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Old 05-04-2015, 11:58   #1
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Quit your job and live on a boat in the Caribbean

Me and my wife are in our mid 40s, living in the San Francisco Bay area and working in the tech industry. We don't have kids. Both avid kite surfers, we recently discovered a new passion: sailing. I've taking the US Basic Keelboat and Basic Cruising license, and planning to take Bareboat, Passage Maker all the way up to Celestial Navigation. I sail as much as I can in the slot to learn and became a good sailor.

In the past 2 years, we spent 20 days chartering on a 49 feet cat in the Grenadines with friends, and we fell in love with the life style and the islands. We are dreaming about quitting our jobs, selling the house and live on a cat in the Caribbean for a few years.

Why do I want to do that? Well, as Mark Twain said: "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

How much money should I budget to leave on a boat in the Caribbean? Also, what are people living on a boat doing during the hurricane season? Do they leave the boat in a safe harbor and fly back home? Or do they live on the island?
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Old 05-04-2015, 12:25   #2
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Re: Quit your job and live on a boat in the Caribbean

The budget question is always answered by "Depends on how you would like to live."

We have several pertinent threads here:

Cruising on $500 per Month . . .

Cruising on $5,000 / Month

$500 v $5000 a month budget - which is best?

And there are several hurricane season tactics, but I think the most common is to get closer to the equator, like Trinidad. Others will pipe up with more good plans. Rio Dulce in the western Carib is another haven.
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Old 05-04-2015, 12:38   #3
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Re: Quit your job and live on a boat in the Caribbean

You can do it as cheaply or expensively as you like. You'll still enjoy the same harbors and sites, no matter what the budget.
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Old 05-04-2015, 13:09   #4
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Re: Quit your job and live on a boat in the Caribbean

Thanks for the words of wisdom and the links! $500 seems to me to be too tight. $5,000 is even more than what I spend now on land!

Would $1,500 a month be enough in the Grenadines?
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Old 05-04-2015, 14:17   #5
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Re: Quit your job and live on a boat in the Caribbean

$1500/month: Depends how you want to live. It's doable but you won't have a lot of cash for extra activities.


If you are thinking a newish 49' boat like you chartered...probably not enough.


You really need to layout what you think is involved in your version of the lifestyle and what you expect in terms of the boat before you can start talking monthly budgets.
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Old 05-04-2015, 14:34   #6
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Re: Quit your job and live on a boat in the Caribbean

Thank you guys!

The type of boat I would need for the 2 of us plus occasional friends, would be a Lagoon 380, owner's version.

Regarding the financial situation, we have saved about $700K which at the moment return me an average of 6% a year. We don't have debts, other then the house mortgage. But we could easily rent out the house to cover for mortgage.

I was thinking if we buy a Lagoon 380 for about 200/250 cash, and we could live on with 12K a year, we could spend the next 20 years cruising and still have 200K for emergencies and unpredictable expenses.

I forgot to mention, that if I had to, I could probably make $1,000 a month by working remotely for a couple of hours a day as a freelancer, provided that I have a reliable internet connection. Same for my wife.

Would that be enough to take this leap of faith, quite our job and set sails?
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Old 05-04-2015, 14:38   #7
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Re: Quit your job and live on a boat in the Caribbean

More than enough. Happy sails!
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Old 05-04-2015, 14:40   #8
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Re: Quit your job and live on a boat in the Caribbean

I recently read an entry on a blog that called $3000 a month "comfortable cruising". Beth Leonard used to give seminars on cruising budgets based on hundreds of interviews with full time cruisers and I think some are still online along with the budget outlines she had made. Her take was $15k a year was "simplicity" ....$30k a year was moderation and $60k a year was highlife .....we always figure 10% of the boat value for boat expenses plus what we want to live on during that time period.

I found a link....

http://www.bethandevans.com/pdf/costofcruising.pdf


www.learntoliveaboard.com
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Old 05-04-2015, 15:04   #9
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Re: Quit your job and live on a boat in the Caribbean

Yes, definitely, do it. You'll have a great time.

Being able to work remotely makes your financial situation wonderfully elastic and resilient. I think that's great. Aren't we computer nerds so fortunate in this era?

My only comment is that 'friends visiting' may be a lot rarer than you expect (and they say). Since it's so far away, especially from California, and people with jobs usually only blow a week a year on something like this. And, weirdly, everyone who visited us so far has insisted on spending at least a few days in a hotel. Which means, out of a week, they've sailed with us for only a few days.

