General Cruising

Got a general cruising question? You might find the answer here.

If not, click on “Cruisers Q&A” in the sidebar, and use that form to submit a new question.

Digital Cameras for Cruising

Hello from WA state, can’t tell you how much great info your site brings us, thanks for that! I was wondering if you have ever done research on cruisers’ favorite pick for an all-around good (at least weather-resistant) camera? I would assume most folks are getting into digital now. Any ideas? Thanks…we are selling out and moving on board next spring to play for the summer up here then head on down the coast mid-Aug. CAN HARDLY WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!!! Warmly, Dianna

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (December 30, 2004)    |    Comments (0)

Medical Insurance for Cruising

In the Bernhardts’ April 01, 2001 discussion of their cruising budget, they state that they pay $2280 for medical insurance for the year for the whole family. I’d like to know which insurance company they use. Their boat insurance is fairly inexpensive also, since their cruising area includes Europe…Love this site. Thanks. Claire D

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Sailing Dictionary

Hi there, I’m a sailor from Holland and am reading Mariners Weathers Handbook. Very useful information! My question is if there is a sailing dictionary, because in the normal dictionaries most of the words I look for I can’t find. My regards, Adger H.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Log Pages

Could you…let me know what info should be included in a ship log, or send over an example? Lisa P.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Cruising in Europe

I have a Tayana 47…my initial cruising plans are as follows:

I am sailing with the ARC Europe 2002, from St. Augustine, Florida to Lagos, Portugal, via Bermuda and the Azores, this May. I then plan on cruising Gibraltar, Spain, the Balearic Islands, Morrocco,and the Canary Islands in the summer and fall. In November 2002, I will again rejoin the ARC, for the passage from the Canaries to St. Lucia, West Indies, in November 2002. Thereafter, I will spend some time, possibly two years cruising the Caribbean, before commencing a westward circumnavigation, through the Panama Canal, and across the Pacific. My questions, based on the above itinerary, are as follows:

1. Should I join a yacht club here in the States before I leave, in order to take advantage of club reciprocity? Is it necessary?
2. Should I install a European gas tank and fitting for cooking? I currently have 2, 20 lb. propane tanks in a dedicated locker. Shall I replace one with a European (camping gaz and fittings) system. I am not sure if my Force 10 propane stove will work with Butane? Will find out next week at the Miami Boat Show.
3. My battery charger will work with 110v, 50 htz. I will be installing a transformer to bring current down from 220 to 110. I currently use a 50 amp shore power cord. What kind of cord will I need in Europe? My A/C pump is 110/60. Can I run it with 110/50, without significant damage, if I am only using it for a few months at that cycle rate?
4. Will I need a gang plank for my short stay in Europe? I will probably spend time in Marinas in Spain and Morocco, but want to do more anchoring than Marinas generally.
5. I am planning on using an Iridium phone for my e-mail, rather than fitting out my SSB with a modem for such usage. What are you thoughts on this decision?

Thank you in advance for your prompt response to these questions. And more important, thank you for all you guidance and encouragement in my preparations. Sincerely Yours, Phillip

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Keeping Chart Costs in Line

Dear Steve and Linda, I did not see my question in your FAQ list, but I am sure that it is a perennial.

The question is what tactics have cruisers devised to economize on the potentially enormous cost of charts, no matter whether electronic or hard copy. Charts for the East Coast (US) are fine, for parts of Europe, but when one adds together all the places that one may visit, the ports that one should keep in mind for emergencies, much less to visit; the no. and cost quickly becomes enormous. So my question, what do people do to keep the cost within reasonable bounds? Many thanks, James and Kate

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Advice for Novice who Wants to Buy Boat & Go Cruising

Hi – I am looking to set up for some long-term cruising but am a total novice, even at 50! I currently live in Madeira but have worked around the world in the IT industry for IBM, including South Africa, USA and Europe, so am totally comfortable in most places.

The questions: 1. Given the recent weakness of the dollar I would imagine the USA is a good place to buy a used boat (as opposed, say, to Europe). Is this perception correct?

2. If it is, where is the best place/s in the USA to buy, from the point of view of choice in the purchase and the setting up to cruise? (I am also assuming the USA is the best place to set up given access to technology etc.)

3. How long will it take me to do the courses that will take me from novice (all I have is an EU Local Skipper license with no sailboat experience) to ocean-ready?

4. Where is the best place to do these courses, from the point of view of quality, professionalism and enjoyment?

5. The one cost item I have no idea of is insurance for the yacht. Is there a rough guide to this (eg. annual cost per $’000)?

