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Old 18-03-2016, 07:49   #16
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Re: Thinking about jumping the shark.

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Originally Posted by siamese View Post
"Jumping the shark" comes from the Happy Days television show. It had been on the air long enough that the writers had pretty well run out of ideas. Then, they wrote an episode where Fonzi waterskis and jumps a shark. A totally lame idea, and supposedly was the point at which the producer realized the show had run it's course.

So, no, it doesn't really fit your situation.
Oh yeah- waterskis, not a motorcycle. I forgot.

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Old 18-03-2016, 07:49   #17
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Re: Thinking about jumping the shark.

I was tempted by a couple of boats in the PNW, but to me anyway, things don't even begin to start being sensible that side, until you get the boat down to Mexico. Bear in mind I am considering this situation (not too unlike my own) from across the other side of the Atlantic.

In your shoes I would head to the East Coast, and not necessarily Florida. I have just had a quick look on Boat Trader, and I don't see how you could fail to find something sensibly priced for say $15,000. Not too big (for me the break point after which maintenance costs and running costs start getting stupid if on limited resources, is a 35ft boat). There's a lot of choice in 30ft to 35ft boats between Canada and Florida.

Not forgetting Canada too (good exchange rate).

You can live cheap in the Caribbean, especially if you anchor out and catch some fish. So good ground tackle is important. It's a buyers market, try and spend less than 50% of the lump sum you have available. The boats are there to be able to do it.

$300 will give you a 3 month cruising permit in the Bahamas, and the fishing permit to go with it.

I'd buy a boat with less UV damage further North than Florida (unless it's a recent arrival), get everything a survey says to do done (if it says too much, knock the price down enough to cover it or walk away), and get South asap to get below the hurricane tracks.

If you do this right, after you have got the boat fit to travel, you should be able to save at least $500 a month, even with budgeting for occasional marina visits, and boat maintenance and upgrades, after all your food, water, fuel, etc costs per month. Think how much you can save in 3 months, anchoring round the Bahamas. I think you could realistically be up by $3,000 if you work at it.

Best of luck to you.
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Old 18-03-2016, 07:53   #18
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Re: Thinking about jumping the shark.

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Originally Posted by BigNickMontana View Post
You're absolutely right about that, my living space right now is about 72x96" For me a boat is going to be a palace. Especially if I can get a Pearson or C&C 36 like I have been looking at.



You're right, I do need to take that leap.

And the funny thing is I keep finding cheaper boats on the east coast.
OK, you have to approach this issue as if you've got hazardous materials aboard and 100 miles of bad road and hairpin turns ahead.

Assuming you possess the skill set to sail, moor and dock, and the skill set not to burn the boat or, in "fixing it", burn the boat or sink the boat, you have to immediately give up the idea of a specific make/model.

You have to ask yourself:

1) What am I doing on a boat? Is it just a floating place for my stuff? Is it a floating locker? A floating bunk? Because you can jam a lot of crap in a boat that is rarely going to sail, even a small one. Sailing, however, means everything except the few tools needed to sail get put away securely...all of them. A lot of boats have great stowage. A lot of modern boats do not, because airy interiors are popular. Airy interiors, however, mean you have farther to fall when the boat, assuming it's moving, falls off a wave. If the boat rarely moves, this isn't an issue.

2) Who am I on the boat with? Because space is tight and unless you are docked, it's hard to leave, other people can find boats relationship dissolvers. Make sure the psychological factors are addressed. For you, it's room to stretch. For most people, it's like moving into a teak coffin that is also often cold and damp.

3) It's a great time to buy a good old boat, but the key word is "old". You may find a great hull for sailing and stowage that needs a new engine: there's half your nest egg there and you haven't even hauled out. Old boats need surveys unless you are exceptionally good at spotting the land mines. Sometimes you'll find a dock queen that has been rewired to updated codes, has been redieseled in the last 10 years, but which has original rigging and sails...and you want to sail. There's several boat bucks ($1,000) right there, just to get to the point where the mast doesn't topple. And yet you may find that's otherwise the perfect boat, or you can knock the price down because there's a glaring flaw or need to replace expensive elements. In other words, you may end up buying a flawed or worn boat knowing that money, time and labour are part of the deal, and that you are the guy who can "bring her back". This is the most likely scenario, actually, because there's a lot of boat-proud 80 year olds selling up these days boats they've have for 30-40 years and have maintained, but rubbing teak is not inspecting masthead toggles when you're 80.

