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Old 23-10-2013, 13:08   #1
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Advice wanted - where to begin

Iíve been lurking on this (excellent) forum for a few months now, working on a plan to go long term cruising. My wife and I have essentially zero sailing experience, but have spent time on boats scuba diving and travelling around SE Asia. Clearly nothing like sailing full time! Having explored a friendís small yacht back in April we decided to explore the possibilities. The draw of the independence, freedom and actually using the time we get for ourselves rather than ďthe manĒ is unquestionable. A few books later, one big spreadsheet, investigation into quarantine rules (we have a small dog), we thought we had a plan outlined to put us in a position to sell up and sail in 2-3 years.

The basics of the plan were:
1. Learn to sail on holiday(s) to day skipper or even coastal skipper standard, perhaps in the Canary Islands, but anywhere will do!
2. Get enough equity in the house to sell in order to:

a. Buy a yacht Ė probably a catamaran for ball park $225-275k.

Why a cat? More space, more light, more comfortable at anchor and a few other reasons. However we are open to advice on this.

b. Make investments to yield ball park $2200-2500 per month (probably from rental properties). These should also increase in value, so investing in growth areas would also be key.

Why this figure? The cost of blue water cruising seem to fit into the how long is a piece of string category.

I used Bumfuzzle and this forum to help get to these numbers.
Bumfuzzle
http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...ing-11081.html

By separating out the more constant factors of insurance and maintenance as a baseline, the rest becomes more subjective. This covers the G&Ts, expensive ingredients, cameras, laptops, meals out, marinas, diesel, flights home and car hire. Here I am assuming $15k/PA for maintenance and insurance. Leaving $1200/month approx. for everything else.

Again, more advice is very welcome. Perhaps spend less on the boat and have more income from investments. Or maybe my figures are well off the mark.

3. Build experience sailing in coastal waters, progress to yacht master off-shore.
4. Potential run a few crewed charter weeks in order to create some more investment cash.
5. Cruise until weíve had enough (5 years?) sell the boat, sell the investment properties and (hopefully) not be in a bad financial state.


However a recent combination of huge house price rises in London (significantly increasing our equity) and the option of taking redundancy might have accelerated things somewhat.

Itís probably worth noting that my wife and I are in our early 30s and are both healthy and (relatively) fit. We have a young cavalier king Charles spaniel (basically 9 kg of fluff) who has travelled abroad with us before and would certainly become the chief security officer, even if it does limit where we can go somewhat. My wife at least can earn more cash while we travel, as she is already a freelance fashion designer Ė which largely involves designing with paper and pen and emailing the images. She would be keen to stay in the game rather than stop entirely. I can possibly pick up some work too but Iím not confident about it.

So thereís the can of worms. Iíd really appreciate your advice?
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Old 23-10-2013, 15:06   #2
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Re: Advice wanted - where to begin

Find local sailboat races.

Ask to sail as "rail meat" aboard any boat that will take you.

Observe all the actions of all the crew and ask questions... Don't be surprised to be overloaded with information. Just come back to the races every week and repeat until you have worked your way up to a sail trimmer.

You will learn much more about sailing than any course that you could pay for, and it's free!

Get a small sailboat at first, even a sailing dinghy. Learn to sail it confidently and in all weather. Rain is no reason not to go sailing whilst there is some wind to be had. Being cold, wet, and miserable at that time might seem unbearable, but it will prepare you for times ahead.

Money can't buy experience and experience can't be taught.

I've never had an auto-pilot, so I've always done my turn at the helm in foulies during a storm, trying to see the compass. Good times, in retrospect. Maybe the auto-pilot, which you will surely have, will allow you to stay below and ride the weather out. But, something... will... go wrong. Then, you are out in the elements with absolutely no experience. Bad times.

So my advice is to start small and learn. Especially, learn if this is something that you really want to do before plunking down a quarter million dollars on a yacht.
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Old 23-10-2013, 15:59   #3
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Re: Advice wanted - where to begin

Thanks for the advice.

"Rail meat" sounds like character building stuff when done off the UK coast but probably a lot of fun nevertheless. The information overload is also inevitable. I’m only researching at the moment and am baffled by the array of kit and terminology, let alone the technical side of weather, sail handling and navigation while being battered by waves. However, I intend on being a competent skipper before venturing anywhere challenging and absolutely won’t be buying an expensive yacht before I can sail and know it is the right plan for us.

P.s. Auto pilot also sounds remarkably dull, perhaps except when covering long distances in one go.
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Old 24-10-2013, 14:53   #4
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Re: Advice wanted - where to begin

It looks to me that you are taking this idea very seriously and have wife's support which is critical. Obviously you have the means to execute this plan but out of curiosity, what is the main driving factor to say 'screw it - let's do it' ?

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Old 25-10-2013, 05:43   #5
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Re: Advice wanted - where to begin

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Mr. Jaws.
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Old 25-10-2013, 14:17   #6
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Re: Advice wanted - where to begin

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Jaws View Post
Thanks for the advice.

"Rail meat" sounds like character building stuff when done off the UK coast but probably a lot of fun nevertheless. The information overload is also inevitable. Iím only researching at the moment and am baffled by the array of kit and terminology, let alone the technical side of weather, sail handling and navigation while being battered by waves. However, I intend on being a competent skipper before venturing anywhere challenging and absolutely wonít be buying an expensive yacht before I can sail and know it is the right plan for us.

