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herrbean 08-14-2002 03:49 PM

Is this a realistic plan?
Next spring I''m going to be graduating from college, and since I feel like taking a bit of a break before going out and getting a job, I''ve been thinking about buying a boat and sailing around the Caribbean for a year or so.

Now, because I will have just graduated from college, I''m going to be on a fairly tight budget, as will be most if not all of the people that are going. Because of this, for the boat purchase I have been thinking of somewhere around six thousand dollars per person, and an additional one and a half thousand per person for upgrades and maintenance after the purchase. Since I''m not sure how many people are really going to go (everyone I have talked to or asked about going has said they want to, but its difficult to tell how serious people are until the time comes for them to pay up), I''ve been thinking that with up to four people we would get a boat somewhere up to 35 feet long, if there are more than four people than we''ll get two smaller boats. This is because it seems that as the hull length increases, the price and maintenance costs increase exponentially. The biggest problem that I see at this point, as far as the boat purchase goes, is the seaworthiness of a boat in this price range. I''m not particularly concerned about having a luxurious boat, so I''m hoping that that might enable more of the money to be devoted to buying a good strong boat. In addition, if you know of any models that would make good candidates, feel free to suggest them.

Many thanks in advance.

sailorman_10 08-14-2002 08:05 PM

Is this a realistic plan?
Is this a realistic plan? In a word, No. Getting one or two people to seriously commit to your plan will be hard enough, let alone 4 or more. Your buddies will most likely bail on you when you start asking for cash. You will probably find it difficult to get enough boat per person with 6000 each. A decent beater-boat will cost 25,000 and will only have room realistically for 2 or 3 people. With 3, you better be real close friends.

Heruka 08-14-2002 08:57 PM

Is this a realistic plan?
I agree about the people signing on part. Although it depends on your friends and I don''t know them so any thoughts of mine are based in lack of knowledge.

As for the boat. I picked up a 30'' Tartan. Nice boat, and can be had for relatively cheap. Approx. 15k for a descent boat from the 1970''s. Look around on the net. People travel to the Carib. in almost anything as it''s not really big water. A site to look at is and these both have online stories of people cruising. Some of them in very small boats.
I don''t think you need a big money boat to travel. Not at all. the place to look at different boats.

Two things that made sense to me were
1)go small go now. you waite too long, you risk of not going at all.
2)buy the smallest boat that''ll suit your needs. You right, a bigger boat does cost a lot more to rig and fix up.

halyardz 08-15-2002 12:54 AM

Is this a realistic plan?
I don''t think the boat is as much of a problem as managing the partners. Not to be negative but attitudes, desires, dreams, and cash flow vary considerably in recent college grads, without jobs!

JeffH 08-15-2002 03:34 AM

Is this a realistic plan?
I could have written this 30 years ago about this time of year. Around 1972 or so, the United Nations was trying to resolve a series of sovreignty issues regarding quite a large number of islands located off the north east coast of South America. Many if not most of these islands were uninhabited. There was a plan in place to encourage homesteading and to then pole the inhabitants of these islands to determine the proper which nation would own each island. I was graduating from undergraduate architecture school at the time with number of friends who I had taught to sail. One of them came up with the idea of homesteading one of these islands and then designing and building a luxury resort that we could sell off to some hotel chain. We came up with the idea of buying a sailboat and sailing down to look at these islands first hand. There were four of us who wanted in, plus one of the group was married and his wife would be coming along making five on board. In 1972 dollars we each had to kick in $10,000. (That would be roughly $30K to $50K or so today.) we assumed that one quarter to one third would go toward buying the boat and the rest toward provisions and a war chest.

We identified a number of topics that we needed to study; navigation, edible and dangerous plants, fish and wildlife, provisioning, weather, engine repair, boat maintenance and repair, first aid and so on. We split up the studying and research of this necessary knowledge so that there were two of us familiar with each topic. We were students and used to studying so this team approach was working well.

