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Old 17-08-2006, 06:04   #1
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The big plan

Since we are at the very beginning of this adventure, I'm trying to put together the plan of attack. Helpful comments are VERY welcome. And before I get a million of these, yes, I'm going to put in MANY opportunities to "ABORT THE MISSION." I'm not afraid to say, well, that didn't work out and walk away but I'm also not going to give up easily.

So here it is and it will be modified I'm sure.

1) Research. I'm trying to read as much as I can. Books, websites, forums, anything. As you can tell I found this forum. Any suggestions for good resources would be appreciated.

2) Moving Aboard. We are looking at moving aboard but of course we have tons of stuff that doesn't need to be on a boat. (Despite my son's insistance, we are not going to bring a car onto the boat.) So, I'm trying to store most everything so that we don't lose too much if we change our minds. Two storages--one big cheap place to hold most the stuff; one small temp controlled place for those important things. (Since we really hate where we live, this is, at worst, an expensive way to move.) Ok, some stuff we can dump.

2a) Buying a boat--no clue yet! Lots and lots to learn.

3) Learning to Sail. First, while we live aboard we all will learn to sail, or learn to endure sailing. Weekend sailors. Then after we've learned enough to either quit or move forward, we will sail to FL ,say. Then move out to the Carribean? Then the world! Baby steps first.

4) Paying for this adventure. We have had this mind from the beginning so we have money saved and while living aboard one of us will have a job.

5) Experiences which will help. We, Dale and I, are both hams. We are comfortable with radios and the problems that occur with radios and many forms of wireless communications. We have lived in an RV with children for 3 years traveling to remote places such as Inuvik, NWT, Canada. Boondocking quite a bit. We already homeschool but I've learned that you never get to say "I know how to do that" because it changes every day. I can swim well.

6) Getting ready for the adventure. Hopefully by this point I will have learned how to just live on a boat--how to cook, how to organize, how to keep from killing my children, how to keep them from killing themselves, those sorts of things. You know, at this point there are SO many things to be done--it is hardly worth writing them all. I'd forget as many as I thought of. I think I'll stop here and let some of you experienced folk point me in the right direction. And focus on the early steps.

Are there any things I should be thinking about and doing early in the process to make later steps easier??

I suspect it will take 6mo to get onto the boat. A year to live aboard and learn to sail. Another year to learn to cruise near home. Then blue water cruising? Does that sound reasonable? A wild guess would be to take 5yrs to go around the world.


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Old 17-08-2006, 06:16   #2
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A few of thoughts. Search the forum for "the magazine poll" as a place to get some reading. In the short term, buy a small boat and put it in a marina with a bunch of big boats. The guys on the big boats are always looking for crew and it is a good way of finding out both how to sail and what kind of boat you might be interested in. Also you will know which boats are up for sale or about to be abandoned and you might get a deal. Join the Texas Mariners Cruising Association. It meets at the Elks Lodge in Clear Lake Shores 3rd Friday of each month and plans regular cruises and parties. You can find them with a quick google search. good luck

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Old 17-08-2006, 07:03   #3
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all I can tell you is that ,don't put too much thoughts in this project .because then it won't happen.What I mean is yes you have to have some planning,but things will unfold as you go deeper.I just took a big plunge when I bought our new Cat,financially it sounds crazy,but also I know this is going to be my only shot at is too short,let's go sailing.....JC.
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Old 18-08-2006, 15:21   #4
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Hi Chanda, welcome! I'm excited for you and your family. You have a great attitude about the whole adventure! The only thing I might say is try not to put too much of a time frame for getting on the boat and learning to sail it. Quite often, it takes quite a bit longer than expected. Then again, if it can work out quickly, that would be great! I think determination has a lot to do with it.

