done deal in 2006), we can always sell it.

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I year is WAAAY to short  a time for a circumnavigation unless you just want to get the great sailor forehead stamp. It can be done but you are going to spend a lot of time staring at the ocean and the rest on the phone to get spares for the stuff you broke. 

You need Jimmy Cornell's World Cruising Routes for this. 

3 years is about right for a fast circumnavigation 10 years if you want to be able to smell the roses mangoes durian or fish sauce. 

One good plan for a 1 year cruise is to buy in Trinidad or Grenada and work your way to Florida. Mostly beam reaching or downwind sailing. Lots of very diverse islands to visit. 

One essential book is Shrimpy by Shane Acton. [ online pdf file ] for the moments when you think " I need a bigger boat " or " I need more experience ". 

An online blog about a couple who circumnavigated is by the bumfuzzles bottom of their home page Sail Around the World https://www.bumfuzzle.com/adventure/

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Hiscock's Cruising Under Sail is still the 'bible'. Anne Hammick's Ocean Cruising On A Budget is pretty good. Both books are pretty old, and equipment is better now, but they're good places to start. Forums and blogs are best up to date info. Generally, it's 3-4 years. Don't think it can be done in a year, unless you sail almost non-stop. 

In general... Learn as much DIY maintainence and repair as possible before going. If you get part way around and have to start hiring mechanics, riggers, and refridgeration repair persons, your budget will blow up. Same with spare parts...shipping parts to remote areas can take weeks, and there's likely duty attached, so carry as many spares as practical. 

If you ask 6 sailors about anchors, you'll get 12 opinions and an argument. Most will agree that you need a minimum of 3, the main bower should be 1 or 2 sizes above recommendation, and the main rode should be all chain. This means a heady duty and reliable windlass and anchoring gear unless the boat is tiny. Practice anchoring. On most boats, additional heavy duty cleats and chocks are a good idea. Good chocks are hard to find. Everything needs large backing plates.

Theft is a bigger problem than pirates. Don't leave gear laying around on deck,  don't leave valubles out in open in cabin, and don't leave boat unsecured. Put name on everything, keep a list of serial numbers...but the chances of recovering stolen items is slim. BTW, It's not always locals, sometimes it's other yachtsmen. Piracy threat goes up and down. Generally the areas of concern are the SW Pacific and NW Indian Oceans. I'm only aware of them taking ships and large yachts, I don't know if they'd bother with a small yacht. Terrorist attack could happen damn near anywhere, to anybody. Probably more likely in population centers. 

Stick to trade wind routes, waiting out cyclone seasons. You still need to be able to handle a gale, particularly if sailing into temperate latitudes. Biggest decision will be before Indian Ocean. 4 options.... Cape of Good Hope, Red Sea/Suez Canal, shipping boat, or selling boat. All have issues. Really don't want to beat upwind in the trades to return. Might be a good idea to have a plan in advance, even if  a vague one,  as it will affect prior decisions, particularly financial ones. 

 

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12 hours ago, UNCIVILIZED said:

Beth Leonard & Evans Starzinger's books & articles are similarly good. Sadly their website is no more.

But thanks to the WayBack Machine (Internet Archive), much of their website can still be accessed: http://web.archive.org/web/20160329075735/http://bethandevans.com/

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Regarding the OP, go to the library and stay off Internet forums.  The amount of time spent sorting contradictory posts, useless info or peoples bias, would be much better spent reading a book that was published.  A distant secound would be reading blogs.  If however, you are trying to kill time at work forums are highly recommended.   

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Nobody has mentioned the Pardeys - they've done it all and written well about it.

It's easy to get past the (to me) absurd level of minimalism they espouse and then you'll find a wealth of extremely experienced knowledge. A lot more current than Hiscock etc. as well.

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3 hours ago, SloopJonB said:

Nobody has mentioned the Pardeys - they've done it all and written well about it.

It's easy to get past the (to me) absurd level of minimalism they espouse and then you'll find a wealth of extremely experienced knowledge. A lot more current than Hiscock etc. as well.

But they did it without an engine. Sheesh!

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6 hours ago, SASSAFRASS said:

Regarding the OP, go to the library and stay off Internet forums.  The amount of time spent sorting contradictory posts, useless info or peoples bias, would be much better spent reading a book that was published.  A distant secound would be reading blogs.  If however, you are trying to kill time at work forums are highly recommended.   

