Time for an adventure!

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by MrTifful, Aug 1, 2011.

  1. MrTifful
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    MrTifful New Member

    HELLLOOOO FORUM,
    Brand new to the forum because I have recently decided that I can't stand the rat race of life and I have reached the conclusion that I can't play by the systems rules anymore. I have been trying to decide if I want to be a ski bum and live at the base of a local resort and just work seasonal jobs to pay for my obsession with snowboarding(which I am currently doing) or even buy an extremely cheap piece of land in the middle of nowhere and live a minimalist lifestyle working off the land. But I have come to the realization that I never want to be tied down to a single location and would love to sail the world over looking for adventure. I truly believe that the transient lifestyle is the lifestyle for me and a sailboat I feel is a great way to make that dream a reality. This dream of mine is more than a few years away, partly due to the fact that I am 22 and have no money, but I have my mind made up and I am going to do anything and everything to achieve my goal. Currently I know absolutely nothing about sailing, consider me a blank canvas and you are the painter. Before I get all of the responses about living aboard a sailboat is not for everyone, just assume it is for me..

    So now for the questions: Keeping in mind that I would be sailing alone, what would be the ideal setup for a single handed sailor? I would eventually love to circumnavigate the globe, taking many years to do it so I can stop along the way whenever and wherever I want, staying for as long as a like. Speed is of least concern to me, I just want something that will get me to where I want to go.

    What sort of resources are out their for a novice to learn everything he needs to know about single-handed sailing? Books, magazines, forums? Recommendations?

    What sort of a budget do I need to work out? I would want to do it as cheap as humanly possible, living a pretty minimalist lifestyle. I would be fishing and hunting for most meals, anchoring up to avoid dock fees, basically doing everything in my power to make it as cheap as possible. What types of things on a boat help cut down on costs? I would be pulling in to town, working a job for a short while then setting sail again for as long as possible. Money is the only thing holding me back. As soon as I think I have enough money to scrape by, then I am going for it. There is no way I will be fully prepared, (wouldn't be very exciting or an adventure if I was, right?:D) but I will plan for what I can. What sort of a boat and what types of boat features cut down on maintenance costs without compromising safety?
     
  2. bntii
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    bntii Senior Member

  3. BATAAN
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    BATAAN Senior Member

    Find a 25 foot, strongly built, cutter-rigged fiberglass boat that has been neglected badly so is very cheap. Learn to fix everything on it yourself with the tools you carry on board.
    Don't count on living on what you fish and hunt as local authorities call this "poaching" and throw you in jail for it.
    Local laborers resent sailors showing up and taking their jobs. In foreign countries this is illegal without a work permit and again, jail.
    Many places have no safe or accessible bad-weather anchorage, or no legal shore landing on private property (my state of WA is an example of this) so you are forced to use the harbor and pay fees. Other than these and a host of other problems, it's a wonderful way to live and I strongly encourage you to follow your dreams.
     
  4. messabout
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    messabout Senior Member

    Voyage of the Atom is a good read for those who contemplate the Ulysses option and also for the less adventurous dreamer.
     
  5. BATAAN
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    BATAAN Senior Member

    Some time ago, in Sausalito California, I awoke one morning to see a small sail boat aground on the sharp wreckage of a barge visible at low tide. It was a crude flat-bottomed steel cutter, about 22 feet long, standing up on its ballast fin and a couple of wood props. A young Australian man was scraping off about a foot of mussels and barnacles. He had built the boat in his yard and had been sailing for 3 years. With the next high tide he was gone and I never saw him again. I am sure he is somewhere far away and adventurous, for he was a problem-solver unbound by human convention and willing to work with nature.
    Again, a well-found expedition was anchored in a bay off the Antarctic coast aboard their large steel ketch when a little sloop blew in ahead of the afternoon gale, anchored in the lee behind a grounded ice floe and dropped its sails. Turned out to be a French lad, exploring the world without an engine.
     
  6. MrTifful
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    MrTifful New Member

    #2, Why I am already ruined? Everything I read on the link you gave me sounds exactly like what I am looking for. I used the term "ski bum" tongue in cheek because there is nothing "bum" about my lifestyle. I get paid to do something I love and would gladly do it for free. And if you think I am already ruined for monetary reasons, then you are sadly mistaken. I can go sell my truck right now for a hefty sum, walk to a boat yard, and never look back. I have decided that preparation is the way to go for me, but believe me, in no way shape or form am I ruined.

