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  Topic Review (Newest First)
01-15-2012 06:08 PM
Sea Witch First thanks to everyone who took the time to share their perspective. And I did find the wonderful book list. Good thing we are readers. Already have ordered several. Great winter reading. There is much for us to do to prepare outside of the sailing perspective. We own a 40 acre hobby farm so there is much to do. We are not strangers to hard work, planning and the unsuspecting events. Like having to help a doe deliver her kids in the middle of the night in zero degree weather. But everything in its perfect time will be accomplished. And nope it is not going to happen over night, but it will never happen if we don't start somewhere. And we are true beleivers in you do what you can to prepare and then you just have to Do It, before the fear and doubts paralyzes you.

I'd like to hear from those who have or are, living aboard full-time or most of the year. What would you have done differently. What wouldn't you have done and what do you wish you had done. We don't plan on sailing around the world. We will be cruisers for sure.

Again Thanks.
01-14-2012 05:29 PM
Originally Posted by Sea Witch View Post
I am new here and new to sailing. Our goal is to sail to the Caribbean and cruise. We plan on living aboard most of the year and island hop. I would love to hear from serious cruisers on what we really need to know before we start out. And what we need to do prior to starting out. I am not even sure of the rules if there are any traveling international waters as a non-commercial sailboat. I've done some research already but the best knowledge always comes from those who are or who have done what one is considering doing. Direct me to sites and books. Reading is always a great way to learn.

And in advance thanks to anyone who takes the time to answer.

Sea Witch
Here's a book that you might benefit from. The Gentleman's Guide to Passages South (9780944428795): Bruce Van Sant: Books
01-14-2012 04:52 PM
Originally Posted by TQA View Post
One hidden pitfall is that as a US flagged vessel you need the full coastguard registration, state registration is NOT always acceptable.
Not to nit pick, but for Internet search purposes you'll need US Coast Guard documentation, not registration. If you have the fortitude, you can navigate the paperwork on your own or, if not, there are plenty of services who will do it for you for a fee. If you take out a loan to buy a boat, documentation will more than likely be required.
01-14-2012 02:21 PM
TQA One hidden pitfall is that as a US flagged vessel you need the full coastguard registration, state registration is NOT always acceptable.
01-14-2012 11:21 AM
WDS123 Welcome SeaW -

Certificates ? In the US, not required unless working on boats.

Passage making can be a delight. I'd suggest taking the typical ASA or US sailing courses and then going on a charter for a long weekend - with another couple who has some experience. You don't have to go to the Carib. There are charters available all over the US, one might be close to you.

From the long weekend, then step-by-step take longer and longer voyages.

First, simple costal day trips where one sails only in the day and moors/docks in a marina at night.

Second step, a coastal trip with a overnight passage.

And so forth until one is comfortable sailing offshore for 7-10 nights.
01-14-2012 11:17 AM
Originally Posted by Sea Witch View Post
.... In our current world I can't believe that it is as easy as just getting in the boat and going. .
Of course, it isn't... As Donna alluded to you can't simply buy a boat head out of Miami harbour and magically 'live the dream life'... - but the biggest issues are not going to be the bureaucratic ones..

There are many things for you to sort out.

Budget is the first.. we get a lot of posters like yourself that want to do this sort of thing on $20K - not realistic. A decent, appropriate boat for what you plan to do is likely going to run around $100K or more, especially once you've upgraded, fixed and prepared for such a voyage. Even if money's no object and you spend half a mill on a superb boat it's going to take you months or more to sort out all the systems and learn how to handle her - esp with no significant sailing experience to start with. Much like flying, it's the landings and takeoffs that can be most challenging, esp with bigger boats.

"The plan" is another... Buy a boat in the NE and sail/traverse the ICW, then the 'thorny path' to get to the "idyllic islands"? Or buy a boat already there? Do it next week? or with a reasonable couple of years to prepare yourselves and the boat? All these decisions are going to make a big difference to your ultimate success, as will your own personal fortitude and skillsets. Each chosen 'path' has it's own challenges and issues.

Have you every experienced ocean swells? Storm conditions at sea? It's not necessary to have survived the 'perfect storm', but being physically and mentally prepared for the eventuality is important.

Can you get some sailing experience on the Lakes in the meantime? Can you spend some time and money chartering boats similar to what you'd like to get first hand the 'feel' and handling of such a boat? Other than the crowding I believe a charter in the Virgins may be a good way to get a taste. No long passages, relative shelter. A skippered charter would make most sense for the first time. It's at some cost but that may well pay off down the road.

Anyhow, best of luck. It's an exciting idea, and is doable as long as you stick to the sentiment in my signature .
01-14-2012 10:58 AM
Sea Witch

Your assumption is correct. Our dream is to cruise in the Caribbean for most of the year as retirees.

We have done the whole house/family/JOB thing for far too long. So we are in the process of pursuing this dream and trying to dot all the i's, cross all the t's and get our ducks all lined up.

I simply don't want to wind up in trouble because I didn't know I was suppose to know and do something.

Thanks everyone.
01-14-2012 10:33 AM
-OvO- It depends somewhat on where you are and whether you're doing it for money. But in your scenario, probably not.
01-14-2012 08:38 AM
Sea Witch Oh a nother question I had. Like needing a drivers license to drive a car is there certification you are required to have to sail, espceially the larger ones?
01-14-2012 08:21 AM
Sea Witch
Thank you

Thank you everyone for replying and offering up wonderful suggestions. I will definately be taking a look at all of the suggestions. In our current world I can't beleive that it is as easy as just getting in the boat and going. We are liquidating our life long possesions to purchace the boat and sure do not want to wind up in a wreckage somewhere because we didn't prepare well enough. Nor do I want to over complicate it. We are not strangers to boating but we've never sailed.

Happy Sailing
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