Can I sail to the Bahamas with NO experience? - SailNet Community

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Old 03-07-2012
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Can I sail to the Bahamas with NO experience?

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
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Old 03-07-2012
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Re: Can I sail to the Bahamas with NO experience?

it all depends on your risk tolerance (and your gf's) as to what if we have an oh sh!+ situation. I doubt you will find a boat in that price range equipped with the safety gear that I would want onboard... but heck people have rowed across the ocean. If you are fat in the wallet to the tune of 15 dimes, maybe spend some of that dough on a charter (with captain) or some lessons... or pick up a laser/hobie on craigslist on the cheap to get down some basics/make sure you like it etc. in any case good luck.
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Re: Can I sail to the Bahamas with NO experience?

Your gonna need at least a dozen V-Necks for such a passage.
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Re: Can I sail to the Bahamas with NO experience?

Thanks QuickMick. I think there's a difference between risky and dumb. I have a fairly high 'risk tolerance' but I'd definitely be trying to limit the 'dumb'!
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Old 03-07-2012
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Re: Can I sail to the Bahamas with NO experience?

I think you would quickly be in over your head and the scary part might be that you would have no real idea when you went from being uncomfortable to being in danger. Also gettting to the Bahamas is different from getting to the Eastern Caribean (BVI and south).

Unfortunately there are dues to be paid before doing this sort of thing - or maybe it is not unfortunate since it makes the accomplished feel better. You can speed up the learning process, but you can't eliminate it.
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Re: Can I sail to the Bahamas with NO experience?

These old deck hands are just trying to take the wind out of your sails... so to speak. Of course theres risk involved... of course it will take some time and practice/ learning.No one is tellin you to test your luck with the squalls on your first day at sea.But by God Owen.... theres open ocean out there
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Re: Can I sail to the Bahamas with NO experience?

Hmm, yes, I realize there's some pretty serious waters beteen the Turks and Caicos and the BVI's/Dominican/Puerto Rico so let's just assume island jumping in the Bahamas for now.

And of course there's inherent dangers when you're on a piece of wood in the middle of the ocean. I understand that. What I'm trying to figure out is, how do I condition my feet just enough to run across the bed of coals..so to speak.

I'm looking for specific information or experiences, not just speculations based on my obvious inexperience.

I also realize I'm not going to buy a boat tomorrow, learn everything there is to know about every technique and scenario the following day, then leave for the Bahamas on the third day without a hitch.

I'm not the most interesting man in the world from the Dos Equis commercial. I'm just trying to figure out EXACTLY what I'd have to do.
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Old 03-07-2012
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Re: Can I sail to the Bahamas with NO experience?

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.
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Re: Can I sail to the Bahamas with NO experience?

Thank you Admiral. Not the specific information I was after, but certainly more positive. I'll take it!
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Re: Can I sail to the Bahamas with NO experience?

You can easily spend 6 months just gunkholing the Bahamas.
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