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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Cruising and Sailing with Children
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Cruising and Sailing with Children All things sailing and kids related, from safety to life aboard.


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  #21  
Old 05-28-2006
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If you have the will and the means, don't worry about sailing "around the world" just go out there and sail around...the world.

Marc
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www.SailtheChannel.com

Last edited by hersch; 05-28-2006 at 10:44 PM.
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  #22  
Old 05-30-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PBzeer
Just came across this on another board, and thought you might find it helpful Jim.....

"I'm reading All in the Same Boat by Tom Neale. It's about a a family of four living aboard and cruising the east coast and Carribean.
I'm laughing because for some strange reason I really disliked this book. After reading the first two chapters, I took it back to the library thinking "This guy is far too negative."

Now, it's not that I don't like "straight-shooting" authors who write about the hardships, dangers and reality of cruising. Perhaps my favorite book that reflects both the unreality of our expectations, and the reality of what cruising delivers, is Sterling Hayden's Wanderer. Talk about wanting to escape a dim existence by cruising, and then finding out that all the same ghosts go with you! (Great book.)

In Tom Neale's case, I found that even his positive examples were depressing, and his negative examples were pedantic. Basically, I simply got the sense that he lost the war on the "this is worth it" front. Either that, or he seriously believed that most people shouldn't cruise, unless they really follow his rules. You can read the opening pages of his book at Amazon.com, as well as a reviewer who had even harsher words to say.

Luckily, the web and library is filled with counter-examples, like the excellent http://www.sailzora.com/ site and other books about sailing families. Some go too far in "burying" the negative, but overall the goal of both surviving and enjoying seems to be met.

One way I look at it is this: I grew up working on old cars and being exposed to buidling houses and doing other shop projects. Now that I don't do that, working on my boats is more relaxing and rewarding that grinding away at the office. Nobody loves to rebuild a marine head or hacksaw a temp sender out of a block, but working on a boat is rewarding and fun to me, in part because of the challenge and the gathering of skills I might use later. (And the sense of returning to something I enjoy.)

Maybe later on I'll get over this "honeymoon period" and tire of the work, but for now it's fun, and I sense that it might be fun long-term, meaning that all the work that must be done when cruising may not be wonderful, but do-able and not distracting from the experience. If I were someone who tensed up and starting looking for help whenever water leaked through a deck fitting, then I could see how a long-term cruise could be an onerous proposition.

So yes, it's not a vacation, it's not easy, and there's lots of challenges to overcome, but the idea of this path is very intriguing. I'm keeping the options open.

Jim H

Last edited by Jim H; 05-31-2006 at 01:09 PM.
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  #23  
Old 06-16-2006
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Go now

This is a great thread. I didn't even know I wanted to go cruising until I met my husband--I was a very happy camper on my little sharpie sailing coastal Carolina. Now we're going together, but late in terms of our ages. We bought a big boat because I had my auntie living with me (you can read about her and us on www.seaventure.us .) She's the one who taught me to sail. And we had a son still at home. My aunt died and the son is away at college, and we still have a very big boat.

But that's okay. I discovered that I can sail 50' as well as my 18' sharpie. It has tons more issues in terms of mechanics and electronics, but that's where my mechanical engineer husband comes in. And we've made Sea Venture user friiendly for old folk. Michael was a Navy pilot--when we bought the boat he assured me that flying the big planes wasn't any more difficult than flying the small jets onto a carrier. You just have to realize the spacial issues. On Sea Venture, I can't fend off a zillion tons of boat, so we have to think of stopping distance and turning ratio. It works.

We didn't have a lot of cash, so we bought old in Mexico and had a lot of work done on her there. In the last two years, Michael has been rebuilding a lot of things I wanted to change to accomodate my height and to make me comfortable. Now, we're going, ready or not. If the CA house hasn't sold by November, we'll rent it. If all the things we want to do aren't finished, too bad. We'll do them in Mexico or Thailand or on an atoll in the Pacific.

If you have the money to buy an almost complete boat and/or the cash to have it fixed by a yard, then waiting isn't a bad idea. If you need to do it slowly so you can afford to do it right, then you may need to plan ahead as we did. We've been frustrated that it's taken this long, but all things work together for good--and we've had a lot of opportunity to do some good for others while we've been here. And M. is a perfectionist. When he finishes rebuilding all the systems, he'll know them, and know they're done right. That's a very comforting thought for both of us.

