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David and I currently live in the UK (Damp foggy little island near France) we will turn 50 next year and are retiring. We will have a modest income which will enable us not to have to work. Our plans are to buy a yacht around 40ft and spend the next few years as liveaboards. The questions are, what sort of yacht, health care, where to buy the yacht, advantages and disadvantages? Any advice would be more than welcome unless it's negative and advising us to stay on this damp ,foggy little island.
 

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Assuming you are speaking of a sailing yacht:
Do you have sailing experience? If not I would recommend you get some. You can charter a sailboat with a captain aboard and/or you can take sailing classes on a boat of similar size.
Have you read any books on living the cruising lifestyle? If not I would recommend you do so. A good one is After 50,000 Miles by Hal Roth. With these two accomplishments in hand you will have answered all your questions and many many more that you have not thought of yet. Get reading and you will either get hooked or run for the hills.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you for your advice regarding the book. Yes, a sailing yacht and we both have experience. Longest passage from the South of France to UK.
Really looking at other parts of the world to sail in now our children are older.
 

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Bristol 45.5 - AiniA
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David and I currently live in the UK (Damp foggy little island near France) we will turn 50 next year and are retiring. We will have a modest income which will enable us not to have to work. Our plans are to buy a yacht around 40ft and spend the next few years as liveaboards. The questions are, what sort of yacht, health care, where to buy the yacht, advantages and disadvantages? Any advice would be more than welcome unless it's negative and advising us to stay on this damp ,foggy little island.
It would help to know a bit more. Where do you anticipate going for one and what sort of budget are you looking at? For now, a comment about health care. If you are thinking about the next 10 years or so and you are in good health, you probably can self-insure and be ahead of the game with one obvious exception. If you are planning to spend any time in the US you will need insurance there since the health care costs are astronomical. We found that costs were quite small overall. A visit to the 'private hospital' in Suva, Fiji was $12 for example. An hour+ in the emergency room of the fancy new hospital in Papeete was around $80.

I assume that there are some bargains in yachts to be had in Europe now with the weak economy but it used to be pricey there. Prices are very good in the US now and probably a bit better in the Caribbean. Before you buy a foreign boat se what the requirements are if you want to import into the UK (and EU). They have a lot of rules there I think. Also, if you buy a North American boat it will have a 110v shore power system rather than 220v which complicates things a bit.

Good luck with your enquiries.
 
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I am a retired full time liveaboard. My boat is a 44ft cutter and that is the biggest boat I would choose but I know of plenty couples with 50ft boats or even 55ft.

But attitude matters more than size. I know of couples happily cruising in the Carib on 30ft boats.

My advice is look for something 35 to 45ft. Big water tanks, at least 300 watts of tiltable solar 400 is better. Oversize anchor on all chain with an electric anchor windlass. I do not use marinas, it is quieter and usually fly free when you anchor out.

Get an efficient fridge with lots of insulation.

Where to buy is difficult, some of the best deals around are in the chicken harbors of the Canaries, Panama and St Maarten but you could spend a lot of money on travel looking at wrecks. [ There is a Youtube story of a young lady who bought a bargain in ?Panama? only to discover it was full of holes and possibly beyond repair.] Trinidad has some real bargains.

Self insure but have the EHIC card.

Take your time and head south enjoying the anchorages as you go.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the advice so far, it is really appreciated. Looking around at the moment we are thinking of purchasing a Jeanneau 43 DS. It looks like it would have a comfortable amount of interior space and has good reviews in respect of sailing ability.

It would seem that we will get a lot more yacht for our money by buying in the US or Carribean. We currently have no plans to sail this back to the UK, so import tax etc etc is not a concern? In respect of solar panels we will have to research cost of supply and fitting. We too had decided that anchoring is more preferable to marinas for us personally but would be interested to know costs roughly for Marina's especially during hurricane season?

In terms of actually sailing around the Carribean are there area's that would be best avoided or is this not so much an issue?

Lastly are there any issues with visa's especially if we decided this was something we would like to do long term?
 

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Bristol 45.5 - AiniA
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Some good questions
The Jeanneau would be fine for the Caribbean, if you decided you wanted to go throughout the Canal to points unknown westward it would not be my first choice, so try to figure out what your future plans might be - of course, when we went to the Caribbean the first time we did not have a clue that we might end up sailing around the world so who am I to offer advice on this.