6. What is the best investment I can make now in terms of getting prepared? (Books, Internet research, ???)

Really appreciate if you can help me. I know that some of the questions are probably not directly answerable, but if you could point me in the right direction.

Thanks and Regards, John

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Registration and VAT

Hi. We are Dutch inhabitants, living in the Netherlands. We are building a 53ft sailingyacht by a Dutch yachtbuilder. Our purpose is to go living onboard and sailing all over the world.

1: Is it possible to registrate this yacht in the Channel Islands or elsewhere in the world.
2: Is it legal that the Dutch yachtbuilder can sell to us -or to our company- this yacht without paying VAT in the Netherlands or elsewhere in the EC. ( an VAT-0 option)
3: Is it necessary to start a company out there and how do we do this
4: Do you have experience with people who make arrangements for this
5: What is necessary to do so
6: What are the costs

Jaap en Renee from the Netherlands

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Setting Up a Blue Water Boat

My dream has been to make a passage across the Atlantic and some extended cruising. Over the years this has been out of the realm of possibility because, well, I couldn’t afford more than a used sunfish (hard to sleep on and no head). Well, now I have been given a Tylercraft T26 it’s a fairly heavy 26′ 2" 4-foot draft iron keel boat. It was built in 1975 and the standing rigging was replaced 7-8 years ago. In the electronics dept it’s well equipped (radar etc.). I’m going to have to rework the cabin and have looked at improving it’s seaworthiness ( decreasing cockpit volume increasing scupper volume etc.) Do you have any thoughts on a boat of this size and blue water sailing with the caveat that I would carefully plan routes, seasons, to pick the best times and latitudes to travel? Thanks! Nathan F.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (2)

Cruising kids and their education

Dear sailing friends, Steve and Linda, My family lived and cruised aboard the S/V White Cloud for many years. We were involved in a marine business and basically the most enjoyable years we can remember.

My son is completing the rebuilding of a West Sail 32 here in Fairbanks and plans to rejoin the sailing life in a couple more years. My daughter also is trying to rejoin however she has home schooled her 6 children in the Bush of Alaska and now two of the 6 are in a high school and honor students.

This request is for her use: Which one of your books will specifically address family concerns that a mother and father of 6 share, i.e., inoculations requirements, money exchanges, children’s education, activities and in general, home and family activities. Obviously, from her present experience years of bush living and successful home schooling, she already has most of the skills. She desires the confidence ( and her husband) from people That we from the sailing/cruising community, recognize as being successful.

So you have a rather long winded thing in way of background. Her (Cara) 36th birthday is fast approaching and hopefully you may have a word or two as a suggestion for me to purchase.

Sincerely with thanks, Paul C. (former Skipper S/V White Cloud from Juneau)

PS: I’m redoing an old Tartan 27T to trailer to the warmer climites for winters in retirement

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Sealing Cushions in Plastic Bags

I was wondering whether you have any information on plastic bags that can be sealed for storing boat cushions. Look forward to hearing from you.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Medical Training

I am in the process of outfitting and taking classes in everything I can get my hands on (Safety at Sea, Mahina Expeditions, Coastal Navigation, Amateur Radio, Scuba, Celestial Nav, Diesel Maintenance & Repair, Intro to Radar, and so on) and am curious to get your take on medical training and the need for it. Specifically, I am contemplating an EMT course which is 120 hours and not cheap, but it does cover quite a bit that is practical on the water and a lot of stuff that will never likely come up. That all said, in reading your encyclopedia, it did not seem that those who you feature were necessarily caught up in courses and certification. Some of the courses I have and am taking are not necessary to all departing, but where do you stand on the medical training issue?

Thanks and I’ll see you out there! Mike

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Cruising with Four Kids and Little Offshore Experience

Hi Linda and Steve

Thanks for a great book, we have the second edition which I brought in 1998.

I need your help?

My wife,Tina (40) and I (45) have little offshore sailing experience although we have three boats in the past, a 22, 26 and a 32 footer.

We are now thinking of going cruising for a year or more. This would entail the selling of our business , which we started 15 years ago, and the house. We have had about 25 days leave in 15 years and not more than a week at one time. We are just tried of the grind and need a change desperately.

We have 5 kids, 3, 14, 15, 19 and 21 years old of which 4 want to come with us so any boat under 45 feet is going to be tight.

My plan is to buy a boat in the States, spend three months, or as long as it takes, honing our offshore skills and then sailing the Pacific, through New Zealand then back to South Africa. The boats that we have considered are a Beneteau Oceanis 440 or Cal 46 (although most Cals are old and we have never seen one in the flesh). The budget for the boat is $90,000 with a max of $110,000 and $10,000 for improvements or gear. We cannot buy in SA because of stock and pricing problems. Simply there just aren’t any decent boats locally except overpriced Cats. Also found a strange boat on the Internet, a Macgregor 65 cruising version, long and narrow, but has a beam ratio that you recommend in your book. We have only viewed a Beneteau 440 at a local sailing school which Tina likes, I am not so sure. I spoke to one of the instructors and he stated that he would take her anywhere anytime?!

