I could have written this 30 years ago about this time of year. Around 1972 or so, the United Nations was trying to resolve a series of sovreignty issues regarding quite a large number of islands located off the north east coast of South America. Many if not most of these islands were uninhabited. There was a plan in place to encourage homesteading and to then pole the inhabitants of these islands to determine the proper which nation would own each island. I was graduating from undergraduate architecture school at the time with number of friends who I had taught to sail. One of them came up with the idea of homesteading one of these islands and then designing and building a luxury resort that we could sell off to some hotel chain. We came up with the idea of buying a sailboat and sailing down to look at these islands first hand. There were four of us who wanted in, plus one of the group was married and his wife would be coming along making five on board. In 1972 dollars we each had to kick in $10,000. (That would be roughly $30K to $50K or so today.) we assumed that one quarter to one third would go toward buying the boat and the rest toward provisions and a war chest.
We identified a number of topics that we needed to study; navigation, edible and dangerous plants, fish and wildlife, provisioning, weather, engine repair
, boat maintenance and repair
, first aid and so on. We split up the studying and research of this necessary knowledge so that there were two of us familiar with each topic. We were students and used to studying so this team approach was working well.
I had tracked down a French 42 footer that had been siezed by lawyers trying to recover a legal bill for a French citizen that they had defended on a drug charge and who had been deported without paying their bill. According to the law they could only keep the amount of their outstanding $14,000 judgement against the boat''s owner plus any costs that were incurred storing and selling the boat. The rest they needed to send back to the boat''s owner. Since the lawyers were pissed at the guy who had been deported they really only wanted a quick sale for something like $14,500. This was a fully found offshore performance cruiser that was perfect for our needs as we saw them.
Thats when things went south. When it came time to put up or shut up, the one fellow''s wife went ballistic. She''s been working to put him through school and would not put up with him dropping out for some hair brained scheme. With Jon out of the picture, the whole thing folded like a pack of cards.
To this day I am not sure how well this would have worked. This was a good group of friends. We had worked under pressure as a team for 3 years or more at that point. We were very organized and pretty handy. Jon was the oldest of our group by three or four years and a veteran Marine who had served in Vietnam. I had been sailing for 10 years by that point and had pretty extensive experience working in boatyards. Sam was an experienced engine mechanic and chief had had summer jobs working in hositals. These were simplier times and so boats were easier to buy and maintain. I suspect that we would have done alright out there but of course you never know.