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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Boat Review and Purchase Forum > Boat Buyers & Sellers Forum
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  #1  
Old 11-06-2011
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Finally ready to buy Need advise

My wife and I farm, kids are gone, we are off from November to March and after renting houses for 6-7 winters and spending 10-20 k a year holidaying its time to buy a boat and sail. We have a budget of around 100k cash and have lots of questions. We want to buy the boat in the Caribbean we think and keep it there. Top of my list other than what boat is what do we do with a boat for the other 7-8 months of the year? Is having a boat in a charter setup the way to go? What is the cost of maintaining a boat under these conditions. I know and accept the hole in the water concept but how big is the hole? A second set of questions relate to where to have it. I am really focused on St. Vincent and the Grenadines. We are going down there to have a look for a month and do a charter. Have been going to the BVI on and off since 2003, checked out Central America, Dominica and Hawaii but while I havent been there but James Mitchels book has drawn me there as has everything I have read. Not the least would be the sailing and the lack of Hurricane threat in the off season.

Any comments would be appreciated. I have hundreds of other quesitons but most have been or will be answered by reading posts in this and other forums.

thanks
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Old 11-06-2011
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We have friends that do exactly that... have been since 2002. They are long time sailors, now both into their sixties but very active and fit. After years racing multihulls they chose a mono for this endeavour. Being performance oriented sailors they chose a Beneteau 36.7 - not a common choice but I can tell you we've had some exhilarating sails with them up and down the Eastern Caribbean chain... the boat does do the job. But they are minimalists and live on a vegetarian diet, limited refrigeration and shop nearly daily. Also, as a doublehanded crew on a lively boat in at least a decent breeze they spend a lot of time reefed with a small jib.

We don't know their costs exactly but are willing to bet they live very inexpensively indeed. They anchor off almost everywhere except in the French Islands where marinas are relatively inexpensive and they are meeting guests or need to recharge etc.

They head south around Halloween, return around Easter depending on the year. The boat is left on the hard in Tyrell Bay in Carriacou, just north of Grenada.. it's far enough south for their insurance coverage, is reasonable, and the yard really looks after the boat well.

They avoid the BVIs and concentrate on the chain between Antigua and Carriacou.. but for us they've detoured to St Kitts, Nevis, Saba, St Maarten and Barbuda over the years. They have built a large network of friends, esp in Antigua where they probably spend most of their time after sailing up the chain unless they are entertaining guests like ourselves.

The Grenadines are wonderful but there are some definite no-go zones on St Vincent recently and they are careful about where they go.. the cruiser's net keeps everyone aware. They also generally avoid cruise ship destinations.

Antigua, Bequia, Carriacou, the Les Saintes and Barbuda are probably their most treasured stops.

Ten years now, this season, and they show no signs of stopping.
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The charter trade can be very hard on a boat, depending on the operator. Be careful about screening charter operators.


Good plan - charter a couple of seasons and the decide.

Do you sail currently ?

Last edited by WDS123; 11-06-2011 at 12:28 PM.
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Old 11-09-2011
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We are getting back into sailing after a 3 year absence with a refresher with offshore on our way down to SVG. A few days with an instructor and then a week in the bvi on. Charter then off to SVG for a month and another week charter at the end. By sailing both locations in the same time period we hope to get a sense of the place and get 3 weeks on the water along with 4 weeks onshore in Bequia. As for finding a boat we will continue to look for a 38-40 foot boat less than 10 years old with no charter history. In the mean time I will hope for a lottery win and a 49 foot Hylas to materialize out of thin air.
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Lots of snowbirds keep their boats in Trinidad on the hard during the summer. There are lots of support organisations that can cover your boat for you with a waterpipe/plastic hood and also have it ready for you when you arrive.

Same thing can be done in Grenada, but costs more.

Talk to Powerboats in Trinidad for costs.
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Thanks TQA I will contact them about costs. I greatly appreciate the suggestions. Faster I really like the concept you suggest your friends do. Its nice having a boat on the hard during the winter it gives you a chance to do work on it easily at the beginning and end of the season.

Any suggestions regarding what you see as important in a cruising boat? I would imagine in Faster's senario above alot more consideration would be given to interior space than open ocean attributes. Bit more beamy I would think. Lots of spares and a decent set of tools.
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Old 11-09-2011
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Read this blog about owning a boat and putting it in charter: The Usual Suspects - Caribbean Sailing Adventures

From the looks of it, the owner wouldn't do it again. It ended up being a money loser for him due to the financial downturns...just couldn't get out from behind the 8-ball.

Also, take a look at ex-charter boats leaving the fleet. They seem to sell for literally 40%-60% of the cost new. They get beat up....pretty hard life.
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