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Old 11-10-2007, 14:19   #1
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Hi All, Are my Dreams reasonable

Hi All,
I've developed this dream to buy a sailboat with some friends of mine and sail down to the Caribbean this summer. The plan would be to buy and and fix up a boat for a month and then sail for a few months and then sell the boat again as we have to return to school and jobs. We have a budget of 35k to 40k. I have seen a fair number of coastal cruisers on online listing sites that seem to fit the bill but I don't know. I'm a Florida boy born and bred on the water. I have plenty of boat and ocean experience, but sailing experience is limited to little hobie cats.

To me it all seems a very reasonable adventure and so I've been trying to find the pitfalls of such a dream. Admittedly I am naive to most things cruising, but I have plenty of time to learn and would ofcourse take all courses necessary to become a sufficient sailor before we did any serious sailing.

So I was hoping for some advice, is our boat budget reasonable, what substancial costs exist beyond the price of the boat and getting it ready, is a Caribbean cruise reasonable for someone like myself. Admittedly not much can deter me when I set my mind on something, but I would like to know what types of things may prove to be most difficult stumbling blocks.

Thank you
JP
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Old 11-10-2007, 17:21   #2
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Lots of threads on this. I did not do it because I wanted a boat in Much better repair than what $ 40g would make even if I did all the work. I suggest that you get a smaller coastal sailor and do Bahamas and East USA.

Again, Please search for other threads.
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Old 11-10-2007, 17:25   #3
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In principle it's not a bad plan. Don't let anyone discourage you, but your issues in decending order of importance are:

1. Summer. Because of hurricane season, this is not the best time to sail off to the Caribbean.

2. Budget. I don't know whether 35-40k is for the boat or the whole trip. In my opinion just about any cruiser class boat (including light weight mass produced ones like Beneteau, Catalina, Hunter) is capable of island hopping through the Bahamas and on to the Caribbean. But, it must be in Good Condition. If you only have a month to get the boat ready, then you pretty much need to buy one that is already in good condition - the idea that you can fix up an old project boat in a month just aint gonna happen. You 'should' be able to find a capable boat within your budget, but you need an expert surveyor to assess its condition - see #5.

3. People. I don't know how many people = "some friends." I have no doubt that a bunch of young strong guys can put up with cramped conditions for a few months and have a blast island hopping around the Caribbean. But you can't get away with a too small boat. Once you add people and their stuff plus provisions, supplies, tools, repair materials, spare parts, etc. a small boat can become dangerously overloaded.

4. Experience. Someone in this crew needs to have some real sailing skills. Read, take lessons/courses, crew on other people's boats - you have time, but start now.

5. The boat. You must have a boat capable of safely carrying the crew and the stuff; it must have a sound hull, good bottom paint, good running and standing rigging, a sound deck including hatches and ports, good sails, a reliable engine that you understand and can maintain, a bimini and dodger, good ground tackle, a VHF radio (x2), GPS (x2) + good charts, and good batteries and a means of charging them. In my opinion you also need a good hard bottom dinghy capable of carrying 2+ people and a fair amount of stff like geri cans of water/fuel, provisons, etc., and an outboard capable of planing the whole rig. The less self-sufficient the boat, the more critical the dingy becomes. You will pretty much use your dinghy every day and it will die very quickly if it is not a good one - swimming ashore gets old real fast.

6. Selling the boat. Don't expect to get your money back any time soon.
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Old 11-10-2007, 19:13   #4
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I think that it is reasonable. Look at boat that are considered pocket cruisers from 25 to 32 feet in length. Time frame of doing this during the summer is bad b/c of hurricanes. Looke at boats like a Yankee 30. avaialble for under $20k then put $5 to $10k into fixing it up and then have $5k to $10 k to cruise with. I would think of taking a semester off of school to do it. fits 1 to 4 people with reasonable comfort.
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Old 11-10-2007, 19:36   #5
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Aloha JP,
Welcome aboard!! In my opinion fixing a boat up for a month is not reasonable unless you are a boatwright. Summer is the wrong time of the year for the area you want to cruise.
My advice is to buy what you can in the best shape and start learning to sail. Listen to the oldtimers about where to go locally during your summer break and do some local cruising.
Good luck in your dream.
Kind Regards,
JohnL
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Old 11-10-2007, 19:38   #6
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Boats often take a year or more to sell. Try to buy a boat that has a following so that there will be buyers when it is time to sell it.

