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Old 21-02-2019, 13:22   #1
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Extended Family Cruise Planning w/o quitting

Hi there cruisersforum... Tony in Alexandria VA here. I've been looking for a sounding board on cruising thoughts and hope to find it in this venue.

Super quick background - lifelong sailor of multiple family boats in and around the Chesapeake bay 30-50'. 2 years and 5 offshore trips as a safety officer/captain of the Naval Academy 44' sloops going between Newport, Long Island and Annapolis. 9 years owning a 1978 Seafarer 26' on the Potomac River with my wife. We sold the Seafarer after a couple seasons of very light use and mounting deferred replacements/refit of original equipment on that boat... basically lost interest in that boat as we were getting into being first time parents.

Immediate plans - We're planning to do some bareboat chartering this season to sample some new to us boats and new to us cruising grounds. The only booked trip is pre-Easter/spring break 3 day charter of a Hunter 34 in Oriental, NC. I wasn't to excited about the Hunter, I wanted the Endeavour 32 that the same company had but wasn't available. But the Hunter looks like a good boat and representative of mid-late 80's economical cruisers. Other charter thoughts are a Gemini 35' cat up in Havre de Grace and potentially a Bristol 30 near Kent Island. I was also looking at a Sabre up in the Narragansett Bay but think that will have to wait.

Longer range plans - I'd like to do an extended South Florida and/or Bahamian cruise in 2021 when my daughter is 4 1/2. By extended I think the most I can do with out quitting my job and having to sell or rent out our house is 6-8 weeks. My thought is to be in the market for a boat over the 2020-21 winter and jump it down the ICW in 3-5 day long weekends so that it is at least down to Jacksonville before the extended cruise. The cruise will probably be roughly centered around Apr-May-June time frame as that lines up best with both of our jobs.

So between doing some chartering, tire kicking online and in boat yards and exchanging some thoughts here I'm hoping to refine my target of boat and systems for this trip. My priorities right now are;

1. Coastal cruiser, Bahamas passage capable (with enough time to wait for favorable weather)
2. Comfortable accommodations for 2 adults and a child, especially at anchor
3. Simple systems that are reliable and capable of being left unattended
4. Fairly cruise ready
5. Resale - tough to know at this point if we'd keep this boat for 10 years or look to move it right after the extended cruise. Our leave balances will take 2 years to recover so we might be selling or looking to trade 'down' depending on what we end up with.
6. Cost, i'm all over the place on this and could see financing a nicer boat up to $80,000ish or trying to bargain hunt in the sub $30,000 and going cash. There are so many great boats at this point I'm less focused on cost and more focused on a good hull, rig and smartly picked systems.

I think that is it. Hope to engage in some good conversations in the near future!


Tony in Alexandria, VA
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Old 22-02-2019, 05:57   #2
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Re: Extended Family Cruise Planning w/o quitting

With only 6-8 weeks you're not going to have much time for both South Florida and the Bahamas. It can sometimes take 1-2 weeks waiting for a good weather window to cross the Gulf Stream -- and that's going BOTH ways. So, as you can see, you could spend the majority of the time just waiting to cross.

If you want to do the Bahamas, I think you need to find a way to get the boat over there BEFORE the 6-8 week cruise begins. You could easily spend twice that much time exploring the Bahamas, and still not see everything that you would like to.

Good luck.

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Old 22-02-2019, 08:12   #3
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Re: Extended Family Cruise Planning w/o quitting

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Tony.
Gord May
"If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time/$ to fix it?"

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Old 22-02-2019, 20:59   #4
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Re: Extended Family Cruise Planning w/o quitting

Thank you both for the replies!

denverd0n - you've hit on one of my concerns/interest items - namely if my 'time limit' is 6-8 weeks how do I make the most of it from a cruising sailing trip. Aside from paying for a delivery skipper I don't see how i manage to get the boat to the Bahamas and maintain that 6-8 week window to take off.

My situation almost calls for an extended charter more than an owned boat. I'm not familiar with any services offering an affordable opportunity for that kind of trip though... anyone?


Given an 6-8 week window around Apr-Jun timeframe on east coast what would be your preferred target cruising ground? Bahamas seems the most 'exotic' reachable destination but I've also considered the Key's.

Alternatively I suppose we could shift a bit more towards summer (jun-jul) and go quite a bit differnent up in the LI Sound, Narragansett, Maine area.

Tony in Alexandria, VA
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