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Discussion Starter #1
Good morning,
I don't seem to be thick skinned enough to be in the online community (been burned before on CF among other places just for asking what I thought was a simple question), but after reading the generally civil discourse here on Sailnet, I am going to give it one more--maybe one last attempt.
I am a 42 year old female, exceedingly happy married, with two wonderful children. We are currently looking for a boat in the 32 to 36 foot range to weekend on in the Chesapeake Bay. We have some experience but are excited to learn more, and to share a lifelong dream with the kids.
Now, the issue at hand is this: "lifelong dream" seems to have different definitions in our household. I guess I'm just impulsive, but when I read sentences like "Just go!" and "Life is too short!" it really resonates with me. We have savings. I have the kind of job where I could leave to go cruising--for a year, for maybe 5, maybe more--and find employment fairly easily in the US if needed. My wonderful, practical, over-thinking, supersmart, financially conservative husband, on the other hand...well, I only half-kiddingly call him my Dream Crusher. He doesn't have a problem with weekending, maybe taking a week here or there for a more extended trip. I can't get him to see things from my angle. It's like we're trapped by our security in this suburban life, and I don't want to just stay here and work til I die. He shows me spreadsheets, and talks about all the financial freedom we'll have in 10 years or so when our youngest graduates from high school. But that's TEN YEARS. Not only do I not want to wait, but I want to get out there with our kids!
I know I'm not the only one in this situation. How do you come to terms with it? Sorry this post is kind of convoluted; I get a little spun up when I'm thinking about this. Thanks for any advice or commiseration.
 

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You say you're looking to buy. Does this mean you haven't owned a boat before? If so, that's a tough one, he may not be able to envision it all until it's actually happening. Especially if he is a linear thinker. Which is sort of a pickle isn't it?

Have you chartered together?
 

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Mermaid Hunter
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Welcome to SailNet.

We don't know much about you and you're asking for opinions so what we suggest may not work for you.

You say you have some experience. Great. Keep sailing - other people's boats and charters. A charter in the BVI for the whole family will certainly be fun and provide some insight into getting along on a boat.

There is a great deal to be said for a bunch of weekend and week-long sailing as part of preparing to go cruising.

Depending on what your professions are many people can stay engaged while cruising. Communications is key.

You might start now doing research on home-schooling. How old are you kids?

The SSCA Annapolis Gam is coming up https://ssca.org/dashboard/#/annapolisgam/ . You might want to come.

dave
 

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This isn't really about sailing. You could substitute "sailing" with just about anything. You two have different life goals. So I think the obvious answer is you need to find a compromise. Or don't, and go on your own, but it doesn't sound like that's part of the dream.
 

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Take it one step at a time, Nota. Get a boat, start sailing, start doing overnight trips, gradually spending more time on the boat. Maybe your husband gets to like it. If not, at least you tried. There is no way to force anybody to radically change their lifestyle. You would not want it done to you either. But if you guys have a great time on the boat, chances are he will change his mind about long term cruising. If not, I'm available. :)
 

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Some people like eggplant... others don't.
it does no good to keep on telling the person who doesn't like eggplant : "But its sooooo yummy!" They'll just look at you like you're nuts. (because you are for trying to force your likes/dislikes on them.

He doesn't want the cramped cruising life. He wants a nice roomy house that doesn't bounce around when the speedboats ignore the no wake zone signs.
 

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First of all, I wouldn't worry about getting burned here, CF is ultra elitist, these folks seem much much nicer. I find over there if you don't rub elbows with the Pardeys or Harald V they intentionally make it uncomfortable for you. It really should be called YF- for Yachting Forum. Here you get differences of opinion yes, but not nasty just for kicks.

I don't think you are at all alone in your situation, it's quite common, I have had many of the same issues as you.

I don't have a solution for you, but maybe a couple of ideas to try? You could take him on a nice sailing charter vacation to Antigua or somewhere. After spending a week floating around English Harbour he might be a little more excited about the idea.

You could try buying a boat and living aboard during the summer months, it is very likely to grow on him, it's a pretty enjoyable life style.

Get him to watch Captain Ron if he hasn't already, I bet that movie has inspired more people to go cruising then any other piece of modern art.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Many thanks for the thoughtful replies. I know I didn't tell you too much about our situation, I was just trying to get my feelings down and posted.
Yes, we have experience, we've owned a boat before--lived on it and sailed on the Left Coast, taken ASA101-103. Having experience and being experienced are two different things, of course, but we're no dummies and we're excited to learn. We are in between boats, but looking.
It really seems to be a matter of degree. I am more "all in," he's more "crawl before you walk." He loves sailing as much as I do, and has the chops to be a great fixer of electrical/mechanical systems on any boat we get. It's just that we have talked so exhaustively over the years about cruising, read books, even came very close to making a big move and living aboard again...only to come to an abrupt halt when faced with the financial realities. I have a great job, make good money, excellent security...which is why it's a trap! In a backwards way, if we had less, we'd have less to give up.
I think the reason I am asking all this is because I suspect that more often than not, the roles are reversed, and the sailing wives are the tough sells on the cruising life. I don't hear too much about the husband being reluctant to embrace the uncertainty of such a big change.
 

