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Old 17-03-2013, 14:10   #1
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Part time Liveaboard

Hi all, I've been been an off and on lurker here for years but now I think we can finally make a go at part time cruising. So I thought I would outlay our plan and see what everyone thinks.

My wife and I have been talking about cruising since we got out of college, unfortunately life got in the way and we spent the years saving money instead of sailing. We are at a point now that I think we might be able to make it work.

Basically we own a large chunk of land in north central MN, the land is paid for and we have the cash to build a modest comfortable house on it. I also am budgeting about $45k for a decent boat, I am a carpenter by trade and I have good friends in other industries such as upholstery and furniture making that would be eager to help fix up a boat.

My wife is a Nurse and thinks she could easily negotiate with her hospital to basically work 6 months full time and then take winters off. I would likely pick up odd jobs in my current line of work, but it wouldn't be a great deal of extra money. We are also planning on having our first kid next year. From what I've been reading here it seems like kids do just fine on a boat. If my wife works 6 months I figure she would make probably $25k after taxes. We own a rental property that will be paid off in 2 years and generates about $900 a month(so call it $10k after a few repairs). Since I will be mostly a stay at home Dad I will probably only make about $10k. So we have a budget of about $45k. We figure that to pay for our basic expenses at home and keep the house running we need about $15k, mostly because the house we build will be off grid, taxes are VERY low, and I already hunt/grow most of what we eat. Then I add in a budget of about $12k to sail ($2k per month) to cover expenses/boat repair and storage for the 6 months we are not there. The remainder of what we earn would be put into our retirement fund so that as it grows we can stay our longer or work less when we are in MN.The thing I like about this plan is that if we ever run short on cash or a large unexpected repair/expense comes up we can just stay an extra month or 2 and save up the extra needed money without having to sacrifice our savings goals. We also really like MN summers so it will keep us connected with friends/family and keep us from getting burned out from living on the boat full time.

We do not have any sailing experience so I was planning on taking a cruising class through Contact Us | Offshore Sailing School.

Comments/suggestions are greatly appreciated.
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Old 17-03-2013, 15:15   #2
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Re: Part time Liveaboard

Greetings nuru05, welcome to the forum, sounds like you have a workable plan. I wish you the best of luck and hopefully things will pan out. It is always good to have a plan.
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Old 17-03-2013, 15:38   #3
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Re: Part time Liveaboard

Thanks, one thing I am having trouble understanding (maybe I need to start a new thread for this) is how exactly does customs work. From reading a few of the threads it sounds like a huge PITA. What exactly do we need to do for most countries if we plan on sailing around the coast and scuba diving/fishing with the occasional stop to get supplies/sightseeing? I don't anticipate staying overnight in ports very often.
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Old 17-03-2013, 16:10   #4
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Re: Part time Liveaboard

nuru05,

"..one thing I am having trouble understanding (maybe I need to start a new thread for this) is how exactly does customs work."

The short answer is it depends upon what region of the world you are in and country. This applies more to immigration than customs though.

Countries like France, Australia, the United States and other 'developed' countries have clear guidelines and publish rules and regulations we are to follow. So, what customs and immigration expect from you - for example giving 72 hours advance notice of your planned arrival (Australia) is clearly stated an easy to discover.

Clearing into less developed countries however can be a burdensome costly affair. In Madagascar, you will quickly discover there is a failure to understand you if you speak anything but French. If you ask for documents stating what you are to pay in fees the policeman who is filling a role as immigration official will conveniently forget he speaks English. He will more than likely quote a fee amount that 99% of the total will end up in his pocket. This is something you may encounter in many places you go and is the main reason I'm phasing out my cruising lifestyle. Sick and tired of this.

In South Africa you may encounter an immigration official who asks the question - "...why didn't you". This is because some officials between ports do things differently and the guy at your last port of call was one of them. Not your fault, but all the same "...why didn't you."

All we can do is keep smiling.

armido *
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Old 17-03-2013, 16:15   #5
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Re: Part time Liveaboard

nuru05,

One more thing. Most countries prohibit you from anchoring, unless in an emergency, anywhere before you've cleared into the country. No matter if your plan is to stay one day in one port and move on to the next anchorage or port.

armido
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Old 17-03-2013, 16:29   #6
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Re: Part time Liveaboard

If sailing to third world countries, written rules issued by their governments are subject to interpretations; a lot of hassle to deal with. Unfortunately, many third world countries sit atop beautiful seascapes worth exploring. In almost all instances, you'll have to "grease up your way" to get clearances issued to you; I take boxes of hard candy and small chocolate bars, for obvious reasons...that's "my grease"! Everyone has a sweet tooth, and can easily be pleased!
If sailing to western countries (much of the Caribbean, Australia, Western Europe, New Zealand, French Polynesia and "KEY WEST - FL", customs tend to just be a mere formality. The most relaxed customs officers are in western French-speaking islands; if you speak French, you got it made in the shade. I speak 5 languages, 3 of which fluently. Just don't forget the "sugary treats" next time you're sailing! Mauritz
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Old 17-03-2013, 16:31   #7
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Re: Part time Liveaboard

Quote:
Originally Posted by armido View Post
nuru05,

One more thing. Most countries prohibit you from anchoring, unless in an emergency, anywhere before you've cleared into the country. No matter if your plan is to stay one day in one port and move on to the next anchorage or port.

armido
Ok, that doesn't sound too bad. We plan on spending most of our time in the Caribbean for the first few years. What kind of fee's are generally involved? I looked at Noonsite and it seemed to be quite expensive in some places. Like Costa Rica was almost $100/day, is this $100 day that you are on shore or that you are in Costa Rican waters?

