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CraigMiller1 10-13-2011 01:21 PM

Tell me your story
Hi All,

I'm an avid sailor in the northeast and have also sailed all over the Caribbean. To date I have not had life align in a way that would allow more than a couple of weeks on the water. I want to hear how and why those of you who have managed to get off the grid have done it. Send me a quick note, give me a highlight and let me follow up for more of your story. I'm intensely interested and want to compile as many stories as I can. Where are you? What budget level? What made you go for it? Solo, couple, friends, family? I look forward to getting a taste of how you got to follow your gut.

Please get back to me,
Craig Miller of Mistral (my beautiful 32 Bristol sloop) :)

vega1860 10-13-2011 04:15 PM

A COmmon Question With Many Correct Answers
We have published all but the most intimate details here on this forum and at the links below. We continue to publish daily video logs of our voyages and blog about day to day life in port.

In coastal navigation, when the marks do not line up properly you grab the helm and steer toward the near mark until they do line up. It requires a conscious act by the skipper. No one else is going to do it for you.

The most frequently asked questions always involve budget. All I can say is, had I followed my Mom's advice: "Save at least ten percent of every dollar you earn" and my Dad's admonishment: "Don't borrow money". I could have gone cruising 25 years sooner. Cruising is a lot easier when you do not have to concern yourself with monthly payments.

CraigMiller1 10-13-2011 04:39 PM

Tell me your story
thanks Vega 1860, will be reading and viewing your blogs. Everyone else please send me your stories.

wingNwing 10-14-2011 08:55 AM

I think Vega's summed it up quite succinctly. We lived below our means for a lot of years; drove old cars and wore inexpensive clothes and didn't eat out very often. We worked a lot of hours, and tried to focus on what we wanted *most* not what we wanted *now.* Bought a boat (for cash, smaller and older than we might have otherwise, but that was what would get us sailing sooner) and lived on it while learning and earning; had to change jobs to move to a coastal area. Also like Vega, a lot of our details (including budgets) are posted in answers to other questions on this forum, and in our blog.

I guess I should add, sometimes will alone isn't enough; we continued to live at the dock and work for several years longer than we wanted to, for medical insurance & health reasons.

JonEisberg 10-14-2011 10:47 AM

First off, congrats on your excellent taste in boats, the Bristol 32 has always been a favorite of mine, incredibly sweet boats...

Vega and others have nailed it, modestly and simplicity are the greatest virtues if you want to go soon... Luxury and complexity while cruising only apply to those with unlimited budgets... I know many people don't want to hear or accept that, but chances are those are the ones who will get out there later as opposed to sooner, and likely stay out there for a shorter duration, as opposed to a more extended period...

If you've never seen it, you might have a look at John Atkisson's website of his Atlantic Circle on his Bristol 32 KESTREL... I had the great pleasure of meeting John in Beaufort, NC during his return trip, he was a wonderful gentleman. Sadly, he passed away a few years ago, a sober reminder of the value of getting out there sooner, as opposed to later...

S/V Kestrel

The key for me has been to configure my boat for energy self-sufficiency, and living life off the grid indefinitely - it's always a surprise to me how many cruisers out there haven't done that, being either dependent on a regular dose of marina umbilical cords, or lots of engine run time to keep all their systems "charged"... In a place like the islands, a combination of articulating solar and wind should be all you ever need, your boat is too laden with electrical demands if you need more, IMHO... Configure a reliable rainwater collection arrangement, it will pay off in spades...

Couple of excellent reads, THE CRUISING LIFE by Jim Trefethen offers some very good advice, financial and otherwise, for bringing the dream to life... And, Don Casey's SENSIBLE CRUISING: THE THOREAU APPROACH is in my estimation one of the best books EVER written about cruising, at least for people of relatively "ordinary" means...

Yours is a sweet sailing boat, but a good light-air sail inventory that will keep a typically overweight boat laden for cruising moving through the lighter stuff is one of the best investments a cruiser can make.. .For all the focus on storm sails that most people will go years without using, a sail like a Code O will usually pay for itself over time by so often making the difference between sailing, and motoring... Heading south outside can save a ton of money, it's amazing how much some people are blowing by motoring down the Ditch, and then succumbing to the lure of nights in marinas, and dinners ashore... There's always a time and place for that, of course, but one of the things I often hear from first-time Snowbirds by the time they make it to south Florida, is that the trip down wound up costing significantly more than they had budgeted for...

My last few trips south for the winter, I've wound up saving money over what it would have cost me to simply sit at home, and play on the internet (grin) By turning off the water, heat, internet/cable TV, letting my car insurance expire, and all that other crap that it costs simply to live day to day, I come out ahead by hanging out off the grid for the winter, availing myself of all that "free" energy from the wind and sun... (grin)

Good luck, you've certainly got the boat for it, she would be an awesome boat for the Bahamas, for example...

Tim R. 10-14-2011 01:23 PM

We did things a little differently. We lived life on land and enjoyed it as much as we could. We built our savings and assets in the interest of purchasing a marine business o run into our retirement. Once we had enough and went through the process of buying a marina(which did not work out) we decided to sell everything, buy a nice boat and move aboard. The 5 year plan which started a year ago is to get the boat the way we like it, learn it inside and out, increase our savings and then shove off for at least 5 years without having to work. If we find a low stress way to make money while cruising we will take advantage of it especially if it allows us to extend the trip.

You can get some more info from my lousy blog below.

Harborless 10-14-2011 02:10 PM


CraigMiller1 10-14-2011 06:25 PM

Tell me your story
Thanks all for the responses! Visiting blogs and reading all your suggestions. I'm sure I'll have more to post. Sail happy!

CraigMiller1 10-14-2011 06:29 PM

Tell me your story
P.S. anyone who picks up this thread please send along your motivation for breaking away and taking off. Greatly appreciated!

Dcneuro 10-14-2011 07:16 PM

I took an entirely difference approach. I take Thursday's off. I live on my boat from Wednesday evenings till Monday mornings, having to only go back to my office for a few hours on Friday's. I do this as much of the year as weather permits, which, is quite often. It is not cruising, but it does offer a nice life.

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