Sailor seeking opinions

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May 29, 2024
I have only some experience sailing (owned 27' Hunter on Chesapeake, rented a 41' Jeanneau in Chicago for a summer, crewed a 40' Lagoon 400 from St. Martin's to West Palm Beach - 1,200 nautical miles).

I have a dream I would like to consider. I would like to buy an inexpensive boat for 3 months (January-March) and live on it in Florida this winter. I would love to go to the Bahamas once or twice for extended stays at anchor.

Two types of boats on FB Marketplace catch my attention: Sea Ray 31 or 33 (called "cruisers" I think) or 28-34' trawlers/liveaboards (i.e. 28' Bayliner, 32' or 35' Carver). Lots of these available in the $15,000 price range. I think the trawler (not sure this is correct word) would be more comfortable, but the Sea Rays seem easy enough for single-handed navigation. I can't sail because I just get too seasick. I am thinking a powerboat would provide faster and easier passage and hire an AirBnB for a day or two if a storm rolls through.

My dream is to go to the Bahamas admire the blue-green water and read books. And find a relatively cheap place in Florida to do the same. I would then try to sell the boat for around $5,000 for a quick sale.

Am I missing something obvious? Is this potentially doable? It seems the Sea Rays could go around 20 kts to the Bahamas and would be easier to sell but less comfortable. How fast can a trawler reasonably go the Bahamas above the 6-8kt cruising range without burning up all the fuel? Having a sofa and table at or above the waterline seems preferable, but how long does it take Bayliner/Carver/Silvertons to sell?
Welcome aboard.

Numbers work on paper. What you're missing are repairs and resale/disposal. You haven't described your expectations re: operating costs, but those won't be trivial. Running a boat at 20-25 knots burns some fuel, and insurance is priced substantially on risk, not purchase price.

A blown engine can easily consume $10k-$20k in repairs. Having a small boat chopped up and stuffed into a dumpster can easily cost $5k. Transient slip costs can easily be $100/nt for a 35-foot boat. It can take 6-months or more to sell a boat all while it sits in a slip accumulating monthly costs. There are a lot of ways your business case can go sideways.

Hope this outline sketch helps. Best success with whatever you decide.

Possible plan B?

Cruise out of Florida for Bahamas can be around $599/week. You would have plenty of time to admire the blue water and read a book.What Peter said regarding other costs and you will have minimal time to read with a $15k boat!

If you get seasick on a sailboat you probably would do the same on a power boat.

Or charter in the Islands or FL and see how you like it before you jump in?

Whatever you decide I hope it works well for you.
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