Cruising the Caribbean best boat for our needs

Discussion in 'Sea Ray Lifestyle & Cruising' started by barley998877, Mar 3, 2017.

  1. Sea Gull

    Sea Gull Well-Known Member

    Oct 19, 2006
    CT
    2015 L650 Fly #509
    CAT C-18, 1,150 HP
    You can do anything you want - people row across the Atlantic. Some sail across in what we would call a dinghy. Would I do it? No, but I'm not going to stop you. The problem most here are pointing out is that the shallow draft, coastal cruiser that you want in the islands makes sense. But it is a different boat than one purpose built for some of the big water passages you will make to get there.

    One thing you might consider is buying the 320DA and having it shipped to your island destination. When you figure the costs, time, wear and tear, danger, etc., you might find it an attractive option.

    My other advice would be to go spend a month in DR and spend that time talking to locals about what is reasonable there. Save the boat shopping for step 2.
     
  2. bahamabreisus

    bahamabreisus Well-Known Member

    Oct 25, 2007
    Hampstead NC
    500 dancer, previous 420,390,300 dancers
    detriot 8v92
    First thing you will want is diesels, gas is very expensive there. Look at some 400 dancers or Sedans with diesels. We have friends that spend the winters in the islands. They are on a Hatteras Long Range Cruiser, still gets snotty for them at times.
     
  3. northern

    northern Well-Known Member

    Jan 17, 2007
    West coast Vancouver to Alaska
    380 Aft Cabin 1989 GPS and Charts by Nobeltec
    Twin 454 strait shaft
    We go to Alaska from Vancouver area. We see land 99% of the time the US and CDN Coast Guard are there to save us if we have problems. In the Caribbean based on the comments from those that have boated there your chance of the same kind of help is marginal. We spent a few of our All Inclusive times in the DR. On one trip we took a taxi for the day and asked him to show us the town One of the ones on the east side of the island. We asked to go to the marina. One was a commercial one with mid size fishing boat. There were a few pleasure boats. They were tied to buoys and stern tied to the dock. The other marina was for transient pleasure boats. Our boat was the size of their tenders. No idea as to cost to moor.
    It seems a gas boat works for day trips but a diesel boat is required for any real trips.
     
  4. HUMPH

    HUMPH Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Nov 4, 2009
    SF BAY AREA
    2003 410DA,
    2004 C14 Caribe
    CAT 3126TA's 350HP/
    50HP Honda
    The 320DA does not have a 200 mile range unless you are going at hull speed. I had my 320 in 8' swell (heading down hill) and it was difficult to control albeit fun surfing. The heavier the seas, the less your range is something to remember as well. You leave on a nice day and 2 hours later the wind adds a 2' wind wave on top of a 4' swell and the adventure starts! There are other brands that make boats in the mid-30' range that are much more suitable for these types of waters. Me, I would be hard pressed to have to rely on a small Sea Ray to get me safely to the next island.
     
  5. CaptRonn

    CaptRonn Active Member SILVER Sponsor

    252
    May 25, 2016
    Houston
    1999 Sea Ray 400 Sedan Bridge
    Mercruiser Horizon 8.1 MPI
    I can't see a 320DA as a "live aboard" for two people, and I definitely can't see one as anything other than a lake boat or near coastal boat.
     
  6. barley998877

    barley998877 New Member

    21
    May 6, 2015
    Okanagan Valley
    Sea Ray 2005 Sundeck 270, tower, extended bimini, black, led's, inverter, margarita machine, bbq, Ro
    6.2 Mercruiser. BravoIII
    Hello all
    Thanks for all your input and information, it will all be taken into consideration. We absolutely won't be living on the boat, land based. We may stretch our budget to 100k but don't want to get something too much for our needs, 3-5 day trips. I agree that planning, preparation, and common sense is key. A one time crossing would be our goal then just cruise around and have fun. Has anyone made that crossing or know someone who has? We would want to travel with other boats and any info on how to get in touch with others on this topic would be appreciated. We love sleeping on the deck on our lake boat and do 85 miles from end to end of our lake a few times each summer. I know it;s not open water but all the same if a boat can run flawlessly for 2-3 hours I think it's attainable. Thanks again and keep on board I'm sure there will be more questions.
    Cheers
    B
     
  7. barley998877

    barley998877 New Member

    21
    May 6, 2015
    Okanagan Valley
    Sea Ray 2005 Sundeck 270, tower, extended bimini, black, led's, inverter, margarita machine, bbq, Ro
    6.2 Mercruiser. BravoIII
    Thanks Seagull
    I do agree with the shallow draft, not best for the seas. We have 2 weeks in the DR soon then planning 6 months renting before buying or more likely building. A one time passage is what we are thinking, if it doesn't work for us when we get there then we will sell and find something else. I may be crazy but I am not a fool , lol:smt021 ( think thats a song)
     
  8. JimT

    JimT Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Jul 7, 2009
    Charlotte, NC- LKN
    2010 330 Sundancer
    T-350mags w/BIIIs & Axius, 5.0 kw Kohler
    With all due respect running a bow rider on a lake is nothing compared to running in the ocean. What experience do you have with coastal cruising and navigation?
     
