First post, big questions
This is my first post and I hope this is the correct place for this thread. After reading "Cruising in Seraffyn" and many other sailing adventure books my wife and I have decided to share the life and we are looking for advice. Even though my wife and I have never sailed before but we both enjoy boating, the sea and adventure. I'm currently enlisted in the military and will this May (2012) with a modest pension. We've been developing our plan and have been reading everything we can get our hands on for the last year and a half. I welcome feedback and opinions on the following plan:
Step 1: We plan to find an affordable sailing school in late May or early June and take an ASA course (likely ASA 101, 103 & 104) to obtain basic sailing skills.
Step 2: We will search for a small (27-37ft) capable live aboard pocket cruiser in the ($20k) price range. So far I have seen a few sailboats such as the 1991 Hunter Vision 32, 1993 Atlantic 32, 1990 Catalina Tall Rig 28 and a 1994 Precision 28 that fall in our current price range. We'd like a boat that two can live aboard full time and sail single handed if necessary. My wife's only real requirement is for a standup shower and decent head.
Step 3: We'll sail this boat along the US east coast fulltime for four months (Jul-Oct) building our skills and learning to become more confident each day as we travel.
Step 4: In November we'll head to south Florida and depending on comfort level with our skills, on to the Caribbean and beyond.
Granted, with out budget we will have to live modestly on our monthly disposable budget of $2000. We will mostly anchor out or pick up inexpensive moorings. We will also prepare nearly all of our meals on board and live a simple life.
Again, I welcome your thoughts, feedback and opinions on our plan.
Henry T, Your plan sounds good; however, it may be impractical to complete them in this time span. I would not think that you could easily complete step 2 and begin step 3 within one month. It may be more wise to extend your shopping/search time and take great care not to "fall in love" with a boat. The most cost effective purchase will also be a boat that is not "turn-key" and will require some time in preparation and equipment. I would also take care not to be too focused on specific manufacturers or models. There will be many compromises to be made and often the best outcome is a jewel that wasn't on the list. Carefully introduce your wife to the other bathing options and the precious volume of your potential water supply. In warmer climes it is the custom of cruisers to bathe in the salt water and use a minimal rinse of fresh water. We often bathe in the sea or with buckets drawn aboard. Your plan is sound and your goals can be easily met with your budget. Take care and joy, Aythya crew
I agree with CaptainForce. Take your time and dont rush. Make sure the boat you get is the one you want and not the one you are stuck with. That being said I would and pretty much everyone here is going to recommend a survey of any boat you are considering purchasing.
I say go for it! Im not going to be too far behind you if everything goes to plan. My wife and I just completed our Asa 101,103 and 104 and hopefully being taking ASA's advanced navigation classes soon. Here is link to some interesting blue water boats to let you get an idea of what is out there.
Sailboat Reviews of Offshore Cruising Yachts : Bluewaterboats.org
Sounds good, with the caveat that you may need more time.
I encourage you to study books and take courses on navigation, boating safety, and maintenance and repair, in addition to the adventure narratives.
You might start with the free online Boat/U.S. boating safety course for the state in which you intend to relocate: Free BoatUS Foundation Online Boating Safety Course
and its online, minimal-cost sailing course, associated with the Colgate school:http://www.boatus.org/learn/
Thanks for the quick feedback
Thanks everyone for the quick feedback, great advice and for making me feel very welcome on the sailnet forum.
"My wife and I just completed our Asa 101,103 and 104 and hopefully being taking ASA's advanced navigation classes soon."
Eddie, where did you and your wife take your lessons and would you recommend the course?
Does anyone else have an affordable sailing school they can recommend?
Welcome to the forum and to the sailing life!
You are not alone in your endeavor. I am retired military, wife still active duty, and lived aboard for a year while we were at separate duty stations. I have travelled with several retired military couples that live aboard full-time and travel. My only advice to you would be to throw out the schedule and take it as it comes. One of the hurdles to enjoying retirement and cruising is being able to switch gears and adjust to a totally different approach to time management.
Hey Henry we completed our course in October 11 in St Petersburg, Fl. Look up sailingfloida.com. We had a blast and everyone was super nice, professional and very helpful. We ended up chartering a 37 ft Beneteau for a week and hired a captain for a week. If you want to get the most out of the course get the three Asa books and memorize them. You can go to the Asa web site and order them.
101 is Sailing made easy, 103 is Sailing Fundamentals and 104 is Cruising fundamentals.
Nothing wrong with going the classes route but you might learn more quickly by buying a boat and getting/paying someone to sail with you for a week. You don't need to be a rocket scientist to learn to sail well enough to get from A to B.
If you plan to get to the Eastern Caribbean and you have a small boat do be aware that the usual coast hopping route [ see Van Sant's book A Gentlemans Guide to Passages South ] you will need a reliable engine capable of pushing you through headwinds and swells. But many 30 footers have made it.
A budget of 20 k for a long term liveaboard cruiser is on the low side. make sure you have enough to buy one with good sails with a few years life left in them, reasonably recent standing rigging, a good engine and good ground tackle. [ All chain - coral will eat through a rope rode in an hour] Or of course cheap enough to allow for those items.
I might also think about coming down the Eastern seaboard then out to the Bahamas for a winter then only push on East if everything is going really well
but planning to return to Florida get the boat sorted out. Why getting things fixed down island will cost at least twice what it costs in Florida in most cases.
Wishing you well and hoping to see you one day down island. It is REALLY good out here.
I was in a similar situation as you when I first decided I wanted to live aboard (though cruising isn't in my medium-term plans). I had never set foot on a sailboat before, but I was pretty sure I wanted to do it. I took ASA 101 and 103 with the Maryland School of Sailing and Seamanship. I took the 8-day liveaboard class in Virgin Islands both to learn how to sail and to get some experience with living on a boat. Also it was an awesome vacation. I highly recommend it. I came back, and I immediately got myself a boat broker and started looking.
You have some excellent advice above; just to reinforce some points: Yes, the plan sounds very cool and doable! Learn all you can first; after sailing lessons, a week chartering/hiring boat and skipper will teach you a lot. Most sailing clubs hold informal "beer can" races over summer - use them to learn not only about sailing, but about different boat designs, their advantages and disadvantages. My concern it that you take the time to (a) make sure you enjoy this life, and (b) build up enough knowledge when it comes to buying the boat - which is a big decision. In fact many people buy a small boat - e.g. a Santana 22 - to build experience before the big purchase. Building up a base level of knowledge may take a while, as people have pointed out.
My other point is regarding the budget. The good news: $20K should be enough to buy you a nice *coastal cruiser*. You'll need a survey, probably bottom job, minor repairs, perhaps taxes...so if your total budget is $20K, your boat price is likely $15K (many variables!), but at that level it is still doable Your coastal cruiser should be fine for hugging the US coast, and around the Caribbean - but probably won't be up to "blue water", global cruising. Blue water boats tend to cost a lot more.
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