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Old 04-09-2012, 23:12   #1
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Pack It Up and Sail. Ambitious Undertaking?

Greetings everyone.

I'll start with a bit of background in an effort to induce a bit of familiarity, hopefully leading to obtaining better advice. That's right, I'll be honest, I'm planning on using you for the abundance of information that can surely be found here

I'm from NZ and so is my fiance and we are 29 & 28 yo respectively. My schooling is in Mechanical engineering and her's in Theater and the arts. We are considering a grand undertaking. Naomi has another 8 months to go before she finishes her studies which will bring us to mid 2013 at which point we plan to buy a boat, sail the world for around 2 years, sell up, settle down in the USA and create a few little ones.

This undertaking is all the more ambitious because:
a.) Both of us have 1/10 Sailing experience
b.) We have $60k USD to spend
and,
c.) the risks involved are both numerous and varied (as I'm sure will be outlined in any comments).

That's right, no experience sailing, we don't even count Naomi's first 4 years during which she was brought up on a boat. (see Naomi's Dad is a bit of a legend. In his 40's he bought a steel hull and used the resources of his hydraulic company to fully build the rest and proceeded to sail off in search of adventure. He sailed the world from 1968-1988 stopping only briefly to build a new boat. Some of you may have even come across ***Name Removed per poster's request*** and/or his boats, Polack and Polette.

The '2 years' is not set in stone but the earliest we can leave is mid 2013 and the latest we want to wait to start having kids is when we are 32/33 => 2 years. Also we love traveling for extended periods, having backpacked for 2 years 5 years ago, so 1 year would be a minimum.

At the moment we are looking at:
Over the next 8 months familiarizing ourselves with sailing through any means necessary except when that means spending money.
$35k on a 32-36' sailboat, ready or near-ready to cruise.
$25k to get us as far as we can go.
we also have $15k emergency fund.
That is everything we own.


So that's the what, why and when. We were hoping for some help on the how. We are very excited and scared. Also this is not a pipe-dream, we have no problem packing up and setting off into the sunset if the plan is financially feasible - our friends tend to laugh at us

Are we deluded? Crazy?
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Old 04-09-2012, 23:31   #2
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Re: Pack it up and Sail. Ambitious undertaking?

Welcome to the Forum.

As plans go yours looks to be logical, sensible and doable.

As a minor quibble cruising can take much longer than any of us could ever anticipate and can be very weather and season dominated. Have you considered allocating more time to preparation, and maybe planning to work between cruises?

If you do only want to go for two years why not pick one of the major cruising areas (Caribbean, South East Asia, East coast Australia, Mediterranean...) and just do that. Buy the boat there and sell it at the end.

Distances in the Pacific are huge so maybe leave that one for later.

And from my current experience, sailing is easy. It's the "pack up" bit that is stressful and takes forever.
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Old 04-09-2012, 23:44   #3
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Re: Pack it up and Sail. Ambitious undertaking?

Another idea might be flying to some area where there are many good values on boats to purchase.
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Old 04-09-2012, 23:53   #4
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Re: Pack it up and Sail. Ambitious undertaking?

Not crazy at all. We just happen to be mutants from the perspective of others who cannot relate to the calling. You are very fortunate to have a partner that shares the dream.

You may be pushing the envelope on the budget side, but others have done it. The used boat market is very soft and it is a very good time to be a buyer.

I'm sure you realize there is so much to learn. Not just seamanship and chosing the right boat, etc. If you're going to go for it, you're likely also going to learn living a much simpler lifestyle than your current one as soon as possible. Besides, by cutting your current lifestyle to a more basic simple one should also help you save more and add to your budget. But then, you may already be doing what I'm suggesting.

FWIW. Hope this helps.
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Old 05-09-2012, 03:55   #5
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Re: Pack It Up and Sail. Ambitious Undertaking?

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, xduncanx.

Yes, and Yes. Welcome to the club.
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Old 05-09-2012, 04:09   #6
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Re: Pack It Up and Sail. Ambitious Undertaking?

Welcome aboard! I think the plan sounds great, and I think you can do it...but the first rule of cruising is: Mother Nature will pay no attention to your plans, so always be ready and willing to change them! Have a great time...you'll find loads of info on this forum.
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Old 05-09-2012, 06:30   #7
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Re: Pack It Up and Sail. Ambitious Undertaking?

with your experiance and budget in the grand scheme of things it will not get you very far.
it can take a year just to get a cheap boat into a fit state just to leave,and a lot more money if you do not know what you are doing.

i reccomend keeping the money in the bank as a nest egg for when you arrive in the usa.
in the mean time you could quite easily do a circumnavigation as crew on other peoples yachts,at a fraction of the cost,gain valuable experiance and perhaps even get paid once you have a bit of experiance.

then once you get to the usa buy a decent sized boat to live on and fix up,have kids,make a few million,and bugger off when the kids are about 10 years old,with money in the bank and some solid experiance!
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Old 05-09-2012, 07:07   #8
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Re: Pack It Up and Sail. Ambitious Undertaking?

