I guess I'm a bit more of a realist. I've owned boats since age 15--lots and lots of boat, at least according to my wife. I stopped counting at about 16, but I'm confident she can provide me with a more accurate, up to date figure.
All my adult life I've wanted to live aboard a boat, cruise the world, etc...,etc... I spent 4 years in the U.S. Navy, saw a good portion of the world, liked some of it, didn't enjoy some it it, got shot at a few times and decided that wasn't the way to cruise the world.
Until 6 years ago I owned an assortment of powerboats, some that were previous live-a-boards, while others were just fun boats to fish from and make some short cruises to ports in the confines of Chesapeake Bay. One day, I took a good look at what I was spending on boating, primarily fuel expenses, and nearly threw up. At that point I owned a 21-foot Pro-Line center console fishing boat powered with a 150-HP Yamaha outboard. The boat cruised at 30 knots, had a top end of 42 knots, and was reasonably fuel efficient at 7 MPG. The fuel bill for boating that year alone was just over $5,000. I put the boat up for sale, it was sold within a few days, and when it went up the driveway I nearly cried.
I went two years without a boat. Then one day, while sitting atop the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in dead-stop, grid-lock traffic I looked out over the bay toward the Magothy River and there were dozens of sailboats cruising along leisurely on a 10 MPH breeze. I said to myself "Damn, that looks like fun." A few months later I took sailing lessons at the local community college, purchased an old 27 Catalina, sailed all over Chesapeake Bay for four years, then upgraded to my current boat, a Morgan 33 Out Island.
The main reasons for purchasing the Morgan were comfort, and the possibility of cruising the U.S. East Coast, Florida Keys, Bahamas and possibly BVI. Now, if my health holds up, which is something most folks never seem to think about, I'll be headed south for the keys on October 1. I hope to be gone for about 7 months before returning to the Chesapeake's upper reaches about the first of April 2013.
Most of the time I'll be alone, but the admiral and my daughter said they both may have to drive or fly south to the keys to enjoy Christmas with me, and maybe spend a month of two where it's warm before coming home to Maryland. I'll be playing music and singing in the various Tiki Bars throughout the lower keys during the trip, earning enough money to support my sailing habit.
Now, living the remainder of ones life aboard a modest size sailboat is not an option for anyone. Why not? Well, first and foremost, this getting old $hit ain't what it's cracked up to be. Yeah, some folks call it the golden years, etc..., but when you get to that point you come to the stark realization that there are just some things you can no longer physically do. Going up a mast in a bosun's chair at age 71 and weighing a tad over 200-pounds just isn't real smart. Same holds true with other rigors of clamoring around the boat, especially in the dark in pitching seas. The motion alone wears out those old, brittle joints, dampness kills arthritis, and eventually, your ability to walk on anything other that flat ground becomes an exercise in futility.
Of course, the naysayers will always claim this will never happen to me! Well, it's going to happen to all of us sooner than you believe--it's a fact of life. Therefore, I'm not going to sell everything I own, hop on the boat and sail away to never-never land. I will, however, continue to sail as long as I think I physically can do so without injuring myself or others in the process. At the point where I feel I'm just too old for this, I'll sell the boat and do something on land.