From an external source (unedited):
For 2 years I planed, read, and refitted a boat to safely take me anywhere I’d like to go……And then I left, The route was unclear and vague, The boat was strong and reliable, but not ” perfect “. Yet when I turned the corner leaving the bay behind me and headed south, life was perfect.
I appreciate all the knowledge I gained by reading the threads on this site, I feel if I should briefly explain what I learned from my singlehanded 2 year voyage from California to the Galapagos to Palmyra island, then relaxing on the big island befor I headed back home.
1) Make the decision to go…AND GO!!
2) Put the biggest engine in your boat you possibly can (diesel of coarse)
There will be many times you will appreciate the HP to get you out of bad whether, Also a way to get out of the doldrums. Entering a anchorage with the tide leaving and breakers coming at your transom, its nice to overpower the situation. If the space is there. you might as well fill it up with as much engine you can. empty space does not get you out of a jam.
Its hard to say this now, due to my sailing purist thoughts before I left. I figured I would sail everywhere. Reality is the wind and weather always seem to be coming from the direction you are trying to go.
3)Buy a comfortable boat…You will spend most of your time on the hook, or in the marina. You will sit or lay down more than you ever have before in your life. So make sure these areas are comfortable.
If you can find a way to sit down while cooking. it makes that first cup of coffee easy to make in the rolling and pitching boat. I am able to sit in my settee and cook, this feature was invaluable.
If you plan to have crew aboard, have separate closed off sleeping quarters, It also makes it much nicer for shift work.
The vee-birth is almost un-useable in nasty weather, or while under sail.
I suggest a pullman layout, aft cabin, or a nice quarter birth that has a cabin door separating it from the used space.
4) Put the largest ground tackle on the boat she will take. USE CHAIN…
It is much easier to go exploring or a good nights sleep, when you have piece on mind that your home is not going to wind up on the rocks.
Have multiple sets..
5) Keep all your spares and replacements. Take 2 of everything, and if you can afford it buy a third as a back up.
6) don’t have a schedule. just let the wind take you. Don’t rush. be sure to meet the other cruisers. There are a lot of great people out there, and some really beautiful sights. Spend the time to enjoy them.
7) stick to your budget, we all have different spending habits, and financial backing. Make a budget and stick to it. Its real easy to forget to keep track of spending. Your on vacation Right??
8)Make sure your boat is self sufficient. I.E. Auto pilots (electrical and mechanical)Solar power and or wind vane. I highly suggest solar. Its always working, no moving parts, and does not drive you and your neighbors crazy with the noise. Not having to worry about running out of power is nice.
Diesel is found anywhere you go. Gas is difficult,propane is spotty, and most alcohol is lower grade than I was used to in the states.
9) have a nice tender. its tough to have to bum a ride into the beach. AND BE VERY CAREFUL WHEN LANDING IN SURF.
10) electronics are nice, I would not leave again without GPS, Radar, and a strong radio. But if these items keep you from leaving, you dont really need them. But they are very nice to have. If you can afford a watermaker and spares, it is useful, but water is easy to find, just not always convient.
This list could go on for a while, In a nut shell:
Be comfortable, don’t worry to much about the sailing characteristics of the boat, bring spares..allot.. and make sure your boat is safe when you are not around.
A hope this helps a little for you who are new and/or have questions.
For me.. another 2 years of planning, a new boat, and refill the kitty purse , and back to the sea with no thoughts of return.
Fair winds and following seas