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Old 25-03-2019, 13:05   #1
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Where to start? Want to cast off the lines and sail away

Hi all,

I have been reading the Cruisers Forum for a few years and have learned so much from all the shared knowledge; so thanks in advance!

The Plan
My wife and I are both in our early 50s and want to call it quits. We have our dream boat model picked out. We would like to sail the Caribbean/Bahamas for a couple years and then head across the Pacific, eventually make our way to Australia then ship our boat to the Med and continue our travels. When we are too old to sail, we dream of buying a small barge and cruising the canals of Europe.

Some background:
I grew up sailing with my best friend's family in Panama. Moved to NYC fro work and rarely sailed for 25 years. My wife and I started sailing again 5 years ago. We have a smaller 33' catamaran that we sail weekends and longer on the Long Island Sound. We have done charters on catamarans from 37' to 62'. The longest trip was three weeks around the Balearic Islands (we were in tears when that trip ended).

We have been working hard to get rid of all our debt. Our house is paid off and we own a few rental properties that are almost paid off. We should be debt-free in a year (fingers crossed).

Our current sail-away boat is a used 45-49 ft. owner's version catamaran. I think we have the one we want located. We plan to sell our 33' cat (she's designed for speed and not designed as a long term live aboard) and pay the difference in cost to get the larger one. The larger boat we are looking for will probably cost $350-$390k

Questions:
I think I know the answers to these questions, which probably means I'm wrong so I want to ask:

1) What should I budget for maintenance on our new-to-us boat after shakedown/refit? I used 10% of purchase cost. I am okay with mechanical maintenance but not so much with electrical.

2) How much should I budget for living expenses (just assuming Caribbean)? We plan to stay on the hook the majority of the time but will want a few days a month on a dock depending on the location. Wed love to eat out say 2-3 times a week (not fancy just a local lunch or dinner).

3) The biggest worry in front of us right now is health insurance; what do we do?! Im a US citizen and my wife is UK and US citizen. Right now we have great company provided insurance but if we just buy insurance straight up on the US market a lot of our income/savings will get eaten up.

4) What am I missing in my budget? like air travel to see family and mooring while away?

P.S. I know Im not the first to ask these questions so if theres another helpful thread for a plan similar to ours, or a blog or a book you could point me to, Id be really grateful.

Thanks in advance!!!

Guillermo and Melanie
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Old 25-03-2019, 13:17   #2
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Re: Where to start? Want to cast off the lines and sail away

Maintenance is oil changes, haulouts, bottom paint, electronics, boat spares, etc. Ten percent sounds high to me at 35k per year, but if you include boat insurance and mooring costs then sure. This is fine for spreadsheet guesses over a ten year period but the reality will be lumpier. Several cheap years followed by a new set of sails and some electronics updates.

Electrical maintenance is knowing how to equalize your batteries and maintain the generator.

Health insurance - investigate your UK options, if you establish residence there?
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Old 25-03-2019, 13:22   #3
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Re: Where to start? Want to cast off the lines and sail away

I would add that by aiming lower for your next boat you could go sooner. The best way to get a bigger cruising kitty is to buy less boat.
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Old 25-03-2019, 13:36   #4
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Re: Where to start? Want to cast off the lines and sail away

Quote:
Originally Posted by Svan View Post
Health insurance - investigate your UK options, if you establish residence there?
Thanks. We just started talking about that route but still don't know what is involved.
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Old 25-03-2019, 13:44   #5
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Re: Where to start? Want to cast off the lines and sail away

Quote:
Originally Posted by gsuescum View Post
Hi all,

I have been reading the Cruisers Forum for a few years and have learned so much from all the shared knowledge; so thanks in advance!

The Plan
My wife and I are both in our early 50s and want to call it quits. We have our dream boat model picked out. We would like to sail the Caribbean/Bahamas for a couple years and then head across the Pacific, eventually make our way to Australia then ship our boat to the Med and continue our travels. When we are too old to sail, we dream of buying a small barge and cruising the canals of Europe.

