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  #1  
Old 09-30-2006
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starting points for cruising internationally with an infant

We are looking for suggestions of non-US cruising waters from which to begin a 1-3 year cruise. We have a one-year old who has spent his first year sailing on SF Bay and loves it, but we want to be in an island chain so as to accomodate short sails (1-4 hours) and fun anchorages (warm water to swim, beaches, etc).

We do not really want to start coastal cruising by heading down to Mexico, so we are looking for other options. We are not looking for extreme sailing conditions, but something condusive to a family cruising environment.

So far we are considering starting in Croatia (heading south), Thailand??, Caribbean (what areas, countries, islands?? would folks recommend for starters), and Greece. But we are completely open to the process and ideas. We want our son to experience different cultures at a young age and we all three love to sail and live aboard.

Please any thoughts, ideas and advice would be most welcome and appreciated.
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Old 10-01-2006
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The easiest one for you to get to, from the US is the Caribbean.

Do you have a boat already, or would you be purchasing one? One reason I ask this, is where the boat is located will have a lot to do with what areas would be good for you to start.

I would stick with the Caribbean to start with, since your son is quite young...the Caribbean, unlike many other island chains has reasonable access to relatively modern medical facilities, which is not the case in the South Pacific or parts of Southeast Asia, and has relatively fewer nasty exotic diseases to expose him to.

Just my $.02 worth...
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Old 10-01-2006
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Caribbean vs. Med/Adriatic

Thank you, Sailing Dog, for your sense -- cents!

We do not yet own the boat we will use for this cruise. We recognize that choosing the place first will ultimately limit what pre-owned boats are available to us -- but we feel the place may be more important than getting our top boat choice.

Can you, or others out there, comment on Caribbean vs. Adriatic/Aegean/Med for a cruise with an infant?
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Old 10-01-2006
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In your stead, I'd choose the British Virgin Islands as my base. It's "non-US" alright...there's plenty of difference between the BVI and the adjacent US Virgin Islands. However, the USVI are close, as are the Spanish Virgins (East of Puerto Rico).

There are lots of used boats for sale in the BVI. As a first contact, I'd talk to Chris or Karen at BVI Yacht Sales. They're knowledgeable, straightforward, and helpful folks.

Cruising with an infant can be a challenge, but not an insurmountable one. I'd want a place with some medical care (the BVI), backed up by higher-level medical care (USVI and, especially, Puerto Rico) not far away.

Sailing in the BVI is fun, and you can get all the ocean sailing/bashing you want nearby. Or, you can just enjoy island hopping...there are lots to choose from.

While the culture is "foreign", it's not THAT foreign. They speak English, American dollars are the currency, buoyage is U.S. (red right returning), and there are lots of both American and foreign visitors and residents. A really good place to cut your teeth in cruising and in "foreign cultures".

And, just to the East across the Anegada Passage, the Leewards begin, arcing southeast to the Windwards, Venezuela, etc.

Bill
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Old 10-01-2006
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I'd avoid the Aegean as the Greeks are doing some wacky things with respect to foreign cruising boats. The EU has some strange requirements on taxes if you're there for too long. It is easy to go from country to country in the Caribbean and Virgin Islands...since the countries are fairly small and they aren't united in an economic union like Europe is.

Might be wise to buy the boat on the East coast, either New England or the Chesapeake area, and then do a few weeks of coastal cruising to get accustomed to the boat and still have the ability to stop off and get any major repairs made easily. I don't recommend getting boats from any further south as they can often be in much worse shape than the boats from the Chesapeake to New England of the same age.
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Old 10-01-2006
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Actually I like Bill's idea about buying a boat in the BVI's as the most practical solution for you but as "Dog" points out, finding a GOOD boat there is sometimes tough. The trip down the ICW from the Cheapeake is fascinating and safe and then you could cross to the Bahamas which is also safe and easily done but quite different from the US...with the best water and beaches I think anywhere in the East. Cruising further south could be done in trips of no more than 24 hours. Miami/Ft.Lauderdale is also a great place to look for boats with average boat condition somewhere between the BVI/Annapolis comparison. Since you'll need to travel to look at boats anyway...you could book your BVI trip to pass through Ft. Lauderdale/Miami and check out 2 markets on one trip.

As to Greece/Turkey/Croatia/Med...I think I'd save that trip for later given conditions right now and a baby on board.
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