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Discussion Starter #1
Here''s the dream. I plan to be debt-free on land, buy a good cruising boat suitable for six people or more (40'' plus), and be outfitted and ready to sail through the Pacific and beyond in about four-five years. My wife is supportive, my son is intrigued, and we''ll still have some money to put toward retirement. All this involves selling our SF Bay Area home which has greatly appreciated in value in the last seven years to finance the plan. I think I''ll even be able to squeeze in a cruising budget that could hold me for at least 2-3 years.

But first, I need to learn how to sail and get some cruising experience!

I''m fortunate to have a wife who supports the dream, I''m turning my attentions to the practical considerations of supplementing my income while living the cruising lifestyle (learnig diesel mechanics, for one), and am giving myself about five years to reach that goal. The five years is partially to wear down the debt and gain the requisite sailing experience to do this.

My wife has even tossed out the notion of retiring to the Philippines (she was born there) so our retirement finances could reach further, and it''s a possibility.

Any thoughts appreciated!(I''m 47 last week)

[email protected]
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Chris.. thats quite a dream, love it... BUT.. don''t sell the house until you and your wife and son and anyone else who will be cruising with you get some cruising experience. You might find that just sailing around the bay area and off shore or to Mexico or Hawaii once in a while in your own boat will be enough to satisfy that dream, and a warm house is a nice thing to come back to...don''t burn your bridges until you are sure the cruising life is for you...spend a week on a boat even if its at a marina...just get some kind of taste of what your in for first.... Rick R
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Chris
Follow the dream but I agree with Ric. Make sure you like what you think the drean will be. I started sailing when I was 47. I am now 54 and Suzie and I are setting out on our extended world trip in April 2002. We had an 8 year plan. I too was fortunate. My wife is a very good sailor and after owning a25fter for a couple of years we bought or current yacht(see our personal page)set up asailing school, got all my "tickets" and we are counting down. Just sold the house, moving out in a few months to rent whlie the $accumulate in the super fund, retire at 55 and off.

best of luck with your dream
 

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Discussion Starter #5
My husband and I are also on the 5 year plan. I was only introduced to sailing two years ago, my husband has been sailing most of his life. I have no doubt this is the right choice for us, but we have no blue water experience. We plan to gain some by crewing on one of the Boat US ocean races (Hampton to Bermuda, or Virgin Gorda) or maybe take a long charter vacation. We hope to do this in the next year or two, before selling our house and buying the perfect boat. If you are like us we read every possible book/article we can get our hands on about ''The Dream''. Gaining experience has just been one of the many recommendations from others who''ve moved on to the simplier life. Best of luck to you.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Jen
My bias is that racing and cruising are like chalk and cheeze. We ocean raced a 40 ft farr for some years and I have to say thatsome racers I have known have difficulty in making the transition to a gentler cruising lifestyle, because that is what true cruising is, a journey not a destination. There is nothing more off puting for me to have a modern hull shape that pounds in a seaway for the sake of a couple of extra knots and then bounces around at anchor when the sea and wind gets up. I think it is tremendous that you are thinking of doing a passage to experience it. I respectfully suggest you do so on a cruising, not a racing event as the two a light years apart. No disrespect however as a sailing school instructor might I also suggest that if you are seeking to be taught sailing , do so by yourself at a reputable school. regardless of how good a sailor hubby is, our experience is that often good sailors do not make good teachers and husbands teaching wives/partners is a often a lethal combination that destroys the sailing dream. Anyway for what it is worth there is my suggestion to consider
Hope to see you on the watersomewhere in the world. Best of luck in following your dream and if you want any books on cruising together, I can recommend a number.
Rob and Suzie
South Coast Sailing School
Australia
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Sounds like a plan. My wife and I are thinking similarly. We''re both 34 currently, and have an almost 4 year old and a one year old. We''d like to take to the water in 5-7 years at the outside (my wife and I are still discussing the "when is the right time to take the kids" issue; I''m thinking younger & sooner, finances permitting). We''re pretty much debt free, but we''re not looking to come back so we''d like to make sure we can get the kids through college some day.

Everything I''ve heard or read suggests you don''t burn your bridges first. Also that you try extended vacation cruises, and living aboard the boat for a few months before you quite your day jobs. I''m trying to get my wife to go off to a women-only sailing program, or a class without me, to get her confidence up in her own skills. We have a few years to work on it, but we''re doing as much coastal cruising and weekending as we can now.

