R 22

Rhodes 22


Planning a cruise with a Rhodes 22


Considering buying a Rhodes 22 for a specific trip.

Up the ICW from Jacksonville, FL, poke around the historical rivers etc...., up the Hudson to Great Lakes via the Erie Canal, down the Tenn-Tom and out Mobile, down the FL Gulf to the Keys then across to Bimini and explore the Bahamas then back up to Florida either open ocean using the Gulf Stream or into the ICW to home.

Expect to take about a year. Mostly single-hand with wife along at intervals and friends/relatives at various locations.

Because of 20 years in the Coast Guard I've seen a good portion of these waters and am a pretty fair seaman both in small boats and ships..

Not a sailor yet but have been out enough to know I'm smitten and have rejected using a power boat.

Have looked at Nimble 24, Seaward 23, Menger cat boat, Compac 23 and the Rhodes. Stan sent me his boring video and I'm well acquainted with the website. I like what I see regarding the design, workmanship, and, thus far, my initial conversations with the Spitzers. Boarded one at the ST. Petersburg, FL show earlier this month.

Request advice, experience, etc... from you good people to help me decide...

  • Is the Rhodes 22 a good candidate for this trip?
  • Have any of you sailed all or part of this trip?
  • Any problems with the boat or manufacturer you can tell me about?

regards and FWFS's....

Dennis C. Kiefer
25 NOV 2000

I'm sure you are more familiar with the waters and weather conditions than most of us on the list. However, I'm also sure you can get some useful insight from some of the list members.

I can't suggest that these thoughts will be particularly useful, but I'll try anyway! ;^)

First, I think a 22-25 foot sailboat is SMALL for the kind of trip you are suggesting. I have no doubt that the Rhodes 22 is up to it, but you need to be sure you will enjoy the trip. Accordingly, I recommend that you spend a lot of time on some 22 foot sailboats before you start such a long trip in one. I love my R22, but I couldn't imagine being cooped up on it for a year. It really depends on your disposition. Certainly there are folks who would thrive in that environment.

Second, storage and maintenance could be an issue. You will need a complete complement of tools, and spares for just about everything, including sails. All those spares and tools will take up prescious space. Any 22-25 foot boat will be tight on storage for such a trip, and the R22 is no exception. You don't want to be in a remote marina somewhere waiting for a new mainsail to be delivered! That brings up the question of rigging. I absolutely ADORE the IMF main. But, I think I'd want to opt for the conventional main and a headsail furler which permits easy sail changes for such a trip. You certainly would not want to get caught in a storm and need to lower the mast to change the sail because it just got torn in that 35 knot "breeze". On the other hand, the IMF might be able to protect your sail so well that you won't need to change it. Either way, bring a spare.

I'm sure most of the daily necessities will be be easy to get along the way, but there are certainly some things you will need to have stockpiled. You will do a lot of motoring on the way, so you will want a strong and reliable motor, with convenient tankage. The motor lift on the R22 could be a significant advantage over other boats for bringing the motor up so you can work on it.

I wouldn't worry too much about water on the R22. 15 gallons is a lot of water for one person, when you can count on regular marinas. Additional water in gallon jugs would be perfectly adequate for cooking and drinking, for the occasional longer passage. A solar shower is good for washing up between marinas, and doesn't necessarly require potable water. A decent water purifier is inexpensive insurance, and won't take up much space. It won't work in salt water, but would be great once you get inland. I've used them backpacking for years, and they really are marvelous.

OK, so what do I think are the main issues against the R22 for such a trip?

  • 1) Size, and related issues. Storage, and the general feeling of being cramped. You might feel that the large cockpit that makes the R22 so nice for weekend cruising would be better used for additional cabin space or storage. On the other hand, it could be just what makes the R22 cruise like a 32 footer. I'd want to spend a week on several others boats before I made that judgment.
  • 2) No sea berths. Granted, you aren't crossing the Atlantic, but a nice secure berth would be good piece of mind. I'm sure Stan could make one. Maybe he could make half of the V berth into a sea berth, and create storage lockers on the other side?
  • 3) Cockpit drain size. The cockpit drains are fine for inland lakes, but you might like them a lot larger the first time you take a following wave in your gulfstream crossing. The boat was not designed for ocean crossings.

In favor:

  • 1) All of the stuff on the R22 web site. The boat is exceptionally well designed and strong for pleasure cruising.
  • 2) Well designed for inland waters in most weather conditions except freezing. Head for shelter before winds get to 30 knots or so.
  • 3) By the time you attempt the ocean with it, you will know more about the boat and its capabilities than any of us, so you should be in a good position to judge whether to continue.

