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Old 21-05-2016, 14:17   #1
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Long term cruising questions

My wife and I are nearing retirement and we are thinking about buying a boat to live on while cruising Europe and the Mediterranean. My wife lived in Italy for almost three years, speaks Italian and Spanish, and really wants to go back, maybe to spend the rest of her life there. I've worked there for a couple of months and visited a few other times and I like it, too. We are US citizens, but if they build that wall we want to be on the other side of it.

We may eventually rent or buy a house on land, but would like to spend two or three years cruising before such a static lifestyle sets in. I'll probably have a lot of questions as the next few months pass, so be sure and let me know if I'm in the wrong forum.

We are well aware that the dream rarely matches the reality. Here's the dream. Please be nice when dosing us with reality.

We would like to more or less follow the nice weather. Northern Europe in the warmer months and the Mediterranean the rest of the time.

We would buy a mid-sized power boat because my wife does not feel confident she could handle a cruising-sized sailboat if anything happened to me. I am leaning towards a Dutch made steel boat. We saw some while in France a few years ago and they seem nice and well made. Probably 13 to 15 meters for comfort and to have room for visiting friends. (Our boating friends are already signing up.) Twin small diesels and a bow thruster for economy, maneuverability, backing in to docks (that will be a new experience, but I'll get used to it.) I have seen a number of these steel boats with good specs for both canals and coastal waters and would be interested to learn what others think of them.

We would not expect to be in a hurry. We've both seen enough of the world that we do not rush from one "sight" to another, trying to see everything and really seeing nothing important. We anticipate finding places we like and spending time there.

We would hope to spend more time docked and less time anchored, but do not know how economical or feasible this is.

We will be cruising with our small dog. Any advice on getting her to Europe, getting around with her in Europe, potty-time on the boat or ashore, finding quality food and healthcare, etc. would be very welcome.

We would hope to accumulate enough knowledge during this time to actually be able to contribute answers to this forum and not just questions. More of which will follow.

I'm open to feedback, suggestions, etc. I probably don't even know everything I need to think about. Our timeframe is probably about a year before we set out on this adventure. Any enlightenment will be appreciated.

Thank you,

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Old 21-05-2016, 14:41   #2
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Re: Long term cruising questions

Oh boy.... Here comes your first dose of reality. The Mediterranean has winter, you don't want to be in most of it on a boat between The first of November until the middle of May. There are a few spots like the southern tip of Sicily where a bunch of cruisers hang out (in a marina) in Marina Di Ragusa to await Spring, but.... you're not going to be doing much sailing, or boating if any.

On the other hand, the Med is fantastic from June 1 until October 15th or so. Rich in culture, great food and wonderful anchorages. You just have the timing a little wrong.

When I say winter, I mean temperatures similar to Washington DC and New York City and winds that howl for days without end.... 30-50 knots isn't unusual. And yes it rains quite a bit to. Usually you get a combination of any two on a given winter day. EG. Cold and windy, rainy and cold, windy and rainy... you get the idea.

So you don't get discouraged, here's our plan: We cruise the Med for five to six months during the summer, then do all inclusive resorts and cruise ships for a couple of months in the Caribbean during the winter. The all inclusives end up being much cheaper than moving our boat or buying a second boat or house.
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Old 21-05-2016, 14:54   #3
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Re: Long term cruising questions

Its all achievable.
The dog maybe more of an anchor.

Sent from a stupid phone that replaces words with weird stuff.
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Old 21-05-2016, 15:27   #4
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Re: Long term cruising questions

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Originally Posted by Kenomac View Post
Oh boy.... Here comes your first dose of reality. The Mediterranean has winter, you don't want to be in most of it on a boat between The first of November until the middle of May...When I say winter, I mean temperatures similar to Washington DC and New York City and winds that howl for days without end.... 30-50 knots isn't unusual. And yes it rains quite a bit to. Usually you get a combination of any two on a given winter day. EG. Cold and windy, rainy and cold, windy and rainy... you get the idea.
Hmmm. The Greek islands or Turkey, too?