We also do not want to make trips to the States, as time won’t permit this, and it is costly.

1. What boat would you recommend within our budget? What are your feelings on the ones we have considered?

2. We have planed on a monthly cruising budget of $1,000, is this enough? Currently land based budget is about $5000 per month, $900 an school fees alone!!!

3. We plan to keep $25,000 for emergencies.

4. My wife and kids have duel passports UK and SA and I have SA only, where should we make "home base" from a registration point of view?

5. What about boat insurance?

Wish that we could afford one of your boats, even an old one.

Regards, Barry

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Shipping Flares

Hi. I have a question about shipping SOLAS Flares. I have recently purchased a boat in France (An Amel Super Maramu Millennium “Liahona”) and have been shipping equipment etc. to La Rochelle, France, to outfit the boat. However, I can’t seem to find a way to ship the $500 worth of Pains Wessex flares that I have purchased. Nobody will take them because they are categorized as class 1.4A and 1.3A explosives per their MSDS documentation. Surely somebody has figured out a way to get flares to foreign countries for cruising. I have even contacted Pains Wessex and though they have tried to be helpful I have still run up against the wall (even when trying to ship them by ocean freight). Any help you might provide would be appreciated. (PS this is one of the few questions that I have that I couldn’t find an answer to in your Offshore Cruising Encyclopedia). Sincerely, Gary

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Writing While Cruising

A few of your contributors mention writing articles as a source of periodic income while cruising. We have the option of submitting to some non-English periodicals and it seems to be a less saturated market. My question is, how much does one expect to get paid per article? If on contract to a specific publication, what is the nature of such a contract? If freelance, do you just send your article to a few publications and then wait (maybe months or years) to see if it gets published and they send you a check? Thanks, Aharon

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Cruising with Teenagers

We are considering starting our cruising lifestyle with a 16 year old female who has 2 years of high school left. Our plan was to retire to a cruising lifestyle after she completed high school and enters college. Due to a possible economic change we may want to start earlier.

Does anyone out there know if you can successfully educate a high schooler during the last 2 years and obtain a high school diploma? If you can, is it very difficult and what about social issues?

Any information would be greatly appreciated for this couple who is anxious to get out there. Thank you for your help. Avarie

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Best Route: San Blas to Virgin Islands

Hi Steve, Thanks for the your great books! I have a 46-foot Catamaran “Wild Cat” and sailed south from Newport, CA on Dec 1st. I am still in Pardise Marina in Puerto Vallarta. I am trying to find the best route from the San Blas Islands, Panama to the USVI. I plan to be through the canal by March 1st. I would like to sail across as “high” as Puerto Rico’s eastern coast, but fear this may be to sailing to high to the prevailing wind, waves and current. As an alternative, I was thinking of sailing further NW to the Mona Passage between NW Puerto Rico and Domican Republic and go around the top of PR.

Steve, do you have any suggestions on what I might expect and the best route for crossing the Caribbean to the USVI, without having to go even further NW to Jamaica and around Haiti? Thank you for any insight you can offer. Hope to see you guys in the Caribbean. We met in Catalina a few years ago. Best Regards Frank & Tina

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Naval Architecture Schools

I am looking at different courses in naval architecture and would appreciate any opinions you have. I am not employed in the boating industry, but figure that studying naval architecture could be helpful for both my interest in sailing, and as a future possible career path following a planned period of extended cruising. I have a degree in engineering. I have considered going back to university to do a masters (for example at Michigan), but I think this may miss the point; probably too academically focussed and esoteric research based. I have also looked at The Landing School in Maine, and Westlawn Institute distance courses. Unfortunately, I am having a tough time finding any independent opinion on any of the above avenues. I would appreciate it greatly if you have any opinions, or could suggest an alternative. Thanks & regards, Paul PS your publications are most interesting.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Sailing Course

Dear Setsail, Would you know of a class we could take to be competent crew members of a sailing boat? We will be sailing with friends this June and would like to pick up a sailing course before going. We are in the Chicago and Michigan City, Indiana vicinity. Thanks, Cindy and Paul

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Norfolk Marinas

Hi. we’re leaving Ft. Lauderdale, FL. for Charleston, SC, on Thursday; then in about 5 weeks headed for Norfolk VA. Any idea which marina around Norfolk/Hampton makes most sense to leave the boat at (8’4 Draft) from a convenience/security point of view? Regards Phillip

