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Old 17-09-2009, 16:56   #1
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Get a Boat in Florida and Sail it Back to Maine with Limited Experience?

Hi all,

I won't call myself an experienced sailor, but I have been out day-sailing a good number of times, mostly on boats in the 12 to 25 foot range. I haven't been grounded, pitched into the drink, etc., YET. I don't really have any experience with rough weather, setting anchor, open sea sailing, engines, electronic navigation systems, etc.

It so happens that I'm going to be in Florida next year at the end of January. I have this crazy idea of buying a seaworthy, ready-to-sail 27 to 34 boat and slowly sailing it up to Maine (arriving April/May?). I'm thinking that there might be some good deals on good boats this winter, and I'm wondering what I would need to do to get my skills where they should be by then, and knowing how to pick out a good boat.

I might try to get some friends or more experienced sailors along for the ride, but I'm willing to sail solo, too. I eagerly await your advice. Thanks, m.s
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Old 17-09-2009, 17:30   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marujo.sortudo View Post
I might try to get some friends or more experienced sailors along for the ride, but I'm willing to sail solo, too. I eagerly await your advice.
1) You likely do not have enough time to find and purchase a boat that will meet your specs. And do you really want to take a boat that you think is OK off shore or would you rather take one you know is OK?

2) Go up the ditch if you get a boat are hell bent on the trip in the short term.
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Old 17-09-2009, 17:40   #3
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I recently shopped for and purchased a 30-foot boat in Florida. My experience was that "good deal" and "ready to sail", generally do not go together.

Most used boats advertised as turn key or ready to cruise, in reality are not. Many have mostly been day sailed and many of the cruise ready aspects have been ignored. There can also be hang ups getting the survey, insurance, etc all lined up. While I think it's possible you may find what you are looking for, I think it's also possibly, most of your cruise time may be taken up finding, purchasing and getting a boat ready.
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Old 17-09-2009, 17:50   #4
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Maren,

I am definitely of the inclination to take a boat that I know is OK. That said, I have a flexible schedule and more time, if necessary. How much time might something like this take to be done properly?

I'm not hell bent and not crazy about taking the ditch, but it sounds like some think it's a good idea to use it to avoid Hatteras, depending on the weather.

Thanks for the tips.


nautical62,

I'd like to hear more about your experience. What kind of timeline do you think is reasonable based on your experience? What kind of rough costs would be involved? The "good deal" isn't a requirement. I was simply thinking that the current economic climate might be putting some good boats on the market.
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Old 17-09-2009, 18:10   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marujo.sortudo View Post
Hi all,

I won't call myself an experienced sailor, but I have been out day-sailing a good number of times, mostly on boats in the 12 to 25 foot range. I haven't been grounded, pitched into the drink, etc., YET. I don't really have any experience with rough weather, setting anchor, open sea sailing, engines, electronic navigation systems, etc.

It so happens that I'm going to be in Florida next year at the end of January. I have this crazy idea of buying a seaworthy, ready-to-sail 27 to 34 boat and slowly sailing it up to Maine (arriving April/May?). I'm thinking that there might be some good deals on good boats this winter, and I'm wondering what I would need to do to get my skills where they should be by then, and knowing how to pick out a good boat.

I might try to get some friends or more experienced sailors along for the ride, but I'm willing to sail solo, too. I eagerly await your advice. Thanks, m.s
Some modifications to make this workable:

1) Buy a good offshore boat that is subject to, and passes, a rigorous survey by a really good surveyor. This automatically excludes bargain deals, project boats, etc. Plan to spend at least $50k, very likely more. on the purchase and initial repairs, upgrades, etc. $100k is probably a better estimate.

2) take the boat over to the Bahamas for at least a month to shake it down and get yourself used to cruising.

3) Hire a captain to get you and the boat up to the Chesapeake, and to teach you about sailing offshore. Take the boat into the Gulf Stream (only when the weather is right) and get yourself checked out on offshore, overnight sailing.

4) Once you are in the Chesapeake, you should be much better prepared to complete the journey to Maine without professional help.

And actually there are some great buys on some nice boats up north right now as owners are selling pre-winter storage. That's an option worth exploring. Since the boat does not have to go offshore, you can spend a lot less.
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Old 18-09-2009, 04:46   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marujo.sortudo View Post
I'm not hell bent and not crazy about taking the ditch, but it sounds like some think it's a good idea to use it to avoid Hatteras, depending on the weather.


