Where is my next sailing destination?
Hi, I just finished a fun and successful 5 month trip aboard a 23 foot sailboat I bought and sailed in Washington and British Columbia. I started out a beginner and now am...less beginner.
I can anchor solo pretty well, can navigate pretty well, sail in light to moderate wind, and read currents.
I am going to do another trip next year and I need to start dreaming and planning.
My basic idea this time, based on what I liked and wished were a little better is this:
At least 5 months, probably longer
-I put alot of work into this trip and boat and 5 months is awesome, but I really didn't want to be done, in most ways.
Bigger boat, bigger budget.
-Something 27-32 feet. I didn't really know better, not having ever spent a night away from dock before, and living and cooking on such a small boat was a little hard at times. I'm not complaining, but next time I want standing headroom, a real kitchen, more power, A/C if I go to a hot place, heat if it's cold, more room to bring more stuff.
My friend I met in Friday Harbor had a Hunter 31. I don't know that a Hunter 31 is the right boat for me since I seem to have the idea stuck in my head that I need to be prepared to weather any storm at any time, even if the wind is calm every day, but the size of the boat interior was perfect, if anything a little on the big side, I could do smaller, but we can start with that as a rough estimate. It has a good vberth, nice kitchen, was well powered with a single large solar panel, and heat and cooking was well supplied for the month with a 5 gallon propane tank.
Consistent warm, sunny air and water
-I realize how the weather is one of the major factors for me. Ideally I like 70-100 degrees with less than 50% humidity. Hot and dry, but cool enough that at night I can sleep. Unless I have A/C, but I don't know how much power a small vberth A/C would take. The main thing is humidity. I didn't know the Pacific Northwest was so humid. It was often cloudy, yes, but very humid. I feel much better when it is dry, and I can handle high daytime temperatures as long as it's cool enough at night.
Lots of free anchorages
-I suppose the nature of an anchorage is it's free, but I think that not all places have so many, so close together. The best thing about where I went was just endless anchorages in super beautiful places. I also experienced an almost perfect mix of choices of everything from absolute wilderness to huge cities(Seattle and Vancouver) to every small to mid sized town in between. I would like that again, but I wouldn't want to have limited anchorages, and only in less than ideal places, and have to pay to stay at a marina the rest of the time.
More room to roam
-I would be limited in the PNW by the gnarly Pacific ocean, which blows crazy wind, and has rough seas, most all year, and has worse weather. I didn't find that a problem this time, since I had a large area to explore, but now that I am better, I can go farther, faster, and I would run out of room. I would like to go somewhere that I at least COULD keep going and going and going.
That's all for now really. I learned how to budget a trip pretty well, and with free anchorages and an ability to cook, the cost of the country is not really an issue. My first idea is the Bahamas. It seems like a nice next step. Also being that I am in USA it may be easier to buy a boat in Florida, but maybe you can buy boats in Mexico, or Europe as a non citizen, I really don't know yet, that's why I'm starting planning now.
The Mediterranean and Morocco sound good too, but logistically harder and more expensive to get there and get a boat.
I am open to ideas, and about what boats I should start looking at. I suppose the boat should be listed for no more than $15k, I'm sure I can get what I want for that, there are just so many, how do I pick which one I like best? I had initially thought that I wanted a full keeled ocean crossing tank, but I don't think I'm there yet. I think a fin keel, medium duty, medium weight boat would be better since I am not crossing yet, and alot of those boats can be made to cross oceans, but have better manoeuverability in the tight spots I will go.
Thanks for the advice, I love the planning part so much, that it is going to help me get through this winter, because I have a goal I am shooting for. I may buy the boat even sooner, if I do decide to buy one in the states, say next spring, so I can start getting it ready.