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Old 27-02-2009, 18:01   #1
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Cruising C. America - Will This Work?

hey everyone,

basically me and some college friends want to cruise the gulf and central america this summer.
we have been looking at sailboats, but now are looking at maybe a power boat.

we dont have a lot of funds and plan on roughing it somewhat, because basically all our money will be going gas, IF we decided to get a power boat...

we will be heading out from key west, florida in june.(yes i know hurricane season)..we plan on spending june in belize/honduras/nicaragua, then getting to costa rica(where my friend has property)(through july)...then final destination bocas del toro where my friend has a dock and place for us to stay from august-october.

ive found a boat in our price range. its a 281 catalina christ craft.

1982 28 Feet Chris Craft 281 Catalina Express Cruiser Power boat for sale in Location, MI - FreshWaterBoats.comthis is the same type of boat, but not the exact one. (i couldnt seem to figure out how to upload the pic on here)

would it be possible to make the trip in this boat? should we go along the states/mexico/guatemala/belize/honduras etc...or go straight from key west to belize/guatemala? which would be safer? (if you have any other ideas, then i would appreciate some advice)


thanks for your time...
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Old 27-02-2009, 19:55   #2
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In short, not a great plan either way. The direct routed to Mexico from Key West is about 400 miles offshore. Gas tank 125 gallons. Been a while since I cruised in small power boats but guessing this boat might get 3-4 mpg max. So you would be at or beyond the maximum, potential range of the boat. Plus same answer you got asking about the sailboat trip. This would be a really serious voyage for a boat like that. I would want to know the boat and it's condition really well. I would also prefer twin engines or go with a second boat.

Taking the coastal route about 2500 miles from Key West to Belize. Plan on spending at least $3000 in gas just to get to Belize and back, another couple thousand to Costa Rica.

I am guessing you might make 200 miles on good days. Days when the weather is bad maybe zero. I'm betting it would take 3-4 weeks to make it to Belize

I know the whole idea sounds like a great adventure but from the plans and questions you have put forward in this and previous posts I really don't think you and your friends have enough time, money or experience to do this trip safely. One big obstacle is that with your budget it is extremely unlikely that you will find a boat that will be ready to go on a voyage of this distance. Even a newer, well maintained boat I would plan on spending weeks or months in preparation, learning the boat systems, etc. Taking a boat trip is not like buying an old car and taking off down Route 66.

If you are absolutely determined to make this trip I strongly recommend you stay very close to shore and try not to get to hooked into a schedule that would tempt you to try trips when conditions are not safe. Realize you might not make your final destination on time. Also be prepared for potential break down in the middle of no where and be ready to bail if a hurricane comes your way.
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Old 27-02-2009, 21:00   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
Gas tank 125 gallons. Been a while since I cruised in small power boats but guessing this boat might get 3-4 mpg max.
might being the operative word, here. I'd be surprised if you even got 3mpg. Twin 318s can burn a lot of fuel. You would need to test to see what you burn at different speeds. And then your planning range should be about 2/3 of the computed range. 2 mpg gives a computed range of 250 miles. Longest leg you plan on should be about 165 miles. Remember, even this is optimistic. If the fuel pickup is not close to the bottom of the tank, you might have 20 gallons of unusable fuel in the tank.


MPG_____Computed_____Plan
2_________250_________165
3_________375_________247
4_________500_________330


If there are places to detour for fuel, you can cut it closer as long as you monitor your fuel closely.

-dan
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Old 28-02-2009, 05:43   #4
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Did not notice the boat listed twins (lack of attention on my part obviously). With twin engines definitely revise the estimated fuel consumption to under 3 mpg with cooresponding reduction in range and increase in fuel costs. In fact, based on fuel consumption of a 25' with twins I owned many years back I would guess 1.5-2 mpg.

This makes the direct route not an option at all.
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Old 28-02-2009, 08:59   #5
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A couple of inexperienced guys . . .
Buy and equip a boat at the "roughing it" level . . .
Don't own the boat yet, but want to leave in the next few months . . .
800 miles of open ocean . . .
Hurricane season . . .

