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Discussion Starter #1
The cruising idea has been percolating away for the last several years and an idea is starting to emerge.

The current plan is to take a year off and cruise.

My question is: where is the best spot to shop for and buy a boat? I've thought about buying something in the great lakes, but I don't think that I'm that interested in consuming a lot of a year cruising going through the St. Lawrence seaway or the Erie canal. Some places I've considered are: Annapolis, Oriental, NC, Florida in general. I also just got back from a week in St. Martin. What about the option of buying a boat that is already down in the Caribbean?

If anyone has done anything similar to this, I'd be very interested in some words of advice.

Here is some background:

* 30 yrs old -- I want to do this now while I'm young
* Have some amount of cruising experience. Handful of charter trips in the great lakes and the Caribbean.
* Mainly interested in cruising the Caribbean islands
* I've saved up a fair chuck of change -- hopefully enough to buy a ~15 year old boat and cover expenses for a year -- at least based on the countless spreadsheets I've put together! :D
* I currently live in the landlocked Mid-West. Not the best place to shop for a boat. I'd probably return to the same area after cruising? (But who knows....)
* I'd buy the boat probably next summer, do the cruising and resale ~1.5 years later
 

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Telstar 28
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The boat further north will generally be in better shape than the ones further south. The intense sun and year-round boating season tend to be harder on the boats down south.

It would help to know what your rough budget is going to be, as shopping for boats further away often requires a higher budget, due to the costs of travel and such.

Buying a boat that is in the Caribbean isn't a bad idea, provided you have a good surveyor and have the time to do some hands-on shopping. I wouldn't trust brokers in a situation like that, as they're far more likely to exaggerate the condition of the boat. However, buying a boat in the Caribbean may complicate the paperwork as well as make refitting/upgrading it more expensive and difficult.

Annapolis and the Chesapeake bay area are probably the best place to boat shop, because of the number of boats available as well as the wide range of marine facilities to handle the refitting/upgrading of the boat once you buy it.

Also, cruising the Chesapeake bay, say from Annapolis to Newport News, would make a good shakedown cruise for you to get familiar with the boat before hopping off shore to the islands.
 

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I lived in S.F., and bought my boat in the Caribbean. If that deal had fallen through. I would have went to Thailand for plan 2. A lot of broken dreams end in he Caribbean, so deals are to be found. Especially with this economy. Jerry & Heather are knowledgable, and honest. They made my deal happen when the owner, and I were at a dead end. Don't restrict yourself to a purchase close by....IMHO.....i2f

Bay Island Yachts, N.V. of Simpson Bay St. Maarten boats - yachts - sailboats
 

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Freedom 39
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There are many newer boats coming out of the charter fleets every year. They are used but much newer than 15 years old. Might be worth looking at.

I would have to agree the Caribbean boats will in general be used more than the vessels up north, but not always. I see boats in my marina that have not moved in years. The sun does do damage year round. If you buy a boat in this area there is no time or expense lost in the transit to your desired location, you are already there. Outfitting may very well be more expensive in the Carib, don't know, it would make sense since everything else except for rum costs more here. I would argue that many of the privately owned (non-charter) boats will not need extensive outfitting compared to something bought off of a lake in the US. Many boats are already outfitted pretty well for use in the area with ground tackle, solar/wind, GPS chartplotters, bimini and a dinghy with motor. I have witnessed a steady decline in asking prices and an increase in vessels for sale. A 1985 35' Endeavour in good condtion just sold for under $20K. Not a perfect cruiser but an example that decent deals are available. Those kind of deals do not last long. Here are two brokerages that you may wish to watch Maritime Yacht Sales (St. Thomas, Virgin Islands) and www.stthomasyachts.com

I absolutely agree that a good surveyor will be money well spent.

Good luck on your search.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
A ballpark price that I have in my head is in the range of 50k to 75k.

I think I like the idea of getting something that needs less rather than more outfitting -- just because of the fact that I don't want to spend a year outfitting it. That being said, I certainly understand that there will be a lot of boat projects and I'm very willing to embrace those project.
 
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