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devilfishlane 04-24-2008 12:31 AM

Caribbean sailing for 1 yr
My wife and I are having a baby in 1 month.( we are 40 yrs and 28yrs) We are fairly new to sailing ( only Hobie Cats and Lazers) . We plan to sail the Carribean for 1 yr. We have a budget of 40 - 50 K for a 34 -36 ft boat (I like the 34 Catalina-early 1990s) and about $1200 budget /month . I plan to buy the boat in 4 - 6 months, sail it often around Miami, and ready it for the trip 6 months later

Sailing with a 1 yr old ----- good or bad idea ??

Catalina 34 -- decent boat for 1 yr in the Caribbean? any other ideas?

1200/month --- doable in the Caribbean ?? (we don't drink or need fancy stuff and hope to fish and dive for some food.

Any other advice would be great

Thanks for your time

rireefguy 04-24-2008 01:09 AM

Disclaimer: I have no experience, just similar dreams.. :D

I have read a lot on the subject though. One thing that is pretty constant, is the recommendation to live on the boat while you outfit for cruising. That is a pretty good litmus test. My wife and I would like to go cruising someday (5-10 yrs from now) , and we are going to do a very basic trial run by living aboard in our marina this summer for just a month. If we are still married..HA!, we will think about the whole summer next season, etx. The boat sounds fine to me (people have crossed oceans in boats much smaller, and if you are vigilant about watching the weather, np)... but it is all about what will work for you. Maybe 2 adults and a baby may find that too small, maybe not. The other biggie is experience. Sounds like you are a little short in that dept. Things on my agenda (besides a lot of miles under my keel) that I want to nail down before we leave: Learning a LOT about weather forecasting, engine maintenance and repair, getting my HAM license, getting some experience in snotty weather (not going to seek this out, but dont want the first time a squall comes up to end the cruise), etc. IMHO going cruising is not something to rush in to. If you are really committed, maybe living on the boat in sunny south florida for a year or two while you get ready would make sense. Let the kid's soft spot harden up a little and shove off when he/she will be able to have some memories of the trip

I hope you dont take this as a negative position. I wish you only the best, and as I said, I have no idea what I am talking about except for what I have read, but I do know that nothing can substitute for experience.


p.s. Here is a blog that really inspires me:

Dream Catcher - Welcome!

they are young and have been at if for a few years and are really living the dream.

artbyjody 04-24-2008 02:00 AM

So here you go - an off base but somewhat relative relation...

Dreams are those things that can carry one far. Dreams however have limits.

When you are ridiculously beyond yourself... one can hope trains, planes and autos... and create a journey.

A boat however is not like a car, and it is not something in the same means of trains, buses or airplanes.

One can aspire to do great travels, but those travels are more or less dictated by what you can put in to begin with. IN other words its not like signing up for a Carnival Cruise...

A boat for world traveling is akin to owning your first ever car that gets 5 mpg. A little tender care - she takes you to where ever but you also know at anytime she will over-heat, get fouled, or otherwise show her age. A boat is like that. It can be 27 feet - it can be 90 feet. She'll let you know when she is tired like any good hot rod or favorite auto.

To cruise the Carib.. you have to have faith in the Miss. if you do not you will miss the the journey you so self subscribed.

It really is that simple... you have to be captain of your domain and your domain must be in good working order - and if so then the field of dreams is just an orchestration of your proficiency.

LarryandSusanMacDonald 04-24-2008 07:20 AM

Give it a try! You can always change your mind or your destination. We've lived aboard for 11 years - traveled to Florida 4 times (from Chesapeake Bay) and the Bahamas twice - our destination was the Carribbean - we may never make it but we're still trying and having a great time. You're young - we didn't have that advantage.

Also in re. the baby - we met a couple on a 26 foot boat happily cruising with a 2 year old and 4 year old. The younger was born ON the boat.

You can either live your life conventionally or live an adventure. I'd opt for the adventure. Good luck to you.

hphoen 04-24-2008 07:30 AM

If you stay on the hook, don't go to restaurants or bars much, and don't have any significant boat repairs to pay for, $1,200 per month might do it. Although, baby food and disposable diapers aren't cheap. On the hook, you'll need a good size house battery bank, and all the gear to keep it charged.

$1,200/mo is only $10 per day, and food is significantly more expensive in the eastern Caribbean, unless you can make fish you catch and local vegetables and fruit a major part of your diet. And even the latter are somewhat expensive unless you buy them where they're grown in quantity, like Dominica or St. Vincent. For example, the Dominicans come to Nevis once a week in a small ship, and sell their fruit and vegetables for half of what the local vendors charge, and probably twice what they'd charge in Dominica.

FarCry 04-24-2008 07:40 AM

Are you using "new math" Hud?

Wannafish 04-24-2008 09:57 AM


Originally Posted by FarCry (Post 304357)
Are you using "new math" Hud?

:eek: :D :D :D

RealityCheck 04-24-2008 10:42 AM

Maybe that was $10 a day per person... Him, his wife, the baby and the BOAT.

Could be done if all went well and you pre planned and avoided some of the places that everyone wants to go. Problem is "something happens" more often than we usually wish...

When I'm on the hook I do save money as mooring typically are $20 to $30 per night in the "resort" areas of the Virgin Islands where I spend most of my time. As you can see from your local gas station, the cost of fuel is going up and except in some area in South America... they will continue to go up. I would not be surprised to see $8.00 a gallon for diesel in the next year in the Carib.

Personally, I'm addicted to ICE... gotta have that cool sundowner and a cold beer at some point in the afternoon is not often turned down. This takes power... as HUD indicated you have to have a large battery bank and a means of charging it. It you have solar panels and wind generator it will reduce your daily cost of running your engines but the initial cost is still very high.

As far as boat goes.... your use is dependent on what is recommended. Once your in the Carib the boat your talking about will be acceptable for some island hopping in good weather. It is not a bad weather boat. It is not a blue water boat... I know I know.. some have taken a canoe across the Atlantic.. but for real people, it is not something one would do with a small child and others you love.

From Miami to the Carib is not a easy day sail... get a copy of the Thorny Path for best information on what routs to select based on season of travel. Nothing is impossible... well almost nothing but reasonable limits and restrictions need to be considered.

Have you considered buying a boat in the Carib? Often far less expensive than in the states and already at the location you want to be. I would recommend you learn sailing first. No real point in getting a boat in the Carib if you have no idea how to handle a cruising boat.

hphoen 04-24-2008 01:40 PM

That's in EC dollars??? :rolleyes:

Sorry, I'd had my coffee, too! Without any rum in it.

Yup, $40 per day. Should work fairly well.

FarCry 04-24-2008 01:45 PM

Reality, good point Hud may have meant per person/day. You may not be too far off on fuel prices in the Virgins. Diesel sold on the water in St Thomas and St John varied yesterday between $4.59 and $5.25/gallon. Fuel in St Croix is always much cheaper and of course there is Venezuela for really cheap fuel. Don't know how friendly a place that would be to spend time though. Filled up my Jeep today with gas at $4.11/gallon. OUCH!!!!

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