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Old 21-06-2015, 12:10   #16
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Re: What can I afford?

Doing the same thing at 29/30. I would just chime in to say you really need at least 30'. I refer to my 28' Pearson as a one-man capsule. The vberth quickly became storage. Loading up for three months filled the lazarettes and sank the waterline. If something breaks it's a game of musical storage spaces. Room for cruising "necessities" (davits, refrigeration, etc) is limited to nonexistent. Even well kept boats have maintenance surprises (old engine and frozen torque tube clamp on my roller furling in my case) that simply won't show up on inspection/survey, so budget time for that. Then get out and do it, because wherever you are the community and friends are awesome (and as a young person on a small boat, all the older cruisers are very helpful and kind)!


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Old 21-06-2015, 12:25   #17
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Re: What can I afford?

1.) Buy a cheap calculator.
2.) Look at lots of boats in the price/length/displacement range you believe is conducive to your needs.
3.) Once focused on a narrowed set of possibilities negotiate a plan to sail on them. See how each one seems to fit your needs.
4.) Use cheap calculator to figger whether or not your overall plan is feasible given fixed and variable costs necessary just to live in the style you're accustomed to.
5.) Estimate maintenance, berthing and 'cruising costs' taking into account you'll probably spend what you're accustomed to on a monthly basis, whether from income, investment or savings.
6.) Take opinions from allegedly experienced sailors with a grain of salt.

Good luck!
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Old 21-06-2015, 13:05   #18
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Re: What can I afford?

Young Gun, I tried when I was in my mid 30's to convince my wife that sailing for a few years with our children would be an enriching life experience for all of us. Needless to say, that went over about as well as a turd in the high school prom punchbowl would.

Here are some things to ponder from an old gun. These are financial issues that you might want to put into your game plan or totally dismiss as "not applicable". Keep in mind that I come by this experience as first hand knowledge. I am sure there are many on this forum that can share their experience in the same way.

1. Your social security income when you retire (and only Heaven knows what permutation of SS we will have when you reach your mid 60's) is based on the income you earn during your lifetime. So, if you "go off grid" for the next 10-20 years and have a life adventure there is a price you will pay for that in the future. There, obviously, is no way to calculate what SS will pay in the future.
2. It is best that you own the boat in your name before ever getting married. There are many good women in this world. Your generation is not like my generation. Many young people don't marry at all or delay marriage until much latter than my generation did. I do not make any moral judgment on that. Just stating the facts. However, I would say that men and women are still basically the same as they were 5000 years ago. If the time comes to marry for you then you must always keep in mind the ...."What if this doesn't work out" scenario. Anything you own before the marriage, generally speaking, is yours after the divorce. There are certain situations where that can explode in your face. But marriage is a very serious contract that has long ranging financial pluses and minuses. American courts are still tilted seriously in the women's favor. That being said, you have some couples that have been married forever and living on boats happily. They are the exceptions....not the rule. Many a man has the wanderlust sprinkled heavily on the shoulders...it is the rare woman who does.
3. Just my advice...keep working and find a way to slake your thirst until much later in life. Charter boats around the world when on vacations. Live aboard now and sail on the weekends. Can buy a trailerable boat to haul down to Sea of Cortez or to San Juans...that sort of thing. Be very careful with the money and don't get wiped out with a divorce...you could retire in your late 40's and not become a liability to state coffers later. I know how hard that idea is to swallow...how unpalatable it is. But it is good advice and I wish you well.
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Old 21-06-2015, 15:28   #19
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Re: What can I afford?

I'm appreciating the wide-range of feedback I'm getting, whether it be "you do you" or "wait until later in life".

Being young:

The experiences I have sailing the world now will be vastly different both in content and impact than the experiences I would have in my 40s or 50s. I know this is cliche, but people die younger than me all the time, and to be healthy is a privilege that I'd rather exploit than to store away and hope it stays that way.

I am also young, dumb, and impatient. My idea of an ideal career and lifestyle has always dumbfounded my family, and I feel this is just par for the course for me.

Regarding frugality:

I do all the maintenance on my car and motorcycle, I don't see my boat/home being any different. I love getting my hands dirty and putting in hard work to make things better. Undoubtedly, I'll have to learn a lot.

Regarding $$$:

From the feedback I've gotten here, I'll stay and save as long as I feel I need to -- but I still think two years on the dot will be it for me. The relative affordability of the Allied Seawinds and Pearson 35s seems like a good choice. If I'm saving 10-15K on the purchase, that's 10-15K in outfitting I'd greatly appreciate.

