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Old 08-10-2007, 16:15   #1
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Land-locked in Denver. . . but not for long. . .

Hello everyone, my name is Dustin I am 26 and have, infact, been land-locked (other than a few vacations) in Denver my entire life. My young bride and I are seeking warmer weather and a little excitement. We are moving to Clearwater, FL in two months to purchase our first sailing yacht. Our plan is to get our feet wet, no pun intended, with an older more inexpensive boat, eventually moving up to a vessel that can take us around the world. I have been one of the founding members of a couple of automotive forums, so I am familiar with the type of comradery and wealth of knowledge that I expect to find here as well. I am very mechanically inclined, I have done just about everything, engine work, fiberglass, etc. I am a real do-it-yourselfer. . . I have been looking at 34-37 ft hunters for a starter boat, this should be fine for the Caribbean/Gulf, correct? My wife and I both work in the Hospitality Industry and were considering sailing to the USVI for work, once we get some experience. . . If any of you have a suggestion or advice it will be greatly appreciated. . . We are young and able and don't mind a little action/risk, if I may put it that way. Hello all, and thanks again, Dustin
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Old 08-10-2007, 17:01   #2
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Welcome.

Do not lock yourself into any specific make or model of boat. There are many to choose from and in my opinion just about any Good Condition cruiser class boat is capable of island hopping the Bahamas/Carbbean.

FWIW, a few years ago my wife and I sailed an '83 Hunter 34 from Tampa Bay through the keys to the Bahamas and then down the thorny path all the way to South America and back - obviously the boat was acceptable for us. For extended leisurely cruising in those waters, live-aboard comfort is more important than "bluewater" capability. Your live-aboard needs/wants/expectations are personal to you - everyone is different. If you do not enjoy living on the boat, no amount of great sailing days or beautiful beaches will keep you cruising. For some thoughtful advice, go here:

BoatUS.com Cruising Log
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Old 08-10-2007, 17:22   #3
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Thanks. . .

That is actually the very boat at the top of my list. . . I like the interior layout the best, for our price range anyway. . . That is pretty much the trip I am thinking of too. Thanks so much for your input, I know opinions will differ greatly but I appreciate your comments. I have had people tell me that the hunter 34 isn't capable of such a trip. . . even though I don't really have any experience, I didn't really take their advice to heart, I really needed a place like this I could come to for "real answers" BTW, what electronics, add-ons, equipment, etc. do you suggest for such a trip, thanks, Dustin

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Welcome.

Do not lock yourself into any specific make or model of boat. There are many to choose from and in my opinion just about any Good Condition cruiser class boat is capable of island hopping the Bahamas/Carbbean.

FWIW, a few years ago my wife and I sailed an '83 Hunter 34 from Tampa Bay through the keys to the Bahamas and then down the thorny path all the way to South America and back - obviously the boat was acceptable for us. For extended leisurely cruising in those waters, live-aboard comfort is more important than "bluewater" capability. Your live-aboard needs/wants/expectations are personal to you - everyone is different. If you do not enjoy living on the boat, no amount of great sailing days or beautiful beaches will keep you cruising. For some thoughtful advice, go here:

BoatUS.com Cruising Log
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Old 08-10-2007, 17:42   #4
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An '83 H34 crossed the Atlantic solo this year - wouldn't have have been on the top 100 list for most people. But, it is perfectly suitable for island hopping/coastal cruising which is what the Caribbean is all about. Remember that these boats are now 20+ years old (ours was 16) and condition/maintenance issues are likely. Also, like most boats of that length they are unlikely to be particularly well cruise equipped. You should expect to add/upgrade equipment - but you wind up doing that with all boats anyway.

You want GPS x 2 (or 3) - hand held is fine, but an integrated unit with chart plotter is very desireable (still, make sure you have good paper charts). SSB radio is also very useful in the Bahamas/Caribbean. We had radar, but rarely used it. Refrigeration, a strong battery bank, and a supplemental charging source (wind and/or solar and/or generator) significantly enhance your self sufficiency and live-aboard comfort. We also had a watermaker - not a necessity and they are expensive, high maintenance devices, but they also make you more self sufficient and can seriously enhance your comfort level.

I strongly recommend dinghy davits together with a hard bottom dinghy and an outboard capable of driving two people at planing speed. Also, many of these boats were originally equipped with alcohol stoves - they work fine, but not in the Caribbean because fuel is hard to get. Plan on converting to propane.
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Old 08-10-2007, 17:55   #5
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Hi dustin,

Good on you bro. So few people who are willing to take the leap that early. Clare and I left the "normal life" to go sailing when I was 26 and have never regretted it. (though for financial reasons I find myself land based once again.. Booo) Hope you find the boat and the life suits you. We found the highest concentration of youngish cruisers in the keys, but that said, I ate a lobster swum up by a 75 year old guy, and have been drank under the table by a 70 year old AND his wife (embarassing). Its not the age, its the people that count. Plenty of old boats out there. We left on one that cost 6500 bucks and it worked just fine (Ok the atomic 4 engine never pushed us past 4 knots, but what the hell).
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Old 08-10-2007, 20:06   #6
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Aloha Dustin,
Welcome aboard!! Don't settle on a Hunter. They are ok but there are others out there that might fit your needs and be sturdier. Stay 36 and under. No need for a huge boat and even a beamy 32 would fit your needs. Don't even think electronics until you have the boat and you are ready to get underway. The field changes nearly as fast as computers and programs so what you buy today will be outmoded in a year.
Good luck in your search and don't mind my opinions. They are just that. Opinions.
Definitely yes on the propane galley stove suggestion.
Kind Regards,
JohnL
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Old 08-10-2007, 23:32   #7
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Find a boat with similar construction, systems and configuration that you will ultimately want.

This will give you experience with that type as you enjoy the learning.
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Old 09-10-2007, 20:36   #8
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Hey there

thanks for all the comments everyone. . . we are really excited to get our first boat. . .


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Find a boat with similar construction, systems and configuration that you will ultimately want.

This will give you experience with that type as you enjoy the learning.
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