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Old 11-08-2014, 11:20   #1
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Family of four preparing for 6 month Caribbean live aboard Adventure - need boat!

I'm looking for advice. Lots of it!

We are beginning our plans for a 6 month sabbatical from "real life." We'd like to sail from December to June/July in the Caribbean and are wondering if we should be buying a boat or if leasing for that period if possible. Leasing would certainly be ideal. We don't know where to begin! How would we go about finding such a lease in advance of the trip? If we bought, would we go through a boat broker? If we could choose, we'd start in Ft. Lauderdale.

Thanks, in advance!
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Old 11-08-2014, 11:45   #2
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Re: Family of four preparing for 6 month Caribbean live aboard Adventure - need boat!

Hi,
Sounds wonderful.

You may want to read Mermaid - Our Family in Paradise -- those folks made a similar experience.

Six months is a bit short to own a boat, so I would look seriously at a long term charter, through a company (Seabatical or etc), or probably less expensively directly with commuter cruisers who have decided to cut their season short (say, they sail from Thanksgiving to just before Christmas, then you guys fly in, they introduce you to their boat, and you rent it until June-ish). In either case I'd favor boats that are already in the Caribbean, I feel that's a more fun place to start than Ft Lauderdale.

But I don't think this is necessarily a common idea, and so you may not just be able to click Buy on a website, whip out a credit card, and make it happen. The extra cost of going through a charter company may be worth the lower risk and ease of arranging it.

Good luck!

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Old 11-08-2014, 11:50   #3
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Re: Family of four preparing for 6 month Caribbean live aboard Adventure - need boat!

Thanks. I have read that! And just about everything else I can get my hands on. I agree that it would be much more fun to start somewhere other than Florida - I'm just wondering if we'd have better luck leasing a boat from someone who might be impatient with slow sales...more boats in Florida.

Any thoughts about how to find people who have cut their season short?

Great thought. And thank you for taking the time to respond!
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Old 11-08-2014, 12:06   #4
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Re: Family of four preparing for 6 month Caribbean live aboard Adventure - need boat!

We are not talking about a circumnavigation here and this is a short term thing, so you could just buy any 35-ish feet boat (and there are thousands of them the owners would sell for cash now for 3/4 or less of the asking price) and go have a blast with it...then sell it for about the same price or maybe a little less when you are done. Depending on your experience level and budget, heck you could fly to Florida with 4 backpacks and a two weeks later be heading for the Carib. I would fight the urge to make this MORE about the boat than the adventure of where you want to go! It really all revolves around your experience level and budget.

I just opened up a copy of Southwinds Magazine and found a Pearson 365 Ketch listed for $35K. I bet $30 gets you the boat and you sell her for $25, try to charter a boat for $5 plus lets say another $5K in quick gear upgrades....forget about it!

Ok too much money, then the next page has a 30ft Bodga 1986 for $12K...you know $10K maybe even $8k gets the boat and gets you in the Carib out on the water and anchorages. Sell the boat for $5K when you are done.

Have more money to spend....then hell, it'sa piece of cake to by a nice boat for $75K, sail and then resale for $60K.

We cruised with a family of 4 on a Pearson 365....space for a short term cruise when you are living in the water and out adventuring just isn't an issue, so my No 1 advice is go small, go easy and DO IT! Don't let people tell you that you are crazy, just go do it! I'm not kidding. Give me 4 plane tickets to Florida about a month before cruising season kicks off and I would have a boat and be at anchor in the Carib before most of the "gotta have it all right and dialed in perfect crowd" even leaves the dock for the first time after their 3yr refit. Heck...that's sounds like a damn good reality show!

(Now if you don't have any experience in buying a boat find someone to help you, even if you pay them $500 to help you find it and look at it. Their experienced eye can make this approach really work. But if you know NADA about boats, boat systems and buying boat, then trying to do something like this on your own could be a Capt Ron Disaster where you never leave the dock)
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Old 11-08-2014, 14:01   #5
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Re: Family of four preparing for 6 month Caribbean live aboard Adventure - need boat!

