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Old 24-07-2007, 10:04   #1
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Going for it... A safe way to proceed?

Hello,

I'm new to the forum (though have been perusing SailNet for some time now). Someone there suggested this site and I'm glad I found it...what a terrific resource.

Here's the quick and dirty... I'm 34 and am ready to get on a boat for 4-6mo/yr (ultimately working towards a f/t cruise). While I've been on boats in various times in my life and feel very comfortable sailing I have very limited practical/instructional experience. I was in the Grenadines this past spring on a 38' cat building time on the water and getting my ASA101. It's a start, but only that.

I am seriously looking into buying a cat to keep in the carib (no charters) and sail as often as work and finances will allow. I have been looking at 38' - 42' cats and am assuming that I will be learning to single hand the boat. I am anticipating having a captain with me until I am safe, confident and comfortable handling the boat on my own.

I'm a person who really jumps into things feet first. I have a burning passion for sailing and the ocean, but having said that...safety is paramount. I think I'm a pretty well rounded, grounded individual (not looking to do anything rash) and certainly looks to do the homework before proceeding on any adventure.

The million dollar question... AM I CRAZY?

Continuing...

I'm trying to get a realistic financial picture as to what this whole venture will cost me. I know there are numerous variables to this question, but trying to get a rough idea so I have a starting point. I'm not a lavish, big spender and can be quite content living a simple life. Still, I'm sure there are plenty of meals/drinks ashore with the occasional entertainment/tour that tend to add up... Here are some monthly basics to start with:

Insurance
Management (when not used)
Repair/maintenance
Upgrades
Cruising budget

...and so forth! Quiet overwhelming for someone new to the whole scene. My personal take is K.I.S.S Being this would be my first boat & p/t cruising experience, there's no reason to get into a boat that's over my head in terms of complexity and cost. Over time I assume I'll step up into bigger and more complex boats, but what I need now more than anything is time of the water...EXPERIENCE.

As we both know all the gadgets in the world can't buy that, so I just need a nice, clean simple cat to log some good mileage in the carib for now. Clearly there are some 'bells and whistles' on my wish list, but those are mostly for safety, nav, comm etc (especially for being singlehanded).

Any ball park you can give me on overall monthly expenses if you assume a debt service of $1500-2000/mo? I think I'd prefer to keep the boat (when not in use) down south ...probably Grenada. I haven't the slightest idea of what to expect in terms of costs for putting it on the hard and related services.

Thanks in advance (sorry for the long post)!
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Old 24-07-2007, 10:52   #2
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Marinas in Grenada:

Clarkes Court Bay Marina ~ St. George
Tel: 473 439-2593
Fax: 473 439-3243
Email: office@clarkescourtbaymarina.com
Web: Clarkes Court Bay Marina, Grenada

Grenada Yacht Club ~ St. George
Tel: 473 440-3050/6826
Fax: 473 440-3050/6826
Email: gyc@caribsurf.com
Web: The Grenada Yacht Club

Grenada Marine ~ St. Davidís Bay
Tel: 473 443-1667
Fax: 473 443-1667
Email: info@grenadamarine.com
Web: Welcome to grenadamarine.com | Full Service Boatyard in the Southern Caribbean

Horizon Yacht Charters ~ St. George
Tel: 473 439-1000
Fax: 473 439-1000
Email: horizonyachts@caribsurf.com
Web: True Blue - Resort Homepage

Martin's Marina (former Moorings base) ~ St. George
Tel: 473 444-4449
Fax: 473 444-2090
Email: martinsmarina@caribsurf.com

Prickly Bay Marina ~ St. George
Tel: 473 439 5265
Email: pricklybaymarina@spiceisle.com

Spice Island Marine Services Co. Ltd ~ St. George
Tel: 473 444-4342 / 4257
Fax: 473 444-4342 / 4257
Email: simsco@caribsurf.com
Web: Spice Island Marine Services Co. - Full Service Boatyard - Grenada, West Indies

Tyrrel Bay Haulout ~ Carriacou
Tel: 473 443-8175
Fax: 473 443-8175
Email: tbyh@usa.net
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Old 24-07-2007, 14:48   #3
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Impossible to answer, really . . .

