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Minimum Boat Preparation Time? (going offshore)

3387 Views 16 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  ehmanta
I have an interesting question - what is the minimum time you would plan to allow from day of boat purchase to day of departure for a 6 month cruising trip including an Atlantic crossing?

Now, this question is like 'how long is a piece of string?' so if you don't mind me sharing my scenario I can narrow it down for you -
My wife and I have been researching boats for years and have a shortlist of suitable yachts we've decided on, and from what I can see online we can afford to buy a yacht in 'sound' condition (probably Florida) that won't require a major overhaul.

I ask because we are working back from the Atlantic hurricane season for the ocean crossing. I'm trying to work out a rough cut-off date to fly to the States to buy a yacht, before we have to delay another year. Once we've found our yacht we will be working full-time on preparing the yacht for the cruise.

Here's an example yacht otherwise my question is too difficult to answer - let's say a mid 80s Tartan 37 that's had regular refits and is in 'good' condition. No major structural concerns, nor deck leaks, and let's say the engine was overhauled in the last 5 years, hull has been repainted, and most equipment is in servicable condition. Let's say for this example we'll replace her standing rigging for an ocean crossing and have the through hulls checked and serviced, a new mainsail and Genoa, new batteries, engine service, and have to find and purchase a few extra bits and pieces for a 6mth cruise - lee clothes, additional anchors, new bimini, and minor bits and pieces.

with this example in mind -
1. What is the rough minimum time (weeks/months) you would allow to be comfortable with your plans? (purchase to departure)
2. What is the bare minimum time (weeks/months) you think this is do-able in? (or before plans just aren't smart!)

I know no one can give me an accurate answer without seeing a specific boat, but for the sake of rough project planning I'm interesting in seeing the range of answers from seasoned cruisers (eg. 3-4wks, 3 months? 6 months??, etc).

I will value your input highly thank you.. We are currently in decent jobs in Oz so the later we leave it to fly to the States the more cash we'll have for our trip (but my wife and badly don't want to put off our trip, we've waited ages already!). :)
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I would say two weeks absolute minimum AND be prepared to see that stretch into 6-10 weeks depending on the surprises you get.

If the boat hasn't been recently re-rigged, it may take you a month to obtain and replace the standing rigging. Similarly, if you need engine work, or any machine parts, you've got to find that out, pull 'em, find a shop that will take them in, lose a day or a week in shipping or travel with them...these things add up.

Do you trust the diesel system? Or, plan to lose a day or book a day getting the tank scrubed and fuel polished--just to make Real Damn Sure it is starting out right?

Got a chandlery in town? Need a new head? Gee, is it in stock or shipping and coming in a week? And then a holiday weekend sneaks in.

Heaven help you if you need sails, you won't get them in two weeks unless you pay top dollar with express shipping and they are "stock" on a shelf someplace.

So, if the boat was really well maintained, and if there are no surprises, you can take it out for a weekend shakedown, confirm there's nothing else wrong, take it out for a week to really shake it down, and then set off. All within two weeks, assuming you get the paperwork down fast, and you're not waiting on any parts or anything.

A lot will depend on your luck, and how clean the boat is when you buy it.

Anything should be possible in under three months, but anything less than two weeks is going to need some long days, good eyes, and luck.
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