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Old 03-08-2012, 11:27   #1
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New Hampshire to Florida / Bahamas / Caribbean

When retired, moving to New Hampshire, brother there. Buy sailboat, eventually sail down to Florida/Bahamas/Caribbean, etc.
Question. For people that leave from New Hampshire, when do you start your trip South and how long does it take to get to say, Florida.
Trying to put together some idea of how long to be in New Hampshire working on the boat and when we would start heading south, taking into account the hurricane zone. Plan to spend following hurricane season South of Caribbean. This is two years away, but like to have a plan in place so don't have to research everything then.
Also, provisioning in Florida I have heard is expensive, so told Texas cheaper, but don't plan to be there. How is it up the coast further. Any good areas for that?
Thank you.
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Old 11-08-2012, 22:07   #2
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Re: New Hampshire to Florida/bahamas/caribbean

I'm a bit confused.
Are you sailing to Fla? To spend time there or go on to the Carib?
Is your eventual goal the Leeward Islands or the western Caribbean?
South Caribbean as in Grenada or Colombia?
Give me a bit more to work with & maybe I can help a bit.
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Old 11-08-2012, 22:20   #3
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Re: New Hampshire to Florida/bahamas/caribbean

Time to leave depends on your plans. The most common is to spend summers in the NE and head south in the fall. Lots and lots of threads on when the best time. Too early it's still hurricane season. Too late you run the risk of a Nor'easter.

Provisioning in FL never seemed overly expensive to me. Beat the hell out of prices any place I ever shopped in New England.

How long to get from NH to FL. Depends on how you want to do it and what kind of boat you have. Go offshore, direct, nonstop in a big, fast boat you can make it in a week. Harbor hop, take the ICW, stop and smell the roses, could spend a month or more.

I went Essex CT to Jacksonville in a moderate hurry and it took 15 days.
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Old 12-08-2012, 05:38   #4
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If you are heading to the Caribbean go to Bermuda then down the 66 if Florida go off shore staying inside the stream or do the intercostal,
Offshore give yourself two weeks intercostal 6 to8 weeks
If you go to the islands takes two weeks or so
Leave in oct and of course the weather will determine a lot on your speed
Done all three routes several times
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Old 13-08-2012, 11:54   #5
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Re: New Hampshire to Florida / Bahamas / Caribbean

Thank you all, that was just the type of info I was looking for.

Just wanted to make sure leaving from New Hampshire in late fall gave us enough time to make it thru the bahamas (spending slow time in bahamas to see everything there and dive appropriately, while enjoying it and not feeling like we have to keep moving constantly), then down thru the caribbean to get to Grenada/Tobago by the hurricane season.

Just wanted to make sure that keeping the boat in New Hampshire while getting it ready would work, as that will affect how we make our purchase and residency, etc.

If we purchase in fall, would have to take out and store until the next Spring, etc. Which brings up another question (since I know nothing). If you buy in the early fall can you get the bottom painted and thru hulls checked right before pulling for winter and that way in Spring you at least have those things done. Hauled out once then -- Kind of a leg up on your prep (my thinking was if that was out of the way, we would have more time in the water the next summer to practice, practice, practice sailing. Probably a stupid question, but didn't know if having that done and then storing right away caused any problems.

Plan is to go slow thru the bahamas and see and enjoy every place we can. Not concerned if not much time left for the Carribbean the first year. After hurricane season in Grenada/Tobago, will come up in to the Caribbean for the next season and get to enjoy that area the next season.

Sounds like as long as we do not do the intercoastal route the timing should work real good.

Again, appreciate all your help. I just have to have a plan or I feel I am making no progress. (like there is anyway to control anything) Afraid of purchasing in Spring and not being ready in fall, thus thinking of purchasing the summer or fall before we leave. My husband doesn't need me there for him to work on the boat and he could work on the boat in the fall and get as much done as possible with me just visiting until I retire. Seems like everyone who gets their boat never has enough time to get it ready and the more I talk to people, the smarter I think it might be to buy it a season ahead of time.

Again, thanks -- knowing we can get from New Hampshire to the distance of Florida in less than a month kind of puts it in perspective. We may not even go to Florida, but wanted to get an idea of the length of time to travel that far in a sailboat.



