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vtsailguy 02-23-2013 06:17 PM

Advice on a Caribbean Cruiser
I have spent a few days going over old posts here and at cruisingworld, and thought I'd seek some advice.

We are planning to take a year to sail around the Caribbean, starting in the summer of 204.

So here is the problem, we need something that is roomy inside, we have 3 boys, which would imply more of a cruiser. But one option we are strongly considering is the Carib 1500 ARC to get down there in november. So I need a boat that can manage this 1500 mile trip.

The tension is between boats that are more blue water orientated tend to be smaller inside, and bigger interior cruisers let capable in the open sea.

Another issue would be I would need something relatively easy to sail. My experience to date has been a couple of charters ~40' and a few years great lake sailing on ~30 boats. Also not much of a mechanic so reluctant to go too old a boat.

Last but not least, have a budget of $50k including any needed refits and upgrades.

This is based on getting a boat in the North East, outfitting and provisioning p here and then sailing down. Another option would be to buy a boat that's already down there, but much of the same applies to get it back (or to re-sell)

Been trawling Yachtworld for months, nothing has leapt out at me.

SloopJonB 02-23-2013 08:50 PM

Re: Advice on a Caribbean Cruiser
For what you want to do, I'd get an ex-Caribbean charter boat that had been freshened up. Your plans are what they were built for.

vtsailguy 02-23-2013 08:51 PM

Re: Advice on a Caribbean Cruiser
Hmmm, good point. The boats in the charter fleets are certainly built for the area :)

A small voice at the back of my head does say "what if you can't sell it when your done".

Faster 02-23-2013 09:26 PM

Re: Advice on a Caribbean Cruiser
You're on a tight budget even so.. Also, if you buy an ex charter maybe buy one that's already there. Avoids the serious offshore passage to get there.

$50K all up and truly offshore capable doesn't leave you much of the 'room and space' (read LOA) you seem to need - though you might be overestimating how much you will need..

vtsailguy 02-23-2013 09:30 PM

Re: Advice on a Caribbean Cruiser
Yeah, I think 40' is my sweet spot of space and affordability.

The irony is if I buy one in the US, I don't need something offshore capable EXCEPT for that one passage to get it there :/

gtod25 02-23-2013 09:31 PM

Re: Advice on a Caribbean Cruiser
OK, you are going to like none of this.

Forget the Carib 1500. IMHO its nuts even for a well found vessel with an experienced crew. I have helped out vessels that have been on this trip and the stories are "interesting", in the Chinese sense of the world.

I presume that your plan would be to buy a boat for $50K and sell it after a year for +/- $50K. Ooookay. How much of the $50K are you prepared to loose?

One year in the Caribbean. I did it in two and it was rushed AND I started in the Caribbean. Consider just doing the Bahamas.

Now the good news; One family I know managed to "borrow" a 42ft boat from an owner who was not using it, for the price of a number of "upgrades". They were at pains to point out that it was NOT a charter because of legal implications. It worked out very well for them. It would require a hell of a lot of trust on both sides as well as some legal advice. I'm not sure what it cost them but I would imagine you should plan to drop $10-20K on the upgrades and fully insure the vessel, have before and after surveys etc. Its a long shot finding the right owner.

Best of luck with your plans


vtsailguy 02-23-2013 09:40 PM

Re: Advice on a Caribbean Cruiser
If I bought and sold, I'd be ready to lose 10-20%

The reason the 1500 appeals is that if we went that route, I'd keep the boat, take it back home to new england when the year is up. If I did do the 1500 I'd get several very experienced crew and have the family meet us there.

gtod25 02-23-2013 09:43 PM

Re: Advice on a Caribbean Cruiser

Originally Posted by vtsailguy (Post 994170)
If I did do the 1500 I'd get several very experienced crew and have the family meet us there.

Excellent, that would save a lot of marriages.:)

If you buy up North you also have more time to work on the boat, in an area you are familiar with, where you may have access to resources.

vtsailguy 02-23-2013 09:46 PM

Re: Advice on a Caribbean Cruiser
Pointless to start the year on something everyone will hate :)

TomMaine 02-24-2013 01:49 PM

Re: Advice on a Caribbean Cruiser
I can say that two pilot berths, and two kids, worked out perfectly for us for many years. We have a typical 38' 60's style racer cruiser that has two outboard pilot berths.

Not only do kids love them for their own "private" space, they have their own storage lockers at the heads, fiddled shelf outboard, and drawer storage below.

The best thing for me is the boat never needs converting. Kids can go to bed when they want, sleep as late as they want, we have full access through the boat from cockpit to veeberth and head, nice. Sailing overnight, they're terrific.

Our boat is small by today's standards, and lacks that third kid berth you need. We use a pull out settee for the times we've had 5 onboard(that's one option for you unless you can find 2 pilots and a quarter).

For the few times we've had 6 onboard, we slide the other settee out. Works in a pinch, but nobody can move! Good luck with your search.

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