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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Everyone,

I wanted to take a moment and get an outside perspective from all of you, actual cruisers. My girlfriend and I are aspiring cruisers, potentially ten days away from putting our vessel in the water and setting off. The story goes that we purchased our Seafarer 34 two and a half years ago and have meticulously restored her to a very seaworthy and capable vessel. This has included new rigging, additional bulkheads and reinforcements, titanium chainplates, heavy duty ground tackle, and largely everything else new. We have lived and breather this project and sailing in general for the last two years. My experience is sailing during high school and a six week trip from Florida through the Caribbean a few years ago. My girlfriends has none but is capable in every way. My family is very worried for us and that has caused my stress and concern to go up. We are in Saratoga Springs NY and we plan on putting the boat into the Hudson and making our way to the city. From there we plan on moving down the coast to the ICW and on to Florida. I feel we are prepared, we know the dangers and have covered every base we can. Our house is sold and one of our vehicles and we are a stones throw away from being done with out possessions and hopefully having the boat complete minus some interior trim. Our options as I see them are: proceed as planned, ship the vessel to more temperate area and use/practice/finish her entirely, put her on the dry for the winter and finish her that way while working and probably being totally miserable the entire time. I am upset and worried because you want you family to approve but maybe its a sign that they don't. Can anyone out there relate? Does anyone, given our lack of experience, see serious flaw in our plans and route? I am overwhelmed by it all, such a huge life change and so much to do, I would value anyone's opinion on this, thoughtful opinion. Thanks

-Derrick
 

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Hi Derrick. Welcome to SailNet.

In a nutshell, you have little and your GF has no sailing experience. You've sold everything and are planning on living on the boat, sailing it, and you're having a panic attack.

You're going to get responses from "that's how we did it and we lived to love the lifestyle" to "you really should at least know how to sail first." In the end you need to go with your gut and determine how much risk you're willing to deal with.

Liveaboard cruisers or not, the major flaw I see is that you sold your house before you even sailed the boat you intend to make your cruising home. I tried to read between the lines and I may be wrong, but it sounds like the boat has been on the hard for the two years you upgraded it? So you haven't even spent any time living on it over weekends or a week or two to see how it will really work as a living space? That could bite you. I also think that if you had more sailing experience perhaps your and your family's anxiety wouldn't be as high.

I see no reason to panic, however. Go with your gut. If you decide to put the boat in the water and actually give it a trial run first before making a commitment to sail off into the sunset, what difference does that make? If after you try it and you change your mind, rent an apartment and regroup. Or live on the boat in the marina or sail locally and regroup.

It doesn't seem to me that anything you are doing doesn't have an escape plan. Relax. Breathe.
 

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bell ringer
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hell I'm not even good with my own plan to go cruising

Take your time, pick your weather, have a back-up plan for each stop in case you need to change plans.............. and have fun learning on the way. No way to learn other than doing and it doesn't really matter if you do by staying local or along the way to somewhere else.
 

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Yea, yea, yea,… and all those who told you not to do it will be so envious when you return and say things like “ I wish I could have,” or… “I wish I would have” done something like that, or “you have so many wonderful memories,… I’m so jealous… “
blah, blah, blah. My 79 year old Grandmother did the exact same thing you are talking about a few years ago and she never sailed a day in her life until she was 75 years old.
You either need to get excited about the adventure and jump in with both feet or sell the boat and cry about it the rest of your life.

(note the word "adventure") Have a ball buddy, it will be the time of your life!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Lol, I want to be excited and have been until i get family members on the phone, we have put so much into this! I keep telling people that this is how some people retire. We sold the house because we couldn't stand one more winter in upstate NY, and we have spent so much time in the vessel fitting her out I can't see any problems arising in terms of its space and accommodations. I think its normal to doubt yourself but I think taking a chance in life is also the best way to live sometimes. We knew what we couldn't do anymore, and this was a great option for us when we looked at it years ago. Thanks for the encouragement and words of wisdom. And just to be clear I think I have a fairly good idea in terms of sailing, I haven't seen a hurricane or huge seas except for once but I understand storm tactics and the boat is ready, that I can say with confidence. More input would be great, anyone else?
 

