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Old 08-04-2024, 03:18   #31
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Re: Bahama sailing newbie

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Originally Posted by Funkydrum View Post
How about chartering a boat for a week or two?

You could charter a sailboat or powerboat with Cruise Abaco out of Marsh Harbor with their 'Captain by day, Bareboat by night' program. Explore the Abacos and see if cruising is for you?
Reasonable idea to approach this incrementally. Need to be aware that a one week vacation charter is not like living aboard, like living in a house or renting a hotel room. Example:who changes the engine oil or cleans the deck?
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Old 08-04-2024, 07:02   #32
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Re: Bahama sailing newbie

I second the IMHO about chartering. To sail/cruise the Caribbean, you will need to know how to maintain every aspect of your boat because parts and mechanics are not readily available. IMHO, $100,000 won't buy what you are seeking. Marina storage is expensive, especially and there are waiting lists in Florida. Besides fuel, you need to plan for fresh water usage. If you plan to boondock, you may need a watermaker.
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Old 08-04-2024, 07:11   #33
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Re: Bahama sailing newbie

EJ, I would emphatically discourage buying a sailboat until you have seriously tried sailing. Many would argue there is no practical reason to own a sailboat. Sailing is a passion for most, myself included. We have sailed for 45 years and will continue for as long as possible. Take the courses. Also we chartered all over the Caribbean going for 4 to 6 weeks at a time. First crewed charters for a couple of years then bareboat for many many years. Week long charters are not enough to even get used to the motion, noises, or most of the unique issues you need to be able to handle. Particularly anchoring, docking and dealing with surprises. We ended up on catamarans as my wife just couldn’t get comfortable on a monohull as mentioned by others. When you charter a bareboat and your trip is done, you pack your things and walk away. No worries about your boats storage, berth, maintenance, insurance, hurricanes, theft or any of many other issues. You simply walk away.
After several of these bareboat experiences you can logically decide if ownership and full time boat life is for you and what type and size of boat you like. We decided the charter route was for us. We do have a sailboat for day trips the rest of the time and use it often for pleasure and to keep our skills fresh. Cheers
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Old 08-04-2024, 07:34   #34
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Re: Bahama sailing newbie

I've sailed to the Bahamas from Ontario twice, once with my three boys and once on my own, with two different boats. The people I encountered were great, and there was a lot of nice stuff about it. But, I heard over and over again "you gotta love it" in the context of the amount of work involved with having a boat. There's always something that needs doing... some maintenance that you should do or something broken that needs fixing. If that's your joy, fixing and maintaining things, and you're not needing to do work to fund your trip, then I think it can be good... staying busy with meaningful work is good for the body and soul. However, if you're trying to work, or just looking for an easy life, or if you just don't love being on the water when it's rough and uncomfortable and there's a low-level constant stress about it, then it can be miserable. And, if you aren't both at the same level of comfort about it, then it can be hard to navigate the interpersonal issues of this being one person's dream but the other person just is along for a ride that they are hating.
I'm not a big fan of the whole "rent something and see if you like it" mentality. I've traveled in various ways for well over a decade and I can say, with certainty, that no matter what it is, you'll likely hate parts of it for the first 2-4 weeks until you find your groove in that new way of living. If I could have hung it up after two weeks because I wasn't fully committed, I'd have never bicycled Europe, motorcycled Central America, RV'ed New Zealand, or backpacked South East Asia... the first couple weeks are hard! And, if you're not actually owning the boat you're on, you won't be doing any of the maintenance work for that rental time and it will seem like vacation. Point is, it's not an entirely fair assessment of real-life when you do that sort of thing. But, it's probably worth the small investment in that sort of vacation just to see how you feel with the easy parts before spending the big bucks on owning a boat (buying a boat with the thoughts you can sell it for what you have in it if it doesn't work out is a fool's errand... ask me how I know).
However... until you are in a boat during a big blow and are concerned about anchors dragging in the night, not sleeping because of all the noises you haven't yet identified, having to go out in the dark and try to get the rode from being wrapped around the keel, or have the engine conk out while you're bobbing around in a storm at night and really get to feel whether you're going to be able to fix it or puke your guts out, you haven't really tried yourself to see what you're made of. I've tried myself, done a lot of adventurous things, and have found sailing to be far more trying and difficult than any of the other adventures. You gotta love it. Because if you don't love it, you'll stop doing it pretty quick and you'll be a good deal lighter in the pockets for the experience.
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Old 08-04-2024, 07:50   #35
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Re: Bahama sailing newbie