Some background:
I grew up sailing with my best friend's family in Panama. Moved to NYC fro work and rarely sailed for 25 years. My wife and I started sailing again 5 years ago. We have a smaller 33' catamaran that we sail weekends and longer on the Long Island Sound. We have done charters on catamarans from 37' to 62'. The longest trip was three weeks around the Balearic Islands (we were in tears when that trip ended).

We have been working hard to get rid of all our debt. Our house is paid off and we own a few rental properties that are almost paid off. We should be debt-free in a year (fingers crossed).

Our current sail-away boat is a used 45-49 ft. owner's version catamaran. I think we have the one we want located. We plan to sell our 33' cat (she's designed for speed and not designed as a long term live aboard) and pay the difference in cost to get the larger one. The larger boat we are looking for will probably cost $350-$390k

Questions:
I think I know the answers to these questions, which probably means I'm wrong so I want to ask:

1) What should I budget for maintenance on our new-to-us boat after shakedown/refit? I used 10% of purchase cost. I am okay with mechanical maintenance but not so much with electrical.

2) How much should I budget for living expenses (just assuming Caribbean)? We plan to stay on the hook the majority of the time but will want a few days a month on a dock depending on the location. Wed love to eat out say 2-3 times a week (not fancy just a local lunch or dinner).

3) The biggest worry in front of us right now is health insurance; what do we do?! Im a US citizen and my wife is UK and US citizen. Right now we have great company provided insurance but if we just buy insurance straight up on the US market a lot of our income/savings will get eaten up.

4) What am I missing in my budget? like air travel to see family and mooring while away?

P.S. I know Im not the first to ask these questions so if theres another helpful thread for a plan similar to ours, or a blog or a book you could point me to, Id be really grateful.

Thanks in advance!!!

Guillermo and Melanie
S/Y Hopes & Dreams

Your plan including choice of boat sounds fine.



Health insurance - The Caribbean islands and French islands in particular have excellent health care are reasonable prices, much more affordable than the US. Assuming that you are in good health now, you might consider major medical coverage just in case you or your wife gets something serious/terminal. Alternatively set up a dedicated account for self insuring.



Travel - if you're flying to the US or UK to visit friends/family, you'll probably want to tie the boat up in a marina, a major expense. For your boat plan on $1500 to $2000 per month. I thought Seattle was expensive but it's triple in say Jolly Hbr or Shelter Bay.


Maintenance - We found that zincs lasted a lot longer anchored out than they did in US marinas. Dive on your boat frequently to carefully remove slime/any barnacles. You can minimize expensive haulouts this way. You don't mention the beam of your boat, but there are a number of places that can haul our 25' beam.



HTH,
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Old 25-03-2019, 22:12   #6
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Re: Where to start? Want to cast off the lines and sail away

Sounds like a good plan. Make sure it is something you want to do before declaring to the world you will circum nav. We have seen more than a few who did not make it past a year or two as it was simply not for them.


First expenses -- we sail a 40' Jeanneau and bought her new in 2003. We set out 12 years ago and she was still a bit of a new boat then. Our expenses for the past 10 years are posted here 10 years of cost of cruising data


It will give some idea. After a couple of years out you will figure out what was not included on the boat and what you need for more upgrades.


Second on health insurance. We are old so we pay for but do not use Medicare. We do not have any insurance. We met and sailed with some South Africans who tried to get us on their group policy but we were too old. We pay out of pocket and you can see what we paid in our spreadsheets. There are also multiple threads on this forum about health insurance.


Cost of living depends on you and your tastes. But you can see what we spent.


Now one little item is Schengen in the Med. You got a while before you get here but it is something that will probably not change and more countries may join so take a hard look. It is something that you can plan within it just takes a lot of work. We are doing that now for a long sail this summer through the Western Med.


good luck seems like you did a lot more work than many who come here for the same questions. AND you can sail.
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Old 27-03-2019, 10:47   #7
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Re: Where to start? Want to cast off the lines and sail away

Hi Guillermo and Melanie,

We're not too different than you. In our early 50s, moved to FL 8 years ago, purchased a Manta 40 five years ago and working towards retirement. We take frequent day/weekend trips, and a few weeks to FL Keys each year now. Have been constantly working on the boat, learning systems, improving our mechanical, electrical, problem solving, navigation, and general sailing abilities. We've both been sailing since childhood.

