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Old 18-02-2017, 03:15   #1
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Is this a realistic plan?

Hi! My first post here

I would like to ask for advice, please, regarding the plan outlined below.

My wife and I are both in our early 40s, with two young kids 9 and 6. Everyone gets along (at least in our immediate family!), and thankfully there are no relevant medical conditions. We are based in Sydney, Australia.

Our plan is to take half a year off work, go over to Italy or Croatia in mid-April, buy a sailing monohull in the 12m - 15m size range, and live aboard during the Mediterranean season. By mid-October, the boat would have to be hauled out for the winter, though we have not yet entirely dismissed the possibility of spending winter aboard safely in a marina somewhere.

While we are certainly not wealthy, money is hopefully not going to be a constraint, at least for a year. The plan is to limit ourselves to US$100K for the boat, or US$150K tops, which probably means something from the 2000-2005 timeframe, most likely either Jeanneau or Beneteau.

Our sailing experience is very limited, and that is the primary area of concern. Altogether, we have maybe 10 weeks aboard sailboats, with only a couple of weeks in command (bareboat charter in NZ). As of last month, we are both certified RYA Day Skippers, and for the past 15 years we have pottered around Sydney and the surrounding areas in a small 6m motorboat which I built from scratch (welded alloy). While short on practical experience (work somehow always gets in the way!), I have been reading books about boating and sailing for the past 30 years, and I am reasonably knowledgeable about electrical systems and mechanical maintenance.

We have been scouring Yachtworld and other brokerage sites for months, to the point where we are now hopefully sufficiently familiar with the market. The idea is to pick a boat, get a professional survey done before we land over in Europe in April, and then pay a deposit if the survey results are reasonable. Safety is the primary goal. If necessary, we would update the rigging, sails, liferaft, electronics... anything and everything which is important for the overall safety of the vessel and crew.

While underway, everyone would always be tethered and wearing auto-inflating lifejackets, with a personal AIS MOB system, and we would always stay in a safe harbour as long as necessary to wait for good weather. Both of us are cautious and conservative, especially when it comes to the safety of our children. Initially, the plan is to sail only short daylight hops until our experience gives us greater confidence. We would almost certainly be sticking to Italy, Croatia, and perhaps Western Greece, without any time pressure or schedule deadlines. Of course, the kids will be undertaking the official NSW Distance Education program.

Given those parameters, does this sound like a reasonable plan, or do you feel that the level of risk is too high given our lack of sailing experience?

Thanks for any and all input.

Andre
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Old 18-02-2017, 03:23   #2
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Re: Is this a realistic plan?

Yes, go for it. Very do-able with plenty of boats to choose from, great service and thousands of places to see in the Adriatic. PM me if you have and questions.
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Old 18-02-2017, 03:47   #3
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Seems a pretty well thought out plan covering all base's and importantly you've got yourselves the basics of boating/sailing out of the way..
Another big plus is you've not set yourselves a time limit to do things in so are free to pick and choose where and when to sail.
Start with small hops to easy ports and gradually build up your experience and knowledge of the boat and its/your strengths and weaknesses.
Kenomac's been out that way for a couple or three years now so should be a useful source of good and bad places.. but beware buddy boating with him.. he only likes going out if its blowing 30knots plus..
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Old 18-02-2017, 04:25   #4
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Re: Is this a realistic plan?

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Andre.
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Old 18-02-2017, 04:53   #5
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Re: Is this a realistic plan?

Very reasonable plan.

Regarding your purchase plans, paying for a survey of a boat that you have not seen first person might not be wise. Boats are rarely as they are represented in listings; the prose is optimistic and pictures tend to make everything look better than it is. I'd suggest that you'd be better served taking a week to look at boats, making the offer, which will require a good faith modest deposit, THEN the survey. Usually there is post-survey negotiation to adjust the price based on findings, then closing and paperwork.

As far as your reservations about experience, one opportunity is to serve as volunteer crew on a longer passage or delivery with an experienced captain. You will learn a TREMENDOUS amount about every aspect of managing a boat at sea; navigation, weather, seamanship, maintenance, etc. And all it will cost you is airfare there and back.

