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post #1 of Old 03-10-2012 Thread Starter
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Post A trip from NJ to S. America--Type, journey length, boat details?

Greetings! I'm a writer, in desperate need of some aid from real, live sailors. Google and Wikipedia can only help so much. Hours of scouring dozens of sites have only driven home the fact I am way out of my depth here!

This is the scenario:
Three people (two experienced sailors and one prisoner) are traveling from the New Jersey, U.S. coastline to a southern Caribbean island. It is November, present day time period. They are purchasing a small boat second-hand from a random harbor, and must be able to travel non-stop as discreetly as possible. Money is not an issue.

My main questions, broadly:

-- What sort of boat would they buy?
-- What is a small blue water boat actually like on the inside?
-- How long would this journey take, approximately?

Opinions and personal anecdotes are wonderful! If you want to go on at length about a boat you built or a journey you took, that is more than fine! I also welcome suggestions for further resources.

Thank you very much in advance!


Specifics, my thoughts, and research:

First of all, I need to know if I'm even looking in the right direction when thinking "sailboat." Maybe these people should use a motorboat. Or power sailor. What do you think? They can't stop and refuel.

The next question is, What kind?

So far from my research it looks like they should be getting some sort of a sloop, yacht, or cruiser, (maybe something like this boat?) but it has been surprisingly difficult to locate a diagram of the various levels of any sailboat. I get the technical parts of the boat, electrical and plumbing diagrams, or (at best!) deck plans of large commercial vessels. So I feel rather ignorant but must ask: What do you see when you get on the deck of a boat, besides the mast, sails, boom, etc.? How do you get to the cabin; where is it? What are the various levels? What other spaces would it have, where, and how do you get to them? Or, could/should these people get a boat that has none of this, and just sleep on the deck? What supplies would they need to take on with them? (Generator?) How much could they take?
Basically, what is it like on and in a boat?

They want to move subtly, so I would imagine going on the open sea rather than keeping close to coasts would be preferable, but that could just be my ignorance talking. As I haven't yet researched entering/exiting international waters and harbor patrols I won't ask about that, but I'd like to know how realistic it is for them to head out to the open sea and not come near a coast until they've almost hit the island. And then would it shorten or lengthen the trip, since they could take a straighter line? (Or could they?) And just how much danger does that add? The narrator is the prisoner, so I don't need to know every detail of tides, etc., but I do need a general time frame. If they leave in November, approximately when would they reach the area near South America?

My research:
Believe me when I say that I have been researching this like mad, and would not bother actual people if I weren't utterly at a loss. GFE, right? If one of you wants I am willing to post as many used keyword combinations as I can remember and as many titles of Wikipedia articles that I read as I can recall. I've checked out the sticky on this forum about boats for off-shore cruising; I've read posts and searched boat sale listings. Looked at stuff like James Baldwin's Good Old Boats List. Everything gives me all the details I don't understand and almost none of the details I need. I have burnt, choked, and tortured myself in the name of writing research, and only go to other people when my at-hand resources fail me. So please see this post as the appeal to expertise that it is, not an attempt to get quick answers the easy way. Of course, ideally I would get on a boat, but I can't even begin searching for a way to make that happen until I know what kind of boat on which to seek experience.

I am very grateful for any help here! Who knows . . . Maybe learning about this will bring me to become enamored of sailing and one day I shall rise amongst your ranks!
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