P.s. Auto pilot also sounds remarkably dull, perhaps except when covering long distances in one go.

"Rail meat" is character building stuff! Never pass up a chance to be rail meat. I'm a cruising type guy who hates racing in triangles, but I understand the value.

I'm sure everyone here understands how baffled you are at the array of kit and terminology, but you have tremendous resources available here and elsewhere on the internet. Ask questions and use Google.

However, nothing on the internet will teach you about "being battered by waves", you just have to do it.

Learning to sail by reading is just like learning to dance by reading.

Whilst auto-pilot to you might seem "remarkably dull", I am looking forward to one with great anticipation and expectation! Still, I am grateful for decades of experience of going forward or below with a lashed helm or balanced boat, then returning to my cockpit to take control. Then, if the auto-pilot fails, or I lose electricity, I am back to where I've always been.
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Old 26-10-2013, 07:15   #7
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Re: Advice wanted - where to begin

Quote:
Originally Posted by Invictus69 View Post
It looks to me that you are taking this idea very seriously and have wife's support which is critical. Obviously you have the means to execute this plan but out of curiosity, what is the main driving factor to say 'screw it - let's do it' ?

That is a good question! I don't think there is one single factor but multiple reasons. I think the harder question is why not?
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Old 26-10-2013, 07:21   #8
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Re: Advice wanted - where to begin

Quote:
Originally Posted by MaryEllenCarter View Post
"Rail meat" is character building stuff! Never pass up a chance to be rail meat. I'm a cruising type guy who hates racing in triangles, but I understand the value.

Learning to sail by reading is just like learning to dance by reading.
Now that is something I've never read a book on but after hundreds of hours of practice I have mastered both the funky chicken and the pointy dance.
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Old 26-10-2013, 07:42   #9
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Re: Advice wanted - where to begin

Learn in the Channel Islands or Solent, Canaries are cute but it's hardly the place to lean tides and navigation.

Racing, unless off-shore, teaches very little about cruising.

A small cat will cost $1,200/month in a Caribbean marina if you have to go in for repairs or an illness.

Keep at least 25% of your capital for refits and emergencies.

Then read the thread on the cost of refits...

cost of a sailboat refit

Good luck!
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Old 26-10-2013, 07:52   #10
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Re: Advice wanted - where to begin

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Jaws View Post
we have a small dog ....a.

Buy a yacht Ė probably a catamaran for ball park $225-275k.

b. Make investments to yield ball park $2200-2500 per month (probably from rental properties).

. Iíd really appreciate your advice?
I think you are pretty spot-on. If the dog dies don't replace it.

This is one of the very few first posts on this subject where the writer is a) not a loony; b) has done some research; c) realises its not done on 2 cents per week and a free boat raised from the bottom of the ocean..

Good luck. But people dont need 'luck' when brain is available

Mark
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Old 26-10-2013, 08:11   #11
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Re: Advice wanted - where to begin

I concur that racing will teach you more about sailing than you could learn in years of cruising. Of course there is much more to learn to go cruising which is kind of an art in itself.
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Old 26-10-2013, 08:53   #12
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Re: Advice wanted - where to begin

Just my 2 cents worth... I had never been offshore and had the opportunity to crew a 50' sailboat from TX to Panama...and I was hooked. My wife however is not into the idea of living on board. We live in Costa Rica, and the season for sailing here is beautiful from Dec. to mid May when the rains come. I bought a 24 ft C&C two years ago and that way I get my time sailing for a few months per year, and can keep my wife... I would really recommend both of you crewing on a two week transit where you can experience weather and learn what is required. It is really easy to make an emotional decision which you might later regret. For me the happiest days of being a boat owner keep coming each time I get on board. For a lot though it's the day they finally sell the bit ole hole in the water that you sink your money into. I do agree that the future of living free will be off shore picking up and plunking down the anchor. Wish you happiness realizing your dreams...
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Old 26-10-2013, 13:17   #13
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Re: Advice wanted - where to begin

Mark - Thanks for the positive feedback. I don't think the dog is replaceable anyway, and although you have certified me as not a loony my family are seeking a second opinion.

Phil - excellent link, there are some scary refit costs in there - the 25% refit and emergency fund is (sadly) sound advice I suspect.

In general we are not expecting to be competitive sailors, just competent and safe.
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Old 26-10-2013, 13:23   #14
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Re: Advice wanted - where to begin

To add - I'd really appreciate annual costs people can provide for just maintaining (i.e. fixing broken things, regular servicing, haul outs, replacing things that wear out - sails for example etc). Specifically I'm interested in 38-44 ft cats which are 5-15 years old.
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Old 26-10-2013, 13:53   #15
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Re: Advice wanted - where to begin

Our boat is 29 yrs old with all systems, engine, gen, A/C etc replaced 13 yrs ago...Insurance, haulouts and replacing and fixing all our many systems costs us $20,000/yr minimum and I need a new dinghy but I have to wait for my OAP to kick in!

FX sails Sails, Sailboat Sails, Custom Sails, Instant Online Sail Prices at FX Sails Gives a rapid estimate of the cost of sails for a particular boat.

If you put in Tayana 55 for boat model you will see what I will pay in 3-4 yrs time!
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