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  #121  
Old 05-28-2012
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Re: Can I sail to the Bahamas with NO experience?

GO FOR IT!!!, and YES you can find a boat for $15,000 easy. ( sailboat listings .com)
Don't let anybody tell you different. You can do it.
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  #122  
Old 05-28-2012
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Re: Can I sail to the Bahamas with NO experience?

I met a guy who did what you want to do on a $500 boat. My suggestion is to miss the Bahamas, we found them to be expensive. As a Canadian, brush up on your spanish, go to Cuba and south from there. Stick to the western Caribbean, and do your research and only spen 7k on the boat, use the rest for repairs and your cruising kitty. Just keep an eye on the weather.
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  #123  
Old 05-28-2012
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Re: Can I sail to the Bahamas with NO experience?

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Originally Posted by youmeandthed View Post
i met a guy who did what you want to do on a $500 boat. My suggestion is to miss the bahamas, we found them to be expensive. As a canadian, brush up on your spanish, go to cuba and south from there. Stick to the western caribbean, and do your research and only spen 7k on the boat, use the rest for repairs and your cruising kitty. Just keep an eye on the weather.
he's right. Come down to key west and buy one of many cheap but sea worthy boats and sail to cuba then onward.
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  #124  
Old 05-28-2012
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Re: Can I sail to the Bahamas with NO experience?

I'd suggest buying a boat in the Abacos and sailing it all over there, That'll keep you occupied until you decide whether or not it is a thing for you. The "Sea of Abaco" is reasonably well protected waters and offers numerous ports, islands and places to go. Even if you decide sailing isn't your thing, then you have a place to go to in the Bahamas and you just keep it at one of the marinas and move it from place to place when you get bored.
You might consider buying a boat in Florida with the stipulation that the previous owner accompany you to Marsh HArbor and then he flies home. The former owner isn't likely to make the crossing if the boat is in poor shape (if he values his life).
Yes, I do think one could buy a 27-30' boat for 15K suitable for sailing the Bahamas. I figure my own 28' S2 is worth only 10K and is set up for such trips (I am very spartan in the area of comforts though). Yes, You'd have to buy a handheld VHF, flares, inflatable life jacket, etc and that stuff would cost another $1000.
So, I say it is do-able with the major risk that you'll not like it and then have trouble selling the boat. Remember, keeping a boat in a slip or in a yard will cost about $300/month in the Bahamas.
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  #125  
Old 05-31-2012
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Re: Can I sail to the Bahamas with NO experience?

Owen

I am novice sailor myself, having started sailing about a year and a half ago, and I am also tossing the idea of spending a few weeks crusing this fall in the area of the Bahamas. I had a similar dream when I first started taking lessons, and similar to you, went looking for straightforward answers as to what I needed to know in order to take off toward the islands. I'll share some of what I figured out over the last year and a half.

- You need to learn to read charts, learn to navigate by dead reckoning, learn the rules of road for boats, read and understand weather reports and forecasts, and most importantly learn not just how your eventual boat works, but why it works. It is inevitable that something will break on your boat when you need it to work. There is no owners manual for fixing most things on the boat; you have to be able to diagnose a problem in the context of the likely systems on your boat that are affected, and problem-solve your way to a solution.

- Another thing that helped me was reading cruising guides and non-fiction books about sailing; while the stories from the latter are interesting, they also share experiences of how the authors dealt with problems you are likely to encounter. It also helps to learn the "language" of sailing so that you can understand the answer to the questions you end up asking people.

- Go sailing with people more experienced than you on your boat, and then try and get some experience on other boats. Have someone who knows how to sail help you shop for your boat. If you think you are serious about choosing a boat, have it hauled out of the water and surveyed. Get a voyage survey done before you head to the bahamas if there is some time between your original survey and leaving for anywhere else.

- Get a couple small trips under your belt. In the past year an a half, I've (with friends) sailed my 23' Ranger sailboat to Key West and back twice from Miami. The Keys are (usually) a pretty forgiving place to cut your teeth in navigation and shallow water sailing, and I've learned some quality lessons about seamanship and watching the weather conditions.

- Spend a couple nights on your boat with your lady on a mooring ball in relatively high winds. Your first storm 500 miles from home is a shitty place to find out you can't sleep with the boat rocking.

My experience has been that learning to sail is a gradual process that you pick up in phases, sometimes slowly, sometimes much quicker, but that you will develop an internal understanding for your comfort level and what type of sailing you want to get into. Best of luck, and make it happen.

Adam
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  #126  
Old 06-01-2012
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Re: Can I sail to the Bahamas with NO experience?

