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Old 07-07-2016, 09:36 AM   #1
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Silly project

Hi all,

I have a mad plan for my retirement : cruise the caribbean !
The pitch is the following : buy a rather old trawler in a cheap place (Florida like) and then take some time (sequence of months) to visit the Caribbean's. And then sell the boat.
BTW I am European to far to cross the Atlantic, no appetite to do so. And don t want my boat to cross the Atlantic.

My questions:
- is it making sense ?
- has anyone done it ?
-if we stay around 30K can we have some kind of ok trawler (sea worthy and safe engine). Old GB .
-minimum size for a ship in the area for a couple in terms of sea
-can we sell after and where (Venezuela , Tobago, panama ?)

So ?
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Old 07-07-2016, 09:46 AM   #2
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Makes sense...

Any 36 foot or bigger trawler is going to cost more then 30K in decent shape to just turn the key.

Certain boats will suffer several years of cruising with minimal maintenance and give you a decent but not necessarily a near break even resale.

Smaller trawlers in the Caribbean usually desire some form of stabilization to be comfortable. This alone can drive up the price dramatically.

If doing the Caribbean as you seem to want to, I would definitely go sail.
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Old 07-07-2016, 10:02 AM   #3
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Thanks a lot

I did sail in the past... not for me
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Old 07-07-2016, 10:45 AM   #4
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On a $30K budget I would go sail. A good turn key 36' sail boat can be had very easily, a trawler not so easy. A 36' sailboat under power will get you where ever you are going about as fast as a trawler and with less fuel. Lots of sailboats motor and never raise a sail. If physical limitations prohibit moving around on a sailboat then I would try to raise the budget. I don't think I have ever seen a trawler on the market for $30K that I would trust from Florida to Venezuela.

I like the dream, don't get discouraged, just tweak the plan a little.
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Old 07-07-2016, 11:01 AM   #5
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OK guys lets make it 50k
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Old 07-07-2016, 11:17 AM   #6
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OK guys lets make it 50k
Going from 30k to 50k doesn't make the boat 40% more reliable. Things break on boats. Old boats, new boats, it doesn't matter. Stuff breaks. True, the older the boat the sooner stuff may break, but no way to tell. If you have the skills, temperament, and experience to fix the stuff that breaks then you could do it. It is just not anything I would choose to attempt.
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Old 07-07-2016, 11:22 AM   #7
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I think you may have accidentally dropped a zero off your budget.
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Old 07-07-2016, 11:52 AM   #8
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thanks a lot guys,

not did not drop a zero ...
seriously my question was on a reasonable size of ship for these waters.

on the stabilizers, I have paravanes here in Europe not rocket science to build
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Old 07-07-2016, 12:04 PM   #9
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While a newbie without much experience I would say that you need to define what you are calling "cruising the carribean". If you plan to start from florida and go from island to island all the way down it is likely that the longest stretch you will do will be on the range of 80 to 100 nautics which does not requires the same as if you plan to go from florida to mexico in straight line for more than 900 nautics. I have a trawler in the price range you mentionned and I would not be scared to do 80 nautics with it but in no way I would have enough range to go for 900 nautics in a row. Also what makes a big difference is would you be able to solve any potential problem by yourself? If you are knowledgeable enough and used to keep your boat running by yourself whatever the issue is your budget won't be the same as if you need assistance for whatever could happen. Finally the size of your boat will depend of what is your definition of comfort as we all have our own. Do you need a full size kitchen to cook your 5 service diner everyday or can you live on dehydrated food that needs just hot water? Whatever is your plan, initial cost is one thing but plan a deep wallet for maintenance especially if you go into 20+ years old trawler which are what you will find in your price range, and plan also budget to do initial setup before starting your cruise as you will find a long list of things you want to improve on your new boat.
I am owner for only 2 month now and I already have a list of 50 things to do on my plate, while they are not structural but mostly cosmetic or easy to do and I do everything myself, just parts are costing some $$$
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Old 07-07-2016, 12:14 PM   #10
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thanks indeed my plan is to hop from islands to islands in good weather not to try range long.
So basically what you say is even a 34 to 38 feet could be fine.
I am used to a 10.5 m in Europe. Aboard living is already a ticked box for both of us.
I can fix a lot but only the sea can teach you what you cannot do...
any existing blogs of guys who followed that path ? Knowing you also need extra maintenance care before hitting Cuba (no parts...)
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Old 07-07-2016, 01:32 PM   #11
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These are tough boats


1978 Mainship Boats For Sale
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Old 07-07-2016, 02:34 PM   #12
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Here you go. With money left over for fuel, food and drinks:

