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Old 11-04-2016, 11:54   #1
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Would this life plan work?

I'm looking to drop into the cruiser lifestyle (#1 on my bucket list and has been for decades) and I want to ask you to illuminate the flaws or problems in my plan to help me succeed.

I have a little bit of sailing experience 16-years ago (I completed the US Sailing Basic Keelboat and Basic Cruising classes with a San Francisco based sailing school in the early 2000's). I've been seriously disabled for a number of years but I just had spinal surgery 2-weeks ago and I should be perfectly able-bodied by September! I'm 48 y/o, with a wife and 3 kids (ages 1, 11 and 12). Wife is 100% on-board and supportive of my sailing dream.

My plan is to pay $3K - $4K USD in the fall to one of the sailing schools in San Francisco. Do a 1-week Basic Keelboat course, a month later do the 1-week Basic Cruising course and a month later do the 1-week Bareboat course (and get sailing experience between the courses), certifying me to be able to charter 40' monohulls most anywhere in the world by about this December or January.

Then, in March or April (so about 1-year from now) bareboat charter a 36' monohull in the BVI's (because the BVI's seem like the easiest place to start) for about 10-days. Take the whole family down, get some snorkel equipment and cruise the BVI's.

From there, maybe just do a bareboat charter somewhere in the world every year, or hopefully we fall in love with cruising, homeschool the kids, buy a 13-year old 50' Bavaria in Croatia for $80K USD and sail the Med for a few years.

I have the money thing handled because I can work from anywhere, so that doesn't really play into the equation.

So this is my dream. What can you forewarn or suggest to help me achieve it?

Thank you for sharing your hard-earned experience,

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Elon
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Old 11-04-2016, 18:52   #2
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Re: Would this life plan work?

Elon -

First, best wishes on your surgery prospects. What a life changer!

As far as sailing I strongly suggest you involve the family in the learning experience as much as possible. At the least, your wife should learn to sail. If the captain falls and breaks a leg or gets sick and can't do anything, what happens to the rest of the family? You can't dial 911, and waterborne rescue services are not as fast as land based. Your wife needs to at least be able to operate the boat to a safe haven of some sort if there's trouble.

Also, I think it would be worthwhile to get the two older children involved in sailing before you head to the BVI, maybe a dinghy learning class. Perhaps the school you choose may have a course designed specifically for families? If you can get the kids excited about sailing before you take them away from a familiar environment they may be a lot happier about it. If they have some knowledge about it they are less likely to be fearful.
If they really get into it, then you end up with a competent crew for free! Well, sort of free lol.

All in all, sounds like a great plan. Go for it!
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Old 11-04-2016, 19:20   #3
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Re: Would this life plan work?

I think I'd do it a bit differently, though your way seems viable as well.
I'd buy a small sailboat (trailer sailor) locally and use it on lake in Colorado (assuming that's where you're still living).
Would look at a basic boat that has all the major systems on it. That way, you'd get to practice for many more hours than a course would give you.
Find someone to teach you and the family how to sail and keep on practicing till it becomes second nature.
You can always "test-out" for those ASA or US Sailing certificates once you feel you're proficient.
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Old 11-04-2016, 19:33   #4
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Re: Would this life plan work?

Welcome to CF!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bavaria50 View Post
Then, about 1-year from now, buy a 13-year old 50' Bavaria in Croatia for $80K USD
This threw me for a loop, haha!
It's very specific for a boat you may or may not buy in a year or a bit longer?

Your plan will work fine, as long as everybody enjoys it.
I'd go about it differently (like Snort posted) but your way will work too. Especially if you take FSMike's advise about involving the wife and kids too.

Your wife and you will probably end up taking turns sailing the boat solo (esp. with a small child on board), so make sure she enjoys it as much as you do, and learns as much as you do, so she'll feel confident sailing and docking a 50' boat solo (while you sleep or if you were to fall ill or something).

A Bavaria would definitely not be my choice, but again ... different people, different ways, and in the end they usually all work out
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Old 11-04-2016, 19:40   #5
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Re: Would this life plan work?

Hi Elon

I'm totally in agreement with Snort. Pick up a sound (not dressed up) boat around 25ft and sail as much as possible. Find a mentor at the local marina. Get out as much as you can. Then read everything you can get your hands on, from the basic to the advanced. Then read them again.

