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Old 15-12-2011, 07:00   #46
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Re: Are we crazy? (please be brutally honest)

In my 25 years of sailing one the best trips ever was on a 23' sloop with no motor. Had wife and kid with. Trip lasted 50 days of real sailing experience. We opted on buying a liferaft instead of motor and did the whole 50 day trip on around $500. Granted I did have years of cruising under my belt and abundant mechanical skills. There were glorious times and hard times but together they were priceless.
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Old 15-12-2011, 07:30   #47
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Re: Are we crazy? (please be brutally honest)

Hmm. Perhaps you might want to take the advice of a crewed Caribbean charter first. No loss, no fouling.
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Old 15-12-2011, 07:55   #48
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Re: Are we crazy? (please be brutally honest)

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Originally Posted by rookiemoon View Post
-I've noticed that on Craigslist in Tampa there aren't any shortage of sailboats for sale (and in the water) for $2-3k
-We need to find a cruiser that can handle a trip from Tampa to the Caribbean and stay in 1 piece
-We can afford to budget $1000/month while we are out exploring

What do you experienced sailors think? Is this idea insane or just so crazy it could work?
How long do you want to go for? a few months, 6 months or a few years?

If measured in months then I would go for the OPB suggestion - waive around $500 a month or so (for expenses) and you will get some takers from either those who are potless or those who want a bit of company......it's really a below the radar (aka not legal) charter, the good news is that if you stub your toe can probably take the skipper to the cleaners $$$$ -legally may even end up with a boat.........

Downside is that pot luck on what you get. Boat and Skipper - so I would pay by the week (or month).....and intentionally try out more than one vessel..........if no great voyages intended shouldn't get too many entirely unseaworthy combinations. probably . And you could always self equip with own liferaft, EPIRB, hand held VHF and life jackets - if you later get a bigger boat then all useful to have.


Alternatively go for the camping afloat approach - buy something small (Trailer Sailor sized with a small cuddy) but a seaworthy / stable design (not a bigger Sunfish ) - add a cockpit tent (not cheap but doubles the boat size) and maybe even add a few luxuries ........wait for a nice day before setting off to the Carribean.....and plan your Carribean tour / sailing to ensure that you have a port of refuge when the weather blows up. If you use the boat as a base and spend a lot of time ashore exploring / eating / drinking or simply in the water! then boat won't be so small........can even mix up with nights in Hotels (B&B's?) ashore......just because you have a boat doesn't mean have to stay onboard 24/7.

One thing I would certainly not do (on your budget) is buy a big bag of (someone else's) sh#te .....and then delude self that can be fixed up cheap / quick / within your budget. I would not even get a nice one at half price on your budget (and with your current boat ownership knowledge)...all boats take some outfitting ($$$).....and for use in terms of months rather than years makes no sense (even if you love the trip odds are that will want bigger / better / different anyway).
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Old 15-12-2011, 07:56   #49
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Re: Are we crazy? (please be brutally honest)

C.Forum seems to get these "dreamer" type inquiries every week,and there are always many who say "go for it" and "follow your dreams" ; all noble positions ,but a recipe for disappointment if not disaster. Invariably those inquiring have little experience and no appreciation for all that is involved.
Dreams are wonderful stuff,broken dreams ,less so.Yes, all is possible and that may be the reason the go for it crowd urges the dreamers on,they have their own unrealized dreams too.

No money, no skills, no experience,no fear,no clue...."just go for it" ? Get Real!!!

Some day someone will sail a bathtub across an ocean but there will be thousands of bathtubs rusting on the ocean floor before that happens.

Take the advice of Bash and others here who counsel caution and prudence and in time your dreams can come to fruition as you gain experience and understanding of the realities involved.
You have already started, you have the dream!
Best of luck from all of us fellow dreamers.
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Old 15-12-2011, 12:20   #50
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Re: Are we crazy? (please be brutally honest)

After these comments it seems like buying a small boat near st thomas is going to be the best option for us. We can just use it to sleep on and learn how to sail slowly and take small trips to start. This seems possible.

Another option we will try to pursue is being a crew on a voyage.

We are still relatively young (30) but for now plan on keeping boulder Colorado our permanent home. We'll have kids sometime soon which will take close to all of our time and money) as well so if there is any time to realize this dream the time is now. I understand the cautious approach its just one thats not realistic to a couple people don't have high paying jobs (social worker and cook). We won't buy a boat without a trusted assesment of the boat. Also we don't need a perfect boat because we don't plan on sailing a whole lot with it. Just needs to be safe. From what I've been ready this seems like a dream that could very well be reality. You only live once right? We're determind to make the best of it.
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Old 15-12-2011, 13:00   #51
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Re: Are we crazy? (please be brutally honest)

Since you seem determined...

