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Old 24-08-2009, 20:18   #31
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One difference, I was in my 20s. Now I am old (in my 50s), but I still have a dream.
Here is the deal. You'll never be as fast as back then but you sure as anything are a lot smarter. Being over 50 depends on being a lot smarter. The rest is all auto pilot.
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Old 24-08-2009, 21:06   #32
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Anyway - Pursue the dream but be cautious when jumping into the deep end without having had swim lessons.


Sage advice. And I do not think the original poster or I am advocating a completely blind jump. Your recommendation of starting small and moving up is also great advice. And your point of investing your life savings into an endeavor you only have anecdotal experience with is also something important for us dreamers to consider.

A big problem for me is that to get to retirement, I have to work for a living. That includes a real job working for the man, rental property and kids in school. Sailing ends up being the charter/vacation with the wife and for us other couples. An occasional trip to the lake rounds out the sailing. I realize that this experience does not compare with the realities of handling a large cat and maintaining it. But sailing is a true joy, and I have enjoyed all of the experiences to date.

Truth be told, my plan would be for half time on the boat and half time back on land. At lest for the first few years. So I may not be considered a real cruiser. The wife has nixed crossing the Atlantic much less a circumnavigation. And as an occasional sailor my opinion is likely mute. Just offering thoughts from the inexperienced to give a view from the other side. I defer to those actually living the dream.
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Old 25-08-2009, 05:32   #33
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There is no scientific or medical evidence that would support you contention the people get smarter as they approach the end of their lives. We are all different, and some old people do maintain mental clarity and agility, but research studies indicate that the opposite is far more common. The deterioration, both physical and mental, of the human body begins at a surprisingly young age and continues steadily until our death.
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Old 25-08-2009, 06:43   #34
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IMHO as you get older you substitute experience for mental quickness.

You also substitute an ability to pace yourself, rather than super-abundance of energy.
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Old 25-08-2009, 06:50   #35
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I prefer the young bull and old bull analogy. Young bull rushes up to dad and says, theres some cows in the field down the road, lets run down and f**k one. Old bull says, no son, we will walk down and f**k them all. Wisdom and experience makes up for lack of youthull energy and athletisism. Kids think they know it all and elders have been and done it.
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Old 25-08-2009, 10:01   #36
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I like Anjou's attitude! But, then again, I would, since I'm in the "old bull" category.

Regarding the topic: There's a lot to be said for taking classes and we took a few, too. "Basic keelboat" is good for learning the terminology and basic safety -- really basic, like how to get on and off a boat without falling, and the fundamentals of actually making a sail boat move. Navigation is essential. Although it will come easy for a pilot, I think you'd appreciate a structured approach to the differences.

But, for the rest of it, you could also spend a week or two with a training captain, on your boat. If you are sensible with your plan for the first 6 months and work your way up in terms of difficulty level, you won't have any problem. The advantage of doing the training with a captain, on your boat, is that you learn what you need and get the skills down, specific to your needs. This gets you "out there" earlier, too.

There are a number of training captains around. We used one who did the classes for PDQ, so she was well experienced in working with couples on catamarans. She spent a week with us doing our first offshore trip and it was well worth the experience. While we had also taken other courses, including a week-long "on the boat" class for catamarans, I think if we had not taken the other ones, spending another week with her would have made up the difference.

There is nothing, though, like simple experience. After two years living aboard cruising, there are still things I wouldn't take on without additional training -- specifically, a trans-ocean trip (I need better skills in longer range weather and routing) or one into the high latitudes. But, that's about it.

In many ways, I think that successfully cruising is really more about having the right attitude far more than what sort of boat you have or whether you've "checked off" a list of classes, experiences, etc.

If you find that repeatedly staring at sunsets, hoping to see a green flash to be more entertaining than staring at a TV, then that's a good attitude. (We feel lucky to have seen it twice; yes, they really are green, and it really is a "flash".) It really helps to feel challenged by obstacles (especially mechanical ones) and take a methodical approach to solving them that doesn't view them as something personal towards you. One of my favorite books is Pirsig's "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance". There are lots of good lessons in there for boat maintenance, too.