I wish you all were in Washington. We have just sold our house and bought a 49' Transpac that is on its way from Hawaii. We (my husband, me, our 2 daughters-ages 7 & 4, and our black lab) will be living aboard in Olympia, Washington. We too are homeschooling. We have friends that have been living aboard for about 7 yrs now. They have 2 children, ages 5 & 3, that have been brought up on the boat. They absolutely love it! We will be spending much of our time in the next 4 or so years cruising the Puget Sound and Canada. After that, we plan to sail to the South Pacific, New Zealand, and then back through Hawaii to Seattle. Well, that's our "plan" for now. Maybe we will cross paths "out there" someday!

As you can see, we are quite "green" with living aboard, but if there is anything I can help you with, please let me know. Best of luck to you all.

A rich person is not one who has the most, but one who needs the least.
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Old 21-08-2006, 18:55   #5
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You already know how to live in a small space for extended period detached from mainstream life. Those aspects of living aboard/cruising under sail will not provide a significant challenge for you. It will be rather like living in an RV that is strapped to the back of a drunk elephant.

It would be helpful for us to know your motivation: why do you want to do this?

Your reading should follow two paths, I think: "living aboard" books which address lifestyle and daily activities such as cooking, finances etc.; and research on voyaging yachts that will allow you to weigh their relative capacities and characteristics to make a "short list" of possible candidates which you can then research in more detail. This process can take a year in itself, not including finding a suitable example of a boat on your list after you enter the market with solid ideas about what you're looking for. The choice of the particular boat will be a huge factor that rightly deserves all the attention you can give it. Some of this reading can be done online, some good sources found at Barnes & Noble or Borders, and much good (and bad) advice can be sought on bulletin boards such as this. The posters who ask you the most questions are likely to give you the better advice.

As a beginning reflection, John Neale, an experienced voyager, gives his thoughts on the qualities of a cruising yacht in his article "Selecting a Cruising Boat" on his website John has also written books about the domestic aspect of cruising.

What size boat are you thinking about, how many people total will the have to accomodate, and what kind of overall budget are you working with? Will you finance the boat, or own it outright (you know, save and pay cash, the way your grandparents did)? How adept are you at repair/refurbishment: electrical, engine mechanics, woodworking, sewing, plumbing, etc.? The financial resources available to many of us dictate the purchase of a used vessel which may require 3050% of its purchase price in post-purchase investment to make it seaworthy.

The advice to remain flexible about your timeline is solid; it can take a year of education before you enter the market as a potential buyer, but in the meantime I'd promote your "Learning to Sail" to the top of your list, especially if you haven't been around boats of any kind much. You can get busy on that tomorrow. Reading is a great source of knowledge, but hands-on provides a different kind of knowledge that will be invaluable in planning/modifying/aborting the rest of your plan.

Good Luck,
s/y Elizabeth Catalina 34 MkII
"Man must have just enough faith in himself to have adventures, and just enough doubt of himself to enjoy them." G. K. Chesterfield
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Old 22-08-2006, 07:31   #6
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From Captain Jeff:

What size boat are you thinking about, how many people total will the have to accomodate, and what kind of overall budget are you working with? Will you finance the boat, or own it outright (you know, save and pay cash, the way your grandparents did)? How adept are you at repair/refurbishment: electrical, engine mechanics, woodworking, sewing, plumbing, etc.? The financial resources available to many of us dictate the purchase of a used vessel which may require 30–50% of its purchase price in post-purchase investment to make it seaworthy. End quote

Presently, and against the advice given earlier , we are looking in the 45' range. Two boats of interest to us presently are a Gulf Star 52' and Stamas 44'. The price range is $140k and $160k respectively. The Stamas has many features that make the boat attractive. Financing or paying cash are both options for us but I don't know which we will do--I am calling our financial advisor today for his input on the subject. The Gulf Star is owned by a friend so we know much more about the boat's history plus we can save on the price.

My husband is quite adept at repair/refurbishment and we want to avoid it to the maximum. In other words, no project boats! Fixing things as they break are plenty to keep us busy. We don't love repair but we certainly can endure it--its the price you must pay.

