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Old 02-11-2008
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I can appreciate the value of sports for children, but I don't think cruising children lack for opportunities for a sense of accomplishment. They're crew members. They'll take the helm, drive the tender, dock the boat, anchor the boat, help with provisioning, navigate, chart, plan trips, etc. And, they'll do all these things daily!
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Old 02-11-2008
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Selling the home

Yes, I'm excited about homeschooling them. That plan predated the sailing plan! But, I will make a special effort to ensure they are engaged outside the home. This week, we'll be out of the house - with other children their ages - six days!

I'm not sure I agree about keeping the house.
House rises in value, perhaps more than the equity might rise elsewhere.
Renters pay the mortgage which by that time will be noticeably less than the rent we could command.
Kick the renters out when you move home and you're back where you started.
You might make bad decisions and lose your investments. Can't (generally) lose the house.
Managing renters from the other side of the world when you may not be able to be in regular contact. Paying a local firm to do it eats up a lot of money. I had two renters in the past. Both were terrible and cost me a lot of money and made it harder to sell the house later. We have no family here.
Home equity not available for adventures. (Some might consider this a pro!) You mention downsizing and that'd help this.
Precious house may have damage by renters that will need to be fixed when we return or sell.
If we love cruising, now we have to come back, fix up the house and sell it. Meanwhile, our boat is where? (We are eight hours from the nearest ocean and it's probably not the one we'll be sailing in initially!)

I think I'd rather sell the home and invest the equity. If we hate cruising, we move back "home" and buy another house. We are not especially attached to this house. (Although, we will probably be more attached as the kids grow up here!) We hope to fund our kitty sufficiently to do this, even knowing we'll lose thousands on the boat.
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Old 02-11-2008
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Originally Posted by FloatingFamily View Post
I've also historically had some troubles with seasickness, so I'm anxious to see if I can overcome them!
It's good you're getting started early. I had to wait until I was in my late fifties to make cruising a full time lifestyle (I hate that word). Mainly because I goofed off when I was young

I get seasick. Usually it goes away after two or three days at sea. On another thread I covered our recent Pacific crossing but didn't mention that I had been seasick for the first twenty one days That's right, 21 days

If you want to go to sea you will deal with it. Lord Nelson got seasick too.

Read the article at this link and check out the rest of the web site, especially our crusing pages.

Malie ke kai
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Old 02-12-2008
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I say go for it. Not all kids grow up the same way.

As for the homeschooling: In some states the school system will actually help out and the kids can attend school for things like gym and music. Check with your school system.

Georgia is not one of them.
Life is an adventure so get on with it.
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Old 02-12-2008
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Personally, forget the 11 year plan. Most people can't plan for the next week. Even if they can they are so interested in the results that happen that the adventure and what can be gained is lost...

While it is nice to look forward to the future - very few can muster the gumption to follow through what happens in two years versus 11....

Live here and now - and use the light so to speak to guide you... 11 years is a long way to go..not saying its not achievable but - life is aways about what is here and now and honestly - nothing ever ends up according to our plans anyways - which is what makes it worth living....Just go for it.....
-- Jody

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Old 02-12-2008
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While I don't agree with the whole teenager thing, I do think it is both possible and important to plan ahead and have specific goals along the way rather than some vague notion of leaving in 11 years. We dreamed of sailing away for 30 years...but had a firm plan 15 years out that (if achieved) would allow us to cruise comfortably and meet our family obligations and be competent at sea. Things to consider:
1. Kids college education fund
2. Nest egg required to allow cruising budget
3. Learning to sail in increasingly more difficult situation...both parents.
4. Navigation/Weather and systems repair skill building
5. Initial cruising plans and data gathering required
5. Buying the right boat and deciding how to outfit.
6. Downsizing and making arrangements to live on the move (mail, banking etc.)

Each of these points (and more) require a plan and some goals along the way and adjustments. There will be setbacks and surprises but without such planning, the likelihood of ever being able to leave AND be safe AND sustain the cruising lifestyle goes way down.

Example: It will be 16 year until your son attends college. Public University annual costs average $13K today. In 16 years we can reasonable expect that cost to be $30K or $120K for 4 years at the LEAST expensive type of college. How will this be funded. Lots of possible answers including..."if he wants to go he will find a way" and "he can join the army and get educated there" and "we need to set aside $10k per year for the next 11 years in order to fund his education" . Point is...a plan is needed. You are right to start putting one in place now if you ever hope to go.
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Old 02-12-2008
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If I had 11 years to plan for dropping the docklines... I'd go nuts!

