Originally Posted by RedHerring
belizesailor: the reason I'm thinking about East Carribbean (as well south-eastern parts
of US) as a place to buy a cruising boat is that I want to start at an area that is safe and simple. What I read about Panama/Belize so far sounds like it's quite a bit further up on the difficulty scale. Please correct me if I'm wrong there.
One advantage of starting in the eastern Carib is that it is downwind to all the rest of the Carib...I think some boats get to the Rio (from where it is up hill to anywhere) and decide they done and put the boat up for sale
Panama is pretty straight forward (in Bocas del Toro now), but Belizean waters are complex. However you can stick to the major routes in Freya Rauchers guide and that simplifies things.
tends to be less stable than typical idylic Eastern Carib weather
...because of strong cold fronts pushing down and more nearby land mass effect. More like Florida
weather but without the extreme low temps with the fronts.
I would not avoid Belize for those reason but something to factor into your plans.
Lots of cruising boats come down to Belize/Guate from the USA so that is another option...when you feel ready for that. I assume the USA yacht market is still pretty soft? If so you could buy a boat there, build some experience, and then sail her down to either E or W Carib w more experienced captain/friends.