Yeah, there is a LOT of bullshit on the forums these days.

Active cruisers usually aren't wading into that bullshit.

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2 hours ago, Bull City said:

But they did it without an engine. Sheesh!

Hence "absurd minimalism". ;)

The plastic bucket crapper in the galley leaves me cold too.

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1 hour ago, SloopJonB said:

Hence "absurd minimalism". ;)

The plastic bucket crapper in the galley leaves me cold too.

I thought they had oil lamp running lights for a long time, too. Not really my thing either.

(Checks BMS....1d 13h since the last charge...still plenty of capacity for another day+)

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I'd second or fifth Beth Leonards Voyagers Handbook. She was a management consultant type in past life. So she takes a very methodical approach to the whole business.

Lin and Larry Pardey are responsible for a lot of people choosing heavy Tayanas, Westsails, etc. Safe enough boats, but slow. These days I'd think about a faster fin keeler. 

Sailing experience is key. As much as you can. On other people's boats or charters.  The Dashews books are a bit dry but encylopediacal - lots to digest. But lots of good thoughts in them.

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17 hours ago, RKoch said:

Stick to trade wind routes, waiting out cyclone seasons. You still need to be able to handle a gale, particularly if sailing into temperate latitudes. Biggest decision will be before Indian Ocean. 4 options.... Cape of Good Hope, Red Sea/Suez Canal, shipping boat, or selling boat. All have issues. Really don't want to beat upwind in the trades to return. Might be a good idea to have a plan in advance, even if  a vague one,  as it will affect prior decisions, particularly financial ones. 

 

Another option is to go south to NZ then head east in the high 30's to low 40's then ride the Humbolt current up the west coast of South America back to Panama. I'd want a good engine and fuel supply myself.

Yes you're going to have to deal with a gale or 3 because it isn't trade-wind sailing but it is a viable way of getting back to the USA without having to cross the Indian Ocean or bash north.

FKT

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3 hours ago, Fah Kiew Tu said:

Another option is to go south to NZ then head east in the high 30's to low 40's then ride the Humbolt current up the west coast of South America back to Panama. I'd want a good engine and fuel supply myself.

Yes you're going to have to deal with a gale or 3 because it isn't trade-wind sailing but it is a viable way of getting back to the USA without having to cross the Indian Ocean or bash north.

FKT

You can also head that same general direction and take a left at the Gambiers or Australs, and work your way back to Tahiti and eventually Hawaii and points North and East. That's our likely route if we want to head back that way.

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21 hours ago, SASSAFRASS said:

Regarding the OP, go to the library and stay off Internet forums.  The amount of time spent sorting contradictory posts, useless info or peoples bias, would be much better spent reading a book that was published.  A distant secound would be reading blogs.  If however, you are trying to kill time at work forums are highly recommended.   

I dunno, I find Webb Chiles' blog very interesting.  Talk about keeping it simple.  If you start here you can read about his most recent circumnavigation.

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Lots and of great blogs and info, in fact probably too much.  My point would be to start with passive known information I.E well founded books, blogs of well know cruisers cruising in a way that appeals to you, IE pooing in a bucket and darning your own cloths stick with .....

My very biased opinionated opinion is that the forums are a little sketchy.  On the surface they seem great.  I was pretty stoked about some of the well known ones as we were getting ready to go.  The bottom line is they are mostly filled with armchair sailors killing time, and worse some of them have absolute dipshit moderators who give horrible and even dangerous advice.

a forum like this that insists on tit shots pretty much sums up the level of seriousness to expect and for that I commend it.  Even though it's full of very knowledgeable members who at times give reasonable advice, there is a whole lot of ??

A nagging thought I have been having is the relevancy of some tried and true books due to the obvious changes in weather patterns.  It's almost like a return to the 60's where things are a bit unknown and new.  Lots more tools to use but there is a definite level of uncertainty that's probably was not there ten years ago.

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When you have been here for a while you learn who you can pay attention to and who is full of shit.

Same goes for SN.

There are a number of people who have done some serious offshore cruises including all the way around - pay attention to them and ignore the high noise ratio.

