In the search for a boat reviewed specifically for its blue water capability, the word “affordable” seems to mean “under $100,000 USD” in most cases. I looked at a few articles and then searched the boats out of curiosity and the least expensive of the more highly rated boats was $49k for a 1984 Baba 30. So what are a pair of under financed blue water dreamers to do?
What we plan to do is to figure out how to fit a Newport 28 for the big waters. Dovid got a gonga deal on the nicely kept Scotty (soon to be renamed Emuna 2) here in Astoria right across from us on the next dock. Usually they run anywhere from $6k-$14k depending on their condition but with an owner who was left the boat by his father and already had enough boats to deal with he nearly gave it away just to not have to worry about storage and insurance (now that we are dealing with that on the original Emuna, we can feel his pain). So now we have a nice little day sailer with a great interior that is a more comfortable size for the two of us. It has a roller furler that once we learn how to use it properly, I’m sure will make our solo shifts at helm much easier.
Some have balked at our willingness to cross an ocean in a smaller, older boat. From what I have read in articles online there are four factors that determine seaworthiness that have nothing to do with size: the design of the boat; the severity of the weather; the experience and competence of the crew; and pure, plain luck. The name of our boat means FAITH in Hebrew so obviously we are praying for a LOT of pure luck on the journey! The rest we are dealing with by learning more about the sea and boating to increase our competence and we plan to stay in warmer weather as much as we can and port up during the main storm seasons in May and November. The only thing we have to work on now is enhancing the design of the boat.
I found a great article from Small Craft Advisor. There was some great information about what is needed for safety in a smaller boat (they were thinking under 25ft which still works for our 28 feet). Also a good point was made about the boat itself is only part of seaworthiness; the skill and experience of the crew are equally important. We are definitely working on that part. Dov would like to go to Hawaii right off but my comfort zone is coastal cruising for a year or so before crossing the big waters. I’m a novice so I think that would be better for me to gain experience before being out on our own.
So the next step is to figure out what (if anything) needs to be done structurally to get the boat big water ready. We will definitely hire a surveyor to check the boat thoroughly for suitability. It is an extra expense, but he is more likely to find the weak link than we are, and he will be objective. We are starting to save now so hopefully we can get this and the maintenance done in a single haul out this spring or before the end of summer.
If you have any experience with fixing up a day cruiser for a blue water trip we would love to hear your input! If you know anyone who has, we would love to hear from them too. Stay tuned for how we afford the changes we end up doing.
As always, Thanks for reading!
~ Niccolea Miouo