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  #1  
Old 01-23-2013
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Purchase Advice for ICW, Bahamas, Carribbean

Over the last few years my plan to sail 4 to 6 months a year is slowly coming to fruition…which is to sail (motor) the ICW, the Bahamas and eventually the full length of the Caribbean Island chain. Progress to date includes ASA 105 certification (crossing the Gulf Stream from Miami to Bimini in exceedingly challenging conditions), ASA 106 certification, which included a 24 hour sail from Anegada around St. Croix to the Spanish Virgins in challenging conditions, a repeat of ASA 105/106 in the San Juan Islands (from Bellingham WA. to Desolation Sound), and numerous charters in the Abacos, BVI, St. Martin, and Sporades, Greece. I am a geoscientist, so I can read maps (charts) very well and understand the limitations of GPS.

Next on the list is to complete the ASA docking endorsement, radar endorsement, take marine engine repair and small engine repair classes and most likely complete the Technician and General HAM radio licenses (needed to operate a SSB outside of US waters).

I am 59, in excellent health with a high aerobic capacity, and live in Colorado.

Financially, things are starting to come together as well. I have $125,000 sitting in a CD for boat purchase and repairs, sufficient retirement savings and within 3 years, a paid-off mortgage. I have also set aside funds for my daughter to attend college when she graduates from high school in 2 years.

I am looking for a 35 ft. to no more than 38 ft boat with 2 sleeping cabins, 1 head, the ability to single hand sail, and based upon my research a full or partial keel boat given some of the shallow waters I will sail. (IP and Caliber come to mind). Given my age, I don’t want a fix-up boat as I want to sail, not re-furbish.

Questions: 1) Any suggestions on boasts other than IP or Caliber that would fit my price range. 2) Initial thought is to store the boat in Green Cove Springs (just outside of Jacksonville Fl.) during hurricane season. Would a boat yard further north, say South Carolina, be practical or cheaper due to insurance and distance to airports. 3) Given my experience and sailing plans any thoughts on insurance issues. 4) What else am I missing?

Thanks!
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Old 01-23-2013
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Re: Purchase Advice for ICW, Bahamas, Carribbean

Any production boat will fit the bill. Personally I would favour something about 40 feet. Draft 5 1/2 ft. Furling main. Get the newest one you can for the money. Most newer cruising boats (boats actually cruised, not day sailers) will be well equipped. IP and Caliber are the top end of these production boats. A Bene, Jeanneau or Catalina will do as well.

I store mine in FL. Makes the trip to the Bahamas a lot easier. Where you store will depend on your insurance. Many companies do not allow FL storage and a few of my friends store in St. Marys, GA, just across the border from where I store. JAX is an hour from where I store (Fernandina Beach)

One other thing, buy the boat a year before you're ready to set out. You need time to get a good feel for the boat and correct any surprises that may arise.
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Last edited by Vasco; 01-23-2013 at 07:31 PM.
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Old 01-23-2013
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Re: Purchase Advice for ICW, Bahamas, Carribbean

You can get some good boat buying deals in or near Green cove springs and Miami , southern Florida. After and during your sailing/boating education you will probably have alot more knowledge than most people here (to pick your own sailboat). The lower draft will be an important consideration. Sailnet archives may be helpful in boat selection. Pick a few people on sailnet who comment about design, boat opinion and look at (click) on all their posts. Jeff H. usually gets into those discussions and you will see opposite or different boat design opinions in the same 'thread'.
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Old 01-24-2013
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Re: Purchase Advice for ICW, Bahamas, Carribbean

Don't dismiss Beneteau, something like this would do the job nicely.

CLICKY

Lines are led back and although it is a fin keel spade rudder this cofiguration is chartered widely with little trouble.

I have a 3/4 keel skeg hung rudder and little control in reverse and suffer from envy when I watch a Bene slalom in reverse.

Last edited by TQA; 01-24-2013 at 03:04 PM.
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Old 01-24-2013
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Re: Purchase Advice for ICW, Bahamas, Carribbean

Pretty much any boat will work for this. I would, personally, be looking for something with no more than 5' of draft, if you're going to be spending much time in the Bahamas, the ICW, and/or the Florida Keys and west coast. You could probably find a very nice Catalina or Beneteau in the size and price range you are talking about.
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Old 01-24-2013
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Re: Purchase Advice for ICW, Bahamas, Carribbean

To add to the comment on "getting to know the boat", one thing I learned the hard way is to make sure the skipper is as well prepared as the boat. And that takes actual doing. No instructors.
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Old 01-24-2013
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Re: Purchase Advice for ICW, Bahamas, Carribbean

Absolutely nothing wrong with a Hunter for what you have in mind. You'll get a newer boat for the money than an IP and it won't have cement and scrap iron/steel or old damper plates from 73' Chevy Nova's as ballast.
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Old 01-24-2013
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Re: Purchase Advice for ICW, Bahamas, Carribbean

Quote:
Originally Posted by TQA View Post
Don't dismiss Beneteau, something like this would do the job nicely.

CLICKY

Lines are led back and although it is a fin keel spade rudder this cofiguration is chartered widely with little trouble.

I have a 3/4 keel skeg hung rudder and little control in reverse and suffer from envy when I watch a Bene slalom in reverse.
I chartered one of these last year. Easy to handle and it sailed much better than I expected. Member here MarkofSeaLife is cruising on one. You could do much worse.
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Old 01-24-2013
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Re: Purchase Advice for ICW, Bahamas, Carribbean

I'll second the comment on the Bene 393. Good solid boat to single-hand and can be found in great shape for cheap. ( 5' 1" Draft i believe)
I love my Bene 400; and i love to watch the looks in the marina when i slalom in reverse.
I've actually missed my slip and hit reverse for 15 feet and pulled back in; took some extra motor muscle. Looked good that day! Makes up for all my dock crashes the other days.
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Old 01-24-2013
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Re: Purchase Advice for ICW, Bahamas, Carribbean

Been sailing a 393 for the last 9 years. Bahamas every winter. Excellent boat. Prior to that used to take my CS36M. The Beneteau is much more comfortable and the furling sail makes life a breeze.
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