Originally Posted by vtsailguy
As I have read people's thoughts, part of what I have gathered is that I could get a boat designed more for cruising that is already down there, it would not have to make the passage.
A boat that needs to be taken down (or brought back) would need to be more offshore capable.
So if I bought a cruiser down there, it might not be robust enough for the passage (for my liking)
The passages between islands are essentially 'open water' passages for the most part. The difference is that the distances are generally in the 40-60 NM range and, given the points of sail and reliable tradewinds are generally easy daytrips. If the winds are getting up or a heavy swell is running there's plenty of warning and information on the local HF nets, weather guru broadcasts etc, so you can wait and 'pick' your weather windows.
As a result you see some pretty questionable looking boats at anchor in some of these areas.
Getting the 1000 NM to windward from Florida to the Eastern Caribbean is a much different job description with fewer good anchorages, longer legs and less pleasant conditions/wind angles etc., as is coming down from the East Coast/Burmuda etc.
Depending on the boat you choose, it may be more of an equipment issue than an essential 'robustness', if you choose wisely in the first place..