Again, Thank you.
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Old 14-08-2012, 06:33   #6
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Re: New Hampshire to Florida / Bahamas / Caribbean

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...thru the bahamas (spending slow time in bahamas to see everything there and dive appropriately, while enjoying it and not feeling like we have to keep moving constantly), then down thru the caribbean to get to Grenada/Tobago by the hurricane season.
This is known as the "thorny path." There's a reason that it is called that. Do a search and read a lot about it before making any firm plans. It is not as easy of a trip as it might seem from just looking at a chart.
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Old 14-08-2012, 06:36   #7
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Re: New Hampshire to Florida / Bahamas / Caribbean

Yes, I have a book called the Thorny Path. It goes thru how to best sail that from location to location, etc. Has anyone actually done that and have anything good to say about it?
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Old 14-08-2012, 07:01   #8
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Re: New Hampshire to Florida / Bahamas / Caribbean

In Training,
My heart skipped a beat when I read, "My husband.........".
What a lucky guy he is to have you as an equal member of the team.
You can remind him in case he takes it for granted......
Yado
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Old 14-08-2012, 07:04   #9
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Re: New Hampshire to Florida / Bahamas / Caribbean

You left out a very important factor in your quest for information - What is you sailing experience level? Are you a beginner with a little small sailboat experience and maybe a class or two under the belt? Or are you a lifelong sailor of moderate to large sized cruising boats?

Dependiing upon your skill/experience level the routing makes all the difference between potential disaster and if you survive getting rid of the boat and moving to Montana. Or, having a reasonable and enjoyable experience while you learn.

There seems to be a prevalent idea that sailing and cruising boats are just large RV's and since you can drive a car/suv/etc., sailing a cruising boat is a piece of cake, so to speak.

Not so. You can get very dead very fast or endanger or lose your loved ones on board.

So chose a routing that allows you to explore and build your experience and confidence without endangering your dream and yourself.

The coastal and inland (ICW, etc.) routing with multiple (actually hundreds of potential stops) affords the opportunity to learn and enjoy as opposed to offshore routes that can get real nasty real fast.

Especially if you have a "significant other" on board who is not a seasoned sailor, taking it easy can make the difference between an enthusiastic partner and a domestic relations disaster.

Type of boat and size (does make a difference) will determine how much you can do "inside" versus having to go "outside." The "Thorny Path" which is really called "A Gentleman's Guide to Passages South" is about the "Thornless" way to do it. Rather than smashing and crashing on cruising legs that are too long and too prone to nasty conditions, the book describes a gentler technique of island and cove/bay hoping keeping things short and much more enjoyable or at least endurable.

If you are new to cruising then I strongly suggest the slow and easy routings that build confidence, experience and a desire to continue cruising - for all the folks on board the boat.
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Old 14-08-2012, 07:59   #10
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Re: New Hampshire to Florida / Bahamas / Caribbean

We have very little sailing experience, just on the lakes we grew up on, small sailboats (14ft. for me, 22 ft. for husband and he used to race motor boats). He's certified diver, I just dive with him on vacations (not deep dives for me yet). No ocean experience sailing.

Our plan is to go to water sailing">Blue Water sailing at St. Thomas for our first week and then a week out of Florida with them crossing the Gulf for the second week (not right in a row). Have heard the Gulf crossing can be quite an education since they go every week regardless of weather (unless hurricane). Figure if I can live thru that, if the weather is bad, all is well. Then we will have at least one season to practice off the east coast when located in New Hampshire.

Since we live in Indiana, that is going to have to be enough. We can take lessons that summer in New Hampshire also.

Boat will be 44' monohull probably. Slow, small runs (like overnight), from island to island and really watching the weather. We will be retired and in no hurry. Safety above all else. We are not sailors and the boat is a way to fish, dive and enjoy the islands. It will be our home for as many years as we enjoy it.

Actually until I get comfortable I will be scared on a boat that large. I have a fear of heights. I don't even like leaning out on a small lake hobie cat when needed, let alone a large sailboat on the ocean. All that will pass with experience. Kind of like the speed water slides. First time scream all the way down and then after that they can't get you off of it. I know my pace will be slower than my husband's so hope to be able to sail most days for the six months in New Hamp. Will do whatever we have to in order to be ready. Avoiding sailing in bad weather will be the priority.

They have diesel mechanics classes in Chicago but I have read not to go to that until after boat purchased and we know what type of motor we have.

Don't bring up the smaller sailboats and practicing on lake michigan, work too many hours to have time to do that and don't plan to use a dime on anything but the final boat.

It will just be my husband and I so we can go out our own pace.

Hope that size boat will be ok for the "Thornless" way.
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Old 14-08-2012, 12:49   #11
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Re: New Hampshire to Florida / Bahamas / Caribbean

Have read that other people have done this with a year or two of experience and my husband and I have grown up on inland water (huge difference though). Although I am a CPA, (office chair life), we had 24 rental properties (still have 7 to sell) and my husband is very mechanically inclined, motors, refrigeration, electrical, plumbing, (all I every did was paint and wallpaper -- not much need for that on a boat.) So, I figure this will be a good fit for us. He can keep everything running and teach me how to fix things as we go along.

