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Stede 11-23-2002 02:39 AM

Message in a bottle
To all you cruisers...I have to know, how did you get away to fullfill your dreams? By that I mean, I know some of you are wealthy, and some of you are retired, but what about the others? I think about going daily (if not hourly), but in my situation it''s just not possible for at least another 4 years. At that time, I would be leaving a job at 50 years of age, 5 years short of getting paid medical benefits.I try to rationalize this by thinking "the longer I wait, the stronger the chance that I won''t ever get to go will be."Are there any cruisers out there that faced a similar dilemma? Do you have medical insurance? Are there any insurance companies that offer attractive rates for cruisers? (insurance companies offering discounts -I have to laugh at that one myself.)Anyway, to me this is a pretty big obstacle to overcome.Any advice or opinions would be appreciated.Thanks!

gunnyman1 11-23-2002 01:07 PM

Message in a bottle
American Express offers a good policy to cover out of country but it is limited in it''s application. Not very exprensive either.

btimm 11-24-2002 04:53 AM

Message in a bottle
There have been a tremendous number of articles on Sailnet related to just these topics. The category used to be called "Finaces Afloat" and covered everything from preparation, to expected costs, to insurance. Unfortunately, the new format at Sailnet makes it difficult to find these articles easily any more.

But, here are some suggestions to find them.

1. Some of the best articles have been written by "Sue and Larry". If you look through their listed articles you are likely to find these easily.

2. Search Sailnet for "Finances" and "Health Insurance" or just "Insurance".

You will see that taking on a cruising lifestyle may be a lot less expensive than you think.

Stede 11-25-2002 03:47 AM

Message in a bottle
Thanks btimm,I''ll dig through the achives for the articles you mentioned.The great thing about this board is the help that someone else is always willing to give.Must be a sailor thing ; ^ )

JohnDrake 11-25-2002 04:10 AM

Message in a bottle

Its sounds like finances are your key consideration. I don''t want to get into the medical insurance issue, as it varies for everyone, but rather the issue of boats and cruising costs.

I think that having a good plan, considered well in advance, is the key to limiting your cruising costs. I don''t know if you already have a boat but your choice of boat can dictate your later expenses. A nice large more traditional boat like a "Capt Ron" Formosa 51 might be compelling. But... being a 1970''s vintage it will need a lot of upgrading and most systems will begin to go. You want to spend your leisure life in leisure and not working on the dinghy outboard, replacing through hulls, bilge pumps, tech decks, rigging etc etc. Of course, if you have had a boat for a few years prior to cruising and have already upgraded all systems before going, you should be OK.

Also, in my experience, I have found that marinas have a somewhat common slip arrangement. 40ft slips are standard and may accomodate a boat up to 44ft with no extra cost. Of course most places will charge by the foot. Once over 44 then begin to pay big time. Again...this is in my experience, obviously this is not true everywhere and if you are going to be anchoring in the south pacific, it does not matter.

But in general, the bigger the boat the more everything costs. The older the boat, the more everything costs. I am not sure what the perfect boat size is...and LOA does not relate directly to cabin space or comfort...LWL and displacement are better indicators IMHO. And different people have different needs...this would be an interesting thread on its own.

After that, your cruising costs can and will be adjusted by how often you eat out, how often you take a mooring or slip and where you cruise. The islands are not cheap anymore and fresh water is not free anymore. But by and large, many cruisers are out there doing it.

Hope this helps.


Jade Sky 11-25-2002 08:38 AM

Message in a bottle
Hello Stede,

Funny you could have been describing me and my husband. We both have sailing and cruising on the brain. It is our focus and goal to start living the cruising lifestyle within the next 2 years. I have heard that its important whether you are ready or not to set a date and all else will follow.

Our situation is the same even though you are a bit ahead of us. We''re in our late 30''s, planning to cut out in the midst of our most productive earning years, and we are definitely not wealthy. Our concerns are how to support ourselves in our older years without having to get back into the dreaded career thing again.Just want to have it be a choice not a requirement. Live in a 3rd world country? Will our measly savings and investments create enough income. How much do you really need to "retire" early etc. The costs of the cruising lifestyle I''ve heard, are fairly inexexpensive compared to land life in So Cal.

So, question to those who know given the costs of living cruising style, which I think would be similar to land life in some 2nd & 3rd world countries, how much cash reserves would be realistic to plan on for the future? Is this even a question that can be answered?

Thanks to all who share their input. I do think its a sailor thing by the way. People are so generous with their knowledge. Hopefully one day I will have the experience to share as well.



