Aknod, you and yours are very ambitious indeed! Firstly, if your experience is limited to boats 40 feet and under, you may find the move up to your proposed size range (50 feet being the median) a little difficult. The forces on the sails
go up almost exponentially with size - even the height of the boom on a 50 footer makes reefing, flaking and putting on a sail cover
considerably more difficult (you will likely not be able to reach over the boom from a standing position).
In addition, your proposed itinerary is quite extensive for a single
year with children
, especially for neophytes - an initial trek virtually the length of the North American Pacific coast to the Panama canal
, then to the Caribbean
and upwind to Florida
. Remember, you have hurricane
season to consider and I would not recommend sailing up the Caribbean chain to Florida at any time from July through November.
Prior to selling off your house etc., you may also wish to consider some weeks of bareboat
chartering with the family on a boat of the size that you are considering purchasing
. It will, of course, be much more idyllic than life aboard in varying conditions for an extended period, but will nevertheless give you some more information on handling a boat of that size (at least in relatively calm conditions) and of potential family problems.
You may also wish to consider purchasing
- probably the easiest way to get the number of staterooms and the amount of privacy that you are seeking. It should also allow you to do it in a smaller (in terms of LOA
and rig) boat and, one that is a much more stable platform. There are a number threads on this site that discuss multi versus mono issues, including an interesting recent post by an experienced monohuller who, because of family issues, is now considering a cat for his next boat (I believe it is called the mono/multi survey
- in any event, it is under the multihull
Regardless of whether you are considering a mono or a cat, have you considered purchasing in Florida? Virtually any model of boat that you may wish to view will be available and, at the moment, prices are very competitive. Indeed, if you have family in Florida and are wishing to cruise the Caribbean for a year, it would make a much more sensible point of departure (and you could spend the hurricane
season in the islands off the coast of Venezuela
- Trinidad, Tobago
, Margarita, Aruba
to name only the largest) and the remaining 7 months for your non-hurricane season runs to and from Florida.
Anyway, just some thoughts. Follow that dream!