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Old 23-07-2012, 21:37   #1
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Long Haul

I'm new here and wasn't sure where exactly to post this one, hope I'm close to the right spot.

Wondering if anyone has had the pleasure of sailing from NY to the Caribbean, or NY to FL. I'm wondering how practical it is single handed, or with two on a ~30' size boat. I would probably stop at a few marinas or moorings along the way (or on the hook if possible) to rest/refuel, etc. But mainly a straight shot. From what little I've found, it sounded like it'd be a 2-3 week endeavor if not longer depending on wind, weather, etc. My plan is to buy a boat up here and sail it down to the Caribbean, and probably never come back lol. Thoughts?
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Old 24-07-2012, 04:37   #2
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Re: Long Haul

I assume you know about the Intra Coastal Waterway? From NY to FL you either take the ICW or go outside.

From the wording of your question I am guessing you have limited experience sailing and are not considering offshore or nonstop to FL. I made it from RI to Jacksonville in 15 days but had a deadline and was pushing fairly hard to make that. No time at all to sight see. If you are thinking south FL add another week.

You will have to go outside from NY to Delaware Bay but can stay inside from there south.
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Old 24-07-2012, 06:43   #3
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Very limited, as in, not been on a sailboat lol. Plan is to leave next year, sailing lessons an hopefully some practice between now and then. It sounds doable, just want to know how crazy it is. With any luck my brother will be coming with me which would simplify things a bit. I really talking more from a practicality standpoint. How bug should the boat be for two of us and a dog, heading to the caribbean?
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Old 24-07-2012, 07:02   #4
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Re: Long Haul

Whew. I'm not saying you cant do this, but maybe shouldnt- until you get a boatload of information and experience. Start studying about seamanship, navigation, and read here and everywhere about routes, different types and sizes of boats, etc. The lessons are a great idea too- but take your time and you may preempt many regrettable situations, like getting your brother or others into big trouble...or rescue crews, to say nothing about the financial risks of neophyte cruising.

You cant know too much about all this- good luck and be careful!
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Old 24-07-2012, 08:41   #5
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Re: Long Haul

Quote:
Originally Posted by bailout00 View Post
Very limited, as in, not been on a sailboat lol. Plan is to leave next year, sailing lessons an hopefully some practice between now and then. It sounds doable, just want to know how crazy it is. With any luck my brother will be coming with me which would simplify things a bit. I really talking more from a practicality standpoint. How bug should the boat be for two of us and a dog, heading to the caribbean?
Well first of all, with a boat as it is in certain other things, it's not the size of the boat that matters. As long as the boat is not falling apart the most critical part of the trip is the captain and crew. Handled properly and with a slight eye for weather (like don't go out in the middle of a hurricane or a Nor'easter) most sailboats would be up to the task of sailing down the coast and to the Caribbean. So the size would depend on how much room you need to feel comfortable and your budget. For two guys and I dog I would personally want min 30' and preferably 35-40'.

The trip from NY south is done every year by thousands of boats. Go read up on the ICW to learn more. Basically the ICW is a series of rivers, bays, etc linked together by a number of canals that makes a protected waterway from Norfolk VA all the way to FL and around to the Gulf of Mexico. Pretty safe but you need to be reasonably sharp in your navigation skills as the channel sometimes twists and turns, some spots can be very shallow, etc.

Then where do you want to go in the Caribbean? If all the way south to Grenada then that is a lot more ambitious that a trip to the Bahamas (which are technically not in the Caribbean).

First step you should research previous discussion threads on this forum. What boat, how big, how much does it cost, trip south, ICW, crossing FL to the Bahamas, to the Caribbean (look up the Thorny Path) have all been discussed at great length many, many times. You could spend days reading over all the information. Good place to start learning and it's free.
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Old 06-08-2012, 10:05   #6
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Re: Long Haul

As stated by skipmac, size is not a major concern. That said, the larger, generally the more comfortable.
With an eye on the weather you can sail to the Caribbean pretty easily at the right time of the year. In a 30 odd footer, I (I've made the trip quite a few times) would not leave from the NY/NE area; you do not want to experience an angry gulf stream on your way to Bermuda. Coastal sail to at least Norfolk, though I think Beaufort NC or even Charleston SC would do as well; you really need the sailing experience. Other than to avoid Cape Hatteras, I would stay out of the ICW; again, you really need the offshore sailing experience to prepare for the run to the Carib (I'm assuming St. Thomas, as a destination?). Florida is way too far south for a direct route to the Leeward Islands, but do-able if you want to island hop down. But that route will leave you with several hundred miles directly to weather in the trades from the T&C or Haiti/ DR, a pretty rough road.
Offshore, Easting is the key word; go east for as long as you can & when the trades are abeam or a bit aft of the beam if you were on course for St. T., you can ease off & enjoy a pleasant sail into the Carib. Obviously the farther south you are at the start, the harder it is to make easting & you might beat all the way.
Offshore has one major advantage over any coastwise voyage; rocks sink boats! Deep sea, you have few dangers to contend with and plenty of room to make mistakes; a 2 knot current will not set you into a perilous situation. You have days to recover.
Good luck & I hope we see you down here next year.
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Old 08-08-2012, 04:00   #7
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Re: Long Haul

Bailout - you've been given some good advice here but what about the dog? Dogs have to be trained to piss and **** at the mast - not all dogs will do that and then unless you are planning to get into a harbor every single night - your dog is going to die. Literally. And the dog will be very unhappy the whole time.

Even if you can train him - does he like to sail? We bring our dog everywhere, but she won't do anything on the boat which means we are limited to about 8-10 hour sails. Some dogs get seasick and some dogs just simply don't like sailing

You need to think about that before you finalize your plans
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Old 08-08-2012, 06:11   #8
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Re: Long Haul

This is a more easily realized plan if it's a 3-5 year plan; and only then if you become totally dedicated to your proposal . Of course if you have lots of $$$$$ it will be much easier to pay for all your mistakes,get a new Crabcrusher with all the amenities and are very mechanically inclined,to say nothing of a singleness of purpose that you have not had to draw upon before.
Others here may scoff at my caveats and point out that Pappillion escaped from Devils Island hanging onto a bag of coconuts but even he did not bring a dog!
1. get a simple cheap" throwaway"boat.
2. learn to sail it.
3. Do as many overnight and day sails as you can .
4. Now you are ready to make an informed decision as to what will work for you, and you will not sink into the sea of broken dreams. Good Luck.
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Old 08-08-2012, 08:55   #9
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Re: Long Haul

Just a few words about dogs aboard cruising boats.
Had a Sheppard mix about 60#s on a circumnavigation. No problems w/ bathroom stuff; just bought a 3' square piece of artificial grass (Astro-turf in those days). She actually preferred it to going ashore. Roped it so when it was used we just threw it overboard to clean.
As I see it, the problem w/ traveling w/ any animal today, is the emmense amount of legal stuff each island or country wants; current (sometimes within a month!) health certificates, shots, various documents that will necessitate spending lots of cash on vets.
Lastly, have you considered the amount of food a dog consumes? It's pretty much got to be canned (what happens if kibble gets wet?), at least a can a day, & believe me pet food is really expensive overseas!
My girlfriend would love a warm & fuzzy aboard, but even she realizes the impracticality of it.
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