I'm sure you'll get some more thoughts on the boat. Good luck and best wishes. It sounds like quite an adventure. Let us know how it goes.

Doug Gardner
s/v Fretnaught
25 NOV 2000

I've sailed several parts of the trip you are proposing, either in our Rhodes 22 or in other sailboats:

  • Lake Worth, FL To Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas (3 times)
  • ICW: St. Lucie Lock, FL to Lake Worth, FL
  • OCW: LaBelle, FL To ICW: St. Lucie Lock, FL
  • Upper & Lower Chesapeake Bay
  • Delaware Bay
  • Finger Lakes
  • Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, Lake Huron,& Lake Michigan (Extensive)
  • Kentucky Lake & Barkley Lake
  • Arkansas River/Lake Dardanelle Russellville, AR @ Mile 209 to White River @ Mile 10 to Missisippi River @ Mile 599

The only difference is you're going to compress about 20 years of my vacations into 1 year.

For planning purposes, may I suggest the following reference books:

  • Bahama Islands: Yachtsman's Guide To The Bahamas Tropic Isle Publishers P.O. Box 610938 North Miami, FL 33261-0938 305-893-4277
  • ICW, Florida East Coast & Gulf Coast, Gulf of Mexico, Tenn-Tom, & Bahamas: Southern Waterway Guide, Intertec Publishing Book Division, P.O. Box 12901, Overland Park, KS 66282, 800-233-3359
  • ICW, Chesapeake Bay, Delaware Bay: Mid-Atlantic Waterway Guide, Intertec Publishing Book Division
  • New England East Coast, Long Island Sound, Hudson River, Triangle Loop, Northern Waterway Guide,Intertec Publishing Book Division
  • Great Lakes: Lakeland Boating Ports O' Call Series Of Books, Lake Ontario, Lakes Erie & St. Clair, Lake Huron, Lake Michigan, O'Meara Publications, Inc., 500 Davis Street, Suite 1000, Evanston, IL 60201, 800-892-9342

You'll be doing a lot of motoring, especially on the ICW, Hudson River, &Tenn-Tom. We use a Honda 8 four cycle outboard with extra long shaft & alternator. It's a quieter & more fuel efficient engine than a two cycle outboard. We get about 10 nm/gal @ 5 knots cruising speed. The extra long shaft option will help keep your prop from cavitating in waves. Consider installing cockpit mounted remote engine controls. They make close quarters boat handling much easier. If you'll be doing a lot of singlehanding, consider an autopilot for those long offshore passages. We have an Autohelm ST1000+ Tillerpilot & have been very pleased with its performance &reliability.

The only leg of this trip I hesitate to recommend the Rhodes 22 for is the offshore passage from Florida to the Bahamas across the Gulf Stream. The Rhodes 22 is not really an off shore boat. I suppose if you were very careful about your weather window, it would be OK. It sounds like a pretty exciting trip! Your cruising area is too extensive to just start writing about. But, if you have some specific questions, ask away & I & the others will try to help.

Roger Pihlaja
S/V Dynamic Equilbrium (1976 Rhodes 22 Owned By Me Since 1987)
25 NOV 2000

If safety is a primary concern, considering your past experiences, then the Rhodes might just be the boat for you. The positive flotation has to be implanted somewhere in the back of your mind. For one or two people, I would think you would be able to pack enough supplies for several days allowing for stops for food, water gas and other necesities.

Several owners sail the ICW and we have others on the great lakes. Knowing the quality of construction and the almost complete lack of builder problems would make the Rhodes a great choice. One of the comments we hear from new people to our list that have come from other lists is our apparent lack of builder problems. I can't think of any problems with a Rhodes that many or a few owners have experienced.

Depending on your outboard choice, two six gallon tanks could take you quite a ways. I have an 8hp Tohatsu that burns one gallon per hour at full throttle. I usually run about two thirds throttle which would then give you approximately eight hours per tank figuring five miles per hour is about 80 miles worth of motoring if you needed it. One thing I've found necessary with the new gas is the full time use of gas stabilizer. I use it all year and it has helped to keep my gas from spoiling this year. My boat has a ten gallon water tank. I use it for dishes etc., but drink bottled water.

Hope this helps.

Rummy in SC
25 Nov 2000

What you are contemplating is almost the same trip we have been thinking about. We would like to be able to leave the Duluth or Ashland WI area in the fall and maybe take a couple of months to get down to the Carolinas or in that general vicinity somewhere, then mess around down there till it warms up and go the other way again. Just so it's warmer than it is here!

Need to be up here in the summer anyway.  Hadn't really given too much thought as to what route would really be the best yet, still in the dream stages so far. We would sure like to hear about this "excellent adventure" as it begins to unfold.