I've done the courses you mentioned and found them to be more about "credentialing" than instructing. That's not a slam. Just you better already know what you're doing to make the most of the courses. What they teach and test, you can't get from a manual. Get out there and practice first.

other than that...good on ya, give 'er man!
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Old 11-04-2016, 20:01   #6
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Re: Would this life plan work?

Awesome plan very very similar to mine but I am half way through already, my son is on board (sorry about the pun) and my wife is coming round to the idea. Planning now instead of packing my bag for the next adventure in the BVI .

I currently own a laser (which is awesome) but I'm looking to buy something better for entertaining on the local lake. 2018 is my official cast off date I've already informed my employer.
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Old 11-04-2016, 20:29   #7
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Re: Would this life plan work?

If you have a lake close by I think the idea of getting a 24 to 25 foot boat is the way to go. You will learn tons in a short time that will really get you ready for the next big step. You will only have a few grand tied up and you will have the ultimate teaching machine. You can take the whole family out on day sails and get everyone involved. I'm bias because that's the way I started out over 3O years ago. From the time I bought my first little sailboat until I was sailing offshore was less than 4 years. You can start out on a larger boat for sure but I think you will learn more about the art of sailing on a smaller boat as it exaggerates all your imputes. Good luck on your surgery and good luck on your sailing.
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Old 11-04-2016, 21:30   #8
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Re: Would this life plan work?

Hi all. I know alot more about homeschooling than sailing. Working on changing that ratio lol. We homeschooled my daughter through 10th grade. Son through 8th grade. We joined a homeschooling group locally to help with the "socialization" aspect considered lacking by all the homeschooling detractors out there. 10th grade level is where we realized our (excellent, public)school could offer our kids the advanced science and math beyond what we could. This coincided with the kids insisting on starting public school for mostly social reasons. (It all worked out with both kids having masters degrees). I've regretted that my daughter missed the "normal" dating/high school crush experience, as my son, entering 8th grade, tore up in pursuit of the young ladies. Again this worked out albeit somewhat belatedly, as she met and recently married a guy after college and working. But I will always feel that we kinda forced a "late blooming" on her, and she felt a desperation as a young girl. To avoid a long diatribe here, I would just say to include everyone in the decision, and be ready to "alter course" when necessary. The foundation you lay for your children now will have a lasting effect on your retirement/later years. The idea of sailing locally, and family vacation cruising sounds like good preparation work to me. In a few years, the youngest one might have to suffer living aboard while the older ones go to college!
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Old 12-04-2016, 00:45   #9
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Re: Would this life plan work?

I agree with the folks on take the wife and kids on the sailing course. If the instructor is any good it will make you work as a team not capt bligh and slave crew.
We did our lessons and the instructor made us work as a team with me at the helm at times and her at the helm -- after 8+ years underway we are a team and it works --

as for get a boat and sail in the lake for a while -- hummmm - we were told the same and we lived in Ct at the time - we went for broke and bought our 1st and only boat a brand new Jeanneau DS40 and really glad we did that and never looked back - are we the greatest sailors around - heck no - but then again we look at a lot of the really great sailors and most can't leave their ponds or lakes or more than a day off shore -
we got over 30knm and an ocean crossing - we will never be the best but we get there -

good luck and the Med is a great place to raise the kids - just watch Schengen but what an experience for them -- we just competed our 3rd year in the Med and will leave soon on our 4th summer sailing here.
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Old 12-04-2016, 08:42   #10
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Re: Would this life plan work?

I hear what others are saying about getting a smaller boat and 'playing' locally. However, there is also nothing wrong with your plan. You could easily give the family the wrong impresssion by getting a small boat. It is easy enough to get your wife up to reasonable competent crew level especially whilst in somewhere like the VI's. Our four kids were born aboard and boat educated - they are all very social and the eldest, twins, have been accepted into 'varsity. You'll love the Med...........and you wont have the hassle in the meanwhile of buying, mooring, insuring, maintaining and then selling another boat. Do what you feel is right for yourself and your family.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Bavaria50 View Post
I'm looking to drop into the cruiser lifestyle (#1 on my bucket list and has been for decades) and I want to ask you to illuminate the flaws or problems in my plan to help me succeed.

