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  #81  
Old 03-08-2012
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Re: Can I sail to the Bahamas with NO experience?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Orseay View Post
Thank you bljones, that's exactly my sentiments. I'm not trying to downplay or trivialize the difficulties but c'mon, is it really the 'Daytona 500'?
Maybe not the 500 but it's at least an ARCA race. Keep in mind, the Gulf Stream flows north at up to 4 knots so you can get swept a long way quite quickly. Next, the Bahamas are very low lying and not the easiest things to spot. Lastly, if you MISS them, there ain't nuthin' until Africa, aprox. 4,000 miles later.

All kidding aside, the Gulf Stream is a serious piece of water - no place to be learning how to sail and navigate on a bottom dollar and unfamiliar boat.

Stick closer to home until you know what you're doing.
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  #82  
Old 03-08-2012
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Re: Can I sail to the Bahamas with NO experience?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Orseay View Post
- Can I find a comfortable, used sailboat - qualified for the trip - for under $20k, all in?(preferably closer to $15k).


Owen
Yes Craigslist is your friend at this sort of price range. You want one with a decent diesel for the Thorny Path. Buy A Gentlemans Guide to Passages South by Van Sant

Someting like catalina sailboat might do price should be negotiable sounds a lttle high but it might have lots of kit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Orseay View Post

- How long would it take/what would I have to do, to learn enough so that we could safely embark on the initial journey from Florida to Grand Bahama?

Owen
It would depend on how quickly you learned. Sailing is about 98% common sense. BUT the 2 % times may be very scary and possibly life threatening.

However if you take your time and WAIT for good weather windows the Bahamas trip is very doable and you will most likely enjoy every minute.

Going South and East from Elizabeth Harbour Great Exuma will be more testing but many have done it with the sort of experience you will have by then.

Now about the dog. Some do cruise with dogs but going through the procedures to enable you to go ashore wil be time consuming and VERY costly in some islands. Piece of cake for the Bahamas though. Noonsite is a good source of info on this.

OH YES one poster said you would be asked about your resources before you were granted permission to enter the islands. Well I have been a liveaboard cruiser for 10 years now and I have been asked this question ONCE ONLY and it was on applying for a US visa. No other destination has ever asked me such a question.

I hope you make it out to the Leewards it is pretty good out here.
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  #83  
Old 03-08-2012
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Re: Can I sail to the Bahamas with NO experience?

I think you can.

But some things to consider. Sounds like you have not sailed in the open ocean before (maybe you stated you have, and I missed it among all the previous posts). So I think you and your GF should volunteer as a crew on a boat (small boat under 40 feet) for a day sail in some rough water to see if you get sea sick and how you like sailing. From there try to go on some overnight trips and see how you like that. This can all be done at no cost by volunteering as crew (this is how I got all my open water experience).

If you both like sailing, then move forward with your plans, if not, find another adventure.

Try to get your dog aboard a boat for a sail. All my previous dogs did not do well on sail boats on open water (they did like power boats). My previous dogs and current dogs get sea sick.

Also, do not underestimate the cost for cruising. You will have a boat to maintain and fix and have the associated mooring fees, along with the basic living expenses. Also check into health insurance.

Good luck

Last edited by casey1999; 03-08-2012 at 06:45 PM.
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  #84  
Old 03-08-2012
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Re: Can I sail to the Bahamas with NO experience?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Orseay View Post
I'm 23 years old. My girlfriend and I are bored and looking for a tropical adventure.

I've come up with a few ideas but the one I'm most seriously looking into the feasibility of, is buying a sailboat and spending like 6-12mth just cruising down the Bahamas; gaining more experience along the way and heading further South towards the Turks & Caicos, Dominican, Puerto Rico, BVI's, St. Lucia, etc..

SO, the two biggest questions I have are:

- Can I find a comfortable, used sailboat - qualified for the trip - for under $20k, all in?(preferably closer to $15k).

- How long would it take/what would I have to do, to learn enough so that we could safely embark on the initial journey from Florida to Grand Bahama?

I'm thinking I could spend a solid month reading and researching the basics of sailing, then buy the boat in Florida and spend another few weeks/month practicing and learning on the water with someone locally. Then be ready to hit the 'road' with my girlfriend and our dog. Is this at all accurate or am I dreaming?

I'm a very optimistic person and although a bit naive perhaps, I'm pretty confident I can do this given the right advise and guidence.

Thanks so much for any and all input!

Cheers,

Owen
Dude, you definitely got some good advice thrown your way! I think you have a great idea for an epic adventure. I say go for it and enjoy. For whatever it's worth though, I'll mention a few things I've learned.

Pay attention to scheduling. I've read several accounts of people who got in a rush to get to their next destination only to be too optimistic and run into bad weather or mechanical failures with disasterous results. The reverse of that is true too. "When" is sometimes more important than "Can". I don't think many will argue with me on that. A 6 - 12 month cruise through that area is liable to see you into hurricane season down there. Just don't be tied to any set schedule so tightly that you can't alter it if you need to. This applies to my next comment.