4) You have to keep an open mind as it relates to your goals. Were I to single-hand and liveaboard a boat on the move in coastal waters, but on a budget, I would choose a quite different boat from one with occasional long passages, because ocean-crossing is fundamentally different from coasting.

5) Truckers aren't known for fitness. Boating is hard work. Evaluate honesty (especially as you've said you have a disability) your state of physical health in terms of working the boat and going safely up and down the companionway 100 times a day. Can you reach all parts of the engine? Can you work wrenches at full extension to service seacocks buried in weird places? If no, that boat's not for you.

I could go on all day, but you get the drift. The best thing you could do is make a list reflective of these questions. The actual boat model is nearly completely irrelevant, because they almost all, save for ultra-light ex-ocean racers, have a great deal of overlap in terms of "good enough".
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Old 18-03-2016, 07:58   #19
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Re: Thinking about jumping the shark.

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Originally Posted by S/V Alchemy View Post

5) Truckers aren't known for fitness. Boating is hard work. Evaluate honesty (especially as you've said you have a disability) your state of physical health in terms of working the boat and going safely up and down the companionway 100 times a day.
Puh-leez. Anybody who can climb up into the cab of an 18-wheeler is fit enough to negotiate 3 companionway stairs.
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Old 18-03-2016, 08:05   #20
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Re: Thinking about jumping the shark.

Just a point of clarification: Sailing out of Seattle does not mean "hard core sailing right off the bat"

Puget Sound is quite benign and the San Juan Islands are absolutely lovely. Straits of Georgia and the Gulf Islands likewise.

Boats at reasonable prices are plentiful on both sides of the US/Can border. I have no idea what the cost of moorage would be is the US, but here in Canada, up-coast towns offer moorage - a good moorage, too - at about Can$200/month.

For the time being, US$1,800 equates to Can$2,400, but I think it would be indisputable that living costs in Mexico would be lower than they are here.

As for a "support network", I wouldn't worry too much about that. It's a safe bet that the moment you put into a marina anywhere in these parts and go for a walk on the dock, you'll make new acquaintances, and to turn them into friends is no trick at all.

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Old 18-03-2016, 08:16   #21
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Re: Thinking about jumping the shark.

Sounds like the cramped accommodations in a boat would be no problem if you can live in your semi. That leaves a couple of major issues to address. Moving away from your support net work is the big one but your lack of any boating knowledge is also important. You also need to know up front if you want a boat for cruising or you expect to stay in place. That will have a big impact on what you can afford. Spending a few weeks in Seattle talking to live-a-boards and brokers is a good idea. Not only will you get an idea of what you can afford, you can see how well you fit in with boat people. That brings you to the most important decision, location. Yes, boats can be moved but picking a good spot is major. My impression is that the Northwest is expensive, northern California is very expensive, Mexico and Texas are inexpensive. I would pick my area and investigate specific locations before shopping for a boat.
The good news is that buying and living aboard seems to be well within your means. Good luck in your investigations.
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Old 18-03-2016, 08:17   #22
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Re: Thinking about jumping the shark.

Big Nick,

This will be honest and a lot of folks do not like honest talk, but here goes, this is based on my observations, and a little opinion thrown in.



The sailing lifestyle dream..

Many people buy a sailboat with idea of ditching it all and sailing off into paradise, it is a great dream shared by many people. But between the dream and the reality lie the doldrums; (money, gear, problems, fear of the unknown, regulations, and lists that go on forever).

The majority of people who buy sail boats whether it is to live on or for fun do not sail. They may sail a bit if the wind is light, after motoring out to an open area, but if the wind picks up, they will drop sail and motor. This is because many people are not comfortable with the actions and motions of a sailboat.