I have a little bit of sailing experience 16-years ago (I completed the US Sailing Basic Keelboat and Basic Cruising classes with a San Francisco based sailing school in the early 2000's). I've been seriously disabled for a number of years but I just had spinal surgery 2-weeks ago and I should be perfectly able-bodied by September! I'm 48 y/o, with a wife and 3 kids (ages 1, 11 and 12). Wife is 100% on-board and supportive of my sailing dream.

My plan is to pay $3K - $4K USD in the fall to one of the sailing schools in San Francisco. Do a 1-week Basic Keelboat course, a month later do the 1-week Basic Cruising course and a month later do the 1-week Bareboat course (and get sailing experience between the courses), certifying me to be able to charter 40' monohulls most anywhere in the world by about this December or January.

Then, in March or April (so about 1-year from now) bareboat charter a 36' monohull in the BVI's (because the BVI's seem like the easiest place to start) for about 10-days. Take the whole family down, get some snorkel equipment and cruise the BVI's.

From there, maybe just do a bareboat charter somewhere in the world every year, or hopefully we fall in love with cruising, homeschool the kids, buy a 13-year old 50' Bavaria in Croatia for $80K USD and sail the Med for a few years.

I have the money thing handled because I can work from anywhere, so that doesn't really play into the equation.

So this is my dream. What can you forewarn or suggest to help me achieve it?

Thank you for sharing your hard-earned experience,

----------
Elon
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Old 12-04-2016, 08:57   #11
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Re: Would this life plan work?

Buy your wife the book -It's Your Boat Too: A Woman's Guide to Greater Enjoyment on the Water Kindle Edition by Suzanne Giesemann.

You should read it too!
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Old 12-04-2016, 09:01   #12
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Re: Would this life plan work?

Morning coffee in hand......let's see about this plan :-) First again best of luck and prayers for your procedure! That's a life changer!

I get the idea about a smaller boat on a lake however part of me hears you want to go "cruising", a part of which involves "sailing". Also the weekends on the 25 with the wife and kids might have an opposite effect on their interest. I remember my dad packing us on a Catalina 22 while he was "learning". Not fun (but I must say memorable).

The skills for sailing can be picked up (introduced) in the courses you describe and, since you live in the Bay Area, racing. Particularly in a cruiser class. Does not involve buying the 25' boat and that money use for more charter experience and your 50'.

All the other stuff of "cruising", fixing diesels, provisioning, cooking, anchoring, mosquito control, customs, hammock, hiking, first aid, dinghys, spear fishing, burning through your money like the rest of us. That's a whole other skill set :-) you learn as you have fun on that Bavaria.
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Old 12-04-2016, 09:11   #13
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Re: Would this life plan work?

This is what I did in 1982, read a few sailing books, bought a 36ft mono hull sailing boat sailed around Botany Bay in NSW Australia, then with my wife and 2 children went cruising (children's ages 3 and 18 months old) we cruised the world for 10 years had a great time although a few hiccups along the way, I never had sailing lessons learnt navigation from books and tried to fix everything on the boat myself, I had no depth sounder a Walker log trailing behind the boat 2 solar panels and a kerosene anchor light, it makes me smile when I see posts from people who think that they need all these sailing lessons spending countless thousands of dollars when the sailing part of boating is the easiest, it is everything else associated with sailing and cruising that is the hardest. Now I have a 60ft Catamaran with all the bells and whistles but at least I am still out there cruising,currently in Fethiye Turkey but soon to be on the move again heading West eventually Panama in 2017 and then mmmm who knows! Everyone have a great day.
Phil on board Big Bandicoot soon.
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Old 12-04-2016, 09:12   #14
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Re: Would this life plan work?

I think the ASA course on coastal navigation would be worthwhile for your goal. Provide the tools needed to find your way around once on the way.
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Old 12-04-2016, 09:15   #15
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Re: Would this life plan work?

Since you can work from any location, I'd suggest you move to the coast now buy a 30' cruiser and sail on the weekends. That way the family will learn to sail and you all will build up your experience. Then in a couple of years you'll be ready to charter anywhere in the world. Expect the 1 year old to become the best sailor in the crew. My daughter started sailing at 1 year, when she was 14 she drove the boat all the way across Massachusetts Bay with the spinnaker up. Didn't even come close to collapsing a shoulder. Yes, I'm proud of her, but my real point is it's instinct for her. I had to learn when I was 30 and bought our first boat a Pearson 10M which we still have.
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