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Old 08-28-2008
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Venezuela or US? Buying boat. And start of travel.

Hey guys. We are 4 norwegian guys wanting to buy a boat and sail in the caribbean for a few months. We have heared that venezuela is a good starting point for sailing north to the caribbean islands. But we wonder where is the best place to buy a boat? anyone got a place to recommend? we are looking for a boat from 1996, from 36 to 40 feet. with most sailing ecuipment. any ideas? and anyone got a good ide where we should start our sailing route? are there many sailingboats for sale in venezuela. found tons of boats online in the usa, but i heard the route to caribbean can be pretty hard for beginners sailing from the us.

would appreciate any answer from anyone. hope u can help us.

sincerely petter
pettermath@hotmail.com
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Petter-

First, don't post your e-mail address in an open forum like this in machine readable form, unless you want and like spam.

Second, you're probably better off trying the US, rather than Venezuela, unless one of you is fluent in Spanish. I am guessing you're pretty comfortable using English as a language. Second, the trip from the US isn't all that bad, especially if you start in Florida or so.

The US will probably have a much wider selection of boats, as well as better access to the facilities and vendors required to get the boat up and in shape for long-term cruising.

Why do you want to buy a boat if you're only going to be going for a few months? What would you be doing with the boat when you're done—selling it?? Buying a boat and outfitting it for long-term cruising, even if it is just island hopping, can be a pretty expensive proposition, and you probably won't make the money back selling the boat.

I'd also ask how much sailing experience you and your friends have? How much experience maintaining and repairing a sailboat and its systems do you have?

I recommend you read the post in my signature... and also think a bit more on what your actual goals are here.
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re:

hey there
thanx for your reply.
the whole point of our trip is that one of my friend wants a sailboat back home, and he wants to travel some, so buying one in the caribbean would be perfect! im gonna join him for 4 months while he will be sailing for 6 to 8 months. before he sails over the atlantic and to norway again. two of us has a good amount of sailing time. while im sailing a little with a friend. so i dont think that would be any problem.
maintaining and repair is another "problem" but we are all handymen so we should be able to do most! if we start in florida, what start route would you suggest is good? these are just questions from me? the other guys have better exerience than me, but i wanna know what u guys feel is the best. we want to see as much as possible and do alot of diving. we have a few friends in norway who has done the same, and they had a hell of a time they said.

sincerely Petter
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Well, if you're looking at keeping the boat long-term, then the plan makes a lot more sense. I would highly recommend you look at a bluewater capable boat if he wants to ship it or sail it back to Norway, as most of the "coastal cruiser" type boats aren't suitable for the waters back in Norway, and certainly aren't ideal for a transAtlantic passage.

It would also help to know what his budget is.
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Petter,

Why not start looking at some of the charter fleet boats that are for sale in the Caribbean all the time? This way you could fly directly to Ste. Maarten, for example, move aboard your boat, and start cruising. Start off with Moorings as they have the largest operation.

As far as Venezuela goes, I'd steer clear of it for now. Lots of crime, theft, and other nasty stuff being reported by cruisers lately.

Make sure whatever boat you buy is suitable for an ocean crossing and is suitably equipped for for such a passage.

Have fun!
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Alan-

Most of the charter boats aren't going to be anywhere near suitable or prepared for an ocean crossing. They're mostly fairly light-displacement coastal cruising boats. IMHO, he'd be much better off looking at boats that came across the Atlantic...
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There are lots of boats available for sale in both the Virgin Islands and in Trinidad...many of them blue water capable. English is the language in Trinidad so no worries about Venezuela. There ARE problems in buying a boat in both places in that there are "hurricane" boats which have been structurally damaged and repaired...but sometimes not so well AND charter boats which have been hard grounded and may have hidden problems.
This is complicated by a very small surveyor community that may not have your best interests at heart. My suggestion would be that if you find a boat in the islands, that you MUST have an extensive boat AND engine survey by a surveyor you KNOW you can trust based on other friends recommendations OR one that you fly in from the States despite the expense.

As to doing the trip from the states...it is hard and can take 90 days or more island hopping from Florida and waiting for the trade winds/weather to moderate so you can make progress to windward. You must have a solid and reliable vessel that is well prepared for this trip as there are long stretches where NO boat services are available and you must have the parts and skill to handle breakdowns.....not something you would want to do on a "new to you" boat that has yet to be tested.
Another alternative if you buy a boat in the USA...is to cruise the Bahamas 700 islands and the East Coast and the Florida Keys and then head off to Bermuda and the Azores and Europe when complete. The Bahamas are a paradise once you are outside of Nassau!
Suggest you search yachtworld.com advanced search for available choices by geography.
Good luck and let us know how it goes!
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Thumbs up re:

thanx guys for your help. doing the 90 day trip from the us is not an option. we have heard good of trinidad from a norwegian forum too.
his budget for the boat is around 100.000 to 125.000 USD.
when ocean crossing and island hopping, what kind of boats do u suggest? manufactuers?
our plan is to rent a car the first week, take a good look around for any boats that suits our plans, then find one, use some days packing up and buying sailinggear. then a few days in calm waters just getting used to the boat. then the fourth of us arrives and we will sail north. sounds good?
any other suggestions? we have gotten the complete sett of caribbean charts/maps from a friend who works as a navigator on one of the norwegian cruiselines in the caribbien sea. so that it very positiv when it comes to planing our passage around.

thanx for the help guys.

sincerely petter
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peter...at the top of this buying a boat forum is a sticky thread on blue-water boats. This is what your friend needs if he is planning to cross the Atlantic West to East. Use the lists on the sticky thread to narrow your choices down and then look for those boats on yacht world.
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Buying a used boat and putting it in good order for ocean sailing is not as simple as buying a new car--or even a used one. I would expect that it would take a full month to inspect a likely couple of boats, arrange the survey and sea trial on perhaps one of them, perhaps two or three (the first one might fail to qualify), complete the sale, arrange for insurance and flagging the boat back with proper title, and then moving on to more extensive sea trials and refitting--because there is always something that needs to be done.

Petter, even with the best of plans your trip would probably have to start with one month ashore in port, finding and preparing the boat. Two weeks at the very minimum, assuming you were very lucky, expedited everything, and then moved onto the boat for the next two weeks of refitting. You'd have to move like a madman to complete a boat sale (from scratch) in less than one week, and pay top dollar to get a boat that really didn't need any work or have any surprises.

Can your schedule accomodate that?

Finding a suitable boat may also be more of an issue, if you are looking for something suitable for Scandinavia, the boats are generally built differently than they would be for the warm weather Carribean charter market, where a premium is put on space below, opening ports, ventilation, often shoal draft, as opposed to staying dry and snug in north atlantic storms.

One hopes your friend is familiar with the differences.
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