Future cruising planning

Elegua

Generalissimo
Yeah, that's how we cruised 40 years ago. That, and living in the sub-tropics for 25 years means I have strong feelings about ice. 

The input on the thread is great I'd say also leave room for an out - always have an exit strategy. There are many cool way to spend you time on this ball of dirt - including cruising full or part-time. 

 
If  you are coastal cruising central AM or in the Caribbean water and ice are readily available.  Water makers and fridges fall into the luxury catagory and are not nessesary. However as I said above they do bring the standard of living way up, especially the watermaker.  Not worrying about availability of clean water is huge and being able to wash the salt off when it doesn't rain for six months is also nice.  I am pretty sold on the nice electrical coolers vs permanent refrigeration.  They make alot more sense to me.  I highly recommend more time off looking for close to turn key than settling for budget project.  You will always spend much more money and time than you think on a refit.  The boat I referenced in Bocas is the kind of thing you want, rare but out there.  The previous owner is our friend in the marina.  His dad bought the boat new and he is a perfectionist who outfitted it with everything you could want.  Met a partner who wanted more space etc etc.. swapped boats with said german guy.  Have actually come across a few boats in the 30ish ft range like this where the owner ended up wanting to go bigger.

You end up with sort of two budgets. The big picture budget, IE make or break need to go back to work and the slush fund Budget, dinner drinks marina time etc.  As long as you never mess with the first one most enterprising people can find pickup work and random stuff to keep the second one healthy.

 

estarzinger

Super Anarchist
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@Will1073  Heed this man's words. The two "sailing trips" he took were full blown circumnavigations...around Cape Horn for cryin' out loud!

His second circumnav was on a Van de Stadt Samoa with no watermaker and no refrigeration.

@estarzinger  Your/wife's writings online are becoming harder to find. We still need your experiences. Are they posted somewhere?
Hey ajax, hope you are well.  I wish I had looked here a bit more often because I have a sewing machine lying around.  I don't know about the availability of Beth's writing - it is all somewhat dated now in detail, but ofc still holds some wisps of unchangeable truths.

I don't intend/mean at all to preach.  I'm just suggesting how we found happiness at sea. But the way we found best is only one of many ways to go cruising.  I would not criticize any of the other ways. Many of them work for some other people with different objectives.  We went cruising with the objective of 'changing our life' and we wanted to become 'seamen' . . . and (we believed) seamen don't need ice cubes in their drinks to be happy; we certainly learned we did not need ice cubes for a fulfilling life  :)

on the 'simple' thing . . . personally, I would suggest people start out dirt simple, simpler than the 'common wisdom' simpler than you may think you should. and then once you get into it if you feel deprived you can add stuff.  This will (I think) provide a path to the least expensive, least workload solution that suits you - better than putting stuff on that you later learn you really dont need.  (as an aside I will comment that we really NEVER had any issue with water supply, and yea we cruised most everywhere at some point).

Now . . . in fact we actually did the opposite of that . . . our first boat was equipped in the typically recommended fashion, and we both got tired of fixing shit and I swore when we built the second one that I would reduce the workload and we did (by a huge factor) and my wife was fully on board (she had learned from her gradma how to keep most food without refrigeration). I vigorously removed as many (optional) moving parts and items that required annual (or more frequent) maintenance and complications for the 2nd boat as I possibly could . . . and all I can say is that it worked well for us.  Other people (like for instance the dashews) successfully run quite complicated boats (with a cruising budget perhaps an order of magnitude more than ours . . . and ultimately a power boat).

That raises another point . . . actual live-aboard long-distance cruising is NOT like chartering for 10 days in the Caribbean, and also really not much like it is depicted in vid blogs or magazine article. It is better in many ways and worse in other ways . . . but it is typically unexpected and somewhat of a surprise for those who think they know what they are getting into.  It is an awesome experience for a select group of people, but quite honestly (the fact is) that it does not suit many people - it is an unsettled and somewhat stressful  life, and many people prefer the day to day consistency of shore life.

 

plenamar

Member
368
54
Buenos Aires
Hey ajax, hope you are well.  I wish I had looked here a bit more often because I have a sewing machine lying around.  I don't know about the availability of Beth's writing - it is all somewhat dated now in detail, but ofc still holds some wisps of unchangeable truths.