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snake charmer, cat herder
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welcome to the other group of rowdies... nicer rowdies and fewer bullies than cf, btw....
as for your issues with hubby-- as far as i can see-- get a good weekender boat, mebbe an ericson 35, and sail the hell out of it. have fun. do weekends and short lil adventures. let the pure enjoyment of sailing happen. often as possible.
as kids grow so do long term plans. donot say much--just do htis and see how hubby dearest develops. there are many places to spend a couple of days with good sailing and adventuring.. make fun and enjoyment.
learn how to repair diesels and do electrical work so he is not burdened by the needs of the boat, and enjoy it. be happy.
happiness is contagious.
 

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We see more and more "commuter cruisers" out here every year. These folks still have the house, the white picket fence and the minivan, though most are beyond the soccer mom stage. More like the grand parents stage. They come down and sail X number of months a year then go back to their 'real' lives the rest of the time.
I agree with those above who suggest you begin with some charters and progress from there. If you do buy a boat now, buy a newer one in good very condition and well maintained. The quickest way to turn off someone on the edge of boating is the constant hassle and expense of repairs, and often older boats have more of those.
Good luck.
 
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First, welcome. There are no stupid questions, but unfortunately, there are a**holes who feel obligated to argue about that point. Hopefully, none will show up here.

It seems that this issue comes up frequently, although it usually presents itself the other way around (he wants to cruise, she doesn't). No matter, the problem is the same, and IMHO, it has little to do with sailing. You could substitute any two conflicting, big picture goals (kids, no kids; city or country; party, non-party) and have the same problems and potential solutions.

I started to type up what I hoped to be a thoughtful answer, and it started sounding a bit too "Dear Abby" for my taste. So I'll just stick with my experience for what it's worth.

We have the opposite issue in my family: I want to sail; not full time cruising, but I'd like to spend a week or so on the boat at a time and cruise to local spots. No one else in my family ever shared this goal. I hoped they would take to it more once we bought a boat. But my kids never really took to sailing. They were early grade school when I bought my boat, but my son grew to be at best neutral about it. My daughter used to like it, but now she'll go for an afternoon, but just to make me happy. Both are out of the house now.

My wife likes fair weather outings, but for no more than a few hours at a time. She has zero (one might say negative) interest in overnight cruises, let alone spending a week on a boat. When the weather is the slightest bit rough, we have to turn around and come back in. She would be happy if I had sailing buddies to take these trips with, but I have come to accept that she and I will never cruise into the sunset. We have talked about how disappointed I am that I will never have my dream (that I've had by the way since I was a kid).

Fundamentally, she cannot participate in this dream of mine without great fear/pain/effort. And it's not like she hasn't tried sailing; we've had the boat for over 15 years, and we have done an overnight. To me, it seems rather selfish to demand more of her or to punish her for not trying "harder". So she feels guilty and I feel disappointed. But we live with it because we've decided that the most important thing is that we are together.

I don't think there's much more I can say without pretending to be a psychologist or marriage counselor. Have either of you read any of the multitude of "I didn't want to go cruising and my spouse sort of forced me into it, and it turned out to be [fantastic][awful]" books that are out there? They may offer some insights for you too.

Best of luck in figuring this out.
 

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The "suburban, financial security" you speak of is often referred to as "the golden handcuffs."

Caberg is right, this doesn't have much to do with sailing. This is a marital issue best worked out between you and your husband without the intervention of strangers on the internet.
The least intrusive advice I could give, is for you to agree on a boat and start weekending, and hope that once he actually gets out there sailing, that your respective points of view come into closer alignment.

Meaning, either you begin to see things more his way, or he begins to see things more your way.

You might go sailing for a week or two, and decide that you hate longer trips, that your husband was right and that weekending is the right mix. He might go sailing and decide that you were right, and let's ditch suburbia for a Halberg-Rassey 53 and a world cruise.
 

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"Just go" can be scary. Especially to someone who has a reason for valuing financial security (past problems, family issues, whatever).

You probably just have to go slow. That's kind of a contradiction. "Just go" and "let's take our time" don't really go together. Still, you are going to have to work your husband into a position where he feels comfortable stepping away from whatever financial safety-net it is that he is holding onto. That is not going to happen overnight. It is going to take some time. To at least some extent, I think you need to resign yourself to that.

