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Old 09-09-2007, 16:47   #1
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Is this a reasonable plan?

Hello, all-

A few months ago I posted a thread in which I stated that I was a somewhat experienced sailor (ok, really only 3 years!) but had no real experience with cruising...my wife and I are considering dropping out of the rat race and hitting the seas until the money runs out. I received much encouragement from this forum, which was appreciated.

Since then I've done as much sailing as possible (56 days this summer so far), as much reading as possible, and as much learning as possible. I've been desperately trying to find a boat on which I could work as crew and have posted my info on many, many sites. I've come to the conclusion that the only way I could actually get aboard a boat is if I were a 24 year old bikini wearing model who is open to "possible long term romance" with a 50-something captain. Unfortunately, I'm a 40 year old man with a slight beer gut.

So I've come up with another plan: I am selling my J80 boat and will spend whatever proceeds I get on an older, ocean-worthy boat located on the West coast. Something in the 30-35' range with a solid hull. From there, my wife and I get our sh*t in order for a couple of weeks and then shoot for a roundtrip sail to Hawaii. If the trip goes well and she doesn't get horrifically sick or kill me with her bare hands, we sell our house, liquidate what we can, and buy a nicer boat to live aboard. If it doesn't go as planned, we sell the boat in California, cut our losses, and go home to South Dakota.

So here's my questions: Is this a bad plan? Is there a better way for a couple like us to learn if we're cut out for this? Is there a better place to sail to than Hawaii? Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Jeff
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Old 09-09-2007, 17:32   #2
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It is a plan that may well work.

Just as food for thought, have you considered chartering a boat for two or 3 weeks? It will give you the idea of what living aboard is like, without all of the work associated with finding, buying, insuring, (repairing), fitting out the first boat, allowing you to go stright to either (a) we like this - lets buy a live aboard, or (b) no, this isn't for us, lets leave ti at that.
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Old 09-09-2007, 17:43   #3
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Originally Posted by jkirstein View Post
So I've come up with another plan: I am selling my J80 boat and will spend whatever proceeds I get on an older, ocean-worthy boat located on the West coast. Something in the 30-35' range with a solid hull. From there, my wife and I get our sh*t in order for a couple of weeks and then shoot for a roundtrip sail to Hawaii. If the trip goes well and she doesn't get horrifically sick or kill me with her bare hands, we sell our house, liquidate what we can, and buy a nicer boat to live aboard. If it doesn't go as planned, we sell the boat in California, cut our losses, and go home to South Dakota.

So here's my questions: Is this a bad plan? Is there a better way for a couple like us to learn if we're cut out for this? Is there a better place to sail to than Hawaii? Any advice is greatly appreciated.
Jeff, I would suggest you give more thought to your plan. You say you will find a 30-35' boat, then sail it to Hawaii and back after a couple of weeks. Unless you buy a vessel that's already set up for such a long, demanding passage, I doubt you'll find a couple of weeks adequate time to prepare.

If it were me, I'd sell the house as soon as possible, for whatever I could get. Real estate is going nowhere for the next two years at least, and if, after a couple of years of trying out the cruising lifestyle, you decide to swallow the anchor and get another house, you will have a veritable plethora to choose from and be in the power position - a buyer with capital in a buyer's market!

My suggestion would be to cruise down the Baja coast and, perhaps, up into the Gulf of California (Sea of Cortez), then down the Mexican west coast. It seems to me that cruising is the point of this way of life, not heroic passages.

If you both are in agreement that the cruising life is meeting your expectations at that point, and your vessel has proven itself up to the task, you would then be in a good position to go offshore. Not bound for Hawaii, though you could do that, but bound for the Marquesas. Once you've accomplished that, you're already in Paradise, and the rest of the South Pacific is close at hand and begging to be explored.

If, after your Mexican cruise, you discover that cruising isn't what you both want to do, put the vessel up for sail in Mexico and fly home.

If you do go to Hawaii, and decide you'd rather head into the South Pacific than return to California, you will have a long passage southward to the islands of the South Pacific. If you do stay in the cruising lifestyle, you will get all of the long passages you could ever wish for.

TaoJones
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Old 09-09-2007, 20:10   #4
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There is a lot of merit in the advice of the poster above. Crising certainly doesn't have to involve long offshore passages. Many people can happily spend years as live-aboard cruisers, just coastal cruising and island hopping. If you did do the Hawaii trip and found that you didn't enjoy it or got seasick, it wouldn't necessarily prove anything about future trips. Remeber, also, if you did intend to move up to a bigger boat for longer term live-aboard, a bigger boat may well be more comfortable and sea-kindly in her motion in offshore conditions.