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In hindsight...from experience...knowing what I know now. You should just go. Take the books with you, if you must, for reference along the way. Cruising is so simple. Observe the simpletons out there cruising right now. The internet forums are indeed a wasteland of armchair sailors. While the book writers tend to excessive pontification. I am often impressed by how much fun, how many successful miles, are being had by folks that demonstrate so little practical knowledge. 

Prepping the boat beyond the basics of sailing and safety is overrated as well. You can (and will) do that along the way. Go simple, go early.

That said, start with some popular, simple, and well travelled routes. Do a couple of tough weeks with a very experienced skipper. Like a delivery in the 'wrong' direction with some non-trivial navigation and anchoring.

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"The Water in Between," by Kevin Patterson. Very well written, and brutally honest about the fact he had no idea what he was doing when he sailed to the South Pacific and back.

He later served as a surgeon with the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan, and got in supreme shit for writing about his experience. Apparently, you aren't supposed to do that.

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3 hours ago, SASSAFRASS said:

Lots and of great blogs and info, in fact probably too much.  My point would be to start with passive known information I.E well founded books, blogs of well know cruisers cruising in a way that appeals to you, IE pooing in a bucket and darning your own cloths stick with .....

My very biased opinionated opinion is that the forums are a little sketchy.  On the surface they seem great.  I was pretty stoked about some of the well known ones as we were getting ready to go.  The bottom line is they are mostly filled with armchair sailors killing time, and worse some of them have absolute dipshit moderators who give horrible and even dangerous advice.

a forum like this that insists on tit shots pretty much sums up the level of seriousness to expect and for that I commend it.  Even though it's full of very knowledgeable members who at times give reasonable advice, there is a whole lot of ??

A nagging thought I have been having is the relevancy of some tried and true books due to the obvious changes in weather patterns.  It's almost like a return to the 60's where things are a bit unknown and new.  Lots more tools to use but there is a definite level of uncertainty that's probably was not there ten years ago.

For better or worse, websites and blogs are regulated - you know who is writing them for the most part. Sure there are the Dan Taylors and other frauds of the world, but they are few and far between. It takes a lot of energy to keep up a blog, never mind perpetuate one full of fake garbage. That doesn't mean the blog author isn't an idiot (the "Cruising Log of the Murrelet" was not a fake, and he's cleaned up some of the more egregious stuff) and full of shit, but there's a reasonable chance that the blogger is actually doing what they are writing about, even if they are muddle-headed and wrong about it.

Forums, and in particular subgroups on places like Facebook and Reddit...have a LOT of armchair sailors and idiots. Those punks tend to be loudmouthed, opinionated, and dead fucking wrong most of the time. But what they do is shout loud, and make the people that have actually "been there and done that" not want to bother with those groups. If you look out on those places you won't see a ton of actual active or former cruisers dispensing advice. You will see a lot of idiots with stupid, uninformed opinions (bring all yer gunz!!) who clearly have no experience. I've gotten in dustups with people for everything from pointing out they were posting information that was dead wrong about places I've sailed (and they clearly have not), to one coastal "charter captain" in Florida that was insisting that all newbie cruisers should "go big or go home" and buy the biggest boat they could afford without regard to their experience or ability to handle it.

That sort of stupidity, and dealing with it, wears thin. You can only answer same questions from newbies and tire kickers so many times, as well. Nothing wrong with newbies or tire kickers; we were all there once. But the composition of those Facebook groups is mostly newbies. Some liveaboards as well, but while many of the people I've met cruising belong to them, I've rarely seen any of them post.

This forum (Cruising Anarchy) is actually WAY, WAY better than any of the Facebook groups, /r/sailing (where you can't really even talk about bluewater cruising without getting downvoted), /r/SailboatCruising, etc. from what I've seen. The reason is simple - there aren't a lot of people here pretending to have experience. There is some bullshit, to be sure, but the focus of CA really isn't even cruising. There's hardly any threads that are relevant to my life here. But that also means it's not a feeding frenzy of stupid misinformation. The threads that ARE relevant tend to be pretty good, and the idiots get winnowed out quickly. There are experienced offshore cruisers here, and they will come out of the woodwork if the topic is right. And there aren't legions of idiots looking to shout them down with misinformation and baloney. CruisersForum also is OK, though the moderation is a bit heavy for my taste the signal to noise ratio isn't bad. The SSCA forums are also decent and open to the public, except the traffic there is really too light to get things answered well anymore. More people go to the SSCA Facebook page, which, while not as bad as the "Sailing and Cruising" groups, gets its fair share of fools since it's open to anyone on Facebook.

