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Old 10-03-2011, 16:52   #1
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Looking for Advice

Hubby and I are considering selling everything (home, cars, furniture) and living aboard for a year, maybe less. Selling our house is fine because we're leaving the area anyway, but i'd like advice on whether or not it's a realistic venture. We have the money to buy a boat outright, and it would be nice to find another country to settle into somewhat permanently. We're 47 and 41. We have in mind to sail the caribbean for 6 months from oct this year to april or may of 2012, then be somewhere sheltered for the hurricane season. Just wondering if anyone out there has done this type of thing, and any words of wisdom!
This is my first post looking for input, and I appreciate the feedback!

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Old 10-03-2011, 17:04   #2
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pirate Re: Looking for advice

Hi Zukes... Welcome to CF..
Only you can decide what to do with your cash... and what to buy... no idea as to type of boat whatever...
But one thing I suggest is change your dates to December - May... Octobers a bit early...
But what ever... Good Luck...
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Old 10-03-2011, 17:14   #3
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Re: Looking for Advice

You should probably read a bit and find the many similar post. The answers are always the same. Yes, it can be done.... is it easy, sometimes but not always and lots depends on your qualifications as a sailor/boater in the area of your interest.

Note that here in the Eastern Carib, Sept thru October is the heart of the hurricane season. It would be unwise for someone to assume the last Official Months of the Hurricane Season are more safe. If you do not know the area and do not have plans preset and an event occurs, you could find yourself in deep trouble.

You should also take a look at the regulations on entrance to different countries in the carib. Many of the islands are individual countries with their own rules and regulations. For short term visits, this is typically no problem for most North Americans and many EU members. These are often limited to 30 to 90 days or less and fees are often based on how long you will stay. You will be very limited in the ability to earn money unless you typically obtain a Work Permit.... often hard to obtain. Permanent residency is possible in some countries but it often is a time consuming and costly process usually with restrictions or more often prohibitions on employment unless you have a work permit in place.

Problem is every country is different. Usually even with residency you are not a citizen and often can never hope to be unless you meet the marid of requirements often involving extended living in the country (20 years in BVI) payment of bonds and the obvious health and criminal exclusions each country has in place.

Read the post, narrow down your list of potential places and specific questions and I'm sure many of us here will answer you very specifically
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Old 10-03-2011, 17:21   #4
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Thanks for the responses...I knew I would be advised that this very question has been answered. The problem is I find this site a little hard to navigate, and not sure where to find other posts like mine. Any tips on where to find these many posts would be appreciated.
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Old 10-03-2011, 17:26   #5
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Re: Looking for Advice


Very much depends on how much into sailing / travel you two are. If you are seasoned sailors and want to go into cruising then the transition can be smooth and you may like it out there.

If sailing is all new to you, then probably go for a couple of charters first and see if that's what you like. When on charter keep sharp eye for cruisers around you - see how they live and talk to some. You will get some first hand knowledge.

Settling into a new country is always an option but the home is where the heart is and as long as you have the boat if you do not like it here you can always sail on to there.

my 2 cents
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Old 10-03-2011, 17:35   #6
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Re: Looking for Advice

If you can live in a hallway and sleep in a closet you should have no problems.
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Old 12-03-2011, 08:41   #7
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Re: Looking for Advice

I have been doing just that since 2003. My husband and I shipped a 29' Chris Craft to St.Croix, USVI and lived aboard that a year or so then got a 46' Morgan that we had for a few years and sold it for a catamaran - we also moved to St.Thomas (my husband's job moved him). Do your research. Living on a boat in the Caribbean for hurricane season is be an issue. We have never left the Caribbean for hurricane season because of work and I do not recommend that anybody does that but we have made it thought a few storms now. They have all been stressful. Just being here during hurricane season is a little stressful. Always watching the weather. Living the "island' life is VERY different then stateside living. Moving on a boat and living island life could become a little overwhelming. We also only sailed in the other countires we stayed living in the USVI so there was not problems with how long we could stay in one place. All that said - I have LOVED living in the caribbean and livng on my boat. Would not change a thing!

my .02 cents!
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Old 12-03-2011, 10:40   #8
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Re: Looking for Advice