  9. be_prepared

    be_prepared Member GOLD Sponsor

    227
    Oct 12, 2015
    Mattapoisett, MA
    2002 Sea Ray Sundancer 340DA
    Twin Mercruiser Horizon 8.1 inboards
    Having boated in the Caribbean a few times, on other folks boats, I know I wouldn't be taking a boat like my Sundancer 340 down there, been in too many exposed passages on bigger boats that still were bounced around quite a bit. I'd probably be thinking about a trawler, as mentioned, or a power cat. Something that may not have been mentioned is that piracy is an issue in some of the areas you'll be going, so you should consider what type of countermeasures you want to have onboard. I know that arming your boat may seem unnecessary, especially if you've been boating on a friendly US lake, but if all you have is a flare gun to deter boarders, you may regret it. At least consider having a sidearm for each crew member and a ranged weapon like a rifle.

    If I was trying to sort out where I want to live down there, I'd be thinking about renting a power cat and exploring with that until you figure out where you're going to settle in. That will give you plenty of range, and a safer boat to handle the open water passage making until you decide where you're going to set up your new home base. Nice thing is, you'll only be making a rental commitment, and you can overnight on it in some of the little coves you're going to find. I know you said you expect to stay on land all the time, but you'll be surprised how many places you'll want to stay on the boat for a night down there.

    You can rent a couple different vessels over the course of your exploration and then have a better idea how you'll use the boat eventually. You might find that what you think you want now is very different once you spend some time in those waters. You could even do your first trip with a captain to help you get familiar with the area and boating down there. A trip from Moorings in Tortola would give you a lot of possible exploration, without making a big capital commitment up front. If you hire one of their crew for the first trip, you'll learn so much it will be worth the extra cost. You can bareboat after that.

    Of course, if you start in Tortola, you're only a short run from Jost Van Dyke, the home of the Soggy Dollar, http://www.soggydollar.com/ and Foxy's, https://foxysbar.com/ so you might start drinking Painkillers and just never leave... not that there's anything wrong with that...
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2017
  10. k9medic

    k9medic Active Member

    528
    Mar 27, 2013
    Florida
    2005 23' twin engine jet boat
    1998 420 Aft Cabin
    twin jet 160hp.
    twin 3116 CATs
    The first time I went to the Bahamas by boat is was in my 23' jet boat. The next year I took that same boat down the west coast of Florida to key west.

    The Bahamas trip was a blast and the water was as smooth as could be.

    The key west trip had us in unforecasted 6' waves about 65nm off the coast of Marco Island.

    My new saying is "you can do anything... Once."

    [​IMG]


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  11. northern

    northern Well-Known Member

    Jan 17, 2007
    West coast Vancouver to Alaska
    380 Aft Cabin 1989 GPS and Charts by Nobeltec
    Twin 454 strait shaft
    On one of our trips to Alaska there were strong winds for 3 days. We found a secure place to anchor for 3 days before the winds let up. We listened to the VHF radio for in formation channel 16. A 36 foot upper helm cruiser decided to cross 50 miles of open water. The Coast Guard kept asking for the three days and a few days after if any one had seen the boat. No trace of the boat or the 3 on board were ever found. Do not think a go fast 32 footer would have made it, We know people who have a go fast 28 footer that decided to go where we go. They hit one big wave and knocked all their navigation equipment. They could just see land at the time. They had no back up electronic navigation. It was too rough to try to fix it. They made it to land. When I was 21 my superior told me once "Use the right to for the job"
     
  12. ttmott

    ttmott Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 3, 2012
    Space Coast Florida
    2006 52 Sedan Bridge
    Cummins QSM11
    Oh my....
    Seems like you are hearing other than truth; is this hearsay, rumor, or your experiences? Handguns are permitted but must be registered when clearing in. Piracy is not an issue unless in the far southern reaches (Haiti for example) and even there one would have to be pretty careless and be in the wrong places.
    For the OP -
    Just to make it clear the Bahamas and points south are boater friendly; we have taken the boat over there probably over twenty times and never had issues. Play by the rules and have a good time. If you are crossing just to get a boat over there pick your timing, weather, travel with others, make the crossing as short as possible, come in to a marina, clear in properly, boat mechanically 100%, have the proper safety gear including EPRB, plan for the worst and enjoy the best.
    Tom
     
