Somebody try to talk me out of this! - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 11-19-2011
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Wink Somebody try to talk me out of this!


So Hi, just introducing my little self.
I've been wanting to sail away from USA for years, so in August my husband sent me off to sailing school for ASA 101, 103, 104. Best time I've ever had! And I have a lot of good times.

We have 3 kids and want to move to the Dominican Republic. Of course we have to sail there, which means getting a boat and living aboard while we get ready. I honestly can't imagine my 2 year old living on a boat for long. And as noisy as he is, I don't imagine any marina will let us stay for long.

So we really just want a boat that can get us there, nothing super fancy for long term comforts. We lived in a 30ft RV (no slides) for 5 years, which is equivalent to a 34' monohul, so I am thinking something that size will be feel like home.

Anyway, we don't know where to start. Do we want a steel boat, or what material? For going from Texas across the gulf over to DR, do we want a shallow draft? What the heck should we look for and where do we look? What are the most important features to require? We don't really want to spend more than 20k on the total boat set-up, and of course cheaper is good. All we really need is to float for a couple months while we make the transition, but of course I want something that we can have fun in long term.

I love reading the forums, and am happy to say hello!
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Old 11-19-2011
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I think you need to at least double your budget. Lots of classic plastic in Florida and Texas.
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Old 11-19-2011
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A 34 ft monohull for a family of 5 with a 2 yr old sounds very difficult to me. Be careful of inexpensive boats, they typically require an increase in maintenance costs that brings their total cost well over the more expensive boats.

How familiar are you with the Dominican Rep? If you have family or work there, I'm sure you can navigate the marinas to find a home. However, if you've only experienced or know the DR through a resort, you have no idea what you are getting yourself into.

Formal sailing training was a very good idea. I would remain cautious over making passages too quickly. You should expand your experience incrementally.

Welcome aboard. Hope your dreams come true.
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Old 11-20-2011
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Sailing a good-sized boat with a family is a pretty big commitment. It can be done, but it's not necessarily a cheap or easy way to relocate. It can be a great experience for kids if its thought out well. Will you have a chance to explore the DR before committing to relocation?
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Old 11-27-2011
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Thank yall for your responses! It helps to hear thoughts from other minds.

I am certain that we have no idea what we are getting into. In fact, our potential move is very open ended because we usually like it that way. We do tend to jump in not knowing what we are doing, BUT BUT BUT this time we want to have at least some structured plans. Sheesh, we are wearing ourselves out with all our shenanigans, and want this to be vacation-like if possible.

We've chosen where we expect we will live for the first couple of years when we move on land, and we want to keep the boat so that we can leave if we need to.

My husband can run his business from anywhere that has a good internet connection. We own our home here free and clear, and our brother plans on renting it out for a year or two. So we are not committed to the DR long term unless we like it.

The part I am most nervous about is getting there. The buying of a proper boat, getting our bearings on it, and floating over there. But people do that all the time, right? I'm just not sure how to go about doing it.

Last edited by BlackFlag; 11-27-2011 at 11:57 AM.
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Old 11-27-2011
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One way to look at it is a risk management perspective. Some people jump right in without experience, training, or preparation, and do just fine. But the odds of not merely surviving, but also enjoying the trip and having a healthy, happy experience get much better with getting in as much learning and preparation as your time, finances, health, background, experience, and temperament allow.

For one example, you might try chartering as a family in some place where there are live-aboard families with kids -- and learn all you can from them. And getting time on the water -- even in a little bay or creek on a little boat -- will help the family adjust to life aboard and abroad, both physically and as a mental commitment and comfort zone. It would be good for the family to be able to feel very at home on the water.
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Old 11-27-2011
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Perhaps you should start by reading some of the forum posts of other people who want to buy a boat with no experience and shove off. It's more than just "floating" away.

You might start with this thread: Lost at sea

You mentioned wanting to keep the boat in case you "need to" leave. Anticipating the need for a quick getaway? You might want to consider a power boat.

You'll find two schools of thought on this forum: Those who think it's perfectly fine to just buy whatever boat meets your fancy, lose the dock lines and hope for the best and those who feel the responsible way to do it is through at least a little experience in seamanship and education as to your legal responsibilities as a boat owner/operator.

Whatever your choice, know that being on a boat isn't all sunsets and dolphins swimming by your hull. With children aboard, especially that young, I would think you'd want to know as much as possible about what you are getting into before putting them in a dangerous environment. That's not to say that there are not people cruising with kids, some kids have never lived off of a boat, but the families who I know who cruise with their kids went into it prepared or had years of experience before the kids arrived.
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Old 11-27-2011
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I recently read a book, "All in the Same Boat" by Tom Neal, about family living on a sailboat. More about living on the boat than traveling to a destination. Copyright 1997 so not real new, but lots of useful information, including dealing with and educating your children. Covers a lot of areas.

Might find it cheap on Amazon. Just checked, looks like there is a 2003 version for $10.63. The older version is under $4.00. I got mine from the library.

Pretty useful info in there. Good luck with the plan, sounds exciting! Guess I'm in the "do it" crowd, but preparation really helps.

I like the get some experience idea, make sure the family likes the water.
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Old 02-16-2012
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BlackFlag;

Did you make that trip to Dom. Rep? Still deciding? If you haven't gone yet, my advice is to get the biggest seaworthy boat you can afford, spend some time to get familiar with her and hone your skills a bit, and then go. There are a million good reasons to not go, and if you try to address them all, you never will. So, go now. Many is the cruiser who will tell you the only regret they have is that they did not go earlier.
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Old 02-16-2012
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Does your husband have sailing experience? Personally, I would not attempt the trip without a lot of hands on experience in my pocket. I sailed for many years when I was much younger, and have just got back to sailing after a over 30 year hiatus. In spite of having sailed much when younger, I hesitate now to make a 25 mile trip over what might be "tricky waters" because I know my limitations. I most certainly would not put my children at risk to fulfill a fantasy. As everyone above seems to concur, gain some hands on experience and be fully aware of what unexpected situations you might expect.

Just realized this is a slightly old thread.... Anyway, since it's been resurrected, I too would be curious to know what you've decided.

Last edited by Mystic1; 02-16-2012 at 08:54 PM.
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