Purchase Advice for ICW, Bahamas, Carribbean
Over the last few years my plan to sail 4 to 6 months a year is slowly coming to fruition…which is to sail (motor) the ICW, the Bahamas and eventually the full length of the Caribbean Island chain. Progress to date includes ASA 105 certification (crossing the Gulf Stream from Miami to Bimini in exceedingly challenging conditions), ASA 106 certification, which included a 24 hour sail from Anegada around St. Croix to the Spanish Virgins in challenging conditions, a repeat of ASA 105/106 in the San Juan Islands (from Bellingham WA. to Desolation Sound), and numerous charters in the Abacos, BVI, St. Martin, and Sporades, Greece. I am a geoscientist, so I can read maps (charts) very well and understand the limitations of GPS.
Next on the list is to complete the ASA docking endorsement, radar endorsement, take marine engine repair and small engine repair classes and most likely complete the Technician and General HAM radio licenses (needed to operate a SSB outside of US waters).
I am 59, in excellent health with a high aerobic capacity, and live in Colorado.
Financially, things are starting to come together as well. I have $125,000 sitting in a CD for boat purchase and repairs, sufficient retirement savings and within 3 years, a paid-off mortgage. I have also set aside funds for my daughter to attend college when she graduates from high school in 2 years.
I am looking for a 35 ft. to no more than 38 ft boat with 2 sleeping cabins, 1 head, the ability to single hand sail, and based upon my research a full or partial keel boat given some of the shallow waters I will sail. (IP and Caliber come to mind). Given my age, I don’t want a fix-up boat as I want to sail, not re-furbish.
Questions: 1) Any suggestions on boasts other than IP or Caliber that would fit my price range. 2) Initial thought is to store the boat in Green Cove Springs (just outside of Jacksonville Fl.) during hurricane season. Would a boat yard further north, say South Carolina, be practical or cheaper due to insurance and distance to airports. 3) Given my experience and sailing plans any thoughts on insurance issues. 4) What else am I missing?