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post #9 of Old 11-29-2002
Join Date: Oct 2002
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Message in a bottle


Our thought and prayers go out to you and your wife. Breast cancer brought us ashore 2 years ago. Fortunatley, my wife has be cancer free for about 8 months now. I have sailed for over 40 years and cruised full time for 12. During those years I have been in lots of situations which turned my knuckles white, put my stomach in my throat and caused me to question my religion. But none of those events prepared me to hear "we found a growth and it appears to be spreading". Aboard our boat, I was always the one that was "in control" and my wife often looked to me for strength. How quickly roles reverse. She took the news as a challenge; I wept.

In your original post, you asked about insurance. If we had not had health insurance we could never have afforded the level of medical attention which saved my wife''s life. She would not be with us today and I would be bankrupt. Alot of people who drop everything and "just do it" seem to think that cruising is a magic pill that insures good health...WRONG. I have seen countless cruising dreams destroyed by health issues.

When we decided to cruise we developed a 3 years plan. The planned called for us to be debt free, 2 pieces of rental property paid for(approx. $1500 a month income), $50,000 in the bank (in 1988), and the boat paid for. We sold a 4000s.f. home and moved into a 1180sf house (our kids hated us), we sold the new cars and drove 2 old Volvos (again, our kids hated us), we quit eating out and stopped taking vacations (yep, the kids hated this too). My wife went back to work (school teacher) and I started working 60-70 hours a week in my business (by that point the kids were glad that they never saw me).

About 2 months before we sent our youngest off to college we sold our Hunter 27 and bought our C&C. I sold my business and we moved to the coast. My wife landed a teaching position and I worked part-time and spent the rest of my time refitting the boat. We lived aboard and worked for 1.5 years. One day we were sitting in the boat, it had been raining for 3 days and we were both going stir-crazy. My wife said "why the hell are we doing this" (my heart sank, I just knew my dream was over) "this is where we ought to be". She handed me a magazine turned to a picture of the VI''s. She turned in her resignation that week and we left about a month later.

My advise to anyone who seriously wants to cruise: establish a plan and stick to it. It will probably take 3-5 years, but it is truely worth the sacrifices. We have met 100''s of cruiser. Almost every one who had been cruising for more than one years fit into 2 catagories: 1)independently wealthy 2)had a longterm plan like ours. Very few who "sell every thing and just go", actually make it. These are the same unrealistic fools who thought the stock market would go up forever, quit their jobs and became day-traders. Now they work two jobs so they can pay the alimony and child support.

Be realistic. Have your finances in order. Take it one step at a time. Try living aboard and working for a year while you prepare the vessel and the crew.

Again, best of luck to your wife!!!

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