so I'll throw in my 2 cents - not in the strict order of your questions:
1. I've read many accounts of young cruising couples with newborns. I'm sure there are threads either here or on sailnet.com with guidance on creating a safe environment
2. Your short term cruising plan is likely more affordable as it sounds like you will have an income
source in between cruises. You can go sooner this way as well since you don't have to spend a couple of years building a long-term cruising kitty.
3. Catalinas are great boats, and your plans for cruising close to South America
should enable you to run for cover when necessary. Your annual maintenance
won't occur in a smooth steady stream. You will likely drop $10,000 directly after purchase
(1 or 2 sails
, new head
, batteries, ground tackle, etc), but you may not require another large outlay for th enext couple of years. It isn't hard to imagine spending an average of $5,000 a year on a 34 ft Catalina
. Of course, you can scrimp and have a pretty ratty boat in 3 years.
4. A handheld GPS
($200) and some relatively new (but used) charts
($200) will go along way as far as navigation equipment
. Certainly wouldn't think a radar
is required. A vhf
($400) is required, but not an SSB
5. The sun will do more damage to your boat than the water
. If you have access to a safe moorage, there is no problem with leaving in the water. If you will be travelling out of the country for several months, it may be a good idea to put it on the hard
- and protect it from the sun!