Just my $.02.

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5 hours ago, daddle said:

In hindsight...from experience...knowing what I know now. You should just go. Take the books with you, if you must, for reference along the way. Cruising is so simple. Observe the simpletons out there cruising right now. The internet forums are indeed a wasteland of armchair sailors. While the book writers tend to excessive pontification. I am often impressed by how much fun, how many successful miles, are being had by folks that demonstrate so little practical knowledge. 

Prepping the boat beyond the basics of sailing and safety is overrated as well. You can (and will) do that along the way. Go simple, go early.

That said, start with some popular, simple, and well travelled routes. Do a couple of tough weeks with a very experienced skipper. Like a delivery in the 'wrong' direction with some non-trivial navigation and anchoring.

Yup.  First, get the boat.  Don't worry about getting the prefect boat, there ain't one. Then sail as much as possible.  Go out in higher winds when other boats stay at the dock. Sail at night. Anchor. Figure out your power needs and how fast you empty your water tanks. In short, learn your boat.  Books can help. A little. But no book can get you to know the feel of when your anchor is really set.  And so on.

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On 2017-09-24 at 9:03 AM, SASSAFRASS said:

A distant secound would be reading blogs.  

However, there are of course some really good (and bad) blogs out there, just as there are good (and bad) books, etc.

Noy exactly "cruising", but Berrimilla's blogs are fantastic reading:  they're the real deal:  http://berrimilla.com/wordpress/

Another good one --specifically informative/educational for cruising-- is https://www.morganscloud.com/.

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3 hours ago, B.J. Porter said:

For better or worse, websites and blogs are regulated - you know who is writing them for the most part. Sure there are the Dan Taylors and other frauds of the world, but they are few and far between. It takes a lot of energy to keep up a blog, never mind perpetuate one full of fake garbage. That doesn't mean the blog author isn't an idiot (the "Cruising Log of the Murrelet" was not a fake, and he's cleaned up some of the more egregious stuff) and full of shit, but there's a reasonable chance that the blogger is actually doing what they are writing about, even if they are muddle-headed and wrong about it.

Forums, and in particular subgroups on places like Facebook and Reddit...have a LOT of armchair sailors and idiots. Those punks tend to be loudmouthed, opinionated, and dead fucking wrong most of the time. But what they do is shout loud, and make the people that have actually "been there and done that" not want to bother with those groups. If you look out on those places you won't see a ton of actual active or former cruisers dispensing advice. You will see a lot of idiots with stupid, uninformed opinions (bring all yer gunz!!) who clearly have no experience. I've gotten in dustups with people for everything from pointing out they were posting information that was dead wrong about places I've sailed (and they clearly have not), to one coastal "charter captain" in Florida that was insisting that all newbie cruisers should "go big or go home" and buy the biggest boat they could afford without regard to their experience or ability to handle it.

That sort of stupidity, and dealing with it, wears thin. You can only answer same questions from newbies and tire kickers so many times, as well. Nothing wrong with newbies or tire kickers; we were all there once. But the composition of those Facebook groups is mostly newbies. Some liveaboards as well, but while many of the people I've met cruising belong to them, I've rarely seen any of them post.

This forum (Cruising Anarchy) is actually WAY, WAY better than any of the Facebook groups, /r/sailing (where you can't really even talk about bluewater cruising without getting downvoted), /r/SailboatCruising, etc. from what I've seen. The reason is simple - there aren't a lot of people here pretending to have experience. There is some bullshit, to be sure, but the focus of CA really isn't even cruising. There's hardly any threads that are relevant to my life here. But that also means it's not a feeding frenzy of stupid misinformation. The threads that ARE relevant tend to be pretty good, and the idiots get winnowed out quickly. There are experienced offshore cruisers here, and they will come out of the woodwork if the topic is right. And there aren't legions of idiots looking to shout them down with misinformation and baloney. CruisersForum also is OK, though the moderation is a bit heavy for my taste the signal to noise ratio isn't bad. The SSCA forums are also decent and open to the public, except the traffic there is really too light to get things answered well anymore. More people go to the SSCA Facebook page, which, while not as bad as the "Sailing and Cruising" groups, gets its fair share of fools since it's open to anyone on Facebook.

