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  #1  
Old 07-13-2009
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sailing to mexico

Am I really an idiot? I have some boating expierence, but not ocean! I plan on buying an older catalina and trying to sail to mexico from florida. I have people telling me that sounds like a blast and some saying im crazy. what do you all think?
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Old 07-13-2009
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Depends on how you go about it. If you buy the boat, hop on board and head to Mexico, you're probably crazy.

However, if you take baby steps while learning, test yourself, test the boat, learn navigation, learn how to handle bad weather, learn, learn, learn then you're not crazy and you'll have a blast.

Take short trips at first, point A to point A, increase to overnighters to give experience to yourself and your crew (you DO have crew, don't you? IMHO ALL ocean-going singlehanders are insane.)

Join the U.S. Power Squadron and take courses. Learn how to fix everything on your boat. Prepare yourself and your boat. Take your time... or take your life. Your choice.
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Old 07-13-2009
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It's also worth remembering that sailing along the Baja coast is "ocean" sailing only in the same sense that sailing from Long Beach to Catalina is. It's really coastwise sailing, and that can make a big difference.
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Old 07-13-2009
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Having been in a very similar situation, I would say no as long as your safe about it. We bought a boat and pretty much hopped on it, went three weeks strait on it not knowing much about boats.

We focused about 3 weeks on repairs prior to going anywhere based on the survey we got & then the issues we found once we got to the boat. We planned to stay close to land and stay in marina's should we have issues or run into bad weather.

There are a lot of ways to learn, I tend to do best in large doses Bottom line is its not that hard, you just need common sense and you'll be ok.
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Old 07-14-2009
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Now is not the time to be thinking of going to Mexico buying a boat and sailing South to & threw the PC, that time should be planned between Nov & no later than July 1st, Tis getting to be Hurricane season down thar and this year is supposed to be a strong EL Nino year..............so they say
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Old 07-14-2009
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November is your timing. Hurricanes should be over by then. There's a couple ways to sail from Florida to Mexico, open ocean or coastwise. That''s something for you to decide and depends where you're going. Currents play an important part in your passage, again, depends on where you're going.

Experience? Anyody can learn to sail in a couple days. Seamanship may take a lifetime. How are your skills? Taking your wife and kids? Or just you and a couple amigos? Makes a big difference.

And yeah, it can be just coastal saliling, but when your're sitting off a bight and you're 75 miles out, call it what you want, if the weather's crappy, you're not going to have fun.

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Old 07-15-2009
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Learn your boat, and work your way up from daysailing, to coastal passages to short bluewater, to longer bluewater passages, and you should be able to do it. However, a Catalina may not be the best choice of boat, and I'd recommend you look at James Baldwin's Boat List, before you decide on anything, to get a better idea of what some of the smaller bluewater capable boats are.
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Old 07-16-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lshick View Post
It's also worth remembering that sailing along the Baja coast is "ocean" sailing only in the same sense that sailing from Long Beach to Catalina is. It's really coastwise sailing, and that can make a big difference.
He's going to Mexico from the east coast, not the west. His trip will be hundreds of miles across open water of the Gulf and/or the Atlantic/Caribbean and it is "ocean" sailing. But, back to his original question.

Most storms that end up in the Gulf, start hundreds/thousands of miles east and come right across your rumb line, others start somewhere in Canada and somehow get all the way down into the Gulf. I would not try to make the trip in an old (or new) Catalina - you could get lucky and have no bad weather and be just fine in a Catalina - but, if you are like most other sailors, you aren't that lucky. As others have said, find a small bluewater boat. Paloma is a tough little bluewater warrior princess and we've been caught in two Force 10 storms (not during hurricane season) in the Gulf - once between Galveston and Vera Cruz and the other between Puerto Isabella and Freeport -one in March and one in June - we would not have made it through either storm in a lake/bay/coastal cruiser.
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Old 07-16-2009
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You could just about buy any number of Tarnished Dreams in San Carlos, Puerta Vallarta, or Mazatlan already outfitted and on the hard right now so that you could spend the less oppressive Fall/Winter/ Spring on the west coast of Mexico without real long passages and then decide if it's what you like.
Then an eastward transit of the canal would put you in the Gulf with a lot of experience and hopefully a well found boat.
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Old 07-18-2009
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If you want to do it, make it happen otherwise you will end up wondering what if. Don't let others talk you out of it. Don't go unprepared do your homework them just do it.
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