We know we''re going to need a different boat for the long haul, but we''re looking for the next few years to pack in as much experience as possible. This summer''s objective will be Anchoring; we''re going to try to NOT stay in as many marinas and moorings as we can.

There are now tons of books out there on the topic, written from a family perspective,m a women''s perspective, couples, etc. Still waiting for the "Cruising Pet''s Log" to show up in press <g>. We''re reading a lot; we have yet to take any firm & concrete steps towards the life though.

Good luck though, and I hope to see you out there.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
My best advice is to go for it , hope to do the same some day. One thought does come to mind, learn outboard motor repair, seems a real need in most parts of the world, even basic knowledge will help. Later and good luck MRT
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Hi Cruisers.

I just turned 51 and my 5 year plan is just about complete. I am putting the house on the market in May, plan to move aboard my 41'' ketch in August and will leave this year or in May of 2001.
Making my old boat like new has cost me about 5 years of the cruising kitty leaving me in real money crunch. :-( Since I am a skilled blue collar electrician however, I had better stop whining and plan to strap the tools on to supplement my income if I want to circumanvigate.
I am looking for a skilled female first mate to help with the boat chores but without a doubt, I will leaving on those dates for the adventure of my life time.

Fair Winds and Following Seas, My Comrades
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Last spring I had an epiphany that I wanted to sail around the world when I retired. At the time I was dating this cute little Texan girl who thought it was pretty cool At the time I had never set foot on a sail boat. Any way after my little epiphany I learned how to sail last summer at a local club, and then spent my spare time muddling around the lake in a 8’ home made pram honing my skills. Getting the sailing bug a little more, I bough my self a ’82 Coronado 15 this past December, and have spent the last 4 months doing a ton of fiberglass work, painting and all around re-fit to it, I figure that it will be water ready in two weeks. I figured this boat will allow me to start chasing my dream, and give me some good experience before it is time for something bigger and better.

Being that I am only 25, and that there is a lot of time between 25-50/65 I was started getting depressed because collage life is behind me now, and I was starting to settle into the daily pace of the desk job, and realizing that I would have to buckle down and be like the rest of the people in this country, and work the same job for the next 25 years. Then, my cute little (now wife to be) Taxan girl had an epiphany. She always wanted to become a travel nurse, but never had a chance to. Well seeing me always working on my boat and having been bitten by the sailing bug her self. She thought that we could kill two birds with one stone, She would sign on as a traveling nurse, and pick assignments in coastal cites, and then we would just sail from job to job, hopefully sailing from the east coast to west coast.

I figured I will also need to take a job so that I can keep saving for retirement, but I don’t want to be flipping burgers. I am currently working for an airline as a Aircraft Structures Engineer. Most of it is sheet metal stuff but there is a fair amount of composite stuff. So I figure I might be able to hitch up with a local boat yard fixing boats while not at sea.

As for the sailing experience, she had one day sail on a 36’ Catalina in Wa. St. , and I have a couple hours in a sunfish and pram. I figured our little dingy and local club will help fill us in on the rest. This evening, we seriously sat down together and figured out the finance of the matter, and realized that by 2003 we would have all but our house paid for, and by 2006 we could probably sell the house and pick up a good used 40’. But between now and then we have a lot of sailing to learn.

I figured we would do this for a couple years, until kids came along, and then play it by ear after that until we retire. Then I want to circumnavigate the globe.

Well thats my story, if anyone has some advice on what other avenues of work (with my background) I could do while traveling let me know. I figure I might also pick up an A & P license also since they are also in pretty high demand, and diesel repair course also.
 

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Jen
There are any number of ''ocean races''
that can be done whether you are a racer or a cruiser. I have a cruising sailboat
(C&C Landfall 48) that causes IMS certifiers togiggle when measuring. Still
have done the Newport Bermuda race and Marion Bermuda race a couple times each.
The marion-Bermuda race - from Marion
Mass (Buzzards Bay) is an ocean race specifically for cruisers.
Another advantage of doing an ocean race for the experience is the safety - or at least the sense of safety. There are a 100 other boats out there close enough to assist in an emergency. Plus the coast guards on both ends are on the look out as well.
Regardless of hull shape doing an ocean
crossing in this way is worth the experience.
 

