What would you buy for $15k-20k? For sailing from Florida -> Bahamas, and beyond! - Page 3 - SailNet Community

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Old 12-14-2011
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If you haven't read James Baldwin's site yet, do so.
Atom Voyages | Voyaging Around the World on the Sailboat Atom

He also has compiled a list of boats he might recommend.
Atom Voyages | Voyages Aboard the Sailboat Atom -* Good Old Boats List - choosing a* small voyaging sailboat

Many are older designs that can be had for fairly little. You *will* have to be prepared to do the work yourself! For <$20K there is really no other option if you want a safe boat for passage-making.

Your biggest problem right now is probably that you are at the ponit where you don't know what you don't know. Now...this was your first post. How much sailing experience do you even have? Your best bet is to forget about "Bahamas and beyond!" for a few seasons. Instead you and your friend should focus on learning to sail the coast of Florida. Cruise together for a week at a time in local waters and see if it is even something you both can handle. A boat is a pretty cramped space. Living together in a 30' fibreglass bathtub can cause quite a bit of friction. Especially when you are both exhausted, the weather is crap, and nerves are frayed. Better to discover that before you are several hundred nm offshore.

The suggestion to crew someone else's boat is also excellent. You learn important skills, still go where you want. At the end if you find the lifestyle isn't for you, you at least don't have a boat to sell. If you do enjoy it, you have a much better idea of what to look for in a boat.
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Old 12-14-2011
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Originally Posted by Eric&AdamInTheCaribbean View Post
Myself and a friend are looking to buy in the $15,000-$20,000 range (~$20k budget for purchase, repairs and outfitting). We are wanting to buy the boat in Florida to live-aboard and cruise around the Caribbean. What would you buy for a similar situation?

Also, if anyone has some suggestions as to specific places to look, specific brokers to use in Florida, or any other helpful hints they would be very much appreciated!

(New to the forum but as this purchase looms closer and then our adventure begins I imagine it could become a very significant part of my life )
There are lots of boats around in Florida that would do the job if you can put in some sweat equity and are diy competant. I would recommend buying Don Caseys book on sailboat maintenance as it will help you be your own surveyor as well as a good DIY guide.

How about this CLICKY

or this CLICKY


There are two yards that are worthy of a visit or call and both allow DIY

Indiantown Boatyard has a broker that I have met and liked and there are many less expensive boats on offer. [Advantage Yacht sales ]

Green Cove Springs Marina nr Palatka.

But do be aware that while the Bahamas is very accessible and offers great cruising, getting further east to places like the USVI and the Windward/Leeward islands involves a hard slog to windward and has broken many a boat and many a Caribbean dream. Not for nothing is this called the thorny path.

However don't let the naysayers put you off, it is doable, just pick good weather windows and BE PATIENT.
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Old 12-14-2011
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Wow! I am blown away by all the responses in less than 24 hours. Thank you everyone for the info, advice and warnings. The first thing to say is that the person I am going with is more knowledgeable about sailboats than myself. I am trying to read, explore and learn as much as I can about various types of boats before we start looking at specific ones so that I can help with the boat search rather than tag along and watch..

As for sailing experience: Both myself and this friend owned a Cal 20 for a year and did numerous sailing trips on board it. We spent 5 days on it once, sleeping in it every night! (As I'm sure you all know the cabin in a Cal 20 is tiny and there no amenities). So our comfort is not really our first priority because we will be able to outfit whatever we have to be more than comfortable enough. My friend has also crewed on many boats in the past including multi-day races, races around Vancouver Island, etc. As I said, thanks for all the warnings and tips on things to look out for. These are all things that I understand my friend is experienced enough to look after, but I want to have a good grasp on how to inspect a boat and what to look for and how to outfit it to make it safe for our trip.

It seems the consensus is fairly mixed as to whether we are insane fools, or just slightly crazy adventurers! I would hope it is more the second, but I will continually re-evaluate the situation as we keep planning and if it seems too stupid then I will look more into the crewing possibility.
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Old 12-14-2011
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You are not insane fools at all and having a tight budget will make it more of an accomplishment for you when you are doing it. If you have got the fortitude to do the cruising (including the Thorny Path) then you have the fortitude to learn what you need to know and to do the work needed on the boat. It can be done with your budget, with safety, but perhaps without a great deal of comfort. We met two big Norwegian guys (think Vikings) on an Albin Vega 27 in the eastern Caribbean. That would be something like 5000 miles from home. They were having a great time. Also met a fellow from California in the south Pacific on a Bristol 27 with no engine. He sailed the boat and had a sculling oar for moving around in an anchorage if there was no wind.

I would not look at the bigger is better type of boat. I would look for a boat that is tough and simple (and therefore cheaper to maintain). Yachtworld is a great resource but may not have the best prices since all boats are being sold through brokers and brokers are not going to be involved for really cheap boats. Look at eBay (local boats that you can see), Craigslist, local sailing mags/boat for sale mags. signs at marinas, etc for the real bargains. Ask local marinas if they have abandoned boats and what do they do with them. About four years ago, a marina we were visiting in eastern CT had an auction of boats that had been abandoned by their owners. A Dufour 30 which would meet your needs well went for $100. So be patient and do your homework and ask questions (as you are here).

Also, as several people have mentioned, you MUST do virtually all of your own work to make your goals feasible.
Heading back to Lake Ontario for this summer. Relatively few stops along the way from Grenada. Martinique, Guadeloupe, St. Martin (must have something to do with the French food), then Bermuda, New England and up the Hudson/Erie Canal. We were going to go via Newfoundland and Labrador but June remembered that one of the kids is getting married this summer - details, details!

Last edited by killarney_sailor; 12-14-2011 at 01:10 PM.
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Old 12-14-2011
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An old boat with solid basics, eg dry fiberglass, offers a great deal if you have the time. All boats break, the more familiar you are with what you have the better. The more work you do on a boat the better one is prepared to make repairs when needed. The more money you have left over, the better for safety upgrades.
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Old 12-14-2011
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You may want to watch this!

Hold Fast from Moxie Marlinspike on Vimeo.

1971 23' Oday Pop Top
S/V Frida

You can't steer a boat that isn't moving? Just like a life - P. Lutus
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Old 12-14-2011
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Originally Posted by Eric&AdamInTheCaribbean View Post
...It seems the consensus is fairly mixed...
Get used to it! This forum is a great place to get a wide verity of opinions in a hurry, but I have found that with most things sailing related, the opinions will ALWAYS be very mixed. Take the time to read them all, compare and contrast them, look at them in the light of your life, expectations, skills and desires and then decide what is right for you. In the world of sailing, two very different opinions can both be right, for different people.

And personally, I think you can do it if you are willing to put in a lot of work, live with a little less, and not care if you have the funniest looking boat in the anchorage.
S/V Lilo
1964 Islander 32
Saint Helens, OR
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Old 12-14-2011
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You'll get differing opinions because the answer to EVERY sailing and boat related question always starts with the same two words...
"It depends."

Hey landlocked, mind if i come over and take a big steaming moxie on your boat?
It's 5 o'clock somewhere:

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boat buying , caribbean sailing , florida

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