Just my $.02.

We got our first doses from Hiscock, Piver, Tilman, Pardeys, etc., but that was a good long time ago. I'm sure there are more modern books out there. B.J.has the internet part nicely summed up.

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Interesting thing, we are doing the Haha and in the pamflet they give out it more or less advises towards a connectivity solution on the coast.  I am listening and checking in to some local Ham nets with weather, so the info and support is there but it seems to have faded out of fashion to make the guidebook.  I remember last time we went into MX and how amazed we were to have Don giving out the weather and willing to chat you up on where you are.

I guess Ludites beware!!!

Back to books some of the ones I have enjoyed the most seem to be pretty timeless as well. Still rereading 2 years before the mast and it is still relevant on the California coast almost 200 years later. Adrift was great.  I have yet to read anything that comes close to capturing the psychology of people at sea as well as Conrad, the N of Narcisuss being one of the best. I have Caulders book and a Toss book on board that I don't think I've opened in ten years but they are good books.  That said, with no offense, I would never hire either to ever work on my boat.  Not a lot of black and white. Daddle gives the best advise a pure product of hindsight I would guess, unfortunately that usually doesn't stick well with most new people, especially those who need a answer or the internet to give them affirmation in 10 min or less.

And yes  I'm procrastinating getting work done on the boat.....

 

 

 

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There is only one book you need to read - but the shit stained monkey masturbaters in this shit stained monkey pit won't ever understand..

 

ChasfromTas1.jpg.

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To follow up on B.J.'s recent post #32, if I should make a pronouncement related to offshore cruising, pay no attention to it.

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3 hours ago, Bull City said:

To follow up on B.J.'s recent post #32, if I should make a pronouncement related to offshore cruising, pay no attention to it.

Let us know when you take your boat to Ireland, OK? Lotsa pixx.

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Start with Capt Fatty's books. He has just done his third? RTW and each time seems come up with a nicer boat and have new experiences. He shares the mistakes he made along the way and is really good at getting to know the locals along the way. His wife Carolyn is a saint and shares in the credit for their cruising success. Fatty likes to joke about that part of the equation but is the first to admit he could not have done all those miles without her. 

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8 hours ago, cameron said:

Anyone mention Hal Roth yet?

In the middle of the stack of books I posted.

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8 hours ago, bmiller said:

Don't let your wife read this one. 

 

51QBsOOKQnL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

I've read that. The lesson to take away is, never sail with an overbearing, insecure arsehole bully.

FKT

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On 01/10/2017 at 4:32 PM, Ishmael said:

In the middle of the stack of books I posted.

Whoops.  Thanks.

"After 50,000 Miles" is another good one.

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....and any book or digital resource that gives solid pointers on how to source fresh and agreeable food no matter where you are on the orange is worth its weight in gold and more so if you have a fem or collection of them on board. Their buy-in to that aspect makes them quickly forget about all the drama, the shit weather, sleep deprivation and the time you rammed that reef and blamed them.

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And for that we have "An Embarrassment of Mangoes" by Ann Vanderhoof.

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1 hour ago, jdazey said:

And for that we have "An Embarrassment of Mangoes" by Ann Vanderhoof.

Which is quite a good book.

But...  as far as I'm concerned all books really do is make you want to go.  You aren't going to learn squat from them as compared to hands on time on the boat. 

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1 minute ago, monsoon said:

Which is quite a good book.

But...  as far as I'm concerned all books really do is make you want to go.  You aren't going to learn squat from them as compared to hands on time on the boat. 

True enough, but a lot of hands on time on the boat is working, not sailing. Some reading makes the work go a little better.

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Plot your corse to adventure Roger Olsen. One of the most overlooked books in print. And Lin Pardey care and feeding of ships crew which covers every aspect of cruising. 

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37 minutes ago, Jud - s/v Sputnik said:

"Ice Bird" and "Shapes on the Wind", both by David Lewis.  Epic man and sailor.

The one thing I really got from David Lewis' books (I have them all) was that he was a profound mechanical/systems ignoramus. He never seemed to learn that fixing stuff before it breaks and before you're in a hole was a lot better than the alternative. His ability to kludge (jury-rig) stuff wasn't bad but if he'd done some decent prep, he never would have had to.