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Health Insurance

Aloha from the Big Island, We’re going to be cruising the South Pacific for the next few years, and wondered if you have any recommendations for a health insurance company. We’ve enjoyed your books and website! Keep it up. Thanks, Richard and Kelly, s/v Amazing Grace

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Finding a Crew Berth

I am a landlubber in Indiana who would like to find a boat to crew on for a month or 2 in the South Pacific. I would pay for the experience. Any suggestions for locating a boat that would take on an inexperienced crew member? Thanks, Jeff

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Dogs in the Caribbean

Good Morning: I read your log regarding safety issues while cruising. Don Street talks about having a dog aboard as a warning/protective device. Do you know what most countries in the Caribbean require to allow a dog from the US onto their soil? Or perhaps the dog needs to stay aboard. Your books are great! Lorna Grochowski

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Foreign Flag Registration

Hello, First of all, thanks for publishing your knowledge.. It is appreciated. I’d like to know what your latest opinion is in regards to new yacht registration outside of the US. My wife and I are going to cruise the Caribbean before setting up shop in the BVI to charter on a multi-hull. Other then sales tax/use tax issues within a specific US state, do you know of any other advantages, considerations or pitfalls? Thank you for your time, Jay

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Age and Cruising

Dear Steve, I approach you as a new cruiser seeking contact with other young cruisers, particularly women. I am 34 years old and while I have enjoyed the contact with the many retirees we’ve met and have learned greatly from their age and wisdom, I feel somewhat isolated by my comparative youth.

I have found it quite challenging adjusting to this new lifestyle and feel the books I’d read didn’t prepare me for the emotional challenges I would be facing. I would greatly appreciate any direction you could offer with regards to contacting others in a similar position.

My partner and I are hoping to return to the UK eventually, we are currently sailing the Sea of Cortez. Sincerely, Gemma L

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Cruising Insurance–Revisited

Hi. Can you help we are looking for cruising insurance. We are at present in New Zealand and are about to set off on a world cruise in our 40ft steel yacht. But are having trouble finding cruising insurance we can afford. Can you help? Regards John

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Finding Crew Positions

Hi, Heard on Savvy Traveler and then saw on their website about you. My wife and I a seeking a crewing time on a sailboat. How do we make contact with sailboat captains through you. -Ted

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Liveaboard-Friendly Marinas

I’ve enjoyed your books & website…. keep up the good work! Maybe you could give me some guidance or point me in the right direction. I’m trying to identify marinas which might cater to seasonal liveaboards. My thinking is to keep a boat in the Caribbean, Central America or other interesting/accessible parts of the world and, being from the Chicago area, use the boat as a primary residence and cruising vehicle during the winter. An incomplete list of desirable marina “requirements” might include: good security, sense of community (marina somewhat populated by other liveaboards), good air transport to/from US, reasonable weather protection, repair/haul/storage facilities. These are just some of the thoughts/criteria which come to mind but I’m at a loss for how to go about identifying the best marina options I might want to more closely investigate. Your thoughts would be appreciated.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Basic Reading for New Sailors

I am a new boater. My wife & I cruise the coastal US. & rivers off & on throughout the year. Needless to say, there has been much to learn. Can you recommend an easy to understand & basic book regarding the weather & boating?

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Leaving the Boat in Antigua, St. Lucia, or Guadaloupe

Hello,

I need a word of advice: Would you feel comfortable leaving a boat unattended for a month in St. Lucia Rodney Bay Marina or you would prefer moving it to Guadeloupe or Antigua? Thanks for your help, Giorgio

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Marine Careers

Do you know of any good websites that do recruiting for the marine industry? I’m looking to change careers. Have been in Business Development in the technology market. Avid sailor. Thanks, Tom

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Long-Term Medication

We’ll be cruising the Caribbean, Bahamas, maybe Mexico for 6 months or more. I cannot get more than a 3-month supply of meds we take regularly before we leave. What will I need to get meds in those areas? Thank you. Claire

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Flags of Convenience

Hi Steve, I’ve finally finished reading your Offshore Cruising Encyclopedia and look forward to Surviving the Storm. Great job on its contents and construction–first class! May I pick your brain on the pros and cons of foreign flag vs. US documentation…I am mainly concerned with trouble in foreign ports (both ways; foreign flag ownership issues with customs, and anti-US sentimental issues with the locals of US registered entities). Thanks, Bill

