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Old 27-04-2013, 16:54   #1
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Questions for Younger Cruisers

Hey all,

Ok, so as a younger guy (33), I have been sailing for some time now, usually CA coastal, MS coastal and FL coastal for the last 20 years. I guess I have been pretty lucky in my life to have grown up around boats.

Anyway, to the point of this post:

I've been watching YouTube, and researching on here and other sailing posts and have a serious question. WTF do people in their 30s and 40s do that allows them to do things like circumnavigate and cross oceans? I mean I would like too as well, but I am not a trust fund baby, nor do I own apple stocks. I have a regular job (2 actually), and have a family that financially depends on me. WTF are people doing in youtube videos sailing 6 months around the pacific and everywhere else???

To no offense, it makes sense that older and retired people have the time and financial ability as they have "paid their dues" and kids are up and gone, but what about the young folks?

If you are in your 30s or 40s and live the cruising life, voyaging across oceans and stuff, please let me know what I am doing wrong! I have a great job (construction management and military reserve), with very good income, no debt, don't own too many expensive things that require I stick around....what am I not doing??

Maybe this was more a venting than a real question. Either way, spill the secrets and I will buy you some rum. Hahaha, if you are 21 of course. If you aren't 21 and you own a boat and sail around the world, I hate you...just kidding, i am just very jealous, and if we don't meet in Mexico or international waters, I cannot give you rum....

Keepin keepin on


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Old 27-04-2013, 17:09   #2
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Re: Questions for younger cruisers

Maybe I don't qualify because I'm 20's.. but I think you are too caught up on money. Nature tells us that money is not needed for survival, it is only a modern invention. Instead focus on basic needs (food water shelter) and get a boat that you can fix anything on, and costs nothing.

Quick plan (under a year)
1. Quit both your jobs.
2. Get a free fiberglass boat from an overcrowded marina
3. Re-rig with free standing flag pole mast junk rig. (materials for this can be obtained free)
4. set-sail

Anything you can sell or trade will only speed the process and make things easier, but I'm sure you could start from scratch if you had to.

See you in the solomon islands. Bring lots of trade goods.

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Old 27-04-2013, 17:32   #3
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Re: Questions for younger cruisers

If you make a plan and stick to it the concept of being able to modestly retire by 40 is not that far fetched. My wife and I are 29 and about 4 years out from sailing 6 months of every year.

In order to do this my wife got into a profession that she can pick up and leave for 6 months and then return to the same job. In her case it was nursing but I'm sure if you look you can find a job like this that suits your needs. She will make approx $30k nursing for 6 months a year so we needed to slash our living expenses when at home and generate a little more income. I will not be working because we are also planning on having a kid next year. I own my own business where I make a good living, we save every dime we can and we have been investing in rental properties. I have bought 2 this year and hope to buy 2 more by the end of the year. I live in a rural area where I can buy a nice rental for about $40k, I put $10k down and then dump the entire rent into the property and it pays itself off in about 4 years. So in 4 years I hope to have 4 rental properties paid off. Three of them will generate about $500 a month profit and the 4th is a duplex that generates about $850 a month. So in addition to her $30k we will get another $30k or so.

The main thing about living this lifestyle is making sure you have enough money left over to save because eventually you will want to retire for real. We figure we need about $30k to live at home for 6 months and sail for 6 months. So with our $60k - $5k for taxes -$30k to live - $5k for some emergency. That leaves $20k to save, 20 years of $20k per year gets about $1mm which will easily sustain you for live if your smart.
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Old 27-04-2013, 17:51   #4
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Re: Questions for younger cruisers

Pat Schulte's book "Live In The Margin" will tell you what you need to know, from a guy who's already circumnavigated. He did it through trading commodities but part of his book is about living in such a way that you can afford to do something crazy without waiting until you're 72.
It's on Amazon.
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Old 27-04-2013, 18:39   #5
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If you're open to hearing from someone old enough to be your daddy then the best advice I know of is from the Pardeys - go small, go now and it will cost whatever you have. It's all a big gamble but what isn't?
"Shipmates on a boundless sea, through life we're sailing by the lee"
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Old 27-04-2013, 18:47   #6
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Re: Questions for younger cruisers