He lost his last (? Taniwha) due to what he admits (P 241) was inadequate securing of the foremast which spat its locking wedges in a moderate seaway not long after leaving port and punched a hole in the (ferrocement) hull. Really, that should not have happened.

So as a seaman he had my admiration but as any sort of engineer, he was bloody hopeless.

FKT

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13 hours ago, Fah Kiew Tu said:

The one thing I really got from David Lewis' books (I have them all) was that he was a profound mechanical/systems ignoramus. He never seemed to learn that fixing stuff before it breaks and before you're in a hole was a lot better than the alternative. His ability to kludge (jury-rig) stuff wasn't bad but if he'd done some decent prep, he never would have had to.

He lost his last (? Taniwha) due to what he admits (P 241) was inadequate securing of the foremast which spat its locking wedges in a moderate seaway not long after leaving port and punched a hole in the (ferrocement) hull. Really, that should not have happened.

So as a seaman he had my admiration but as any sort of engineer, he was bloody hopeless.

FKT

And I'm sure his various ex-wives would say he was a great lover but a bad father to his children :-)

It's like Lewis had a penchant or at least a high tolerance for suffering.  The pic of him in "Ice Bird" repairing and painting the boat as it sits on the ice in Anyarctica is incredible.  

And, of course, his book "We, The Navigators" is epic and incredible.  I'd love to do a star path-style navigation voyage one day.

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On 11/10/2017 at 10:13 PM, Fah Kiew Tu said:

The one thing I really got from David Lewis' books (I have them all) was that he was a profound mechanical/systems ignoramus. He never seemed to learn that fixing stuff before it breaks and before you're in a hole was a lot better than the alternative. His ability to kludge (jury-rig) stuff wasn't bad but if he'd done some decent prep, he never would have had to.

Was it he never learned or was he chronically under capitalized? "We, the Navigators" is awesome.

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1 hour ago, tane said:

...I'd make 150% sure, Fah Kiew Tu, that my own nautical achievements are really tops, befor besmirching a nautical giant like Dr. Lewis...

I know marine systems & engineering. He didn't. He was a great sailor, sure, but when it came to robust systems, especially mechanical stuff, he didn't have a clue and all his books serve to demonstrate that he never learnt over time either.

If you want to argue about it I have every one of his books and can quote plenty of references. I already gave the example of how he lost TANIWHA due to a mast *he* designed and secured in the hull. It didn't last 24 hours in a seaway and sank the boat. That is not good engineering practice and should never have happened.

There are plenty of other examples. One is where he had to ask the Australian Antarctic Division to swap his diesel for the special antarctic blend we used. He was told about that need before he went south & ignored the advice at the time. This is partly documented in his book, the rest I got from one of my neighbours who was there at the time.

He's not alone anyway. Bill Tilman, who I admire more than any other modern sailor, was also bloody hopeless on mechanical systems and also never seemed to learn better. That cost him at least one of his boats.

FKT

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I still think we have to give giants like Dr Lewis some leeway...what he might have (don't remember all that many details, read the books a long time ago...)lacked in mechanical aptitude (already the idea for the first mast of Rehu Moana looks absolutely crazy!) he more than made up in spunk, didn't he?. So I might be tempted to think along your lines - but would never dare to mouth it... (patagonia in a cat with a frigging "britsh seagull - best outboard motor for the world" as auxiliary propulsion - I guess you are familiar with that "machine"...)

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On 9/24/2017 at 4:37 AM, rtw said:

Hi all,

I have a project to take a year off from work to go cruising (and perhaps attempt a circumnavigation) with my wife and two of our friends. Worry not, we will not be begging for money on patreon nor filming ourselves, and I am not planning to do this on a Beneteau in the middle of hurricane season.

This is probably 5 years away but I do want to start educating myself on blue water cruising. I know how to handle a boat and make short passages but the skillset required to cross oceans and cruise in remote areas of the world is pretty different... While some of the learning needs clearly needs to happen on a boat (and we will make sure to crew on a transat before attempting this ourselves), I would love to start working on the theory of it. Any book you would recommend? 

Thanks for your help!

http://davidburchnavigation.blogspot.com.es/2015/11/archive-of-past-articles.html

 

is a good source of modern seamanship 

 

also purchase the book 

http://www.starpath.com/catalog/books/1830.htm

to succesfully complete a cruise you need a well found, very simple boat.   