With both of us loving to fish, dive and having always lived on water, once we master sailing that size boat, it should be a good fit for our retirement. We're not lazy and if we take it out every day (weather permitting) and have an instructor once a week for a few hours maybe to go over new things to work on -- hopefully in a year we won't crash into anybody else's boat when trying to anchor. I figure if you don't take the pier out the first year you are docking, you did good.
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Old 14-08-2012, 14:18   #12
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Re: New Hampshire to Florida / Bahamas / Caribbean

In Training
I don't want to put a damper on your plans and please understand that I've been doing the sailing thing for over 50 years and still love it, but you two need to try it out first and see if you can live this way.
I would really suggest you get a bareboat (with a skipper) and spend at least 2 weeks living in the cramped quarters and with the limited "mod cons" of the cruising lifestyle. Probably in the Windward Islands (longer open water passages, more wind, rougher anchorages and fewer amenities. No marinas, anchor every night & use moorings only when necessary (like the Deux Pitons). On a bareboat, you do the work, cooking and clean up. The "captain" is only there to keep the boat off the rocks, not to take you on a voyage. YOU ARE THE CREW.
Learn about customs/immigration procedures, whether you want the extreme hassel of traveling w/ pets and buying food in places the USDA wouldn't consider sanitary.
If after 2 weeks of that, you are still as gung ho as you are now, spend the money on lessons etc. and begin your adventure.
I have seen so many jump into this lifestyle only to quit and go back to the beach, not much better for the experience and certainly much poorer.
The sailing stuff is really easy, definitely not rocket science. Navigation, route planning and the actual adventures are the cream of the lifestyle. Voyaging under sail is the safest sport on earth, I believe. After all, when you are going full speed, most cruising boats may reach about 10 miles an hour, giving one plenty of time to reassess the situation and try something different. Not 60+ plus miles an hour within 4 feet of someone else doing the same or greater speed on a confined roadway.
For a couple, it is a team effort and your past roles as a couple (team) can blur pretty quickly and change vastly aboard a cruising boat.
Good luck and Nikki and I do hope to see you out here in a year or so.
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Old 14-08-2012, 14:45   #13
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Re: New Hampshire to Florida / Bahamas / Caribbean

capta:

yes, we have actually discussed doing that, for the same reason. Definitely will before we purchase boat. We want to downsize our house (4800 sq. ft.) and get rid of the rentals before I retire anyway, so we will work toward that the next 2 years, then do as you suggest before we make commitments.
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Old 14-08-2012, 15:02   #14
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Re: New Hampshire to Florida / Bahamas / Caribbean

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When retired, moving to New Hampshire, brother there. Buy sailboat, eventually sail down to Florida/Bahamas/Caribbean, etc.
.
When you move out to NH drop me a PM or send me an email and I'll take you out so you see if sailing is really for you. If you are a reasonable crew/guest I'll even bring you back

Sailing isn't all that hard (lot easier than it seems when reading the how to books), sailing well on the other hand takes a while to learn (but except for beating up the sails isn't that much a real issue if you sail bad). You just need to take it in small bites as to experience and know how. I had never sailed, took ASA to bare boat level and then sailed a 32' Cal on weekend for 3 months, then got a 39' Cal for 2 years, and now on my second year of my current boat and we hadn't had any real problems.

I'm more of the "go for it" sailor type and think if you took some lessons, then did day hops down south you would probably survive just fine. Heck by the time you get to FL you will almost start to know what you are doing!

You can spend a LOT of time day hopping down the coast, then day hop across to Carib.
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Old 14-08-2012, 15:28   #15
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Re: New Hampshire to Florida / Bahamas / Caribbean

Don:

That was good -- my husband says he'll keel haul me if I don't do my swabee job correctly, so the "I'll even bring you back" made me laugh.

My husband will be the captain, I will be the swabee -- like that will last long! Everyone knows the wife is always in charge, cause if the wife isn't happy, no one's happy.

The only concern I have is living together in such close quarters -- ALL THE TIME!
Not the space itself, but the constantly being together. We both like doing the same things, fishing, diving, anything water related and when anyone retires it is an adjustment as far as being together more of the day. Some things you just have to find out the hard way. We will either be very happy, or somebody might not duck in time when boom goes to the other side. And gosh, didn't get that man overboard training.
Appreciate all your responses, it really has given me things to think about and more ideas.
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