I have seen many many people who buy a boat to live aboard, or to sail off with. They sit at the dock, or they motor up and down the intracoastal.
Sailboats by design are meant to sail, which means they have special hulls, decks and rigging. Unless you get up over 40 feet there is not a lot of room below for living, (with the exception of a few boats, which have more room but do not sail well at all).

So here is my suggestion: find an old Taiwan trawler, there are hundreds of them out there, fiberglass hulls and lots of teak below and some have been neglected and are cheap. Find one with a Lehman, yanmar, or perkins engine that runs. (like a Marine Trader) in the 34 to 40 foot range. You should be able to find one for around 12 to15K that needs interior work, they all leaked rainwater so they all have interior woodwork that looks bad if not attended to. They have twice the room as a sailboat, only draw a few feet of water, easy to handle and easy to live aboard. Spend some time, (and a little money) fixing it up with gear from Home Depot, travel around with it, see the sights, meet the people. You will be doing more than most people with sailboats, have more room and cost less money. You can run up the inside passage in Alaska if you are in the Northwest or up and down the intracoastal and over to the Bahamas if you are on the east coast.

Now, if you like this life and want to actually sail off into the sunset, you can sell your trawler probably for a bit more than you paid for it if you fixed it up, (painted plywood on the walls etc, something you canít really do with a sailboat). You will know the areas and the people and have a better idea what kind of a sailboat you want and what is out there. Or you may have found this life is not for you and sell your boat and move ashore again. Either way you are not out much, you have had an adventure, and you have experienced ďthe dreamĒ so to speak.

Donít worry about friends, people on the water all always friendly to new folks, will take you in and give you more help and advice than you can possibly imagine. Donít buy a boat for tomorrows dream, buy one for today and use it to check out and achieve your dreams.

Good luck to you,

Michael
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Old 18-03-2016, 08:17   #23
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Re: Thinking about jumping the shark.

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Originally Posted by BigNickMontana View Post
Generally speaking I am a happy person, I'm very fortunate to have many things that interest me and really the only thing in my life causing me grief right now is the money situation with this business.

I'm looking at moving onto a boat not as a way to make myself happy, but as a way I have wanted to live my whole life, I have always loved being on boats. It is just now I am finally in the position where I can afford to do it.

What I really want is to travel as much as possible.

You make some very good points on the Marina side of things. Honestly that is what worries me the most. I am probably going to anchor out or use a mooring just to save money, it don't bother me to use a dinghy.

Might get a slip if I can find one cheap enough, but I have my doubts.
nick, i feel your pain as i've been in your position but it's time for action buddy. some people make things happen, some people watch things happen and some people wonder what happened. which will you be when all is said and done. you've been a leader in the trucking business and now you need to lead yourself through retirement. as chester nimitz once said to bull halsey, "when you're in command, COMMAND." now get on with it. good luck.
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Old 18-03-2016, 08:20   #24
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Re: Thinking about jumping the shark.

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Originally Posted by S/V Alchemy View Post
OK, you have to approach this issue as if you've got hazardous materials aboard and 100 miles of bad road and hairpin turns ahead.

Assuming you possess the skill set to sail, moor and dock, and the skill set not to burn the boat or, in "fixing it", burn the boat or sink the boat, you have to immediately give up the idea of a specific make/model.

You have to ask yourself:

1) What am I doing on a boat? Is it just a floating place for my stuff? Is it a floating locker? A floating bunk? Because you can jam a lot of crap in a boat that is rarely going to sail, even a small one. Sailing, however, means everything except the few tools needed to sail get put away securely...all of them. A lot of boats have great stowage. A lot of modern boats do not, because airy interiors are popular. Airy interiors, however, mean you have farther to fall when the boat, assuming it's moving, falls off a wave. If the boat rarely moves, this isn't an issue.
For me sailing is going to be a means to travel and see more of the world, I used to do a lot of Photography, I am going to start doing that seriously again.



Quote:
2) Who am I on the boat with? Because space is tight and unless you are docked, it's hard to leave, other people can find boats relationship dissolvers. Make sure the psychological factors are addressed. For you, it's room to stretch. For most people, it's like moving into a teak coffin that is also often cold and damp.
For right now it is just going to be me and my best fuzzy friend.