Allow me to address some of your post by inserting my thoughts in the relevant sections.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cbcat
Hello,

I'm new to the forum (though have been perusing SailNet for some time now). Someone there suggested this site and I'm glad I found it...what a terrific resource.

Welcome to the Forum, cb!

Here's the quick and dirty... I'm 34 and am ready to get on a boat for 4-6mo/yr (ultimately working towards a f/t cruise). While I've been on boats in various times in my life and feel very comfortable sailing I have very limited practical/instructional experience. I was in the Grenadines this past spring on a 38' cat building time on the water and getting my ASA101. It's a start, but only that.

I am seriously looking into buying a cat to keep in the carib (no charters) and sail as often as work and finances will allow. I have been looking at 38' - 42' cats and am assuming that I will be learning to single hand the boat. I am anticipating having a captain with me until I am safe, confident and comfortable handling the boat on my own.

Is there a reason you feel you need such a large vessel? Granted, a 38-42' catamaran will be comfortable at anchor or docked, and you can entertain platoons of friends, but is that what you intend? If not, I'd suggest you will find singlehanding such a large vessel quite a handful, even for a very experienced sailor. If you anticipate having additional crew with you on passages, then it's probably not a problem, and if you think you would like to take it out of the Caribe into the South Pacific or across the Atlantic into the Med, for example, then the extra size will be a benefit - IF you have the additional experienced crew aboard to make such passages safer.

I'm a person who really jumps into things feet first. I have a burning passion for sailing and the ocean, but having said that...safety is paramount. I think I'm a pretty well rounded, grounded individual (not looking to do anything rash) and certainly looks to do the homework before proceeding on any adventure.

The million dollar question... AM I CRAZY?

Continuing...

I'm trying to get a realistic financial picture as to what this whole venture will cost me. I know there are numerous variables to this question, but trying to get a rough idea so I have a starting point. I'm not a lavish, big spender and can be quite content living a simple life. Still, I'm sure there are plenty of meals/drinks ashore with the occasional entertainment/tour that tend to add up... Here are some monthly basics to start with:

Insurance
Management (when not used)
Repair/maintenance
Upgrades
Cruising budget

...and so forth! Quiet overwhelming for someone new to the whole scene. My personal take is K.I.S.S Being this would be my first boat & p/t cruising experience, there's no reason to get into a boat that's over my head in terms of complexity and cost. Over time I assume I'll step up into bigger and more complex boats, but what I need now more than anything is time of the water...EXPERIENCE.

I respectfully submit, cb, that a cat the size you're contemplating will not be "simple." Among other considerations, insurance could prove problematic, given your lack of experience owning any vessel of similar size and complexity, as well as your intent to keep it in the Caribbean. Insurance companies will want to know what arrangements you've made to protect the vessel when you're a couple of thousand miles away and a hurricane is bearing down. They will need to know who you have made arrangements with locally to attend to the boat's safety, and what that person's experience and qualifications are.

Look at it from the insurer's point of view - you're asking them to get on the hook for something valued at, probably, $200k to $400k (used), and multiples of that (new), owned by someone with limited experience, and kept in an area of the world where severe weather can be expected for six months every year.

There is much wisdom in the old saying, "Little boats, little problems; big boats, big problems." The number of $ signs involved with buying, maintaining and insuring vessels is proportionate to size and complexity, as well. I like to quote James Baldwin whenever someone asks how much it will cost. "As much as you've got," he says.

As we both know all the gadgets in the world can't buy that, so I just need a nice, clean simple cat to log some good mileage in the carib for now. Clearly there are some 'bells and whistles' on my wish list, but those are mostly for safety, nav, comm etc (especially for being singlehanded).

Any ball park you can give me on overall monthly expenses if you assume a debt service of $1500-2000/mo? I think I'd prefer to keep the boat (when not in use) down south ...probably Grenada. I haven't the slightest idea of what to expect in terms of costs for putting it on the hard and related services.

Thanks in advance (sorry for the long post)!
Best of luck to you in your quest, cb.