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Jen
On the other hand, when you are ready to choose the boat for long term cruising, the more sea kindly, traditional hullshape and displacement makes a lot of sense.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
It sounds like you have a great plan - my suggestion is that you evaluate the different methods (the spartan Larry Pardey style as opposed to the megaboat style of the Deerfoot boats), talk with as many people WHO HAVE BEEN THERE (try not to pay too much attention to those who are armchair sailors), and try to match the best parts of all of these to your lifestyle. For example, there are peole who are happy doing a passage on one pint of fresh water per person - I wouldn''t dream of cruising without a watermaker and a fresh water shower every day. Neither is right, it is just what works for them. I have shared an anchorage with a Catalina 22 that used a boom for a mast (and no boom), the crew living on rice and beans. The same anchorage had $1M megaboats with electric everything. We all watched the same sunsets, and took turns playing guitars on the beach together. I wish you luck in finding your own way. And when you think about quitting, both before and during your cruise, just remember Winston Churchill''s parting words to the graduating class at Oxford, "Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, EVER GIVE UP!"
 

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Chris & the group:

A couple of observations...
1. There''s no ''right'' answer to the ''buy boat sooner'' vs. ''later'' choice, as each has its advantages. Buying it sooner allows you to modify/refurb it to your needs (and learn far more about the boat than otherwise would be possible) but while making decisions about gear that you''re only guessing at due to lack of experience. Buying it later makes a certain financial sense, as you have less overhead in the interim. Also, buying it later but with a budget that requires a relatively quick getaway will force you to ''buy'' more help in readying the boat - more costly AND you''ll lose on the learning curve. A 3rd option is to downsize sooner (from the house), locking in the capital it can produce, get the boat and enjoy the freedom to tear into the boat without living on it.
2. It is so, so common these days, the economy having been so good for so many people (aka: would-be cruisers short on experience) to see folks quickly buy a LOT of boat. Cruising boats today tend to be big, relatively expensive, relatively complex, and represent a sizeable investment (thereby making insurance mandatory, which may in turn dictate where you may not take the boat). While a bigger/more complex boat is not necessarily a bad one, is it right for you? With any budget that places a relatively short & finite end on your cruising plans (2 yrs is SHORT in cruising terms!) and requires you to continue working down the pike, is it really wise for you to start with the bigger/more complex boat? I think there''s a lot of value in choosing as ''small'' a boat as you need and keeping it basic until...
3. You get more experience. I''d highly recommend the Baja Ha-Ha for you, as it''s common for boats to take extra crew, there''s a mechanism in place for getting selected as crew, the educational element is there, it''s offshore but in small bites, and you can seek participation multiple years on differing boats, each time increasing your learning. See Latitude 38 - BTW, perhaps the BEST reference for you, given your lack of experience & also your goals - for more details. Free at every WM store...
4. How about readjusting your goals by adding an interim step? Get the boat at whatever point you think makes sense for you, don''t quit your job, and make a short-term voyage before deciding what the boat needs & before burning employment or perhaps residential bridges behind you. This is so easy to do from the Bay Area, e.g. by planning a summer cruise down to San Diego via the Channel Islands (REAL offshore sailing & anchoring), and coastal hopping back north. An even better trial run is to make your own cruise to Mexico and back (the Ha-Ha runs too late in the year to return to SF). If the leave of absence can''t be obtained in the right amount, consider trucking the boat back (many do) after cruising with fair winds south. Only THEN are you sure the boat''s right for you & the crew, and only then can you probably decide on what it lacks and what you ''need'' vs. would like to have.
5. Also, don''t overlook local crewing options, which are bountiful on the Bay, for both you & your wife. You''ll learn a lot about sail handling & sailing, and if you can''t find time to do this for one full season, it''s fair to ask yourself how serious you are about the bigger goals.
6. Avoid general advice (e.g. like you hear on message boards) but focus on ones specific to your goals. E.g., whether a watermaker is ''essential gear'' or not depends on lots of variables (until you head for the SoPac, I''d label it as a ''nice to have''; once in the SoPac, it becomes ''essential). Re: supplental power sources, solar is great in Mexico, but wind generation better in the SoPac & Caribbean. Everyone''s got opiinions to share (me included); sift thoughtfully thru what you hear with your own goals clearly in mind. Also, don''t forget that it''s only when you truly begin cruising that some needs will surface, and you can meet them in many places in the world. Put another way, not ALL the boat gear needs to be installed upfront, saving you money & time when just getting away from the dock is so expensive & difficult!