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Camera Gear for Cruising

You mentioned in a recent article you used a pocket camera on the docks. I am an amateur photographer and interested in which camera you carry as you walk the dock and what camera equipment you use to take the other beautiful pictures as you cruise. What did you use to take the whale and Baja pictures? I would also like to say I enjoy your website and appreciate you maintaining it. Dan

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

 


Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Concerns for Offshore Crewing

Continuing to enjoy and absorb the Encyclopedia…that photo just inside the front cover of BEOWULF (it must be BEOWULF because of the unpainted hull) rafted up with what looks like another Deerfoot is quite striking…what is the other vessel please? Just curious…Also, would like your advice on what precautions I should take as a prospective crewman on a new 47-footer leaving NYC on 12/1 for the BVI, possibly by way of Bermuda…what would you want to know from the skipper before taking on this crew slot and before actually embarking? I already know he wants to share food expenses and I am responsible for any personal expenses…and he has already said the vessel will meet solas standards for safety by time of departure, and has said he has bluewater experience in and around the Bahamas and Puerto Rico…What other concerns would you want clearly understood before embarking?Thanks, Richard

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Used Charts

Hey, I really love your site. I’m heading out from Portland, Oregon through the Panama Canal to Europe. Do you know how I can locate cruisers who might have used charts? I have the Bellingham Chart resource but I want to help returning people “recycle” their recent charts… Any direction? Thanks, Jim

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Handling Finance and Mail

Linda & Steve, Love your site…We’re planning a 1 to 1.5yr cruise, starting next year. No definite destinations yet except East Coast of US & the Caribbean Islands.

I have not been able to find any info on handling finances while cruising. Budgets for cruising, yes, but none on how efficient mail forwarding is, paying bills for land homes, how to arrange to get money while cruising, cashing checks in foreign countries, etc.

Do any of your books cover mail & finances while cruising? Any sources of info covering these subjects would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Claire

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Vintage Sailing Books

Hello, Do you have any information on a book called “The Wind Calls”, by Carlton Mitchell (I believe). The author wrote about his adventures with several yachtsmen, including my father, Paul Hurst, who owned “Staghound”, a 42 foot Alden ketch. Any info would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (9)

Foreign Flag Registration (revisited)

We are a family of 2 adults and four (soon to be five!) children about to embark on full-time cruising. We have ordered the Mariner’s Weather Handbook + CD and eagerly await its arrival.

In the meantime we have a burning question for which we cannot seem to find a clear answer. If the answer is in your Encyclopedia, just point us in that direction. We do plan to buy it, but are trying to pace ourselves on literature since one can only read so much at once. Anyway…

We are refitting an old Royal National Lifeboat here in England. We cannot register it here (unless we incorporate in the UK for the purpose) since we are not British citizens.

Our choices seem to be US Registration, or registration in the Grand Cayman Islands or some other offshore entity. Do you have any thoughts on the pros and cons of registering in various places? So far all we have found is a brief reference in “Voyaging Under Power” stating that really official US Registration papers can be helpful.

What do you think? Thanks, Russ & Karla & Crew

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Cruising on $30,000/year?

I’m retiring and thinking of sailing. I’m a Alaskan sailor all my life…but im thinking of US- VI or South Florida. I’ve fished all my life off boats that make so much noise you can’t think. A catamarn sounds like my kind of boat. What do you think? Can a guy figure on living free at $30,000 a year? I have no bills and no wife nor kids. At 56 it’s time to get a tan. Any commments? – Jim

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Offshore Cruising Encyclopediac-1st edition

Hello Next year I am sailing to Cape Horn on a Bristol Pilot Cutter. I am currently reading the second edition of your brilliant book Offshore Cruising Encyclopedia–it is providing me with so much information and inspiration. Thank you. However I would love to get hold of the first edition of this excellent book–do you have any for sale or any idea how I could do this? I would really appreciate your advice on this. Thanks again for writing the book. love Emma M

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Piracy, Dogs and Cruising Rallies

We are in the final year of a 3-year plan to head out on our voyage. Our plan is to get as far as Oz and then decide if we want to keep going. We expect to keep going but, in addition to my wife and I, we have 2 very young children and a Jack Russell Terrier (Harley) we want to make sure all is OK. Anyway, now that you have the brief intro to who we are and what our plan is I have a few questions. Any thoughts comments or suggested readings would be very helpful.

1. Piracy during our trip. As I mentioned we will have 2 small children and I'm not sure what to expect or what the best plan is to avoid problems.

2. Harley. How do we best prepare for bringing a pet into foreign countries?

3. Your opinion on cruising rallies to hook up with throughout our voyage? That's it for now. Cheers, Tom

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Advice for a Landlubber Who Wants to Go Cruising

Hello Steve,

This question may sound like I’m biting off more than I can chew, however my wife and I are fully committed to doing it anyway. The house is on the market and we’ve promised ourselves that we’ll give it at least one year before we make our minds up whether to keep sailing or return to landlubbers.

