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Old 07-12-2017, 13:21   #1
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Looking for opinions / encouragement / reality check!

Hello fellow Cruisers...

Well, I am posting this in the liveaboard section for no good reason other than that I have now been living aboard my boat for the last 7 months.

This post relates to my forward looking plans.

So... I'm now two and a half years away from the ripe old age of 50, and a bit tired of the 5 day week working in a job I dislike and only getting to sail at weekends or during holiday time. I know that I want to do a lot more travelling; places in the UK I haven't yet been to, and Europe initially. I have thoughts of meandering down French canals or down to Northern Spain and Portugal.

As is always the case in life, finance has to be an issue, and right now while my daughter is mid way through a University course, I just need to keep ploughing on, but I got to thinking...

What about cruising half the year and working the other half? Say October to March wintering in the Med for example... then sailing back to the UK to work April to end of September. I have some income coming in every month from a rental property and have another that could either be rented out or sold. These 2 wouldn't give enough for an annual income, but should be able to fund 6 monthly sojourns... I would also have the next couple of years to save some more into the buffer fund.

I already have the boat bought and paid for, and my outgoings are not extravagant. What makes me nervous about my plan is that I have pretty much always worked since leaving school aged 16. The sum total I have not been in work was 2 weeks aged 20, then 6 weeks aged 37. But aged in my 50's, will returning to work be feasible? I think perhaps I worry too much about this, and should maybe just let go and go with the flow, see what happens...

I got back into sailing 2 years ago after deciding that my original plans of waiting until retirement needed a re-think; too many friends and acquaintances were falling ill or dying. Life's too short to be stuck doing stuff you don't want to be doing, and come proper retirement age, my body might not be up to it! So far this year I have covered 1800 nautical miles and loved it. I like nothing better than pulling in somewhere at the end of a sail and dropping the hook, making some dinner and relaxing. But it's all over too quickly and then back to the rush of work.

Any of you folks out there that have done similar, and just baled out of work and see what happened next? Set off with half a plan?

Thoughts and comments appreciated folks
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Old 07-12-2017, 14:37   #2
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Re: Looking for opinions / encouragement / reality check!

Short answer...Nope

Long answer: Where there is a will there is a way. I often think of my youth and remember thinking, if I could just make X per year we could live like kings. Truth of it is...most of us tend to find a way to live within our means. Some of us live beyond our means, but that of course only works for so long. One other tidbit: luxuries can become necessities if you are not paying attention.

On the more practical side. One of the big concerns in just winging it is having enough income to properly maintain your boat. Too often the first thing to be sacrificed is the maintenance budget, which can lead to disaster.

So if you can assure that you have sufficient monthly income to eat and maintain the boat then go for it. Most everything else is a luxury. Sure it would be nice to go to that museum...but I'm sure there's free experiences that can replace it.
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Old 07-12-2017, 14:40   #3
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Re: Looking for opinions / encouragement / reality check!

By not knowing your profession, typical earnings, or your employer I can't really give you a good answer.

So, I'm trying to look at this both as an employer and as many employers do. First, the many.

It's hard to find good jobs that allow six months on and six months off. About the only way is if you have another person wanting the same and willing to share the job.

As an employer, I feel a responsibility to provide more time off as people put in years and age. I also try to be flexible. Last, I want to help people transition to retirement. If you came to me with your thoughts, here's what I would suggest to you.

Could we move into this gradually. How about you take a couple or three extended vacations this year of 4 or even 6 weeks. Then next year we'll add another and another the year after. We'll talk each year and see how it's working. It will gradually work up until you're taking half the year off but not in one long period. Then decide if you want to continue that a while or we need to adjust or you're ready to retire.

I just believe in a more gradual transition than suddenly 6 months off and 6 months on. Will give you time to acclimate to the boating and still see and enjoy a lot.
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Old 07-12-2017, 15:48   #4
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Re: Looking for opinions / encouragement / reality check!

I was once in your place, I left the comforts of "home" waters and wondered how long I could stay gone. I had saved about 15k and had a 37' fairly simple boat (PSC-37). My plan had a years worth of dry and can food on board with tools and spares for doing all the work myself, including a few gallons of bottom paint.

What I discovered right away was that I'm a pretty capable person and had no trouble earning a living everywhere I went. In fact I never used all that first 15k. The real break for me was just about two years in I found a girl who had grown up on a cruising boat, and had learned to live frugal.

That was twenty five years ago, and a-lot of water under the keel. I have never taken my boat back"home", was not a great place for me. Now we live and sail on a big high-end boat and don't have to watch pennies any more, but still do, must be ingrained.

My wife said something the other day that went like this " If we had settled for our widest dreams we would have cheated ourselves.
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Old 08-12-2017, 09:10   #5
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Re: Looking for opinions / encouragement / reality check!