Quote:
Originally Posted by atoll View Post
with your experiance and budget in the grand scheme of things it will not get you very far.
it can take a year just to get a cheap boat into a fit state just to leave,and a lot more money if you do not know what you are doing.

i reccomend keeping the money in the bank as a nest egg for when you arrive in the usa.
in the mean time you could quite easily do a circumnavigation as crew on other peoples yachts,at a fraction of the cost,gain valuable experiance and perhaps even get paid once you have a bit of experiance.

then once you get to the usa buy a decent sized boat to live on and fix up,have kids,make a few million,and bugger off when the kids are about 10 years old,with money in the bank and some solid experiance!
ps also by then you will probably want to return to nz,having realised it is one of the nicest countries in the world to live in and a great place to bring up kids!
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Old 05-09-2012, 07:35   #9
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Re: Pack It Up and Sail. Ambitious Undertaking?

Your friends are the deluded/crazy ones. You just need to firm up your plans, experience and finances a bit.

This is just something to consider: Buying a boat in the USA and outfitting it there will probably save you money. The Caribbean and Central America are relatively easy for novice cruisers and you'll never see it all in just a few years.

You are on the right track in boat size staying under 36' and 32' - 34' is better.

Lastly, don't ever let the naysayers influence you.
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Old 10-09-2012, 19:42   #10
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Re: Pack It Up and Sail. Ambitious Undertaking?

Thanks for all your advice and words of encouragement. I created the thread purposefully vague and hope to delve into the forum once I get a better handle on what I'm looking for. For now I hope to add some definition to the plan.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Boracay View Post
As a minor quibble cruising can take much longer than any of us could ever anticipate and can be very weather and season dominated. Have you considered allocating more time to preparation, and maybe planning to work between cruises?
As I stated our schedule is fairly constrained but we'd be happy to get at least 1 year on the water out of the next 2 1/2 years. We'd also be fine to pick up work here and there with whatever skills we can muster.


Quote:
Originally Posted by zUrchin View Post
I'm sure you realize there is so much to learn. Not just seamanship and chosing the right boat, etc. If you're going to go for it, you're likely also going to learn living a much simpler lifestyle than your current one as soon as possible.
No worries there. I've been a student for 6 years, a backpacker on a shoestring for 2 years after that and living on 1 income ever since. Will we ever have money to lavish around? Besides, the simpler the better for this trip I say.


Quote:
Originally Posted by rgscpat View Post
Another idea might be flying to some area where there are many good values on boats to purchase.
We are considering this. When looking at boats for sail in Florida it was clear that the market was far far bigger than New Zealand's. In addition the boats were cheaper (by about 35%) and, seemingly, in far better condition. Problems with this idea include:
we'd have to move to Florida to live while we found a boat - potentially significantly increasing set up costs
We'd have to learn to sail our boat away from home and our income.
Are there any other hubs like Florida where a large market that encourages such competitive pricing?
In New Zealand the price you see a boat listed for is the price you pay. Is it the same in the US?


Quote:
Originally Posted by atoll View Post
it can take a year just to get a cheap boat into a fit state just to leave,and a lot more money if you do not know what you are doing.
This is the main concern with us. Ideally we'd like to compress this part of the process down as short a time-frame as possible. Is it possible to Stay 2 weeks in an area with a high turnover of boats expecting to buy one and be on the water after that period?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Boracay View Post
If you do only want to go for two years why not pick one of the major cruising areas (Caribbean, South East Asia, East coast Australia, Mediterranean...) and just do that. Buy the boat there and sell it at the end.
This is good advice and on my list of things to start a thread about. I would think that East coast Australia, North West Mediterranean and the Caribbean would be all quite expensive. South East Asia seems like a good bet, What are the cheaper areas to cruise around?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Waterway Guide View Post
Welcome aboard! I think the plan sounds great, and I think you can do it...but the first rule of cruising is: Mother Nature will pay no attention to your plans, so always be ready and willing to change them!
We know this too well. 6 months into our backpacking trip Naomi was very unfortunate to break bones in both feet misjudging a step down in the dark. Needless to say, Poland is not the most wheelchair friendly place. But you roll with the punches and that little incident and the different path we had to take subsequently was almost certainly for the better in the end.