There are lots of great boats that will carry you to the Bahamas for the price your looking for. Set your self up with a decent chart plotter, fixed VHF and a handheld, learn navigation, get a cruising handbook of the area your planning to visit as they give information on nav tips and approaches. Figure what you eat and how it can be stored in rubber made boxes get 4 10 gallon ones and that would amount to the basic max storage allotted to food.
Make sure you can have atleast 30 gallons in a holding tank for water, that gets you 14 days of safety for two people. Additional jugs can be lashed to the side as well as fuel, I have a 26 ftr so I have one fuel and water on each side for long hauls and practice passage's.
I can easily do a 300 or 600 NM passage as practice and still be able to duck in if needed.
The bottom line is meet people get some knowledge, then skills OJT so to speak and start weekending and sailing till you find your self pointing in the direction you want go island hopping.
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  #127  
Old 06-02-2012
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Re: Can I sail to the Bahamas with NO experience?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Orseay View Post
Yeah but then I'm just out $20k? At least buying a boat gives me some equity that I can later recoup even if it's at a loss.
Having recently purchased an Alberg 30 myself, with the same kind of goal in mind, I've got a few thoughts on that.
The costs of a boat are truly staggering. While I'm enjoying the learning, and the idea of it being MY boat still appeals, the quantities of money involved even for a small cheap boat blow me away. It requires a total readjustment of the expenses involved in something, at least for me. I've never in my life budgeted for things in the thousands of dollars the way a boat requires. If I'd known just how drastic that difference was, I doubt I would have bought a boat, though I'm glad I didn't know in some ways.

Would you prefer to spend 10, 000$ for a fantastic adventure, with great equipment, and a safe roomy boat, or spend 20k up front, a lot more in getting your boat sorted out, and be lucky to only lose 10-15, 000$ at the end assuming you did the work yourself and didn't get any surprises?
A tangible asset is only good if you are getting back more than you would have spent to rent. Otherwise it's just an expensive liability.



I was budgeting a year or two for learning to sail properly, as well as living on her at anchor to get used to the conditions I might be experiencing later.
I've done the learn as you go thing with a motorcycle, and though I enjoyed it, I don't care to repeat the experience with a boat.
Learning things the hard way gets less appealing as the close calls add up, especially with someone else's life in the mix.

I would think that you could have a fantastic adventure for 10, 000$, and that would be with a safe, roomy, well equipped boat, and supplies etc being provided.

In hindsight, I would have preferred to have started that way, but I too balked at the cost, I felt I would be better served buying the boat, and selling again later. I paid 10, 000$ for my Alberg 30 in the end, though with a year of moorage so I can refit her, and sorting out the electrical system I've already passed 20k$, with no sign of slowing down any time soon. I haven't even started the interior refit, adding tank capacity, safety equipment, training, spare parts, tools, electronics. I never wanted a project, but that is the reality of older boats.

I'm reminded of a joke about farming, paraphrased for sailboats the best way to get 10, 000$ with a sailboat is to start with 30, 000$.
I'll be quite pleased, and a bit surprised if I only lose 10, 000$.
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  #128  
Old 06-02-2012
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Re: Can I sail to the Bahamas with NO experience?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Orseay View Post
I'm perfectly happy with that idea and realize going further South is too ambitious to think about at this point.

Can you elaborate some on the feasibility of a complete noob 'gunkholing the Bahamas'?

Boat size, costs, training/learning for that specific trip?
A good friend of mine did almost exactly what you are trying to do with remarkable success. He had a bit more experience than you, though - one summer living aboard a Catalina 22. A couple of years later he and his GF quit their jobs in Massachusetts, drove to FL, and shopped around for a boat to sail the Bahamas. They settled on a C & C Redwing, 30' LOA but only 21' 9" on the waterline. The boat was pretty basic, stoutly built, the Atomic 4 ran well, the groundtackle was oversized and the mainsail was new. It was November 1991.

Both of these people are quick learners, able to come up with creative solutions, and were willing to accept a very simple lifestyle to achieve their dream. There were certainly times when they were very tired, cold, and wet. They lived without refrigeration, they caught fish with a Bahamian sling to supplement what was likely a beans and rice/noodles diet, and they learned from their mistakes. On one occasion they ran hard aground and spent at least the next two low tides creating a "channel" back to the actual channel by hand; the boat was so hard over they slept on the settee backs.

After seven or eight months I got a phone call. We've done it and had a great time, they told me, but now we need to sell the boat and move on in life. Where do you think we should sail to and sell the boat? When I suggested Annapolis they said okay. When they arrived I saw two exuberant and beaming souls who had gotten to know one another oh so well. They cleaned the boat up and sold it within three weeks for a profit; I think one of them was a very good negotiator and did well on the front and back end.

My friends married a few years later and continue today to raise a family in the DC metro area. I mention this simply because when the OP asked about "costs, training/learning for that specific trip" I thought it important to also describe some potential life-long dividends.
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  #129  
Old 06-02-2012
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Re: Can I sail to the Bahamas with NO experience?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimrafford View Post
Beyond getting some experiance I would suggest looking into your intended destinations. I think you will find the dog will have to stay home and unless you can show some financial means most of the islands you are thinking about won't grant you entry.
Jim
Not the case for the person concerned.

In ten years Atlantic cruising the ONLY country that has demanded such evidence is the USA and the other ones that I know of are in the mid Pacific.
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Old 06-02-2012
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Re: Can I sail to the Bahamas with NO experience?

THIS is one of the most interesting threads I've read, anywhere. The videos are fantastic!!!!!

Tanksalot
Stan F.
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