I appreciate the responses; now that we realize traveling before December would be foolhardy, we thought instead we'd fly down maybe to panama or Ecuador in October and rent a place short term, then look at buying a boat, being ready to sail for December. we're thinking a 38 or 40' boat would be a great start. Everything is preliminary of course, and we are getting an education reading blogs and what not. We're located in Canada, and my husband has his boaters competency card (mandatory here to operate any boat) but we're not sure what licensing he'd need to operate a craft the size I mentioned, in Caribbean or mediteranean waters. He's an experienced sailor, and capable mechanically, so no worries there. We have a 26' macgregor right now, but I wouldn't want to try living it it, it's really small inside. I think we'll be selling it in the summer.
It's great to hear peoples .02 cents worth, so long as it isn't snarky! There's my .02 worth!
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Old 12-03-2011, 12:55   #9
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Re: Looking for Advice

If I was going for less than a year, I'd have to do some serious thinking
about the potential resale value of the boat when I was done and try to make a guess what the market will be when I was done. I wouldn't want to maintain a boat for many months waiting for it to sell.
Just a couple thoughts from a guy getting ready to go with his wife for maybe a month, or hopefully, till they carry us off in pine boxes.
Whatever happens, we can afford to lose the value of the boat.
Good luck-
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Old 12-03-2011, 13:03   #10
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Re: Looking for Advice

Outside of Canada, I'm not aware of any license requirements to sail a boat. The McGregor is not really a cruising boat but more of a day sailor but the experience is still good. For myself, I would not consider a lot of bluewater sailing without some coastal cruising. However, a gentleman at my marina, with virtually no experience has twice sailed from the west coast of Florida to the Caribbean with little or no problem. It can be done, it can be done more safely in my opinion if you are willing to wait for good weather windows. "Get there itis" has screwed up more pilots and sailors than anything else. Just take your time, sounds like you'll be just fine and probably have more experience than my friend. You don't mention your own experience, if it is minimal try and gain some more. Your husband will appreciate being able to share watches without worry.

For myself, I will be hiring an instructional captain to teach my wife on our own boat, without me present. It will give her confidence and me peace of mind that she can handle the boat if something happens to me.

Good luck, and have fun.


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Old 12-03-2011, 13:19   #11
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Re: Looking for Advice

Hi Zukes, welcome aboard.

I have wanted to live on a boat and cruise since I was a teenager. Iíve been sailing sporadically since I was 7 years old in Ottawa and sometimes in Nova Scotia.

I decided to get moving on that idea in early 2008 and took the ďZero to HeroĒ one week ASA school to get a charter qualification. In early 2009, I took my girlfriend and three other unsuspecting couples on a weeklong charter in the Abacos. On that trip I confirmed that this was really what I wanted to do. I bought the boat on 1 May 2009 in the Abacos.

It took me a year to get my nearly grown kids settled and to sell the house in Ottawa and all the contents. I moved onto the boat in June 2010 with my girlfriend.

Itís that simple, if you really want to do it.
Itís doable; you can do it if you choose to.
"And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over."
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Old 12-03-2011, 14:22   #12
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Re: Looking for Advice

Hi Cabo,
You're right, I don't have much experience....I gained a little last summer when we got the macgregor. I'll be learning lots more this summer if we manage some sailing before we sell her. We have our eye on a Norseman, and look forward to gaining lots more experience that way as well. Our 16 year old son will be going with us, and he knows a lot and is a good first mate for my husband while I'm learning.
Olorin, good for you, sounds like you def have all your ducks in a row. I'm sure you and your girlfriend are having a blast. Me and hubby are going to the Bahamas in 3 weeks time, for a week long charter on a 61' ketch. A couple from Quebec run charters every year down there and return to Canada for the summer. We're really excited about this trip, as it'll be very telling if this is really what we want to do. I say we, but its really me. My better half has been sailing all his life, and has been dreaming of doing this for some years. That's why in my original post I stated living aboard a year maybe less, because I don't want to be unrealistic and say we'll be living aboard forever. If it pans out that way, then great, but I'd like to not commit to it till I know what it's like. We won't be getting rid of the boat if we move back to land somewhere, it would be a nice option to do the charter thing for others.
Keep it coming people, I love to hear what others are doing!

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