What you're not doing, Dube, is going for it. If you want to do it badly enough, you can make it happen, even if you make huge sacrifices. I cruise with my wife and three daughters in a 31-foot, home-finished boat; our first year out we visited seven different countries and did a Panama Canal crossing on a grand total of $11,000. So what if we had no 12-volt system, inboard engine or self-steering? We had, and are having still the time of our lives. With careful planning you can return to US waters to work when cash runs low, even if you have to wait tables (which is how I built the boat in the first place, by the way). The secret is to want it so much that you'll sacrifice eating out, or having a beer after work, or shopping at non-thrift stores, or the latest i-whatever nobody else can live without. It helps to have a wife who also wants that more than she wants shoes and lipstick and designer labels for the kids. If you really want to do this, find a smallest boat you'll all fit on, sell all the doodads that are expensive to maintain or replace, save up a few thousand dollars, and go for it. If you forget something you really need, like a machete to fetch down coconuts or a filet knife to clean fish, or a hammock to lounge in, don't worry: they sell those cheap everywhere that there are coconuts and fish and palm trees to lie under.
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Old 27-04-2013, 18:49   #7
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Re: Questions for younger cruisers

We worked our way around for over 20 yrs! Connies a RN. and Im a Machinest, mechanic, welder. During that time we were able to make a couple of simple investments, that make it possible for us to continue to cruise, where we want,when we want! Now we are POOR cruisers, we don't use marinas if we can help it ! we would rather anchor and be as alone as possible! Now this might not work for everybody, but it can be done !! Just step back and look things over and go sailing with a plan ! any plan is better then staying ashore ! Just my 2 cents
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Old 28-04-2013, 03:53   #8
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So we're bailey making the cut, we are in preparation to leave on my 40th birthday. You have already heard the answer from others who have replied: if you want to do it than make it happen.

It does mean you have to sacrifice things. You can't have a house, 2 cars, a $200K boat and a 401K and leave to go cruising when you are young. So for us, the house is going (soon I hope; does anyone want a small craftsman in MA?), the second car, the 401K and the plan for the large monohull or catamaran are all gone. Instead we have a growing cruising kitty and a Catalina 310 (30.73 feet LOA) that is becoming more and more ready with each project I cross of the list.

Also gone is the part of the dream that includes the Med. costs are just to high. So instead of waiting to hopefully someday cruise everywhere we would rather cruise the ICW, Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexico and South America now. There is a lifetime of cruising that can be had in the area within our reach.

Another thing that is gone is thought of ever actually being retired. We no our cruising kitty won't be enough to last the rest of our lives. So we will have to stop to work from time to time. But for me that won't mean going back to an office job. I will tend bar, work in kitchens maybe even work on boats (I'm starting to get pretty good at this). My wife is a corporate accountant so she can get work just about anywhere. It just won't be at the same level she is now and might just be book keeping or seasonal tax help.

Everyone will find there own comfort level. Some are ok with a more "camping" life style. Others want hot showers, DVDs while waiting out a storm and a cold beer or cocktail with ice at sundown. But if you really want it to happen you can find a way.

Fair winds,

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Old 28-04-2013, 06:02   #9
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Originally Posted by JK n Smitty View Post
Another thing that is gone is thought of ever actually being retired. We no our cruising kitty won't be enough to last the rest of our lives. So we will have to stop to work from time to time. But for me that won't mean going back to an office job...

Everyone will find there own comfort level. ...

Retirement savings is a huge one for us. We're in our 30s and have a decent start on retirement savings. Many people in the "go now"group have no such savings or they become part of the kitty, it seems. I struggle with that and so does my wife.

If we are going to swap the nine to five for a life less ordinary, what about our elder years? I don't mind swapping a single long retirement when I'm older for many smaller ones now, and I don't think I'll mind working at 85 to do it, but the reality is that my health probably won't allow that, even if I could find a job (ageism is real).

So far it seems like we need to save for retirement first, them for adventures. That certainly delays adventures.