    BATAAN - thank you for the info and stories! I would be hugging the shore of the Americas to begin my voyage and to get experience with my vessel. Starting in the US for maybe a few years, living on board to cut down on living expenses and stocking up on funds. I did think about working abroad and I know it would not be realistic to just set up shop wherever I wanted. I am sure I could find some odd jobs in certain places but definitely could not be counted on. I guess the best option would be to work out a more precise budget that would allow for a few years of uninterrupted sailing but part of the excitement for me comes from the unknown.
     
  7. Seafarer24
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    Seafarer24 Sunset Chaser

    FL and CA seem to be the best places to find suitable boats for little money. Suitable and cheap meaning the ideal balance between a good boat that has fallen on bad times.

    Also, I hear about a lot of good deals to be had in Panama near the canal.

    Check out www.projectbluesphere.com for further inspiration and a good look at the current state of cruising.

    Buy and read: Twenty Small Sailboats to Take You Anywhere
     
  8. BATAAN
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    BATAAN Senior Member

    Having had the dream myself in excess in the past this is what I, and some others at the same time, came up with.
    We basically copied the economic model of 1880s small sailing ship ownership. I say 1880s because small schooners, sloops and ketches were at a high state of development at the time just before power was introduced.
    This was before engines and widespread use of electricity and seemed to function well.
    Being absolutely poor Veterans of the VN era and spurned by all as something to be forgotten, we had a lot in common with the maritime laborers of the 1880s (yes, and eons before).
    And for us the same answer worked.
    For many savvy, and willing-to-work sailors of those early times and on through the 1930s, forming small co-operatives that enabled the building and operating of very small sailing ships (20 to 100 tons) gave them a home, a shop, a way to move bricks or horseshit (politicians?) very cheaply in an era of few roads and no trucks, a way to catch fish, a way to live and survive and thrive.
    Some of this applied in the late 1970s when I built BERTIE, and Dudley Lewis built HERMANAS Y HERMANOS (Now NORTHERN SPRAY).
    These are based on Slocum's SPRAY, but modified from other traditions. SPRAY was a low-freeboard oyster sloop that the old man added freeboard to and reduced the rig of. This is not a yacht design at all, but a primitive industrial machine and few would choose it for the job, being blinded by marketing and their limited research and experience. I had the good fortune to be trained as a "historic rigger" at Mystic Seaport which included a great deal of research, and learning HOW to do research, which led me to choose this seemingly primitive craft. Seeing how easily she careens in the mud is one reason, but there are many more, quite a few are economic in that they are very cheap to build and maintain with your own (skilled, but that is learned) labor.
    Unable to afford a shop individually, about a dozen of us banded together and formed the "Gate 3 Boat Co-op", sharing labor and expenses for a few months to tool up with ancient machinery we re-built and presto we had an 1880s shipyard and immediately started framing up our boats.
    BERTIE and HYH follow the original lines mostly, but use a highly-peaked (to give area and clear the shrouds) fully-battened, southern-Chinese-style balanced lugsail for the mainsail, combined with conventional 1880s headsails (no turnbuckles anywhere) and a UK inspired easily-unrigged (to reduce berth fee and aid maneuvering in small harbors0 standing lug mizzen.
    They also use the original, very cheap, industrial construction out of high-quality boat building woods and nails, not screws and glue. For us it was cheap because we got it the same way it was done then, we went to the woods, found a sawmill that cut Port Orford cedar and old growth Douglas Fir and delivered it on their own truck, paid ridiculously small amounts of money and had enormous piles of cool material arrive.
    I then used it in exact and thoroughly researched ways (do NOT re-invent something that works very well) to frame out BERTIE single handed in 30 days.
    BERTIE was $15,000 hull and deck and paid for when launched.
    Dudley decided he was a builder, not a sailor, sold HYH after some voyaging to Nicaragua and Hawaii and went on to bigger things.
    I still sail BERTIE every chance I get because she is responsive, very fast downwind or on a reach running away from much more modern craft much of the time, especially good in a strong breeze and breaking sea, and generally satisfactory in her design goals of cheap, long-lived practical, roomy, home-aboard.
    I lived in her forty feet for 30 years, raised 3 kids, used her as shop and home around the SF bay area, sailed her to Mexico and Canada and many nasty points in-between and her ancient ways have never let me down.
    Her careful construction and fairly anal maintenance schedule keep her in almost new condition.
    Here's last week anchored in Watmough Bay on a trip with 8 and a dog aboard for over a week. I can sail her myself and the usual crew is my wife Heidi and me.
    I still use her as my small wood shop as it's better than our small house and even build movie props there.
    For more info on BERTIE and SPRAYs in general see the SLOCUM'S SPRAY thread in SAILBOATS in this forum.
    Also:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zw6mdrcDL1o
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFb3AfxxgO0
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XIBDOUSd-Ag
    This is a student film in three 15 minute segments showing Mr Allen Farrell, boat designer and builder, artist, and a man who has made his life of doing what you dream of.
    The last photo is Peter and Ann Pye's MOONRAKER, a converted Polperro fishing boat of the 1890s, cruised by them many thousands of miles and written of wonderfully in Peter's book RED MAINSAIL.
    fair winds mate,
    BATAAN
     

