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Old 18-12-2007, 02:52   #1
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Hi from the Great White North

My wife and I are the proud owners of a Solaris Sunstream 40 Cat and, until we sell it, a Catwright 36 Pilothouse. OK, we are 'boat poor', but is there any better way to be overstretched financially?

Currently we are struggling to survive in over a foot of snow, but come spring will be continuing our refit of the Cat in preparation for a one way trip from the Great Lakes to Margarita Island, off the coast of Venezuela.
Prior to departing, all we have to do is continue working, sell the Cartwright, 2 houses, 2 cars and get the Cat (and ouselves) ready for the adventure. We'd also like to share some information with other sailors on boat prep, gear, heavy weather sailing in catamarans, harbours in the Caribbean, clearing customs/immigration.... really, you name it.

Cheers mates!

Brad & Jane
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Old 18-12-2007, 05:21   #2
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Welcome Brad and Jane! Plenty info on all of the above available here! Search the threads or just bang out a question! Looks like you're cutting all ties if you're selling two houses!! Best of luck, Mick
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Old 18-12-2007, 09:35   #3
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Thanks Mick! Cutting all ties indeed. We bought a small beachfront property in a great bay on the Caribbean side of Margarita Island and are in the process of building a small aparthotel - five 2 bedroom apartments, a bachelor, an efficiency, a courtyard with pool and a small restaurant/bar. Plan on using the cat to take people out for snorkeling/sunset cruises (as well, of course, for our own cruising in the Caribbean during the down times). For us this is a huge and, to some degree frightening undertaking, but we are so looking forward to it. The first challenge, of course, apart from getting the boat ready for the passage down, will be making the voyage itself - we are offshore neophytes!

Brad and Jane
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Old 18-12-2007, 09:42   #4
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Well done! That's a dream and a half!! I have a friend on the Canary Island of Tenerife who sailed down 16 years ago and settled. He's always proud of the "sailing down" bit! Keep us informed of progress on the intended passage and maybe we could drop anchor in that bay sometime!! Fair Winds!
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Old 18-12-2007, 11:12   #5
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Hi Brad and Jane,

welcome
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Old 18-12-2007, 14:55   #6
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Thanks Jack and fair winds to you too, Mick. And keep me posted if you are ever planning on sailing the islands off the coast of Venezuela (apart from Margarita, Los Roques etc they include Trinidad, Tobago and the ABC's as neighbours). Still probably the best place to wait out hurricane season in the Caribbean and, of course, Venezuela is an incredibly cheap place to have work done on your boat and to reprovision.

Brad n Jane
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Old 18-12-2007, 19:12   #7
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Welcome Brad & Jane - Sounds like you are living the dream.

Might be a good idea to fill in a bit of your profile. I am guessing you are in the great white northeast of the United States? We are a pretty international group and north is a big place - LOL.

Anyway greetings from the great hot middle!
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Old 18-12-2007, 19:19   #8
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Brad and Jane, Just spent a (liner) cruising week around Bonaire, Aruba, and Dutch Antilles in general, found it much more pleasant than trips further north, certainly more genuine and not "in your face". . . I'm away from charts and net at the moment . . pardon me for asking . . where exactly is Margarita?
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Old 18-12-2007, 19:29   #9
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Aloha Brad and Jane,
Welcome aboard!! Good to have you here. Hope you'll share your adventures with us. Where are the things you want to sell?
Kind Regards,
JohnL
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Old 20-12-2007, 09:37   #10
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We currently live near Kingston, Ontario, Canada - by the Thousand Islands at the mouth of the St.Lawrence River/Lake Ontario. And Margarita Island is about 30 miles off the coast of Venezuela, just north of Tobago and a couple of hundred miles south of Bonaire. Great place to be during hurricane season as the only hurricane in recorded history was some 80 years ago.

The entire island is duty free, so it is also excellent for provisioning. Since the price of fuel is subsidized by the Venezuelan Government, fuel is cheaper than anywhere on the planet - currently under 4 cents a litre. No, that is not a misprint! There is excellent and inexpensive health care and a burgeoning yacht repair industry that takes advantage of the very low labour costs (about $12.00 USD a day for skilled labour).

The island has more beaches than any other island in the caribbean and a huge national park (Restinga) with a beautiful mangrove lined bay for anchoring and a large full service marina. Crime is much lower than mainland Venezuela (and many other areas in the Caribbean) and yachties are most definitely welcome. In fact, in the harbour off the capital of Porlamar, a local has set up a wifi network for anchoring yachts at reasonable daily/weekly/monthly rates. There is absolutely no industry on the island (except for the production of clay tiles) and hence no pollution; even the electricity is brought over from the mainland by submarine cable. It also now has an international airport, 2 universities and a shopping mall with over 200 stores.

Within 50 miles there are a number of small, unihabited islands with decent shelter and gorgeous beaches and the fishing throughout the area is fantastic. It is definitely worth a try, as a number of recent articles in North American sailing publications have pointed out. In fact, last January's edition of Cruising World magazine had an article on sailing the islands off the coast of Venezuela and the American authors referred to it as their favorite cruising grounds in the entire Caribbean.

Anyway, we are hugely looking forward to the relocation and opportunity to explore the area in our cat during down times.

Brad and Jane
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