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Old 13-09-2009, 09:44   #1
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Sometimes I Feel Like I'm Just Dreaming...

First off I have to say you guys are fabulous for welcoming new people to this forum. I stumbled on this forum back in March and received a warm welcome with my first post as well. I had no idea at the time that there were so many new members. Thanks for taking the time.

After reading several books (like Voyager's Handbook, The Cruising Life, All in One Boat, An Embarassment of Mangoes, to name a few),keeping up with this forum, browsing yachtworld.com and reviewing designs and prices of boats that I'm interested in I have experienced a wide range of emotions. I have been excited that the cruising lifestyle is in our future, impatient with our seven year timeline, lusting after the Jones' boats, discouraged that the smaller boats are so expensive, inspired by the adventures of others, confident a smaller boat is for us, discouraged by the prices, excited that this is in our future..... it has been a roller coaster.

As a result though, I have tons more questions and lots more reading to do. I've got no problems staying motivated and inspired. I just need to write this to stay connected.

Our plans are to set sail in seven years when my husband retires with a military pension. This will be our cruising kitty. During this time, we think we can accumulate approximately $200,000 USD to buy a boat. We are still certain that we want a catamaran. Probably between 38' - 42'. Although I am a novice at checking them out, I focused something fierce on the Leopard 40. But with seven years to go there is no point in picking out a specific design. We will be sailing with three teenagers so some individual space is an asset.

This is the part I find most discouraging ... back in March I thought that $200,000 was a nice chunk to spend on a boat, even a cat. With inflation and the reality I see in the boat prices (even in this reduced market), $200 K is going to buy a pretty old cat or a pretty small cat or a pretty basic cat.

So my thoughts are ... we are going to be limited to the catamaran charter fleet. (December 2016 move aboard in the Caribbean *fingers crossed*). Since my plan was always to do some seriously long coastal cruising with limited offshore passages down south to develop our sailing and liveaboard skills (and visit all the fabulous places in the Caribbean). During this leisurely two to three year time frame, we could slowly upgrade our boat's sails and equipment list from a charter yacht to a serious bluewater vessel. The plus side is we would know from experience exactly what equipment we need and want.

In todays dollars, we'll have $50,000 annual pension from my husband. This is Canadian money and it is before taxes. I realize there is not much point in converting it to USD since the exchange fluctuates too much from year to year let alone almost decade to almost decade. We are already pretty frugal in our lifestyle ashore (relatively speaking), cooking fabulous meals from basic ingredients, no cable or satellite TV, one vehicle family, dial up internet, basic phone, no shoe or purse fetish, kids don't get even close to everything they want and they don't want alot since they don't see commercials on TV. Our big splurges are for travel. I don't know exactly what our cruising costs will be (because I haven't done it) or how much it will cost to make upgrades to a charter cat , but right now I think that we have a good cruising kitty.

We would also have rental income from our lovely but modest suburban home in Ottawa (capital of Canada). Very rentable I think. But I am not convinced it is worth the headache. We love our home and really want to have it back in 20 years or so when we come back from cruising . Even if we sold it, we would invest all the money to purchase property when we came back rather than add the investment income to the cruising kitty or increase our boat purchase fund. If we rented our house for $1500 (easily right now), we'd have $1000 per month after property taxes and maintenance costs since there are no mortgage costs. We could add that money to the cruising kitty.

I know I probably give way too much info. I don't go up to strangers on the street and tell them about my personal dreams and finances. Honest.

Am I on track or out to lunch?
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Old 13-09-2009, 09:54   #2
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If we rented our house for $1500 (easily right now), we'd have $1000 per month after property taxes and maintenance costs since there are no mortgage costs. We could add that money to the cruising kitty.
Your monthly kitty from the MIL pension should be good for a reasonable lifestyle.

I would not consider selling the property if you can manage without.

There is no reason why you should not consider a degree of loan offset by SOME of the house rental in order to get the boat you need. The rest should be invested in low risk investments to provide coverage for periods when the house is empty or you need major repairs that the MIL pension cannot 100% cover.

I consider boat purchase + 30% for improvements to be my funding aim.
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Old 13-09-2009, 10:38   #3
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Thanks Talbot, I appreciate your advice. I've seen a few charter cats in our size close to our price for sale this year. So buying a charter cat with basic equipment is not feasible for extended coastal sailing if we only add a few key pieces of equipment each year?
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Old 13-09-2009, 10:53   #4
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There is no reason why you should not consider a degree of loan offset by SOME of the house rental in order to get the boat you need.
To be honest, I had never considered that option at all. I had resolved to pay cash for our boat from the start so did not consider partial financing. Only problem with that is if there were long periods of time between tenants. Ottawa is a government town short on rental income. I'll crunch some numbers.
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Old 13-09-2009, 11:17   #5
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I wouldn't normally make this suggestion, but what about putting a boat into charter? You get a boat at the end of 5 years. You get 6 weeks sailing all over the world every year. The boat would be well used, but it seems that's what you are looking at now?

