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Old 14-01-2008, 21:26   #1
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Noob questions

Decloaking....

First of all, great forum!

Some questions but first a little background. We're 6 winters away from retirement. Our youngest graduates then. She'll get luggage for her graduation present.

After that, we plan to summer in the NorthWest, spend Spring and Fall in Az. and liveaboard in Florida/Bahamas in the Winter, likely 36-38 footer.

Questions....

1. Let's assume 4 months to winter cruise. I'm thinking that the Carribean will afford years and years of exploration....correct?

2. Aside from hurricanes, what are the downsides to cruising the Carribean?

3. Speaking of hurricanes, how do people generally secure their sailboats in the offseason. Costs involved?

4. Wind characteristics during that season. IOW, is it a difficult place to sail, especially for a beginner.

That's it for now. I'm sure more questions will arise.

Thanks!

-Greg
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Old 14-01-2008, 22:54   #2
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I'm new so I dont really know the answers to you qustions , but i'm pretty sure that
the Carib , can afford a lot of exploration.
Things on the map , tend to be a "bit" larger in real life.

Cheers , LS
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Old 15-01-2008, 04:58   #3
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Greg,

Welcome to the forum. Lots already here to read as well as sections to direct your questions.

1. The chain of Islands beginning in FL clockwise around is about 2,000+ nm to Central America. There are of course any number of places along the way. I suppose depending on what takes your interest a lifetime is maybe enough for an overview.

2. I'm not sure what you might mean by downsides. It's not like what you are used to so maybe that is an upside. There are differences in many places as far as about anything you can think of. Climate and culture vary quite a bit. Some places are very expensive.

3. For hurricanes you have a few options. The first, leave during hurricane season. second, haul the boat out of the water and secure it, or go uninsured and risk it all including the liability for anything the boat destroys and the mess it makes. This generally becomes a process of dealing with how your insurance works. Costs will vary greatly depending on where you are.

4. The beginner may be faced with some challenges depending on location and time of year. When the trade winds kick in and the winds blow strong and steady with the bright blue sky it is quite enjoyable but these are not "gentle" breezes. You can island hop so that means you can pick your weather to match the conditions you can handle. That is what most people do.

I would say cruising is not easy for a beginner any place. Lots to learn about the boat, skills, and the equipment. Then throw in the places, the laws, the languages, and all the things you are not used to and it requires a change in yourself. Some people can adapt and others can not change. The idea of it is not the same as doing it.
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Old 15-01-2008, 14:43   #4
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Originally Posted by Pblais View Post
Greg,

Welcome to the forum. Lots already here to read as well as sections to direct your questions.

1. The chain of Islands beginning in FL clockwise around is about 2,000+ nm to Central America. There are of course any number of places along the way. I suppose depending on what takes your interest a lifetime is maybe enough for an overview.

That might be large enough to keep up busy for a while.

2. I'm not sure what you might mean by downsides. It's not like what you are used to so maybe that is an upside. There are differences in many places as far as about anything you can think of. Climate and culture vary quite a bit. Some places are very expensive.

If one island hops, anchors and dingies to shore, then one can save significantly on expenses, correct?

3. For hurricanes you have a few options. The first, leave during hurricane season. second, haul the boat out of the water and secure it, or go uninsured and risk it all including the liability for anything the boat destroys and the mess it makes. This generally becomes a process of dealing with how your insurance works. Costs will vary greatly depending on where you are.

I'm wonder if one can start and finish the Winter season in the ABC islands, leaving the boat on the hard the offseason.

4. The beginner may be faced with some challenges depending on location and time of year. When the trade winds kick in and the winds blow strong and steady with the bright blue sky it is quite enjoyable but these are not "gentle" breezes. You can island hop so that means you can pick your weather to match the conditions you can handle. That is what most people do.

Aside from sailing challenges, these winds probably keep the sailboat nicely ventilated when anchored....correct? If so...another plus for the Carribean.

I would say cruising is not easy for a beginner any place. Lots to learn about the boat, skills, and the equipment. Then throw in the places, the laws, the languages, and all the things you are not used to and it requires a change in yourself. Some people can adapt and others can not change. The idea of it is not the same as doing it.
Good advice. Thanks Paul.

-Greg
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Old 15-01-2008, 17:18   #5
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"I'm wonder if one can start and finish the Winter season in the ABC islands, leaving the boat on the hard the offseason."

Insurance policies often require Caribbean cruisers to be south of about 12 degrees N. Lat. for hurricane season. For this reason many long term cruisers spend hurricane season in places like Grenada, Trinidad/Tobago, Venezuela, ABCs, Cartagena, Panama, etc. The ABCs are about as far west as you would want to go if you plan on sailing against the trades to the Leeward/Windward chain. If instead, you sailed west from the ABCs to Central America, getting back would not be a fun sail.
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Old 03-02-2008, 14:44   #6
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Aloha Greg,
Welcome aboard! Hope you are getting answers to all your questions here. I don't have much experience except a skippered charter once to St. Johns. I just know that all the islands are much closer together than here in the Hawaiian chain and the water is much calmer.
Kind Regards,
JohnL
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Old 03-02-2008, 15:53   #7
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Greg, We were based out of the Floriduh Keys for ten years so had many opportunities to prepare for storms and hurricanes. Of course being outside the "box" is the best way to go. But if you have to leave the boat where it might be exposed you should prepare it as if a storm was coming. Some of our preparation techniques are in this post on our website at Voyages of Sea Trek: Hurricane And Storm Prep and might give you some sense of what is involved. Good luck in whatever you decide.
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