Quote:
3) It's a great time to buy a good old boat, but the key word is "old". You may find a great hull for sailing and stowage that needs a new engine: there's half your nest egg there and you haven't even hauled out. Old boats need surveys unless you are exceptionally good at spotting the land mines. Sometimes you'll find a dock queen that has been rewired to updated codes, has been redieseled in the last 10 years, but which has original rigging and sails...and you want to sail. There's several boat bucks ($1,000) right there, just to get to the point where the mast doesn't topple. And yet you may find that's otherwise the perfect boat, or you can knock the price down because there's a glaring flaw or need to replace expensive elements. In other words, you may end up buying a flawed or worn boat knowing that money, time and labour are part of the deal, and that you are the guy who can "bring her back". This is the most likely scenario, actually, because there's a lot of boat-proud 80 year olds selling up these days boats they've have for 30-40 years and have maintained, but rubbing teak is not inspecting masthead toggles when you're 80.
Some very good words of advice there. Gives me a lot to think about.

I am very handy and I do know my way around power boats, I spent my last year in the navy working at the base marinia. Got a lot of experience really fast there.

I also used to be a welder and a machinist. And I was an aviation electronics tech in the Navy.

Really the only place my knowledge is lacking is in the rigging and sails, and sailboat specific items.

Quote:
4) You have to keep an open mind as it relates to your goals. Were I to single-hand and liveaboard a boat on the move in coastal waters, but on a budget, I would choose a quite different boat from one with occasional long passages, because ocean-crossing is fundamentally different from coasting.
I plan on heading for Europe eventually. I want to see Germany and England really bad. I am a total history nut.

Quote:
5) Truckers aren't known for fitness. Boating is hard work. Evaluate honesty (especially as you've said you have a disability) your state of physical health in terms of working the boat and going safely up and down the companionway 100 times a day. Can you reach all parts of the engine? Can you work wrenches at full extension to service seacocks buried in weird places? If no, that boat's not for you.
Fortunately I am not most truckers. I heavy haul, I do all of my own maintenance that I can, I also can grab a 10' length of 1/2" chain in one hand and a ratchet binder in the other and crawl under a piece of heavy machinery to secure it several times and be just fine. Actually in many cases I can throw 9 chains in 20-30 minutes.

Or when the the fecal matter hits the rotating oscillator and the weather dumps snow on us out here I can throw 4 chains on my drives and 2 on the trailer inside of 20 minutes.

There is nothing about doing the work on a boat that intimidates me in the slightest.



Quote:
I could go on all day, but you get the drift. The best thing you could do is make a list reflective of these questions. The actual boat model is nearly completely irrelevant, because they almost all, save for ultra-light ex-ocean racers, have a great deal of overlap in terms of "good enough".
Lots of good things in there to think about. I've been looking at a lot of different boats just to see what is out there. So far the Pearson 36 is what I like, but I am not locked into having to have one.
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Old 18-03-2016, 08:28   #25
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Re: Thinking about jumping the shark.

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nick, i feel your pain as i've been in your position but it's time for action buddy. some people make things happen, some people watch things happen and some people wonder what happened. which will you be when all is said and done. you've been a leader in the trucking business and now you need to lead yourself through retirement. as chester nimitz once said to bull halsey, "when you're in command, COMMAND." now get on with it. good luck.
To that I say: "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!"
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Old 18-03-2016, 08:44   #26
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Re: Thinking about jumping the shark.

Regarding Capt Mike's comments about a trawler check out Sailing | PacificSailors.com. They sailed Mexico in a Hunter and have moved over to a trawler now that they are here in the PNW.

As for the life change thing. Who are you? Where do you "live"? Home for me is always where I am and I am going to guess that being a truck driver you are pretty much the same. We've been here for 8 months and I haven't missed "home". Social media takes care of most of the contact and hell, I now have the cool place, if people want to hang out they should be coming here :-)

Having spent our first winter here I can see the allure of Florida or Mexico if you really want to be "sailing" and travelling but frankly, other than a lot of clutter creep, I have no problem with PNW winter. Beat the hell out of Alberta and 40 below. And as has been mentioned between Puget Sound and Alaska there is a lifetime of cruising and adventure.

