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Lonestaralaskan 06-12-2018 07:27 PM

Talking Husband into Living on a Sailboat
I know, I know, usually its the other way around. But in our family, I'm the one with the sailing itch. I'm the one pushing the plan to sell everything and buy a sailboat in 3 years. I think he's on board (no pun intended), but he doesn't say much about it yet. I guess it won't be "real" for him until its time to actually buy a boat. Meanwhile, I'm the one doing all the research.

Are there any other females out there in a similar situation??

Minnewaska 06-12-2018 08:09 PM

Re: Talking Husband into Living on a Sailboat
"Pushing the plan" is an uphill battle. Either you're both in or it's a problem. Refreshing to see this going the other way, but none the less perilous. You can't push, or the inevitable hardships will cause resentment.

In the end, how do you know you'll enjoy raising a young family aboard, in a boat you don't own yet? Some do well, others can't deal with being that close for that long.

Dream and go for it, but only if he wants it too. Same advice the other way around.

Interesting observation........ this is your dream, but you list him as Captain on your blog. Reverse sexism or attempt at persuasion?

Lonestaralaskan 06-12-2018 08:24 PM

Re: Talking Husband into Living on a Sailboat

Originally Posted by Minnewaska (Post 2051522954)

Interesting observation........ this is your dream, but you list him as Captain on your blog. Reverse sexism or attempt at persuasion?

He's interested - but he doesn't talk about it as much as I do, which worries me sometimes. It did start out as my dream. We've been sailing together and enjoy it immensely.

We tend to share the duties in most every aspect of our lives, and this will be no different. At the end of the day, one person has to have the final say, especially on a boat. That will be him. Why? Because that's what makes sense for us. :)

SanderO 06-12-2018 11:04 PM

Re: Talking Husband into Living on a Sailboat
This is a wonderful and do-able plan... But as you move forward the reality will hone, revise, edit your plan.

I sailed to the Caribe from NY and lived aboard for 4 yrs using my savings. When they got thin I had to return to NYC and my profession and work again. I of course kept the boat which is why I post on this forum.

I met several families with very small kids and infants... including a Norwegian couple whose babies were born while cruising.

Shiva, a Contest36s, was bought new in 85 and upgraded for offshore and cruising over 5 years. I took off in the Fall of 91. Lots of work... enjoyable, expensive and somewhat challenging. But in the end I had confidence in every system installed on board. 3 decades of ownership on... most of those "systems" have seen one or two or even 3 upgrades. Owning a boat is a work in progress. My boat turned out to be ideal for the task... roomy, dry to sail, fast passages (150nm/day) large galley, separate nav desk, aft cabin with a double, a V berth and a comfy head. The boat is no longer made so if it appeals to you go for a used. Several rig and keel configs... world class build.

There are many boats which can work for you.

For cruising you will want a stout reliable below decks auto pilot. Very spendy. Install yourself a must. I have an Alpha 3000 which does NOT interface GPS steering data. I prefer to set the course. Keeps me engaged all the time.

You'll also want to have AIS and probably radar... useful for night sailing and fog which doesn't happen in the tropics.

Charting device... Ipod, fixed mount plotter, smart phone... all work fine. You should have redundancy.

Communication... SSB is hardly used but you can talk to anyone anywhere... if they have a phone or make a high sea radio telephone call... get NOAA weather and so on. Satphone can be rented even for the offshore passages only.

Safety - GPS tracker, EPIRP, MOB trackers and so on... jack lines, inflatable harnesses, strobe and flares. Acquire just before heading off.

There is much more.

Exploit the forum... there is a lot of wisdom here... Your life, your decisions, you decide. Inform your decisions with knowledge and wisdom of others.... Once you get into this... you'll be assisting others.

Fair winds and following seas!

hpeer 06-13-2018 08:51 AM

Re: Talking Husband into Living on a Sailboat
Iím not a female, but I know a couple in a similar situation in that itís the lady who has ďover the hill itísĒ. They have sailed for many years on the Chesapeake, they raced, they cruised, raised kids. Then they retired early and moved aboard. They are very comfortable aboard, they love their boat, they love the life. But hubby doesnít like deep water and being out of sight of land and navigating inlets. She is patient and gently encouraging. Thatís all she can get so far.

Personally we are more traditional, I pushed hard, we lived aboard part time (all year round) then transitioned to full time cruising 6 months a year. Itís working but my Wife is sometimes pushed to her limit. She really enjoys living in small spaces, but doesnít have the ďover the hill itus,Ē.

Jeff_H 06-13-2018 10:53 AM

Re: Talking Husband into Living on a Sailboat
Your situation is not all that unusual. There was a period when several times a month I would receive an email from someone who is considering doing just what you are proposing and probably a third of the time it was the wife who was more interested in sailing off than the husband. I have watched literally dozens of folks go through this. Some are successful in getting 'out there', some discover that they really just enjoy sailing and find that they really have no need to 'go out there’; some have discovered that the sailing life is just not for them, and others have not even gotten past the dreaming stage.

From what I have seen, the most successful (especially when families are involved) have been the ones who have been somewhat systematic about going. There is a lot to learn before one can safely venture offshore. No one would assume that they could buy a jet airliner take a few lessons and be able to fly around the world. I think most rational people would expect to start with a small plane and work their way up. But for some reason people assume that they can just go out and buy a big boat, take a couple lessons, read a few books, and then go safely cruising.

