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Minimum Boat Preparation Time? (going offshore)

3385 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 wouldn't call myself a seasoned cruiser, but under the scenario you describe above, I would want at least two months. Preferably three.

The sails alone will be a tight delivery unless you find a loft with no work (which might say something about their product), and you'll need time to test those sails then have them tweaked even after you get them delivered.

You may encounter other unanticipated delays, but hurricane season starts when it starts. Give yourself as much time as you possibly can. Or find a boat that is truly ready to go.
Hi All,

Thanks a lot for the advice to everyone who's replied. I've picked up some very helpful direction thank you.

I was starting to think I was crazy for allowing less than 3 months, but it sounds like with determination, picking the right boat and a good surveyor, a fair bit of cash (and luck) our plans should be do-able! I'll certainly be allowing as much time as possible, but its good to know a rough cut-off.


Another factor will be where you undertake the refit. Some locations have better/ready services than others. You mentioned Florida, but may I also suggest the Annapolis/Chesapeake region for the boat purchase and refit? Lots of inventory in this area, and plenty of competent marine services too. For the crossing, you can jump out to Bermuda from the mouth of the Chesapeake and continue on from there....

....If you need a good sailmaker in the mid-atlantic, I know the place......they delivered my new main within two weeks and it is a work of art!

Hope this helps, Tom
Tom, All good info. Would you be willing to drop your sailmaker's name here in the thread, so others can benefit from the recommendation?
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