As boats go I am certainly no expert, but looking at your list of choices, I'd have to say that the Rhodes is at least as good as any of them. I have read about folks taking a lot less boat than the R22 across the stream to the Bahamas. If you are already "broken in" on blue water and have a good understanding of weather patterns and such it doesn't seem like this should be a real problem.

The rest of the trip, the R22 is almost custom made for. Haven't seen a 22-24 footer out there with more big boat cruising options than the Rhodes. And, I don't believe you'll find anything that's easier to singlehand.

Hope it all works out for you and please keep us posted on your progress, as this is the stuff that dreams (ours) are made of.

Best Regards,
Rik Sandberg and Sandy (the Admiral) Johnson
S/V Country Rhodes
25 Nov 2000

Sounds like you have a adventure ahead of you, I guess I would view it as a 1 year camping trip. Can not help thinking "Iron Men" sailing ships.

The Rhodes is a great boat for freshwater or very limited coastal (same goes for all the boats you mentioned), the problem with this size range is they are unable to ride out heavy weather for days on end. So you will want safe harbor/shelter to ride it out.

For the Erie Canal section you will have to unstep the mast and be under motor for the whole (1000+-) mile trip(also a second set of hands for locks). So a good quality motor is a must, a Yamaha 9.9ht with the remote controls and the GB tiller salve system for close quarters. 4 six galleon fuel tanks under the seats for 48 hours fuel range. After the fuel you have room for 5-6 8 galleon "Rubbermaid's" under the seats and 8+ drypacks rolled into the gunnels for soft storage.

You will need a tender for anchoring out, (figure 2$ a foot every time you take a slip), 3 set of anchors/rodes, 150-200 of New England 3/8, 10-22 1/4 chain and a Bruce, Fortress foldup, and Spade to handle any bottom. Peter added a anchor roller system that you might want. This plus the Fendering and the tender will take up most of the lasserret.

I Figure the front V berth will become storage, spare sails, blankets, lines, etc... The front is sensitive to weight so do not weight it up to much. The galley storage and behind the sidling panels should handle the cooking/food needs. And under the setae is for the overflow. So for storage you should be OK.

Couple of other Thoughts:

  • 1)The stove on the rhodes22 is not ment for cooking in a seaway, you might want to upgrade this with a single burner gimbaled stove, plus a barbecue/stove on the back rail.
  • 2)You will want a Autopilot (plus a spare), this is almost a must for what you have in mind
  • 3)You WANT the POPTOP enclosure!!!!!
  • 4)You want a fixed mounted VHF plus a handheld might want to use a cellphone/VHF antenna
  • 5)You will have a problem with the energy budget for the boat, with 2 batteries you will have about 100 useable amp/hours, a link 10 to monitor it is a must, AGM batteries will help with recharging, 50 watts of solar will help, but the depth, VHF, and Autopilot will pull about one amp (50 watts of solar will should cover this) the problem will be the anchor, navigation and interior lights will be a problem. Now the Yamaha 9.9ht will produce 13 amps while at cursing speed. So changing the incandescent lighting for a mixture of LEDS and fluorescent lighting might be a very good idea, not cheap, and even with that you might be motoring 2-4 hours a day to recharge.
  • 6)You know to do it right you will need about 1000+ in charts.
  • 7)Sanitation, because of the inland rules, no over the side discharge, portapoty with pumpout seems right(that way two ways to empty) but every two days you will be looking to empty and in use for a year might become "smelly", A marine head might be better but 9 gallon holding is not much and finding pumpout might be a problem.

That is just a start. It seem that you are concerned about the builder, GB has a very good reputation, been building the same boat for about 30 years, the basic deigned problems have been worked out a while ago, it is a good sturdy boat, Stan the builder is always trying new things on the hardware side, year after year of improvements, but sometimes the "improvements" do not work out, in that case people are taken care of. Also GB is very good about taking care of their people, each boat is almost a custom build to owner taste, when something is not done right it not unusual for the boat to fixed in the field or brought back to the factory to correct it. Many stories of how GB has done right by people, In fact I never seen any posts over the last 5 years that GB has never done the right thing.

A few of the boats you mentioned are sold by a dealer network that is responsible for all repairs(the factory does not want to know about any trouble). with out any names, herd of a few pissing contest over the years, different set of interests in play, and the dealer is the factory's customer not you. In GB case everyone knows Stan's phone number (including his house, rose will give it to you), all problem lead back to him, to keep his sanity very a self-serving interest to make people happy.

I would spend a session with the boat to learn it, shake it down, make any modifications and try some "week" trial runs, find what works for you, before you are a 1000+ miles from home port.

26 Nov 2000

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