This is a very personal decision, but we have a larger nest egg and a less expensive boat. We would have an even less expensive boat if we didn't have kids and planned to stay in the Caribbean. So, if I knew you and we were talking in person, I'd hint that you should look at lesser boats and see if you could still have a happy and comfortable lifestyle on it. Maybe look at the boat as a tool to enable experiences, and nothing more. Because there is a joy in having the boat be a little more 'flippant' -- not a large fraction of your net worth. Because sometimes your idea of what the most fun thing to be doing changes, and at that point, there is a freedom in not feeling so financially tied to the boat. What if in two years you decide you want to rent a house in Kyoto or Paris for a year, or travel by land in South America for two years-- isn't it nice to be able to just stash the boat in the mangroves or at anchor without worrying too much about it? Or you get to Malaysia and balk at crossing the Indian Ocean and rounding the Cape of Good Hope -- what a luxury to think "Screw it, I'll sell the boat here, as is where is, for half what I could get in America and backpack around Asia for six months"? Of course, everyone is different, so I am self conscious about saying this online.

Oh, and on a monthly budget -- my family of four averaged about $2k/month. That was completely comfortable. We are not extravagant people, but we aren't frugal, either. I feel like we did whatever sounded fun that day, without much regard for the cost. We sometimes stayed in marinas, rented cars (sometimes for months), and ate out often. That we like rural places, and spent weeks and months snorkeling off deserted beaches, dramatically lowered our average and balanced the time we spent in expensive islands.

This excludes all boat upgrades, because, to be honest, I am embarrassed by them and don't even want to try and add them up. I initiated a lot of completely frivolous and expensive projects.
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Old 05-04-2015, 15:40   #10
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Re: Quit your job and live on a boat in the Caribbean

Thanks for the link Motoman9! Very interesting reading! It looks like $20K a year is a good ball park number. At least for the first year, we would like to spend only 6 month on the boat, and store it somewhere safe during the hurricane season. How much would be storing the boat during hurricane season? Can cats be stored on land? Is it cheaper and safer than storing them in a slip at the marina?

Msponer, the reason why I think about a cat is because they are great for cruising with their shallow draft and large living accommodations. In the Grenadines we anchored in places where a monohull just couldn't. Also, cats have inherent back-ups which improve safety: like two hulls, two rudders, two engines and props. Of course the downside is that they cost more then a monohull. And they're not as good lucking as monohull (and don't sail as well as monohull upwind). But I think we can live with that.

That's why I was thinking about a Lagoon 380. Solar panels, water maker, generator, radar etc. Not thinking about crossing the ocean at the moment, but at some point I would like to cruise in the mediterranean. Of course I'm open to suggestions, I haven't really started the quest for the perfect boat yet. I'm sure with my budget there are plenty of options.

For now I'm just trying to understand if it's financially feasible. It's kind of scary to give up your job and your career.
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Old 05-04-2015, 15:50   #11
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Re: Quit your job and live on a boat in the Caribbean

Yes land storage or on water storage for hurricane season is about $20/ day around grenada
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Old 05-04-2015, 15:53   #12
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Re: Quit your job and live on a boat in the Caribbean

20K is way over the top unless you are including all expenses like insurance, haul outs, marinas etc. the Caribbean is pretty cheap to live if you want it to be. I think the last few months we struggled to spend $1000/ month and that's with quite a few nights out for dinner
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Old 05-04-2015, 16:13   #13
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Re: Quit your job and live on a boat in the Caribbean

[QUOTE=brn4adv;1793602

How much money should I budget to leave on a boat in the Caribbean? [/QUOTE]

Take the amount you spend during the charters you went on and add $1000/mo.
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Old 05-04-2015, 16:26   #14
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Re: Quit your job and live on a boat in the Caribbean

If you don't do it, you'll spend the rest of your life regretting not doing it. And boring people while you talk about not doing it. And wishing you had done it.

Go for it. You can work out the internet connection and sounds like you have a handle on generating income as needed. You'll get plenty of help here re: working remotely from a boat. Trust me.

Mark Twain never wrote that, by the way. If anyone even cares. It's a great quote, though.
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Old 05-04-2015, 17:13   #15
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Re: Quit your job and live on a boat in the Caribbean

Quote:
Originally Posted by brn4adv View Post
Thanks for the words of wisdom and the links! $500 seems to me to be too tight. $5,000 is even more than what I spend now on land!

Would $1,500 a month be enough in the Grenadines?
Not with a 49 ft catamaran.

I am on a 39ft Mono and $1,500 doesnt scrape the sides.
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