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Old 12-12-2011, 17:31   #1
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I Need Some Help !

i am planning a voyage from the florida panhandle to the carribean, i have a few questions i need answered. first i plan to buy a 28-35 ft monohull sailboat. will this be big enough to accomodate two adults and a child for 2-3 months? also what time of year would be ideal for this trip. i have 3 years to put this plan into action, i have recently purchased a hobie cat to learn the basics of sailing, i plan to purchase the big boat as soon as i find the right one, in my price range, i plan on taking several trips to the gulf to fine tune our sailing skills. heres a list of my goals before we embark.

buy boat and get her sea worthy
hone my sailing skills on local lakes and the gulf of mexico
set my itenerary
stock vessel with provisions and supplies
sail away

give me some advice, tips and pointers, Thanks a million!
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Old 12-12-2011, 19:04   #2
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Go small, go simple but go soon

Yes, a 28 to 32 footer would be a wonderful size for your voyaging plan. it is also affordable. Problem is, everyone will try to convince you to buy something larger. But if you try to buy larger, you might find yourself delaying the adventure until your youngster grows into those teen years when it is harder to break away, or you might have to skimp on quality. We spent a lot of wonderful years cruising on first a 24 footer, then a 29 footer. We started cruising back in 1968 when 30 feet was considered a large boat, since then it seems people want bigger boats. (You notice I say want, not need.) During our voyage through the Pacific two years ago, we met several couples and two families making long passages on boats under 34 feet. Two were in 27 footers. So stick to your plan, it's a good one.

As for ideal time, Late October to avoid Hurricanes but hopefully before winter gales set in. But, we have had pretty good weather when we delivered boats through that area in December and also in April.

Enjoy the learning process. Sailing is the key to wonderful new horizons.
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Old 12-12-2011, 19:14   #3
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Re: I need some help!

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Originally Posted by c2damofoj View Post
i have recently purchased a hobie cat to learn the basics of sailing, i plan to purchase the big boat as soon as i find the right one, in my price range, i plan on taking several trips to the gulf to fine tune our sailing skills.
Good plan. Too many people purchase the big boat first, and decide they'll learn to sail later. Almost every lesson the beach cat will teach you will be transferable to a keelboat as long as you remember not to drive the keelboat up onto the beach.

I agree with Lin that timing your voyage to the end of hurricane season gives you the best sailing window.
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Old 12-12-2011, 19:28   #4
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Re: I need some help!

Seems like you have a pretty good plan. Regarding boat size, it is to a great degree a matter of personal preference, budget and the age of your offspring.

For some 28' would be great, others would find 38' cramped. I met two couples cruising on a 27' boat and had a friend who thought a 41' was small for himself and his wife. Then depending on the age of your child you may want to chose a boat that will give two separate and secure sleeping areas. Having their own personal space can be important as kids get a bit older.

Learning sailing technique on a Hobie is a great idea. With a small, light boat like the Hobie you will get instant feedback on the results of any sail trim or adjustments you make. Much harder to see on a larger boat.

Good luck.

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Old 12-12-2011, 19:30   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by c2damofoj
i am planning a voyage from the florida panhandle to the carribean, i have a few questions i need answered. first i plan to buy a 28-35 ft monohull sailboat. will this be big enough to accomodate two adults and a child for 2-3 months? also what time of year would be ideal for this trip. i have 3 years to put this plan into action, i have recently purchased a hobie cat to learn the basics of sailing, i plan to purchase the big boat as soon as i find the right one, in my price range, i plan on taking several trips to the gulf to fine tune our sailing skills. heres a list of my goals before we embark.

buy boat and get her sea worthy
hone my sailing skills on local lakes and the gulf of mexico
set my itenerary
stock vessel with provisions and supplies
sail away

give me some advice, tips and pointers, Thanks a million!
Great plan! Have at it!

Only one caveat. Now old/big will the child be in 3 years? A single cabin + salon berth arrangement may not be suitable. Two cabins, even if small would be a priority for me.
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Old 12-12-2011, 19:33   #6
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Re: I need some help!

Have you considered going to the USVI and chartering a boat with a training captain on board? Thus you can have your adventure in the Carribean and develop your sailing skills under a watchful eye...
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Old 12-12-2011, 19:40   #7
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Re: I need some help!

As to when.... Late October can be a buster if the cold fronts have started down. I have sailed the West Coast of Florida for 30 years; I’ve seen a mill-pond turn into a maelstrom in 6 hours with a passing cold front... THAT SAID, weather forecasting is pretty good for the fronts, as it is for the hurricanes. IF you watch your weather and learn to interpret what is going on (the talking heads don’t always get the marine forecast right), you are fine traveling anywhere in Florida any time of the year. I always plan a good hidey-hole location about 3 days travel apart... somewhere to hide from the ugly! (Before the flames start, I admit to being a fair weather sailor)
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Old 12-12-2011, 21:17   #8
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One more thought

If you want this to work really well, get a small sailing dinghy or kayak for your child as soon as they are able to handle a set of oars (paddles). Our five year old adopted grand daughter really likes feeling she is in charge of the dinghy and can go off on her own a bit. I've seen youngsters at age 5 roaming the anchorage in a kayak or sailing around having a great time and feeling like captain of their own ship. If the youngster loves boating, and if they can get away from their parents and off on their own occasionally, having a truly separate space on the boat will not be nearly as important. (Don't like to mention books we wrote here, but you can read about and see several cruising youngsters in their kayaks in Capable Cruiser.)