Go ahead and jump the damn shark and maybe you'll show everyone that it's not so ridiculous a concept. At least you'll be happy and screw the audience.

And consider if you sell the rig in Washington, you will have a place to stay while you boat shop :-)
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Old 18-03-2016, 08:45   #27
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Re: Thinking about jumping the shark.

I know several vets, disabled and otherwise that live aboard in the Sea of Cortez for a lot less than $1,800 a month. When we are through long distance sailing we intend to downsize our boat to a cheaper less blue watery boat and spend 6 months a year in the sea. It seems to me that about 87% of the experience of world cruising can be had right there and really inexpensively to boot. Plus, in veterans cases, VA health care is close by in San Diego. The boat you need to live there is much less than to cruise to parts unknown. I would look on ebay. A large trailable 26' cruiser with a diesel and near standing headroom, in pretty good shape just sold from a dry sailing yard near where we are last month for $1,600 dollars. I am not necessarily recommending that kind of boat. But if you found a really cheap, usable boat you would be in the community, and you would be more likely to locate the boat you want or need and your plans could gel more completely with the experience and the new friends and neighbors you would acquire. Good luck
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Old 18-03-2016, 08:48   #28
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Re: Thinking about jumping the shark.

Hi,

Sorry to hear the trouble with the truck and all that. All I can say is things happen but we can only live aright with our head forward.

I think, in times of stress, it is best to keep on doing. I mean, do NOT sit down and think too much. ACT. This works for me in any case - doing things keeps my head from going in circles.

I think your bat plan sounds 100% doable. You will want the insight of US based cruisers for finding the best spot to start. This is a huge country and I can only imagine the costs and difficulties of buying and owning a boat will vary wildly. My own bet is always on the warm areas (California?) - one can work all year long and stretch in the sun sipping a wine when taking some rest.

Where we are (Europe, but not on the continent) it takes 10 to 20k to get a basic boat and right now we are living a budget of about 500 bucks a month (per two). When we go sailing/traveling, the budget is higher as the boat always requires a haul out and some $ love prior to departure (we mostly sail crossings to the West Indies and back now).

So. Sending you some good vibrations from our sunny spot and wishing you many happy days on the boat.

b.
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Old 18-03-2016, 08:49   #29
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Re: Thinking about jumping the shark.

Hey Nick - I don't usually chime in on "Should I go or not" threads, but I've read your previous posts and you seem like a pretty rational, thoughtful guy.

What keeps drumming through my brain is Yogi's "When you come to a fork in the road, take it". Since this is has been a dream of yours for a while it's not like you're facing a professional hurdle and throw your arms up and say "Okay, I'm going to run away and live on a sailboat" for the first time ever. This has been a plan of yours, life has just shown you how to get here quicker. If you're not jeopardizing any big money jobs it seems like there's very little risk in choosing to do it now rather than 6 months from now.

I waited more than 10 years for everything to be right to go. I'm sorry I did that because there never was the perfect moment to go. In the end we just set a date and made it happen, loose strings and all.

We transplanted to the Pacific Northwest too and believe me you'll have no problems connecting with the sailing community and just plain folks, everyone is pretty laid back and friendly here.

Good luck sailor.
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Old 18-03-2016, 08:50   #30
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Re: Thinking about jumping the shark.

This was already mentioned but I want tor repeat. Don't spend all of your budget in buying the boat. Save a considerable part of it for upgrades / surprises / problems / maintenance.

Use a good surveyor to minimize the risk of expensive surprises. Good experienced friends can be useful too. People on this forum are often helpful and can identify potential problems and benefits of different boats.

Start monitoring the available boats right now (in the web). You get a better touch on which ones are good and cheap, and which ones you really like. Well maintained, not new, well equipped boats from loving owners tend to be the the best deals in my opinion. Take your time in studying the market, and you will know better when and what to buy.
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