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Depending on your experience level and budget, heck you could fly to Florida with 4 backpacks and a two weeks later be heading for the Carib. I would fight the urge to make this MORE about the boat than the adventure of where you want to go! It really all revolves around your experience level and budget.
That's so much better advice than mine-- focus on the adventure, don't freak out about the boat or equipment, and just go. As long as you know what you're doing.

Even a trip up or down the ICW to the Keys would be a fun six month adventure, without needing a high standard of equipment, maintenance, or seamanship.
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Old 12-08-2014, 05:07   #6
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Re: Family of four preparing for 6 month Caribbean live aboard Adventure - need boat!

Are you talking this year?

We did the same thing but it's taken just a year to prepare, we are leaving this week!

What is your price range?


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Old 12-08-2014, 07:24   #7
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Re: Family of four preparing for 6 month Caribbean live aboard Adventure - need boat!

Not this year. Absolute earliest would be January, 2016. We are just starting to "run the numbers"!


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Old 12-08-2014, 07:26   #8
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Re: Family of four preparing for 6 month Caribbean live aboard Adventure - need boat!

Price range is, uh, lowest possible! I guess we don't know b/c so much depends on whether we'd be able to rent our house and for how much and if we bought or leased. We've been exploring the $70-100k range but less would absolutely be better!


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Old 12-08-2014, 07:46   #9
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Re: Family of four preparing for 6 month Caribbean live aboard Adventure - need boat!

I have something perfect for you. We'll be selling ours in your area in spring 2015.

How old are your kids?


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Old 13-08-2014, 08:43   #10
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Re: Family of four preparing for 6 month Caribbean live aboard Adventure - need boat!

What is it...and when and where? They are currently 10 and almost 13.
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Old 13-08-2014, 09:01   #11
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Re: Family of four preparing for 6 month Caribbean live aboard Adventure - need boat!

PM sent

So we are doing the year off right now, we leave Sunday.

I spent a ton of time searching for a boat, and eventually found one. My process and blog post of searching was actually syndicated by a sailing magazine:
The Best Boat for Cruising with Children — Sailing with Kids - Caribbean cruising with children

The two aft berths would be perfect for a couple of kids.

So when we come back in about 8 months, spring 2014, we plan to sell it. It's too big for Lake Champlain.

I'd be able to deliver anywhere on the east coast, including florida.
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Old 18-09-2014, 09:06   #12
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Re: Family of four preparing for 6 month Caribbean live aboard Adventure - need boat!

dont start downwind in florida, start upwind way to the windward islands and sail downwind back to florida through the bahamas, if you look, there are pocket cruisers for sale at great prices but you have to get there
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Old 18-09-2014, 11:51   #13
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Re: Family of four preparing for 6 month Caribbean live aboard Adventure - need boat!

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dont start downwind in florida, start upwind way to the windward islands and sail downwind back to florida through the bahamas, if you look, there are pocket cruisers for sale at great prices but you have to get there
Agree. Bashing to windward would quickly get old, and worse, discouraging. Get a boat that's already in the Caribbean and slide downwind back to Florida.
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Old 18-09-2014, 13:28   #14
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Re: Family of four preparing for 6 month Caribbean live aboard Adventure - need boat!

I'm surprised that no one has asked: Are you already competent cruisers... that is in terms of boat maintenance, sailing, anchoring, etc? Or are you in the "I wanna go RTW so will take ASA xxx and depart" group?

Has a big affect on your outcome IMO.

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Old 18-09-2014, 18:45   #15
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Re: Family of four preparing for 6 month Caribbean live aboard Adventure - need boat!

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I'm surprised that no one has asked: Are you already competent cruisers... that is in terms of boat maintenance, sailing, anchoring, etc? Or are you in the "I wanna go RTW so will take ASA xxx and depart" group?
Has a big affect on your outcome IMO.
Jim
Jim - he said they were spending 6 months in the Caribbean, not RTW... You can do allot of learning in sail friendly waters...

Also, if you have a bit of a buffer (100k on a 30' boat) you don't need to focus much on maint, if you are happy paying for it and not ending the trip in perfect condition.
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