Go simple, light , fast and robust .  Dont leave the dock unless this simple vessel is one hundred percent prepared.  

The millions of things you dont know will be learned on the way. 

Boats and cruising are expensive...start collecting great piles of cash now.

crew are almost impossible to find ...you must think like a singlehander

 

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9 hours ago, tane said:

I still think we have to give giants like Dr Lewis some leeway...what he might have (don't remember all that many details, read the books a long time ago...)lacked in mechanical aptitude (already the idea for the first mast of Rehu Moana looks absolutely crazy!) he more than made up in spunk, didn't he?. So I might be tempted to think along your lines - but would never dare to mouth it... (patagonia in a cat with a frigging "britsh seagull - best outboard motor for the world" as auxiliary propulsion - I guess you are familiar with that "machine"...)

As I said, Bill Tilman was hopeless at machinery too. Still a great sailor And yeah, British Seagull outboards - best left anywhere except on the back of your dink....

Amyr Klink's 'Endless Sea' and 'Between Two Poles' are worth reading.

FKT

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It's like criticizing Vito Dumas for only bringing a screwdriver (or whatever extremely minimal tools he had on board - can't recall from his book) on his epic, record-setting singlehanded circumnav, or Alberto Torroba (who wrote no book that I'm aware of, so it's thread topic drift :-) ) for not carrying any tools at all on his epic totally instrument-less open dugout sailing canoe ocean crossings...

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'The fundamental things are to keep the water out; keep the boat under control; and keep the boat right-side-up and the rig intact. The engine is a sort of luxury item as far as I am concerned. It makes the other luxury items work and it is nice to get through calms, but it is not a necessity'--Warwick Tompkins(over 500,000 miles at sea)

This quote from 'Surviving the Storm' by the Dashews, an indispensable 'bluewater' read, is memorable as I think it distinguishes what might be 'necessary' for passage making and what might be 'preferable' as a lifestyle consideration during extended cruising.

Relying too much on systems and electronics can become a lesser substitute for basic sea sense and sailing skills. That said, I don't think anyone would dispute that a major part of good seamanship is preventative maintenance.

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3 hours ago, Jud - s/v Sputnik said:

It's like criticizing Vito Dumas for only bringing a screwdriver (or whatever extremely minimal tools he had on board - can't recall from his book) on his epic, record-setting singlehanded circumnav, or Alberto Torroba (who wrote no book that I'm aware of, so it's thread topic drift :-) ) for not carrying any tools at all on his epic totally instrument-less open dugout sailing canoe ocean crossings...

Torroba wrote a book (see link below). He now lives as a recluse in the province of La Pampa (Argentina).  A strange character -- crossed the Pacific in a dugout canoe, when leaving South America threw overboard (on purpose) all navigation instruments & charts.

 

http://www.pulponegro.com.ar/product.php?id_product=1144

 

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8 hours ago, plenamar said:

Torroba wrote a book (see link below). He now lives as a recluse in the province of La Pampa (Argentina).  A strange character -- crossed the Pacific in a dugout canoe, when leaving South America threw overboard (on purpose) all navigation instruments & charts.

 

http://www.pulponegro.com.ar/product.php?id_product=1144

 

Very interesting - didn't know that.  I can stumble through French, and a bit of Spanish.  Maybe I'll have a look:  I'm intrigued by non-instrument navigation.  (The only thing I've ever read about Torroba was this article: "One With the Oceans: Sailing Across the Pacific by Dugout Canoe":  http://atomvoyages.com/articles/sailor-interviews/97-albertotorroba-1.html )

Incidentally, on the topic of good bluewater voyaging books in other languages, "Damien Autour du Monde" (Damien Around the World"), in French, is great - fantastic story, very, very impressive voyage by two young (20-something!) guys:  France-Spitsbergen-Brazil (up the  Amazon!)-Antarctica-Cape of Good Hope-S. Indian Ocean French Southern Ocean Islands-Cape Horn-France, over like 5 years:  https://www.babelio.com/livres/Janichon-Damien-autour-du-monde--55-000-milles-de-defis-au/102993

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true, absolutely awsome voyage & “cult“ in france ( but oh boy, what “heavy going“ with my voyaging-cum-boatbuilding “french“)