You want to know the boat is good but you don’t know much about offshore boats or operating (as opposed to sailing) them. What I mean by operating is all the boat’s systems. Let me just throw out a few simple examples:
Say your boat has radar. If you follow the COLREGS, you are required to use it. Do you know what the steps are? If you chose not to use the radar and end up in a “boating accident”, what is your course of action? How would fault be assigned?

What are the major shipping lanes for the trip?

Say your boat has VHF. One what frequency do you hail other boats? How do you get a bridge to open? How do you turn it on? How long can you leave it running while operating on batter power only? Which of the above is a trick question and what is the answer to the way it should have been asked?

Say your boat has a life raft and mini-B EPRIB. Do you have any idea of how to get one to work? How do you check if they are operational? Is there anything else you should know about them prior to starting off?

You get caught in Northeaster and are 112 mi off of GA, what steps do you take? What gear would you want to have on hand? What possible sail configurations are advisable?
I haven’t mentioned anything about a windvane, gas solenoid, bilge pump, marine toilet, engine, navigation, etc.

The sailing is the easy part, operating the boat is the harder. This is why I don’t think you should go into the open ocean without a good deal of preparation. Speedoo suggests you get an excellent surveyor and buy a boat that surveys well. There are excellent surveyors out there but you have to know who they are. Otherwise you survey will say things like “observed but not tested” or “appears is working condition”. Going off a survey alone is literally betting your life (and any others onboard) on that survey. Nautical62’s experience matches my own in this regard.

As for how much time it would take to get everything in order, it depends on the boat and you. Needless to say, we can't give you an answer.
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Old 18-09-2009, 05:42   #7
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You may try to look for a boat were the PO is willing to deliver. For the 48' ketch I'm currently considering, the PO is offering this. And we are talking about going from Florida to Nova Scotia. My 23 daughter and me will be the additional crew. So we will learn a lot about the boat and will have the confidence to buy a seaworthy one as well.
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Old 19-09-2009, 05:38   #8
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When it comes down to it; assuming you truely are not crazy is that only you can decide whether you have enough experience and knowledge to make the trip.
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Old 19-09-2009, 06:26   #9
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My wife and I didn't quite go as far as you're planning, but we did have limited sailing experience when we bought our Endeavourcat 44. For the first trip I invited a couple of friends who had a lot of sailing experience with us for a week. We took the boat from the west coast of florida to the east coast. I had a quite a bit of inshore and a little offshore experience in powerboats, but only a few multiweek trips on my friend's cat (one of the guys I invited). Rather than trying to bring the boat to NC in the dead of winter we waited until March to bring it north from Melbourne. My wife and I did this alone and stuck in or close to the ICW. If you watch the weather forecasts it's pretty easy to pick your days to go outside and enjoy sailing in a straight line for a while. When the weather was bad we motored up the ditch. It took 10 days and was a wonderful trip. As we gained more experience with the sails up we sailed in in higher and higher winds. If you're doing that it the ditch you will quickly find out how to handle the boat or stick it in the mud. Don't know if I learned quickly or was just lucky but we never stuck it in the mud. On the last day of the trip sailing up the Neuse river in 25 knot winds we were comfortable at 10.5 knots on a double reefed main. We actually went outside on only 3 days. After we got the boat here I spent two years sailing it in various conditions and taking it offshore before taking her back south to the Bahamas, mostly off shore. I think you can do it safely if you don't greatly exceed your skill level(you cant increase it unless you do something you've never done before) and you always leave yourself an escape plan. That would be don't go so far off shore you can't get to sheltered waters in a few hours if things start to go bad with the boat or the weather. By the time you finish the trip your skills should have improved greatly. After that start taking her out in slightly more challenging conditions to improve your skills. If you can find an experienced friend to go with you on those days the skills will improve even faster. Good luck
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Old 19-09-2009, 20:25   #10
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Thanks for the great reality checks and other advice everyone. You've given me many ideas and I will be making my plans more realistic based on your advice.
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Old 01-10-2009, 17:26   #11
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It probably takes a good month or so to go over a new boat and check everything out, fix what's needed (assuming that the entire boat doesn't need an overhaul, just minor repairs) provision her, and decide what equipment you must, need, and choose to carry for your voyage.

The question you need to ask yourself is, is the open ocean really the place you want to find out how much or how little you really know about sailing the craft?
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Old 01-10-2009, 17:36   #12
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DO IT
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Old 01-10-2009, 19:25   #13
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One caveat to speedoo's list (item #4):

Make sure your boat has radar and you're proficient in its use before approaching the new england coast in May.
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