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We have done the trip you describe and providing you pick weather windows, have a good engine and are practically minded you should not have any serious problems. You obviously know how to put the sails up, reef them and get them down...many start of with less ability!

Do get SeaTow and or Boat US towing insurance.

Good luck Phil
 

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The only thing that surprises me is that while "We have lived and breathe[d] this project and sailing in general for the last two years" - but no actual sailing happened?

Outside of that I'd say go for it, but be aware of your current ability - always have a plan for ducking into port or staying longer than you might want if the weather is much outside of your comfort level (while still being willing to push yourselves in reasonable steps).
 

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Chastened
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I don't sense that Seafarer is the one having the panic attack, it seems to be his family.

Some people simply cannot wrap their minds around a sea-bound life. It's not the norm in our culture. The cultural "norm" in the U.S. is high-school, college degree, desk job for the rest of your working life, with 2.5 kids and a house wit a white picket fence. Retirement in a safe, warm place, then oblivion.

I'm 42 years old with 20 years in the US Navy. I served on nuclear submarines and in the desert with a coastal warfare unit. I have so many skills that translate over to boat ownership and maintenance.

I'm a grown man and my parents STILL flipped out when I told them that I would be locally living aboard my Pearson 30, and I wasn't even going long-range cruising! They were terrified that I was going to freeze to death in the winter time.

My parents know little of sailing and even less of living aboard a boat. Since they had no knowledge with which to criticize me, I told them to mind their own damned business and that I would be fine.

It's YOUR life. Live it how you choose.
 

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Derrick,

This is a great time of year to sail. If you don't want to spend the winter in NY, and the boat is ready, put her in the water and start heading south. You need a shake down cruise anyway. If things are going well, keep on going. If you discover any issues that need addressing you could deal with them along the way or beat it back home It's not like you're in a foreign country with no access to services. Will you need to work? Do you have portable skills? Or have you saved sufficient funds to get you through for several months? ( rhetorical)

You could make it down to Annapolis for the boat show. Then you'll have plenty of company heading south. You can avoid hurricanes and huge seas easily enough on a coastal/inland trip. ( that, to ease the family concerns)

Don't know what to say about Family.. you've had a few years to prepare them. Family will always worry.
 

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You should do just fine

As others have said pick your weather windows and there is no shame in turning around if you don't like the conditions.

The first bit is going to be the toughest for a while. Once you get into the Chesapeake and start to ' run the ditch ' South it will be easy going.
 

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Hi,
We live just north of you, near Gore Mountain,and last winter was so horrible, I actually talked to my husband about moving to Florida or a warm place in the winters when I retire in two years!!! It was incredibly long and depressing.

I think you should follow your plan, very, very cautiously. You are going to be traveling through the East River, right, and then along the Jersey shore. I don't know where the ICW starts, but we are inexperienced, very, and if we did this, we would stay in the ICW and motor as much as possible. When you get south, then you can practice. Are you crossing to the Bahamas?? I would be sure that my skills were very good before doing that, but I think you can be safe by motoring and watching the weather.

You only live once, and if you are careful, you can do this and live long. Just be very cautious. If I were retired now, I would do this now, also, being very, very careful. (I'm a coward at heart!) But you sound young, and you will kick yourself if you let your family talk you out of this.
Best of luck and happy sailing!
Nancy
 

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"In over your heads?" I'm with most of the others, not at all, in my opinion...

Certainly understandable you're having last minute jitters... But as long as your girlfriend in still onboard with the plan, I'd say you're good to go... You've got a wonderful, solid boat in that Seafarer, sounds like you've been very deliberate in getting her set... Hell, you'll probably be among a VERY tiny minority of snowbirds heading south this fall with fresh rigging, for example... :)

Obviously, your family's concerns are not simple to address... All you can do is try to make them understand all the safety issues you've addressed. Explain that you always plan to wear safety harnesses, etc, when underway in open water, and so on... Show them in detail the route of the ICW, and help them understand that virtually the entire trip can be made in protected waters... Make it clear that you will be making the migration in tune with scores of other cruisers, and that you will very likely soon wind up traveling in company with others from whom you can learn, or obtain valuable advice, and so on...

