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  #11  
Old 11-26-2012
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Re: Need advice from cruisers

Gypsea, agree with Cruisingdad, of course, stick around for the pension. I had thought perhaps you could live aboard at the dock in a marina while working those last few years, but Michigan is kinda cold for that. (BTW, our hailing port is Northport, MI, near Traverse City. Still miss that place!) Even living on land you can study navigation, prepare your personal affairs, work on your boat, deal with your accumulated possessions, etc. Great advice on all the nuts and bolts from people here.

Where in Michigan are you starting from? This next advice makes more sense if you're in Lake Huron or Lake St Clair on the east side than if you're in Lake Michigan on the west side. Your initial plan has some backtracking as you go east to the Bahamas, then turn west toward the Canal. If you're down at the Gulf, why not go directly to Texas, then the western Carib and thru the Canal? Alternatively, you might consider going through the Great Lakes and down the US East Coast rather than the Mississippi to the Bahamas to start with, depending on your timing. It's a popular, and easy route to start with, (not to mention interesting and pretty) and you'd have lots of company and assisstance as you work the kinks out of your boat's systems.
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  #12  
Old 11-26-2012
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Wonderful thread~ I enjoyed it especially all the talented writers which make up this group of sailors /unique individuals

I like what chef said about having a place to go because I miss New England enormously- can one have their cake & eat it too- depends on resources

if you are a nomad you can make it work with just things in storage- it's up to you
the advice about living in a marina is fantastic it's replete with mechanical types wondering around with endless 'free' advice- or you could use that stellar diesel knowledge to trade back; I've seen it happen many times here in South Florida

As a side note: I'm not sure about the Panama Canal- the Chinese have their hands deep inside it already if you haven't read~ behind the scenes I met someone from the Carter Center last year who shared those imperialist details- yet meeting the kind folk in Panama would be an experience never forgotten

cheers
-JD
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  #13  
Old 11-26-2012
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Re: Need advice from cruisers

It took us a total of about 5 years after the decision was made that cruising was what we wanted to do. We bought a small 'learner boat' first and sailed on that for several years, took courses through the US Power Squadron.

We needed to wait until our daughters (twins) graduated from High School, then sell the houses and all of our junk and buy the boat. Then it took about 6 months prepping the boat and more importantly - us - before we set off down the Intra-Coastal Waterway.

We have gained much experience over the last 15 years and in an effort to give back to the cruising community, we have chronicled much of what we have learned in our website, "The Frugal Mariner." Take a look when you've got some time.
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  #14  
Old 11-26-2012
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Need advice from cruisers

Thanks all for the great info. It's nice to hear from folks out there living their dream. I do agree with Bubble that my boat is not quite suited for the crossing to Hawaii. I think it will be excellent In the Caribbean. Unfortunately, I can't have a boat for every situation. I think if I planned the pacific crossing as carefully as possible (weather,etc) it should be doable. Keep in mind that I'll probably have been living aboard for at least a year, probably more, before I'm at that point. That should give me enough experience and confidence to make an educated decision on when to cross.
As a response to Wing, I do not live in Mich. I live in the Chgo area. Boat is kept in Burnham harbor if you know where that is? I did buy the boat in Muskegon and have sailed in your area a few times. I have to say that if I lived in that area, I doubt if I'd be able to leave. You have some of the most beautiful harbors with the friendliest people I've ever met (pentwater comes to mind). So, I guess you can see my choice of going down the Mississippi. I'm right on the Illinois river. I also have family in the Miami area that would would visit for a while before jumping off to the Bahamas.
Getting back to my original post. I would like to hear from folks about that first day they left. Like, what was going through their mind, we're there doubts, did they feel fully prepared. There has to be some reason that only a very few follow through with their plans. I'm just wondering what separates the dreamers from the doers? I don't want to fall into that dreamer category. Thanks everybody.