Thanks for pointing this out. I'm from Oregon, which is quite a bit more northern than those locations and very rainy, so I'll have to look up the climate info and see how it fits into my own perceptions of weather. We currently go south to southern California for the winter and find it very nice with lows generally above freezing and highs sometimes even too hot. I'll definitely have to look into this. And here I was afraid it would be too hot in Siciliy during the winter.

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So you don't get discouraged, here's our plan: We cruise the Med for five to six months during the summer, then do all inclusive resorts and cruise ships for a couple of months in the Caribbean during the winter. The all inclusives end up being much cheaper than moving our boat or buying a second boat or house.
Per the posting after yours: the dog might not agree that this is a good plan. :-)
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Old 21-05-2016, 15:30   #5
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Re: Long term cruising questions

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The dog maybe more of an anchor.
How so? I'm already learning about the challenges of getting her over there. Will she make us unwelcome while we are cruising? She's only a 12 pound rat terrier / Italian greyhound cross, but can get feisty at times. She is always leashed and we pickup after her. She will probably spend most of her time underneath a pile of blankets.
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Old 21-05-2016, 16:27   #6
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Re: Long term cruising questions

Get a canal boat, you can spend a long time doing canals and see a lot of place.s.
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Old 21-05-2016, 16:45   #7
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Re: Long term cruising questions

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Get a canal boat, you can spend a long time doing canals and see a lot of place.s.
We gave canal cruising a trial a few years ago and my wife does not want to do it full time. We are hoping to get a canal capable boat and enjoy the trip through France when headed north/south.
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Old 21-05-2016, 17:03   #8
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Re: Long term cruising questions

Are there any older, non-EU citizens living aboard permanently (ie: for more than a two years) in Europe?

I would have expected EU visa restrictions and health care issues would make the idea a non-starter for all except the very wealthy.
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Old 21-05-2016, 17:08   #9
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Re: Long term cruising questions

Look up a wonderful book called Travels with Lionel.
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Old 21-05-2016, 20:15   #10
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Re: Long term cruising questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenomac View Post
Oh boy.... Here comes your first dose of reality. The Mediterranean has winter, you don't want to be in most of it on a boat between The first of November until the middle of May. There are a few spots like the southern tip of Sicily where a bunch of cruisers hang out (in a marina) in Marina Di Ragusa to await Spring, but.... you're not going to be doing much sailing, or boating if any.

On the other hand, the Med is fantastic from June 1 until October 15th or so. Rich in culture, great food and wonderful anchorages. You just have the timing a little wrong.

When I say winter, I mean temperatures similar to Washington DC and New York City and winds that howl for days without end.... 30-50 knots isn't unusual. And yes it rains quite a bit to. Usually you get a combination of any two on a given winter day. EG. Cold and windy, rainy and cold, windy and rainy... you get the idea.

So you don't get discouraged, here's our plan: We cruise the Med for five to six months during the summer, then do all inclusive resorts and cruise ships for a couple of months in the Caribbean during the winter. The all inclusives end up being much cheaper than moving our boat or buying a second boat or house.
I spent a couple of winters on Rhodes (1960-61) and I don't remember terrible winters, more like So Cal. Of course, I was stationed on a 340' USCG Cutter -VOA transmitter ship- which had to split to the lee of the island a few times when a Santa Ana type wind came roaring out of Turkey.
I think if you were in something like the new Rhodes marina or the Mandraki, you should have no problems.
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Old 21-05-2016, 21:39   #11
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Re: Long term cruising questions

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Are there any older, non-EU citizens living aboard permanently (ie: for more than a two years) in Europe?
A good question and if there are I hope they'll see this thread.

I doubt if we would do it permanently. We'd probably cruise for two or three years, then move to a more permanent house if we decide to stay long term.

Quote:
I would have expected EU visa restrictions and health care issues would make the idea a non-starter for all except the very wealthy.
I know nothing about visa requirements and restrictions for various lengths of stay. When my wife lived in Italy for three years she was married to a US Navy officer (prior to me!) so visas did not apply. And all of my visits to Italy, France and Germany have been two months or less. This is certainly one thing I'm hoping to learn something about with my postings.

We are healthy enough that we do not foresee serious problems for the next few years. But your point about health care and health issues is very important. You might be right that this could ruin the dream. Either now or when problems arise and we're in the wrong place to deal with them.

