Originally Posted by chris_gee
A few months in the Bahamas or Mexico is one thing. For that matter weekends or weeks with the kids in a small boat are great, but that is not the issue here.
Now that I've had two glasses of wine, I think I can respond to your terrible ideas.
Actually, your points and scenarios are well-described and supported. I might add that by age 60, the kids are most likely through college and on their own. This is good in the fiscal responsibility to kids issue, but not so good in the "want to cruise with the kids" desire.
The other possible problem is that even at age 60, there might be health insurance issues to cover the gap until Medicare. More than a few of us may have pre-existing conditions by age 60, and who knows what monthly costs might be. I've noticed that a lot of younger cruisers seem to have "special deals" set up (they worked for BluCross or something) that offers them special coverage benefits even if they retire early.
At the Seattle boat show last year, I listened to a seminar by a younger cruising couple. As they noted, they had a choice between cruising or having health insurance, and they opted to cruise without health insurance. Since then, I've found better resources for coverage options (compared to nil).
You described two scenarios well. I'd like to toss out one more. The seasonal/commuter cruiser.
Some of us have careers that could be shifted to 10 month positions, with full benefits during the two months off. If someone lived in the right area, this could result in two months of active coastal cruising in the summers, with or without kids, for as many years as desired. One's annual salary would take a hit, but the cruising would be coastal and shorter term so the boat costs would be less as well. Surprise expenses (engine failure!) could be gradually absorbed by the annual salary.
I've known teachers who've managed to pull this off by owning less expensive homes (1000 sq. feet) and less expensive boats. Sometimes they have to work on the boat for some of their two months, and other times they choose not to cruise so much in the summers. Others might sail down to Mexico, leave the boat, and then return the following year in a "commuting" scenario.
Some might not consider this "cruising," but it would lead to a lot of experience without losing one's career and associated benefits. It could also be done with kids. I've been considering it, since it might be possible to afford a "do it all" boat, which would be light and small enough for local day sailing (and beer can racing and short cruises) in the fall and spring, but strong and large enough for a coastal hop and 1-2 months of summer cruising as well. A local boat that comes to mind is a Pearson 10M.
Lots of options that are fun to consider.