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MonoLocoX 08-30-2009 07:47 PM

Safe boats for the Caribbean?
First of all, I'm completely new to the sailing world. About the only experience I have with boats is sitting at a bar on a cruise ship and driving around a little pontoon boat on Lake Hartwell. However, the time I have spent out in the ocean has been incredible (and yes, I realize that owning and operating a sailboat would be nothing like my experiences at the cruise ship bar). It is rare that I find myself completely engrossed by one subject for such a long period of time. That being said, I am looking to eventually become a liveaboard, and I want a boat that is capable of cruising along the east coast (GA/FL coast) of the US, and down to the Caribbean. I've been looking mainly at the Hunter 33 and other similarly priced sailboats. I've read a couple of sources which said that using a Hunter for bluewater cruising would be a very bad idea. Do you guys agree? Money is definitely an issue for me, and I'm hoping to find a boat in the 30-40k price range which would be safe for sailing to the Caribbean. Any recommendations? I certainly intend to take classes to learn how to sail, because I realize that it would be very silly of me to just take off down to the Caribbean with no idea what I was doing. My apologies if this post is slightly messy in form.

speciald 08-30-2009 08:31 PM

I wouldn't be happy on a boat without a backstay off-shore; but that's just me.

JohnRPollard 08-30-2009 08:49 PM


Welcome to Sailnet!

Rather than recommend any specific boats, or even comment on the Hunter 33, my best suggestion would be to go ahead with your good plan to take classes and build experience. At this point, it's somewhat premature to be picking out boats. As your experience grows, you will more than likely develop some strong preferences for, or at least biases against, certain kinds of boats.

It's too soon to narrow in on that Hunter 33 based on price alone. There are literally dozens and dozens of boat models that fall in your price range that are capable of coastal cruising and hopping out to the Bahamas (sailing down to the Carribbean is a fair bit more involved).

scottyt 08-30-2009 10:16 PM

if you are talking a mid 70's to 82 hunter 33, they would do it with out a problem. the cherubinis ( years listed above ) are very solid boats and could be found in your price range, the 30 and 33 are great boats, but older boats. as older boats they do have issues, like 20 plus year old equipment.

lots of boats qualify so keep looking, and welcome to sailnet

johnshasteen 08-31-2009 01:02 PM

We sail mostly offshore, but mostly in the Gulf, not in the Stream. lFrom experience, I am personally leary of the Hunter 33 for what you are going to do - for production boats, they are very nice. However, back in '82 we bought a brand new Hunter 33 at the Houston In-the-Water boat show, replacing our old Eastward Ho (a 7,200 lb 24 ft, full keel, cutter). Within less than a year we sold the Hunter - we realized it would not stand up to the rigors of our sailing needs. That's when we bought our current Bristol, which, among other adventures, has carried us through two Force 10 storms at sea, that I doubt the Hunter 33 would have survived.
With that said, there are a lot of strong bluewater boats that you can find for your price range - go to the list of bluewater boats in the boat buying thread - you won't find Hunters listed.

Faster 08-31-2009 02:20 PM

JRP has good advice, as usual... take lessons, gain experience, learn... What many neophytes fail to realize is that even the BVIs are over 1000nm ESE of Miami - that's a thousand miles upwind in the open ocean... more "over" to the Caribbean than "down" from the ICW.

Getting there is a tougher assignment than island-hopping once you're there.

k1vsk 08-31-2009 02:39 PM

If and when you get there, you'll see every conceivable make, model, age boat there is successfully cruising the Caribbean. Hunters including the one you mention are certainly among the group. We spent many years cruising there and assure you virtually anything seaworthy will keep you safe as long as you know what you are doing.

About the only objective statement one can made regarding Hunters also applies to Beneteau and Catalina - none are bluewater boats but they are designed for coastal cruising, lack storage and tank volume which are prerequisites for cruising and some (particularly the Beneteaus) have relatively flat bottoms making them susceptible to pounding.
Once you gain some experience, you will better appreciate the differences and make a more informed decision.

Boasun 08-31-2009 06:19 PM

While you are learning to sail, you can day charter various boats and see which one would meet your parameters.

lavidanueva2me 09-01-2009 01:27 AM

Great Question-Look at Tayana, Wauquiez
What a great question, I say this because that is where it all begins for most of us! The dream! And to make the dream it helps to think about boats!

There is pretty and there is built ford tough, some are pretty, some are not. What I looked for when I finally got a clue was a boat that was made like a tank! Sturdy, sails well, not hobby horse, and LAYOUT!

How does the floor plan work for you? Most of the time you will spend at anchor. Can you single hand her if you need to? How much work does she need? It can cost a lot more to put a rough boat into good condition than to buy a smaller boat in great shape.

I would avoid the hunter in almost all cases. She is pretty. She is pretty. How pretty will you be in a gale...if she comes apart? newbies find themselves in rough seas sometimes, I did in a fulll blown gale in the gulf, 25 foot seas, winds at 80 to 90 kts, thank god I was in a slow, hunkering tank!

Look at heavy, well constructed, not too bad shape unless you want to dream for years while she is in dry dock, and of course the experience will help you.

Most guys shiver when you ask them what kind of boat to buy. The quesion unmaked is not what boat you should buy, but what boat did the rest of us buy and why? What mistakes did we make? What did we do right!

Good luck chavo, you will find your place!

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