Do you go newer smaller or older and larger for good caribbean? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 15 Old 06-25-2012 Thread Starter
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Do you go newer smaller or older and larger for good caribbean?

The wife and I are looking at getting our retirement sailboat soon to cruise Florida, Bahamas and the Caribbean. No ocean crossings or 30 days without land trips for us, just living the dream in the warm waters. Maybe a trip to Hiawii but that's as far as she is willing to go.

So the question is, do you get a 40 - 50 footer older Morgan, Gulfstar, Irwin, Hunter...etc, big, strong and comfortable for the 50 - 70k range and refit it and get it setup with new electronics and watermakers and all the spoiling stuff we want to cruise in comfort?

OR

Buy a much newer 37 footer and pay much more but have a newer boat but have less to cruise on...and a much smaller boat

We want comfort and something to enjoy at the dock and at anchor. We also want something big enough to take the family on some sailing vacations.

Our opening budget is going to be about $150,000 cash up front, while leaving a nice nest egg for repairs, cruising special indulgences and letting our pension go into the bank for when we get to old to sail.
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Re: Do you go newer smaller or older and larger for good caribbean?

You'll find newer/smaller actually 'roomier' in many cases, but at the expense of storage space. I don't think a couple needs to go bigger than 40 feet, and if you can find a 36-37 footer you can live with the cost savings over time on all things will be considerable.

Of course major storage is less of an issue island hopping than crossing oceans. We have friends quite happily cruising the Caribbean chain 6 months a year on a rather austere Beneteau 36.7... not everyone's idea of the ideal cruiser, but it's working for them.

You have a good budget, you should be able to set yourselves up quite nicely. I'd say go as small as you think you can live with. The added bonus is you can probably do it for longer too with the reduced loads and costs...

Ron

1984 Fast/Nicholson 345 "FastForward"

".. there is much you could do at sea with common sense.. and very little you could do without it.."
Capt G E Ericson (from "The Cruel Sea" by Nicholas Monsarrat)
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Re: Do you go newer smaller or older and larger for good caribbean?

So something in the late 90's in the 37 - 40 ft range for $75k or less and then trick it out for comfort? I want something large enough to enjoy and not be camping, if that makes sense?
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Re: Do you go newer smaller or older and larger for good caribbean?

We found that our newer 40ft. boat has more room for us than the older 42-47ft. boats that we were considering. Once you go above a certain size, the number of cabins increases thus reducing galley, salon and head cabins. Also absent in the larger boats was a dedicated shower stall which we had on our previous 35 footer and our current 40 footer. Long is not always bigger. Sure there is more volume but it gets divided up more.

They used to design and sell boats based on how many could sleep on it not how many could comfortably sit down to a meal.

I recommend you look at some of the later Ericson 35s and 38s.

Tim R.
Our Carina is for sale
1997 Caliber 40LRC

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Re: Do you go newer smaller or older and larger for good caribbean?

I would argue that Gulfstars, Irwins, Hunters, and Morgans are *NOT* stronger than modern production boats.

I'm sure JeffH can provide more info, but as far as I know, none of those brands were built particularly well and have been known to suffer from basic workmanship and design defect issues such as wet decks, delamination, rotting wood in places that are inconvenient, substandard tankage material, as well as generally mediocre workmanship.

Now if you had said "older, larger cabo rico, tayana, valiant, etc" that would been a debate. In this case, hands down newer model.

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Beneteau 343
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Re: Do you go newer smaller or older and larger for good caribbean?

Get the BEST boat you can find for half your planned budget.
Trust me.
Nobody has ever given up cruising because they had too much money to spare for emergencies, or had a bigger cushion because they underestimated how expensive everything was going to be, especially outside major American cities...
but a lot of boats are for sale in the caribbean for the opposite reason.

Before you start shopping by brand or length or price, sit down with your significant other and put together a firm list of your needs. then list your wants.
Then come back to us, and after we tell you all the things you have forgotten, then revise your lists...
Then start small. Take a look at well equipped sub-40 foot boats. You may be surprised at how much room a well laid out boat has in what may at first seem to be a small package. The bigger the boat, the bigger the costs, from dockage to bottom paint to sails.

Don't overpay for electronics. A boat equipped with all the bells and whistles and sounders and plotters and radar in 2008 may carry a $5K premium over a similar less equipped boat... but it won't cost $5K to buy brand new gear, and an electronics suite more than 4 years old is out of date, out of warranty and likely due for replacement soon anyway.
Lots of folks happily cruise the caribbean for years on 30-38' boats.
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post #7 of 15 Old 06-26-2012
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Re: Do you go newer smaller or older and larger for good caribbean?

I would recommend going to the boat shows and looking at all of the new boats you can, then go to a coastal area and find a broker and look at as many used boats as you can. Either way, get a boat that is in great shape so you can spend your time sailing instead of fixing stuff.

Andy
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post #8 of 15 Old 06-26-2012
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Re: Do you go newer smaller or older and larger for good caribbean?

Another thing to consider when looking at boats 42 ft + is that you are getting into the area where power winches/windlass become essential and not a luxury. Also the sails get to the size where they are difficult to handle if something goes wrong.

I sail a lightweight 44 footer in the Caribbean and at the age of 64 know this is about as much as I can manage. Sure if everything is working on an AMEL 54 then it is easy push button sailing but at your budget these older bigger boats even if they have power winches may have reliability issues.
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Re: Do you go newer smaller or older and larger for good caribbean?

So we are narrowing it down to a 37 - 42 ft, with a shallow draft, queen birth with good headroom (I do not want to sit up in bed and hit my head and I'm 6.2, with a good living area for a couple and occasional extra couple, newer than the mid to late 80's and no more than $75k to $80k

So what boat does that describe? That's what I want for the caribbean and the bahamas...
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Re: Do you go newer smaller or older and larger for good caribbean?

Here's one for starters.... btw a YW search showed hundreds of boats fitting those parameters (exc maybe shoal draft) on the east and south coasts.

http://www.yachtworld.com/core/listi...url=&imc=pg-fs

The search results:

(Sail) Cruiser Boats For Sale

Ron

1984 Fast/Nicholson 345 "FastForward"

".. there is much you could do at sea with common sense.. and very little you could do without it.."
Capt G E Ericson (from "The Cruel Sea" by Nicholas Monsarrat)
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