And as there are tomes written about the subject and you could pore over how-to manuals for hours, you’ll want to spend a fair amount of time researching your trip. That being said, here are the essentials you’ll need to leave it all behind and go on a two-month sailboat adventure in the Caribbean on your own.
If you’re going on a maiden long-term voyage and are fairly new to sailing, you’ll want to use a boat you’re comfortable with and have some experience on. Boats can run the gamut from basic to uber-fancy, so figure out your comfort level and needs before deciding on one. The most common types of sailboats are either monohulls or catamarans, which are somewhere between 27 feet and 52 feet long.
If you’re just starting out, a monohull is probably the easiest option. A catamaran, on the other hand, is faster and has a lot of deck space, so it can provide a more stable and spacious living arrangement. If you’re leaning toward a catamaran, depending on your sailing style, you might have to factor in twice the amount of fuel costs and repairs for two engines instead of just one. If you’re thinking of buying used, it will be more affordable up front, but you’ll have to factor in repairs.
If you’re doing a bare-bones trip in terms of provisions, you’ll want to stock up on water and nonperishable food items such as rice, beans, canned food items, protein bars, beef jerky, and sardines. How much food you’ll be able to bring depends on your storage space, of course, but if you plan on being out at sea for a week or so, stock up accordingly. You’ll also want to factor in how much you’ll be eating locally while on land.
Although most sailboats have a fridge, they tend to be on the small size, so you might consider storing perishables such as fruits and veggies in plastic bins in areas on your boat that are dry and have ample ventilation.
Spare parts and tools
Stuff happens, and expect things to break down during your trip. Your sailboat will be in need of repairs and maintenance during your excursion. You can never have enough spare parts, which include items such as engine belts, filters, epoxy, a sail repair kit, electrical wires, and hardware. So stock up!
Fuel consumption can vary depending on how much time you’ll be spending cruising, your boat’s hull speed, and how many engines your boat has. You may burn 2 gallons per hour or maybe 4 gallons per hour. Gauge how much you’ll need based on your previous experience on your boat and after mapping out your journey. Do the math beforehand, and, to err on the safe side, budget generously for diesel costs.
You’ll need a sufficient amount of funds saved up to tide you over for a trip. Money in this fund can be used toward time spent on the islands and any recreational activities you’ll be enjoying during your trip. Think about what kind of trip you want to have. Do you want to live off the fat of the land as much as possible, and fish and eat locally? Or do you want to have a more posh experience?
Fees and permits
When it comes to dockage fees, it really depends on how long you plan on being “on the hook,” or anchored off the coast and sailing versus docked at a marina. Depending on where you’re docking, you can be charged a daily rate per foot, or a flat rate based on the size of your boat. If you’re going on a longer trip, ocean crossings can be a month of nonstop sailing. You pay customs to enter and leave countries, and that varies per country and what size boat you have. You may also need to pay for an optional fishing permit.
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