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Old 03-11-2010, 11:10   #1
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New Lease on Life

Yes, it's been a while since I have posted. With that said, I visit CF a few times a day to read up on the posts.

I'm a college-educated mid 20's guy from the South. I had me a bit of a "American Beauty Kevin Spacey" moment - saw where my life was taking me and decided to get off that train.

I've my eye on a nice cruiser for sale in the nearby Marina and contemplating what I would be able to do with it and my life to make it comfortable. Come from money - saw it destroy everything in the family, not where I want to focus my efforts.

I have half a mind to attend The Landing School (Arundel) or IYRS (Newport) in fall 2011. The idea would be to graduate, work off the loans as quickly as possible while gaining marine tech experience to go along with the shiny new degree and set sail...

Perhaps buy a full keel "fixer upper" and really make it tremendous.

Is this feasible? I think yes. But likely? This is where I look towards the board for advice. Fantasy? Reality? I won't get rich, but enough to support myself.

It's as if I have a new lease on life and I want to make the best of it.

What would you all do in my shoes? Yes. HUGE question.
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Old 03-11-2010, 14:24   #2
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good choice!

Few have the daring and bravery to do what you are thinking of doing.

With that I'd say what I'd have said to any of my students back at the University I used to teach in... go for it.

Do the math as much as possible. Don't dig a debt hole that's too deep. But at the same time you have many years, and a degree to work towards your dreams.

Don't know your family situation, but .. I'd also recommend against looking to sailing as a problem solver. No matter where you go... there you are right? Reconcile with them as much as possible so that your time at sea can be even more enjoyable.

But yeah, a used boat is cheap (relatively)... putting in the labor yourself is doable and rewarding. We've (my pops and I) been working on a live aboard and it's been great fun so far.... learned a lot and have yet to sink...

And in the end I don't think living a board your boat is all that much more expensive than buying a prefab mobilehome ...
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Old 03-11-2010, 14:28   #3
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fixing is doable and probable

btw.. to add on... neither my pops nor I had any real boat fixing experience before we began work on a hurricane Ike fixer upper.

And neither of us are particularly handy.

So many resources between Amazon.com, the library, and CF, plus the knowledge of local sailors, machinists, welders and etc.

If you are humble enough to ask how to do something you will get more answers than you asked for usually :-)
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Old 03-11-2010, 15:06   #4
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My kids are in college now. I have said that if I one of them had said they wanted to be a diesel mechanic or other marine tech, I certainly wouldn't discourage it. Outsource that - no way. It's got to be a good field.

If you end up not liking it, move on to something else. Make bold choices while you still can. That's my advice.
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Old 03-11-2010, 15:41   #5
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Hi

Have a look at this thread Do You Know of Anyone Who Quit Right Away ? from the beginning of the thread.

Theres some good stuff in there about chucking your life away.

You are mid 20's wanting to buy a grand-pa's boat and join a community of retired people.
Shouldn't you get off the butt and use your educated brain to go save the world? Or at least contribute back to it?

Running away from your upbringing, as the other thread suggests, isn't possible.

And now I've sounded like a jerk for a few paragraphs I'll remain same and suggest American Beauty isn't real, its a movie, Kevin Spacey is an actor and was playing a fictional part. Kevin Spacey acheived that by hard work, not avoiding work


If you want to go sailing go sailing. But go sailing because you want to go sailing.
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Old 03-11-2010, 18:04   #6
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I thought it was a good question/idea. Guess not.
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Old 03-11-2010, 22:29   #7
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On the other hand, it is not a bad idea - if you are one of the young folks (and there are a lot) who cannot "see" where they want to go in life.
- - Then fixing up a boat or buying a "ready to go" boat and sailing away is a very good way to "find yourself" - if you don't kill yourself in the process.
- - For all we humans think we are the answer and end all of everything, sailing out into the oceans and seas of the world will quickly teach you "your place" in the grand scheme of life and Planet Earth. You will learn to think and plan and work with Mother Nature rather than fighting her. Your boat will keep you alive if you keep her fit and shipshape.
- - Experiences with other cultures and how the other 6.7 billion people on this earth live and die will put your own past into perspective and values you thought important might just be converted into "silly things" of little or no importance in the order of the world.
- - In other words, sailing off for a few years will/can greatly enhance your perceptions, values, and self-image. If not you will probably kill yourself at sea in some stupid/foolish miscalculation. Mother Nature and the oceans do not suffer fools or the ignorant. But if you do survive you will come back a whole different person.
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Old 03-11-2010, 22:49   #8
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Originally Posted by Preposterous View Post
I thought it was a good question/idea. Guess not.
it was an excellent question and idea. you just got a shitty response which seems common with a few folks around here.

