Long Range Offshore Cruising

Recommendations for books, web sites, tactics and reasoning.  Advanced Sailing, Blue Water Cruising, Hull Design, Marine Engines, Boat Builders, Rigs & Rigging, Boat Repair, Surveying, etc.

Capt. Mike's Introduction to Offshore Cruising. An explanation of the strategy and reasoning behind my recommendations and what this web site area
is intended for. If you want to email me, and if I am around, which is often not the case here is the email address.

A birdseye view of the Long Range Cruising world. With comments and strategy.

Beth Leonard's article "The Search for Hawk" is a must read article written in the context of someone who has been around once and what they are doing differently the second time. Take special note of the fact of and the reason for wanting a METAL boat, for the second trip. Read my analysis of Beth's Search for Hawk. See also Beth's book "Voyagers Handbook", in recommended books.

An analysis of rig styles with recommendations.

Recommended Books and Magazines.

Web Sites:

US Flagged vessel regulations, for over 20 meters in length.

Marine equipment manuals
. About 30 sites of equipment manufacturers.

George Buehler's Diesel Duck.  Power and Sail Designs and other things.
DGC Boat Builders.
Van de Stadt Designs.
Bruce Roberts Designs. Sail and some power, metal and other materials.
Ted Brewer Designs.
Bob Perry Designs.
Michael Kasten Designs. There is a wealth of material at this site. Many useful articles. Read them all. See below.
Thomas Colvin.  Be sure to read the "Random Thoughts" page. This is a site you should read in it's entirety.
Samual Morse Builders.
Dudley Dix Builders & Designers.
David Pascoe.  Yacht Surveying, East Coast. Excellent site with many reviews of popular hulls.

Duckworks Magazine. For amateur boat builders.
The Boat Building Community.
Atomics 4
Boat Design Articles.
Shotwell Boat Building & Books. Go to the books section. Junk rigs, steel boat building. This is an excellent site.

Aloha Users Group. A sailboat oriented cruising and sailing group.
Sailboats, Sailboats.
Links to sailboat builders around the world.
Salty Seas Assoc.
Simplicity Sail Making.
Dave's Sailmaking.

Seven Seas Cruising Association

Here is the stuff on metal boats, with comparisons of aluminum and steel and of course other metals.
Metal Boats

Here is material on Junk/Lug Rigs, comparisons, advantages, disadvantages and usage. Junk/Lug rigs have many advantages for the long range cruiser.

Peter Dilley's Junk Rig Pages. There are 4 pages and they are hard to find. Click on "Sailing", on the left, then click on "Junk Sails", at the top right.
The Chinese Sailing Rig.  Derek Van Loan.
Bob Perry's Review of a J35 with Comments about Lug Rigs.
Differences between For/Aft and Modern Rigs. Ted Brewer.
Junk Rig Article.  Michael Kasten.
A Tutorial on Junk Rigs.
China Seas Voyaging Society. Junk and Lug Sailing, etc.

Finding the Boat.

Best Offshore Cruising Boat Parameters.  
Finding the Perfect Boat.  David Pascoe, site mainly about powerboats. This is a must read site in any event.
David Pascoe's Tips for long distance boat buying.

Ideal requirements for a long range cruising sailboat, a list of suggestions.
Powerboats, see: Buehler's books and Voyaging Under Power, by Beebe.
If metal hull, should have Isolation Transformer for AC power in.


Fiberglass Cored Hulls, New and Used Boats. Read this if you are considering fiberglass. There are several articles, read them all.
Fiberglass Blister Problems.  A good basic article on blistering.

The Dirty Little Secrets of Computer Aided Design(CAD). What you assume about the perfection of CAD and why it's not quite so.

Why a powered troller boat for long range cruising, by George Buehler.
Sea Horse Ducks, George Buehler's designs constructed in a Chinese yard.

Some observations about books and web sites.

Keep in mind that any book is somewhat out of date, as the material for it was collected even some years before the publication date, which may be 10 or 20 years back. Magazine articles suffer from the same process, but are generally more current.

Most of the Bruce Roberts boats have been home built. This means you are dependent on the skill and experience of whoever built it. Support from the Bruce Roberts design team is reported to be very poor and that there are mistakes in the plans, which should be researched before building from plans or buying somebody else's construction. There are a fairly large number of used boats for sale at any one time, which is somewhat of an advantage. I have reports of problems with the rudder/skeg interface on these boats. Some of these boats are very well built, you just need to be knowledgeable about what you are looking at; as they can be an excellent buy.

In the case of George Buehler, his designs are not as widespread which means there are fewer used boats to pick from. If you want one of his designs you may very well have to build it yourself. His designs are utilitarian and George believes in the "KISS" system, of which I am in favor.

There are yards in New Zealand reported to do good work and at a price which gets you more bang for your buck.  Some of the links above will lead you these sites.

In regards to the book list.
The "Metal Boat" book is only so so as books go, but it is one of the few available that is fairly current and it is worth reading.

Voyagers Handbook is first rate, with a few caveats.  The author is some kind of a whizz at organization. If any of the rest of us can get as organized, it will take some sort of miracle. But, there is MUCH to be learned here and I consider this a must have book. Don't read the section on seasickness, but if you do, just ignore it. Go read my stuff on seasickness as it much more complete and has had a lot more usage. The chapters on Navigation/Piloting are ok, but you have to keep in mind that they did not use radar effectively, which I consider a must. Their experience with GPS was pretty amateur and will be helpful if you are too. But don't get to thinking that what the author wrote is necessarily the best way to do things. (more on this later).  Their boat had limited fresh water supply, related to not having a water maker (see below).   Be sure to take a look at Beth Leonard's material at "The Search for Hawk".

The most common organizational mistakes of the average cruiser.
1. Not enough freshwater.
2. No radar or not using it effectively.

I recommend that you want a water maker. They are some trouble to maintain but the enhanced health benefits more than make up for the cost. The poor health of many of the world's people can be readily traced to a lack of freshwater, not only for drinking, but almost as importantly for bathing.  So why would you want to live like that? If you wanted to study skin diseases, you would go the tropics. Fresh water and the capacity to bath often, is the solution. In any event, the PUR units are ok and I have used them, but only for occasional usage. For long term usage I would get a "Village Marine"  or "OML" unit.   If you want to explore used equipment, try The WaterMakerGuy (site not active yet). I am partial to VM units since they can be ordered with "off the shelf" components instead of VM versions of pumps, valves and other hard to find components, if you expect to be overseas. Also their electronic control units are the most reliable on the market. 

Failure to have a radar and the only radar I would recommend for long range cruising is a Furuno (not the new integrated units), is a big mistake. A 1721 or 1831 are excellent units and can be run in "wake up" mode where the unit comes on and transmits every 10 minutes for 30 seconds. You can set an alarm ring to warn you of approaching obstacles. This radar system is your 24 hour a day watchstander and can easily save your life, if not your sanity.

Consumers Marine Electronics carries Furuno and other radars at excellent prices.

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