Stede 11-25-2002 12:08 PM

Message in a bottle
Hi Pamela,and JohnDrake,
It''s great to hear from fellow dreamers that have the desire to cruise, and others that have turned that desire into reality.The financial thing is indeed the big ticket item.My dream has been for my wife to sail off into the sunset with me,but she has been battling cancer and right now things don''t look to good.It''s a very tough time,and a struggle to hold on to the dream. Planning,saving,and learning as much as I can, is the one thing that eases my mind and grants me some peace.This board is part of that process and I''m truly thankful for you all being here.

kokopelli9 11-25-2002 01:06 PM

Message in a bottle
Sometimes to travel hopefully is better than to arrive...may your days right now be filled with tremendous hope of the travels ahead.

SV Kokopelli

bob-m 11-29-2002 07:16 AM

Message in a bottle

Our thought and prayers go out to you and your wife. Breast cancer brought us ashore 2 years ago. Fortunatley, my wife has be cancer free for about 8 months now. I have sailed for over 40 years and cruised full time for 12. During those years I have been in lots of situations which turned my knuckles white, put my stomach in my throat and caused me to question my religion. But none of those events prepared me to hear "we found a growth and it appears to be spreading". Aboard our boat, I was always the one that was "in control" and my wife often looked to me for strength. How quickly roles reverse. She took the news as a challenge; I wept.

In your original post, you asked about insurance. If we had not had health insurance we could never have afforded the level of medical attention which saved my wife''s life. She would not be with us today and I would be bankrupt. Alot of people who drop everything and "just do it" seem to think that cruising is a magic pill that insures good health...WRONG. I have seen countless cruising dreams destroyed by health issues.

When we decided to cruise we developed a 3 years plan. The planned called for us to be debt free, 2 pieces of rental property paid for(approx. $1500 a month income), $50,000 in the bank (in 1988), and the boat paid for. We sold a 4000s.f. home and moved into a 1180sf house (our kids hated us), we sold the new cars and drove 2 old Volvos (again, our kids hated us), we quit eating out and stopped taking vacations (yep, the kids hated this too). My wife went back to work (school teacher) and I started working 60-70 hours a week in my business (by that point the kids were glad that they never saw me).

About 2 months before we sent our youngest off to college we sold our Hunter 27 and bought our C&C. I sold my business and we moved to the coast. My wife landed a teaching position and I worked part-time and spent the rest of my time refitting the boat. We lived aboard and worked for 1.5 years. One day we were sitting in the boat, it had been raining for 3 days and we were both going stir-crazy. My wife said "why the hell are we doing this" (my heart sank, I just knew my dream was over) "this is where we ought to be". She handed me a magazine turned to a picture of the VI''s. She turned in her resignation that week and we left about a month later.

My advise to anyone who seriously wants to cruise: establish a plan and stick to it. It will probably take 3-5 years, but it is truely worth the sacrifices. We have met 100''s of cruiser. Almost every one who had been cruising for more than one years fit into 2 catagories: 1)independently wealthy 2)had a longterm plan like ours. Very few who "sell every thing and just go", actually make it. These are the same unrealistic fools who thought the stock market would go up forever, quit their jobs and became day-traders. Now they work two jobs so they can pay the alimony and child support.

Be realistic. Have your finances in order. Take it one step at a time. Try living aboard and working for a year while you prepare the vessel and the crew.

Again, best of luck to your wife!!!


bob-m 11-29-2002 11:24 AM

Message in a bottle

If your goal is to start cruising in 2 years, NOW is the time to "start living the life style". Do you have a realistic financial plan? You will need a source of income and an escape plan.

If I were your age, I would move to the east coast (much cheaper to live here)and continue my career, buy a veeeery small house and save, save, save. Get rib of everything except the essentials. This includes fancy cars, 3 TVs, the golf clubs (you can no longer afford expensive hobbies), etc.. Stop eating out. Can you sew? Can you & your husband fix almost every thing on the boat. Take a diesel mechanics course, get your HAM radio license. You need to be self-sufficient. If you can''t do it on the hard, you won''t do it afloat!

Then, find your boat and move aboard. Keep the house to come back to if necessary. Continue to work. This is a great way to determine if having a floating house is really for you, without giving up your careers. If the answer is YES, wait until you are financial ready. You will sail every chance you get. This will get you prepared for a new and fantastic life. DO NOT listen to advise like, "go small and go now". Remember, these folks are not selling books, they are selling dreams. If done correctly, this WILL BE YOUR LIFE for years to come!!! Your boat is about to become your home. You want to be comfortable. Not all days are sunny. You will spend countless rainy days aboard.

Good Luck!!!


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