that said, we're about the same age and from a similar background...and I'm doing it right now! I bought an old wooden power boat and am going through the process of fixing her up. it's nothing but money and time and totally worth it. a lot of it's been trial by fire but so far one heck of an experience!

in short: DO IT!
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Old 04-11-2010, 00:19   #9
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I thought it was a good question/idea. Guess not.
It's a great question, in fact it's the question that drives forums like this. There are sections for crusty old buggers to rail against the various problems of the world, but mostly sailing (and it's discussion) is about a dream. A dream of self-reliance, a dream of mobility, a dream of relaxation, etc.. Obviously it's none of those things, and all of those things at the same time. Sailing's 98% bliss and 2% sheer terror, and I'm not over-stating the sheer terror. Not one bit.

I just turned 29 and basically as soon as I finished nursing school, I took off on the boat hoping to never look back. The importance for me was mobility and freedom to do what I choose, not really to escape anything. I think it's a great choice for a lifestyle, but obviously I would think that since I'm still doing it.

There are certain realities of this lifestyle that nobody can fully appreciate until they've tried it. In general, the curmudgeonly responses you'll receive at the outset of your prospective journey are well-intended, as difficult as that may be to see initially. As osirissail suggests, it's quite possible to get yourself killed doing this if you're ill-prepared. And as was discussed in the thread MarkJ pointed you to, it's entirely possible that you will simply find it's not the life for you, for whatever reason.

Still, most people on this board would be more than thrilled if you were to find out and prove (to yourself) that this is the life for you. This community is overfilled with the bitter types, and much as they will argue otherwise, they'd love for some younger personalities to inject a little energy and vigor into the scene.

Keep at it, and read through all the threads in this site's history. There is a nearly inestimable wealth of information to be had there, if you've got a few dozen hours to peruse.
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Old 04-11-2010, 00:41   #10
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I too thought it was a good question. In fact, a wise person should seek out the experience of others to help formulate an informed decision. Of course, the problem is that you have sift through the bs and that can sometimes be difficult, other times it kinda of obvious. That said, I think orisissail makes a good point. Living in close quarters with people of non-western countries will put things in perspective for you. I do wonder the extent to which you actually put your life in serious danger unless you go beyond the bounds of reasonable intelligence. While there plenty of horror stories, I haven't read of too many deaths at sea by cruisers, newbies or otherwise, on a yearly basis. I do think that by definition, sailors for the most part have a certain level of intelligence that helps protect us from the wrath of Mother Nature.
It is difficult for anyone to place ourselves in your shoes and advise as to whether they would take the leap. There are way too many variables. Unfortunately, the first variable is $$$$$. Damn expensive buying and maintaining a cruising boat.
I can only say that get out there and go sailing, even if not a cruising boat. It won't be long and the those obSTACKels (always wanted to use it that way) will fade away and the answer will become ever so clear.
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Old 04-11-2010, 02:39   #11
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College educated mid-20's guy.
Thinking of attending a maritime school

Many would say you've worked pretty hard and you should go try it while you are young. And that is exactly what I would say. If you hadn't got the education done I would caution - that's really hard to go back and finish (ask me how I know)

But having an education and your youth definitely means you can have a false start or two. Go for it.