My PhD was in an engineering field, but most of my skillset is computational, meaning I've done a lot of programming. In fact, most of my job is programming. I've heard of others doing remote work programming, whether it be web development or engineering software -- either way, I think this would be my first choice to attempt to earn an income on the go.

I'm not afraid to get dirty, scrub boats, do lightwork, or other job odd-jobs along the way.

I plan to document everything. However, I have no disillusions about this being a practical way to earn money. The Delos crew is an exception to this, and they might be earning almost enough to offset some of their expenditures. However, they also have women in bikinis and fun personalities .

So here's my plan:
Buy boat within 6 months (the sooner I'm not paying rent, the better).
Outfit/repair/prepare untilI hit the 2 year mark.
Sail down the coast (I'm in the PNW) to California/Mexico, cut across to the south pacific.
Hit up New Zealand and Australia, and find some women that look good in Bikinis.
Profit $$$
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Old 21-06-2015, 16:20   #20
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Re: What can I afford?

"My PhD was in an engineering field, but most of my skillset is computational, meaning I've done a lot of programming"

Maybe you've thought about this but I'll mention a few things anyway.

My entire career, from before I got my BS until I retired 30-years later, was working with state of the art computing technology, both hardware and software. I spent three decades working with mini, mainframe, and PC manufacturers and their software providers as we designed, tested, and implemented all the neat stuff leading up to Y2K.

Being out of that market for ONE Year makes you obsolete

TWO years out of the market makes you unemployable.

THREE years is fatal to any future career without a new education/degree.


I speak from hard experience.

In 1999 I was working with hardware and software vendors to design & implement a couple of the high volume/rapid response web based systems that are now so prevalent (think package tracking and terrorist monitoring).

In early 2000 I left for a four year long distance cruise. I kept up with technology as best as possible living on a boat outside the US. I spent 10 to 20 hours a week working on PC based navigation systems and electronics hardware while cruising.

In late 2004 I started applying for work back in the states. I applied with several companies with whom I had decades of successful collaboration and was repeatedly told "you are so far out of date we don't want to see a resume."

I applied for jobs doing low level work in areas where I had literally written the book and was again turned down for those with more recent skills.

I then applied for simple programming jobs in languages that I had been using for years and could not get my foot in the door due to 'being out of the market' for five years.

A friend with a PhD who had worked with me on many of my larger and more esoteric projects left to cruise in 1999. In 2007 he returned and found his "out of date" skills and lack of recent experience made his PhD worthless.

I hope you can keep your PhD fresh while cruising but I would also consider what happens if it becomes stale and irrelevant.

Do not worry about social security - all you need is 40 quarters of maximum contributions to receive maximum benefits at full retirement age.

However, you should be very concerned about the loss of early years compounding on investment gains.

Your only choice is to pursue your dream, as long as you know the cost of that dream 40-years from now.

There is no reason that a life of work can not be compatible with wonderful adventures, life experiences, and fun. During my 20+ years of cruising kitty building I did the following:

- raced motorcycles, sailboats, sports cars, bicycles
- cruised on various sailboats from Olympia Washington to Cape Scott, Canada
- engaged in serious snow, ice, and rock climbing all over Western North America
- travelled around the world several times
- twice toured South Africa on my own for several months at a time
- owned a sailboat shop, designed and built boards for sale
- lived for more than three months at time in almost every major American City, most European capitals, Australia, and Great Britain

... and so on. At age 50 I felt that I had enjoyed many experiences that would not otherwise have been available to me if I was not working and making a good deal of money. I never, ever felt like I was postponing life; rather I was actively enjoying life.

When I retired and went sailing - it was not the beginning of my "good life" - it was just one more episode in a "good life."
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Old 21-06-2015, 16:24   #21
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Re: What can I afford?

For the boat 40%

For refitting, 25% on two year time

35% kept aside
Move were you can live out of marina most of time
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Old 21-06-2015, 16:46   #22
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Re: What can I afford?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TacomaSailor View Post
I hope you can keep your PhD fresh while cruising but I would also consider what happens if it becomes stale and irrelevant.
Maybe -- but as you pointed out, I'm not banking on it and I never have. I plan to use it more as a talking point and hopefully a nickname down the road.

I see your point, and I understand the vast majority of cruisers have worked hard for their money, set it aside, and are enjoying their life dream in relative financial security, but I don't know -- it's going to be easier for me to acquire the bikini clad women in my late 20s early 30s than it will be in my early 50s (sarcasm).

It remains to be seen whether I'll make this a permanent lifestyle, or just an experience to hang on the wall.