Will you be keeping a blog, or posting updates to Facebook, or whatever? I think doing so can go a long way towards assuaging your family's concerns, once you're on your way, and it starts to become clear to them you're being cautious and deliberate, while having the time of your life... Just make sure they understand that keeping in touch or posting an update along some parts of the coast might not always be possible, and for them not to worry if you haven't been heard from for a couple of days... :)

Good luck, you'll do fine... hell, with a well-found boat, and a partner who's game, you're already ahead of many of the folks out there right now...

:))
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thank you all so much for this. In my heart I feel we are ready and I know that time will probably be the only thing that can prove to my family that this is whats right for us. We've done the best that we could under the circumstance and for perspective we are both just 30. We have much left to do but I didn't need any more doubt injected into the process from friends and family. For instance, pirates are a grave concern of theirs. Or "won't we get bored sitting around all day drinking cocktails". Lol, I love them all but seriously. We have seen people pass on recently and the circumstances only reinforced the fact that we have one life to live and even if their is some danger and risk involved we actually want to LIVE it. I'm leaving a 12 hour night shift position and Rosy, my girlfriend is leaving her 50 minute commute into Albany. We genuinely look forward to joining those of you out there and hope that those who aren't will find the time to make their dreams happen too. We will a posting once the dust settles in two weeks.
 

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I think you should be fine. You want a good weather window to go from NY harbour to Cape May. You can anchor just south of the Statue of Liberty and wait for the weather and go. Once you get to Cape May you can anchor and wait for decent weather and the right tide for Delaware Bay. Once you are in the Chesapeake it is a lot easier. You may not have much experience now but you will before you get to Florida. The only pirates you might encounter run marinas. Get the towing insurance for sure.
 
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SPLASH and GO! The hardest part of the trip as others have said is from NYC to the Chesapeake, from there on you can make it as hard or easy and enjoyable as you want. You will also have plenty of time to get to know your new home and sharpen your sailing skills.
I'm so jealous, please start a blog and post back here so we can follow you and your Great Adventure.
Peter
 

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Thank you all so much for this. In my heart I feel we are ready and I know that time will probably be the only thing that can prove to my family that this is whats right for us. We've done the best that we could under the circumstance and for perspective we are both just 30. We have much left to do but I didn't need any more doubt injected into the process from friends and family. For instance, pirates are a grave concern of theirs. Or "won't we get bored sitting around all day drinking cocktails". Lol, I love them all but seriously. We have seen people pass on recently and the circumstances only reinforced the fact that we have one life to live and even if their is some danger and risk involved we actually want to LIVE it. I'm leaving a 12 hour night shift position and Rosy, my girlfriend is leaving her 50 minute commute into Albany. We genuinely look forward to joining those of you out there and hope that those who aren't will find the time to make their dreams happen too. We will a posting once the dust settles in two weeks.
Have you considered buying a SPOT tracker so that your family can follow your progress and see that you are safe?
 

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We didnt tell our families or friends we were going till 2 weeks before because I KNEW what they all would say and the pressure it would apply.

Dont tell them an exact day you are going. Just go.

In New York you should be able to pick a few day weather window to get to Norfolk. Thats really your only easy stop, isnt it? (I have only done that trip once so locals know better)... And then down the ICW is a nice, pleasent, easy motoring trip to get you used to the boat on the water gently.
Do get TowBoat US I think it was about $100 for me and you will run aground somewhere!

Dont stuff around because in north florida, St Augstine, in November it was cold.

So get cracking now! Go slow, enjoy it. Even try to enjoy the scary bits.
 
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Have you considered buying a SPOT tracker so that your family can follow your progress and see that you are safe?
I am in two minds about Spot for families... Remember a few years ago on the "other" forum when some guy on his first crewing adventure turned his Spot off accidently, and his paranoid wife called the forum, Coast Guard, Navy, airforce, secret service ... and the President?

Poor clown had a great sail untill he got home! :laugher
 
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