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Dowesva 12-23-2012 03:03 AM

Chartering a long Gulf trip?

I'm a twenty two year old male with VERY little experience on-board a ship, never been out on anything bigger than a lido in calm weather.

A friend of mine asked me to go check out some properties for sale in Bocas del Toro, Panama and Tulum, Mexico. He's willing to pay me for the trip, but I was thinking of adding in a bit of my own financing and trying to get my feet wet in the process.

I'd be flying down to Bocas in mid to late February, unless it was on the way for someone and they had time for me to look around at properties that is. I'd like to spend a solid week in that area as there are so many islands and so much cheap property for sale. After that my next required destination is the Tulum/Isla Mujeres area. There aren't required stops between point A and point B, however there are hundreds of amazing places I would love to see en-route so the slower the better in my book.

I don't think it's technically called a charter, but if it is affordable I'd be happy to pay someone for a customized trip along this route. I can afford all of my own living expenses and provide as much as possible in terms of work. In terms of payment for the service; the more stops the more I'm willing to let go of. I'm by no means loaded, no trust funds in these genetics, but it seems like a worthwhile investment since I'm saving up to buy a boat anyways and should probably get some experience first.

I'm a quick and eager learner, not lazy or obtuse, and I lived in a car for two years back in my vagabond days so I'm used to making due with small quarters. All in all I think I'm pretty easy to deal with, I can talk a lot if I get excited, so you might have to tell me to shut up once or twice, but I'm pretty quick to learn what people do and don't want from a travel companion.

I'd prefer one of the two extremes for a skipper: either a younger person who enjoys hitting the shore and having a good time along the way, or a salty old sailor who I can learn a lot from and listen to old boating stories while we sail. In my land-travels (47 states, but never made it out) I've covered some major miles with both so I know I enjoy the company of either.

You would have to give me a thorough run down of the dos and don'ts for what to prepare, what to bring, what to expect, etc. Not only is it my first time out on the sea, but my first time out of country as well.

There's a whole list of places I'd love to see en-route. If anyone has suggestions of lesser known spots that I probably won't find online please let me know. In the off chance I find a skipper who's willing to customize the trip for me I want to be well prepared to choose.

Zanshin 12-23-2012 04:39 AM

Re: Chartering a long Gulf trip?
You won't be able to find a charter company that would charter a boat to you, unless they provide the skipper/instructor as well and that would be rather expensive. Another option would be to use one of the crew finding sites to see if you could crew on a boat heading in that general direction.

Note that if the boat or anyone aboard is a U.S. citizen then the Cuba embargo laws apply and a visit to that island is going to be very difficult to arrange.

Dowesva 12-23-2012 03:04 PM

Re: Chartering a long Gulf trip?
Thanks for the tip, I was thinking I might try to find an experienced sailor or two then charter a boat with them, unfortunately I don't know any so that doubles the search. What would be an expected rate for a 30-35' charter for two months?

Like I said, Cuba would be awesome to see but the route can be flexible. The two places that are most important and Tulum, Mexico and Bocas del Toro, Panama.

tomandchris 12-23-2012 06:21 PM

Re: Chartering a long Gulf trip?
What you are looking for is one of those "one off" deals that may be very hard to structure and also very expensive.

You would want something above the 30' boat, maybe at your higher 35'. April on in Florida is low season so you may get a break on charter price, especially long term. The captain, and you would not be let out without one with your experience, and certainly not your itenerary. Best guess $2,000 to $3,000 a week for the boat and $200 a day for the captain, plus supplies for both of you. Bottom line probably a minimum of $4,000 to $5,000 a week, and the charter company would have to jump through some hoops to make certain what their insurance company would cover. Add in a number, whatever, for additional insurance and damage deposits.

Airlines and chartering in local waters would be much cheaper, and would certainly seem to be better for learning and finding out if this is for you. Being sea sick for the first 5 days would be a learning experience that you could do without.

Good luck.

Dowesva 12-23-2012 07:50 PM

Re: Chartering a long Gulf trip?
I've had a few interested boaters, basically it looks like it would be easier to fly to the Yucatan and set sail from there. Chartering and hiring a captain may still be an option, but it's looking like this would be my best route. In addition to my living expenses, what would be a reasonable price for a captain to take me on? and if not I'm already contacting Yucatan chartering companies as a back-up.

NVCATS 01-09-2013 04:36 PM

Re: Chartering a long Gulf trip?
You sound interesting but as the others have said it would be expensive. That being said i would take you but there is another way you might consider since sailing that coast is not that great except for a few exceptions. You can rent a house boat in boca's, which needs little experience and seeing the Yuc you can do from shore better than boat. I have sailed much of that coast and some of it is better by land than boat especially if your looking for property.

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