So we have been coastal cruising for a long time. We are over the next few years planning to retire and transition to a more full time cruising lifestyle. Currently situated West Coast
. Our Catalina
34 is a lovely boat, but not the one we are going to use for the next stage.
Thought process goes like this.
We (mostly me) are handy on boat systems - sewn main, spin, bimini
, upholstery, series drogue
. Installed water
maker maker, SSB
, re-rigged, repowered, integrated new electronics
etc. Basically everything on a boat short of large structural fibreglass repair is within the comfort zone.
We are leaning towards centre cockpit
monos in the mid 40 foot range. I would tend towards an Amel Santorin. My wife loves the Beneteau
44 CC. We aren't looking for a project
boat, but the budget
will mean we are probably doing some refit
work. Need to stay under 200k ready to go. The boat is not really the issue, there are lots of nice boats worldwide.
The larger question isn't what kind of boat, but actually where do we start from? We've have cruised down to Mexico
and would do it again in a heartbeat. But we don't necessarily want to start from the west coast
of the Americas. It seems the Med is tricky to get into. Maybe it's the best place to start from? A few years in the Med until we grow tired of Roman ruins. Head
across until rum
drums grow weary. Then maybe through the ditch and into the Pacific. Maybe sell the boat in NZ after a decade or maybe bring it back to Canada
. We don't feel we have to circumnavigate or prove anything. We just like to explore.
It's easy to refit
a boat at home. We know the yards, the vendors etc. My question is how difficult (and expensive) is this to do in the Med? Obviously there is a large boating
infrastructure, but is it easy to tap into? Are there yards where you can do your own work? Or do you have pay 100 Euros an hour to have someone install your new thru hulls? Is it easy to import
things? Are taxes
obscene or merely egregious? Which counties are best to do boat work in? We speak English
with poor French and a mere touch of Spanish - is that a major handicap? We would need 3 to 6 months to get a boat ready.
Economically, this works better if we pull the plug
and go and keep our place rented out rather than flying back and forth to Canada and keeping, cars, cell phones, insurance
policies and all the other land based expenses that drain bank accounts. Sailing season in the Med is what April to October? What to do in the winter? Are there nice affordable marinas
in South of Spain
or wherever where it is possible to tie up for a few months and live aboard or use as a base for inland travels? Is winter in North Africa
pleasant and safe? Where?
Finally we will continue working for a few more years. If we were to keep a boat here we would do some extended summer cruises to Alaska
and west coast of Vancouver Island over the next few years. Is a similar summer holiday approach viable in the Med? i.e. would owning a boat in the Med and using it for 4 to 6 weeks in the summer be much more expensive than owning a boat here where my marina bill runs about $7k a year? Or do the costs run 2x + airfares?
Sorry for the long post. Just trying to figure out our next move. We sold the big house and bought the little town home. Next step is sell the little boat and buy the big boat, but it is not yet obvious where...
Any thoughts appreciated (well most thoughts, just not the ones where people tell me to go take sailing lessons
and avoid buying
Beneteaus). Many thanks.