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Old 23-06-2014, 17:24   #1
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Logistics to keep a small boat in the Bahamas/Caribbean for opportunistic cruising

Boat size between 33-36" or so.
- Where do you keep it?
- How much does it cost you?
- Breakdown of logistics?
- How do you flag it (permits, etc.)?

Thanks!
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Old 23-06-2014, 18:22   #2
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Re: Logistics to keep a small boat in the Bahamas/Caribbean for opportunistic cruisin

Where are you coming from? The single biggest hassle will be flying down, so if at all possible find an island where you can get a direct flight from home to the boat. If that isn't possible, then the USVI would probably be best (assuming you are American). It's easy to get to, and you don't have to deal with import tarrifs, shipping becomes easier, laws are similar to what you have at home, ect.
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Old 23-06-2014, 18:40   #3
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Re: Logistics to keep a small boat in the Bahamas/Caribbean for opportunistic cruisin

I don't want to stay in one place, I'd like to progress through the entire region and leave the boat where (or close to where) I end up at the end of every visit, with some planning of course. I'm hoping to look at the figures of several people who keep their boats at different areas.
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Old 23-06-2014, 18:44   #4
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Re: Logistics to keep a small boat in the Bahamas/Caribbean for opportunistic cruisin

Why wouldn't Puerto Rico do?

Or Rio Dulce? Good hurricane hole.
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Old 23-06-2014, 18:48   #5
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Re: Logistics to keep a small boat in the Bahamas/Caribbean for opportunistic cruisin

Like I said in the other thread - maybe find a charter company you could work with. Many of them will take older boats in good shape. And many have multiple locations. So if you could find one willing to work with you and accommodate your moving the boat between locations that might save you a lot of money and hassle.. I have no idea if there's any charter companies that would meet your needs but it seems like it could be a viable option and offset some costs. We looked at a very similar situation of buying a boat and keeping it in the BVI or even USVI, but after looking at the numbers charter ownership ended up making more sense.

Otherwise the issues you'd be facing will be finding a place to keep it for each destination you want to visit, ensure its being cared for during that time and ensuring there's no problems leaving it there. Doable, but a lot of hassle, although you'd clearly have a decent amount of time once you head home to figure out the details of the next location.

At any rate, I'll be following this as it will be interesting to see other responses. Good luck!
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Old 23-06-2014, 19:19   #6
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Re: Logistics to keep a small boat in the Bahamas/Caribbean for opportunistic cruisin

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Originally Posted by hpeer View Post
Why wouldn't Puerto Rico do?

Or Rio Dulce? Good hurricane hole.
Because I'd be flying south for 1-2 months at a time, and staying in 1 port (i.e., Puerto Rico) would never allow me enough range to explore the entire Caribbean / Bahamas.

Is that were you keep your boat? What does it cost you to berth / commission / decommision?


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Originally Posted by maytrix View Post
Like I said in the other thread - maybe find a charter company you could work with. Many of them will take older boats in good shape. And many have multiple locations. So if you could find one willing to work with you and accommodate your moving the boat between locations that might save you a lot of money and hassle.. I have no idea if there's any charter companies that would meet your needs but it seems like it could be a viable option and offset some costs. We looked at a very similar situation of buying a boat and keeping it in the BVI or even USVI, but after looking at the numbers charter ownership ended up making more sense.

Otherwise the issues you'd be facing will be finding a place to keep it for each destination you want to visit, ensure its being cared for during that time and ensuring there's no problems leaving it there. Doable, but a lot of hassle, although you'd clearly have a decent amount of time once you head home to figure out the details of the next location.

At any rate, I'll be following this as it will be interesting to see other responses. Good luck!
I've looked into that but the typical share works out as 2-3 weeks of use per year in the best case (not enough), and costs are as much as buying a 15-20 year old boat all to myself (I'd much rather do that, as I have the time flexibility to use it). Also, I haven't found any charter company with multiple ports that works with older boats to reduce costs. Further, the bigger ones that offer multiple locations not only work with very new boats, but said locations are scattered around the world, not around the Bahamas / Caribbean. Therefore range is limited in the subject location, I'm not very keen on visiting the same spots over and over, I prefer to explore. Spending money on a newer boat (charter share) is also something that I don't want to do, as I already have a weekend warrior (newer boat) at home to maintain. Now I'm looking for a 2nd shitty little boat to keep in the tropics as a cruising platform in the cheap, that will be old enough for me to not care that much about keeping in top-shape condition with all the bells and whistles, not care that much about the punishment of the southern climate, security, etc., etc. I'm probably talking about a $20K boat or so. Let's call it "water-camping with some comfort".

Let's keep the other thread about opinions on whether this is a good idea or not (still useful discussion). I started this new thread on the premise that I've decided to go ahead, and looking to get figures here for my planning. Still very interested to keep the anecdotal discussion going on the other sister thread, but let's keep the figures rolling on this one, from people who already keep their boats there and are happy to share them (share the figures, not their boat ).
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Old 23-06-2014, 19:30   #7
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Re: Logistics to keep a small boat in the Bahamas/Caribbean for opportunistic cruisin

There are a number of charter companies that will let you take the boat out for extended periods of time - you just need to work it out with them. Locations is likely the other issue. Moorings/Sunsail do have what I believe is called an advantage program which allows as much owner time as you want I believe without guaranteed revenue, I'm just not sure moving locations would work. And clearly the cost isn't something you want to deal with.

At any rate, what it sounds like you need is a partner or two so when you get off, someone else takes the boat..etc. How many people really depends on how much use each partner wants..
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Old 23-06-2014, 20:07   #8
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Re: Logistics to keep a small boat in the Bahamas/Caribbean for opportunistic cruisin

I've kept a boat at a distance, but that was Newfoundland and not applicable to your situation.