I don't intend/mean at all to preach.  I'm just suggesting how we found happiness at sea. But the way we found best is only one of many ways to go cruising.  I would not criticize any of the other ways. Many of them work for some other people with different objectives.  We went cruising with the objective of 'changing our life' and we wanted to become 'seamen' . . . and (we believed) seamen don't need ice cubes in their drinks to be happy; we certainly learned we did not need ice cubes for a fulfilling life  :)

on the 'simple' thing . . . personally, I would suggest people start out dirt simple, simpler than the 'common wisdom' simpler than you may think you should. and then once you get into it if you feel deprived you can add stuff.  This will (I think) provide a path to the least expensive, least workload solution that suits you - better than putting stuff on that you later learn you really dont need.  (as an aside I will comment that we really NEVER had any issue with water supply, and yea we cruised most everywhere at some point).

Now . . . in fact we actually did the opposite of that . . . our first boat was equipped in the typically recommended fashion, and we both got tired of fixing shit and I swore when we built the second one that I would reduce the workload and we did (by a huge factor) and my wife was fully on board (she had learned from her gradma how to keep most food without refrigeration). I vigorously removed as many (optional) moving parts and items that required annual (or more frequent) maintenance and complications for the 2nd boat as I possibly could . . . and all I can say is that it worked well for us.  Other people (like for instance the dashews) successfully run quite complicated boats (with a cruising budget perhaps an order of magnitude more than ours . . . and ultimately a power boat).

That raises another point . . . actual live-aboard long-distance cruising is NOT like chartering for 10 days in the Caribbean, and also really not much like it is depicted in vid blogs or magazine article. It is better in many ways and worse in other ways . . . but it is typically unexpected and somewhat of a surprise for those who think they know what they are getting into.  It is an awesome experience for a select group of people, but quite honestly (the fact is) that it does not suit many people - it is an unsettled and somewhat stressful  life, and many people prefer the day to day consistency of shore life.
Evans: I have enjoyed reading about your cruising with Beth. Many priceless "nuggets". Regards

 
I think the success rate of going simple small early is going to be alot higher than book-blog complex later.  Cruising is definitely not for everyone but going simple early will tell you in ten minutes if it is.  There is no question its harder now, not even covid related, than it was 20 years ago.

 

Ishmael

52,527
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Fuctifino
I used to cruise on a Shark 24 for weeks with a cooler and a 5-gallon jug of water. I wouldn't want to go round the world with that setup, but some have. I have also broken my body in several ways since then so it don't work nearly so good. I now have the basic skills to take a small boat damn near anywhere but my body wants none of it. I like heat on demand and ice cubes in my drink.

 
It's not rocket science and more often than not it's a question of education of economics vs marine know how.  The former being much easier to navigate when young than older.  Single vs with SO vs kid vs family.  I came up the hause pipe as a merchant Mariner over 20 some years.  You can't teach experience period.  I have spent many years with with maritime cadets and that only amplifies that fact. Some are amazing and have it out of the gate others not so much. There are those who go cruising and are incredibly lucky and dumb and years on they question all the neigh sayers.  There are those who work their butts off to educate themselves and are unfortunately very unlucky and hit all sorts of wx and issues right out of the gate.  The reality is somewhere in the middle.  The only constant is time which no amount of money will change.  A experience cruising young will never be the same as one when Old.  You won't ever know till you go...when you reach the point that you don't care about posting on a blog or some other thing attached to what you are doing, that's the point that you are doing it right.

 

Ajax

Super Anarchist
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Edgewater, MD
@estarzinger  I think there are several nuggets (Beth's food storage comes to mind) that are immutable that are worth preserving. The food storage article would greatly benefit the OP who is on a tight budget and looking to go simple.

I run a website where I would be happy to host all the sailing/cruising information that you feel is still relevant (for free, obviously). www.chbaysss.org

 

Elegua

Generalissimo
@estarzinger  I think there are several nuggets (Beth's food storage comes to mind) that are immutable that are worth preserving. The food storage article would greatly benefit the OP who is on a tight budget and looking to go simple.

I run a website where I would be happy to host all the sailing/cruising information that you feel is still relevant (for free, obviously). www.chbaysss.org
Yeah, I agree that the articles are still very useful from an approach and technique perspective even if the tech moves on.  

 

TheDragon

Super Anarchist
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East central Illinois
@Will1073  Heed this man's words. The two "sailing trips" he took were full blown circumnavigations...around Cape Horn for cryin' out loud!

