Ambitious goal of sailing to Cancun - SailNet Community

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Old 05-12-2010
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Ambitious goal of sailing to Cancun

I have a very ambitious goal that I am setting for myself. This is very preliminary as I do not even know HOW to sail yet. I am thinking 4 or 5 years from now.

As a family we went to Cancun once. IT was by far the greatest place we have even been too. We have absolute plans to do it again.

The idea hit me. I want to SAIL to cancun with my brother and "meet" the rest of the family their in cancun (they would be flying) and then SAIL back home 2 weeks later or so.

WHAT kind of an endeavor is this? doable?

What skills would I need at the minimum?
What Equipment would I need at the minimum?
Time Frame? how long would it take to sail from Atlantic City NJ to Cancun?
Would I be better off trailering to Florida and taking off from their? or would down the coast be a better idea as a "shake down" ?
Maybe I could have another family member DRIVE my van and trailer to florida so if something happens I only need to make it back to florida to get home?
What is the Minimum Boat to do this? is a 27ft sail boat sufficient? Doable?

Regulations? Obviously a passport but what else? We won't be living on the sail boat in cancun we will have a Condo or equivalent their. But we may take some "trips" around the area I would especially like to take a trip from Cancun to Tulum by water! Tulum was breath taking and I want to go back again.

IE it seems logical that I would want to "lay it all out" ahead of time to get an idea if its even a feasible endeavor.

Some things I plan to have. Charts and GPS are easy. already have them in multiples including plotter software on the laptop which works very nicely.

I do plan to get Radar before that trip. I also plan to bring a second outboard and an inflatable and smaller outboard "just in case"

what else? I hope to get my first taste of sailing this summer with my new boat (see other thread) it needs some work which to me is good as I will gain skill experience and familiarity in maintaining and repairing my boat.

I have friends willing to hep me get started in learning. Got some power squadrons books to start reading etc..

I figure it would be fun to discuss and evolve this long term project online. See where it takes me.

I figure as a backup I might even be able to "test" things on the trip. Obviously I would sail past florida I have a friend in florida so I could stop their for a day or so decide if its going to work out etc.. I imagine this kind of a trip would take quite a while ie not something you can do in a week. So if it seems its "not" going to work we could fly from florida if need be.

Suggestions? Information? Links/url? Feedback?


Last edited by nerys; 05-12-2010 at 11:46 AM.
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Old 05-12-2010
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Advice on Cancun...

Reading this reminded me of when I was a teenager spending summers at my gandparent's home on Chincoteague Island, Virginia, watching the sailboats go by wanting so much to be a part of that, and making all these plans to sail the Caribbean. I eventually did. Ok I will try to dispense my advice based on my own expereince and training. Here it goes...

1. Learn to sail... get a job aboard a sailboat if you can, if not read and go to a sailing camp. Volunteer to work aboard a sailing vessel, even if it is just to watch.

2. Read everything you can about sailboats, the types of rigs, wind, dangers, liveaboard books, etc..

3. Go get your captain's license. Many states offer the OUPV license course. Take it. It covers charts, navigation rules, basic vessel handling, nomenclatures, etc.

4. Once you get enough hands on, and you decide to purchase a vessel, purchase one that is right for you, easy to handle, and is not over your head in repair work. Boat maintenance is costly.

5. Slowly take you boat out. first just down the river on motors, then a little further, raise the sails out in the ocean on nice calm days, bring someone along with experience. Baby step your way into it. Never be to proud to ask questions, even if you think they are dumb.

6. Once you decide to go to Cancun, I would recommend lots of safety gear especially an EPIRB. Have alot of people know your sailing plan and keep a communications schedule with someone. Chart your course.. DO NOT just rely on your electronics.

7. As far as Cancun goes, I would acutally recommend Isla Mujeres. I have been there many times. It is just east of Cancun and has many small marinas, fairly cheap, and a boat yard with a haul out on the east side of the island. There is a ferry service that will take you to Cancun for a very small fee. The island in my opinion is just a better place to keep the boat once you get there. Before you make a big trip like that, fly there first and check it out, talk to the dockmasters, obtain what to expect from Customs, that way you get an idea of what to expect for yourself when you get there.

Well that is all I have on this. I hope some of this was helpful. Take care and good luck with your dream!
Capt. J.B., Marine Surveyor
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Old 05-12-2010
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Just for fun I went to Google earth and checked the mileage. Ballpark would be 1500-2000nm, maybe more depending on prevailing currents/winds. If you averaged 100nm a day, that's 15-20 days if you don't stop (to enjoy the scenery or for repairs).

I'm a dreamer too, but you should consider setting more realistic goals. Shorter distance to start. If your heart is set on cancun, you'd probably want to trailer it down to Florida. Even if you leave from key west, you're looking at 400nm... and if it's uphill all the way it might be scary in a 27' trailerable boat.
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Old 05-12-2010
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Oh yes we have been to Isla Mujeres one of our more enjoyable days! the ferry ride was cool too. Got a great pic of that simply massive mexican flag they have their from the ferry.

Remember this is at least 4-5 years down the road. I would make many shorter and gradually longer trips between now and then as I gain experience and equipment.

The Captain's License sounds like fun! is it expensive?

I might not qualify though

Vision must be at least 20/200 uncorrected in each eye and correctable to 20/40 in each eye

I was born blind. They corrected the flaw in one eye (20/20 with glasses) but my other eye is virtually zero no vision except vague detection of light and dark sometimes.

ie only 1 working eye. Would that really disqualify me? if your close enough to another boat in a dangerous scenario ie collision to actually USE your depth perception your already dead.
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Old 05-17-2010
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I'll sail with ya! I'm in NJ as well. My boat is down near Annapolis though. Let's get a little flotilla going
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Old 05-17-2010
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And I think it's an adventure to sail among stink potters on the River LOL I dunno about a fractional rig with C/B at 27 ft though. May be cheaper to fly first class Nerys!
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Old 05-17-2010
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not about the price though. Its about the fun and adventure and saying "I did that" :-) I have no doubt its going to be more expensive. heck just the FUEL to trailer it to florida and back will cost more than an airline ticket.
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