While there are people who literally taken a few lessons, read a few books and went out cruising, those that were successful following that route are far more rare than those who have done some kind of apprenticeship. Learning to sail and learning to cruise involves a lot of knowledge and no matter how much you know, there will always be more to learn, but I suggest that you at least take the time to learn the basics, and that just about can’t happen if you buy ‘a big sailboat’ and move your family aboard.

If I were in your shoes, I would sit down and put together a list of all of the things that I would want to know before I set off voyaging such as:
• Boat handling
• Sail trim
• Rules of the road
• Weather
• Routing
• Boat husbandry, repair and maintenance
• Diesel/ gas engine maintenance and repair
• First aid
• Heavy weather tactics
• Legal restrictions on leaving and entering foreign countries
• Navigation, (Piloting, Celestial, dead reckoning and electronic)
• Provisioning
• Radio operators license exam requirements
• Safe and dangerous fish to eat
• Sail trim
• Survival skills
• Etc………..

Once I had what I thought was a complete list, I would set up a schedule to try to develop those areas of skill that I was currently lacking. As much as possible I would try to involve both you and your husband in as many of those aspects as both is capable of understanding. I would also suggest starting with a small fin keel, sloop rigged boat under 30 feet and sail the living daylights out of it to develop sailing, boat handling and maintenance skills. If you pick a reasonably good selection you should be able do this with a very small net investment.

This process could take as little as a year, but more often takes two to three years. The process itself can be very rewarding and can build the kind of bonds, comfort levels, and trust that are required to be cast away on that oh so small island that a boat underway represents.


Lonestaralaskan 06-13-2018 01:25 PM

Re: Talking Husband into Living on a Sailboat
Thank you for the great responses and encouragement. We do have alot to learn, and that is part of the fun and excitement!

I'm a lifelong learner, and my husband is great at figuring out how to fix just about anything.

With two young kids aboard, we will take every precaution to make sure we know what we're doing before we venture out. We'll be sailing out of San Diego with instructors for the next couple of years, and when we buy the boat, we'll hopefully launch from Kemah, TX. When we are ready to "take off", plan to coastal cruise the Gulf to Florida before we head south (we looked at the ICW, but that turned out to be mostly a motoring experience and not much sailing). I'm hanging on to my Dad's ashes that he asked to be sprinkled in the Gulf, so we hope to do that from our sailboat.

We are super safety conscious, and do not intend to put our sweet babies at undue risk. I would like to note that driving on the freeway is probably just as dangerous as sailing, if not more, and we do that every day without even thinking about how precarious it is. At the mercy of drunk drivers, people texting on their cellphones, and other crazies on the road. In the ocean, its mostly your own skill and the mercy of the sea. Which is more dangerous? I guess it depends on the situation.

Jeff_H 06-13-2018 04:13 PM

Re: Talking Husband into Living on a Sailboat
I did not realize that there were kids involved. As much as possible they should be involved in the learning process so that they feel like members of the crew rather than hostages in their parent's dream.

I strongly suggest that you start by buying a small boat (25-30 foot) in San Diego and sail it a lot and maintain it on your own before trying to buy your ultimate boat. The wind conditions in San Diego are perfect to learn to sail. I also suggest that you try to get out on race boats which are a super way to learn about sail trim, and reading wind and water for only the cost of sailing gloves and boat shoes. I would also suggest trying to sail on as many different boats as you can. That is easiest to do if you have a boat in a marina where you can talk to other boat owners, or you belong to a sailing club.

Those kinds of experiences will help shape your priorities and preferences when you start looking for the boat that you end up taking voyaging.

While it may seem counter-intuitive, if you don't know what you are doing, or pick the wrong boat the ocean is far more dangerous than the highway. While you see people throw around statistics that make the highways sound more dangerous, I think these are pretty specious comparisons. The reality is that the dangers of offshore voyaging needs to be taken very seriously. Trying to compare being offshore to being on the highway doesn't really provide any useful information.


Arcb 06-13-2018 04:52 PM

Re: Talking Husband into Living on a Sailboat
^^^ I beleive it was mentioned in another thread the children are actually babies; an infant and a 1 year old. Which means, in my opionion, the parents must not just learn to sail, but they must each learn to single hand effectively. Two toddlers/very small children can be a handful. My 4 year old still requires constant adult supervision on the boat.

I like the above idea of getting a small keel boat (maybe 24-30 ft) to learn on. The parents can go through the process of learning to set up the small boat for single handing, and then each learn to single hand the boat, before going through the process of learning to single hand a big cruising sailboat.

Maybe that will convince the husband too, once he is confident that you can each handle a boat safely, he will be less apprehensive. He might just be being practical.

I know this is her sailnet, but I have lived aboard and cruised wirh babies/small children, so I thought I would throw in my 2 cents :)

Lonestaralaskan 06-13-2018 05:33 PM

Re: Talking Husband into Living on a Sailboat
Yes, we will have a 3 and 4 year old on board if we hit the 3-3.5 year time-frame.

The "3 year old" is currently due in six weeks, so he hasn't quite hit "infant" status yet. We will both need to be able to single-handle at times. We'll share both childcare and boat handling duties - in fact, right now I'm the one with the job outside the house and he works from home and takes care of our daughter. He's a great Dad!

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