You mention two words that I'll pick on: regrets and fear. You're too young to have regrets.
So, you missed some time with your girl(s). She/they'll get over it and most likely already have.
Fear: Sure, it's healthy, especially in sailing, since it prompts that most important aspect: thorough preparation. But until you've cruised locally before setting out on your dream trip, you will have NO idea what to expect, unless you've done some already, which I may have missed.
Many, many folks on this forum are a lot more accomplished than I am in long term cruising
, and are "out there." Others, like a64, are in the planning or early doing stages. But all of them have valid inputs for you.
I just finished a six week "cruise" from San Francisco
to British Columbia
in our 30 year old boat, with my 28 year old son. I thought of it as a cruise
(because of pending weather), he thought of it as a restaurant tour of northern California
. We visited four anchorages
and a dozen ports
. Where do you think the food
bills were less?
And of the harbors/ports, most were incredibly inexpensive compared to what we were used to in San Francisco
for the past 35 years. Neah Bay was $21, Lapush was $15!!!! OK, plus $4 per day for power.
You say you've read a lot of the earlier posts on cruising costs. All of the issues raised here have been discussed so many, many times already: It all depends on what YOU want to spend and what your lifestyle is. We can't change your habits or behavior, only YOU and your family
can do that.
And where you go and how much you choose to anchor
out WILL affect how much you spend. I don't care where you go, except perhaps in those local places, eating out always costs more than eating in. If it didn't there wouldn't be any restaurants left, they'd all be outta business.
The rest of your "equation" is the boat and maintenance
costs. Again, these have been covered extensively in those earlier posts which you said you read.
You are in a pretty healthy position. You're young, you have $$ and you have a built in fallback.
I think you're over analyzing this. 3% or 4% won't make a hill of beans difference if you spend less and tuck away some for repairs
. What's so hard?
I'm 70, have owned boats for 35+ years, cruised extensively in Northern California
, owned this boat for 18 years - she's thoroughly "shaken down." And I just fulfilled my sailing dream with this recent trip: I crossed the Columbia
River bar, entered Lapush, and moored in front of the Empress Hotel
in Victoria Harbor on my own 30 year old boat
. We only "sailed" the last day, the rest was motoring north, but we had fun.
Go for it. KISS.