Having done both the cruising and van life, I can tell you there are major differences. Owning an older boat, frequently the most frustrating thing was waiting for parts and waiting for the delivery. Not only time lost in customs and paying import duties, but also in further shipping the part to the less travelled islands, which is much like boondocking at sea. When you are in an RV and have a problem, you pretty much know that if you got your RV into a spot, a tow truck could retrieve you. Additionally, you know if no shop in the nearest town has the necessary part, you can order it online and have it in a few days. In the Bahamas, just getting that part through customs can take longer, let alone arranging transport to what ever island is closest to you anchorage that has routine mail boat delivery. That said, understand the limitations, but go for it, the experience will never leave you.
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Old 08-04-2024, 08:06   #36
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Re: Bahama sailing newbie

By now you should have realized that boats, sailing, and water are quite different from RVs,roads,facilities. A good sailor is attuned to all of the quirks and noises from the sea and the boat. He always has plan B in mind. That's in part because land is one-dimensional -- the road. If it breaks, you can stop and walk away. Water is two-dimensional -- if it breaks you can sometimes stop but you can't walk away. (On a plane you can do neither.)

It takes time, energy, and will to learn both sailing and handling a boat. It is steady state only for a while and only in calm weather. The rest is hard. Anchoring, docking, fixing under way, changing sails, provisioning, safety, etc.

I knew of some starters who left RI for Bermuda knowing nothing and hit a rock immediately. But the same god that looks after drunks and little kids got them there. Some years later, they gave a talk on cruising and were experts. They were driven by passion, not transportation.
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Old 08-04-2024, 08:13   #37
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Re: Bahama sailing newbie

You will find most "sailors" motor 90% of the time in the Bahamas, if the wind is light many will motor sail, but if it picks up, most will douse sail and motor. If the wind is fair on jumps between islands most will sail or motorsail.

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Old 08-04-2024, 08:57   #38
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Re: Bahama sailing newbie

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Originally Posted by ejbeaty View Post
Hello all,

My wife and I have gone back and forth about living aboard for years now. We get real close to committing, then back away because of the commitment/cost of ownership/not knowing if we'll love it enough. Each time we get a little closer to committing. We jumped head first without looking into full-time RVing a few years before the pandemic and loved it until everyone started doing it during the pandemic. Now we have a home in Arizona and only RV for a couple months at a time. Once again the pendulum has swung towards wanting to get a boat and cruise around the Caribbean. I plan to take the RV to either Baja, Texas, or FL this winter and start working on my boating certifications.

My question for you is this: is a sailboat worth considering for island hopping in the Caribbean if we don't actually have an interest in sailing itself? I've owned numerous old diesel engines in my RVs and don't like the idea of relying on one as my only way to get around or having one to maintain from Arizona when not in use. I DO love the idea of not being restricted by our fuel range and not having to go from dock to dock to fill up. I'm not worried about the actual cost of fuel, just what I perceive as the increased headache. With our RVs, we pretty much only boondock and avoid campgrounds. That's what we desire in a boat too.

We have about $100k budget for a boat and I would rather have a well maintained/outfitted sailboat than a project cruiser that is just another, more expensive version, of the motorhomes we've owned. Said differently, I want to spend as much time playing and as little time maintaining as possible. Am I on the right track thinking a sailboat is the right direction for us given our budget?
I've done the Caribe from Florida to Trinidad ~ twice.
I will say, the best of the best is the Bahamas for me. But I like the nature side of things.
For cultural experiences and etc, further down the Caribe is good.
But I'm just saying you can spend a lot of time in the Bahamas and you are only 50-100 miles from Florida. You dont need a blue water boat etc.
It would be a good place to start anyway.

I think cruising is likely more stressful and work than RV'ing. You may break down ....but not sink on an RV! SO thats something to think about.

You really should charter a week in the Bahamas or Caribe and see if you can be happy cruising....

I motor a lot and at anchor a lot. The boat is just a tool to me to get from point A to point B. But love to sail if I can move along doing it. I usually have a goal. Most of the Caribe is daysails between anchorages. My goal is to get that 20-40 miles done with and in a new spot.

