Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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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
• 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)
• Radio operators license exam requirements
• Safe and dangerous fish to eat
• Sail trim
• Survival skills
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.
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Curmudgeon at Large- and rhinestone in the rough, sailing my Farr 11.6 on the Chesapeake Bay
Last edited by Jeff_H; 06-13-2018 at 10:57 AM.