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Old 18-06-2009, 15:10   #1
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NYC > Vancouver - One Year - Cost?

Hello everyone,

I have a dream. A dream of sailing from NYC, around the Caribbean, eventually landing in Vancouver after a year. Problem is, I don't know how to sail, and my three friends don't either. Other problem is we aren't exactly loaded. My question is this...

Could 4 people in NYC 1.) learn to sail, 2.) get a boat, and 3.) sail around the Caribbean and make it Vancouver in a year... with a total budget of $80,000?

I apologize if this scenario is so unfeasible that even reading it was a total waste of time. Again, I know nothing of what a trip like that takes. All I know is that I want to take it if its possible, even if it will be absurdly difficult, dangerous, whatever... is it possible?

I would appreciate hearing whatever opinions any of you have. Thanks for taking the time to read this.
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Old 18-06-2009, 15:21   #2
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To answer your question, yes, it could be done. But $80 k may not be enough, depending on the boat you buy and how much work it needs, and how frugally you can live while cruising for a year. For three people who are all novices apparantly, actually very doubtful.. you need to eat, pay people to maintain the boat, buy fuel, dockage, etc.

Heck, just getting through the Panama Canal could cost a couple thousand.

Anyway learn to sail first, and then spend some money on a charter in the Carib to make sure it's what you want to attempt, because your budget is probably insufficient.

If the Manhattan YC is still in operation, that's one good, inexpensive way to learn to sail... they race J-24's out of a marina on the Hudson down near the battery and they are always looking for crew. Or used to anyway.
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Old 18-06-2009, 16:17   #3
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Thanks for the response, speedoo. Now, you said

"yes, it could be done. But $80 k may not be enough.... For three people who are all novices apparantly, actually very doubtful."

Explore that with me for a minute. Assuming sailing lessons that lead to a bareboat chartering certification run $3,000 per person, we have $68,000 left. While I defintiely understand that I need to figure out whether this is really for me, lets also assume for now that it definitely is.

Is it possible to get a cheap boat sufficiently equipped for island hopping and sailing near coasts for around $20,000? Is $1,000 per person per month enough for additional expenses?

Finally, and I apologize if this is getting to be too much, what if the $80,000 budget was for 8 months instead of a year? That would allow for, say, a $35,000 boat and $1,400 per person per month for additional expenses. Does that put this trip into the realm of possibilities?
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Old 18-06-2009, 16:55   #4
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I have my doubts, KDA. I think an experienced crew could do what you're proposing if it was more a delivery than a cruise, but to undertake such an ambitious voyage on a delivery schedule defeats the pleasure aspects of the trip, seems to me.

Assuming you can time it so you're ready to head south from New York by, say, the end of September to avoid getting caught in any cold weather, then tip-toeing into hurricane territory in October (you're assuming a risk, but a calculated one), you could, with luck, be down in S. Florida and preparing to jump across to the Bahamas by early November.

Hurricane risk will have decreased quite a bit by then. Let's say you make it to the Bahamas by mid-November: If you're on a casual, cruising schedule, you can use up a lot of time enjoying the Bahamas. When the Schultes, aboard Bumfuzzle, started their circumnavigation, they were about as green as you and your friends, so they took their time cruising through the Bahamas, getting to know their vessel and learning to sail her.

They were having such a pleasant time of it that when they started planning to depart the Bahamas, they were already a week past their six month permitted stay period. It could easily happen on a cruising schedule.

When you say you want to go "around the Caribbean," I take this to mean that you want to island-hop all the way down to Trinidad and Tobago, then cruise through the Venezuelan islands, the ABCs, the Colombian coastline and finally reach the northern terminus of the Panama Canal at Colon. That whole section of the voyage, from the Bahamas to Panama could easily take four to six months.

Let's say you somehow manage to get from NYC to Panama, one way or another and without any delays to fix virtually inevitable break-downs, and you've managed to do all that in six months. And let's say the delay to transit the Panama Canal is minimal, and you somehow find yourselves in the Pacific, ready to head north. If it's already May, you'll be heading up into another hurricane zone. If you don't manage to get north of Cabo before June, and preferably as far north as San Diego, you could find yourselves stuck south of the zone until November, waiting for another hurricane season to end.

If your time is so short for such a voyage, you need to think if terms of a delivery schedule, meaning you're on the move even when the weather is iffy - not a good idea, especially for novices. And you would most likely want to cut directly for Panama and forget the island-hopping. When you do clear the Panama Canla and head northward, you will quickly learn that not all sailing is pleasant, down-wind cruising, with warm southern breezes and sundowners of the after-deck.

Sailing up the Pacific coast of the Central American countries, Mexico, and the US will take a severe toll on you, the rest of the crew, and your vessel. Many people prefer sailing to Hawai'i from the Canal, then riding up over the N. Pacific high to reach the PNW just to avoid the bash up the coast. Of course, this will add many more weeks to your voyage.

My guess would be that a novice crew cannot accomplish what you propose. If you want to sail in the Caribbean, do that. If you want to get to Vancouver from New York City, fly.

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Old 18-06-2009, 17:38   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keepdreamalive View Post
Thanks for the response, speedoo. Now, you said

"yes, it could be done. But $80 k may not be enough.... For three people who are all novices apparantly, actually very doubtful."

Explore that with me for a minute. Assuming sailing lessons that lead to a bareboat chartering certification run $3,000 per person, we have $68,000 left. While I defintiely understand that I need to figure out whether this is really for me, lets also assume for now that it definitely is.

Is it possible to get a cheap boat sufficiently equipped for island hopping and sailing near coasts for around $20,000? Is $1,000 per person per month enough for additional expenses?

Finally, and I apologize if this is getting to be too much, what if the $80,000 budget was for 8 months instead of a year? That would allow for, say, a $35,000 boat and $1,400 per person per month for additional expenses. Does that put this trip into the realm of possibilities?
My concern over your budget and the fact that you are four novice sailors is not related to sailing lessons, etc. It's about the fact that you will not be able to do any but the most basic maintenance on your boat, once it is ready for the voyage you have in mind. By basic maintenance I mean things like engine oil changes, looking after your batteries, etc. Other problems that arise (and they will definitely arise) would probably require that you hire someone to repair, and most of the time stuff on boats is much more expensive to purchase or repair than you would think.

Regarding the cost of the boat, I don't believe $20k is adequate for a sound, well-equipped boat that will be taking four people island hopping for a year or 8 months. If you go to the Carib, you will need a boat that is sound and very well equipped.

What you will have to spend on the boat is not something I can tell you because I don't know what kind of requirements you and your crew would have for living on the boat for an extended period. And you can't project those requirements either at this point because you have no experience on which to base it.

TaoJones made an excellent suggestion to reduce the scope of your plan to the Carib only. It is a fabulous area to cruise, and the fact that you could reduce the time by at least a few months would certainly help the budget.

There are some older threads here that could help you with understanding cruising budgets. Try using the search function.
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Old 18-06-2009, 18:02   #6
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Hate to rain on your parade but I don't think it can be done. Inexperience, lack of funds, time period. I really very much agree with TaoJones.
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Old 19-06-2009, 05:36   #7
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Maybe we should look at it different; what if you start this and don't make it past the Carribean. Would consider this a failure? I wouldn't! Maybe instead of starting with a final destination you should just say you are going to sail for a year on your budget. If so I say you should do it!
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