Much of the E. Caribe people spend time on the lee side of the islands. The other side can be rough and not have anchorages. Being on the lee side, you are in the wind shadow so have to motor much of the time.
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Old 08-04-2024, 13:21   #39
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Re: Bahama sailing newbie

I have seen so many boat owners, in the last few years especially, get trapped into what I call the "Honda Syndrome"

They figure they just spent maybe a quarter of a million dollars on a very fancy boat, and they fully expect it to be exactly like buying a new Honda automobile. They do minimal maintenance, and it runs for 10 years or 100,000 miles without significant repairs. Even if repairs are needed, in all likelyhood they happen quickly and the problem is fixed first time. You write one check, and go home with a happy car.

The most extreme example was someone who spent the best part of $1M dollars on a high end, very complex 55 foot sailboat, and it was for sale 6 months, many 10's of thousands of dollars, and more than a few shattered dreams later.
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Old 08-04-2024, 14:03   #40
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Re: Bahama sailing newbie

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You will find most "sailors" motor 90% of the time in the Bahamas, if the wind is light many will motor sail, but if it picks up, most will douse sail and motor. If the wind is fair on jumps between islands most will sail or motorsail.
Back in the '80s the Exumas ran out of fuel and the fuel barges weren't coming for some reason. For about a month nobody could get any diesel or gas and we all were sailing everywhere, saving our precious fuel for emergencies. Luckily, we had a very handy 30-footer. We sailed her in and out of all sorts of places the length of the Exumas. But, my point is that you have to really learn your fuel consumption on a motor boat once you leave the USA, and you have to carry at least some emergency fuel in jugs, and the jugs sometime have to be used to obtain fuel. It isn't like there is a fuel dock on every island along with a repair facility, so engine repair ability, including carrying the spares and tools, is critical. That's one reason I prefer sail. Once you get off the beaten track you have to be much more self-sufficient.
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Old 08-04-2024, 15:06   #41
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Re: Bahama sailing newbie

I love to sail, and monohulls at that.


But OP isn't interested in sailing, and I infer that he is interested in staying places, at least for short stays. So, he needs to focus more on "anchoring" than "sailing." In my opinion, for staying at anchor/living aboard, power boats are hands down better. And since (at least in sailboats) catamarans are hands down better., perhaps a power cat is the best.


This is entertainment space, floor plan, visibility, ventilation, etc. It has NOTHING to do with the relative merits for the transits. But the more time you spend "there" and the less time you spend "getting there" the more the scale tips toward "anchoring" and the less towards "sailing" (or "transiting").
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Old 10-04-2024, 04:05   #42
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Re: Bahama sailing newbie

Quote:
Originally Posted by ejbeaty View Post
Hello all,

My wife and I have gone back and forth about living aboard for years now. We get real close to committing, then back away because of the commitment/cost of ownership/not knowing if we'll love it enough. Each time we get a little closer to committing. We jumped head first without looking into full-time RVing a few years before the pandemic and loved it until everyone started doing it during the pandemic. Now we have a home in Arizona and only RV for a couple months at a time. Once again the pendulum has swung towards wanting to get a boat and cruise around the Caribbean. I plan to take the RV to either Baja, Texas, or FL this winter and start working on my boating certifications.

My question for you is this: is a sailboat worth considering for island hopping in the Caribbean if we don't actually have an interest in sailing itself? I've owned numerous old diesel engines in my RVs and don't like the idea of relying on one as my only way to get around or having one to maintain from Arizona when not in use. I DO love the idea of not being restricted by our fuel range and not having to go from dock to dock to fill up. I'm not worried about the actual cost of fuel, just what I perceive as the increased headache. With our RVs, we pretty much only boondock and avoid campgrounds. That's what we desire in a boat too.

We have about $100k budget for a boat and I would rather have a well maintained/outfitted sailboat than a project cruiser that is just another, more expensive version, of the motorhomes we've owned. Said differently, I want to spend as much time playing and as ittle time maintaining as possible. Am I on the right track thinking a sailboat is the right direction for us given our budget?
15 years ago I paid 115,000.00 for a good d olid Southern Cross New engine, Furler,Jib etc.
Still had to put another 25,000.00 in to make her cruise ready. I think you light by a bunch. Yo also might want to read some of yhe Books by Lin and zlarry Pardy and other seasoned Cruising Authors as to the cost per year to maintain the boat. An RV has few parallels to a Sailboat cost and maintainece. Been cruising 24/7 365 for 15 years. That's my two bitts worth
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