But we are now considering perhaps keeping one boat south and one north or who know what.

I did find that it is very disconcerting being so far from the boat. I would also suggest that one to two months may work, but I found that after a few years I had to bring her south to do some rather extensive work on her. I spent a lot of vacation time just getting her in the water. I've meet others who have done it more successfully than me, but they had longer bits of time off, and some crew to help. Damn hard as a single hander.
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Old 24-06-2014, 15:59   #9
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Re: Logistics to keep a small boat in the Bahamas/Caribbean for opportunistic cruisin

One year when we were cruising, we decided to go home for a month around Christmas/New Years. We were in St Lucia at the Rodney Bay marina. We found it a little less expensive to have the boat hauled and stored in the boatyard than keeping it in a slip. We had to arrange for a temporary importation with inspection, but that only cost EC$25 (about US$8). Storing it on the hard for more than a month would save even more versus a marina slip. Less worry about it sitting there in the water unattended, too. You can go on the marina/boatyard website and look up their current prices to figure it out for yourself.

I would never leave my boat unattended at anchor or on a mooring. It would have to be in a marina or preferably on the hard in a boatyard. Too many bad things can happen to a boat in the water without regular attention. And, although you can find advertisements for boat monitoring services on some of the islands, there are a quite a few horror stories about neglect and abuse out there. If you're not there, you don't know what's being done or not done.
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Old 24-06-2014, 16:17   #10
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Re: Logistics to keep a small boat in the Bahamas/Caribbean for opportunistic cruisin

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Originally Posted by welljim View Post
Now I'm looking for a 2nd shitty little boat to keep in the tropics as a cruising platform in the cheap, that will be old enough for me to not care that much about keeping in top-shape condition with all the bells and whistles, not care that much about the punishment of the southern climate, security, etc., etc. I'm probably talking about a $20K boat or so. Let's call it "water-camping with some comfort".
A 20K boat in the size range you're discussing is going to need work to begin with, will require yearly maintenance just to keep floating, and will require a certain amount of expense to keep.

Why don't you put up a proposed budget for this, and see how realistic it looks once you put up some details? I think you can arrive at the rough figures without a lot of input from anyone else.

It's hard to imagine you'll come out ahead expense-wise owning, but there is a break even point somewhere.
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Old 24-06-2014, 16:51   #11
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Re: Logistics to keep a small boat in the Bahamas/Caribbean for opportunistic cruisin

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A 20K boat in the size range you're discussing is going to need work to begin with, will require yearly maintenance just to keep floating, and will require a certain amount of expense to keep.

Why don't you put up a proposed budget for this, and see how realistic it looks once you put up some details? I think you can arrive at the rough figures without a lot of input from anyone else.

It's hard to imagine you'll come out ahead expense-wise owning, but there is a break even point somewhere.

There is a Morgan 33 in St. martin for $10K, in decent shape (i.e., owner is local, goes at the marina once every 2-3 weeks to start the Yanmar and make sure boat systems work). Cabin is in decent shape, dated but no mold or leaks. Newer genoa. I'll need another $7K on top for new mainsail, some rigging update, motor service, anti-fouling. Sure, I could spend much more to make the boat more comfortable, but not a requirement for sea worthiness. I don't care about the acquisition cost of a boat like that, I'm pretty sure I'll get most of the money back when I sell it.

I'm thinking it should then be doable to keep the boat ashore on a $7-10K / year budget, for storage and maintenance parts. In fact, from what people say here, that might be more than enough for that size boat. This will allow me to have a boat there and spend 4 months a year at no additional cost (other than what I'd need when chartering anyway).

In contrast, given that the average charter boat is $3,000 week + a bunch of service fees + insurance, I could burn the same amount chartering in just 2 weeks! Sure, very different boat, but same locations and comparably good times

Am I missing something? Of course there will be some commissioning / decommissioning work involved, but nothing that's not worth doing given the resulting duration difference?
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Old 25-06-2014, 13:28   #12
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Re: Logistics to keep a small boat in the Bahamas/Caribbean for opportunistic cruisin

It seems to me you are over-thinking this. Why not just start in one place, like St. Thomas and sail for your 1-2 months, returning to St. Thomas. You would have the USVI, Spanish VI, BVI, St Martin and the Leewards easily accessable. I don't think you would get bored. When you do want to move, move your home base to a new area, say Grenada, and sail the windwards for a year or two.
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Old 25-06-2014, 13:37   #13
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Re: Logistics to keep a small boat in the Bahamas/Caribbean for opportunistic cruisin

I think Jerry's advice is spot on - We've been a dozen times for at least a week at a time - closer to 2 many times and still aren't bored. There's so many dive sites and other things to do that you could easily spend months.

In fact, this is our plan once our boat comes out of charter, we'll live on it for the slow season (Apr/May-Nov) and probably spend our first few years doing this in the BVI/USVI area. Eventually we want to visit other areas and will do so once we get bored. Also easy enough to visit some further away places like St. Martin..etc and still return back to home base, especially when out there for so long.
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Old 27-09-2014, 16:50   #14
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Re: Logistics to keep a small boat in the Bahamas/Caribbean for opportunistic cruisin

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Originally Posted by welljim View Post
Boat size between 33-36" or so.
- Where do you keep it?
- How much does it cost you?
- Breakdown of logistics?
- How do you flag it (permits, etc.)?

Thanks!
Welljim, I have read both threads you started on similar subjects. We live in Manhattan and are trying to figure out how to move our C&C 36 to the BVIs or Bahamas were we have cruised for one entire winter. I beleive with two or three like minded folks who respected each other's capabilities could make this work. Thanks, Captian August
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