Quote:
Originally Posted by atoll View Post
i reccomend keeping the money in the bank as a nest egg for when you arrive in the usa.
in the mean time you could quite easily do a circumnavigation as crew on other peoples yachts,at a fraction of the cost,gain valuable experiance and perhaps even get paid once you have a bit of experiance.

then once you get to the usa buy a decent sized boat to live on and fix up,have kids,make a few million,and bugger off when the kids are about 10 years old,with money in the bank and some solid experiance!
That sounds very sensible, however, it could be argued that it would take longer to find a captain willing to take on novice sailors for an extended cruise wile also having the same traveling interests and mindset as we have. Thoughts? Also the end game at this stage is not to live aboard a boat indefinitely. The idea of waiting till the kids grow up a bit worries us, as with the weather, life is always ready to change your plans.


Quote:
Originally Posted by atoll View Post
ps also by then you will probably want to return to nz,having realised it is one of the nicest countries in the world to live in and a great place to bring up kids!
There's probably more truth in that than i realize.
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Old 11-09-2012, 00:08   #11
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Re: Pack It Up and Sail. Ambitious Undertaking?

GO FOR IT. You sound like you have a realistic attitude and a good back ground for it. Even if you lose your tail when you sell the boat at the end, you will have had an experiance that you will never forget.____Grant.
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Old 11-09-2012, 06:59   #12
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Re: Pack It Up and Sail. Ambitious Undertaking?

Quote:
Originally Posted by xduncanx View Post

As I stated our schedule is fairly constrained but we'd be happy to get at least 1 year on the water out of the next 2 1/2 years. We'd also be fine to pick up work here and there with whatever skills we can muster.

The trick is to buy well - i.e. don't buy something that needs a ground up refit (or a variation of!), especially not in the belief that you haven't!

In practice should not be more than a few months. Some have done far less. Some have done far more (intended and not!).

The price of that is likely to be size and mod cons (there is usually a very good reason why something big appears cheap / good value). Time spent looking before leaping is time (and money) saved later. Not to say to avoid anything older, some nice stuff around. But plenty of worn out boats that need a major refurb - great if you have the time and enjoy the work involved (see the thread in my signature ), but not so great if all you want to do is use the boat.

Also worth having a look at the Cruising Equipment thread / list in my sig - the collected wisdom of CF. The needed, the desirable and the simply nice to have - all a judgement call for each to make, according to own needs and desires.


No worries there. I've been a student for 6 years, a backpacker on a shoestring for 2 years after that and living on 1 income ever since. Will we ever have money to lavish around? Besides, the simpler the better for this trip I say.

If you can live simpler it is cheaper and easier (less to go wrong) - but the trick is to be happy doing that. Everyone has different ideas on what is "simple" - very few don the whole hairshirt (the mental ones ). You get to decide what yours is - over time it will change, and likely involving more conveniances . IME helps if you haven't yet been "spoilt" ashore!


We are considering this. When looking at boats for sail in Florida it was clear that the market was far far bigger than New Zealand's. In addition the boats were cheaper (by about 35%) and, seemingly, in far better condition. Problems with this idea include:
we'd have to move to Florida to live while we found a boat - potentially significantly increasing set up costs
We'd have to learn to sail our boat away from home and our income.
Are there any other hubs like Florida where a large market that encourages such competitive pricing?
In New Zealand the price you see a boat listed for is the price you pay. Is it the same in the US?

Everything is negotiable Not to say that everyone will negotiate - but certainly the default is that the asking price won't be the selling price. But no rules of thumb on how much off that is (and a squillion CF threads on that subject).

Certainly I would buy elsewhere than NZ if possible - apart from cheaper and more choice it means that your first "foreign" adventures do not involve some serious bits of ocean. Whilst of course can sink a boat anywhere, the shorter the passages the less chance of problems (boat and self inflicted!) becoming a serious problem to deal with as always easier to fix stuff when ashore (and have access to stuff / people).

Where? Very much up to you - never been to the Carribean, but I figure part of the reason so popular is that (apart from US being so close) is that the area is both fun enough and can be as challenging as you want it to be - or not......my understanding is that plenty of places that are well on the beaten track (and priced accordingly), but plenty of other places that are not.

IMO Eastern Med would also be worth a look (bear in mind personal visa issues if no EU passports) - of course not all the Eastern Med is in the EU!

I wouldn't get too hung up on the RTW thing - a vague ambition for sure, but will find plenty to keep you occupied elsewhere - if you want to.


This is the main concern with us. Ideally we'd like to compress this part of the process down as short a time-frame as possible. Is it possible to Stay 2 weeks in an area with a high turnover of boats expecting to buy one and be on the water after that period?

Everything is possible, but in practice IMO you would need a lot of luck if just turning up on spec. You can of course warm up a few boats / Vendors / brokers beforehand - but the risk is that once you arrive that the boats do not live up to expectations / hopes, even if you paid out for a survey. But nonetheless I think with plenty of research beforehand, and as many options (or semi-options) lined up (including moving down the coast) then a month or so of cheap motels will not be far different from the same in mooring fees for the boat. and in both cases you have to eat anyway! of course when boat buying transport will be more important than when you own one.

The better organised, the better your chances.