We plan to start first few years in the Bahamas and Caribbean and go from there. Circumnavigation is a possibility.

Depending on what you get, how it was used, age of major systems, can all impact the first couple of years cost. Recommend you don't do too many upgrades the first season. Fix what's necessary, go out and use the boat, and then upgrade. You'll be surprised how many decisions change once YOU and your better half figure out what works for you... not for others.

Health insurance and boat insurance are two biggies. We are likely to get high deductible plan for catastrophic coverage, but not cheap either. Figure that until Medicare! Boat insurance will vary but figure 1-1.5% of agreed upon hull value with hurricane plans/latitude restrictions.

Other maintenance will depend on who and where you do it and how much you do yourself. Waxing a 40 foot catamaran in the Ft. Lauderdale area is in the $1500-2,000 range. Bottom painting with haul out over $5k. Bottom cleaning about $4 foot every 3-4 weeks (we're divers and do our own).

Sails on a cat this size (jib, mail, code zero or similar) can range $15-$25k or more. Check the prices on "spare" parts for Volvo and Yanmar engines ranging from about 20HP to 50HP each. Will give you an idea of costs.

If like us, it's mainly just the two of you, really think about your needs, wants, and maintenance.

The bigger you get, the bigger the equipment gets and the more expensive parts, labor, etc become.

We also wanted an Intracoastal friendly mast, so stayed below the 64 foot general guide (Julius Tuttle bridge between Ft. Lauderdale and Miami is 55 feet). Our Manta 40 mast with "stuff" on top is 61 feet.

Ease of sailing for 1 person on watch, large/huge fridge/freezer, good storage, excellent dinghy storage, and owner's layout with galley up were primary MUSTS for us.

We spent 4 years looking at Lagoons, Leopards, Admirals, Catana's, FPs, Manta's, etc. Early on, the first Manta I saw turned me off. It took about 2 years until I put it back on the list as it checked off a lot of boxes. Ended up losing two Manta's to other buyers before the third one finally worked out. Passed on 3 additional ones along the way.

Don't get in the trap of "only 1 boat" is right. If you stay a bit flexible, you'll likely end up finding a high quality boat, with good refits, spares, and maintenance was taken care of. Be careful not to "fall in love" with one boat. They all have flaws (new and old).

There's also some folks who have documented their costs on this site. Do some searches. One of the Manta's documented their first 3 years of cost. You can find it here. They are very budget conscious but have sailed half way around the world and spent the last 3 seasons in Australia/New Zealand and other fantastic places. Check out their site... What it costs | Escape Velocity

Good luck and hope to meet you out there sailing!

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Old 29-03-2019, 06:53   #8
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Re: Where to start? Want to cast off the lines and sail away

Just my two cents... probably not very helpful as we have only been at this learning to sail and cruising thing for a couple of months, so we don't really have any actuals to pass along in terms of monthly/annual costs, etc.

Where to start?
By casting off the lines!

In our experience (based upon our own lifestyle as well as the 1000s of people we've met and talked to along the way, both before and after they made "the leap")... this question really isn't one about the dollars and cents of it all, though that is what our society has trained us all to do.

In reality, at some point we all just have to take a leap and decide to go.
There's really never enough money and never a high enough comfort level... so any answer here won't help you to take that first step. In reality, you have to figure some/much of it out as you go (either making more along the way, spending less day to day, or figuring out the other nuances as needed).

At least for us... if we kept doing the math, running the spreadsheets and waiting until we felt fully comfortable that the money wouldn't run out and everything would be okay - we would never have left the jobs and would already be regretting the last 7+ years that we missed/wasted.

Here's the best advice I can possibly offer.
Go. NOW. None of us know if there will even be a later/tomorrow.