Anchoring/Mooring/Marinas

A couple of people have mentioned considerable amount of budgeting depends on whether I'm docked up or anchored/moored out. While cruising, I plan to anchor/moor whenever possible, but for the < 2 years of saving, it will be my home and I'll need to commute to work, do substantial outfitting, etc -- so I'll mostly certainly be at a marina. There seem to be some choices here in the Portland area, but I'll need to see what availability looks like.
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Old 21-06-2015, 18:02   #23
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Re: What can I afford?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryban View Post
I'm not saying I'll do big things and have my own wikipedia page listing said things, but I will be able to see, very clearly, the results of my own efforts, and not just some abstraction 4 steps removed from myself.
Good on you sir. My advice is merely to understand what you're trading off, and as long as you go into this eyes wide open, I shall be following your blog.

Look me up when you're in San Diego. And like I said, I'll have a job for you when you get back.
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Old 21-06-2015, 18:19   #24
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Re: What can I afford?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TacomaSailor View Post
[I]

Our Keys to getting there:
- NO CHILDREN
- SAVE, SAVE, SAVE
- Invest aggressively
- Marry a woman who makes a lot of money and enjoys saving
- Have fun
I was with you until the part about NO CHILDREN. Although I agree that kids are expensive...there is more to life than money. I feel sad for you. You had the brand new 40 footer...something I will never have...but I feel far richer than you. I take my kids sailing, and see everything new again through their eyes. I learnt to be a better sailor for them...to keep them safe, and to teach them so that they will be safe when they someday sail without me. Your story speaks of financial success...nothing more.

A sailing lifestyle does not mean excluding children.

I recall the story of Dave and Jaja. Dave started a circumnavigation on the US east coast, alone, on a CAL25 (a very small boat). He soon had a wife. And before their trip was finished, three kids all had been born ON BOARD. After a year ashore (Oriental SC?) they moved up to a 31' steel boat and resumed the cruising life.

If you wait until you are financially secure, you will be an old man before you go. You need not look far to find a boat, fully equipped and ready to go, for sale because the owner was no longer healthy enough to go.

While you are waiting, read DOVE.
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Old 21-06-2015, 19:03   #25
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Re: What can I afford?

This thread has turned out to be a kind of reality check for me.

I think it comes down to having faith and trusting your instincts. Whether that's deciding to go for it young or waiting, either way it's a roll of the dice.

I grew up fairly poor til the age of 12 and then well-off once my parents' business took off. I noticed it didn't really change much. My dad bought nicer cars and we moved into a bigger house. They were lucky because their passion coincided with their business. My passions have generally not tended that way so far.

We were also able to travel quite a bit and I seemed to notice the happiest people in the world tended to be those with the least. Go figure.

But luckily, I don't think the cruising lifestyle and a career are nearly as mutually exclusive as they have been in the past. I've been doing web dev from the boat for 4 years now, but the trick it seems is to be able to be selective enough to take on only project-based work. It's been hard for me to avoid getting sucked into the ongoing maintenance of a development project once it's completed. Cruising with an on-going, full time job doesn't work..

Anyway, this ain't my thread so I won't blather on. All the best to yall and good luck to the OP.
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Old 21-06-2015, 19:18   #26
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Re: What can I afford?

"but I don't know -- it's going to be easier for me to acquire the bikini clad women in my late 20s early 30s than it will be in my early 50s"

The wonderful truth is that a wealthy 50-year old with a great boat is a true Babe-Magnet. My rather lengthy experience is that finding lovely young women to share a great boat is easy to accomplish and age has little to do with it. The boat and money is what it takes - not age or abs!

Full Disclosure - I have been happily married since 1974. I did find it a difficult task to decline all the offers to be an 'active' or 'engaged' crew person when I cruised by myself.
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Old 21-06-2015, 19:30   #27
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Re: What can I afford?

"I was with you until the part about NO CHILDREN. Although I agree that kids are expensive...there is more to life than money. I feel sad for you. You had the brand new 40 footer...something I will never have...but I feel far richer than you. I take my kids sailing, and see everything new again through their eyes. I learnt to be a better sailor for them...to keep them safe, and to teach them so that they will be safe when they someday sail without me. Your story speaks of financial success...nothing more."

I was not making a value judgement about kids or a statement about the value of children in one's life. I was making an economic statement! There are many different numbers floating about but there is little doubt that getting a child through college will cost at least $200,000 in the US.

I don't want to start a debate about kids but I know for a fact that I have little patience and am self-centered and it seemed to us that plenty of others were generating rug-rats to further our over-population.

I worked closely with several charities to take kids sailing and to teach them sailing. My sailboard company taught thousands of kids how to board sail. I just did not need to have children under foot everyday of my life.

