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Discussion Starter #1
Hey, I'm looking to buy a boat to sail from the East coast of the United States to the Caribbean to do some island hopping. I have about 25 grand to spend and about 5 grand for repairs and outfitting. Can you guys recommend a year range, and/or make that I should be looking at? I'd like something around at least 35 feet. Is this a good size for my purpose? Does the boat need to have decent blue water capabilities to make it from Florida to the Bahamas? Any necessary features of the boat I should be looking for or should spend some money on after the purchase?
 

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Hi and welcome to SailNet. I hope you have a strong constitution for some of the answers you will undoubtedly receive.

Firstly, do you know how to sail? What's your sailing CV?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I have experience sailing on lakes and bays, skippering hobie 16s, and small 18-25ft monohulls, as well as crewing on 30-35 foot monohulls. About 4 years of experience total with 30ish day sails under my belt. Also have asa101 and 103 certs.
 

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As I'm sure others will say, that budget is a bit tight. However to try to answer your question, if I were looking to do what your propose, I would want something in the mid-30 foot range or larger. A bit smaller would be OK for hopping to the Bahamas, but I would like something more substantial for continuing on to the islands. With your budget, your are probably looking at boats from the 70s and early 80s. And with only $5k for refit, you are going to have to find a boat with no major issues. That budget won't even buy a new set of sails for a 35 footer.
 

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Here are a few suggestions.....and represent the range of size, age, and design that you'll need to evaluate for your particular needs and aspirations.

1979 Morgan Out Island 33 Sail Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com

1978 Bristol 29.9 Sail Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com

1987 Catalina 30 Sail Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com

I think these particular boats could take you on a cruise through the Bahamas, depending on their actual condition and your actual skill level. All will undoubtedly need some cleaning up, have some deferred maintenance, and probably have some repair issues to address. And these are just some examples of the many, many boats out there that could take you on that trip safely.....your skill and experience are likely going to be more of a factor in determining how safe and enjoyable an adventure you are going to have.

$5k can disappear pretty fast when you're talking repairs and upgrades, but if you do the work yourself and scout places like Sailorman for deals on used stuff you can save a lot of cash.

Also - don't forget to budget $500-$800 for survey and haul-out when you find one you want to make an offer on.

Good luck with the search!
 

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Your best bet is to look for a boat that someone out grew and is willing to deal on it, look to spend 10k to 15k leaving you with a little bit more to upgrade and repair with. good luck and keep us posted on your venture. Check out "wicked salty" on youtube.
 
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Hey,

I would suggest an o'day 34-35. The 34 is definitely in your budget, the 35 may be a little tougher. I sold my 35 last year. One of the previous owners spent the winter down in florida one year and the carib the next. In the summer they returned to the north east. My boat carried 100 gallons of water (2 35 gallon tanks and 1 30 gallon bladder), had Sea Frost engine driven refrigeration, 3 batteries, bimini, dodger, hot water, 2 5 gallon propane bottles, etc.

The 35 is big enough to carry a lot of gear, small enough enough to manage short handed, and strong enough to handle some bad weather. I would not want to cross an ocean in an O'day 35, but a run down the coast and then across to the carib, sure!

Good luck,
Barry
 

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Hi there!
We bought our 1980 37C Hunter for 20K two years ago. She was solid, had decent sails and no major work to do. (Survey came back better than average for her age.) We sailed her from North Carolina to the USVI. (our blog is Mountains and Seashore if you are interested.) She did great. My husband is very handy to have around though :) and is able to figure things out on the fly with regards to repairs. A must with an older boat (who am I kidding, with any boat. :) So that being said, sailboats are out there in your budget, just take your time and find the best buy for your money.

Happy sailing.
Camile
 

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Seems most of us will recommend our boat as the best boat for you (so obviously a Hallberg Rassy 31 is the only choice), but in all seriousness, there are countless boats out there that would fit your criteria - almost any coastal cruiser can make that trip. If you want to eventually cross an ocean you might think of something built for it. I would agree that finding something slightly cheaper and saving 10k for outfitting and upgrades might be better. There are plenty of boats in the 20k range.
 