As not-so-young, the health insurance folk want huge sums, but we've found international insurance that we can buy for out of the country use. Our biggest expense will be boat insurance, but, hey, it will make us sleep more peacefully.

My son plans to cross the Pacific with us and do some island hopping before he jumps ship to spend time in Japan. He graduated from UNC this May and hasn't a clue what to do next with a political science degree. What could be better than seeing a little of the world? Joshua was home schooled until high school, where he finished as valedictorian. Home schooling done right is wonderful preparation.

Blessings to you and good sailing!
Normandie
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  #24  
Old 06-17-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeaVenture
If you have the money to buy an almost complete boat and/or the cash to have it fixed by a yard, then waiting isn't a bad idea. If you need to do it slowly so you can afford to do it right, then you may need to plan ahead as we did. We've been frustrated that it's taken this long, but all things work together for good
SeaVenture, thanks for your post. I checked out your site, and it's fun. You do have a big boat, and big adventures.

Waiting for us is hard, since it would be fun to find and buy a blue water boat early and start working on it, similar to what you did. We have some property we could sell to finance the boat, or we could do a home equity loan and pay it off, etc. We visit boats that might suit our needs as they come on the market, just to get ideas, but in some ways it's torturous. Whenever things get tough at work, I think "well, if it really hit the fan, then I'd just start cruising immediately." This is both a comforting thought and something of a siren's song.

We don't want to start before we have a good financial plan, but it certainly is tempting. It's also tempting to have "the boat" for several years before the break. For a 38-40 foot boat, however, we'd be looking at monthly mooring fee of at least $240 or so. Multiply that by 12, and we're in for $2880 at least a year. (It would be easier if we were cruising and spending more time on the hook.) For the about the same amount, we can charter a Crealock 34 for two weeks in the San Juans, Desolation Sound, etc. If we toss in maintenance and repairs on annual basis, we could charter 3-4 weeks a year. Hmmm.

There's a thousand roads to choose from, and for each us some are better than others, but none are inherently the best. What I need now is more cruising experience (two weeks this summer, and a bunch of weekend trips), and hopefully more next year (3-4 weeks, I hope). At some point, we'll decide about a big break, but for now I need to balance out the stress of work with the desire to sail, and try to make things complementary for awhile.

It's a tough thing!

Jim H

Last edited by Jim H; 06-17-2006 at 08:03 PM.
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  #25  
Old 06-18-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim H
We don't want to start before we have a good financial plan, but it certainly is tempting. It's also tempting to have "the boat" for several years before the break. For a 38-40 foot boat, however, we'd be looking at monthly mooring fee of at least $240 or so. Multiply that by 12, and we're in for $2880 at least a year. (It would be easier if we were cruising and spending more time on the hook.) For the about the same amount, we can charter a Crealock 34 for two weeks in the San Juans, Desolation Sound, etc. If we toss in maintenance and repairs on annual basis, we could charter 3-4 weeks a year. Hmmm.
Chartering is a great way to get sailing experience on various different boats, in different areas of the world, without having to sail between them or buy different boats... but it is not the same as owning a boat.

The only problem I see with your plan Jim is the lack of experience in maintenance and the other issues that arise with boat ownership, that do not generally show up if you're just chartering. Cruising, and boat ownership are far more complicated that just chartering, where most everything is maintained for you, the charter company will come and assist you in cases of equipment failure, and the two aren't really comparable.
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  #26  
Old 06-18-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog
The only problem I see with your plan Jim is the lack of experience in maintenance and the other issues that arise with boat ownership, that do not generally show up if you're just chartering.

I agree with this, and although some successful cruisers (like Herb Payson) "jumped" from chartering to successful ownership of a blue water boat, most would have problems with it. I think this is why some people also get stalled with their "need a little work" cruising sailboats, because the cost and complexity of fixing issues can be hard to handle when still working full time.

Thus, we see a fair number of cruising sailboats that were either neglected or had a lot of owner-work on them, but then are sold in 3-5 years after the charm wears off. In the end, many were "cruised" very little, and the cost per cruise is pretty scary (and nonsensical) compared to simply chartering.