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  9. BATAAN
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    BATAAN Senior Member

    Another adventure:
    About 1973, three young college guys bought a Navy surplus fiberglass motor whaleboat without an engine for $500.
    They built a foredeck, added some ballast inside in the form of sandbags, a clever leeboard, an unstayed mast with a large spritsail and a jib, a bigger rudder, hammocks for furniture and a camp stove for cooking their stores of rice and bacon.
    All this in about 3 weeks.
    One saturday they were gone and I didn't hear a word for a couple of years. Turns out they cruised all the way to Panama, through the canal and up the other side for a year. Used their surfboards to get ashore enabled landing in places others could not and their few dollars were welcome. Sold the boat to a happy fisherman and flew home speaking better Spanish.
    Said it was the best time of their lives.
    If you want to find a fully-equipped small yacht to be a boat bum on, look in any large marina and you'll find someone who has spent many thousands of dollars getting ready for "the big trip", went out on the real ocean in a nasty mood, and decided they did not like the feeling of utter helplessness as they puked their guts into the bucket between their feet in the swirling, oily bilgewater that keeps getting deeper....
    This boat is often for sale, cheap, especially in these economic times.
    This is part of the deal.
    The ocean is not a safe place like Disneyland.
    Every time you step aboard a floating craft you are rolling the dice with cold water and colder reality.
    Sometimes you lose, but if you follow the holy commandments of true sailors you'll be OK, except in the case of rule #2.
    1. Don't be stupid.
    2. **** happens.
    3. Bring beer.
    Part of rule #1, above, is pick the right design for the job, and some modern yachts are not, but are right for buoy racing and rules cheating.
    Old is not necessarily slow or inefficient.
    Old can also be seaworthy and designed by survival.
    The above-noted young men followed the rules and were unbound by convention, but very rigorous in their thought, research, preparation and follow through, and, with luck, they succeeded in their modest goal of the most fun and the best learning experience for the least investment.
     
  10. BATAAN
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    BATAAN Senior Member

    NOTE:
    Absolutely best job for a boat bum. Learn to fix refrigeration. The course is six weeks, the tools take up a small suitcase. Every large yacht has freezer and reefers. The slightest problem and they lose their valuable frozen meat. There they are, in a marina in a foreign country, not speaking the language, trying to find a reefer mechanic. There you are in your little boat, speaking perfect English, saying you can fix the problem for only a small fee, say $200. They look at the leakage from the thawing meat and nod "yes, please". You shoo them from the room, take a little pocket butane torch and thaw the blob of ice that is contaminating the coolant at the expansion point and VOILA, it works! Thankyouverymuch!
     
  11. BATAAN
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    BATAAN Senior Member

  12. masalai
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    masalai masalai

    BATAAN has offered excellent advice...

    Go and have your adventure, DO IT NOW, as I regret not doing, on the pretexts of 'need more money', 'After the children grow up', 'When I find a lady who will sail with me', and lots of other silly preconditions and excuses to procrastinate...

    Now I am retired, built my ideal/dream-boat, I am too old and insecure, and in early stages of some form of dementia...

    I did my research, gained boating and sailing experience such that I am confident in my capabilities and know my abilities and limitations TOO BLOODY LATE...

    If you find a companion whilst voyaging good... Educate your children whilst cruising, as they will become well rounded, knowledgeable, skilled, and people you will be proud to call "my children"...
     
  13. bntii
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    bntii Senior Member

    I use "ruined" tongue in cheek as well.....

    I suppose I could have used one of those little smiley do dads:
    :D

    J. Baldwins site is a good read eh?
     
  14. BATAAN
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    BATAAN Senior Member

    A whiz local shipwright just told me his "Nobby", an English fishing/racing cutter that has been thoroughly re-built, is for sale. It's maybe 100 years old, about 40+ feet, gaff cutter rig, and fast as hell. I'll get some photos when I can.
     

  15. masalai
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    masalai masalai

    Tell Boston, - - He also may find merit in the concept espoused in this thread...
     
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