Make sure that both you and your girlfriend are comfortable with your ability to handle the boat. I never pay too much attention to time limits for learning. It all depends on how receptive you are to new ideas, how much you apply yourself, and how much you practice. If you expect to learn from reading, be prepared for a LOT of practice, trial, and possibly expensive error. The basics are pretty easy but, as others have mentioned, there is a lot you need to know other than just the basics.

I won't comment on what boat you should buy. That's all up to you. I will say that some research and a good survey will serve you well and will probably get you started on your adventure much quicker than picking one just because you like it. Your lack of experience has been a strong point in many of the posts here. The more time you spend sailing, the more experience you will gain. I'll add that I've never tasted a breakfast so fine as the first one I ate sitting in the cockpit of my first boat, after my first night on the hook, watching the sunrise! DAMN, that was good! Yachtworld.com is a great place to look at boats. It's got a good search function and there are usually a lot of pictures in the adds. Look at reviews, ask questions here, and make a list of those that fit your needs.

Noonsite.com is a great resource to start looking at the entry requirements for the countries you plan to visit.

If you've never sailed before, learning can be an adventure in itself. I agree with the idea of cruising through the Keys.

I don't know if you read much but one thing all epic adventure novels have in common is that the "adventure" part only ends at the final destination of the story. That's why that part is called "The End".

I hope you realize by now that your plan is completely do-able. I would suggest that you start researching boats, ask lots of questions, and be specific. The more information you provide, the more help you are likely to receive here. It's your (and girlfriend) adventure. It's up to you to make it happen or to just keep dreaming.

Do it right and Good luck!
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  #85  
Old 03-08-2012
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Re: Can I sail to the Bahamas with NO experience?

Hello, Down load this movie. It's a torrent file, hope you know how to use it. The movie is about a small group of college kids who did what you are thinking about. They really went cheap.

Hold fast.

Hold Fast (2007) H.264 - Demonoid

To DL the movie you must have a torrent program and than click the "Download the torrent" link next to the blue arrow.

or here.

http://www.demonoid.me/files/download/2134812/
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Last edited by neverknow; 03-08-2012 at 07:07 PM.
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  #86  
Old 03-08-2012
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Re: Can I sail to the Bahamas with NO experience?

I cringe everytime someone recommends "Hold Fast." Low-bucks cruising doesn't have to mean living like "Occupy a Sailboat"
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  #87  
Old 03-08-2012
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Re: Can I sail to the Bahamas with NO experience?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Orseay View Post
From the complete outside, looking in, I just feel like as long as you're extremely cautious of weather conditions and navigation that although a noob, I could get there with some basic training and a buddy boat.
Being cautious of weather and navigation is always prudent but even with todays electronics, Sat. weather etc, $hit happens and when it does, you have to be able to look after yourself.

I read a quote once that stuck with me;

The land is benign, it will provide for all our needs.
The sky is indifferent, if we are properly prepared, we can safely pass through it
The sea is malignant, it is ALWAYS looking for a way in to kill us.
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Re: Can I sail to the Bahamas with NO experience?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SloopJonB View Post
Being cautious of weather and navigation is always prudent but even with todays electronics, Sat. weather etc, $hit happens and when it does, you have to be able to look after yourself.

I read a quote once that stuck with me;

The land is benign, it will provide for all our needs.
The sky is indifferent, if we are properly prepared, we can safely pass through it
The sea is malignant, it is ALWAYS looking for a way in to kill us.
Interesting how at one time we lived in the sea, now we fear it...
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Re: Can I sail to the Bahamas with NO experience?

Another issue to consider is whether you or your girlfriend get seasick. There is nothing worse than being seasick in a situation where you have to pay attention and work. Most of us have been sick at one time or another. It is not pleasant. Now try to put yourself in the position of being on watch at 2:00 am in rough seas, high wind and your crew is incapcitated by seasickness. You may be able to handle it for an hour or two, but the whloe night and day. Remember, you can't just pull over and stop. If one of you gets sick, that can be bad. If both of you get sick, you can die.

You need to try some multi day coastal trips with a crew who knows what they are doing or at least where you can pull in to a port if problems develop.

Take care.
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  #90  
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Re: Can I sail to the Bahamas with NO experience?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean101 View Post
Dude, you definitely got some good advice thrown your way! I think you have a great idea for an epic adventure. I say go for it and enjoy. For whatever it's worth though, I'll mention a few things I've learned.

Pay attention to scheduling. I've read several accounts of people who got in a rush to get to their next destination only to be too optimistic and run into bad weather or mechanical failures with disasterous results. The reverse of that is true too. "When" is sometimes more important than "Can". I don't think many will argue with me on that. A 6 - 12 month cruise through that area is liable to see you into hurricane season down there. Just don't be tied to any set schedule so tightly that you can't alter it if you need to.
Re: the highlight, I'd say the same thing but worded differently - DON'T SCHEDULE - every case I've run across where people ran into trouble while cruising arose in one way or another from schedules, deadlines, fixed timeframes etc. Having to "be somewhere" on a certain date is asking for it.

The only exclusion I'd make is hurricane season - that obviously matters a whole lot where you plan to sail.
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