Of course, some people will say, if he won't go with you then just go by yourself. Heck with him! Leave him behind (your kids, too, I guess) and get on with your life... That's an option, of course, but it doesn't sound to me like that is an option you are willing to take. So maybe you can compromise where you go sooner than he would like, but later than you would like. Neither gets EVERYTHING that they want, but both get SOME of what they want.

Good luck.
 

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Can't you get a boat, put it in a marina near where you live and move onto it? You'd probably end up saving some money over having a separate boat/house, get liveaboard experience while still keeping your job for a few years.

It'd also give you time to really tear down and refit the systems before you are in the middle of nowhere.
 

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I am in a similar boat, pun intended, trying to convince my wife that we need to just go now.
My wife enjoys sailing for an afternoon and really had a great time on the 3 days we spent in Catalina, but it is not an all consuming life long goal like for me.

Unfortunately we have had two major life turning over events in our life this year. The side effect of these changes being we are not clinging onto the status quo of careers and suburban living. I doubt this would have happened without a total life upheaval. I keep showing her images of places we could sail, sharing stories about what it's like to travel the world by boat. Last month I started showing her potential cruising boats. She is a Chef and sits in the U-shaped galleys and says, "I could live on this boat." The other night she brought up ways to rearrange our life to get "this" going forward. I feel my wife and I are a lot closer to go now than you and it would probably take 2+ years to make it happen.

Our future plans are to spend a week onboard an Olson 34 at Catalina next month. The couple we planned to sail with may be backing out and I am trying to convince her she knows more about sailing than she thinks, she certainly knows more about sailing than the majority of my boat partners. She convinced me to spend X-mas with her brother in Seattle. I agreed with the stipulation that we can go boat shopping while up there. She is excited for both.

For you, I like Zeehag's idea about baby steps and even the Ericson 35. I own an Ericson 32 in a partnership where I have done a lot of work on the boat. This allows me to learn about maintenance and the scope of work involved in boat ownership. It has allowed my wife to spend more time on board and realize how much fun a weekend at the marina is. I would not recommend my steps in turning around a spouse's opinion on casting off, but I think making sailing more and more a part of your life will start getting you closer.
 

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Nota,

As others have mentioned, and as I suspect you already know, this isn't about sailing...

My observation has been the golden handcuffs are difficult for those with low risk tolerance to shed... and many [most?] are quite suited to them for their entire lifetime.

Looking at this simplistically, ask yourself how can you achieve and share your goals without exceeding his risk threshold? [Whether it be financial security, fear of failure, peer displacement, image of self worth, etc.]

Sometimes you can modify goals to stay within another's risk tolerance and achieve a win-win. [Sensibly managing each other's tolerances...] But only you two can figure that out.

So I'm no help so far, but can offer a couple of other sources that may provide you with additional frames of reference:

If you haven't already, consider joining the closed Facebook group Women Who Sail [the Admiral's favorite forum...] and propose this same topic.

Another would be to watch this excellent Ted Talk about the merits of risk [try to look past the focus on children to capture the salient points...] by Christopher Barnes.


Wishing you the best with your endeavors.

Cheers! Bill
 

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It's like we're trapped by our security in this suburban life, and I don't want to just stay here and work til I die. He shows me spreadsheets, and talks about all the financial freedom we'll have in 10 years or so when our youngest graduates from high school. But that's TEN YEARS. Not only do I not want to wait, but I want to get out there with our kids!
So, I feel like I need to preface this by saying "I am not an experienced sailor, and only just started learning this year, so what follows is not the advice of a sailor on how to get a spouse on board with cruising [Side-note: My long-term goal is also to convince my wife to go cruising]."

So with that disclaimer out of the way:

I can completely sympathize with your husband. I recently went through what basically amounted to a mid-life existential crisis over our own financial situation, and yes, spreadsheets were involved and calculations to determine years-to-financial-independence and all of that. It was a... sobering experience. And I can see how incredibly easy it would be for someone who is spreadsheet-inclined to get hung up on "sticking to the plan," especially when any deviation from the plan can be reflected on the spreadsheet and you see your time-to-freedom slowly inching further into the future.

If you want to try to win over your husband to the idea of going cruising for a year now, my first word of advice would be "take the advice of people with more life experience than me, who have all already posted." But, being someone who has the same dream, I'll offer some alternative advice anyway: Engage your husband on his own "battlefield," so to speak. If your husband falls back to the spreadsheets and the financial freedom in ten years, have spreadsheets of your own. Come up with a budget for cruising, so you can say "This is how much it will probably cost us to do this" (and be realistic about it). Show him (and yourself) what effect a year of cruising will have on "the plan." See if there is a way to fit "the dream" into "the plan" without wrecking the end-goal of financial freedom. Maybe you can spend a year cruising, and that pushes your financial freedom goal back by two years—is that worth it to you and, more importantly, is that a modification to "the plan" that he can accept?