As to private space, youngsters we've met learn to cope with having a special bunk and storage area they can screen off with a curtain. Sure a separate cabin would be wonderful - but the curtain in a quarterberth can do the trick.
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Old 12-12-2011, 21:25   #9
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Re: I need some help!

Sail the heck out of the hobie for 6 months or so , and peddle it and buy a low cost trailerable cabin boat that you and your family can stay overnight on(not just in marinas) and learn what you need or prefer to be comfortable in a boat. The lessons that you learn on the smaller boats will save you money and grief when you choose your cruising boat. The more you know, the better your choice will be. 28 to 35 feet is realistic depending on your budget. A well built 30 /32 footer will be preferable to a poorly built(and equipped)35 footer. And remember that the cheapest insurance you can have is oversize ground tackle. The very best of luck to you______Grant.
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Old 13-12-2011, 05:27   #10
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Re: I need some help!

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, c2damofoj.
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Old 13-12-2011, 06:25   #11
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Re: I need some help!

Sounds like a reasonable plan - how it goes depends on what you end with having bought.........

Good move on the beach cat / smaller sailing boat.
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Old 13-12-2011, 06:42   #12
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Re: I need some help!

Here's a decent account of a couple that went from Boston to the Bahama's on a 28' Cal. The story should give you a feel for longer voyages on a smaller vessel. Start at the bottom and work your way up for the entire story.

Travel Outward » Bumbre
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Old 13-12-2011, 07:38   #13
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Re: I need some help!

Wow! thank you for all the info, my daughter will be 9 or 10 at the time of the trip, i definatly want her to be capable to sail the boat alone just in case her mother and myself went overboard, knocked out by the boom or whatever. i have heard to look for a freshwater boat, as they have less harm done to the hulls from salt water, is this true, seems like miami craigslist has hundreds more boats than any landlocked state. someone please let me know how hard, and expensive it is to lower a mast for transport and then remast for sailing. its a concept i have never grasped.
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Old 13-12-2011, 07:58   #14
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Re: I need some help!

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Originally Posted by c2damofoj View Post
I have heard to look for a freshwater boat, as they have less harm done to the hulls from salt water, is this true, seems like miami craigslist has hundreds more boats than any landlocked state. someone please let me know how hard, and expensive it is to lower a mast for transport and then remast for sailing. its a concept i have never grasped.
Good choice on size, at 31ft Viv and I manage well with a 40kg labradoodle which is about the same size as a child and can easily take up a single berth. In 31 feet we have two cabins plus the main area which works well.

Not convinced about the freshwater or salt idea. A bad owner can wreck a vessel far more, so really is a case of viewing each one and after a couple you get the idea of cared for and neglected. Find one which has been lovingly looked after and you are half way there.

Forget lowering the mast on your own at this size, you need a boat yard and a crane and pay to do it safely. The mast is heavy and there are lots of expensive fittings on it that would easily break in an instant if it goes wrong. The good news is boatyards do this daily for a living so its quite routine stuff for them. Also it doesn't need to come down often, ours only came down for new rigging, the first time in 11 years.

Good luck with the search, take your time as it will be a buyers market for a few years yet.

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Old 13-12-2011, 09:45   #15
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Re: I need some help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by c2damofoj View Post
i am planning a voyage from the florida panhandle to the carribean, i have a few questions i need answered. first i plan to buy a 28-35 ft monohull sailboat. will this be big enough to accomodate two adults and a child for 2-3 months? also what time of year would be ideal for this trip. i have 3 years to put this plan into action, i have recently purchased a hobie cat to learn the basics of sailing, i plan to purchase the big boat as soon as i find the right one, in my price range, i plan on taking several trips to the gulf to fine tune our sailing skills. heres a list of my goals before we embark.

buy boat and get her sea worthy
hone my sailing skills on local lakes and the gulf of mexico
set my itenerary
stock vessel with provisions and supplies
sail away

give me some advice, tips and pointers, Thanks a million!
How old is the child currently?
Is there a potential for a 2nd child to appear?
2-3mo would get you to the Caribbean. Then what? Sell the boat and fly home? A round trip is possible in 2-3mo but you don't get to see much or sit still very often.
What is the budget? Keep in mind that the budget encompasses 3 major items: Boat, outfitting, cruising costs.

With a 3yr horizon I would buy the boat within the next 12mo, 6mo would be better unless you buy a turnkey boat, all ready to go, but that will put you in a much higher budget range.
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