Almost everyone cruising in the Caribbean anchors and on mainly islands there are no marinas. For hurricane season you want to be either in Grenada or Trinidad if you are leaving the boat. This is almost always with the boat on the hard. Our boat is out of the water and a big marina that can take a couple boats on the hard and has two or three crabby docks ashore. You can google marina with Grenada and Trinidad and they have rate sheets you can check.

If you are planning to stay on the boat it is just like non-hurricane season except you stay far enough south that you can escape if something threatening starts to come your way. It will be very hot though.

As for safety, things do change so what someone says now may not be the case when you get there. Right now, Venezuela is a definite no and most of Trinidad is also a no. St Vincent has a baddish rep and there have been issues elsewhere. You just keep your ears to the ground. Some people in the Caribbean are a bit paranoid about the whole topic, but you do need to be careful in places.
 
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Discussion Starter #8
That's great thanks Killarney. What would you favour over the Jeanneau for travelling further afield? At the moment we are still deciding what are the best options for us. We were looking at the Carribean as I retire in the November and thought that at this time of year it would be better to explore around here than the Med. Also from all the internet searching we have done thus far second hand prices in the states seem a lot more affordable than UK or Europe. Another consideration was that we would not have any issues in respect of language barriers. It may well be that like you we get hooked and decide to just keep sailing on and on who knows. I guess our nice dilemma is where do we start and how do we start. I am inclined to stick with the Carribean idea as a starting point and go from there.
 

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Congrads- A lot to think about and arrange. I'm "walking the plank in 90d. Took all of 2yrs. to get everything arranged and still at it. Don't know your business or background but for me/wife it was hard disengaging from various land responsibilities. Make time to sit with your accountant, financial advisor, and family. Lay out your plans. That way you can see what work you need to do before you leave and have a rough idea of the budget you are working with before you look at boats. Its a shame to see people home bound because they are house broke or cruisers stuck in one place being boat broke. We ended up doing wills, trusts etc. before leaving and assigning agents etc. in our absence. Also need to think through selling/storing assets. We decided to hang on to the house for at least 3yrs. as a fall back. Then need to think about leave it empty or rent it etc.
Turned out the boat was the easy part. Wish there was a check list but everyone's life and family responsibilities are different.
As regards the boat for us knew this would be our last boat and our home. After several years of crawling around hundreds of yards, talking with a zillion people, going to innumerable boat shows decided to build a semi custom from scratch. Others decide to get a used vessel which also makes great sense in the current market. However, if you do so remember this is different than day sailing or short coastal cruises. This is you life and your house so leave an extra 20-30% of purchase in the kitty for refits and updates. Read all you can about what's needed for safety and to be a self sufficient cruiser. I had no real idea of the extra spares/tools is smart to carry once you spit up the hook.
Know everyone is different but need to think if your new boat can be run single handed by either one of you assuming you want to sleep time to time. At first thought 46' was large now see I was given good advise by other cruisers saying 40-50' is a good size for a mom and pop boat.
J+B make nice boats but agree they were designed with another purpose in mind from what it sounds like you want to do.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for the info outbound. The planning and research goes on. In respect of the house we will be keeping this in the UK and renting out rooms to supplement our income. We only intend to stay in the Carribean through what would be the UK's winter months at this time so something like October to May and then would look to come back to Europe. At this time we wouldn't have the experience or knowledge to sail back to Europe across the 'pond', our intention would be to build up to this if we take to the lifestyle. These forums are very helpful in respect of peoples hints tips and experiences. From what I can see we will need to have a few maintenance courses under our belt along with an open mind and not keep the rose coloured spectacles on!
 

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That sound as a very good idea, I wish our retirement schemes gave such opportunities.

Some thoughts:
Many of those I have spoken with regarding long term sailing advocates catamarans, in the size of 40-43 ft which will give easy handling, easy going and plenty of room should relatives, kids, friends visit (bet they would!). There are certainly pro and cons about every boat, none is perfect - for my own holiday sailing a monohull works best, due to where I live and sail (guess you have no interest to spend some of your time here :) ).

If you buy a boat in the US, where do you register it? Is it possible for you as UK citizens to register it in the US? (OK, Panama is always an option). Guess further that you have to have it registered in order to insure it, and maybe to enter all the numerous countries you intend to visit.
It may be an advatange if at least one of you have some sea master degree to show harbour authorities that you know how to handle your boat.

