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Old 06-07-2015, 00:37   #1
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6 Dudes, 1 Boat, Lots of Questions

A crew of 6 Spanish speakers with very little open ocean experience is planning a trans Panama voyage beginning in San Diego, California and ending in Florida that will last between 6-12 months. We are currently in the market for a 37-45 foot vessel and we have a list of questions. So if you are so inclined feel free to answer as many of the questions as you want, just help us out by specifying which question you are answering. Thanks a ton!

1.Favorite Ports enroute
2.Questionable ports
3.Which spare parts are necessities for this length of a trip?
4.Panama canal tips ($, legal red tape, etc.)
5.What regular maintenance will need to be done? How often?
6.How close to shore should we sail?
7.How to avoid petty theft
8.What is the safest way to dock? (Moorings, Marinas, etc)
9. Would we be comfortable with 6 guys on that size boat
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Old 06-07-2015, 00:40   #2
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Re: 6 Dudes, 1 Boat, Lots of Questions

do you all get along?
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Old 06-07-2015, 01:16   #3
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Re: 6 Dudes, 1 Boat, Lots of Questions

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A crew of 6 Spanish speakers with very little open ocean experience is planning a trans Panama voyage beginning in San Diego, California and ending in Florida that will last between 6-12 months. We are currently in the market for a 37-45 foot vessel and we have a list of questions. So if you are so inclined feel free to answer as many of the questions as you want, just help us out by specifying which question you are answering. Thanks a ton!

1.Favorite Ports enroute
2.Questionable ports
3.Which spare parts are necessities for this length of a trip?
4.Panama canal tips ($, legal red tape, etc.)
5.What regular maintenance will need to be done? How often?
6.How close to shore should we sail?
7.How to avoid petty theft
8.What is the safest way to dock? (Moorings, Marinas, etc)
9. Would we be comfortable with 6 guys on that size boat

Ok, here goes...

1. Anchorages in Baja are great, as is La Paz, Puerto Vallarta, the entire coast between Vallarta and Huatulco with a couple exceptions (Acapulco and Lazaro Cardenas-a commercial port), Many of the rivers in Panama are really spectacular if you really want to get away from it all. San Blas islands (of course), Cartagena, just to give some highlights.

2. Acapulco, Guatemala, Puntarenas, Cartagena has had some incidents, but still worth going. The Nicaragua coast is pretty lawless, most of Honduras outside the Bay Islands I would personally avoid.

3. You should have spares to be able to fix critical systems on the boat. This will depend on how complex the boat is, but at a minimum you want to be sure that you will be able to keep the engine going, the batteries charging, the fuel clean, and the boat steering. Make sure your sails and rigging are up to the task. There are many books on the subject. Maybe start with Nigel Calder. He has very good info.

4. We've been through the canal a few times. I have used an agent the last 2 times. It's a lot quicker. I think that altogether it cost about $3000 to get through last year, including visas, cruising permit, etc.

5. Oil change every 100 hours. Fuel filters changed as needed. Winches greased, steering checked, bilge pumps all working, Again, it's sort of like the spares thing. You have to maintain the gear that you have. How much gear will you have? That will all need to be taken care of properly. If there are 6 of you, and at least a couple are mechanically inclined, and you're actively staying on top of things, you should have no problem.

6. Offshore is safer. For longer trips (as in multi-day), I tend to stay somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 miles off. This keeps you inside the deep sea shipping for the most part, but outside the local traffic. One exception is the gulf of Tehuantepec. You will want to be very close to shore there for reasons that will become clear from other cruisers by the time you make it that far.

7. Keep the deck clear of valuable gear to the extent possible. Lift your dinghy out of the water at night. Lock the boat when you are away. Don't wear expensive watches or jewelry on shore. Don't make yourself a target. It's all common sense.

8. There are not that many moorings on your route. Marinas are very plentiful in Mexico, less so further south. In Costa Rica and the Pacific side of Panama, they are very expensive. The Caribbean side of Panama is cheaper, (Shelter Bay and Bocas, for example). You should have at least 2 good anchors, and 2 rodes for them. I would suggest all chain on one at least. You will anchor a lot.

I think that 6 guys on a mid-40' boat is awfully tight. Only you can answer that for yourselves. Why don't you all rent a small RV for a week and stuff into it and see how it goes? For my part, we feel crowded with more than 3 on our 55 footer, so everyone has their own tolerance for that.

Good luck and good sailing.

TJ
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Old 06-07-2015, 04:31   #4
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Re: 6 Dudes, 1 Boat, Lots of Questions

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, DSteve.
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Old 06-07-2015, 04:51   #5
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Re: 6 Dudes, 1 Boat, Lots of Questions

sounds doomed to failure.........best bet would be all of you to get to las palmas gran canaria in November,and individually crew on yachts across the atlantic then re group in December once you have a bit of real world experince
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Old 06-07-2015, 10:34   #6
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Re: 6 Dudes, 1 Boat, Lots of Questions

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sounds doomed to failure.........best bet would be all of you to get to las palmas gran canaria in November,and individually crew on yachts across the atlantic then re group in December once you have a bit of real world experince
That is great advice.

However, to recap the OP....6 inexperienced guys want to buy a boat and do a year long trip. Would like this thread to tell them everything they need to know. Wow.

First, assign duties...you'll need a maid, bartender, cook, skipper, mate, and of course a Gilligan. Thats 6, perfect...you are halfway there already.
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Old 06-07-2015, 14:21   #7
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Re: 6 Dudes, 1 Boat, Lots of Questions

Instead of a 45 $$$$ footer, have you considered 2 or 3 $$ similar 32+ foot boats and buddy boat.
Price may be the same save the Canal.
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Old 07-07-2015, 00:39   #8
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Re: 6 Dudes, 1 Boat, Lots of Questions

9. Would we be comfortable with 6 guys on that size boat?

Probably Not!
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Old 07-07-2015, 02:04   #9
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Re: 6 Dudes, 1 Boat, Lots of Questions

Have a look at large Wharram catamarans.
Lots of cabins and loads of outside deck space.
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