I should point out that I never owned so much as a row-boat before going out and buying my own boat (40' ex-racing boat). I celebrated the purchase by sailing it over 1100 nautical miles to get it home.
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Old 09-09-2007, 21:01   #5
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OK. A bit of a clarification. My wife and I are very goal oriented and have a circumnavigation in mind. And no Panama Canal either.
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Old 09-09-2007, 23:46   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Weyalan View Post

I should point out that I never owned so much as a row-boat before going out and buying my own boat (40' ex-racing boat). I celebrated the purchase by sailing it over 1100 nautical miles to get it home.
Yes but god looks after the impaired and Taswegians
Hope he looks after Sagitarians as well because I am doing the same but building the boat first.

Mike
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Old 10-09-2007, 01:00   #7
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OK. A bit of a clarification. My wife and I are very goal oriented and have a circumnavigation in mind. And no Panama Canal either.
3 years experience + 56 days on your J80 this year is great. TaoJones is a wise sage however and I agree with a lot he has to say.

Your next step is to get experience in a boat with big boat systems - inboard, electrical, galley, head, etc. and also to get some coastal and offshore experience.

From what I gather you don't live near a coast and your sailing is lake sailing?

I am in a very similar place to you and in my short weekend trips I am constantly pushing my own envelope. The absolute differentiator in my mind is the weather. Learning to read what's coming and getting the boat in a sail trim to handle the upcoming conditions. sailing in big seas is exciting and I haven't even seen "really" big seas yet.

The next skill is provisioning (including water management) and feeding the captain and crew underway.

Based on what I have learned in the past few months I couldn't imagine myself pushing off for Hawaii in a 30 foot boat. Especially one I just bought. We bought ours in April, thought it was in great shape and we are still getting her "cruise" ready.

I too am very goal oriented. We had laid out a goal to sail to Tioman island this year but we are running late. When the southeast monsoon comes in mid-November we could be looking at some hairy stuff on the South China Sea. We haven't cancelled our plan but we aren't dead-set to go against all odds.

If chartering isn't your bag then buy the boat but do some coastal cruising next.
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Old 10-09-2007, 05:56   #8
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This is a great discussion for me to follow. We are in a similar situation, landlocked sailors dreaming of taking off in the near future. In preparation we bought a 27 foot Com-Pac that we are trailering to coastal regions for experience cruising. We want to cruise some different regions before committing to a big boat purchase. We're heading to SoCal in a couple weeks for a two week cruise. San Carlos next April and so on.
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Old 10-09-2007, 07:25   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jkirstein View Post
Hello, all-

A few months ago I posted a thread in which I stated that I was a somewhat experienced sailor (ok, really only 3 years!) but had no real experience with cruising...my wife and I are considering dropping out of the rat race and hitting the seas until the money runs out. I received much encouragement from this forum, which was appreciated.

Since then I've done as much sailing as possible (56 days this summer so far), as much reading as possible, and as much learning as possible. I've been desperately trying to find a boat on which I could work as crew and have posted my info on many, many sites. I've come to the conclusion that the only way I could actually get aboard a boat is if I were a 24 year old bikini wearing model who is open to "possible long term romance" with a 50-something captain. Unfortunately, I'm a 40 year old man with a slight beer gut.

So I've come up with another plan: I am selling my J80 boat and will spend whatever proceeds I get on an older, ocean-worthy boat located on the West coast. Something in the 30-35' range with a solid hull. From there, my wife and I get our sh*t in order for a couple of weeks and then shoot for a roundtrip sail to Hawaii. If the trip goes well and she doesn't get horrifically sick or kill me with her bare hands, we sell our house, liquidate what we can, and buy a nicer boat to live aboard. If it doesn't go as planned, we sell the boat in California, cut our losses, and go home to South Dakota.

So here's my questions: Is this a bad plan? Is there a better way for a couple like us to learn if we're cut out for this? Is there a better place to sail to than Hawaii? Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Jeff
Have you thought about borrowing against the your property and renting to meet the repayments ,this way you still acrue equity,just idea but if you dont like cruising you still got somewhere to go back to,,good luck Mike
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Old 10-09-2007, 11:57   #10
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I have never crossed an ocean and have no real interest in doing so. However, I am always fascinated by people who have done this and I pestered many such people with questions when we encountered them while cruising the Caribbean. I never met anyone who claimed to really enjoy long passages, at least not with two man watches. The prevailing view seemed to be that such passages are the price you pay to get to paradise, the good ones are boring, the bad ones are exciting, and all of them are exhausting.

Unless you are trying to set a record or something, I think you will find that long passages are a very small part of even a circumnavigation. By starting out with one, you get a distorted view of what cruising is really like and you emphasize the part which you are least likely to enjoy.
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Old 10-09-2007, 15:13   #11
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It is a plan that may well work.

