After taking a Cruising Expedition Skip White is available for consultation at a later date when making a boat purchase decision or to gain insight on systems or other aspect of cruising.
Below are some thoughts from Skip White.
If you are interested in learning more about the cruising lifestyle, with the intent of cruising someday in the future, we offer one of the best options available. Our pricing is very competitive and the instruction is relevant and thorough. Cruising Expeditions has excellent references from cruisers with captain licenses, which you're invited to verify. If you decide to join, I will do my best to help build from your current sailing skills. My goal is for you to walk away more confident and secure about your ability to voyage on a cruising sailboat.
If you're already a seasoned sailor and would like to join us let me personally welcome you. It is always nice to have knowledgeable sailors onboard. Maybe a particular leg is of interest to you, join us and live the dream! I invite you to join an Expedition and share in the adventure.
Purchasing a Sailboat.
For almost everyone the first constraint is money when it comes to selecting a cruising sailboat. First you must determine your budget for an outfitted boat that contains the systems you feel are necessary for you. I can help to determine more accurate actual costs of outfitting and or repairs, when considering the purchase of a boat. Most often new sailors are not familiar with all the costs, and therefore do not allow sufficient funds to complete their purchase and outfitting. These additional costs can delay their goal of setting sail to cruise. We can discuss the important tradeoffs with any system purchase to help you decide if it is necessary.
Before the systems, the boat and its performance is the most crucial. The boat must be well-built capable of offshore work, and for your enjoyment, should have good sailing characteristics, balance well and be sea kindly. The effort and additional expenses of purchasing a boat designed for coastal work then later selling, and buying an offshore design can be expensive, factoring in cost of purchase and cost of sale expenses. There are many reasonably priced well designed offshore boats that can be purchased in the secondary market. The foundation is the boat, the systems are added afterward, better to purchase a good foundation and include systems as you learn, or can afford them.
When planning the systems that you would like to have aboard your boat, remember that each system after its initial cost, has maintenance costs, and a life cycle too. Systems could include; watermaker, solar/wind power, generator, battery banks designed for electrical load requirements, refrigeration / freezer for the tropics, electronic autopilots and diesel maintenance notwithstanding sails, sail maintenance, running and standing rigging expenses.
When budgeting for a boat purchase the following are some things to consider; the real actual monetary cost is the purchase price of the boat less what you sell it for at the end of your cruising experience; (if you're planning on selling at the end of your Cruise). People in finance will include the lost opportunity cost of the capital investment, but let's keep it simple. So ideally you would find a boat that: 1. has returned from a cruise that the rigging and systems are in place with a minimum of rebuild/refurbish; that of course sails well and is pleasing to you. 2. A boat that is tired but structurally sound and practically free, that you intend to keep simple, do what systems you can do yourself and hire professionals where it makes sense. 3. Or the most common; a sailboat someplace in the middle of options 1. or 2.!
Tomorrow may be different, but in today's world it may not be wise to sell the home or to sell the stock portfolio. You may instead consider purchasing a very capable boat for less on the secondary market using the ideas mentioned. Later after the market improves if you do want to trade up, you'll know what's important to you on another cruising sailboat. However, if you have not been affected or have done well in today's economic climate (congratulations!) you have the best market in years to invest in a new boat and should be able to drive a pretty good bargain.
Most people out cruising around are not the one's you see in the commercials, you know, the ones the big brokerages / insurance companies like to show you, but folks like you and I. Why wait until you can afford something that is unaffordable now, most every cruiser will tell you they wish they did it earlier.
I want to show you a practical approach to the dream. An approach that considers a realistic view of modern day cruising. Before any boat: Your knowledge and ability to set and adjust sails in different wind conditions combined with the current sea state is tantamount to your safety and security at sea.
Let me preface the following that in boat design there is always a trade off, get one thing lose another. The boat you can afford, and are happily cruising on is the closest to perfection that you will find. I have spoke to many cruising skippers and most all enjoy their boat and its design and are generally happy to tell you why!
Beyond the first constraint of affordability to purchase and maintain a boat there are two basic components to sailboats: performance and interior volume (disregarding systems). The more funds you have the more these two components can be maximized. The performance side factors in the sport of sailing. Interior volume generally is more important at anchor than at sea. That being said, your wish list for an offshore capable boat may look like; one that sails well i.e. moves along nicely in light air (unless you don't mind motoring), balances easily, can point reasonably well, goes to weather without pounding, doesn't get squirrelly going downhill (positive rudder), a reasonable sail plan for your ability, with an interior volume acceptable to you (keeping in mind the average time of cruising / attrition factor).
Pretty much any design you can think of has made successful offshore passages. Full Keel, Full Keel with cut-a-way forefoot, more modern fin keel designs, bulb keels, wing keels …..with their respective rudder design. And that also goes for the type of sail plan too; sloop, ketch, cutter, schooner, yawl. It is not my intent to go into the fine details of boat design but to let the reader know that the boat needs only to be seaworthy and the sailor capable of handling the boat in different sea states and that's about it. The one issue that trumps all others is the weather, and with today's modern weather forecasting tools, professional weather routers, and the ability to gain that information without a lot of expense, can make the modern Cruising Expedition a lot less stressful.
I have provided a few thoughts to consider, please call or email me any questions or comments.