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Old 27-04-2018, 01:29   #1
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Join Date: Aug 2017
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Boat for Caribbean Sabbatical

Hello again CF,

This is my second post after lurking around CF for a while, the first being an introductory post with a bit more detail about us on the Meet & Greet section. Very briefly, we are a family of 4 (mum, dad and 2 boys 8 and 10 years of age) in Australia, looking to purchase a boat in the Caribbean for a one year sabbatical. Plan to buy (near the end of 2018), sail, sell, return to land.

So in typical fashion, what boat should I buy?

The short of it is:
- budget is limited: US$50~60K would be a dream, $60~75K maybe more realistic, $75~85K is really pushing my budget
- how SMALL can I go? I am thinking 39 to 41ft. Our family can squeeze in, be tight but be happy. Sure I’d love a 45 footer but no....
- 3 Cabins. In my mind this is the key factor. Family health will be better preserved with the privacy of each boy having their own space and mum & dad their privacy. There are not really 3 cabins in boats smaller than about 38’, or are there?
- Don’t want a project, don’t want an old boat. Would love a 2000 or newer boat. 70’s or 80’s boats don’t come with 3 cabins at that size, maybe after 43’ they do me thinks.
- Structurally sound boat (need it be said?)
- It’s not the dream boat (that will come later :-), it’s not a “bluewater” ocean crossing boat. We’ll spend the time island hopping in the Caribbean, hopefully Colombia, central America, Mexico, Fl, Bahamas maybe.
- I’m thinking a 1990/2000’s or newer boat will have more volume for the size, so I can keep boat size at the smaller end (39’?) and squeeze 3 cabins in?
- I like to sail and a boat that sails well is important to me. Don’t really go for heavy displacement, full keel, slowish boats.
- I like contemporary “european” lines and happy with practical plastic fantastic (thinking Jeanneau, Beneteau, Hanse, Bavaria (maybe? receivership?), Dufour. But also Cal, Ericson, Tartan?
- Ideally set up ready for cruising safely (comfort less important so no aircon, genset ...but yes fridge pretty please, solar/wind), nav gear can be on the more basic side
- Sloop or Cutter rigged, probably not a ketch. Skeg mounted rudder better than not but not a dealbreaker
- I love a sugar scoop transom. We love being in the water and live swimming and in/out all day long
- Large cockpit with benches I can sleep on
- Lastly, a boat with the better chance of reselling quickly and taking less of a hit. Some brands or age might be better than others?

So, with this budget am I dreaming? What brands should I be looking for (other than the Jeanneau / Bene / Hanse)? Can’t go much smaller (maaaaybe 37?) so go older? But then no 3 cabins… Would love to hear from the collective wisdom and sage opinions on this forum! Suggestions for specific models would be great.

Editing to add: budget is for the boat. I'd expect another (unrecoverable) $10 to $20K (hopefully not much more) to add a small bit of kit and upkeep. Then a separate budget for expenses other than boat.

I'm a handy kind of guy with mechanical inclination and can do many repairs myself (spent 15 years fixing all sorts of broken stuff on an 1973 Columbia 43, from replacing keel-bolts, glassing deck/hull joint, re-rigging, fising delaminated deck...not that I want to go there again!).

Reading other posts...wonder if anyone on the forum would rent their boat for a year?

And again apologies for such a long post!
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Old 27-04-2018, 02:39   #2
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: St. Petersburg, Florida
Boat: Leopard 39
Posts: 860
Re: Boat for Caribbean Sabbatical

Don't rule out Catalina or O'Day. With the three cabin stipulation, you'll be looking to buy well-kept larger, older vessels (as even newer, smaller sailing vessels will not have three separate cabins). Good luck.
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