I am 41 year old, have almost no sailing experience other than going out on our local bay (Morton bay–Brisbane Australia) with friends on their mid 20ft day-sailers. This is where we (my wife and I ) intend to live aboard and learn to sail until I feel confident enough to coastal sail the 400 miles up to the Whitsunday Island group, and then offshore to the South Pacific Islands and beyond when we’re ready!

Just so you understand my reasoning in learning to sail this way, as opposed to getting a small kneel boat first, I wish to live aboard now, I have always found it easier and quicker for ME to learn by jumping in with both feet. I don’t learn easily in a structured environment, ie: sailing school, I enjoy a challenge. I quite often have people say to me after they get to know me "is there anything that you can’t do!" Some examples–I’ve built my own house from start to finish using no other trades except electrician, it is being sold as I write this for over half a million dollars (this is our cruising kitty) or rebuilding the Isuzu turbo diesel in my 4×4 campervan in remote central Australia when it split the skirting on a piston, I’d never worked on a diesel before.

I have just retired from 17 years as a professional motorcycle racer. This has taught me to trust my own judgment, recognise the difference between fear and danger, anticipate consequences and problems before they happen and never to let anxiety or fear cloud your judgment. As strange as it seems I think these qualities should be a good base from which to jump into the world of cruising. Oh and I grew up on a remote outback cattle station, so being isolated and self reliant is second nature to me.

Ok, now you’re probably thinking this guys got a couple of kangaroo’s loose in the top paddock.

Here’s what I am thinking:
Spending a total of about $150,000 AUS (this will leave us with 2 rental houses debt free for income )
A steel, aluminum or cold moulded wood boat (no doubt I’ll run aground while I’m learning) with a good size engine to pull us off a lee shore while learning too.
34-38 ft ( although my 24 year old cousin who has been the youngest captain ever to do the Sydney to Hobart races including the 1998 storm when he was just 19, says get a 40+ ft boat as it won’t be any harder to learn to sail than the smaller boat and be much better to live aboard)

After reading your sensational OFFSHORE CRUISING ENCYCLOPEDIA, on page 1123 HIO AVAE a Santana 37, I would be very interested on what you would think of this for our first boat?

I guess my biggest question is, should I buy a smaller coastal cruiser and then in a couple of years buy a bigger offshore blue water boat or put up with the inconveniences of a bigger blue water boat while we learn coastal cruising ( I am assuming that it would take at least a year to learn to sail any new boat to its full potential, so selling a coastal cruiser in couple of years then learning a new bigger blue water boat may be counter productive?

Should it be a more traditional design with heavy displacement, full keel etc. which will cope more easily with my mistakes while I’m learning or a boat with a fin keel canoe shaped hull that you favour?

I will probably have my cousin help in choosing from a short list of half-dozen boats the final boat, as he will have a better understanding of a good layout for systems on deck and living under deck.

Regards Peter

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

“Less Is More” Approach to Cruising

Hi: I would like to know what you consider the minimum a couple would need to set up a cruising boat in the 35′ range-we are looking for a Ferro-cement at present. I also believe in the ‘less is more’ approach. Thank you and good cruising

John K.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Paying Off Boat While Cruising

Due to our professions, we both have wonderful retirement plans through state and county governments. However, we do NOT have enough cash to pay off the boat— not even close— before we leave. So, the question is: Do people go cruising while still making payments on their boat? Do any lenders allow this? We don’t want to ask our lender just yet because we don’t want to set off any alarms. Does anyone know of any lender that does allow you to take you boat out of the country? We have direct deposit of our paychecks each month, and the payment can be taken directly from the account.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Getting Ready to Go Cruising-What to Learn

Hello–My husband has gone off the “deep” end. He wants to sell everything we own and buy a 30-40′ sailboat and cruise the Pacific coast. I’m all for it, but I need to figure out how to prepare for an undertaking like this! Neither of us have ever sailed before, however, my husband is taking a 4-day ASA certification class in Seward, Alaska this summer and he has been commercial fishing in Alaska (Prince William Sound & Cook Inlet) for years. Please let me know of a book or a person who has gone from landlubber to sailor in a short period of time so I can start to figure out exactly what kinds of preparations we need to be making. The sooner the better–he wants to leave THIS summer! Thank you–Erin

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Lathe on Board?