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Thanks guys, any must haves in terms of gear? Tank sizes? A/C? Solar? Generator? Dinghy? Etc...
Considering what you've described as your intended cruising plans, some of the "must-haves" I would look for include:

- a shallow draft boat - ideally less than 4' draft;
- a minimum of two weeks worth of fresh water tankage (assume min. 2 gal/day);
- a working electric fresh water pump and at least one manual pump (ideally at the galley sink);
- enough fuel storage for a minimum of 200 miles under power (tank size will vary depending on the engine, but 25 gallons is probably a good bare minimum);
- a minimum 20 gallon holding tank and a legal Y-valve and overboard discharge setup;
- enough solar or engine charging and battery capacity to run your required electrical loads (this will vary greatly depending on whether you need refrigeration or not and if so how efficient your refrigeration is - on my boat I have 2 GC8 golf cart batteries but no solar yet, so I have to either run the engine every day to charge the batteries or plug into shore power if I am running the fridge....if no fridge I can be out for 3-4 days without having to run the engine or plug in);
- a good dinghy with a reliable outboard;
- a working stove and safe fuel storage;
- sails in working condition;
- an operable engine that has been reasonably well maintained;
- a "new generation" anchor with at least 25' of chain and 200' of rope rode in good condition;
- nav lights that work, including a masthead anchor light;
- a working VHF radio with masthead antenna;
- a working depth sounder;
- a handheld GPS at a minimum, and a helm-mounted chartplotter is a borderline Must - have / nice to have, in my opinion;
- 2 working bilge pumps with reliable float switches and at least one manual backup;
 

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You will no doubt continue to receive all kinds of advice, but much of what you have asked has been well considered and published in numerous books which may be a better place to start--that and perusing yachtworld will help you understand the market. But I think you are asking both too many questions and the wrong questions. Don't even think about the specific boat--there are waay too many choices and don't even think about features. In above comments you are told about a stove, sails, gps, vhf bilge pumps etc etc--all of which can be changed or replaced. With your budget you will be buying an older and probably well used boat. How handy are you? Can you fix and repair and install items? Outside of hull configuration and in many cases-tankage, just about anything can be changed with time and money. Get yourself a lot more experience--go sailing and more sailing on as many boats as you can. That will help you learn what you need to know. Nothing is more important than cockpit and deck layout because you are getting a boat to sail. Are you comfy at the wheel? Is the boom going to smack you? Can you see above the cabin to the bow? Are you comfortable sailing? And finally, even if you can buy the boat you want--can you really afford it? Can you really afford to keep her up and prepare her for what you need to do? That answer depends on many things and your budget is ok IF you are really handy and resourceful--otherwise, it may be way too low.
 

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If the majority of your estimated sailing is going to be short hops, then you could consider the "coastal cruisers" which usually have less tankage. You can always carry extra cans of fuel and water for the occasional long hops. If your desire is mostly long trips and independency the boats with big fuel and water storage would be better for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
You will no doubt continue to receive all kinds of advice, but much of what you have asked has been well considered and published in numerous books which may be a better place to start--that and perusing yachtworld will help you understand the market. But I think you are asking both too many questions and the wrong questions. Don't even think about the specific boat--there are waay too many choices and don't even think about features. In above comments you are told about a stove, sails, gps, vhf bilge pumps etc etc--all of which can be changed or replaced. With your budget you will be buying an older and probably well used boat. How handy are you? Can you fix and repair and install items? Outside of hull configuration and in many cases-tankage, just about anything can be changed with time and money. Get yourself a lot more experience--go sailing and more sailing on as many boats as you can. That will help you learn what you need to know. Nothing is more important than cockpit and deck layout because you are getting a boat to sail. Are you comfy at the wheel? Is the boom going to smack you? Can you see above the cabin to the bow? Are you comfortable sailing? And finally, even if you can buy the boat you want--can you really afford it? Can you really afford to keep her up and prepare her for what you need to do? That answer depends on many things and your budget is ok IF you are really handy and resourceful--otherwise, it may be way too low.
Thanks, I know my questions are broad, and can have hundreds of different valid answers. I'm just trying to get a good understanding of where to get started and what more specific questions to ask next. Can you recommend some of the books you mentioned to get me started?
 

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If the standing rigging is +10 years old, replacing it might consume most of your $5k refit budget. If it is 20 years old...I'd replace it without question.

You might want to look carefully at the age and condition of any boat, and then actually get numbers for what it will need, before committing to it. Sails...also can be expensive but sometimes are quite usable. Older boats often need batteries and electric or fridge updates as well, and if the rudder has any hairline cracks that have allowed it to become saturated? That can eat the five grand in one shot. A reliable rudder and standing rigging can be priceless.
 

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Go to your favorite online book seller and look up:

Twenty Small Sailboats to Take You Anywhere

and

Twenty Affordable Sailboats To Take You Anywhere
 
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