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Old 06-27-2007
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Sabattical Advice

Greetings! My wife and I are Great Lakes sailors w/ a seven month Sabbatical from December 2007 to July 2008. We are now thinking along the lines of a sailing adventure in the Caribbean.

To be honest, we do lack some experience, but we're willing to learn. We have done twenty to thirty mile cruises on Lake Michigan and several longer cruises.

We're looking for ideas of places to go? Good, solid boats to consider buying? Different ways to accomplish this goal? We're at the beginning of our research. Any type of resources to check out would be great!

Thank you very much!
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Old 06-27-2007
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It would help if you said what areas you are interested in cruising in...since that can affect what boats would be appropriate. Also, it would help if you said what your expected budget for the boat will be. As they say in Comp Sci 101—garbage in, garbage out... if you don't give specific information, you're not likely to get any good results.

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Old 06-27-2007
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December is too late to make the classic hop to the Caribbean from the east coast (i.e. via Bermuda). The long ocean passages are probably more than you would want to take on with your experience anyway. I would suggest either the Bahamas or the Florida Keys as possibilities.
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Old 06-28-2007
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Michael.. Jim is correct about December being too late for offshore. Some thoughts....

Since your time is limited...suggest you buy and outfit your boat in Florida. Lots of boats there and it will eliminate 1 month or more of freezing travel on the ICW leaving you more time to cruise warm waters.

You can have plenty of fun and REAL cruising adventure exploring the Bahamas/Turks&Caicos/Florida Keys for 6 months.

If you INSIST on trying to get to the Caribe...get a copy of Bruce Van Sants "Gentlemans' Guide to Passages South as this details the non-offshore route to the Caribe. Be prepared to lose a lot of time waiting for the wind to stop blowing on your nose...we had to wiat in harbors for at least 6 weeks on this route.

In any case other than the ocean DO NOT need a bluewater boat for this journey. For the Bahamas...any production cruisers will do. For the Caribe...I'd suggest something a grade or two up.

You do not state your budget, size of boat desired, etc. so it is difficult to provide specific boat advice. What do you own now & What will you do with the boat after the 6 month cruise??

Lots of similar discussions in the past here...check out the search function!
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