Actually I do have 11 years (+/- a few) to plan, but I maintain some semblance of sanity by not thinking about it that way. I have small, short term plans that involve education and practice and more education and more practice, all of it fun and all worth doing for it's own sake. Mostly, with that sort of time frame, I feel it's necessary to not even think in terms of "sailing away in 11 years". Too much can (will) happen to change your plans.

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"... the only matter of consequence before me is what I will do with my alloted time. I can remain on shore, paralyzed with fear, or I can raise my sails and dip and soar in the breeze." - Richard Bode, First you have to row a little boat (pg. 94)
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Old 02-13-2008
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A couple of thoughts re the original question (11 yr plan) and some of what's been said in the posts above:

-- I think people are different. Some plan, some don't. Some have short term plans, some dream longer term. I was a long term planner. I started dreaming about it 20 years before I bought the boat. I was "in the market for the boat" vicariously for 15 years before I bought it. The dream provided a focus, a reason for saving, a motivator for learning (mostly through reading, but also lots of sailing on OPBs -- other people's boats. I don't know if I'd have gotten to 'live the dream' without the planning.

-- Trying it first is a good idea. Even if only a few weeks of chartering now and then when the budget can afford it. You'll quickly get an idea of who's dream it really is. My girls didn't like it -- one stayed in her cabin and read all the time. Initially, my wife did it only because she loved me. Later she would confide that she came along because she'd met a lot of second wives on sailboats (first wife didn't share the dream). About ten years into the planning for the great escape, I learned it was really my dream, not theirs. So, I adjusted the long range plan accordingly -- we waited until the kids were through college, we started cruised locally several summers before going away to get my wife comfortable, we spent two years in the Caribbean poking around for more comfort building. Eventually we discovered my wife didn't like long offshore passages (she's done several, including an Atlantic crossing, but as she keeps reminding me, it's not her dream). I now know that when long passages are in the plan, I needed to find crew and airfare for my mate.

-- I never met a "boat kid" who was anything but well adjusted, smart, engaged in life, confident and interesting to talk to. Great kids, every one of them. Family cruising seems to be a great experience for kids. They learn a lot about life and themselves. They become real contributing members of the family's endeavous far faster than would it they lived ashore. It is true that it's hard to uproot teenagers, but if they're up for the program, they will probably do fine. Most boat kids I've met are probably younger than yours at the time you're planning to leave, but there are a few teenagers out there. All that said, it's important that the kids want to do it -- that it is their dream, too. If not, you'll all probably be miserable.

-- If at all possible do not sell your house. Find a realiable realtor to monitor tenants and a good handyman to look after things while you're gone. Expect problems, but don't think you'll eliminate all the problems by selling the house. First, you'll have to buy back into the market when you return. Consider how you'll do that -- boats generally don't appreciate in value and cash on hand tends to get spent. Second, think of the house as an insurance policy, a safety valve -- a place to run to if something goes wrong. What happens if someone develops an serious illness in year two and you need to be near medical care on a full time basis for a while? Where do you live? The house can be a psychological comfort to members of the family. Just knowing that they can "go home" helps them "go on".

-- Keep planning (and dreaming)! But stay flexible in how the plan evolves. Anticipate potential problems, work out solutions. And recognize that in the end, it won't be exactly the way you planned or dreamed it would be.

It will be better!
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Old 02-14-2008
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We plan to leave in roughly 10 years with our 10 year old (who is now one month) and our other child who will be ~8ish.

I think your planning is great. I look forward to reading more about your plans as you go along. We have only recently begun planning. For me however the dream of leaving is what keeps me going at a high paying but very miserable job. We plan to sell the house which will give us a very large kitty and keep it invested in the market which I enjoy tinkering with anyway already. My wife still isn't sure that is what we will do but time will tell. Right now we are buying a very inexpensive boat that we can weekend on some (though I agree it isn't the same.) It is also going to be our ticket to much reduced cost vacations as we can spend a week cruising locally for much less than a week in the mountains would run us.

We are planning on setting a 2 year cruise. We both agree that we can extend it or cut it short if either of us is truly unhappy with no regrets and total respect for the others decision. We plan to give it a go for at least 6 months though so we know we really hate it before we quit if that is what we decide. In my line of work, I can't take a leave of absense but I can find employment pretty much wherever if need be.

I'd love to be in touch with you guys some and hear more of your plans. Ugg I have to get to work and don't even have time to run spell check on this. Sorry!
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Old 02-14-2008
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Given what I've seen with today's youth in this country... I think taking the time off and going cruising with your children and exposing them to other cultures, societies and people is probably a good idea. Getting away from the rampant commercialism and selfishness of today's modern society might not be a bad idea.

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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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