I had tracked down a French 42 footer that had been siezed by lawyers trying to recover a legal bill for a French citizen that they had defended on a drug charge and who had been deported without paying their bill. According to the law they could only keep the amount of their outstanding $14,000 judgement against the boat''s owner plus any costs that were incurred storing and selling the boat. The rest they needed to send back to the boat''s owner. Since the lawyers were pissed at the guy who had been deported they really only wanted a quick sale for something like $14,500. This was a fully found offshore performance cruiser that was perfect for our needs as we saw them.

Thats when things went south. When it came time to put up or shut up, the one fellow''s wife went ballistic. She''s been working to put him through school and would not put up with him dropping out for some hair brained scheme. With Jon out of the picture, the whole thing folded like a pack of cards.

To this day I am not sure how well this would have worked. This was a good group of friends. We had worked under pressure as a team for 3 years or more at that point. We were very organized and pretty handy. Jon was the oldest of our group by three or four years and a veteran Marine who had served in Vietnam. I had been sailing for 10 years by that point and had pretty extensive experience working in boatyards. Sam was an experienced engine mechanic and chief had had summer jobs working in hositals. These were simplier times and so boats were easier to buy and maintain. I suspect that we would have done alright out there but of course you never know.

Good luck.

DonFoley 08-15-2002 06:13 AM

Is this a realistic plan?
Or just go down to the Bahamas and spend a year island hopping on mail boats.

Or buy an old Triton and go by yourself.

Or blow your whole 6 grand on a week at Atlantis in Paradise Island (and Casinos)...which will still qualify you to skew the story over the years and just tell people "after I graduated I bummed around the islands a bit."

If I "had it all to do over again" I''d go buy the Triton, outfit it and sail off for a year.

dkz 08-19-2002 10:27 AM

Is this a realistic plan?
Good luck! I say give it a try! John Vigor''s "Twenty Small Sailboats to Take
You Anywhere" (along with checking prices
on might help (the Triton''s
one of them).


herrbean 08-29-2002 11:33 AM

Is this a realistic plan?
Thanks for the advice so far guys. I realize working out issues with the rest of the people will be the biggest problem eventually, but there isn''t a whole lot that I can do about that at the moment other than being careful abou who I ask to go along. And the planning that I''m doing now should help a little so that I can let people know what is really going to be involved in this, and what''s going to be necessary for it to be succesfull. That way everyone knows now, or as soon as possible as much as possible so that hopefully there won''t be any big surprises when and if we actually go out. I like the looks of the Tartan and the Triton that have been recommended so far, and I''m going to pick up "Twenty Small Sailboats to Take You Anywhere" as soon as I get off the computer. So if there is any more advice that addresses either of these issues I''d be more than pleased to hear it. Otherwise I''ll just go back to lurking since I''m a little out of my depth in here.

harvh 08-29-2002 01:23 PM

Is this a realistic plan?
I think your idea is just grand. I think you need to refine it just a bit. I once read a passage in a book that I find holds true on most boats regarding the number of people. Two people is very good. Three people is excellent. Four people are three to many.

I have a very comfortable C&C 34+ which is in the 36'' range of boats. I can make due for about 10 days with very close friends. After that, I want to be alone. Consider a good 30 footer with one very good friend and plan your trip so you can take a break from each other. You can handle a 30 footer alone and the cost is alot less than 35''s

sailorman_10 08-30-2002 06:42 AM

Is this a realistic plan?
I wholeheartedly agree with harvh. Take one close friend and GO. Trying to manage several partners (especially if they have equal say) would be a nightmare. Things will happen and people will want to change or not change the plan. Trying to keep all the partners happy with so many choices in the caribean would be difficult at best. Someone will get their feelings hurt and the frienship will be jepordized.

If I had had your foresight when I was your age, I would do this: acquire a 30 foot boat that I owned on my own, find the right partner to accompany me, head to the islands, and invite friends to come and visit for a few days to a week at a time.


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