Also what kind of fees can I expect to store my boat during my land time? I figure I would just head to the cheapest reputable place in Florida. Is it better to leave it in water or haul it out? And how much roughly can I expect for this?

Thanks for the answers guys
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Old 17-03-2013, 16:32   #8
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Re: Part time Liveaboard

nuru05 checkout noonsite.com it outlines all of the procedures to check-in,check-out of just about any country you will want to go. Good luck hope everything works out for the best.
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Old 17-03-2013, 16:35   #9
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Re: Part time Liveaboard

oops, it appears we were all posting at the same time.
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Old 17-03-2013, 16:52   #10
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Re: Part time Liveaboard

Sounds like a plan and the best thing is it sounds you have flexibility to change them if you need to. I'm pretty much live aboard during the spring/summer/fall right now. I do enjoy the summers here in the Northeast. But, in two years I plan on taking the boat south for the winter. I currently work two months out of the year and am able to meet expenses without dipping too much into savings. I'm not off the grid totally but, do have a whole house LED solar lighting system that has helped trim expenses nicely. You'll be taken it further being off the grid so it should be a piece of cake expense wise once things are setup. Plus you got the carpentry skills that are in demand and can do most of the work your self which is a big plus.
One thing I would caution you about when looking for a boat is to avoid the "bigger is better" syndrome when deciding on your boat. Get a boat comfortable for your needs and plans. Taking sailing lessons are good thing also get out on the great lakes on other peoples boats and see what you like and don't like along on the boats. Plusy you'll get more experience learning to sail.
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Old 17-03-2013, 17:09   #11
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Re: Part time Liveaboard

^^ What kind of size would you guy recommend? I was loosely thinking 40' but I'm not really opposed to going smaller if that would make things easier.
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Old 17-03-2013, 17:20   #12
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Re: Part time Liveaboard

nuru05,

"Also, what what kind of fees can I expect to store my boat during my land time? I figure I would just head can I expect to store my boat during my land time? I figure I would just head can I expect to store my boat during my land time? I figure I would just head to the cheapest reputable place in Florida. Is it better to leave it in water or haul it out? And how much roughly can I expect for this?"

Cheap in Florida? I recommend you check with as many yards as you can in Florida before you assume any of them will be cheap.

Many folks who cruise the Caribbean haul their boats in Grenada or Trinidad during the hurricane season. Compare prices in these places with Florida. Trinidad is farther north than Grenada and considered safer from receiving a direct hit from a 'cane. Download a sample copy of this http://freecruisingguides.com/guides...NAL_SAMPLE.zip and this http://freecruisingguides.com/guides...gGuidev1r3.zip

My judgement is that if you can bear the expense, hauling your boat is the best alternative.

armido
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Old 17-03-2013, 17:27   #13
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Re: Part time Liveaboard

I handn't really done the research yet, I just assumed with the number of docks in Florida that it would push the price down if you went to a more backwoods one. But I hadn't really considered hurricanes. I was budgeting about $500/month for storage (I remembered reading it somewhere) is that realistic in Granada or Trinidad? The only disadvantage to storing there would be I couldn't drive down each year.
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Old 17-03-2013, 17:37   #14
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Re: Part time Liveaboard

Generally Customs and Immigration is not bad. Everyone bitches about some event they had but it's not the norm. When you enter a port in a country for the first time, you go to where the cruiser next you says to go, or where your cruising guide says. Just be civil, play dumb and have patience if it's needed. (your're on island time after all!) You check in and out of each country, sometimes this can be one island or a group of islands. Generally you can go anywhere you want in the country you are in without hassle. Size of boat depends on you. If you are talking about East Coast US and the Carribean, anything from 32' on up for 3 of you. I'm thinking 36-38 is nice and comfortable. The Carribean is mostly day trips and a few overnighters, it's not like you are sailing to Tahiti.
I'm not up on Trini storage prices but you sound way high to me.
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Old 17-03-2013, 17:44   #15
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Re: Part time Liveaboard

The cost in Trinidad depends on boat length - and they count the overhangs - servopendulum wind steerers and bowsprits. $500/month then may or may not cover fees at the 'storage rate' depending on the boat you choose. There is a higher rate charged people who stay on their boat. If you plan on applying anti-foulant or working on your boat be advised your cost for buying materials in the yard will be much higher than if you hire a contractor. The free Trinidad book I linked in my last post covers this pretty well. Plan to always pay in U.S. script, because if you give them 'TT'S', they will devalue them against the U.S. dollar and you'll end up paying more. Finally, Trinidad is not considered a destination, only a place to have work done and leave.

By the way I saw some boats that were painted in Trinidad in Grenada and St. Thomas where the finish didn't hold up. Serious discoloration and streaking. Those cruiser' got screwed and wasted a wad of $.

armido
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