I think that being happy with cruising also takes a certain balance between stimulus-seeking and risk aversion. Wanting and going after the novel experience with a sort of devil may care attitude regarding the possibility of getting into really scary and dangerous situations, but at the same time doing everything you can to minimize that same experience. Knowing you must prepare and be as ready as possible to get your butt kicked -- because, eventually, it is going to happen -- yet trusting in your preparations to get you through it. Having your plan, and then having plan B and even plan C.

Looking back over this, I think my words are inadequate. Is it worth it all? Definitely.

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Old 30-08-2009, 08:56   #37
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I would have to agree with a number of posts, and would like to add a thought. There are hundreds of boats for sale because of lifestyle mis-matches. From your list of items, it would appear you want to be doing quite a bit of off shore sailing, yet your questions indicate you are fairly new to the experience.

If you haven't done so already find a sailing school where you AND your wife can test your interests. Live on the boat during the school. Confirm your concerns and needs with group of quality instructors who can be a resource as your knowledge continues to expand.

With the budget you have laid out nearly anything is possible, but before you spend dollar one on your purchase, protect your investment and gain clarity with life experiences you AND your wife share. Make sure you're both on the same commitment page.

There is a term called "Never Again". It's what the wife says when you reach land after your first 5 day passage. Make sure your new boat, doesn't become the next boat for sale.
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Old 31-08-2009, 19:02   #38
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I was thinking this discussion would go somewhat as follows: have you looked at the Manta Catamarans. If you got lucky enough to find a four-year-old Manta that had been outfitted for cruising, it sounds like it might fit the bill. You would want to consider that….

But since we went in another direction that is good also, so I will try to join.

My summary of the discussion up to here, is pretty much “are you sure this is a good lifestyle choice given the expense and work involved?”

My answer is: of course not.

However, in keeping with the discussion theme, we can review the bidding:

1. We have guestimated that the “round trip” transaction costs of exiting our current world and trying this world, and returning to our current world at about $200,000. In other words, my estimate of what it will cost in a short time frame (say a year) to sell/store our current house and goods, buy a boat, sell a boat, and reestablish a terra firma household would reduce our net worth by about $200,000 beyond what it would have cost us just to live for that same year. That isn’t a trifle, but it would not be devastating; if we make a bad/wrong lifestyle choice we can undo it. But we will then have had the experience. Besides, I don’t see this as the end game, more likely it is a one to four year long game. The largest risk/cost will be the loss of our current salary based income streams that will not be replaceable. We will be forever locked into our current spot on the food chain.

2. We have no immediate plans to buy a boat. We intend to do as much due diligence as we can. But part of doing that due diligence is an assessment of what sort of “home” we can have. Admittedly if we had lived our lives sailing various craft we would probably have a better idea what suited us. But since we didn’t, exploring the housing options is part of the necessary due diligence. If the only option was a 25 foot monohull with an alcohol stove, my guess is that we would be looking harder at mountain homes. You never know, we may still yet be looking at those mountain homes.

3. We are avid travelers, scuba divers, hikers, campers, ex-motorcyclists, and ex-skydiver. Admittedly the time frame for dealing with a malfunction in a main chute—cutting it away and deploying the reserve—is highly compressed verses dealing with a 150 mile wide storm at sea, but the negative consequences of not responding appropriately and the corresponding need for currency are still rather acute. The point is that we understand the need for training, experience and currency.

4. The physical aspects of sailing, including the maintenance and repairs, are one of the main draws. A likely alternative is getting familiar with Oprah. My obtuse point is that we are more likely to stay active when we have to, than when we don’t. Active life equals a better lifestyle than cheetos and TV. Our practical skills are admittedly not the strongest line on our resumes having been desk based workers our whole lives, but I did keep an MG running for seven years while in school using mostly a pair of vice-grips. When the water heater or disposal goes we replace it ourselves. When we need a new electric circuit we do it. When the house needs a new roof, we hire someone. My optimistic self says we can learn our way around boat systems the same way.