If it doesn't work out, no big deal. But if you get a job, get a wife, get a house, get some kids and get a lot of debt you may never go.
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Old 04-11-2010, 05:24   #12
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. . . While there plenty of horror stories, I haven't read of too many deaths at sea by cruisers, newbies or otherwise, on a yearly basis. I do think that by definition, sailors for the most part have a certain level of intelligence that helps protect us from the wrath of Mother Nature.. . .
Actually you don't read about too many deaths at sea as there are no reporters out there. Unless you have active folks back home tracking your journey all the time, you can just disappear and virtually nobody will know. And other than a few cruising friends, nobody will care.
- - This is one of the major benefits of cruising the oceans, if you live long enough you quickly learn that it is your own wits, common sense, ingenuity and acquired skills that will keep you alive - NOT - some government bureaucrat/entity or social welfare program. You will learn to be the master of your own fate. That alone is a major life changing event.
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Old 04-11-2010, 05:54   #13
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Actually you don't read about too many deaths at sea as there are no reporters out there. Unless you have active folks back home tracking your journey all the time, you can just disappear and virtually nobody will know. And other than a few cruising friends, nobody will care.
- - This is one of the major benefits of cruising the oceans, if you live long enough you quickly learn that it is your own wits, common sense, ingenuity and acquired skills that will keep you alive - NOT - some government bureaucrat/entity or social welfare program. You will learn to be the master of your own fate. That alone is a major life changing event.

Hear hear. That event alone will be worth more than any money you could ever acumulate and all the advanced degrees you will ever earn.
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Old 04-11-2010, 06:52   #14
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I thought it was a good question/idea. Guess not.
Just because you got some answers which were not warm and fuzzy is no reason to get huffy. Obviously the question was good -- see all the responses. And Mark's answer was one of the most important ones, even if it's not the only way to look at it.

Nothing is warm and fuzzy out at sea. You will want to be fairly tough if you want to be a sailor man. Actually that's one of several good arguments in favor of your idea -- will make a man out of you for sure, and I think you may have actually identified this, reading between the lines of your original post.

If I could do my 20's over again (I'm a little over 50 now, so not retired) and I had a chance to spend a couple of years at sea, I would certainly jump at it. It would have been just the kind of adventure I would have loved. I would not have been able to do it in my 20's, however, because it would have taken a lot of money (I spent a few years in Europe instead). The reason why you find mostly retired people doing it is because cruising requires two things -- time, and money. Very few people have both at their disposal until they are retired.

Cruising is a self-indulgent activity -- you are spending money and not producing anything. That is what Mark was talking about, and it is an important aspect of the question. It's a natural thing for retired people since you've been producing and earning all your life and completely normal to want to spend it and indulge yourself after that. For a guy in his 20's it's a little harder in that respect.

But if you can put together the money to do it -- I would definitely, definitely do it in your place. You've got plenty of life ahead of you for producing and earning and contributing and all that. But where will you get the money? It is hard to say how much you will need, but it starts to become really hard if you have less than $100k for an extremely modest boat requiring a lot of elbow grease plus a very modest refit and equip and some kind of tiny cruising kitty. I would not have been able to get up $100k in my mid 20's although I had been working since 16.
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Old 04-11-2010, 07:30   #15
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I too wish I'd done it in my 20's.... back then a 30ftr (new) cost around 2K GBP... a 2 bed semi was 3K... my annual income was 4.5K.... but like a wally I got married instead... ahh well.
Buy a boat and go sailing my friend.... its a lot cheaper and easier to get out of if you find you've made a mistake...
As to costs... forget the $100,000... that's way over the top... that's what 'wrinklies' look at as a starting point for all the unnecessary toys and extras they've been BS'd into thinking they cannot do without... like Chart plotters and Radar...
Ever noticed some of the strongest supporters on here are those who write programs or sell them...
You can pick up a perfectly good basic 30ft boat for $5-10K... another 5K to set up minor improvements like roller furling gear... keep your hank on sails and just put slides where the hanks went..
Get a boat with a tiller... forget the poseurs wheel... you've more control and the tiller pilots less than $500... a hand held GPS, a flare pack and a good inflatable.
As for an engine... if the inboards knackered get rid of it and get a 5-9hp outboard... its all you need... oh and some books for when your becalmed.
One important thing you'll learn out there is patience... its only the 'Institutionalised' who have this need to keep a schedule... a sailor does just that.. he sails.. and when there's no wind he sorts out maintenance issues, reads, sleeps and eats till the wind comes again.
Good character building stuff....
Forget the spoilt brats on here and GO FOR IT

PS; Another possible reason for the high starter quotes is possibly to try and maintain boat prices in this 'Buyers Market'... talk to people like Zeehag, Shane etc who are taking the "Boat Trash" route.
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