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Old 08-02-2019, 01:30 PM   #1
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Minimum Size & Models for Liveaboard to the Caribbean

What is the minimum size, requirements and specific boat models recommended for a liveaboard that would take a couple from the East Coast to the Caribbean? We are interested in both the Eastern and Western Caribbean. We have the good fortune of living close to Annapolis so would propably depart from there and spend five months onboard each year with the remaining time being spent cruising locally.

We are a couple and are looking for a used boat with a twin engine system. In addition, I know that stablizers are helpful, but are they absolutely necessary for the Caribbean?

Thank you in advance for your advice.
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Old 08-02-2019, 01:43 PM   #2
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A lot will depend on the time of year.
The Caribbean is a lumpy place (wind and waves) in the winter. Better in the summer, but still lots of open water miles. Factor in 3+ weeks on average going and coming to your crossing point (I travel from Crisfield, MD to Stuart, FL each Fall). Once in the Bahamas, the smaller the boat, the longer you will wait for weather windows to cross the open water sections.

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Old 08-02-2019, 01:56 PM   #3
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We would like to arrive by end of December so again, we're looking at specifically the recommended SIZE of the boat and preferred models to make the crossing in the most comfortable fashion.
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Old 08-02-2019, 01:59 PM   #4
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Honestly, unless you have done this before and it sounds like you haven't, then you are unlikely to make it to the Caribbean. So, don't worry much about stabilizers and maybe even twin engines if you want those for reliability. Some cross over to the Bahamas in an outboard powered center console for example.

A 35' boat will work for a couple, such as many Taiwan Trawlers of that size, but a 40' will be more comfortable.

Read this thread first: Boat Search 101

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Old 08-02-2019, 02:08 PM   #5
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If you're still deciding size and other priorities, a great way to get a feel for what you like is attending a Trawlerfest, and there happens to be one next month close to you in Baltimore. You can tour a bunch of different boat styles and you can ask exactly those kind of questions of the seminar speakers and/or the boat vendors.


https://www.passagemaker.com/trawler...baltimore-2019
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Old 08-02-2019, 02:12 PM   #6
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We are researching boats and are in training because we are retired. Of course we would gain experience before going to the Bahamas first, but we want to purchase a boat that will have the capability to go in the future to such places as USVI and Cuba.
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Old 08-02-2019, 03:25 PM   #7
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My friend bought a Carver 356 that traveled extensively in the Bahamas. It's gas but they ran the heck out of it for 6-8 months at a time.

2 bedroom was big enough for a couple and they had an inverter system on it.
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Old 08-02-2019, 03:44 PM   #8
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There are probably 5 or 6 present and past members of the forum that have cruised the Caribbean with a 42 Kadey Krogen. That would be as small as I would go. They are legendary for offshore cruising, livability, and fuel efficiency. Many have paravanes from previous owners for this kind of cruising. Only thing missing from your list is twin engines. Don't know if that's a handling or a redundancy consideration. There are alternatives for redundancy.

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Old 08-02-2019, 05:44 PM   #9
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If you want folks to suggest models, then you need to tell us what your budget is!

Like David suggested, familiarize yourself with Boatsearch 101 thread. You need to really, really, decide on how you will use the boat to help you decide what is the best boat for your needs.

Bahamas cruising in one thing, but cruising to the Caribbean will take a boat with longer range.

If your interest is primarily sailing the Caribbean, you could just base your boat out of Florida and avoid travelling the extra 1200 miles (each way) each season.

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Old 08-02-2019, 08:41 PM   #10
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Trawlers are not created equal or for the same purposes. The question of size is not the first question that comes to mind.

https://itayachtscanada.com/understa...d-in-yachting/

You might be interested in the EU rating system for yachts. Ability to survive bad weather on open water is addressed.

I would like a boat well suited for the Caribbean and for the Loop as well. Not as easy as it first seems, compromises. Open water boats and inland boats are two different animals.
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Old 08-02-2019, 08:44 PM   #11
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Any fool with a boat can go to the Bahamas and back. Going on to the Caribbean is not just adding miles. Serious open ocean, requiring an ocean going boat. And ocean going experience. Single or twin ok, but donít think a get home engine will ď get you homeĒ if you are 200 miles out and the weather turns nasty.
Donít even consider a boat without stabilizers. If you already had a non- stabilized boat, sure, you could make it if you worked at it, but you would not be comfortable.
We have cruised the Caribbean extensively on our previous sailboats. Our wave height limit for crossings between islands was 6í. And we often waited weeks before the seas got that low. And seas could be 4í until you approached the next island, then 10í as you rounded, due to compression of the wind between islands. And the Mona passage can be an experience all its own, especially east bound.
Just because you read about someone crossing an ocean in a small boat, donít interpret that as making it easy, or safe, or even close to comfortable.
So, 50í or so, twin engines, stabilized, and fully redundant systems. And then add about 5í000 miles of coastal offshore and multiple overnight excursions. and add some experienced crew. No boat US out there, not even any USCG, or any emergency support of any kind.
Not to dissuade you at all, but donít underestimate the complexity, required skills, risks, etc.
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Old 08-02-2019, 09:14 PM   #12
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Only you and your wife can determine what is a comfortable size and layout for YOU. It varies greatly by individual. Charter various boats together for multi-day trips and you'll get a very good idea.
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Old 08-03-2019, 05:57 AM   #13
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IF you plan on leaving in November or later and going directly to the Carib a 40-ft + or so sail boat would be far safer.

Most "trawlers" are not built for ocean work , so may not have the range or scantlings to make even a 1,000 mile run.

The 1 in 100 trawler built for ocean crossings will cost about 3x more than the more common builds.
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