His second circumnav was on a Van de Stadt Samoa with no watermaker and no refrigeration.

@estarzinger  Your/wife's writings online are becoming harder to find. We still need your experiences. Are they posted somewhere?
You could always purchase Beth's book, The Voyager's Handbook. I read it like a bible, taking copious notes, just hope I get to put some of it all to use one day soon. I picked up a copy at a consignment store in San Francisco in 2019 while boat shopping.

 

Zonker

Super Anarchist
9,725
5,681
Canada
The Voyager's Handbook is the one I recommend most. Her background as a consultant shows up there I think :)

Always enjoyed Beth's writing Evans. Blue Horizons is still in our one and only Billy bookcase, after a lap of the planet.

Our first 30' boat was very simple. An icebox, no pressure water, a VHF, depth sounder and autopilot. No water maker. Survived a summer in the Sea of Cortez where water is always a limiting factor. Having bigger tankage like Evan's 2nd boat would have been helpful in that way. I got tired of carrying ice and water and was older for the 2nd boat. You haven't lived until you've carried a 50 lb block of ice in your backpack, dripping down your ass in way too hot a temperature.

Our 2nd boat had more bells and whistles (watermaker, pressure water and refrigeration). But I don't think I spent ThAT much more time on maintenance

- vacuumed out the fridge fan coils annually
- defrosted the freezer part about every 3 weeks

_ changed the water maker prefilters regularly
- changed the watermaker feed pump once 
- changed the watermaker membrane after pickling it too long
- 1 little leak; tightened the high pressure hose

I spent way, way more time fixing up our kick up rudders and bloody damaged/broken daggerboards than anything.

I could certainly live without a watermaker and for a young person on a budget would say forget it (especially if just cruising the Caribbean)

Refrigeration is nice but not essential. If you get refrigeration ensure you have tons of insulation in a small box. Then it can run on solar.

 

estarzinger

Super Anarchist
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re-looking at the op . . . . . am I interpreting it correctly that 'the plan' is getting a boat locally, refit it locally for 2 or 3 years, then sail it south, and park it there and use as 4 months a year winter holiday platform?

That certainly is a workable plan.  I honestly don't think you need 2 or 3 years to refit a 30'er - you have skills,  if you keep it simple and focus and just put your head down and push thru it - I would have thought you could be all wrapped up in 3 months if you no-life it.   Personally having a boat that is just sitting in Florida for like 8 months a year would not thrill me.  And personally, the Caribbean is not my favorite place to sail (but yea, it is still fine and better than nothing).

I guess a lot depends on longer-term objectives and aspirations and personality.  This plan would feel to me like running hard in place . . . . but could well be rewarding to a different personality.

There are alternative plans . . . just one for instance - get winter work as crew - you make money, learn more skills, see some of the world from a boat perspective . . . then when you are ready to really 'go'. . .you get a boat, keep it simple and just head off toward the horizon for as long as you want.

Just realize . . . it is not hard to cross oceans (and it is like only a few weeks to few months time depending on which one) and see more remote and interesting places . . . it is more a mental block/hurdle than it is difficult to actually do.  I understand your generation will have severe withdrawal symptoms when you lose your continuous 4g connection for weeks at a time :)  but you may grow to like the peace. We have a good friend who works on commercial ships 6 months and cruises 6 months, and they cross oceans and move around (except this year been stuck in one place) - we first met them in Patagonia.

idk, you are young - dream big - work hard and focus, don't get distracted by things not directly connected to making the dreams happen - make shit happen.  Don't buy into all the stuff this consumption society tries to sell you - accomplishments and experiences are way way more rewarding than things. Working for wages for other people sucks, debt sucks - being free and your own boss and accomplishing things rocks.

 
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Jud - s/v Sputnik

Super Anarchist
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Canada
idk, you are young - dream big - work hard and focus, don't get distracted by things not directly connected to making the dreams happen - make shit happen.  Don't buy into all the stuff this consumption society tries to sell you - accomplishments and experiences are way way more rewarding than things. Working for wages for other people sucks, debt sucks - being free and your own boss and accomplishing things rocks.
This, above (there’s no arrow up symbol on my phone keyboard!)

Hey Evans - we met you on your way through Vancouver some years ago.  I think we’d communicated before, as I’d wanted to see Hawk in person, to get a feel for how you’d outfitted her.  Hope you’re both well.

