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Old 27-11-2011, 10:18   #1
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Is 'this' Plain Crazy ?!

Over the last couple on months myself and my wife have been talking about planning a trip for the family, could you give us your honest opinions if this is plain crazy or possible? We want to plan a 2-3 year trip starting on the east coast of canada and sailing down to the bahamas and onto the caribbean, we would like to spend 1 hurricane season in the rio dulce and the next in grenada, and in between see as many places as possible but with no rush. My youngest daughter would be 5 so we thought it would be a good time to take her as we could home school her and learn her the basics and more. We would be looking in the region of approx $60000-$80000 for the sailboat and approx 38'-45' in length, we can rent our home out for the income needed per month and would also have savings. The only problem is we have never sailed!! I would of course get sailing lessons and when i buy the boat I would spend a couple of months getting to know the boat and how she sails inside and out before we attempted to venture out. Your opinions would be really appreciated, thanks...chris
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Old 27-11-2011, 10:26   #2
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Re: Is this plan crazy!!

Steep learning curve but others have done it. Hardest part will be finding a boat when you're in Saskatchewan without spending a lot on travel. Lots of boats here in Toronto.
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Old 27-11-2011, 10:36   #3
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Re: Is this plan crazy!!

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Originally Posted by The Cooks View Post
Over the last couple on months myself and my wife have been talking about planning a trip for the family, could you give us your honest opinions if this is plain crazy or possible? We want to plan a 2-3 year trip starting on the east coast of canada and sailing down to the bahamas and onto the caribbean, we would like to spend 1 hurricane season in the rio dulce and the next in grenada, and in between see as many places as possible but with no rush. My youngest daughter would be 5 so we thought it would be a good time to take her as we could home school her and learn her the basics and more. We would be looking in the region of approx $60000-$80000 for the sailboat and approx 38'-45' in length, we can rent our home out for the income needed per month and would also have savings. The only problem is we have never sailed!! I would of course get sailing lessons and when i buy the boat I would spend a couple of months getting to know the boat and how she sails inside and out before we attempted to venture out. Your opinions would be really appreciated, thanks...chris

You're talking about temporarily burning some bridges here (ex: renting your home) -- and you haven't sailed.

You're willing to learn and that's great but what do you do if it turns out that one of you REALLY DOESN'T LIKE SAILING?

Fly to some place to charter (I would suggest the Caribbean). Have a crew but have them teach you everything they know as fast as you ALL can learn it, and I mean ALL the adults. Everyone needs to know how to sail.

I hadn't done much sailing when I bought my first boat, but I did know I liked sailing.
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Old 27-11-2011, 11:15   #4
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Re: Is 'this' Plain Crazy ?!

I think this is a great idea, and I'm envious. It's not "plain crazy" at all; it is, however, nave.

Quote:
I would of course get sailing lessons and when i [sic] buy the boat I would spend a couple of months getting to know the boat and how she sails inside and out before we attempted to venture out.
Though the Bahamas and the Caribbean are often seen as idyllic playgrounds, you're woefully underestimating the time it will take to prepare yourself for a trip like this: a yacht this size is not a floating recreational vehicle. Becoming familiar with your new vessel is impossible to do in "a couple of months." You'll barely know how the head flushes in that short time. It would be like a teenager getting his driving permit and then being put into the Indy 500. You might assume the risk for yourself if you were to strike out alone, but it would be irresponsible to involve your wife and child in a venture you were ill-prepared to lead, and their (your wife's and child's) safety should never be compromised.

Consider pushing back your departure date 1 year after purchase of the yacht, to give yourselves time to gain experience as a sailing team and and to become familiar with the complicated systems the yacht carries.

Which of these two scenarios is more appealing:

A) The daughter is five; we're leaving without experience/confidence, and we're hoping everything goes well.

B) The daughter is six; we're leaving with experience/confidence, we know how we work together as a sailing team, we've had time to practice things like watch-keeping and anchoring; we've decided on safety restraints and routines for a 5-yr. old, have been out in rough weather a couple of times and know what do to when half our team is incapacitated by sea-sickness, we've done some night-sailing, we've had time to see if the electrical and electronic systems are reliable, and to fix the five or six problems with the yacht that have presented themselves only six months after we signed papers; we've learned about provisioning, diesel maintenance and navigation skills that weren't taught in that weekend "cruising" course; we've now collected a core of spare parts for essential systems and a tool set that will allow us to meet just about any foreseeable problem that arises; we've researched, and have planned out an itinerary that avoids trouble spots and will highlight our enjoyment… and the list goes on.

There's just a lot to learn, and the only teacher is time and experience. You can have the time of your lives, or potentially the ordeal of your lives. It all depends on how patient and prudent you are.

Fair Winds,
Jeff
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Old 27-11-2011, 11:21   #5
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Re: Is 'this' Plain Crazy ?!