In preparing for major projects, I like to "innoculate" with pilot projects. Last summer I spent about 3 months of spare time rebuilding our Cal 20 with my brother. We had a great time, shared the costs, and I learned a ton about fiberglass repairs, epoxy barrier coating, refinishing an iron keel from scratch, replacing interior wood, usingtwo-part deck paints, working with running and standing rigging, finding used sails, etc. The adventure was documented here, and our boat was on display at the Porland Boat Show last January.

The rebuild project cost several thousand, but we sharied the cost and I considered it a sound education investment. We now moor the boat with the local Cal 20 fleet for $50 a month, which we share the cost of.

In January, we also moved on buying a C&C 27 for cruising on the Columbia River with our kids. I also considered this an affordable boat (no loans needed), and we're learning how to maintain an inboard Atomic four, the electrical, water and waste systems, and a much more advanced rig (it came with 14 sails). It's a perfect boat for up to 1-2 weeks on the river with the kids, but it wouldn't be my first choice for going offshore to get up to Puget Sound (although the previous owner did this, carefully).

There's pictures of the boat here, and this afternoon I'm heading out to do some cleaning and maintenace on it. It costs about $85 a month to moor. Next weekend I plan to overnight on the river with it again with some friends. We have a week-long river cruise planned for August.

So, these two boats are our pilot projects, and we sail both of them on a typical week. They are also fulfiilling possible long-term goals of learning and preparing for a longer cruise, but the hard part for us is being patient. As we build our confidence that we could sail, own and maintain a blue water boat, there's a desire to think in that way. Meanwhile, I think it's more sensible to enjoy our two boats, and charter larger boats in the San Juans where they are already in good cruising grounds and are ready to go.

Sorry about the long response-- it's just that I agree that learning about repairing boats and having realistic experience with what it takes to maintain and afford them is pretty critical. I think a lot of people "get the urge" to have "the boat" to start the process, but that's a hard trick to pull.

Jim H
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Old 06-18-2006
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Jim-

I'm glad to see that you've also seen the need to learn the practical and technical side of living aboard and cruising. That is something that people who only charter sailboats generally overlook, and it becomes a very rude awakening for them when they do decide to cast off themselves.

I like the approach you've taken. Fair winds to you.
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her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

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  #28  
Old 06-20-2006
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I took a year and cruised with my ex and my now 5 year old.
I bought an old Hunter Cherubini 37 cutter and refitted it. When the boat was ready we left. We did not live onboard but we did take weekend trips as a family to get used to the concept.
I also grew up working on engines and so I comfortable fixing the diesel when it acted up. Like many people, I am also handy so I was able to install many of the electrical items and handle the basic brightwork and repairs. I did not skimp on critical items such as rigging.
Everyone on this thread has given terrific advice. Mine is very simple. It will be the best and worst times of your life. You will be tested in ways you can't imagine. While at the same time you will see the world in a unique and positive way. Do it your way and you will enjoy it.
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Old 06-21-2006
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Jim, the better half and I are in awe and envious. Her response was:
Would we have to take the kids?" and "two boats and one long rope, one for the kids, one for us"(half joking, I think)

You've got a plan, you'll never have enough money, you'll never be "ready" you'll never "have the time" so just do it!

Seriously, We think its a wonder thing to do. Good luck to you and yours.
Oh, btw, I just happen to know the location of a couple of reeeeaaaallllyyyy nice Valiants, and an Amel.
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Old 06-21-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Surfesq
I also grew up working on engines and so I comfortable fixing the diesel when it acted up. Like many people, I am also handy so I was able to install many of the electrical items and handle the basic brightwork and repairs. I did not skimp on critical items such as rigging.
Everyone on this thread has given terrific advice. Mine is very simple. It will be the best and worst times of your life.
Your points are right on. When looking at boats, I find myself staring harder at the standing rigging and the engine than the hull. I also grew up rebuilding engines-- in Morris Minors, MGBs, etc.

Your last comment reminds me of Don Casey's point in the Sensible Cruising book: you'll experience the highest highs and the lowest lows, but the highs will be worth it.

Thanks!

Jim H
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