A quick update on this thread.
I still like the original premise of the thread, but I haven't been able to work out the sustainability elements of how to afford to leave, cruise, and then return and still have something for the kids' college tuition etc.
It could still work, especially if my wife and I taught English as we cruised, but since the start of this thread in May 2006, we've done a lot of thinking and acting. We've owned a 27 footer
and now a 34 footer
. We moved overseas. We've progressively built on our experience base both individually and as a family.
More than anything, building on the experience base has been the number one priority. That's maybe the best answer to the question posed in the title of this thread.
To build on the experience base is expensive, though. It may mean that you don't exclusively save for the cruising kitty, for example. I think that's the main paradox. To save for the cruising kitty, you should live like you are already cruising, minimize expenses, etc. That would also mean not chartering too much, or owning interim boats, until you are within 2 years of departing and then you buy “the boat” and starting pumping money in it.
In the end, I think this approach is flawed. It's too much “putting off” for something “big” in the future, instead of just doing all you can in the present and seeing what happens. I guess I've seen too many examples of the big boat being saved for, bought, prepped, and then the trip either doesn't happen or is cut short for one of a million reasons. Too much investment risk, maybe.
Anyway, that's our excuse for owning a 34 footer now, instead of saving for some 40-42 footer in the future. (I still haven't seen a 42 foot cruising baot that I'd day sail for fun....) We get to sail now, learn more, and see what happens. That's the plan really-- sail and see what happens.
I'll post a report from our English Channel and Solent sailing last week later this afternoon. For an alternative view, see the Rard website, where they did go for the multi-year break with their kids--
Ruby Slippers » Rard Family Ocean Adventure
Meanwhile, here's a pic from yesterday: