My personal belief is that college expenses should be borne as much as possible by the student. I have this quaint notion that when they are spending their own money they tend to extract maximum value from it. I learned this through my household's subsidized clothing program, wherein I seemed to be continually buying jeans at full retail that appeared to my uneducated eye either in need of serious mending or disposal. That being said, I am currently funding the unmet obligations my daughter has to our local institute of higher learning. In just over a year, we've weathered two potential drop-outs, three changes in end goal, and a marriage proposal. This experience is not for the faint hearted and I strongly advise not doing it entirely on one's own dime. My wife, for instance, paid for her entire collegiate education her own self, not counting my assistance in paying off her loans, which were substantial. She had no parental help. As you can see, my attitude is somewhere in between the two poles.
I think TSteele has probably just the right attitude. And it's not kid's college alone that can intrude on one's financial planning. Life takes some turns for most of us. (see, marriage proposal above) That he has the house with substantial equity is all too the good. I would suspect that paying it off and concentrating on better investments would position you to not only handle a good portion of the kiddo's college, but also pull the trigger on the cruising boat sooner as well. Frugality and wise investing will be the key to both.
Best of luck!
“Scientists are people who build the Brooklyn Bridge and then buy it.”
Wm. F. Buckley, Jr.