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Old 15-12-2010, 08:20   #1
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Location: Northeast
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Seeking Stories / Advice for a Novel; Cruising Down to DR

Former weekend sailor--but it's been a few years. Used to teach sailing & windsurfing to kids for a few summers; went on a week cruise in BVI with my family; crewed on some races; and sailed quite a few times on Maine windjammer cruises (really loved that).

Now I'm really into writing. It's mostly a hobby, and I just post on the internet. Maybe someday someone will publish me, but I'm not holding my breath. I have readers, maybe even fans, and I'm enjoying doing it.

Please note that I'm not advocating or considering breaking the law myself. But my characters will be, and that's where the fun is. If this post is inappropriate, please feel free to delete.

I'm writing a story right now where my characters are running from the law. And because I like to write what I know, I'd like to have them buy a cruising boat and sail from NC (near Raleigh, so Wilmington, Myrtle Beach SC, Norfolk VA, etc.) down to the Caribbean, eventually ending up in the Dominican Republic, as a place where I think they can hide pretty well (maybe even find alternate identities) and live off their somewhat limited funds.

I picked the DR because of the cost of living--if I'm wrong that that would be the best destination, please let me know. One of my characters is a very experienced sailor, who has sailed quite a bit in the Pacific Ocean. If he has ever sailed in the Atlantic, it would have been limited to a short cruise, nothing extensive.

I'm reading books on cruising and making my way through posts on this forum for ideas. It's been a while since I've sailed, and I was never incredibly experienced with anything other than dinghies, so I'm sorry if any of my questions are dumb. I appreciate any help I get.

Specific questions: It's the middle of June, 2007. Any particular issues with weather/currents to go from NC to the Dominican Republic? What route would they take? How long would it take? I'm assuming they'd stay outside the 3 mile limit from the US to minimize contact with the authorities. Anything troublesome they might encounter along the way? Am I writing something completely absurd? (I'm looking at accounts of boat deliveries to help figure out the facts here.)

Buying a boat in NC: what's it like to buy a boat there and register it? (I've been looking this up--but your ideas would help.) Better to have them travel up to Norfolk or Chesapeake for greater selection?? My characters have pretty good fake ID. They're going to buy a boat that's sea-worthy, but not very pretty or luxurious, something that is in need of cosmetic work or refitting of interior items, but will get them down there with a minimum of hassles. Budget? Three people, I'm thinking 35'--can they squeeze into something smaller to save money and still be safe offshore? They're willing to be cramped, but I don't want them taking a risk. Your recommendations for a particular boat would help, as I troll through lists of boats for sale as of now.

From cruising in the BVIs in the 90s: identification and checking in with local authorities was pretty lax. Still that way? or has it changed significantly post 9/11? What would happen when they sailed into a harbor in the DR? (what checks would they have to undergo? what could go wrong?)

Stories about the DR?

Any books you can recommend that really tell it like it is, especially books that feature people, a little inexperienced, who chuck it all and get away?

Thanks in advance. I'm looking forward to reading through the forums. If you want credit in my story for advising me, tell me how you want to be credited. As I said, this is not for a story that will be published, except in a very small forum on the Internet. I won't be making any money off this and it's purely a labor of love, but I always try to get things as right as I can.

If you prefer to email me directly, it's

gnadigefrau AT earthlink DOT net

Thanks again.
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Old 15-12-2010, 09:59   #2
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2007 Atlantic Hurricane Season

The National Hurricane Center of the NOAA (link above) will give you details on the named storms in the Atlantic/Caribbean for 2007. As to check-in and immigration/customs I am sure that you will find that things are no longer as lax as they used to be in the Caribbean. Is bribery a possibility? I suppose so, as in the past there has been a tendancy in the DR for some officials to try to shake down cruisers for some additional fees. Whether one could actually enter and remain undetected due to bribes is, however, quite another matter.

As I recall, there were a couple of countries in the Caribbean (I don't recall which now, quite frankly) that were reputedly prepared to unofficially 'sell' citizenship in the past. I am sure you can hunt something down on the net.

Good luck in your project.

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Old 16-12-2010, 08:55   #3
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Thank you for that link, Brad! How would I go about figuring out a potential route? Any ideas for books or sites? I'm sure the majority of my readers would not know if I just pulled something out of my hat, but I enjoy the process of trying to get things right for my stories.

Sailing aficionados usually have lots of great stories...I'm hoping to get some of those.

Thanks again.
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