Its a tough one to give advice to someone.  In our case, we’ve delayed “taking off” as, at the time, the timing didn’t feel right in terms of finances, young kid, etc - no regrets.  Simply wasn’t good timing.  Have a got a solid, rentable house on an island near Vancouver now, the kid is nearly independent-ish, enjoying boat projects and local sailing - and there is the whole coast north and west of here, past Glacier Bay, to explore before taking off to warm latitudes...my main is in higher latitudes, and I’m already in one and have barely explored it yet, so...we look at cruising as a continuum.  Work for a few months - sail north and leave boat for winter and return.  Sail south, work a bit.  Take a year to finish setting up a few things, then go more open-ended.  I suppose if we’d both had more financial resources earlier, we’d have taken off cruising earlier, but we mis-spent out earlier youth (were still young, 50s) pursuing other fun stuff, so it is.  It’s all good. :). There are certainly lots of ways to cruise.
 

Totally agree on keeping the boat simple to start with and focusing on essentials and DIY absolutely as much as possible - even manor engine work.  Simply: learn how to do just about everything.  James Baldwin (atomvoyages.com) has always been one of my key “guiding principles” in this regard (even though I haven’t always followed his advice :) )

 
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estarzinger

Super Anarchist
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Hey Jud, yes I remember and have also followed your cruising/sailing/life since with your posts here.

and yea, giving this sort of advice is tricky.  I'm trying to offer a perspective, which has worked for us, rather than a formula for everyone.  Something thought-provoking rather than a general prescription.

'taking off' is not for everyone. Family is a super important factor.  Family can make 'taking off' even more rewarding, but it also makes it rather more complex to fulfill all the conditions to make it work. There are countless ways to lead a rich, fulfilling life of accomplishment, breathtaking experiences, and challenge - 'taking off' is only one way.  And I personally think you have done well with your life.  Your part of the world is truly spectacular both for the boat, and shore exploration/adventure and you seem to be taking full advantage of it.

Family is a super important factor.  Family can make 'taking off' even more rewarding, but it also makes it rather more complex to fulfill all the conditions to make it work.  I have perhaps been a little weak and intentionally shied away from the 'should I have kids' discussion, which just seemed too big and would take us beyond the bounds of the OP's inquiry, but is certainly a singular life-shaping decision for someone the OP's age and would definitely affect 'serious' cruising plans.  Raising smart, centered, well-grounded, well-rounded kids is an accomplishment in its own right - this is verging on PA so I will just make the comment that there seems to be a pretty high failure rate in 'good' parenting.

Beth and I were just talking last night about how lucky we were to be able to do some sailing when we were young. If we had waited 'until we retired' . . .that would have been about now . . . and covid and parents and various health issues and just general changes in the cruising world and community would have pretty much ruled out doing what we were able to do when we were young. I do very much realize we were fortunate and not everyone has the stars align the way we did when we were young to allow it.  That said . . . . it was not 'just' luck . . . . we did also have to forcefully make it happen.  It is way too easy to get distracted in our society and let time slip by, and let others define your life, and not drive your goals thru to completion. 

 
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Jud - s/v Sputnik

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Hey Jud, yes I remember and have also followed your cruising/sailing/life since with your posts here.

and yea, giving this sort of advice is tricky.  I'm trying to offer a perspective, which has worked for us, rather than a formula for everyone.  Something thought-provoking rather than a general prescription.

'taking off' is not for everyone. Family is a super important factor.  Family can make 'taking off' even more rewarding, but it also makes it rather more complex to fulfill all the conditions to make it work. There are countless ways to lead a rich, fulfilling life of accomplishment, breathtaking experiences, and challenge - 'taking off' is only one way.  And I personally think you have done well with your life.  Your part of the world is truly spectacular both for the boat, and shore exploration/adventure and you seem to be taking full advantage of it.

Family is a super important factor.  Family can make 'taking off' even more rewarding, but it also makes it rather more complex to fulfill all the conditions to make it work.  I have perhaps been a little weak and intentionally shied away from the 'should I have kids' discussion, which just seemed too big and would take us beyond the bounds of the OP's inquiry, but is certainly a singular life-shaping decision for someone the OP's age and would definitely affect 'serious' cruising plans.  Raising smart, centered, well-grounded, well-rounded kids is an accomplishment in its own right - this is verging on PA so I will just make the comment that there seems to be a pretty high failure rate in 'good' parenting.