The short version is this: In war, you want to choose the battlefield, but in matters of persuasion, you can't win unless you look at the situation on the other person's terms. Think about cruising the way your husband thinks about cruising, and look for a way to fit the pro-cruising argument into the spreadsheet-laden lens of "the plan."

...

And if that doesn't work, long weekend trips are always there as a bridge.
 
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I would have almost thought you were my wife except for a few details being different!

We got farther down the road toward fulfilling the dream – we were about 8 weeks away from casting off when we pulled the plug. Full time cruising was my wife’s dream and I was happy enough weekending on the bay. When we took a breath from our preparations we realized there were a lot of factors we hadn’t fully thought through.

For me it really came down to feeling that we could have more fun with the time and money we would have spent to cruise for a year or two by spreading it among a wider diversity of experiences. The luster of the dream started to wear off when I realized almost all my spare time and money were going to the boat and the cruising kitty. We like to travel places that aren’t accessible by boat and we do have hobbies outside of boating and found it was just not fun to be increasingly sacrificing other interests in pursuit of a singular dream. I admire the cruisers who can pour themselves completely into the cruising lifestyle, and they may be the ones who are best suited to go far on a small budget, but pouring myself in so fully just wasn’t working.

My wife’s doubts had a lot to do with our daughter. While we’re all for adventuring together as a family and nudging kids outside the comforts of suburbia – and have done a good bit of both, our daughter’s probably not the type of kid who’s ever going to thrive being homeschooled or being pulled away from her community of friends, grandparents, extended family, etc. for an indefinite period.

We’re both at peace with not going, at least for now, but we’ll probably try again either when our daughter is around 10-12 or once we have an empty nest. When we try again, we’ll have the perspective of not being so swept up in the dream, and being more clear-eyed about how to balance cruising with our other dreams and goals.

As a final note, until I either hit the lotto or retirement age, one thing that would allay much of my anxiety about the financial side of things would be to either arrange our lives to work part of the year and cruise the rest and/or to have some sort of income stream while cruising. No matter how much money is in the bank, to me it’s very nerve racking to be drawing down on savings when we haven’t yet earned enough to retire forever.

Don’t know if you husband has similar concerns, but thought this might help from someone who’s been down a similar path.
 

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I took a year long cruise at 40 years old with my wife and 2 daughters, then 9 and 11. That is the proper age range for a sabbatical cruise. I believe you want them to have a normal land style high school. My wife did not want to chuck everything and sail to Tahiti and never come back so we came up with a compromise - we sailed from Milwaukee across the Great Lakes, Trent Severn canal, Erie canal, and Atlantic ICW to Miami then 3 months in the Bahamas. Jobs were put on hold for a year. This trip cost on average $110/day or about $35K. Boat was sold at the end of the trip. IT WAS A GREAT YEAR for EVERYONE and we will never forget. Cruising can be a lot of things. Look for a compromise trip like we did. Mother in law lived in the house while we were gone. Cars put in storage. We came back to the old jobs. It can be done.

Now, 20 years later, I am preparing to go again. Children are grown and on their own. My parents have passed. New wife. Full retirement income I am now financially independent.
 

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Interesting dilemma, with no easy answers. In some ways, having options, or choices in life, which are often considered positives, can frequently be paralizing. leaving the comfort of the known for the unknown. A "Risk vs Reward" evaluation, as discussed in the Ted video above is a reasonable approach to evaluate some of the choices. The timeline also seems to me to be an important factor to consider.

I also have rhetorical questions that I'd ask. No need to respond or reveal personal info, but you talk about your career flexibilty, but not your husbands. Perhaps he really enjoys his work/career and wants to pursue that further. Perhaps it's not as easy to jump in and out of as yours is, should that time come?

On the financial security side, how much is enough? Can that financial plan be accelerated to shorten the time to departure. Why does financial freedom become greater after high school? Often, college expenses are the toughest to accumulate, should college be in the plan.

I see the merits of going now, while the kids are young, since it could become even more difficult as they grow older, engage in their own pastimes and activities, that may not include sailing away from their friends and activities with their parents. What are their thoughts on the matter, do they have a voice? It seems to me that everyone has to buy-in. Kids are often more fearless, and adaptible at an early age.

That said, The Chesapeake is large enough that you could spend the next 20 years sailing and not see everything there is to see and do. To get the buy-in, you might have to, as others have said, take it in steps. Get the boat, go for day sails, weekend sails and take weeklong vacations aboard. Get everyone hooked, or not. Work on the spreadsheets, see what you can do to shorten the horizon. More financial Sacrifices now to build up the kitty faster? If you're the driver of this plan, it would seem that having the solutions to all the objections will fall on you. Which means having a plan that for the most part satisfies or alleviates, to some degree, the major fears.

This, from a guy who's still trying to figure out how to take the next leap and untie the land lines. Good luck!
 
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