Fairwell and adieu to you fair Spanish ladies
Fairwell and adieu to you ladies of Spain . . .
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Old 28-02-2009, 20:22   #6
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I don't think your plans are very smart at all. The problem with doing it in a marginally seaworthy boat with marginal range at best is that you'll be going into 3rd world type waters. You aren't going to be able to call sea-tow when your engines quit or you run out of fuel while offshore of any of the countries you mentioned. Traveling in that area is more of a "be prepared" and self sufficient zone. Why not look at some alternative vacations. What about going down to that property you mentioned by vw bus or by flying and then rent a boat to play around with while down there?
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Old 04-03-2009, 12:28   #7
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maybe you guys should look into singles only cruise ship...you won't hurt yourselves or US on the open water who have tocome rescue you..
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Old 04-03-2009, 13:31   #8
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Possible? Yes. Reasonable? No. Even in excellent condition a shallow V bottom sport cruiser is not a good choice for a multiday Gulf passage. The CC would be fast in flat water, but dangerously rolly in ocean swells. If you want to do this in a power boat, you want something more like a trawler.

Your best chance of finding something cheap that is both suitable for this kind of voyage and in reasonably good condition is still a sailboat - eg.:

http://www.yachtworld.com/boats/1975.../United-States

No, I don’t know anything about it. But in good condition it would be a much better choice for your intended use.
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Old 04-03-2009, 16:51   #9
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Send a message via Yahoo to watson1990
I think your plans are wonderful !!
Except for about 10 items ,most of which have already been mentioned.
There is a "Law" in boating that can not be ignored..That is that for every day you spend on a boat with someone else,the boat gets smaller by 1 foot every day or so..human nature being what it is!

Your idea is a good one but it is far too late in THIS year to make a trip like this safely.
I have a very good buddy,,, he does yacht deliveries around the world [lives in Jackson hole,Wyoming]
3-4 years ago a rich [ I mean rich ] asked him [my friend] to captain his Hinchley 59 around the world with a few of his buddies. This boat was in wonderful condition ,only 4 years old.
The rich guy told my friend to fix the boat up so it was safe for a trip of this nature. He did so ...it took him 6 months to ready the boat and the invoice the rich guy got was for $305,000.00 U.S. he didn't blink ...
They went ,they had a great time and everyone returned safely,,[every weekend the rich guy flew home to attend his college football games and then fly back to Fiji or tahiti or Australia ]
the reason i tell you this is: 59 foot boat with 5 guys on it and it got crowded...to put your unknown boat in such condition that you would be safe and not kill anyone would take many thousands of dollars [20-30 +?????]
One rule I always follow is that what ever you think about doing or going or buying that you ALWAYS put it in writing..you may think I am just being anal but if you want to buy a dingy....put it down on paper .if you want to put larger fuel tanks on board,,,first write it down[how big ,where to locate them on the boat and $$$$$$..
new radios /SS band??? put it down on paper..If you don't do this you will be very sorry and very broke..
I want you to go ,,,but you are a few years away from being prepared..
just one mans opinion
your mileage may vary
Watson
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Old 21-05-2009, 08:12   #10
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Fare ye well

As a retired deep sea engineer, who has been caught in two little hurricanes, one of which almost wipped Durban, S. Africa, off the face of the earth...I advise you, like someone before me, to fly to your destanition then rent a boat to play with while you're there.
The bluest, calmest, millpond sea can change ever so quickly, to a roaring monster you would not want to meet in your wildest dreams!

Ever see any of the TV series, Crab Fishermen Of The Berring Sea? They are “not” exaggerated! You get seas like that, from time to time, in all oceans/seas. Should you get caught, even on the edge of a hurricane, you'll wish you were on one of those Berring Sea crab boats...Not a little 28' gin boat!

I would not proceed in that, your chosen vessel...Even if I were in the Med' traveling between Greece and North Africa! To some seamen the Med' is known as "The Pond" but believe me...It's not a nice pond to be on when stired-up with the Meltami Winds!

If, after reading the advice posted here, you still plan on doing your own thing, then like DavidGC says...

Fairwell and adieu to you fair Spanish ladies
Fairwell and adieu to you ladies of Spain . . .
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Old 23-05-2009, 03:32   #11
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If, after reading the advice given, you're still set on doing the trip, this is the type of MV I would be looking for! A MV you could safely do your trip in: Check it out.


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Old 14-07-2009, 23:09   #12
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Get a used fishing troller for 10 15 grand burns less than 2 gallon of diesel and hour and will be seaworthy. they usually have 2 sets of bunk beds. Go for it just don't be dumb and plan a little better.
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