This is my first post and I hope this is the correct place for this thread. After reading “Cruising in Seraffyn” and many other sailing adventure books my wife and I have decided to share the life and we are looking for advice. Even though my wife and I have never sailed before but we both enjoy boating, the sea and adventure. I’m currently enlisted in the military and will this May (2012) with a modest pension. We’ve been developing our plan and have been reading everything we can get our hands on for the last year and a half. I welcome feedback and opinions on the following plan:
Step 1: We plan to find an affordable sailing school in late May or early June and take an ASA course (likely ASA 101, 103 & 104) to obtain basic sailing skills.
Step 2: We will search for a small (27-37ft) capable live aboard pocket cruiser in the ($20k) price range. So far I have seen a few sailboats such as the 1991 Hunter Vision 32, 1993 Atlantic 32, 1990 Catalina Tall Rig 28 and a 1994 Precision 28 that fall in our current price range. We’d like a boat that two can live aboard full time and sail single handed if necessary. My wife’s only real requirement is for a standup shower and decent head.
Step 3: We’ll sail this boat along the US east coast fulltime for four months (Jul-Oct) building our skills and learning to become more confident each day as we travel.
Step 4: In November we’ll head to south Florida and depending on comfort level with our skills, on to the Caribbean and beyond.
Granted, with out budget we will have to live modestly on our monthly disposable budget of $2000. We will mostly anchor out or pick up inexpensive moorings. We will also prepare nearly all of our meals on board and live a simple life.
Again, I welcome your thoughts, feedback and opinions on our plan.
What you are planning sounds good. I did something similar in the 90s when I was in my early 40s and cruised for 7 years on considerably less than your budget.
Nothing wrong with going the classes route but you might learn more quickly by buying a boat and getting/paying someone to sail with you for a week. You don't need to be a rocket scientist to learn to sail well enough to get from A to B.
If you plan to get to the Eastern Caribbean and you have a small boat do be aware that the usual coast hopping route [ see Van Sant's book A Gentlemans Guide to Passages South ] you will need a reliable engine capable of pushing you through headwinds and swells. But many 30 footers have made it.
A budget of 20 k for a long term liveaboard cruiser is on the low side. make sure you have enough to buy one with good sails with a few years life left in them, reasonably recent standing rigging, a good engine and good ground tackle. [ All chain - coral will eat through a rope rode in an hour] Or of course cheap enough to allow for those items.
I might also think about coming down the Eastern seaboard then out to the Bahamas for a winter then only push on East if everything is going really well
but planning to return to Florida get the boat sorted out. Why getting things fixed down island will cost at least twice what it costs in Florida in most cases.
Wishing you well and hoping to see you one day down island. It is REALLY good out here.