Chris, Palm Coast, FL USA asks:
I am a neophyte to this( however it was a goal 15 years ago) but have
great intensity and am looking into retiring and trying this for a few
years. I am interested in the ability and costs (although I realize if
I have to ask the question...)to connect to the internet and email
without SSB. I am a Ham but figure Iridium is more reliable. Will you
be at the Nordhavn area during the Ft Lauderdale Boat Show?I would
like to pick your brain on the +/-'s of a 46,47,57,62. I am jealous of
your ability to "just do it" and you are an inspiration to those of us
still in the toils of work a day life. Respectfully yours, Chris
Scott Flanders from Egret responds:
Chris, lots of information but we'll give it a shot. Internet reception
and e-mail are two entirely different agendas. It is all about where you
plan to cruise. Most US long distance cruisers start off coastal cruising
in the US where you may use your cell phone to get internet connections or
by using a modem inserted into your laptop. I believe internet at sea is
quite expensive. This particular area is something we aren't versed in
having never done it so we would rather not give information that is not
If you are a ham you can get free SSB e-mail using winlink and a Pactor
modem. At you know SSB reception is all about propagation. We used our
SSB, with a Pactor modem and Sailmail for 4 years with mixed results.
Sailmail costs $250/year. Since switching to an Iridium phone and Ocens
(www.ocens.com) e-mail and weather software we get through every time,
whenever we wish. (firstname.lastname@example.org can give you those initial
costs for Iridium and Ocens). Iridium initial costs are less than an SSB
set up. Operating costs are about twice as much but in the overall budget
it is negligible plus you have the voice communication back up an SSB may or
may not give. This said, many sailboaters love their SSBs. Bottom line:
if we were to build a new boat it wouldn't have an SSB.
There is no right or wrong about an N46, N47, N57 or N62. They are all
great boats and will take you safely and comfortably anywhere you wish. You
should buy a boat that fits what you want to do, with whom, and where. We
LOVE our N46. Very knowledgeable friends just built their dreamboat, an N47
(Bluewater). In a recent e-mail from friends we first met while liveaboards
and still working six years ago told us "how much they still love their N57
and its a perfect boat for them" (Long Ranger). Friends we met first in the
Bahamas, later in Nantucket, Chesapeake and eventually sailed on the NAR
together just completed a major refit after 8 years because they love the
'Pearl' so much. (N62, Grey Pearl) So, whose right? All four.
We all have to toil and pay our dues saving boat coupons ($). Your day will
come. Stay focused but enjoy every day until its Your Time. By the
way..."trying this for a few years"...a few years isn't enough. You'll see.
In the small world department; Just Do It is the name of a lovely German
couple's sailboat we met in Mar del Plata, Argentina on Egret's way to the
Deep South. It took them two years and three attempts to round Cape Horn.
In the end they did it the same day as Egret. They were VERY happy.
Perhaps they should rename their boat 'Just Did It'. Ciao.