5. Other than our work, we don’t really have a “community” to which we belong. We are going to need one; once you quit it just isn’t the same visiting with the old work crew. The cruising community with its emphasis on drinking seems to fit us quite well (just kidding—sort of). The social aspects of this endeavor particularly appeal to us.
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Old 31-08-2009, 21:40   #39
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Active life equals a better lifestyle than cheetos and TV.
A better reason than most, because it involves a certain experience of life's stages. With your outdoor experience, I imagine sailing will thrill you again and again and provide platform to do many of the physical exertions you have found so rewarding. And in so many wonderful new places.

I myself reckon that this life will extend my own by increasing my physical and mental activity beyond the available landlubber existence, and I always feel a sort of peace when the sails fill and the motor is silenced.

Do keep us informed with your progress.
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Old 06-09-2009, 09:37   #40
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Originally Posted by twinkles View Post
I did keep an MG running for seven years while in school using mostly a pair of vice-grips.
Oh, boy, do I know that story! Only mine was a Healey Monster. You'll do great on a boat!

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Old 06-09-2009, 10:47   #41
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One of the best things we did before we "sold the farm" was to join a charter boat going down the coast of California to Mexico. We were on Western Grace, a 57 ft cutter, for 3 weeks and we stood watches, mended sails, cooked, cleaned, scoured villages for vegetables, anchored, sailed and motored. We are on a pretty close budget, but we considered that a test. Granted, our boat was not going to be that large, and we would not have a captain and cook with us, but still, 3 weeks at sea doing many of the the things we would be doing cruising would give us a taste of what it was like. At the end of the trip, we knew were were heading in the the right direction.
We have been downsizing, and working towards leaving since. Last Dec. we bought our boat, and we leave for Mexico in November. I cannot wait!
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Old 06-09-2009, 11:01   #42
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Here is our current game plan. We took the ASA 101 class up on Lake Lanier here in Atlanta a couple of weeks ago.

We registered for the ASA 103, 104, and 114 classes the last week in October in Florida.

If all goes well with the next classes, we would like to do a one week charter the first week in December, probably in the Bahamas. First week in December seems to be an "off-season" when rates are lower. Is their a better time/place as far as rates go?

If the idea still seems viable, we will probably start shopping in the fall of 2010. Although I would like to go to a boat show before then. Is the Miami sailboat show my best bet?

I started taking down 20 year old wall paper this weekend--first step toward liquidation :-).
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Old 06-09-2009, 11:49   #43
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There's a Moorings base in Marsh Harbor and the Sea of Abaco has lots of nice sailing and interesting places to visit. The weather might be iffy that time of the year, as the Abacos are north and you'll get whatever fronts are blowing through from the US. barometerbob.com is a good weather page for the Abacos and I think they have some info on average weather at different times of the year. They also have lots of Moorings cats (40's and 46's), charter versions, of course.

The Miami show is usually pretty good and typically has all the major production builders represented. We went to two of them and had a good time. You can stay on S. Beach and catch the boat show shuttle over to Miamarina. Many of the funky, art deco hotels on S. Beach have decent deals (for Miami) and the shuttle will keep you off of the Miami freeways (which are awful - avoid them if at all possible).

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Old 06-09-2009, 12:02   #44
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Bahama Charter?

There is probably nothing better to charter in the Bahamas than a Maine Cat 41. Looks like the rate from 11/1 to 12/17 is just over $4k.

The Moorings basic rates would get you something in the 40' range for approx $800 - 1200/day with "discounts available".

Keep in mind that the ASA courses are mainly focused on sailing monohulls. You might want to consider taking an ASA course on a multi. The Tracey School in NJ offers them.

Fair Winds,
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Old 06-09-2009, 12:39   #45
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I haven't looked at the exhibitors list, but the Annapolis Sailboat Show, aka the United States Sailboat Show typically has more boats than any other show.
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