1977 Mainship Trawler Power Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com
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Old 07-07-2016, 02:54 PM   #13
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tabjdo,
It would be worth the trouble for you to find and buy the book "A Gentleman's Guide to Passages South" by Bruce Van Sant. Out of print last time I checked, but used copies can still be found.
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Old 07-07-2016, 03:01 PM   #14
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tabjdo,
It would be worth the trouble for you to find and buy the book "A Gentleman's Guide to Passages South" by Bruce Van Sant. Out of print last time I checked, but used copies can still be found.
Coincidentally the missus and I were just having a look at our copy last night. We are going to shoot over the The Bahamas for three months early next year and were looking to see how far south we would likely go.
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Old 07-07-2016, 03:29 PM   #15
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Caribbean needs a bit more definition. I'm going to guess for the moment you're talking the Eastern Caribbean as the Western is a much different story. The longest run we made this spring in our first trip south was 282 nm from the DR to the BVI. We had several other runs in the 200 nm range. However, I do see the ability to run with the longest run of about 130 nm. That is from Turks and Caicos to the DR. A Mainship is capable of any of those runs as long as you're properly equipped and go only when the weather window is favorable. You see Sea Rays in the Caribbean all the time.

The key is getting your boat to where it's truly dependable though. Boat US isn't going to tow you out of trouble when you're crossing in those areas.

I recommend to anyone before exploring the Eastern Caribbean, spend a lot of time enjoying the Bahamas. Over 700 islands to see. Very different areas from island range to range. Then if a boat and a captain prove themselves there, consider going further. I wouldn't head to the Eastern Caribbean until I had experience with the boat.
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Old 07-07-2016, 03:38 PM   #16
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Coincidentally the missus and I were just having a look at our copy last night. We are going to shoot over the The Bahamas for three months early next year and were looking to see how far south we would likely go.
I think you're doing it the perfect way. Take it a step at a time. Eventually from the Bahamas you want to see the Turks and Caicos. Then the DR creeps into play and from there you just can't stop. Puerto Rico, the USVI and BVI, St. Martin and St. Marteen, St. Barts. Then beyond you decide on how much you want to see as well as safety factors which eventually come into play. The closer you get to Venezuela, the less I want to chance. I'd very much like to cruise all the way to Trinidad and Tobago. However, in December two separate occasions boats passing from Grenada were boarded and robbed. The Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard is trying to watch the area and wants all cruisers coming through those areas to file float plans with them.
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Old 07-07-2016, 03:48 PM   #17
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I owned a 1982 Mainship 34, that my wife and I took to Key West, Fl from Baltimore Md. Here is the blog fot that trip:

Mcgonigle Waterlog

Having done that, I would never go past the Bahamas in that boat! We are currently enroute to Panama by way of western Caribbean, then on to eastern Caribbean in a 1984 42' Krogen. Sometimes I wonder if this is enough boat. I watch the weather, but things happen out here. Not saying you wouldn't make it but.....not gonna be fun. The Mainship also didn't handle the punishment as well resulting in some broken tabbing, leaking windows, and hull flexing. Hanging on for hours and hours gets old real fast.
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Old 07-07-2016, 03:52 PM   #18
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I think you're doing it the perfect way. Take it a step at a time. Eventually from the Bahamas you want to see the Turks and Caicos. Then the DR creeps into play and from there you just can't stop. Puerto Rico, the USVI and BVI, St. Martin and St. Marteen, St. Barts. Then beyond you decide on how much you want to see as well as safety factors which eventually come into play. The closer you get to Venezuela, the less I want to chance. I'd very much like to cruise all the way to Trinidad and Tobago. However, in December two separate occasions boats passing from Grenada were boarded and robbed. The Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard is trying to watch the area and wants all cruisers coming through those areas to file float plans with them.
Not the way we are doing it.

We have done the Abacos extensively already. Multiple times on our own bottom, renting a house and a center console, and on a 42 foot Moorings cat!

We will take next year to get used to the boat, March to May in the Bahamas, some in the Abacos but also more Southern. Trip up to Charleston. Maybe even get to The Chesapeake for a while.

Then in 2018 we are Looping. 2-3 years doing that, then a year or two off. Then New England and Newfoundland. Then the Islands all the way down to the ABCs. Cuba should be well open by then.

Longer term dream is the Panama Canal, Sea of Cortez and the North West.

That should handle the next 15 years or so!
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Old 07-07-2016, 04:11 PM   #19
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Not the way we are doing it.

We have done the Abacos extensively already. Multiple times on our own bottom, renting a house and a center console, and on a 42 foot Moorings cat!

We will take next year to get used to the boat, March to May in the Bahamas, some in the Abacos but also more Southern. Trip up to Charleston. Maybe even get to The Chesapeake for a while.

Then in 2018 we are Looping. 2-3 years doing that, then a year or two off. Then New England and Newfoundland. Then the Islands all the way down to the ABCs. Cuba should be well open by then.

Longer term dream is the Panama Canal, Sea of Cortez and the North West.

That should handle the next 15 years or so!
You are as bad as us. When you loop don't forget all the inland rivers. "A year or two off?" I guess we left that one out of our plans. We've only made it as far as St. Barts in the Eastern Caribbean. And everywhere we've been we want to repeat sometime. Well, back to the loop on Monday.
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Old 07-07-2016, 05:22 PM   #20
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I would buy the $30k boat and keep the $20k as a reserve.
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