Good afternoon. This may be totally off the wall. But, would there be much of a use for a small metal lathe in a cruising situation? For making spare parts for my boat or better yet, making parts for other boats and getting paid for it? Thanks for any insight you will provide. David

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Cruising Music

One day I would like to own a BEOWULF class boat, but in the meantime do you have any info on the music that is played on the BEOWULF video–would like to purchase–thanks-JIM

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Cruising Insurance

How do you get insurance to sail as a couple on BEOWULF? I have friends with a Tayana 52 in Hawaii, who are now kind of stranded because their Lloyds policy requires four crew and the other couple (the guy actually) wimped while they were all headed for NZ. Or do you sail bare (which is what I am doing right now as a singlehander)? -Lesley

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Harness Combination

I am currently reading your book Surviving the Storm. In the personal safety gear section you do not mention or opine on the harness PFD combination. What are your thoughts on this product? Dwayne C

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Cruiser’s Medical Courses

Could you please recommend medical courses for blue water cruisers going to remote areas, that take place preferably on the west coast of the US and on weekends before 4/1/01? I’m aware of some excellent 2-week courses, but just can’t fit those into our schedule at this point. Thanks, Doanne

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

How to Get Started

Hi: My name is Mike, and I am thinking about buying a boat and sailing Central America. I have several questions:

Is it better to offer myself as a crew member willing to work for room and board or is it better to go solo? How do I find out about navigating, sailing, which places are safe or unsafe? What is a good size boat to travel on if I was to make a ocean crossing?

I know these are somewhat vague questions, but if you could guide me in the right direction, I would be most appreciative. Thanks, Mike

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Cancun

Hi, We would like to sail from Florida to Cancun next February. (We have a 47′ Hunter). We would then like to do approx. four eight-to-ten-day trips, using Cancun as a base. We also need to leave the boat at the beginning of March for 2 weeks. Can you recommend where we might look for reputable marinas? All I have found on the web so far is Scuba centres. Also are there any books on cruising in the area? Rgds, Richard

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Out-of-Print Marine Books

Hello. I was trying to purchase a copy of "The Ship’s Medicine Chest" that you recommend in the Offshore Cruising Encyclopedia (excellent book BTW!). However, it seems to be out of print. Do you happen to know if there is anything that replaces it or could you recommend something else or is it worth trying to get a used copy if it is not out-of-date? I do plan to purchase the other two medical books you referenced.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Outfitting a Columbia 45 for Cruising

Regarding turnbuckles, Mike wants a stainless body (open or closed) over a bronze threaded bolt. Alan Blunt says that Navtec is the only company that offers this but it is unnecessarily expensive (Alan seems to be recommending chrome plated bronze body turnbuckles). Which turnbuckles do you recommend for both my standing and running rigging?

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Cost of Cruising

I am spellbound by the thought of going cruising one day, when and if shore life doesn’t satisfy me anymore, and when and if I can nail down someone who can tell me just how much cruising, including insurance, really costs. And, so I have been browsing the Internet in search of the answers to the questions: why, when, how much, what boat, how safe . . . .

The latest question I ponder is what work might be available along the way, and I hear diesel and refrigeration mechanics can work anytime, anywhere. However, being an engineer who knows about engines and other machines, but who has not practiced machine repair, I wonder what can a peripatetic mechanic do in the bowels of a boat, other than normal, routine preventative maintenance I suspect many sailors perform for money-saving reasons. Just what tasks related to machines and systems are sailors willing to pay for?! Regards, Craig.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Leaving a Boat in the BVI or Antigua

My wife and I are readers of all your books, and recent acquirer’s of the MaxSea software (still in set-up). My question is about leaving a boat in the Caribbean for two months in the winter. We are planning to sail from New England (home) to islands in early November 02′. We then need to leave the boat until mid January, at which point we’ll do a six month sabbatical on the boat. Do you have any thoughts on where, or with whom we should leave the boat for that “holiday” period? I have considered both dockside, or hauled out, and was thinking of the BVI, or Antigua. Thanks for your thoughts. Best regards, John

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Piracy Issues/Cruising with Kids

We are planning a circumnavigation with our 3 young children in the near future. We’ve read various accounts of pleasure boats encountering pirates around the world. Is there a place to find the listings of the worst areas, so we can try to avoid them, as much as possible? I know there will be some areas with problems that will be unavoidable during a complete circumnavigation, but I’d like to minimize that risk as much as possible. If it were just the two of us, that’s one thing, but to expose young children to that kind of terror concerns me very much. I’d really like to find out just how likely we are to encounter them. I probably sound paranoid, but figure the more info the better!

Also:

I was told there was a family of five (or 6?) currently doing a circumnavigation on their 60 foot sailboat, and that they were posting details of their voyage on your website (and that they welcomed correspondence). We are planning to do the same thing in just a couple years, with a Morgan 41. We have 3 young children also, so would be very interested in hearing about someone else traveling with young kids.