And, I traveled outside the US for three to six months every year. My wife worked full time in a very demanding job requiring her to be gone from home at night 10-days a month. It seemed irresponsible for us to bring children into that environment.

It is my belief that one's place in the world and one's relevance to that world can be defined by something other that the children we beget. I did not find it necessary to justify my place in this life thru my children - I feel my life worthwhile on it's own accomplishments.

All in All I think your comment rather condescending and unfortunate! I guess I feel sorry for someone who cannot understand how a life can be well lived without children. We truly have different ideas about what is important in life. Let's leave it at that.
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Old 21-06-2015, 20:33   #28
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Re: What can I afford?

..this discussion is showing 2 clear position: work hard now, save, sail later.. the classic american dream.. Only missing part is the volvo, the house on the surbs and the lovely wife and childrens..
Second position is go now, enjoy, think about future later... kind of.. hippie?? position..
Reality is the work market is becoming more and more volatile every day... so if you loose let's say.. 2 years down there, you can still getting opportunities when you're back... IF you back...
I abandon my navy career on my country, move at my sailboat and never back.. Now I'm on my fifties.. I created companies, sailed around the world, find a fantastic girl, get (at my 50) my first child and now I preparing to back at south pacific for the next 5 years..
I know I'm not gonna have SS retired so.. what?? I never work, I enjoy what I'm doing enough to do for free.. but people keep paying me (and paying very well..) I love and feel passion for my profession so..
You can take any decision you want it.. just tried to be happy with that decision.. after that, shopping for a boat (any boat) it's easy...
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Old 21-06-2015, 21:22   #29
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Re: What can I afford?

From an employment standpoint, I had this conversation with a career coach provided by my grad school. Basically, yes, it will be harder, but employers are increasingly seeing Millennials taking gap years between jobs, bouncing around a lot more between companies, working shorter stints, looking for better work/life balance, etc. So, when I re-enter the workforce and sit across from an interviewer, I can honestly ask: "why wouldn't I have done this?!" Stories like this make great interview points as far as "fit."
I can't speak to your field, but in mine (MBA), 9 months off shouldn't kill me. The important things will be the same in all jobs though: make a lot of successful, hard working friends; invite them on the boat; ask them for internal job leads at their company in two years' time
But seriously, there's a lot you can do to make sure you have a job when you get back. I was in a bit of a privileged position, and actually talked to company recruiters where I was interested, or ones that reached out directly to me, and asked if taking time off would screw me later, and they all said they'd welcome the opportunity to continue the conversation when I got back. The economy is roaring, the labor market for highly skilled, intelligent, educated workers is getting increasingly tight, and as long as that continues, good jobs should be easy to find.
Also, meet people. I've come across some very interesting opportunities just talking to people in anchorages. My profession is probably more generally applicable across industries, but you never know how small a world it is until you get into it.


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Old 22-06-2015, 00:08   #30
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Re: What can I afford?

I'm not touching the kids thing with a 10' pole. We've got a special needs child (autism) and you don't want to run an economic analysis on that.

A couple thoughts though:
- Your choice of cruising locales may have the biggest impact on your budget. We found the Western Caribbean, Columbia and now the South Pacific substantially cheaper than the Eastern Caribbean. You'll find NZ and Australia expensive also.
- Find a copy of 'Voyaging on a Small Income' by Annie Hill. She's pretty extreme in her philosophy, and some of her ideas may be a bit out of date, but even if you don't adopt all of them (we certainly didn't!), the 'life cycle' economic analysis she uses for virtually every aspect of cruising is a worthwhile study. In a nutshell though, simpler is cheaper in the long run, and good quality (and sometimes more expensive upfront) can often be cheaper in the long run.
- Make sure the boat is set up to easily singlehand. That way you don't need crew, but if you choose to have crew for passages, they can have less experience and really just has to watch for traffic and weather. We've seen quite a few young crew looking for rides , but we know a few boats this year struggle with inexperienced crew accidentally gybing, etc, and damaging equipment while 'helping' the owners.
- We always had a philosophy of minimizing debt and living well within our means as I believe that having savings and no debt gives you options. I'd sacrifice luxuries on the boat to leave an operating cushion in the bank and some investments to help fund the cruising. I'd also spend another year or two living aboard (but set a firm date so you don't look back and realize,you forgot to leave) to bolster the cruising kitty before leaving just to maximize your flexibility when underway. We've met a few cruisers who've had to give it up when they ran out, or stop somewhere that they'd probably rather not have to restock the cruising kitty.

Just my two bits......good luck and hope you get out here soon.

Mark
Amel Super Maramu
Currently cruising S Pacific with my wife, 15 yr old son, 13 yr old daughter
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