What is the thought process for those out there with no savings?
Chris - Become the Confident Skipper of Your Own Sailboat
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Old 28-04-2013, 08:14   #10
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You could ask the same question all those people who own houses in their 30s and 40s. If you think either house or a boat, it becomes simpler. Plus think of all the money you can be saving by not paying interest on that mortgage for years...
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Old 28-04-2013, 08:55   #11
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Re: Questions for Younger Cruisers

You need to think about...what if...your health takes an unplanned turn...what will you do and how will you survive? I have chosen to go on vacations, a few weeks a year, but with a sense of personal security at hand just in case life and lemons meet. Rather than sailing the seven seas, I just fly to nice destinations then locally charter to enjoy myself. It's a different twist to a lifestyle that sailors enjoy. I've been doing this for 30+ years; traveled to 40+ countries. Mauritz
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Old 28-04-2013, 09:02   #12
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Re: Questions for younger cruisers

Originally Posted by boat_alexandra View Post
Maybe I don't qualify because I'm 20's.. but I think you are too caught up on money. Nature tells us that money is not needed for survival, it is only a modern invention.
I have to disagree fully here due to my situation. My child is in preschool and one on the way. You do qualify! I am slowly getting there. I am enjoying my minimalist life style.

If I was single...that would be the way to go. I am one of those who "finally got it" in my 30's, and wasn't too bad in debt to climb out. We got rid of 70k in debt (includes my BA, MS) and all...

Thanks everyone, sound and solid advice...I think the "seabatical" is my new up and just go. I can always come back and get another job. My wife hates sailing, so she can stay at home and work, hahahaha. Her turn anyway!!! "jokes, dont tell her i said that" haha
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Old 28-04-2013, 09:07   #13
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Re: Questions for Younger Cruisers

Somehow contrive your job (or find a new one) that can be run from home using the internet. Might take a few years but it will be quicker than saving for retirement. This way you can work from anywhere, including from a boat in a foreign country.

There's never been a better time to do this because 3G networks are popping up all over the world.
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Old 28-04-2013, 09:27   #14
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Re: Questions for Younger Cruisers

I'm in the same boat as the OP but we've bought a boat and the cruising fund is steadily building. It's amazing how it comes together if you just have the guts to take the first step. You don't have to see how it's all going to come together but just be willing to take each successive step towards your goal.

The work towards the goal becomes fun. I enjoy walking past restaurants and thinking to myself that my money is going towards, in my opinion, a much more enriching experience than just a meal out. Finding good deals on used gear and slowly fixing the boat up as you learn is now just as much fun as the actual sailing and weekend cruises.

Reading and watching people that have already done it can keep you inspired and give you the guts to take that leap of faith. My favorites are:

"Buy, Outfit, Sail" by Fatty Goodlander (pretty much anything Fatty Goodlander writes

"Surfwise" (a movie not about sailing but taking your family and living unconventionally)

Two blogs I like are the two below. They are both young people that have done it with not much given to them and only a little help.
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Old 28-04-2013, 09:29   #15
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We did it and we did it with kids, easily for some time. You only mention cruising for 6 months a year - that is much easier than cruising full time and working on the way.

I had project work. During our 2 year rebuild for instance we would come home amd i would work 6-7 days a week and 10+ hours a day for 4-6 months. We spent nothing, didnt own a house had no debt. We had sold a house at peak of market but put the money away and pretended it wasnt there. Then we went down and worked our asses off on the boat until after two years it was done.

Sailed for three years in same manner. Spent usually 4 months at home.

I spent years before met my wife focusing on project or consulting based work for a decade previous. I had a boat Malaysia as a base for 5 years and spent over 6 months each year on her sailing everywhere.

To do what you want does not take a trust fund. It takes a plan, focus and sacrifice. It takes full buy in from your partner and a rethink to your income strategy.

Yes, if you wish to be a cruiser income should be a stratgy and not a goal. You need to know what you need to be able to leave and more importantly what you need to be able to return without stress.

As you said, you are young so you need to change gears right now. Downsize everything, payoff all debt, reskill yourself to trades or industries that involve fixed duration projects. Software Dev, High Spec Carpentry, Accounting, Any construction trade, etc.

Totally doable. Find people doing it near you and make friends with them, ditch the friends who dont support your dream. Seriously!

Nothing will send you over the horizon faster than living in marina of people who are refitting boats to "go now!"

"So, rather than appear foolish afterward, I renounce seeming clever now."
William of Baskerville

"You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm."
Sidonie Gabrielle Colette
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