And you're right that immense wealth does not seem to pay attention to borders. But we're not wealthy so I think we're stuck with following the rules and obeying the laws. We have both worked hard (too hard) for our whole lives and have a nest egg to spend during our retirement, but we don't have money to squander.
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Old 22-05-2016, 01:58   #12
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Re: Long term cruising questions

A bit of reality my fine feathered friend -- but first our credentials -- older as we are 70 & 69. We have just started our 4th year in the Med after spent a bit of time sailing the east coast of the USA and Bahamas then western Carib and Eastern Carib before we did a 2 person Atlantic crossing -- We spend winters in Tunisia and Turkey

First bad news in and really bad is Schengen -- do your research and you will find 90 days in 90 days out -- makes it tough but with some ingenuity you can work it out - biggest issue you will face
Second bad news - as above you don't sail the Med in the winter - first it is a bit chilly - I grew up in Ohio milking cows at below zero and I know cold and it is not that cold but darn chilly -- then you get the winds which really howl at times and of course with the winds come big seas on a short interval - makes life very pleasant when underway -
Third - a lot of places just are not open in the Med in the winter - no one comes so businesses shut down

We live on social security and it is very doable - and you can get a lot of traveling in - we have - but you need to plan and watch the calendar a bit -

let us know what else we can do for you -

OH yea and nothing beats sailing into Venice or Rome or as we are now Istanbul --
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Old 22-05-2016, 02:07   #13
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Re: Long term cruising questions

Like Chuckr wrote. We visited Menorca twice for three weeks each time, once in November and again in March. Unless traveling inland, it was a big eye opening disappointment. All the resorts and most restaurants and stores anywhere near the marinas are shut down and much like ghost towns.... everybody leaves except for a few security guards with not much to do.

No stores, no shops, no services and no people. It's like that here in Sardinia too, where most people employed in the marine industry or tourism shut down and travel back to the mainland to work in other professions, or just take a few months off. Most of the homes and the hotels are also empty.
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Old 22-05-2016, 02:31   #14
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Re: Long term cruising questions

Search the forum for Schengen and for VAT rules. Many discussions. Unless you can get residency, you are limited to 90 days in and 90 days out.


Weather...depends on your expectations. We spent the winter before last in Rome and parts of this winter a couple hours south of Barcelona. Weather was nothing like NY. More like Atlanta. You had a few nights where it touched freezing but typically warmed up to 50-60F during the day.
I wouldn't shy away from sail boats right off the bat. You can always motor until you get the hang of sailing or maybe you never do. It's not like the sailing police will ticket you for motoring. The big advantage is they are typically the maximum efficiency.
Twin engine with bow thruster is redundant. Negligible maneuvering advantage and more cost to maintain two propulsion engines. If you feel the need for twin engines for backup, skip the bow thruster as it's not needed.
Yes, many of the small coastal towns shut down in the winter but prices usually drop like a rock in the winter, so you can pick up a slip in a major city which will stay open over the winter.
The dog depends on exactly what you plan to do. Anchored out, it's a pain. In a slip where you can get him on and off easily, it's no big deal. If you have to fly him transatlantic regularly, there is a cost and a hassle and most dogs don't enjoy the process. No problem with locals, lots have dogs. If you get residency and will be staying for years without returning, and staying in a slip most of the time, I wouldn't worry about it.
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Old 22-05-2016, 04:01   #15
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Re: Long term cruising questions

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We will be cruising with our small dog. Any advice on getting her to Europe, getting around with her in Europe, potty-time on the boat or ashore, finding quality food and healthcare, etc. would be very welcome.
We cruise with two large dogs (Labradors) and we have not experienced difficulties moving them between the countries we have visited (Spain, Croatia, Montenegro and Greece). They have "pet passports" that confirms their shots are up to date but, as I recall, we only had to produce them only once, in Cavtav, when returning to Croatia from Montenegro.

For flying they go in in the hold in portable kennels. Your dog may be small enough to go in the cabin.

Pet food is available in virtually any food store and more specialised food and vets are available in the larger towns.

There are many threads on "potty-time" elsewhere in this forum.

Southern Spain (Alicante, Murcia, Almería and Málaga) also tends to have mild winters but I would not plan to do much cruising at a that time of the year.
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