There have beena couple of people here very satisfied with their boat at the end of the contract. BEST WISHES on a successful solution.......i2f
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Old 13-09-2009, 12:05   #6
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Thanks Talbot, I appreciate your advice. I've seen a few charter cats in our size close to our price for sale this year. So buying a charter cat with basic equipment is not feasible for extended coastal sailing if we only add a few key pieces of equipment each year?
The biggest problem with a charter cat versus a liveaboard, is that a charter cat maximises the number of bunks, whereas the liveaboard requires decent living space and storage.
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Old 13-09-2009, 12:09   #7
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To be honest, I had never considered that option at all. I had resolved to pay cash for our boat from the start so did not consider partial financing. Only problem with that is if there were long periods of time between tenants. Ottawa is a government town short on rental income. I'll crunch some numbers.

I cannot advise you in this area as I do not have any knowledge of the market in this area.. I earlier suggested that you use some of the finance from the house. I would suggest you take advice on likely take-up on the house and do not use more than 40% of that value after tax and expenses. Given the market at the moment, that should give you some degree of protection.
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Old 13-09-2009, 12:21   #8
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I2F,

I had eliminated that as an option right from the start because of criticism of charter boats. Most particularly the lack of maintenance.

I appreciate your suggestion and will certainly look into it further. I don't suppose someone would like to give me the Coles notes on this and the names of those others who were happy sailors. Specifically, of course, I am interested in numbers... rather $$s.
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Old 13-09-2009, 17:00   #9
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Monos are stable too...

You would be looking at a cat that is a little marginal for what you want.

It might seem a little strange but monos in the larger sizes are very stable. You have a while to run yet so I wouldn't rule out most of the available boats (that's monos) in your price range without at least checking them out first.
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Old 13-09-2009, 18:26   #10
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I'm one of those who did the charter thing. Leopard 38/Moorings 3800, Belize 5yrs, Footloose 2 yrs.

The risk is that you're buying a used boat in advance. A benefit to me was that I've learned to sail in a number of great locations and have formed my own opinions about what suits me best. Financially, a used Leopard 38 is selling now for US$50K more than I put into it over that period of time. Best thing I've ever done.

The maintenance with charter companies is an issue. Like any rental property it will see lots of use, largely by newbies (like I was..) and the maintenance during that period is often rushed for rental turn-arounds and is clearly not that of a privately owned boat. However, the phase-out at the end of the contract is where you either get a good boat or a bucket of troubles. Time, patience and personal involvement in the phase-out process makes the difference.

I was lucky. The boat I initially chose (when I knew little-to-nothing about sailboats) turned out to be the boat I still like best today. (ie Simonis designed Leopards)

The charter thing is not for everyone, but it sure worked for me.

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Old 13-09-2009, 19:40   #11
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Don't forget to give your dream life! I don't know if you are already a proficient sailor or not but sometimes in the $ and cents of planning the dream learning to sail gets lost...buy a small engineless boat. Learn from your mistakes...go to a learn to sail school...these things will keep the dream alive as you wait to take off, and you will feel much more confident when the day does come!

Bob
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Old 13-09-2009, 21:15   #12
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Look at this link: Seafire.
Searunner's are fantastic boats and I think this is one of the best examples. It's listed at $80,000. I've chartered a 45' Leopard and the Searunner is a far better boat in most respects unless you are more interested in a condo that floats type of boat. I don't mean to disparage the charter cats but they are heavy their sailing qualities reflect that.
Good Luck with your search.
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Old 15-09-2009, 12:26   #13
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- - If your primary purpose is to cruise the coasts and Caribbean Islands - definitely go for a wide catamaran. Very little of your time will be spent actually moving from island paradise to another island paradise. Most to the time you will be living on board and entertaining, and exploring each island paradise. The advantages of the Catamaran are obvious when you look around the anchorages and see that there are too many cat's to count versus the declining numbers of mono-hulls. The wide footprint of the Catamaran is a dramatic improvement over mono-hulls as most of the eastern Caribbean anchorages have persistent swells resulting in mono-hulls constantly rolling all day and night while the Catamarans stay serenely stable. Boils down to when living at anchor you cannot beat a catamaran.
- - Speeds, carrying capacity and all the other stuff - after you are loaded for long term cruising - is too close between cat's and mono's the notice the difference.
- - Mono's ride better in open oceans and seaways, but that is only a fraction of the time you will be living on the boat. The disadvantages of the catamaran out in the ocean and choppy seas are easily accepted when the voyage is less than a day in length.
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Old 19-09-2009, 19:39   #14
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Thanks for all the great input!

I am really sold on a catamaran. The learn to cruise program we are doing in January is on a monohull though. And probably our first few charters will be as well. The monos are just way more economical for a single family charter.

And I can't think of one of our friends who would want to charter with us and our three kids. None of our couple friends have kids.... would you sign up for that (let alone pay to be part of it)?

EXCEPT ... the couple with FOUR kids (THREE boys) (ALL UNDER EIGHT). Wow! I was tired when we came back from dinner at their place. I'm not inviting them unless they leave their kids behind.... They might be up for that though!
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Old 19-09-2009, 20:28   #15
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January will be a perfect time of year to learn to sail. Good luck on your first step toward reaching your dreams
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