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Old 11-10-2014, 08:16   #1
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Sail, Surf, and Party: Caribbean or West Coast (Mex, Rica, and Pan)

Hello CFers!

I was originally planning to summer cruise through New England, and got great advice from everyone on this thread. Unfortunately (or fortunately regarding the kitty), my contract got extended. It should be done by early to mid-November, at which point I'll have some time up till around May to cruise. I've put together some pros and cons on two options: buying a boat in Florida and cruising the Caribbean, or buying in Southern California and cruising down Central America's West Coast. It'd be great to get your views and see if I left anything out. In either case, I'd road trip to the destination, live out of the car till finding a boat, then sell the car and sail off. I want to sail and surf, my buddy joining me wants to do both of those plus party. We're both in our late-20s.

Caribbean Pros
  • Consistent, strong winds
  • Better snorkeling
  • Already know English and French
  • Supposedly better parties (not in my experience!)
  • Varied cruising grounds and cultures
Caribbean Cons
  • Wind-on-the-nose bashing
  • More expensive cruising
  • Florida boats have more expensive asking prices (my sailboat listings survey had a lot of $8,000 but missing an interior boats, with some exceptions)
  • Disease: chikungunya and ciguaterra
  • Multiple countries to check-in/check-out of
  • Crime (Bribery/extortion and robbery)
Pacific Pros
  • If there's wind, it'll be astern or on the beam
  • Better surfing
  • Better fishing
  • Chance to learn Spanish
  • Cheaper asking prices and cheaper overall
  • Maybe not as wild parties but a younger crowd (i.e. backpackers)
  • Better but longer roadtrip
  • Maybe easier to resell at end in Panama
Pacific Cons
  • Often light winds
  • Crime (beheadings)
  • Would rather be in Panama or Costa Rica rather than in Mexico
So what does CF think? We're leaning towards the Florida/Carib route just because it would be easier for us to get to and start, but still open to suggestions and eager to know if we've left anything out. Thanks! And for other cruisers who might be looking for the same thing, this was also a good resource from Lat 38.

p.s. I'm certainly not a sailing expert, but have many years of small boat experience, and about 1,000 miles of week plus bare boat vacations, overnight weekends, and day sails with lots of anchoring, strong winds, but no serious waves.
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Old 11-10-2014, 08:25   #2
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Re: Sail, Surf, and Party: Caribbean or West Coast (Mex, Rica, and Pan)

I DEFINITELY SAY...

Buy a boat on the West coast and hit up the Pacific...

http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...or-131967.html

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Old 11-10-2014, 12:04   #3
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Re: Sail, Surf, and Party: Caribbean or West Coast (Mex, Rica, and Pan)

Hahaha, thanks Happy! Definitely looks in good shape and spacious enough for two! Unfortunately, we're looking in a lower price range - got to be ready to sell it on quick without losing a lot of money


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Old 11-10-2014, 14:51   #4
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Re: Sail, Surf, and Party: Caribbean or West Coast (Mex, Rica, and Pan)

I saw Pacific Coast boats as more expensive than Florida boats, and smaller selection.


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Old 11-10-2014, 15:13   #5
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Re: Sail, Surf, and Party: Caribbean or West Coast (Mex, Rica, and Pan)

Boats are cheaper on the east coast.
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Old 12-10-2014, 04:44   #6
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Re: Sail, Surf, and Party: Caribbean or West Coast (Mex, Rica, and Pan)

Maybe it's just the range I'm looking in. SoCal had a lot more 29-33' boats at around the $5k price point (and of course a cheap boat isn't always cheap!). Are you all looking at sailboatlistings.com or is there a better resource you'd suggest for Florida in this size and price range? Craigslist search by city? Thanks!


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Old 12-10-2014, 09:46   #7
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Re: Sail, Surf, and Party: Caribbean or West Coast (Mex, Rica, and Pan)

Quote:
Originally Posted by brownoarsman View Post
Hahaha, thanks Happy! Definitely looks in good shape and spacious enough for two! Unfortunately, we're looking in a lower price range - got to be ready to sell it on quick without losing a lot of money
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Not a worry my friend... Wasn't privy to your budget range!

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Maybe it's just the range I'm looking in. SoCal had a lot more 29-33' boats at around the $5k price point (and of course a cheap boat isn't always cheap!). Are you all looking at sailboatlistings.com or is there a better resource you'd suggest for Florida in this size and price range? Craigslist search by city? Thanks!

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Just an FYI... I know you're young... adventurous... etc... BUT.... The Pacific is no place to be toodling around on a $5k 30ish boat... ESPECIALLY in the winter... Any 30'er for 5k is going to need another 5-10k MINIMUM, to have a shore hop the coast boat...
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Old 12-10-2014, 12:12   #8
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Re: Sail, Surf, and Party: Caribbean or West Coast (Mex, Rica, and Pan)

Thanks Happy! Another point for the Caribbean then, maybe. Even if I spent six months idling in the keys and Bahamas, without doing anything more, it would be a fun experience. I've never been sailing on the west coast, so was just going off what I read online and on some Baja haha blogs that the winter was pretty mild wind with some occasional storms coming out of the north that I thought I could avoid with a heavy anchor and a protected anchorage! Thank you again for the local knowledge!


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Old 13-10-2014, 06:26   #9
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Re: Sail, Surf, and Party: Caribbean or West Coast (Mex, Rica, and Pan)

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Originally Posted by brownoarsman View Post
Thanks Happy! Another point for the Caribbean then, maybe. Even if I spent six months idling in the keys and Bahamas, without doing anything more, it would be a fun experience. I've never been sailing on the west coast, so was just going off what I read online and on some Baja haha blogs that the winter was pretty mild wind with some occasional storms coming out of the north that I thought I could avoid with a heavy anchor and a protected anchorage! Thank you again for the local knowledge!

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Yes and no.. tough to make safe anchorage on the West coast of Mex, cause there simply isn't very much there... Lots of boats this size on the gulf side, but it's not the place to be caught in in the wrong wx either!

The jump off Baja South, ain't to be taken lightly no matter what you're in... Zee and a ton of other South of the border vets know far more than I do...
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Old 13-10-2014, 06:47   #10
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Re: Sail, Surf, and Party: Caribbean or West Coast (Mex, Rica, and Pan)

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So what does CF think?
I'm not CF; but think you are doing all your thinking with your head, but should be listening to your heart!
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