/J
 

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May want to read the catamaran thread. Personally wanted a boat that would take care of me passively in a storm and although I could afford the purchase I could not afford the up keep a cat big enough to do blue water would demand.two engines, more yard fees for hauling, storage etc. more to heat or cool. Wife/ I decided a spare stateroom with its own head and 7 sea berths was enough.
You're heading to the Caribbean. So are we this fall. Stay in touch and send a pm when you get there. Great for our learning curve has been to help friends with transports. Not as much fun as cruising but get to learn the mechanics and logistics of moving boats around country to country.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks Jaramaz good point about the registration. I guess if we buy her in the States we can register her there? Yet another question we will have to find an answer for. Sweden and the Fjords are a definite option but on a cruise ship with heating I reckon!! Visited Stavanger and Tromso loved it even fitted in some skiing another great passion!!
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Thanks Outbound we have looked at the options of a Cat, Chrissie my better half used to own one and sailed it back to England from Spain. She crossed the Bay of Biscay no problem and dodged merchantmen in the English channel. Cost is a little prohibitive for me and to be honest I just can't seem to love them no matter how hard I try! Fewer bunk space is not such a bad option! After 20 odd years of bringing up the kids a little us time is now in order and individual visits from them would be lovely but the whole gang descending in one hit!?!! Nahh aint happening
 

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That's why I suggested meeting with your professionals first. Taxes insurance permits etc. are going to influence your decisions. For us we saved a bunch on taxes after accountant ran through options on how to buy the boat but did it very conservatively so wont be problem in the future. As with everything look before you leap.
If I was where you are would be looking at Malo, Hallberg Rassy, Rustler Boreal and the like.Spend this season trying to sail as many different boats as possible while getting your ducks lined up. Would bareboat in turkey or the like for a week with your honey. Be in a position to make more informed decisions.
 

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If it helps at all we were in the same situation as you about 4 years ago.
We were in the UK, just retired at the same age, modest income and sold everything to buy a boat.
We have now been living aboard and sailing for the last three years and the only thing we regret is that we did not do it sooner. It is an amazing life and if we can advise in any way then please just contact us.
Our website is below with regular blogs, photos and an idea of what this living aboard life is really like.
Cygnus III | How not to cruise around the world in a sailing yacht
 

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If you plan on leaving a boat in the Caribbean during the months away from her, you might want to check out the used boats for sale in the Virgin Islands. They are cheaper than the US. Typically what happens to the owners is, they buy their boat in the US and start their new sailing lifestyle sailing against the trade winds, island hopping down the Caribbean island chain. After getting beat up by sailing into the trade winds and into the waves generated by them, they decide it is not a lifestyle suited to them. So upon reaching the Virgin Islands they put their boat up for sale, leave it at the marina, and fly back to the US. Boat storage and maintenance in the Virgin Islands is quite expensive for someone who has lost their desire for sailing and are more than ready to sell their boat.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
That's great thanks for the positive tilt on this. Looking at a lot of the posts on live aboard matters there does appear to be quite a lot of negativity about the idea. We were just starting to wonder why people were actually doing it at all! Love the web site, great idea and what a great way to preserve those memories! Do you tend to spend most of your time in the Med?
 

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That's great thanks for the positive tilt on this. Looking at a lot of the posts on live aboard matters there does appear to be quite a lot of negativity about the idea. We were just starting to wonder why people were actually doing it at all! Love the web site, great idea and what a great way to preserve those memories! Do you tend to spend most of your time in the Med?
I am presuming here that you are replying to us.
The website is like a diary to us as otherwise you will find that all the wonderful places you visit and people you meet get a little mixed up.
Besides we enjoy writing the blogs and having some fun on them.

We have never planned more than a few days in advance all the way down. If the weather is right, If we feel like moving on or staying longer we do. We never know if we are turning left or right until the wind tells us so. If you don't make plans then you cannot fail at them. We will just keep going as long as we can and decide where next on a whim.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks Mark and Angelina, we have exactly the same outlook on this one. We've both been at sea in rough weather and really are not fussed if we have to stay somewhere a few days longer while the weather passes us by sipping the latest G&T. I personally have no problem with being known as a fair weather sailor in the future!! We've opted for the Carribean as I finish in November and this seemed the better option weather wise at that time of year.
 
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