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Old 06-28-2008, 11:03 AM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2008
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Hello everyone,

I am still a very inexperienced sailor, but want to find the best Caribbean location to sail, and refit a boat. A very experienced sailor I know suggests Florida or Southern California, because you have everything there......with plenty of fellow sailors doing the same thing...living aboard, and refitting their boats to go into the deep blue.

Do any of you reader have any ideas on where I do that in the Caribbean (or even other parts of the world?) I am seeking a good community, good marinas, and warm waters to sail daily.



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Old 06-28-2008, 12:09 PM   #2
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Keep in mind that in the Caribbean the hurricane season (June 1 to December 1) is not the time to be there. In the past 20 years the "best" hurricane holes in the Caribbean have seen up to 90% of the boats that were sheltered there demolished during the worst hurricanes. Trinidad is/was a good place to refit, but it's not a great sailing location. Tropical storms are also "named" storms and they do hit Trinidad and Grenada, making an insurance claim if you're there an expensive proposition. Venezuela used to be the place to go for refits of Caribbean cruising boats, but it isn't very popular nowadays, both because of crime and the political situation.

When I hear "refit" I don't think "sailing". Maybe you should redefine refit.

Access to chandlers is necessary for a refit. The US or British Virgin Islands have some of the best daysailing options with access to chandlers and mechanics. St. Martin/Sint Maarten has good daysailing and weekend sailing destinations as well, and is duty-free. A few yards there might fit your needs as well.

I think that Florida, west or east coast, is one of the best locations for refit and sailing opportunities, but hurricanes are again a consideration/concern.

In 1986 we went cruising for a few years. After 20 years and 50+ countries and several oceans, we are STILL "cruising for a few years".

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Old 06-28-2008, 12:37 PM   #3
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Thanks JeanneP.,

Yes, I should clarify.

I want to liveaboard and get to know a newly acquired used boat, in a good warm year-round sailing area, and do it where there are reasonably priced a good chandlerys and boatyards. This area should include a strong sailor community, from which to exchange and glean ideas on diesel, electrical, rigging etc., over an 18 month period, whilst I plan my first solo blue yonder trip. I would plan to sail almost daily, getting plenty of experience and getting to know my boat intimately, both as a sailor and mechanic.

As you mentioned, JeanneP, the Caribbean may not be a good choice because of the hurricanes, as I would like to be rooted over these 18 months of learning. So, then Florida might work, and California is still a good choice.

Any other places? Mediterranean? If so, where? Asia?


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Old 07-02-2008, 02:09 AM   #4
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You mention Asia as an alternative,

The West coasts of Malaysia and Thailand are excellent cruising areas - with good marina's, boats for sale and very reasonable cost of groceries and other consumables.

Check our link to our review of the Andaman Sea Pilot and Websites

It also has online access to the guide where you will be able to navigate the kind of information you are seeking.

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Old 07-03-2008, 05:24 PM   #5
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I can't speak to the Far East and defer to Jeanne.

Is there a particular reason for staying put?

On the East Coast of the US I'd give some thought to Reedville VA or Deltaville VA on the Chesapeake in summer. Sail up to Annapolis for the boat show in October and follow the cruiser's South to Florida after the show. The migration will give you the chance to break up ICW runs with offshore hops to cut your teeth on ocean sailing and keep you with plenty of other sailors. In Florida you can spend some time implementing what you will absolutely learn from the experience (reading is important, but no substitute for doing it yourself) and then make the easy hop to the Bahamas. Stock up on parts and projects in the US before you leave; you won't be the only person with boxes of boat stuff aboard to install and work on among cruising boats in the Abacos or Exumas. As hurricane season approaches again make the longer offshore hop directly to Charleston or one of the Beauforts. Depending on how "done" your boat is you might return to Reedville or Deltaville or follow the cruiser migration to New England (lots of access to marine equipment there also).

You are likely to find that your best friends for parts and equipment are mail-order houses so ready access to a marine store (even with a Port Supply card) is important mostly when you get stuck in the middle of a project and need just one thing.

Finding a boatyard with easy-going service staff is likely to be very useful. If you make friends easily it is very helpful to have someone to turn to for advice. Lending them a hand from time to time (it will be obvious when a tech is struggling with the need for three hands) will reap you great benefits in expertise, loaned tools, and good advice.
sail fast, dave

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Old 07-04-2008, 09:15 PM   #6
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In the Eastern Caribbean, St. Martin has a huge cruiser community and a VHF net where there is a tremendous amount of used gear being offered. This would be a great benefit in fitting out stage.

Another thing to keep in mind is that shipping to the Eastern Caribbean tends to be quite expensive and sometimes a bureaucratic bother to get around import duty. The US Virgins and Puerto Rico offer shipment by US Mail which is very cost effective. In the USVI there is a 6% import tariff on purchases over $100. Using the US Mail seems to bypass this tariff. (as of 2007).
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Old 08-22-2008, 12:25 AM   #7
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Check out the Sea of Cortez. Very laid back. yards, marinas, warm and for the most part, very safe sailing conditions and a safe neighborhhod of cruisers

Liberalism: the haunting fear that, somewhere, somehow, someone can help themselves.
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caribbean, liveaboard

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