- here is a 24' in ST Thomas for $5k. Offer a bit less... "24ft. Westwind sloop. Tiller steer. New awlgrip exterior and interior paintjob. Comes with lots of extras; sails, spinnaker pole, hardware, and 2 man kayak among other things. Sleeps four and ready to sail away. Price is negotiable."
24ft Sailboat!!!!!!!

28" Pearson Trident $2500
28' Pearson Trident
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Old 15-12-2011, 13:15   #52
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Re: Are we crazy? (please be brutally honest)

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Originally Posted by rookiemoon View Post
After these comments it seems like buying a small boat near st thomas is going to be the best option for us. We can just use it to sleep on and learn how to sail slowly and take small trips to start. This seems possible.
That certainly should be possible.

How much time have either of you spent on a boat though? Sailing a sunfish is a bit different from living on a boat. It would eat some of your budget, but what if you did an ASA course in the Virgin Islands before buying? This would give you some practical experience and time on the boat experiencing what living on it may be like. One of you might find it doesn't suit you or you get seasick or something like that.

This would give you two things. 1) Instruction, which I think is very important. 2) Time on a boat before you dump money in to one.

The other thing to consider given your time frame is have you thought about what you will do for hurricane season if you decide to extend the cruise?
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Old 15-12-2011, 13:25   #53
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Re: Are we crazy? (please be brutally honest)

A friend of mine did exactly what you are considering on a Catalina 27 and ended up staying for seven years in the BVI doing nothing but sailing and odd jobs. Totally doable if you limit the scope. There is no reason you can't learn to sail a bigger boat in a place that is great to do it. You probably have more skills than you realize.
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Old 15-12-2011, 13:35   #54
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Re: Are we crazy? (please be brutally honest)

YES YES YES....

For god's sake don'y try... One must/should take baby steps BEFORE leaping and running...

You, my friend, haven't even begun to crawl...
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Old 15-12-2011, 16:24   #55
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Go for it....you will get your answer a couple weeks after you do it.

I am serious, don't let life, a "rational" thought wake you from your dream.

The fact touch thought to even ask for advice demonstrates that your not a careless retarded. You'll continue to seek advice and not jisy aimless head into unknown danger.

Good luck, and enjoy your dreams.
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Old 15-12-2011, 16:29   #56
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Re: Are we crazy? (please be brutally honest)

I know that there have been posts on both sides of the see-saw. It really does seem like this could be possible. Things will evolve as plans always do. We are def flying home (Colorado) to pack up our stuff from our rental property and then we don't know what we'll do. Depends how much cash we have left. If we love sailing and love the Caribbean that much we may just fly back there and live for a while longer.

As far as hurricane season goes how do Caribbean cruisers handle this?

The option on the front burner for now would be to try and sell our boat back as early as May or as late as July. Im just thinking that with hurricane season approaching people may be more and more hesitant to buy a used sailboat.

Has anyone else ever tried to sell a "reasonably priced" sailboat in the Caribbean just before or during hurricane season? what was your experience?
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Old 15-12-2011, 16:32   #57
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Re: Are we crazy? (please be brutally honest)

thanks again to those who have contributed and fed our dreams with some fuel. Also thankful for those who think we're insane. It's all helpful
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Old 15-12-2011, 16:41   #58
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Re: Are we crazy? (please be brutally honest)

I think many head further south for hurricane season to get out of the belt (assuming you be in the VI's for the start of your time).

And as far as people saying you are crazy and shouldn't do it - I'd say if you were going to start in Florida, then you definetely shouldn't do it. But if you start in the VI's and spend a lot of time there first getting used to the handling of the boat and learning all you can, then you should be fine. I think you will need some training or at least someone who can do someone who can do some informal training. Some travel will require night sailing and that's probably something you'd want to get some guidance in first.

The other concern is insurance? Are you going to get any? At least liability would be good. I wonder if companies would give you even that with your lack of a resume?
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Old 15-12-2011, 16:48   #59
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Re: Are we crazy? (please be brutally honest)

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Originally Posted by rookiemoon View Post
also since we don't know what we're doing, if we bought a boat to begin with we wouldn't sail it much to start. It's at least a (mobile) roof over our heads if we're in the Caribbean already. We would take our time learning and sail with someone who knows what they're doing.
It costs a lot to keep a boat in one place in the Caribbean: $25 a night moorings in the BVI, 12 Euro to anchor in St.Barth's. Captains start at $300 to $500 a day. Ifyou anchor in remote (free) spots, you'll need a good dinghy, that'll run you a couple of grand. Spend your money on a charter and have the time of your lives ... then come back when you are more prepared.
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Old 15-12-2011, 16:49   #60
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Re: Are we crazy? (please be brutally honest)

Maybe a few professional lessons first would be good. That will get you past a lot of pitfalls that noobs make (often over and over). aside from that, go for it.
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