Just as food for thought, have you considered chartering a boat for two or 3 weeks? It will give you the idea of what living aboard is like,
I have been wondering about this myself.

That is; How does one really know if they will like cruising without trying it?

Is 2 weeks on a charter enough? Certainly one week is not, I would think. It seems to me a minimum of a month or two = not affordable.

I know there are some things I would not like too much but would the things I do like out weigh the bad?

I keep wondering.

Summer in FL is really muggy/hot but then so is DC in the summer no?

I can sail, anchor, plot (coast wise), fix motors, solder, tie knots (splicing 3 strand I still need the diagram to get started - wire to braid, forget it), paint, sand, finish, do minor glass work, etc. I know DC pretty well but do not know exactly how the charge controller keeps safe when the alternator is pushing 30+ amps while the sun is shining.

I have always wanted to know exactly how things work, not just that they are working.

I just keep wondering.
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Old 10-09-2007, 15:39   #12
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I'd plan on doing lots of coastal crusing before I headed out. A few weekends, then a week, and gradually increase both the duration and the distance sailed. Get into a few blows and a few breakdowns close to a harbor. 1000 miles out in a storm is not the place to try and figure out how to jury rig a steering system to replace the rudder that just fell off when it slammed a whales back! Baby steps... \\good luck on your endeavor
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Old 10-09-2007, 17:39   #13
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Jeff,
a good plan is based on you and your wife's desires and goals. Selling the house and sailing, works for some but not for others. Houses appreciate and boats depreciate. What can you and your wife afford to loose? Tania, Pardeys, and others have sailed for years on small vessels. Is that the life you and your wife envision? If you do than go for it. Write books, articles, or work menial jobs to make ends meet. Life is what you make it, Whether you live aboard or on a farm in the country. You and your wife can only make the decision. Is your plan a vialbe one? All plans are viable. Whether they work or not depends how hard you and your wife works at it. I have a friend with an eighth grade education. He is worth millions because he words hard. Did he have luck? People claim that you make your ownluch through hard work.

John
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Old 10-09-2007, 22:45   #14
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I think you'll be fine. Just remember that a guy sailed a 22 foot boat made of plywood around the world:
Yoh Aoki Sailing Around The World

You'll pull it off. I've found that sailing has three key ingredients: time on the water, energy (physical and mental), and money. If you are applying all three of those on a continual basis, you'll be crossing the world's oceans in no time flat.
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Old 11-09-2007, 04:39   #15
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If you have basic sailing skills (i.e. getting the boat to move under sail power, can navigate and are able to read such things as maintainance manuals, books written by people who have actually been cruising) then you have all you need to start cruising. From what I can gather, most circumnavigations are spent at anchor (80-90% of the time) and the longest passages (if following the 'easy' tradewind route) are around 25 days at sea.
Let me put it like this, 12 years ago I upped-sticks and went from the UK to the caribbean (back now, another story). I'd sailed for about 20 years at that point, but all short trips - think over-nights on various boats. The longest continuous trip I had done was to sail across the English Channel, i.e. about a 12-14 hour crossing out of sight of land. I was living on a boat in the Channel Isles and a friend who worked for the same company appeared onboard one afternoon and said he was thinking of joining a rally from the Canary Isles to Barbados (not the ARC, this was organised by Mount Gay Rum). I took about 6 weeks to think about it and one of my worries was my comparative lack of long-distance sailing. My friend's answer to that was by the time you get to the Canaries (1400 nm of mainly coastal cruising) you'll have all the experience you need to cross the Atlantic.....he was absolutely correct!!!!
Circumnavigating via the Capes rather than the canals is a bit more ambitious and will need a slightly sturdier boat, but do some background reading. Personally, for a couple I think a 40ft boat would be comfortable, but this of course depends on budget. Think about what level of comfort you find acceptable- i find the Pardeys an entertaining read but my days of cr***ing in a bucket, doing without a fridge and generally 'camping' on a boat are long gone. Having said that, basic seamanship doesn't change much. Things mechanical/electrical have moved on a bit since Hal Roth, the Pardeys and the Hiscocks wrote their books.
So, if you have common sense (possibly the most important thing), some sailing skills and the desire to go....do it. Remember plans are meant to be changed (the capes route may not seem so attractive after a couple of years tradewind sailing). Oh yes, for your (and your wife's) peace of mind, both of you take a basic diesel maintainance course, a basic first aid course and a basic survival at sea course. equip the boat as best you can (background reading is invaluable) and enjoy.
Lastly, do read books. The internet is great, but you really don't know if the person giving you advice knows what they are talking about.
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