Re: Sailing for Survival



I was a blue water sailor in my youth. Back in ’83, a Passport 42 (42’LOA) was my consuming interest. It cost 125,000. When did blue water boats become cheaper? Once out of sight of land, there are a lot of hazards most landlubbers are not even aware of. I would only recommend a sailboat as a BoB for someone raised on the water or at least immersed in the cruising lifestyle. I wanted first rate gear in good condition along with a master mariner’s ocean rated ticket before going far out of sight of land. Please let me know where I can buy that $30k blue water cruiser like the (I believe) Irwin in your photo. This is what I found on the old Passport:



Panhandle Rancher

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  1. I owned a Hunter 35′ boat for 14 years. Sailed around the Carib and along the eastern shore of Central America. Definitely not a homestead for the novice. Generally, on a boat when things go wrong it is a very short step from inconvenience to catastrophy.

    However, if you have the skills, the location, and the bankroll a boat (sail is a must) can be a good way to get away from the world. Just remember, steak and fresh veggies are not going to be on the menu very often.

  2. There are many used cruisers around that are less than $100,000. The trick is realizing that it is possible to live on a boat at sea that is under 35′. Once you get into that size class there are seaworthy boats for around $40,000. The Cape Dory is one such boat. One of my favorites has always been the timeless Bristol Channel Cutter. This is a $200,000 boat brand new, but you can get a used one for $75,000.

    One of the benefits to most preppers (since this is the target audience) of smaller bluewater boats is that they are simpler to manage and cheaper to operate. There aren’t too many ’42 boats out there that can be singlehanded across the pond.

  3. You might be able to buy the electronics for $30k. Back in 84 I to tried the live aboard lifestyle on my 36 Catalina, that lasted 6 months and I was rarely at sea. In the 70’s I was attached the SAR H-46’s in the Med. and rescued many a Captain, most inland or with in 5 miles of land. Bugging out at sea is 1000 times more dangerous then any other type of bug out situation I can think of. It sounds great, It sounds like an adventure but before you do go rent a boat and spend a week at sea. The idea is better for a Bucket List, not a survival plan.

  4. I have enjoyed the constructive criticism and questions. I do not expect everyone to accept or even like the idea of sailing for survival, but my intentions are to provide a dialogue with like minded individuals while offering a possible solution to some. There are many debates and schools of thought among the prepper community, I do not wish to claim superiority for any position. I believe that every individual and family must develop tailored contingency plans and exposure to a multitude of plans and preparations will help us all in our own preps. With that in mind here are some of the thoughts and comments I have after the post.

    I provided the photos as stock images, not as specific examples of available sailboats for $30,000. I provided the price range of $30,000 to $70,000 for boats under 40 feet. For a used, sea-worthy cruiser 32 or 33 feet in length, the price range is what you will see on many websites and boat brokers listings. I also provided the prices for what I consider necessary elements or upgrades for cruising liveaboard.

    Yes, one very important aspect I failed to mention is to take the time to enroll in a sailing school and spend a few months engaging in every element of sailing to become proficient on the seas. It is like learning to shoot for the first time, you should be well trained and then practice, practice for proficiency. Many sailing schools have different levels you can be certified in, usually the first course is land based with ropes, basic terminology and knowledge in the classroom. Then you can be certified and trained in several levels on the water. Just search for a sailing school near you, and they will be more than happy to help you out. And I should caution as well that the lifestyle is not for those who would take the time to properly train, as any prepping endeavor.

    Firearms are a very important element to consider. In international waters, you have no fear of legal troubles for carrying a weapon. The problem is portside interaction. Being in the legal field, I would advise clients to ask about the law in various destination countries and to know the law. Honestly, I have known gun owners to follow the law and declare their arms, have them held by customs, then check the arms out as they leave with no problems. I have heard hearsay that people have had problems before, but I cannot vouch for those stories. Off the record advisement would include concealment and perhaps even bribing to get necessary customs paperwork. Customs officials do not usually board your boat and search for weapons, but if you do not declare your weapon and use it for self defense, you would be open to punishment in that jurisdiction. I would be more inclined to follow the law and sail to destinations that are more gun friendly than those that are not. Also be weary of other crusiers and sailors, many are Left-minded and have deep contempt for gun owners, so when around fellow sailors, mums the word. You never know who will turn on you.

    As preppers we will always have a giant target painted on our home, family, or our own back. I personally would prefer to avoid a fight at most costs. With a young family the Rambo lifestyle and impermeable retreat defense does not seem feasible to me (especially considering my own personal situation). I understand that there is a big debate in the prepper community about the basic fight or flight response. A sailboat is not a tool to be used in a fight scenario, I do realize this. I personally lean towards mobility then the castle doctrine. In a true worst case scenario is any retreat truly defensible? (We know that drones are being prepped for use in the States, some police departments and federal agencies are using them already.) Can YOUR retreat defend against the undefensable? I say this not to put down land based retreats but to emphasize the difference in threats. A sailboat would be designed to protect against different threats than a homestead. In a homestead you put yourself in a position where you must DEFEND against all threats. A sailboat puts you in a position to AVOID most threats, either through planning (preferred) or mobility.

    As in any life or death defense situation, one of the premier advantages is situational awareness. On a sailboat you can give yourself the ability to have great situational awareness, being able to spot and even identify potential threats miles away. This would allow

    When gasoline reaches $20-30 a gallon, will there be many power boats chasing you for your little sailboat? I tend to think not. Prudent planning and awareness is still the best defense, whether in a homestead or a sailboat. The global piracy threat is 90% concentrated in three areas: off the coast of Somalia, some of the straits of Indonesia, and some lanes of the Indian Ocean. Avoiding these places greatly reduces the threat of being affected by pirates. After considering that, the main target of pirates is large oil tankers or commercial transports. That is not to say they can nor will not target a sailboat, but running the numbers the odds seem in a sailors favor.

    Self sufficiency
    There is also some concern about a sailboat not being truly sufficient. I think we all sometimes believe absolute self sufficiency is even attainable. I made this mistake in writing my article, in failing to emphasize the importance of portside interaction. There will always be an element of necessity in barter or interaction with other humans. Unless you have a large family in the same mindset or a very close community, it is just a fact of life that one will have to continue to interact with society. One of the best blogs/person who helped me realize this was Ferfal (Surviving in Argentina blog). There is always a need beyond the production capabilities of any retreat or homestead. As a young professional with a small growing family, I have to realize it is not possible to be 100% self sufficient. My extended family is not of the same mindset and few among my friends and colleagues are either. I plan to engage in barter and interaction with ports. Having something to barter is another issue. This is best to be considered on a case by case basis, one families skills and specialties can range widely, but I believe portside interaction to be a mostly positive element to a sailor.

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