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I found 3 categories of books useful.  #1 were how to references we used while actually cruising.  the two bibles in this category (for me) were Cornell's cruising routes and Nigel's repair book.  #2 Were 'inspirational' books.  Honestly in this category the ones I found most useful  were 'idiots who made it'  . . . when we hit a hard patch they allowed me to say to myself "if that idiot could do this I damn well can'.  Tania was my prime 'go to' in this category for our first trip, and Alvah for our second one.  (to be clear, we know and like and respect both of these people . . . . its just that lets say I could imagine us betting better prepared than they were :) ).  In the more classic definition of inspiration were David Henry Lewis and Griffiths and Jerome Poncet and  Bernard Moitessier. And the #3 group were the 'what do we need to know to fit out the boat and be prepared before we take off' - Dashew and Pardey and Hiscock were the bibles, still extremely useful, but are all quite dated.  Beth's book is more recent but still dated.  You can get some very valuable 'philosophy about whats important' from them all though.  I am not aware of anything really current on this - perhaps the best 'modern' sources are the racing OSR's and related documents - like various racing medical kit lists.

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Reminds me, I remember looking in the life raft ditch kit once about 1000 miles north of Hawaii, it's blowing like 30, seas crashing over the bow, and really realizing, wow, if you lost the rig here and couldn't save yourself or didn't have an EPIRB, etc, the trades would blow you really far SW for a long way.  I spied a mini (as in palm-sized) Bible in the ditch kit, and thought WTF?!?  I'm not a believer except in the gods of nature, etc., but at least you'd have something (tiny) to read in the life raft to keep you from going nuts... :-) :-). The patience of Job, and all that...parables and stories for the Ages...

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yeah & genesis 38:8-10:

"he spilled his semen on the ground ... wicked in the Lord’s sight; so the Lord put him to death also."

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That's a fave of yours, eh.  Pages well-thumbed, mate?  But you always know how it's gonna end...with a box of tissues, sloppy hands, and you crying... :-)

Has anyone mentioned "Bluewater: A Guide to Self-Reliant Sailboat Cruising?  Super, super-dated (1979) but written by folks who built boats (and went aground in Polynesia), and sailed them around Antarctica, so I figure they must have some interesting/practical observations?  (I've never read it.)

The documentary ("Following Seas") about them looks quite retro-interesting (and Nancy Griffith's interviews --YouTube them-- are interesting too.) Tough, resourceful people. "We were doing sailing that most boats, or their owners, couldn't do, or wouldn't do.  Most people don't have the confidence to make their own major decisions."  

"Following Seas" trailer:

Film info (looks like it was just released, and a long time in the making):  http://www.followingseasfilm.com/

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On 11/17/2017 at 1:08 AM, estarzinger said:

I found 3 categories of books useful.  #1 were how to references we used while actually cruising.  the two bibles in this category (for me) were Cornell's cruising routes and Nigel's repair book.  #2 Were 'inspirational' books.  Honestly in this category the ones I found most useful  were 'idiots who made it'  . . . when we hit a hard patch they allowed me to say to myself "if that idiot could do this I damn well can'.  Tania was my prime 'go to' in this category for our first trip, and Alvah for our second one.  (to be clear, we know and like and respect both of these people . . . . its just that lets say I could imagine us betting better prepared than they were :) ).  In the more classic definition of inspiration were David Henry Lewis and Griffiths and Jerome Poncet and  Bernard Moitessier. And the #3 group were the 'what do we need to know to fit out the boat and be prepared before we take off' - Dashew and Pardey and Hiscock were the bibles, still extremely useful, but are all quite dated.  Beth's book is more recent but still dated.  You can get some very valuable 'philosophy about whats important' from them all though.  I am not aware of anything really current on this - perhaps the best 'modern' sources are the racing OSR's and related documents - like various racing medical kit lists.

The YouTube generation can be good at showing actions like how to splice etc, but I’ve not seen any vlogs etc that come close to the depth of knowledge you can store in a book. It’d be a neat legacy to allow for new editions to Beth’s book every ten years to help the sailing world to continue to stand on the shoulders of giants.

P.s. Beth’s book is probably less dated than your signature line’s linking into the ether. ;)

 

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just now reading "Dark sea" by Erika Grundmann about the voyages and thoughts of George Dibbern, some pretty good  philosophy on how to actually live with others on board

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