Beth and I were just talking last night about how lucky we were to be able to do some sailing when we were young. If we had waited 'until we retired' . . .that would have been about now . . . and covid and parents and various health issues and just general changes in the cruising world and community would have pretty much ruled out doing what we were able to do when we were young. I do very much realize we were fortunate and not everyone has the stars align the way we did when we were young to allow it.  That said . . . . it was not 'just' luck . . . . we did also have to forcefully make it happen.  It is way too easy to get distracted in our society and let time slip by, and let others define your life, and not drive your goals thru to completion. 
Honestly, we didn’t have our financial shit together years ago - that was the major reason we never committed to just taking off.  :)  I really wanted to in my 30s, but we simply didn’t have the money or career options to make it viable for long.  Then I wanted to climb amd ski as much as I could locally, build a career that would make me independent of bosses.  Now, way different financial circumstances - and the hunger is still there - perhaps more so :)

But I’d definitely “advise” anyone in their 30s who can unplug from consumer N. American life for a while and cruise the world to do it!  We certainly would’ve if we could’ve.  (And that was pre-kids, so would’ve been an ideal, easy time for it - 30-40.)

 
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Elegua

Generalissimo
It's always nice to have someone to blame for one's ills. I singularly blame a chance encounter with Beth and Evans books for my current cruising "issues".   That said, we kind of fit between the use cases presented, so we have twisted  the execution to fit our own porpoises.  /s   It's a great book.

We saw Hawk on a mooring in Maple Juice a number of years ago. We were struck by the functionality/purpose.   

So far I've done it all wrong , in terms of buying a boat too early and then living half a world away from it, doing things piecemeal...etc.... but now that the kids are off, so are we. We had kids in our early 20's, so we're not yet fossilized. At least one kid is infected with the sailing bug wants to participate. So we've got that going for us.... 

So, thanks!

 

olaf hart

Super Anarchist
Hey Jud, yes I remember and have also followed your cruising/sailing/life since with your posts here.

and yea, giving this sort of advice is tricky.  I'm trying to offer a perspective, which has worked for us, rather than a formula for everyone.  Something thought-provoking rather than a general prescription.

'taking off' is not for everyone. Family is a super important factor.  Family can make 'taking off' even more rewarding, but it also makes it rather more complex to fulfill all the conditions to make it work. There are countless ways to lead a rich, fulfilling life of accomplishment, breathtaking experiences, and challenge - 'taking off' is only one way.  And I personally think you have done well with your life.  Your part of the world is truly spectacular both for the boat, and shore exploration/adventure and you seem to be taking full advantage of it.

Family is a super important factor.  Family can make 'taking off' even more rewarding, but it also makes it rather more complex to fulfill all the conditions to make it work.  I have perhaps been a little weak and intentionally shied away from the 'should I have kids' discussion, which just seemed too big and would take us beyond the bounds of the OP's inquiry, but is certainly a singular life-shaping decision for someone the OP's age and would definitely affect 'serious' cruising plans.  Raising smart, centered, well-grounded, well-rounded kids is an accomplishment in its own right - this is verging on PA so I will just make the comment that there seems to be a pretty high failure rate in 'good' parenting.

Beth and I were just talking last night about how lucky we were to be able to do some sailing when we were young. If we had waited 'until we retired' . . .that would have been about now . . . and covid and parents and various health issues and just general changes in the cruising world and community would have pretty much ruled out doing what we were able to do when we were young. I do very much realize we were fortunate and not everyone has the stars align the way we did when we were young to allow it.  That said . . . . it was not 'just' luck . . . . we did also have to forcefully make it happen.  It is way too easy to get distracted in our society and let time slip by, and let others define your life, and not drive your goals thru to completion. 
The other variable is COVID

People assume vaccination is going to take it away, it isn’t.

we will be locked in a race between mutations and new vaccines for years to come, and border restrictions are here to stay for a long time, so you timed your run well ..

 

Ishmael

52,527
12,310
Fuctifino
The other variable is COVID

People assume vaccination is going to take it away, it isn’t.

we will be locked in a race between mutations and new vaccines for years to come, and border restrictions are here to stay for a long time, so you timed your run well ..
Aren't you just a little ray of sunshine.

 




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