In terms of money, the single biggest aha moment I've had and best learning along the way as we've worked to make this lifestyle sustainable longterm/forever... You can always go back!

The lifestyle you have now is a known entity and you can always go back to it. You probably won't have to or won't choose to... but its always there waiting for you and you can always go back and make more money or return to the normalcy of security. It doesn't have to be as black and white as we've all been trained... and like everything else in life, it turns out that its mostly gray.

Meanwhile, what is black and white?
The one thing you can't go back and get more of no matter how much money you have... Time.
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Old 29-03-2019, 11:08   #9
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Talking Re: Where to start? Want to cast off the lines and sail away

Thanks TheDangerz!

I agree with you about just doing it. Our original plan was ~4 years from now but as of about a month ago we decided to move that plan up to about 1 year from now. That extra year means a lot to our financial future so we've just got to stick it out 11 months working for the man.

I just subscribed to your channel and look forward to living vicariously through you for the next year! My wife loves the Bali.
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Old 29-03-2019, 11:45   #10
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Re: Where to start? Want to cast off the lines and sail away

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Thanks TheDangerz!

I agree with you about just doing it. Our original plan was ~4 years from now but as of about a month ago we decided to move that plan up to about 1 year from now. That extra year means a lot to our financial future so we've just got to stick it out 11 months working for the man.

I just subscribed to your channel and look forward to living vicariously through you for the next year! My wife loves the Bali.
Good for you!!!
11minths is easy with that bright of a light at the end of the tunnel!
Perfect chance to get everything in order, make sure you know a lot more than we did before taking off and put together a bit of a plan!

Good luck with everything!! and most importantly... put that date on the calendar (in sharpie), and dont let yourself be talked out of sticking to it no matter how scary it starts to feel (happens). Well cheers you with a sundowner off some island when you get here!!
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Old 31-03-2019, 23:29   #11
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Re: Where to start? Want to cast off the lines and sail away

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Originally Posted by gsuescum View Post
Hi all,


...make our way to Australia then ship our boat to the Med and continue our travels.

.....When we are too old to sail, we dream of buying a small barge and cruising the canals of Europe.....

Why do you ship the your boat to the Med? We make a big loop in the Pacific and return from Japan our most north-western destination via Hawaii to the Panama Canal and then head back to Europe via the Azores.


After getting to old for sailing we have the same plan. Crusing the rivers and canals in Europe. Rivers and canals in Europe are an incredible network of waterways! I know a few of them in Europe and grew up at a river in Germany.


As for your financial question, I feel an American with knowledge of the Caribbean can provide better information.
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Old 01-04-2019, 01:05   #12
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Re: Where to start? Want to cast off the lines and sail away

Or avoid the Panama Canal and make a bigger loop with the trades, pass Cocos Keeling, Maldives, Seychelles, Madagascar, around South Africa, St. Helena, Accention, Brazil, Caribbean islands, Bahamas, Bermudas, Azores to Portugal
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Old 01-04-2019, 01:21   #13
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Re: Where to start? Want to cast off the lines and sail away

@CatNewBee

Thanks for your comment, but I want to go to Japan where I lived and sailed for many years. Sailing friends. Sailing once around Japan is an old dream.



To Hawaii we also have a special connection related to sailing; Kenwood Cup. Thus we would like to see this as well. And from there heading toward SF is kind of natural.


We will see,
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Old 01-04-2019, 02:53   #14
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Re: Where to start? Want to cast off the lines and sail away

Re maintenance, speaking from personal experience around 10,000 euros (roughly the same in dollars I guess?). On living expenses, I would recommend Greece or Croatia, cause around 1,000-1,5000 euros would be ok for two people if you don't spend a lot. France (incl the canals and of course Cote d Azur) defo more expensive, Italy and Spain somewhere in the middle I guess.
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Old 05-05-2019, 04:34   #15
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Re: Where to start? Want to cast off the lines and sail away

UPDATE:
We are surveying what we this is our go away boat next weekend in Ft. Lauderdale. If it goes well well share details !
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