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Old 06-01-2016, 06:11   #1
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Sabbatical Question

Wife and I are planning a +/- 1 year sabbatical roughly 3-4 years from now. We are currently in RI and would like to end up in FL at the conclusion. I like to sail, wife not as much but coming around. Fairly experienced cruisers. In an ideal world we would buy a large sailing cat but not sure we will be able to swing financially by then. Our current boat is a 34' twin engine(gas) quality powerboat that we are very comfortable on. Our thoughts are to head to the Bahamas and continue south from there. Our current boat works very well for us now as our time is limited with kids in sports and careers(20+ knot cruise when needed). We would need some upgrades I think to be comfortable and this is money we would never get back out. We do not have A/C though I am not sure that is a big deal. Autopilot and Watermaker would be the big upgrades, we have solar and inverter already. So I am torn, is our boat suitable(not ideal I understand) for this trip with a +/-300 mile range? Would we be better off just selling when the time comes and buying a suitable monohull sailboat? Would it make sense to get what we have ready over the next couple years? I have listed pros and cons below as I see them, any input welcome


Paid for
Very Comfortable
Ability to run at 24 knots if needed
Very familiar
Reliable and known to me
Walk around queen and stall shower
Ability to run slow and reasonable economy
Can work on getting ready now


Fuel, Fuel, Fuel
Potential large cost if engine issues
Have to be more careful with weather

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Old 06-01-2016, 06:43   #2
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Re: Sabbatical Question

Hi Ocean State and welcome to the forum.

If you like the boat then, with a few considerations, it would do the job. First, the 300 mile range would not be an issue. I looked at taking a small powerboat down island once and I figured out a route that would get me to the Caribbean with pretty short hops. If I recall the longest leg under 150 miles depending on which way you want to go. Basically the options are eastern and western Caribbean IE the islands from the Virgin Islands on down or Mexico and Central America.

Avoiding a few hot spots might make a couple of the legs a little longer now but still with some care in planning 300 miles would work with a reasonable reserve range. Make sure you verify that your calculated range is valid in open water, waves and head winds, not just in calm water and figure in places you could have a knot or two current against you.

If you head to the eastern Caribbean power offers some benefits. By sail you have 1000 miles dead against the wind. Power, assuming the wind and waves are moderate enough for you and the boat, going upwind doesn't really matter. This does bring up the issue of weather. Winter the Caribbean trade winds can be boisterous and blow consistently for weeks. Depending on where you are in the trip, how well you and your boat handle the waves and the impact on your cruising range you could have to hang at one spot for days or even weeks waiting for a day calm enough to make the next leg.

Then there's fuel, fuel, fuel. It can be expensive in places so could be a significant factor in your cruising budget but on the other hand, how much would you spend buying and outfitting a sailboat? Also you mention engines. If you blow an engine down island it could be expensive. Part of the decision would be to do a very careful evaluation of the condition of the engines and if they have plenty of service life left to make the trip.

I currently own a sailboat but have owned several power boats and cruised the islands in both, although not past the central Bahamas in power. The power boat was really fun and the ability to crank up and get there fast added to the fun. Sail on the other hand is magical when you turn off the engine and have nothing but the wind driving the boat. With sail it is as much the journey as the destination.

Either way, it will be fun.

The water is always bluer on the other side of the ocean.
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Old 06-01-2016, 07:08   #3
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Re: Sabbatical Question

...Very familiar Reliable and known to me...

I don't know much about power boats - I'm sure you'll hear from someone who does - but having swapped a sailboat for a better/more suitable vessel less than a year before crossing an ocean, the thing I most regretted was losing that familiarity which we'd earned over the preceding eight years of coastal cruising. If you like the boat and it's seaworthy/acceptable for your plans, then I'd advise sticking with what you have and know; all the other stuff's just a bonus.
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Old 11-01-2016, 08:01   #4
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Re: Sabbatical Question

Thanks for the input!
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Old 11-01-2016, 08:44   #5
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Re: Sabbatical Question

nice looking power boat.. she'll be rolly out there, like any other boat.
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Old 11-01-2016, 14:29   #6
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Re: Sabbatical Question

Something else to consider that I did not: it was REALLY hard for me to return to the working world after my cruising sabbatical. This never crossed my mind before leaving, I just thought I would hop right back in.

In fact, I never effectively accomplished reentry. I tried for about a year, never really got back up to speed (because my level of interest and thus motivation were gone)...then I fired myself for poor performance...and left never to return...its good to be the boss.
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Old 11-01-2016, 14:38   #7
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Re: Sabbatical Question

Welcome to CF!

Originally Posted by oceanstate View Post
We are currently in RI and would like to end up in FL at the conclusion. // Autopilot and Watermaker would be the big upgrades,
Not sure why you would need a watermaker?

I don't know enough about powerboats to really say anything useful, sorry.

To avoid the fuel, fuel, fuel issue (and not be powerless when engines fail ) I'd opt for a sailing boat, but if your wife doesn't like sailing that may not be an option for you.
She might also be less comfortable sailing a sailboat alone should you become sick, while she can probably already handle your current boat.
"Il faut ętre toujours ivre." - Charles Baudelaire
Dutch ♀ Liveaboard, sharing an Ohlson 29 with a feline.
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Old 11-01-2016, 22:23   #8
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Re: Sabbatical Question

I'd go on your present vessel. I agree with Lizzy belle, since you have a 300mile range you will be stopping for fuel and can fill up on water. We are just finishing up a year plus sabbatical ( cut short due to failing health of my father). We carried about a 100 gallons of water. Though we easily have a 4 month supply of food. Aboard, we stopped for provisions and water about every two weeks on average . Lots of power boats cruising the Bahamas. The shallow draft allows you to get up and tuck in a nice calm spot.
Have fun, we are Rain Dog, hope to see you out there.

Mrs. Rain Dog~Ocean Girl
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