Last edited by Gypsea; 11-26-2012 at 01:04 PM.
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Old 11-26-2012
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Need advice from cruisers

Sorry for all the spelling errors. This autocorrect does more harm than good.
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  #16  
Old 11-26-2012
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Re: Need advice from cruisers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gypsea View Post
Getting back to my original post. I would like to hear from folks about that first day they left. Like, what was going through their mind, we're there doubts, did they feel fully prepared. There has to be some reason that only a very few follow through with their plans. I'm just wondering what deprecates the dreamers from the doers? I don't want to fall into that dreamer category. Thanks everybody.
Gypsea,

The old axiom "perfect is the enemy of good enough" really does hold true in this case. As others have mentioned, if you dither around trying to get everything done you'll never cast off and will be tied to the dock forever.

Part of the satisfaction of cruising (for me, at least) is in overcoming challenges -- and life underway certainly gives those to us in spades.

We faced similar issues twice: after we purchased the boat; and after an extended refit.

After we bought the boat in GA, we knew we wanted to head north. We spent about six weeks getting our stuff packed (and unpacked, repacked, rearranged, etc.), giving the boat a thorough cleaning, inventorying (and culling) the extensive spares aboard, and addressing apparent safety and general livability issues. Had we waited until everything we knew to needed to be done had in fact been done, that six weeks could have easily stretched into six months.

We later pulled the boat in Holland, MI for winter storage one year. I expected to splash early spring and spent the summer sailing in Lake Michigan before we headed south again. That didn't happen. I wound up opening a big can of worms that kept us out of the water until we finally splashed to go south at the very end of the season. And we got underway with many, many items on the "to do" list glaringly left to be done. The fridge died over the winter; that didn't get replaced until we got to Mobile, AL. The course computer for the autopliot had to wait until we got to Marathon. Etc, etc.

Anyway, just a kind of long-winded way of saying that you shouldn't let your apprehensions keep you from taking action. Manage your risks (as opposed to gambling, which is never good), prioritize your efforts, and get underway once the retirement's squared away.
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Old 11-26-2012
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Re: Need advice from cruisers

Gypsea, We lived aboard and cruised our Morgan OI 33 for 13 years before moving to our OI41. My wife and I were on that Morgan 33 until our children were 7 & 9 years old. If you are single-handling there's no reason not to find easy ability to move on board with no possessions off the boat except your bank accounts. When you do make the move I would agree with Wing n Wing that the Hudson River route and down the East Coast offers much more for cruising,sailing, diversity and learning than the "log plume" down the rivers to the Gulf. If you can find the slip for a commute to work, living aboard some time before you leave for good will make the break all the easier.
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  #18  
Old 11-26-2012
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Re: Need advice from cruisers

Let me put it this way.
There were probably 300 boats in the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor in 1970 preparing to go "cruising". Every week one or two had to put off their trip because something had broken or wasn't done. By mid 1972 only three had actually left.
Almost everything that was holding up everyone was really something of little importance or could be fixed, replaced, painted, varnished or rebuilt ANYWHERE (even at sea in many cases), so why not go? You do not need a working radar to go sailing, you do not need to convert from a 110 volt A/C refer to a brand new 12 volt system to go sailing, you do not need the newest, fanciest chartplotter to go sailing, though of course any or all of these things may make your life easier.
At that point, watching our friends' dreams fade into oblivion I set a date, no matter what.
We left and as we sailed through French Polynesia, only one other boat got out (we were there 9 months).
It is always hard to make that first long distance jump. Even if you've done it before, especially if you are quite comfortable where you are; it can be a big step.
So I'd suggest you just set a date, weather permitting, and go for it. After 4 years you should have all the important stuff done. The rest can wait for a lovely anchorage where you can cool off from your labors in the crystal clear warm water (as if you're going to want to work then....).
Good sailing!
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Old 11-27-2012
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Re: Need advice from cruisers

Wow. What a great thread. I have nothing of importance to add but thanks to the OP for asking and everyone for replying!
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Old 11-27-2012
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Re: Need advice from cruisers

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Originally Posted by AlaskaMC View Post
Wow. What a great thread. I have nothing of importance to add but thanks to the OP for asking and everyone for replying!
Agreed, awesome thread. Make it a sticky for all the wannabe cruisers!
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