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Old 11-10-2007, 20:02   #7
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What you want to do can be done, but not in a three month time frame.

If all you have is three months, you should offer to crew for free on someone else's yacht somewhere around the world. Crew are always needed, and you have the opportunity to gain experience in sailing and maintaining a yacht.

An alternative would be to become a crew member on a charter yacht for three or four months. I would give you a feeling for the lifestyle and you would find out if you really want to go for it.
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Old 17-10-2007, 10:11   #8
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Originally Posted by slomotion View Post
In principle it's not a bad plan. Don't let anyone discourage you, but your issues in decending order of importance are:

1. Summer. Because of hurricane season, this is not the best time to sail off to the Caribbean.

2. Budget. I don't know whether 35-40k is for the boat or the whole trip. In my opinion just about any cruiser class boat (including light weight mass produced ones like Beneteau, Catalina, Hunter) is capable of island hopping through the Bahamas and on to the Caribbean. But, it must be in Good Condition. If you only have a month to get the boat ready, then you pretty much need to buy one that is already in good condition - the idea that you can fix up an old project boat in a month just aint gonna happen. You 'should' be able to find a capable boat within your budget, but you need an expert surveyor to assess its condition - see #5.

3. People. I don't know how many people = "some friends." I have no doubt that a bunch of young strong guys can put up with cramped conditions for a few months and have a blast island hopping around the Caribbean. But you can't get away with a too small boat. Once you add people and their stuff plus provisions, supplies, tools, repair materials, spare parts, etc. a small boat can become dangerously overloaded.

4. Experience. Someone in this crew needs to have some real sailing skills. Read, take lessons/courses, crew on other people's boats - you have time, but start now.

5. The boat. You must have a boat capable of safely carrying the crew and the stuff; it must have a sound hull, good bottom paint, good running and standing rigging, a sound deck including hatches and ports, good sails, a reliable engine that you understand and can maintain, a bimini and dodger, good ground tackle, a VHF radio (x2), GPS (x2) + good charts, and good batteries and a means of charging them. In my opinion you also need a good hard bottom dinghy capable of carrying 2+ people and a fair amount of stff like geri cans of water/fuel, provisons, etc., and an outboard capable of planing the whole rig. The less self-sufficient the boat, the more critical the dingy becomes. You will pretty much use your dinghy every day and it will die very quickly if it is not a good one - swimming ashore gets old real fast.

6. Selling the boat. Don't expect to get your money back any time soon.


Great points!! All noteworthy to consider. Nice reply!
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Old 17-10-2007, 11:05   #9
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30 -40K can buy a fine boat if you do the legwork. Forget the Brokers. You need to wander the boat yards. Look for the boats with the expired registration stickers and no "For Sale " signs. look for ones at least 5 years old back on the "Log term storage" row in the yard. You might want to try out of state or in the out of the way marinas.

In most states you can get the owners address or even phone number.

You will need to do the upgrades but it is not that difficult if you have basic skills. Some of the yards will help you find the owners also.

I bought 2 very nice 27 ft boats for under $1000 each. Cleaned them up and used them for day charter for years. Sold them for 8K (Both) and got a bigger crusing boat. They are out there.
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Old 17-10-2007, 23:04   #10
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30 -40K can buy a fine boat if you do the legwork. Forget the Brokers. You need to wander the boat yards. Look for the boats with the expired registration stickers and no "For Sale " signs. look for ones at least 5 years old back on the "Log term storage" row in the yard. You might want to try out of state or in the out of the way marinas.

In most states you can get the owners address or even phone number.

You will need to do the upgrades but it is not that difficult if you have basic skills. Some of the yards will help you find the owners also.

