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Old 05-19-2006
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So, how do I prepare for a 5 year cruise with kids?

Any advice on how to prepare for a five-year cruise with two kids?

We sail a lot now, and charter, but we have this growing "bug" of an idea to cruise while we're still in our forties and before the kids hit High School age.

We're thinking of picking up something like a Pearson 424, Valiant 40 or a Passport 40 in 2-3 years, and then live aboard for a year while still working to prepare. (We're not big boat people, but with growing kids...) We'll either cash out the house at the time of purchase, or rent for a year to see how that works out.

Scary part
-- finding catastropic health care for all four of us during the cruise. Maybe skipping on boat insurance. Finding jobs again in the future. Maybe not holding onto real estate while we're gone.

Okay part-- boat schooling the kids for five years (wife and I are both educators).

Fun part-- having enough cash to do a low-budget cruise for five years, but stop early if cash runs out, or go longer if we can write or do other during-cruise work along the route. We'd like to do the PNW, Inside passage, West Coast, Mexico and Sea of Cortez, and then decide to continue either west or east (through the canal).

Mission part-- I have some academic contacts in Chicago who would build a survey and data collection tool for us, so we could visit local schools on our journey and collect data, publish articles and build connections with schools in the US. We could do some teaching along the way (for free) and our kids could experience some local schools as well.

If we're careful, we should be able to afford the boat with no loans, and have enough cash to fund the cruise (as long as insurance doesn't kill us). After the cruise, we'd plan to have enough cash for a downpayment on another house, and we'd re-enter the working world. Kids would be ready for college (we have decent college accounts running for them now).

So, any brilliant advice? General budget for the boat would be around $100k (maybe not enough for a Passport 40), and if we don't end up with a perfect blue water boat we still do a lot of cruising with a solid coastal cruiser. We have 2-3 years before the next big step, but it's still fun to plan, learn and scheme.

Thanks!

Jim H
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