TaoJones
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Old 24-07-2007, 15:29   #4
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Hi Tao,

Thanks for the feedback...all very helpful, especially given my lack of experience. I certainly don't need a 40' + cat, but see the advantages of speed, stability and comfort as something to consider. That being said, I don't want to get into something that is simply too difficult to handle AND as a result place myself in an unsafe situation.

I still feel that with enough experience (with time under a captain/instructor) I can learn to safely single hand a 40' cat. The 38' cat felt very comfortable and easy to handle (granted I wasn't doing a huge passage and didn't sail into any horrific weather). I should clarify that by KISS, I'm not implying that size of a cat is simple, but rather I should look for a boat that is clean and simple in its design and usability.

Getting ahead of myself for just a second, are there any specific cats that you'd suggest I'd look into? I'm planning on going to FL next month to just look first hand and see what I'm dealing with to better educate myself in the process of buying a boat.

Insurance is serious issue to be examined and you make a very good point from the perspective of the insurance company. I would think that I'm not the first person in such a position looking for coverage? As for hurricane season how do these companies view Graneda or Trinidad for putting on the hard?

Bigger = $$$ in more way than one, and I'd rather have the cash in pocket to spend on the associated costs then blowing the majority of it on the boat itself.

Thanks again. Please keep them coming!

ps: Thanks GordMay for all the info!
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Old 24-07-2007, 15:44   #5
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Why dont you build?

I am building a 40ft trimaran out of aluminium.
I had professionals build the shell and I am fitting it out (with some help)
The Trimaran is much cheaper to build than a 40 ft cat and having it built like I am, is a lot cheaper than buying a production boat or a second hand boat with all the problems.
Some details are posted under Crusiersforum/multihulls/beau boat
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Old 24-07-2007, 16:23   #6
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I'm going to suggest that you solicit the views of Dave (maxingout), Captain Bil (s/v Makai), George (Sunspot Baby), and SurfNRG for their views on their own cats, as well as getting their excellent, first-hand advice on sailing cats in the size range you're contemplating. If you do a search through this site, you will find their posts most informative.

I don't disagree that you can gain a level of comfort by getting instruction from a competent sailor aboard a 38-42' cat, but I think it's a bit akin to the comfort a student pilot feels when he's flying with his instructor in the other seat. When the instructor tells the fledgling to drop him off back at the school, and go out and do three touch-and-goes solo, that feeling of comfort generally leaves with the instructor.

It isn't that raising and correctly setting the sails unassisted is all that difficult. There is hoisting anchor (alone) while trying to keep the vessel under control; wishing you had another pair of eyes to keep a sharp watch for coral heads while you attempt to steer through them in poor sun conditions; wishing someone with a real brain (not the autohelm) could take command while you go below to take a dump, or get something to eat or drink, or consult the chart, etc.; motoring into a crowded marina in a vessel that feels like an aircraft carrier when you're trying to tie up under conditions of adverse wind and/or current; wishing someone were aboard when you have to go over the side to try to dislodge the line, or net, or plastic bag that's fouled one of your props. In my view, sailing the vessel is actually the easiest task.

Don't get me wrong, it has been done before, and someone with your ability to single-mindedly focus on mastering the problem can certainly learn to do it. I was surprised, after many years on the water sailing in company with at least one other person, how difficult I found singlehanding when my circumstances changed, and going it alone was my only option.

I'm going to send you a PM, cb, detailing one particular vessel you might (or might not) want to check out when you go to Florida.

TaoJones
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Old 24-07-2007, 16:47   #7
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Thanks again Tao

Once again all the points you mention are serious onces for me to think about. True enough, anyone can learn to raise and trim a sail... it's all those times where just one extra person makes all the difference.

I'll look to contact the members you mention above (or if you guys/gals are reading this, please feel free to post of PM me).

ps: Funny you should mention the solo example. I have about 40hrs towards my SEL in a 172. While that moment where the instructor stepped out was a bit daunting... when it came down to it both he and I knew I was ready. 3 nice landings! One of the best experiences of my life
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