Good luck; yours are great goals, tough to achieve but with ample rewards.

Jack Tyler
Visiting Pensacola, but normally aboard WHOOSH, currently lying Port of Spain, Trinidad
 

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I was wondering about the best time to sail across the Atlantic to Europe. I am going with a friend who has sailed extensively in the pacific i.e. central and south America. He is Czech. He doesn''t read english and wanted to find out about the currents and best time for an Atlantic crossing from the canal. Thank you very much. please email me if you can : [email protected]
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Chris,

If you''d like to get some professional instruction and an opportunity to sail offshore with your instructors, take a look at http://www.sailingschool.com . I''ve taken several courses with these folks - they know what they''re doing, their boat is well found and you''ll meet people of a like mind from all over. One couple I met are from Redding, CA and they''re already on year one of their five year plan. You will learn practical skills that are a must for cruisers like radar and collision avoidance, navigation using paper charts, computer charts and even a sextant. Good luck and good sailing!

--Mike
 

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Discussion Starter #17
One suggestion. Don''t sell the house until you and your intended have lived aboard the boat for a while.

I just bought my retirement home, a Columbia 36. I am having some work done and the bottom painted and the yard has promised third week in june. I am gong to bring it back to Baltimore, and spend weeks aboard.

Not this fall, but next fall I plan to try the ICW. Eventually, I will be trying the trip to the Bahamas, and so on. Depends on how much confidence I develop. But no hurry. If I like it, I continue. If not, I come back home to Baltimore, where I still have a house. I am not burning any bridges.

I have sailed a bit in 22'' sailboats on the Chesapeake Bay. I have not sailed a 36-footer. There is a difference. This summer I will find out how much.

Cam Whetstone
[email protected]
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Just do it! I''m not saying get on a boat you''ve never sailed before and get underway for Tahiti. On the other hand theres nothing more depressing than spending years trying to prep a boat "absolutely perfectly" for a voyage you may not even enjoy. I''ve seen to many folks rotting in port after years of preparation.
Get a good boat. Don''t pay to much. Sell the house, what''s going to happen? You won''t be able to find another one if you decide not to sail around the world? Of course not. Make sure the boat isn''t going to sink, catch on fire or lose the rig over the side on the first couple of sails. Then sail the hell out of it. Plan short reasonable voyages. Daysails at first, then overnighters, learn your boat. Learn yourselves. The boat will get prepared as a matter of course.
Most importantly you''ll mantain your enthusiasiam and momemtum by sailing all the time.

My experience that allows me to offer such great insights??
Thirty thousand offshore miles or so...I bought my first cruising boat at twenty years old, it was great to live on but a terrible boat to cruise in. I''m now thirty, have an Alden 52 that was designed and built to sail the world, am selling the house this month or next and going sailing.

If you''re afraid to sell your house and you still plan on going sailing offshore, you might want to rethink the whole thing. There are millions of houses but you only have one life to live.
 

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Is this for real or I''m going nuts? I''m also 47 years old; recently divorced, sudently this idea of sailing the world just struck me. Please let me know that I''m not going crazy or just trying to scape reality, but I''ve found this situation very appropiate for breaking free from this competed world.
Maybe it is the opportunity for starting that great 5 year plan you are talking about. I dream of this all time, even when I''m working or visiting customers, I talk to them about this but they don''t seem to understand what I exactly mean (Living all the possesions behind)

Tell me it is not impossible to acomplish.

Bayoan
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Hey Bayoan! Your just hanging out with the wrong crowd! Get some sailing friends. There are lots that do live the dream and we''re not running away from anything.
It''s totally possible and a great idea for anyone looking for a life differant than the one so many of us live in the city. ( At least until everyone in the city learns our little secret and spoils all the fun. But most of them don''t have the nerve.)
You don''t need to be a millionaire or have sailedd since birth. You just need a lot of desire and and a little determination. There''s lots to learn but take it slow and carefully and it will all come easy.
See you out there!
 
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