Thank you for your time!–Anne

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Galapagos Islands

Hello, Great site.

I will be joining some from friends that are cruising in the Galapagos next week. Can you tell me if there will be a problem cruising, hiking or diving without a guide ?

Thanks, Richard

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Dinghy Storage

Hello Steve and Linda: As part of the crew aboard a Deerfoot 61, I will be assisting with preparing the vessel for extended cruising. She has a sugar scoop stern which brings her to 63′. My question is where to store the 12′ inflatable dingy. Currently it is hauled out of the forepeak, assembled, inflated and swung over the side using a halyard. The thought of performing this evolution at each anchorage is unappealing. After spending 6 years cruising aboard my own vessel which was equipped with davits I was mindful of the need to launch and retrieve the dingy easily. If we were sailing in protected waters the dingy with outboard hung in the davits. In open waters we removed the motor to the stern rail and snug the dingy up tight. Going to sea the dingy was brought to the foredeck, partially deflated, inverted and lashed down. I have looked over this web site and your book (an older one) and found references to the dingy but not to storage aboard the Deerfoot. Any references or insights would be greatly appreciated. Sincerely, Don

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Boat Review Data

Where would one go to find a consumers report on sailing vessels? Carl

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Canadian Registration

Got your books, got your videos, got one question.

I am looking at importing a boat into Canada, BC to be exact. What I am wondering about is, I NEVER see articles or otherwise written on registration issues. If I bring a boat into Canada for example that is not built in the USA or Canada. I am subject to 9.5% duty (if it’s a French built boat), and 7% Provincial sales tax. and 7% G.S.T. This is based on the appraised value of the boat. I see boats registered in The Grand Cayman’s, Bermuda, and other offshore places and I am sure that the owners are Canadians. If I buy a boat in the USA and leave it there I don’t pay Canadian Taxes but I cannot sail it in Canadian waters. Is their such a thing as an offshore registered boat that I can sail in Canadian waters as a Canadian without having to pay all the duty etc. Thanks, any information would be appreciated. An Avid fan, Gord

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Gun Lockers

Steve, when entering the Marquasas, if you have a sealable customs/gun locker, will they let you keep a gun on board, rather than confiscating it?

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Catamarans and Charter

My wife and I have considered buying a catamaran and putting it into a bareboat program. This seems like an economical way to make sure that I have a boat available to me (paid off) when I retire in 5 years.

What would you recommend?

Sincerely Yours, J. Mitchell (Mitch) Patridge, Jr.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Cruising Japan

We want to leave from San Fransciso (we are based in Sausalito) and sail to Japan, then spend a year visiting the islands of Japan. Aside from Jimmy C’s Cruising Routes, do you know of any articles/people that might be a good source of info?

Most of what I see on the Net is from Japan to the USA.

No, we don’t have a fast vessel; I have read of your philosophy and I agree with it in principle, but we love our boat – a Shannon 43 ketch, with mizzen staysail rigging – but what advice/ resources might you pass along? Many thanks, David and Kathryn S.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Finding Crewing Position

Hello SetSail folks…

First things…I have truly enjoyed your website and cover stories, please continue with your efforts. I am writing from Edmonton, Canada in hopes of receiving some direction or recommendations from those with much more knowledge in the area of sailing than I. I understand my vision may be a long-shot, but am hoping someone will come to my aid.

I have enjoyed the opportunity to be a passenger on a few larger sailing vessels (cruise-like atmosphere) in the Caribbean and am now looking to expand my travels, feed my desires and drive for sailing and partake on a short or long-distance sailing venture on a smaller vessel. Unfortunately, my skills in the same are lacking, as I have no formal or informal training here. I have a reputable and successful career in health care, but am looking to leave and do some traveling, particularly to join a family or crew on an extended sailing journey (s), to offer my assistance if/where possible and perhaps learn about seamanship during the ventures. I am considering travel in the Caribbean, Australia or other tropical destinations.

I again realize this may be a long-shot and was at a loss as to where to initiate such a search. Can you offer any suggestions, contacts or links to families or individuals in search of a trustworthy, hardworking and dedicated traveling companion for their travels (this could also include for child care, extreme novice crew, or even bartending)? For personal information on myself, I would be happy to offer that which would help narrow the search. For the basics, I am 30 yrs of age, female, divorced and financially secure. What else can I offer to assist in my search? Please let me know of any suggestions. Your help is greatly appreciated. Do not hesitate to contact me via e-mail. Thank you, again. Tammy

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)