The Boat

    As I started this blog after I had purchased the boat, and sailed it form the UK to Portugal; I have left out some important details on the "boat shopping" experience.  Mainly to include where to buy second hand boats, what to look for, and what guides are there available to the second hand boat buyer with blue water in mind.

    I found most my information via forums, Google, and online mass searching.  The information that follows is a credited list of information rather then having to go through the same pain staking search.

Guides on Which (Small) Boats are available with blue water capability.

Good Old Boats List
Mahina Boat List
Twenty Small Boats Book
Twenty Affordable Boats Book
Blue Water Boats List
Latitude 38 Circumnavigation List

Using these list you can be confident that if your boat you are prospecting is on there, you are safe it has blue water experience under its belt.

Second Hand Boat Shopping Markets

Yacht World
Apollo Duck
Boat Trader

While I spent most of my time cruising Yacht World, and then once narrowing my boat selection on the list with the price range I was able to spend, I would also cross reference the other sites, as well as Google additional sites.  This way insuring you are getting the best selection, and price availability.

We are going to skip the entire talk about how long your boat is going to be, where your boat is located, and the registration for your boat, as well as licenses and documentation.  We are going to just understand the process of finding and understand the blue water boat purchase.

Now that you have found a boat on the lists provided, and have found it within your price range.  You need to understand what the boat has on board in order to ensure you are going to get an outfitted boat, otherwise you can be looking at paying 50% of the boat's worth on additional items(this is a statistical approximation, experiences may vary).  Does it have a wind vane, a life raft, a VHF, etc....

Here is a list of Bare Bones Equipment that you should check that you have for budget blue water.

Now you can put all this information to use, and join the fun! We'll see you out there. I'm glad we could share how the boat buying experience was for us.  Any details we left out please contact us!

Courtesy Flags

    While we were in the middle of pinching pennies, and ordering essential parts, we came across the concept of courtesy flags.  This in fact is a law, throughout the marine world, where when you enter another Countries water, you should fly their flag in order to display respect, and also to show that you agree to abide by the said countries laws.

    Now this is written in the rules and can be interpreted different ways, but the way I interpret the rules is that, a person entering another countries water will fly the Q flag until they proceed to customs, and after clearing the country you proceed to fly the countries courtesy to signify that these formalities are complete. This will show two things to the local coast guard, and if you fly this flag without clearing customs, or choose not to fly a courtesy flag can turn bad for you and your parties.  For example in Morocco they take this very seriously (so I've read).

    Being law abiding citizens as we are, and trying to avoid any trouble with law enforcement, as well as any fines that could be attached to breaking these laws; we have decided to procure all of these "courtesy flags" before we depart in December across the Atlantic into the Caribbean.  We proceeded to shop online for courtesy flags and found that an average flag would cost around 10 dollars, with groups of flags around 150 dollars.  This meaning we would need to purchase somewhere around 500 dollars in flags to get a proper set of signal flags and courtesy flags to be in compliance with the laws.  To me this was just unacceptable.

   This is our solution.  I opened paint and searched the internet for PDFs with the flags of the world on them.  I proceeded to print one side of the flag, then rotate the picture on its horizontal access and print on the other side of the flag.  Once the flag was double sided with reverse images of itself, we purchased an laminator for 20 euro, and proceeded to laminate over 100 flags, saving us countless dollars.  We will poke holes and raise these in place of the "flag", and hopefully catch little to no slack in the process.  We will report back with the reaction to the public.

The sites we used for our flag pictures are as follows.

Which is a great site, because it also separates it by areas, so you can click what is relevant to your sailing grounds.

Also for Signal Flags, we used the pictures from Wikipedia.