I attended a lecture recently given by a woman who bought a sailboat with her husband and sailed halfway around the world, before her husband got off and decided enough was enough. She continued without him, and talked about her adventures at sea, but no one asked if losing her husband was worth the trip. Are you planning on insuring the boat? If so, you may find insurance companies will want significant sailing experience and a boat that surveys as being in very good condition, suitable for offshore in both condition and equipment.
your budget for the boat is rather low for the size you would like, and you will NOT, as stated, learn the boat and how she sails in "a couple months." I'm not trying to be rude, or discourage anyone's dream, but when you want to involve a 5 year old in a potentially dangerous endeavor, you should consider obtaining vastly more sailing experience and credentials to minimize the risk.
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Old 27-11-2011, 12:02   #6
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Thanks for all your comments and advice, if the realism of the plan took me 5 years it wouldn't be a problem. I would not risk my family members if I weren't competent in sailing no matter how long it takes, we are off to caribbean in febuary so we are going to look into the charter holidays whilst we are down there, my first priority of course is my family so we must all enjoy sailing or its a no go situation. I agree there's not many sailboats for sale in Saskatchewan but I travel quite a bit with work and I could organize to get to the places where I need to if I was serious about a boat. We have had many offshore trips for seafishing as we are from the uk and we always loved it out on the water and just want more,anyway I will stop rambling on and once again I do not think anyone rude and appreciate the feedback. Thanks...chris
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Old 27-11-2011, 12:27   #7
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Re: Is 'this' Plain Crazy ?!

Chris - despite some peoples' advice, what you suggest is not crazy or necessarily even unwise. Those of us who have had boats for awhile know how complicated they are and how challenging sailing can be and thus encourage you to learn and experience alot before you start your trip. But what you don't know won't kill you if you are cautious. And right now used boats can be had for your budget, including upgrades. If you get a decent boat and equip it wisely, not necessarily expensively, you could begin your trip with short, conservative hops down the coast, always erring on the side of caution where weather is concerned. If you decide you have bitten off more than you can handle, turn around. Take a good library of repair manuals and accept that you may have to pay someone to repairs things you don't know how. In fact, for your plan to work, having good hanyman skills is almost as important as sailing skills. Last year, we bought a solid 1978 Pearson 424 in Tortola that needed alot of work, but nothing too technical. After we are finished we won't have $60K in it, and she will take us anywhere. IMO.
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Old 27-11-2011, 12:56   #8
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Re: Is 'this' Plain Crazy ?!

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Last year, we bought a solid 1978 Pearson 424 in Tortola that needed alot of work, but nothing too technical. After we are finished we won't have $60K in it, and she will take us anywhere. IMO.
There's another option for you. Buy a boat already in the place you want to go to.
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Old 27-11-2011, 13:04   #9
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Re: Is 'this' Plain Crazy ?!

One further thought on delaying your departure a year -- you can do some summer lake sailing on small boats. A sailing dinghy is a great way to really understand how sail-hull-rudder-wind all interact.
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Old 27-11-2011, 13:08   #10
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Re: Is 'this' Plain Crazy ?!

I thought of buying a boat already down there, but I would imagine the route going down if I coastal hopped as some one mentioned would give us some great experience, Im not expecting to get a new boat for my budget but looking around I have seen a few boats that have just circumnavigated and they are well in my price range,for the folks who have done this journey is my 2-3 years timeline about right and what would be the best route in terms which I could understand ie looking on a map, I know I have alot to learn but that is why I am here asking questions....thanks again
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Old 27-11-2011, 13:10   #11
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Re: Is 'this' Plain Crazy ?!

cormorant I plan on doing that this year but we only have small lakes around us, what sort of size would you think would benefit us?
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Old 27-11-2011, 13:14   #12
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Re: Is 'this' Plain Crazy ?!

Not crazy at all. I got started rather late. Being from the cornfields of the Midwest did not provide for much opportunity for gaining sailing experience. We did a couple charters in the Caribbean. Did an ASA sailing school on a cat out of St Thomas. Bit the bullet and bought a boat. It’s a process. One step at a time. But it’s a bit like eating an elephant as they say. There is a lot to swallow. But get started!

And the suggestion that you buy the boat where you want to end up at is a good one. Particularly if you are talking about the Caribbean. USVI and BVI. Lots of boats for sale. Lots of places to keep and maintain them. Lots of easy safe day sails from point to point. No big passages required unless you want to.

Where are you going in the Caribbean? I’ll be around there somewhere between Puerto Rico and Grenada. Find me and I’ll take you for a sail.

Regards,

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Old 27-11-2011, 13:17   #13
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Re: Is 'this' Plain Crazy ?!

You can learn an awful lot on the simplest sailboat. Something that will throw you in the water when you make a mistake is best for 'seat of the pants' education.

The only trouble with lakes is the wind can be swirly. . . but maybe you're out in flatter territory where it's steadier.

Good luck with your plan! Take it slow and steady and learn as much as you possibly can.
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Old 27-11-2011, 13:24   #14
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Re: Is 'this' Plain Crazy ?!

I'm planning on cruising the Caribbean in the next few years as well. I have a years experience so far on a 33' boat. I originally thought I would buy something up here and take it down there, but after reading the horror stories of this years attempts, I'm not so sure.

It sounds like out of about 100 or so boats that tried to get to the islands over the last month or so, maybe 2/3 's made it. Some were abandoned, some turned back to South Carolina, and tragically one person lost her life. Those are some pretty scary odds. The idea of buying down there seams a lot more prudent to me now.
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Old 27-11-2011, 13:36   #15
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Re: Is 'this' Plain Crazy ?!

chrisgo that sounds pretty scary, I didnt realise it was that tough to get down there with experience! Mike I will be out of the way in jamaica but thanks for the offer, I was worried about posting on this site because I have never sailed and thought I would be slated, but I will grab as much info as I can because even at this early stage I get excited thinking(dreaming) about it, i really appreciate your feedback...thanks
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