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Old 14-12-2011, 16:18   #1
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Are we crazy? (please be brutally honest)

I've been hooked on this forum ever since my wife and I have been trying to plan an extended stay in Caribbean for our honeymoon. We both want this trip to be as much of an adventure/learning/bonding experience as possible. We love the idea of island hopping with a roof over our head. But are we realistic is my question to you gracious readers.

Here is the scenario in detail:

-We have no real sailing experience to speak of(I can sail a sunfish on a small lake with ease ).
-We don't have much mechanical repair skills to speak of.
-My Grandparents spent 20 years living on and off of their sailboat, live in Tampa, FL and could teach us (though I want to ask your advice before I hit them with our bold plans)
-We have a budget of $5-$6k for purchase and initial repair of a sail boat with a sleeper cabin
-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?

P.S. Another hypothetical option would be to buy a sailboat in the Caribbean if it would be more realistic and cost effective. Then however we would be passing up the wealth of knowledge my grandparents have to offer on the subject...

Thanks in advance for any opinions you share
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Old 14-12-2011, 16:29   #2
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Re: Are we crazy? (please be brutally honest)

yes. yes. yes.
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Old 14-12-2011, 16:45   #3
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Re: Are we crazy? (please be brutally honest)

Yes, it sounds crazy to the traditional folks, but totally do-able. Depends on how comfortable you want to be on the boat, and what kind of weather you will be sailing in. Ultimately regardless, it will be your decision. Asking such a wide open query you will likely get a million and one answers. We dreamt, we came up with a plan, we shopped, and I think it was the fourth or fifth boat that we saw, we bought. We learned how to sail between the sea trial and the local (Tampa) yacht club that races. Also, remember, you will always come accross some new experience no matter who you learn from...be open minded and make the best decision you can for YOU. Happy sailing!
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Old 14-12-2011, 16:51   #4
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Re: Are we crazy? (please be brutally honest)

Crazy if you bought a boat and left tomorrow. Not so much if you spent some time with the Grandparents. A lot also depends on your confidence.

Our first Charter a few years ago we chartered a 47' Cat. Lots of people thought I was crazy since it had been probably 10 years since I had really sailed and the largest boat prior was a 27' mono. But I knew my ability, wasn't concerned and had a great trip and many more since.

I'd think the bigger issue might be the cost. While you may find a boat at that price point, I'm not sure it will be ready for a voyage like that, although others could speak better to that.

How much time are you planning on spending out there? There may be other options that may not involve your buying a boat.
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Old 14-12-2011, 17:13   #5
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- no sailing experience
- no mechanical skills
- $5,000 for a boat
- $1,000 a month cruising budget

You need a lot more of 1 and 2 or a lot more of 3 and 4.

Go find the thread titled "cruising on $500 a month" and read the whole darn thing. All 15-20 pages. Careefully. Then ask some questions.
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Old 14-12-2011, 17:20   #6
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Re: Are we crazy? (please be brutally honest)

Crazy!NO___Dreamers!Yes___ but many a great adventure has been started with a dream. Your idea of starting in Florida in a 3 or 4 thousand dollar boat, and beating to windward to the Islands is borderline insanity,but your idea of buying in the Islands and cruising there is doable . There are many small boats available in all different price ranges. St Thomas is the logical place for Americans to buy a boat, but I would not recommend starting there since your first passage would normally be dead up wind. Buying somewhere in the middle of the chain would mean you could do your learning curve reaching(normally) between Islands. Most of the Islands are English speaking, but look in the French Island also, since the French tend to cruise in much smaller boats than Americans do ,so you might find a better equipped small boat. See how much advice and training you can get from the Grandparents, but consider taking a keel boat course from a good sailing school. Learn proper anchoring since more boats are lost to poor anchoring than are lost to poor sailing.I started cruising in a 26 footer, and ended up doing almost 9000 miles in it. ___LOVED IT. The very best of luck to you.___Grant.
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Old 14-12-2011, 17:25   #7
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Re: Are we crazy? (please be brutally honest)

Extended cruise on a $5000 boat Good way to test a new marriage
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Old 14-12-2011, 17:26   #8
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Re: Are we crazy? (please be brutally honest)

15-20 pages? It is 161 pages on my system...

But it is worth reading it, and I would recommend cutting monthly costs and spending a little more if they are serious.

Although there is a question of what will they do with the boat after the trip?

I would recommend this book about a couple who did something similar to the South Pacific: http://www.byjanna.com
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Old 14-12-2011, 17:31   #9
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Re: Are we crazy? (please be brutally honest)

Quote:
Originally Posted by gjordan View Post

Consider taking a keel boat course from a good sailing school.

Learn proper anchoring since more boats are lost to poor anchoring than are lost to poor sailing.

_Grant.
Can't overemphasize this.

I agree totally Grant this the experience I have seen.

If include boats in marinas not in mangroves during hurricane/cyclone then this would be overwhelming for loss of vessel.
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Old 14-12-2011, 17:35   #10
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Re: Are we crazy? (please be brutally honest)

Ditto the other posts. Your dream is romantic but ambitious for a couple with no experience. Talk to the grandparents about their experiences.
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Old 14-12-2011, 17:38   #11
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Re: Are we crazy? (please be brutally honest)

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Extended cruise on a $5000 boat Good way to test a new marriage
More likely a good way to end it
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Old 14-12-2011, 17:43   #12
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Re: Are we crazy? (please be brutally honest)

Getting some great feedback here! We are certainly resilient, which we know we would need to be, in order to pull something like this off. We don't make much money at our jobs so who know how to stretch a dollar and enjoy free entertainment. We have just enough money each month to pay all of our bills so if this is something wild we could pull off we have to strike while the opportunity is there. Good, bad or ugly at times, cruising would be an experience that would last us a lifetime.

We have airline tickets flying in and out of Puerto Rico from the beginning of March to mid July. After that we'll need to figure out what to do back home since we wont have our friends living in our rental back home after July. We have enough to afford the budget I spoke of but only for a year or so.

We may just want to sell it and come back home in July. We may also want to go check out New Zealand for about the same length of after July. Which we may try to get another sailboat there and do the same thing we did in the Caribbean.

I'm thinking more about the option of buying a boat once we get down to the Virgin Island region of the Caribbean. Thanks gjordan for a little more insight into the islands and what to be weary of. I spent a day reading about anchoring and will definitely make sure we take our time and do it right. Thanks again for the input people!
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Old 14-12-2011, 17:50   #13
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Re: Are we crazy? (please be brutally honest)

I think it would be a good idea to cruise OPB (other people's boats) There is no lack of people who have boats that need crew. Many of these are older men and couples who can't find people to join them on their dream trip. Sometimes they can't find crew for a good reason sometimes not. Find a "choke point" a place where lots of boats pass thru on their way to different places. An obvious example is the Panama Canal. From there bring a handheld VHF radio and try to get "in" with the cruisers. I managed to do this when I graduated from college in La Paz, Mexico (another good choke point) and sailed with one boat from Mazatlan to Tahiti and then on another boat from Tahiti to Sidney, Australia. It is a good way to learn and you never know what you might find along the way.
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Old 14-12-2011, 17:51   #14
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Re: Are we crazy? (please be brutally honest)

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.
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Old 14-12-2011, 17:54   #15
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Re: Are we crazy? (please be brutally honest)

Thanks Charlie! Interesting option to consider...
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