I bought 2 very nice 27 ft boats for under $1000 each. Cleaned them up and used them for day charter for years. Sold them for 8K (Both) and got a bigger crusing boat. They are out there.
That's very inspiring to hear, just curious what makes were the 27 footers and how much refit/detailing $$$ did you need to put to make them seaworthy?
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Old 18-10-2007, 04:44   #11
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A lot of it is relative to what you want, we purchased a 40 foot boat 3 years ago and just got the sails up in September. We had a lot of work to do, but we plan on living on the boat for a number of years. I have seen boats that in the $ price range you are talking that would easily take you down for some summer fun. We are hoping we can finish everything by next fall and then head down the ICW. So with that said yes I think it can be done, do it and have a great time... Dont skimp on Safety stuff, literally they can save your lives.

Good Luck
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Old 18-10-2007, 08:42   #12
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Pan, One was an Oday and the other was an Ericson. One had s sail and they fit both boats! Both were sturdy little boats with inboard (gas) engines. Great for the Chesapeake and made great day charter boats. I would want a diesel for real cruising I am in local yards a lot and see great boats sitting in the Back Row. 20K will get you a capable boat with some $ left over for upgrades. My cousin recently sold a nice Endevor 32 they had sailed the Bahamas, and east coast for under 10K with a diesel and working electronics. Take some time to look and do not get in a hurry and you will find a little gem.
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Old 18-10-2007, 08:43   #13
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Woops, " One had 6 sails"
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Old 18-10-2007, 16:14   #14
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All dreams are possible... but some do quickly turn into nightmares unless you plan well.

I personally think you may be a too short of a fuse to accomplish what your desires are. A month to get a boat ready for extended coastal cruising is probably well under what you will find you need for a boat in your expense range unless you have a large group of qualified/ competent and available workers... problem is they will not all fit on the boat!

If your going to do some water sailing">blue water sailing and some Caribbean sailing is blue water or at least light blue... an untested boat could be a problem particularly when your operating by committee "group of friends".

Plan out your tasks and set goals and test for the boat and crew... Day sailing a Hobie and sailing off shore are far different activities and require significantly different abilities and equipment... learn what they are before you get the scope of the cruise ahead of the capabilities of the boat and crew. Be safe and have fair winds.
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Old 19-10-2007, 20:33   #15
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First, where are you?

Secondly, know the weather, optimum weather for the area you are through and to, timing is important in longer cruises. I just listened to two Pan Pans (one step down from Maydays) put out by the Canadian and American Coast Guards for two boats that were past due for arriving in the Victoria, and Seattle or Alaska area.

The American Pan Pan was for a 21 foot sloop out of Hawaii that was suppose to sail to Ketchikan Alaska (alternate stop was Seattle), almost suicidal at this time of year on that small a boat. The Canadian Pan Pan was for an over due 30 foot Tahiti Ketch. Basically you don't sail the Northern Pacific at this time of year in smaller boats - again timing is everything. If they had left in the summer, the Pan Pans probably wouldn't have been issued, it would be assumed they hit a Pacific high. But at this time of year, the worst is feared.

The best recommendation I can give you is to get Lyn and Larry Pardey's book, "Cost Conscious Cruiser" and have a go at it. The have a good section on gear you do and don't need. If you follow what they have done, it will keep costs down e.g. radar - they don't use it.

Learning to sail for cruising isn't really that hard, but navigation is where you will need to brush up on. Not everyone takes to it, some have a hard time - this was my experience in the Canadian Navy, fulfilling watch keeping duties, as I witnessed several guys have a hard time catching on. The least you can get away with is two cheap hand held GPS units (one for back up) and paper charts; but know how to use the GPS. The second cheapest is a laptop, which you might already own, with GPS and charts for the computer AND a back up hand held GPS AND charts.

Learn night navigation; how to read lights, etc. Learning lights to interprete a ships direction is very easy, but KNOW what tug lights look like when towing a barge.

And learn storm tactics while under way and at anchor.
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