We will have four small children (presently ranging from 2mo to 6yrs) on board--space and storage is very important. Being able to handle the boat by myself is important in an emergency. I (the wife) plan to do 100% of the navigation (I love it on the land so I assume I will at sea) while my husband will do the sailing. Of course, all jobs will be shared but with 4 kids I believe this is how it will come together. I'm flexible on this of course.

As to why we want to do this--well, how do I answer that? I love to travel. I hate the public school system in the states. I want to see the world. I want my kids to have much more responsibility than most their peers. I want my kids to see the world. I think being out on the open ocean in the middle of a clear night getting to see the stars in all their glory will be life changing. I hate to collect stuff and moving on a boat will certainly help me declutter my life. I want more than Americana offers. I want a challenge that will make me get as much from my character as possible. I want to live more in touch with the environment. I don't want to regret not trying. I think in the age of terriorism being out there alone in the world might be SAFE. (ok, a little sarcasm there.) I want to see whales in the open ocean. I want to eat sushi REALLY fresh. I could go on. (There is no order to these reasons.)

Though cruising will be a huge adjustment I think I'll really enjoy the differences. My biggest concern is walking away from the instant (and mostly good) healthcare that is available. There are not any ambulances in the Pacific ocean. I'm sure it can be dealt with but I don't have a vision for this yet.

As far as learning to sail being possible today--well not really. Not with the baby being so young. But it will be soon. And I'm confident that we can do this. It will take lots of work and effort but I don't give up easily.

Thanks for the website (though the link didn't work for some reason--I'll find it.) And though I'm not following all the advice given, I am certainly listening to it and appreciate it. Keep it coming!

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Old 22-08-2006, 13:31   #7
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Hi Chandra:

I too am planning on taking the family sailing. We have just closed on a Sceptre 41. It is a nice boat and more than I wanted to spend but my wife and the kids both loved it -- Oh yeah me too. One of the things that really helped me in picking a boat was looking at a lot of different boats. I have alot of sailing experience but when I thought about having to sail w/o a full crew I realized my sailing experience was of a different sort.

My wife and I decided to charter before buying a boat. First boat we chartered was a Morgan Out Islander 41 Ketch. Comfortable but b/c Beth and I both have a racing backround we both realized we wanted something faster. Next we chartered an Etap 32. Too small. We then agreed on an Islander 36. We had an accepted offer but man was it misrepresented. Really bad shape. We looked at boats from 35 to 43 feet. Both Beth and I thought that with a sloop anything bigger than 43' was too big for one person to sail comfortably. Other people don't mind bigger.

We've got two kids (8 and 9) and we wanted to be able to bring others aboard so we got a boat that will sleep 7 adults or two families of 4.

I wanted 100 gal of water min and 750 mile range with fuel.

Beth and I wanted a swim platform.

No project boat.

Beth wanted good access to the freezer w/o reaching over the stove.

I wanted a fin keel w/ a skeg rudder for performance reasons.

Beth wanted lots of ventalation.

I wanted a thick mast that had been taken out of the boat and inspected.

We both wanted room on deck to work and a nice sized easily drainable cockpit for entertaining.

The list went on and on and on

some of the things on the list we learned from reading. Some from our racing experience. Alot came from chartering. Someone in the family maybe prone to seasickness . . . some people are afraid of a boat heeling . . . or being out of site of land . . . and some people can just get on a boat and go. Before spending a small fortune on a boat I would think that you should take a bareboat certification course with the whole family.

Look at it as travel insurance. better to find out problems before spending a fortune.
Fair Winds,


Between us there was, as I have already said somewhere, the bond of the sea. Besides holding our hearts together through long periods of separation, it had the effect of making us tolerant of each other's yarns -- and even convictions. Heart of Darkness
Joseph Conrad
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Old 22-08-2006, 13:44   #8
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I would let your learning to sail help guide you in many decisions. There is a lot to be gained by building group experience. There is no other activity that you plan that is more important from all I can tell. Your limits are more dertermined by your abilities than your equipment.

As you learn more about how sailing works and how you work together I think you will have a much clearer idea of questions that you need answered. As with most things the answers are often easier than the questions.

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