The old adage "You don't know what you don't know until you're around people who know it" was never more true than with captaining a boat at sea. There is no learning better than first hand experience under the supervision of a knowledgeable person.
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Old 18-02-2017, 05:04   #6
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Re: Is this a realistic plan?

Andre,

If you buy in the East Med, there are huge areas of flat water where you can build up your skills and get more comfortable with the hows and the whys (as well as with the obvious donots).

So buy in the spring, sail thru the summer and then hunker down for the winter. Winters in the East Med can be rough and at places with cold periods. But the choice of marinas and harbours is very good so you will have zero challenge finding a place you like.

I think your plan sounds good. Spend some time studying the legalities like visas, taxes and permits. If you are an AUS citizen the EU law will treat you as a foreigner and so there will be some limitations on your stay and maybe also on your boat's stay (without importation).

All the best to you and all your family. Have fun. Enjoy the Med!

BTW The stretch from Sydney up to Torres beats Med hands down in sailing terms. Think twice if you might have closer at hand things most Europeans can only dream of.

Cheers,
b.
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Old 18-02-2017, 05:19   #7
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Re: Is this a realistic plan?

Couldn't you just buy a boat in Sydney and build up your sailing skills there?

Looks like there are plenty of places to sail ......
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Old 18-02-2017, 05:42   #8
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pirate Re: Is this a realistic plan?

Quote:
Originally Posted by thomm225 View Post
Couldn't you just buy a boat in Sydney and build up your sailing skills there?

Looks like there are plenty of places to sail ......
Where's the adventure in that.. and the experience will be an awesome education/experience for the kids in later life..
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Old 18-02-2017, 05:55   #9
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Re: Is this a realistic plan?

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Originally Posted by boatman61 View Post
Where's the adventure in that.. and the experience will be an awesome education/experience for the kids in later life..

It's sailing!

The adventure will come with the weather, tide, and the boat (especially if it's small and old with an iffy engine and you lack sailing skills)

The point is you could build up your sailing skills at home and learn about boat buying then take your trip.......and you don't have to wait until April.

You could begin your adventure today!
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Old 18-02-2017, 08:22   #10
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Re: Is this a realistic plan?

Your plan is as realistic as it gets without more experience. And you have done what you can to gain experience. Sounds like you're on the right tack.
Safety is about seamanship and preparedness. Dependable, oversized ground tackle and knowing how to heave-to are far more important than a life raft. But a life raft is valuable for peace of mind; just don't ever use it. (grin)
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Old 18-02-2017, 08:31   #11
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Re: Is this a realistic plan?

If your dream is the Med and Europe, then go to the Med and Europe. Follow your hearts and "do it now' because there is no "later".

My relatives say much of Europe is crowded with refugees (all men) and many cities and areas are not safe for women. And there is theft and crime where there was never much crime before. I have not been there recently. But our relatives now come to the "wild west" for vacations rather than their homelands.
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Old 18-02-2017, 08:33   #12
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Re: Is this a realistic plan?

As Michael Jackson said so well: "Just do it!"
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Old 18-02-2017, 08:39   #13
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Re: Is this a realistic plan?

Not unlike my plan, the biggest waste would be going through life without doing it. It would be awesome for the kids. I've just finished my second bareboat charter and like you am looking to purchase and take time off work. Good luck.
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Old 18-02-2017, 08:40   #14
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Re: Is this a realistic plan?

WELCOME TO THE GROUP !
Sounds like a great plan. You learn as you proceed slowly and live aboard and see Europe.
Great idea.
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Old 18-02-2017, 10:11   #15
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Re: Is this a realistic plan?

Sounds good to me.

However I concur with the comment about getting the survey done before you see the boat. I wouldn't do that. What you could do is below.

About 2 months before you will be in Europe, start talking to sellers of the boats you want. There will be a lot with unrealistic prices. For all of them you need to know the prices that a particular boat recently sold for. For the ones that are unrealistically high, tell the seller the absolute highest you are prepared to pay and see if they change. If the seller sticks to the high price, cross that one off the list. You can do this from Australia. You are qualifying the sellers and saving your time. You will end up with a list of possibles to check when you come to Europe.

When you come to Europe, check them all out and make an offer on the best one, but subject to survey.

Naturally some on your list may be sold before you get to Europe but some won't.

Good luck and let us know how you go.

Brian
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