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Old 22-05-2013, 09:02   #1
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Cruising in 3 month chunks

I am a partner in a personal services business. My partner and I are approaching retirement age simultaneously. While we are working towards hiring our replacements, one option offered by my partner was to "share" a job, 3 months on, 3 off.

Been thinking about how this schedule might be feasible with cruising plans. Sailing to a schedule is always a challenge, but I was hoping to sail from FL thru the Pacific. I have thought of a circumnavigation, although my heart is not set on it. Is it possible to sail, leave the boat somewhere 3 months, come back, sail onwards etc? Weather patterns are a concern with cyclones, etc. Locating suitable places for storage might be an issue as well.

John Churchill Sanibel FL
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Old 22-05-2013, 09:12   #2
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Re: Cruising in 3 month chunks

well planned possible I imagine. Trouble is , each time you store the boat, you have to get back up to being ready again. even in the water you'l need a serious bottom cleaning etc. But as long as you're ready for the task and just get it done fast.. might work. You'll have to time your legs with lots of extra time for weather and other issues. You'll also have to pick your destinations making sure you can leave your boat there without reprisal/import issues.
But why not take it one step at a time? Spend time in the Bahamas and Carribean. Then make bigger decisions later! 3 months preparing and getting to Florida. next 3 months in the Bahamas. next in the DR puerto rico.... etc. ie: dont forget to just be on island time and have fun along the way....

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Old 22-05-2013, 09:28   #3
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Re: Cruising in 3 month chunks

I would echo Cheechako's advice to try it first in the relatively easy waters of the USA to the Caribbean. I think it would get more difficult as you head across the Pacific due to the long passage times and relatively limited safe places to leave the boat in storage.

Assuming you are starting in Florida, three months would be plenty of time to work your way down island after hurricane season to somewhere in the Windwards/Leewards, or even Trinidad, though that might be pushing it somewhat. Than a return for a move to say Colombia or Panama for the hurricane season. Etc. It would be quite doable to plan a circuit of the entire Caribbean this way, and then you will have a better feel for how it is working out. There are certain places where people tend to leave their boats safely for longer periods: Trinidad, Colombia, Panama, and the Rio Dulce come quickly to mind.
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Old 22-05-2013, 09:51   #4
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Re: Cruising in 3 month chunks

Be careful of Re-Entry. I was away from home for about two months. When I got back I didn't want to go back to work (self-employed). A friend hit it spot on -- "You fell into the lifestyle." I just had a hard time adjusting to not being helpful (w/o expecting a return), friendly (people think you are creepy), and the whole idea of being on the water.

Re-Entry was a bitch.

I can see where you could keep a boat in one place and cruise from there -- Say the Sea of Cortez. Then come back but by the time you have factored in air transport and ground transport and recovery from the trip you loose a few days on either end of the trip. That said if you can afford to have the boat ready for you to go it would be much easier.

I spend the summers on my boat and it is a lot of logistics to get everything in working order.
Fair Winds,


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Old 22-05-2013, 09:56   #5
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Re: Cruising in 3 month chunks

My husband was invited back to work on a consultancy basis after taking early retirement. All it took was one trip back to the US for us to determine that we had adjusted to retirement on our boat just fine, and the work-a-day life no longer suited. While our experience may not fit everyone, based on other cruisers' reports of returning to work, it is not a negligible deal. You have to move from total control of what you do and when you do it to having your life controlled by a schedule rather than weather. Somehow it seems quite an imposition.

With coastal cruising in the US, one of your 3 months batches will be in cyclone season.
How might that affect your plan?

Honestly, it might be better if the 3 on 3 off were spent touring in the US. Had you considered a loop from Sanibel, through the canals, down the Chicago River, Tennessee R., and out into the Gulf of Mexico? At least, your saltwater growth would die and fall off in the freshwater Great Lakes. Might be a way to stay close enough that you don't have too much seasonal trouble, just remember the northern guys take their boats out for the winter....perhaps why you live in FL?
Ann & Jim, U.S. s/v Insatiable II, SE Qld, for a while
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Old 22-05-2013, 10:26   #6
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Re: Cruising in 3 month chunks

A guy Tom Piper is on his fourth circumnavigation on his J/160. the first 3 were done while he was still in practice as an Orthepedic surgeon. He also included the Sydney Hobart and Transpac in a few of them. I don't know his exact schedule, but would do several months, store the boat, fly home. I believe sometime he had paid crew of the boat and other times friends on board or just unattended in a marina.

It's surprising his legend is less well known.

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