This is good advice and on my list of things to start a thread about. I would think that East coast Australia, North West Mediterranean and the Caribbean would be all quite expensive. South East Asia seems like a good bet, What are the cheaper areas to cruise around?

I like SEA (never been on a boat though!), but the other places are plenty nice enough, for different reasons - and not everything is expensive everywhere. and costs depend as much on how you live, both afloat and ashore.


We know this too well. 6 months into our backpacking trip Naomi was very unfortunate to break bones in both feet misjudging a step down in the dark. Needless to say, Poland is not the most wheelchair friendly place. But you roll with the punches and that little incident and the different path we had to take subsequently was almost certainly for the better in the end.

A Plan B (and C!) for every eventuality is part of the deal.


That sounds very sensible, however, it could be argued that it would take longer to find a captain willing to take on novice sailors for an extended cruise wile also having the same traveling interests and mindset as we have. Thoughts? Also the end game at this stage is not to live aboard a boat indefinitely. The idea of waiting till the kids grow up a bit worries us, as with the weather, life is always ready to change your plans.

I doubt if you will have a problem getting signed on (usually MO is not to sign up for a whole RTW voyage - but mainly the longer legs when folks need extra hands, plus those who need extra "expenses", so in practice will be talking about lots of different boats) - if you make it clear that you are willing to contribute towards expenses, generously. (lot of threads on that subject as well). would be the cheapest option by far - downside of course is that not your boat and may not always get on with the folks onboard. But the biggest risk is signing on with someone who is an idiot. or that the boat is badly maintained........




There's probably more truth in that than i realize.

+1. only been to NZ once, and that was well over a decade ago - and that was only for 6? months. Main downside seems to be the economic opportunities not the same as everywhere else..........
Anyway, you have landed on a very useful forum here. Lots worth reading.
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Old 11-09-2012, 07:37   #13
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Re: Pack It Up and Sail. Ambitious Undertaking?

GO FOR IT! You will be fine!
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Old 11-09-2012, 11:15   #14
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Re: Pack It Up and Sail. Ambitious Undertaking?

Welcome aboard.

I second (third? fourth?) the go for it approach.

I'm not so sure as others that NZ isn't a good place to find a boat, would take some investigation. In another month or two cruisers from all over the world will be gathering in the Bay of Islands to get away from the South Pacific typhoon season. More than a few of them will be disillusioned/done/tired/whatever. Some of their boats will be fully kitted out for cruising, having made it from the US and Europe.

I don't know what the tax/cost implications are for a local laying their hands on one of those boats, but worth exploring. And, if not too far from you, worth a visit just to meet/talk with people arriving. By the time they get to NZ most of them will be somewhere from 1/3 to all the way around, so will have some interesting stories and information.

I also think you could go the crew route, and when people leave NZ next autumn might tie-in well with your schedule. You'd actually have a chance to meet people and see their boats before taking off half-way around the world to crew on something sight unseen. A young-ish couple with strength and some smarts won't usually find it too hard to get a ride. You'll have to jump boats from time to time to make the journey you want, but after the first one you'll have a better idea what to look for.

Do become familiar with the cruising patterns, they will help you in finding a well fitted boat coming out of the cruising life. Most cruisers avoid hurricanes/typhoons/severe weather. So, sailing in the tropical North Pacific is usually November-June (same for the Caribbean). Sailing in the tropical South Pacific April-October. Boats on their way around work their way through these bands on a pretty regular schedule, moving through north and south tropical regions based on the storm seasons, then moving into either the opposite hemisphere or into the temperate zones when the storm season comes along. If you take a look at a few of the sailing magazines or peruse the threads around here you can get a good idea of where and when you'll find the most cruising boats.
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Old 11-09-2012, 12:10   #15
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Re: Pack It Up and Sail. Ambitious Undertaking?

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I'm not so sure as others that NZ isn't a good place to find a boat, would take some investigation. In another month or two cruisers from all over the world will be gathering in the Bay of Islands to get away from the South Pacific typhoon season. More than a few of them will be disillusioned/done/tired/whatever. Some of their boats will be fully kitted out for cruising, having made it from the US and Europe.
I think that is a good idea . Of course just because something arrived in NZ doesn't automatically mean she wasn't powered mainly by luck rather than being in a condition to go again........or to have set out in the first place!

What I think would also work is simply getting freindly with folks on boats.

The fact that OP will (I assume) have land transport, plus some local knowledge would make him a very useful resource, errrr - I mean welcome new freind to have for a Cruiser.

And if not local to the Bay of Islands could even trade a trip by car into "darkest" NZ (and maybe also some accomadation at home?) for time / advice / trips out on their boat(s). What OP has is also an introduction into "Normal" life (and people) ashore that for folks travelling is not always so easy to access.......even if to OP what is being offered is seen as the dull, hum drum ordinary day to day life .
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