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Old 06-07-2014, 09:12   #1
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Making the Leap From Lakes To the Bahamas

Hello everyone,

I have some basic sailing experience. Primarily on an old Chrysler 22 I bought out of college. It handled everything north Texas lakes could throw at it and never broke down. Actually it was a great little boat.

Now I am looking to get into more venturous waters, sailing in the Bahamas. Can’t wait to soak up all the knowledge in these here forums.

I have just started my research and spent some time on reading through some threads. Any thoughts on good resources to start with for buying a boat and sailing in the Bahamas?

Cheers,

Tom
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Old 06-07-2014, 09:46   #2
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Re: Making the Leap From Lakes To the Bahamas

Lots of cheap boats down at the gulf coast, Florida etc, tons to chose from. All depends on budget. A lone male relatively young sailor can do it in a canoe on up. You don't need much to enjoy the scenery. What's your budget?


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Old 06-07-2014, 15:52   #3
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Re: Making the Leap From Lakes To the Bahamas

Trying to do it on a tight budget. Ideally below $20K.
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Old 06-07-2014, 16:52   #4
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Re: Making the Leap From Lakes To the Bahamas

Is the 20K the budget for the boat or cruising also?

How are your fix it up skills; carpentry, plumbing, wiring, mechanics?

If the 20k is the budget for buying the boat I would save at least 25-50% of the money for fixing the boat after you buy it.

You should be able to buy a reasonable 27-30' boat for that.
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Old 06-07-2014, 19:59   #5
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Re: Making the Leap From Lakes To the Bahamas

The 20K budget is for buying the boat and fixes. Cruising costs would be separate. My hope was to find a mechanically sound 1980s ~30 footer needing a minimal amount of work in that price range.

I have had a few other boats over the years (runabouts, ski boat and a house boat). So I have developed some fix it skills. Although mostly rigging things well enough to get back to the marina so a professional can look at it.

Actually that is probably my concern. All the boats we have had do seem to break down with regularity, with the exception of that old sailboat. With some good redundancy, a volt meter and duck tape you can patch 90% of the issues you run into on a lake. I am sure bouncing around miles from shore, much less a West Marine, things get a lot more challenging.

My first biggest concern is the engine - primarily having a single 30 year old one. I have had to sail into marinas before without a working engine. But I knew the layout and there weren't any mega yachts to hit. From what I have been reading it sound like in the Bahamas you will need your engine for more than slipping in and out of marinas. On a few threads I have read you should bring spare parts. That is new one for me.

My second biggest concern is what I don't know. Boats have all kinds of creative ways of breaking. What other types of things should I be on the look out for.
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Old 06-07-2014, 22:02   #6
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Re: Making the Leap From Lakes To the Bahamas

If you can find a boat with a diesel engine in basically good condition then with any luck breakdowns should be less of a concern and if it does break down then it will be less complicated to work on.

If you plan on cruising in the Bahamas then it would certainly be a good idea to carry at least a few basic spares. Things like water pump impeller, fuel filters, belts. Stuff that can leave you without an engine, have a higher probability of doing so but are easily DIY to get back on the road.

What to look for that might break. Well everything? The important stuff, what keeps you afloat, what keeps you going and what keeps you in deep water and not on a reef.

So a solid hull/deck, good rigging from the chainplates to the mast tangs and everything in between. All the hoses. through hulls and seacocks that let water in but keep it only where you want it. Decent sails and some way to navigate. Everything beyond this is just to make it easier.
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Old 07-07-2014, 04:41   #7
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Re: Making the Leap From Lakes To the Bahamas

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Tom.
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Old 09-07-2014, 20:39   #8
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Re: Making the Leap From Lakes To the Bahamas

Thanks for the help everyone.
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Old 09-07-2014, 21:35   #9
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Re: Making the Leap From Lakes To the Bahamas

Quote:
Originally Posted by TomDude View Post
The 20K budget is for buying the boat and fixes. Cruising costs would be separate. My hope was to find a mechanically sound 1980s ~30 footer needing a minimal amount of work in that price range.
I think this is a very tough expectation for the variables "mechanically sound" and "minimal work."