  13. be_prepared

    be_prepared Member GOLD Sponsor

    227
    Oct 12, 2015
    Mattapoisett, MA
    2002 Sea Ray Sundancer 340DA
    Twin Mercruiser Horizon 8.1 inboards
    Thanks for pointing that out, I didn't mean to raise a big red flag (or skull and cross bones for that matter:smt001). They are very boater friendly, I agree, and I wouldn't avoid the area at all, predominately very safe. I based that information on 2 couples who were liveaboards on their boats for several years meandering around the Carribean and South America. I worked with them before their retirement for many years and know them well enough to feel comfortable that it's not a bunch of malarkey. I don't have any personal experience with an attempted boarding, just know that both of these couples experienced it more than once during their years there, and over the years, as their voyages extended, they seemed to feel inclined to periodically add something to their arsenal. I only mentioned the flare gun because for one of the couples, that was their first experience, and fortunately it was enough of a deterrent to have a red meteor across the bow of the zodiac. After that experience, they decided to not have that happen again. They did acknowledge that they were anchored in an isolated cay that wasn't well traveled, but apparently someone was there. Just mentioned it FWIW.
     
  14. JimT

    JimT Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Jul 7, 2009
    Charlotte, NC- LKN
    2010 330 Sundancer
    T-350mags w/BIIIs & Axius, 5.0 kw Kohler
    Every country in the Caribbean has different laws regarding firearms on board. Some countries ban guns outright. Others require that you declare the firearm and leave it with the authorities until you depart (BVIs). Anyone intending to island hop with a firearm had better know the various laws or risk spending some time in jail.
     
  15. barley998877

    barley998877 New Member

    21
    May 6, 2015
    Okanagan Valley
    Sea Ray 2005 Sundeck 270, tower, extended bimini, black, led's, inverter, margarita machine, bbq, Ro
    6.2 Mercruiser. BravoIII
    Thanks Jim but I have a mom, lol. I do have navigation experience, enough in my opinion. And I have had several experiences in rough seas north of Vancouver Island to Haida Guai. Very nasty waters so unless I'm in a hurricane I feel that we will be fine. An Ipad with nav app and another GPS for backup is all you need these days. The Ipad app we use for VFR flight is fantastic as is the marine apps.
     
  16. barley998877

    barley998877 New Member

    21
    May 6, 2015
    Okanagan Valley
    Sea Ray 2005 Sundeck 270, tower, extended bimini, black, led's, inverter, margarita machine, bbq, Ro
    6.2 Mercruiser. BravoIII
    Ha ha sounds like fun. Been looking around and I do agree a 400DA would be better. I am a diesel guy and would rather have diesels, didn't think I could afford them but after some shopping around its doable. Just more planning and more research.
     
  17. joeyleggz

    joeyleggz Member

    304
    Jan 15, 2013
    long island
    current boat: 1997 sea ray 330 express cruiser
    twin 454's efi
    Wow what an awesome thread always daydreamed about adventures like this I will be watching this as I hope to one day be able to make a few of those trips from Florida to the Bahamas but for now I am still up in the Northeast I have taken a couple of trips out to Hudson Canyon which is about 100 miles offshore beautiful out there a little scary to think that if the weather came up I would be SOL I mean I've been in 7 to 8 footers and that was more than I would like to take ,i got back to port safe but they hadto pry my hands off the wheel when I got back my boat loaded down is is pushing more than 10 tons and that's merely a cork floating on the water .One time when I was leaving Jones inlet on a day I probably should not have not left the inlet ,I buried the nose in a 7 foot standing wave the water ran up the bow of the boat and pushed in through the isinglass and I would say about 1000 gallons washing though the cockpit and drained off quickly but just thinking how badly I wanted to have a Bridge boat at that moment .having water potentially coming through canvas or vinyl windows does not seem like a good idea to me if I was doing a lot of offshore and coastal cruising I think I go with a bridge boat or closed helm


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  18. katricol

    katricol Active Member SILVER Sponsor

    Mar 4, 2008
    LONG ISLAND SOUND
    2000 540DA
    CAT 3196 660 HP
    I would rather have an older and larger boat with diesels than a newer smaller one with gas. My boat would be perfect there....but you can't have it ! lol
     
  19. northern

    northern Well-Known Member

    Jan 17, 2007
    West coast Vancouver to Alaska
    380 Aft Cabin 1989 GPS and Charts by Nobeltec
    Twin 454 strait shaft
    For you who have cruised in the Caribbean what are fuel prices.
     
  20. barley998877

    barley998877 New Member

    21
    May 6, 2015
    Okanagan Valley
    Sea Ray 2005 Sundeck 270, tower, extended bimini, black, led's, inverter, margarita machine, bbq, Ro
    6.2 Mercruiser. BravoIII
    Oh come on Katricol, thats a sweet boat, you sure we can't take it for a trip? Join along in a boating caravan
     

Share This Page

Show Sidebar