Quote:
Originally Posted by TomDude View Post
Actually that is probably my concern. All the boats we have had do seem to break down with regularity, with the exception of that old sailboat. With some good redundancy, a volt meter and duck tape you can patch 90% of the issues you run into on a lake. I am sure bouncing around miles from shore, much less a West Marine, things get a lot more challenging.
If you find the 20k boat and decide to stay in "one place" sailing around can be like daysailing. When something breaks you get back to port and the only difference may be a longer supply chain to get a part.


Quote:
Originally Posted by TomDude View Post
From what I have been reading it sound like in the Bahamas you will need your engine for more than slipping in and out of marinas. On a few threads I have read you should bring spare parts. That is new one for me.

My second biggest concern is what I don't know. Boats have all kinds of creative ways of breaking. What other types of things should I be on the look out for.
If you are going to live on the hook for extended periods and want to make passages It starts to get more complex and arguably more expensive.

You can further simplify by getting a smaller boat, live smaller and have simpler systems.

It's all trade-offs.
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Old 09-07-2014, 21:44   #10
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Re: Making the Leap From Lakes To the Bahamas

1. Go to Florida craigslist.org.
2. Find a boat with a new-ish engine for $10k
3. Move aboard sail around a bit and shake down major issues
4. Spend $5k addressing the issues / add solar panels/bimini/dinghy/big anchor
5. Spend the last $5k on beer. No really. It's $65 a case here. You need to stock up on that.

Couple thoughts on the boat itself. If you can live without refrigeration your life will be so much easier. 30' is a nice size. <5' draft will cut down on a lot of stress. Don't waste money in electronics - but a chartplotter at the helm (with Explorer charts, like a Garmin) will cut even more stress.
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Old 13-07-2014, 21:58   #11
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Re: Making the Leap From Lakes To the Bahamas

Hi and welcome,

I am in California now but grew up in Florida and cruised all over on a Catalina 27 with an 15 hp four stroke outboard tall rig with 4' draft. No refrigerator ever. I still live without a refrigerator. Anyway, bought the boat cheap and fixed it up along the way. Lots of bartering.

Looking back, I would go with a sailboat with no more than that 4 draft. I think centerboards are great for Florida and the area. The ob was nice but when cruising there is no way to flush it out so corrosion happens on the inside.

Definitely need; dingy, solar panel, autopilot if by yourself, bimini, extra pair of polarized sunglasses

Toss in my pennies
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Old 13-07-2014, 23:06   #12
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Re: Making the Leap From Lakes To the Bahamas

We bought a 1982 36' Hunter for $20K about 6 years ago. Sold our home and did about $8K worth of work to the boat before we left Texas in Nov 2012. We did the ditch to Pensacola, then outside down to the Keys. Bahamas down to George Town, then up to Georgia for hurricane season. Then back to the Bahamas, doing the Exumas, Eleuthera, and Abacos. Currently back in Texas.

We left with 2 gallons of oil, 2 oil filters, spare belts, and filters. We used the spare Racor filter, the oil and filters (plus more of the same) since we left. The only repair was for a fuel feed pump that was leaking diesel into the bilge. That's for 19 months and 5000 miles of cruising.

If you go 27-30', you should be good to go with your budget. You do need a decent dinghy/outboard and a chartplotter. Oh....and really good ground tackle. Go for a new-gen anchor (we use a Manson Supreme) and 100' of 5/16 HT chain.

Have a pro check your standing rigging.

And don't forget to bring $150.00 cash for Bahamas check in (up to 30') $300.00 if over 30'.

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Old 14-07-2014, 05:40   #13
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Re: Making the Leap From Lakes To the Bahamas

Welcome to CF Tom!
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Old 04-09-2014, 23:22   #14
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Re: Making the Leap From Lakes To the Bahamas

Aloha and welcome aboard!
I've heard that the Chryslers were a bit underrated.
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Old 05-09-2014, 12:07   #15
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Re: Making the Leap From Lakes To the Bahamas

Howdy and Welcome Aboard!

There are many threads/topics on this site that I bet you will find helpful.

Good luck!
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