Unless you have hard to find credentials and/or skills, short term jobs are hard to find and are generally scheduled for the employer's convenience not yours. Also, age discrimination is very real in the late 40's and gets worse as you age.
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Old 08-12-2017, 09:43   #6
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Re: Looking for opinions / encouragement / reality check!

Take it from me, if you feel you can do it now, do it! Waiting, just makes the decision more difficult and improbable. If you're the "Jack of all Trades" type, you could most likely finance your dreams wherever you may go, provided, of course, you have the ambition and fortitude. The only problem with doing work in most other countries is, you may have to do things on the "sly" as it may be illegal to work for money if you're not a resident. Look at it this way, if things don't work out, you can always go back to work, save some cash, and try it again.
Best Wishes to you...Go For It!
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Old 08-12-2017, 10:30   #7
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Re: Looking for opinions / encouragement / reality check!

OK... Thank you all for taking the time to reply. It appears that folks are sort of split into two camps: those who are cautious, and those who are 'go for it'.

This is what I sort of expected, and as a general rule of thumb, I probably have mostly found myself in the 'cautious' camp. I think much of this stems from an upbringing where my family always struggled financially, and also having the need to provide for my daughter as she was growing up. Hopefully that financial commitment is nearing its' conclusion in the next couple of years!

I could also do with adding a couple of extra years NI contributions (the money that gets us Brits a state pension (eventually lol) before giving up work entirely, in order to get the fullest amount payable come the time. That leaves a gap of 18 years in which to find the money to survive...

Employment related: I am a time served auto mechanic, and also did 7 years in semiconductor manufacturing as a technician (mechanical, electrical, hydraulics, pneumatics, fault finding, etc). I have also completely refurbished a couple of houses along the way (everything from carpentry, plumbing, electrics, tiling, etc), so I am pretty handy. Boat maintenance I already do myself (engine strip down and rebuild on previous boat, window replacement, etc) and would expect to continue upkeep with no or very little in the way of paid labour.

The current boat is a solid small pilot house (LM 27) which is a pretty seaworthy craft and well suited to living on board, and certainly initially I don't really have plans to cross any oceans, more coastal hopping. So I think that the existing boat will be capable for that purpose. If I get the bug to venture further afield, then I can re-evaluate at that point. This year and next year were always about getting some experience under my belt, but my sailing ambitions certainly lie in longer trips (and in particular trips that aren't just weekends out and back).

Forumite BandB touched upon approaching my employer with a view to a phased introduction of more time away. Unfortunately the way things are structured in work at the moment, that is unlikely to fly... In the past couple of years our headcount has reduced by one third, which means that holiday and sickness coverage already leaves us stretched. One scenario that I did think of suggesting to my employer were I to leave would be the option of them replacing me, but that I would cover weeks during the summer months where staff were taking holidays, which could reduce the impact that is currently happening during those times. When added up, that accounts for about 16 weeks worth of employment, so would only leave me scratching around to fill up another 10 weeks. Of course there could always be possibilities of me finding bits and pieces of random work whilst away cruising that could possibly reduce the need further.

I guess at the end of the day it all boils down to whether I would take that 'leap of faith' into a certain amount of the unknown...!
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Old 08-12-2017, 10:47   #8
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Re: Looking for opinions / encouragement / reality check!

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveSpring View Post
Hello fellow Cruisers...

What about cruising half the year and working the other half? Say October to March wintering in the Med for example... then sailing back to the UK to work April to end of September.

If I read this correctly you intend to sail in the Med from October to March. The Med has a definite winter and cruising that time of year would be very challenging. Most cruisers in the Med hunker down for those months.
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Old 08-12-2017, 11:03   #9
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Re: Looking for opinions / encouragement / reality check!

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Originally Posted by stormalong View Post
If I read this correctly you intend to sail in the Med from October to March. The Med has a definite winter and cruising that time of year would be very challenging. Most cruisers in the Med hunker down for those months.
The 6 months idea is loose... Could be 6 Spring / Summer months and back for the other 6. For example, I'd love to cruise the Netherlands and that would definitely be a summer stint. Winter could be a potter down the French Canal system, over-wintering in Spain. It's all quite a fluid idea at present.
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Old 08-12-2017, 11:27   #10
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Re: Looking for opinions / encouragement / reality check!

"Go when ya can....
Ya never know when ya can't".
(Taxwizz)
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Old 08-12-2017, 11:53   #11
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Re: Looking for opinions / encouragement / reality check!

Count this as encouragement.

With caveats.

I retired in my mid-forties, sailed, traveled, had a lot of fun. Then the recession hit. Went back to work as an employee at 53 and am making a good (but about 30% of what I did in my 40s) salary with benefits and three months off each year (to sail). New wife more enthusiastic and honest/realistic about sailing. Go for it, but don't beat yourself up if you have to go back to work when you're in your late-fifties. It's also way harder to bend into those engine-room contortions when you're older.

And to answer one of your questions- you will have a harder time finding similar work at similar pay in your 50s than you would in your 40s.

Still...
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Old 08-12-2017, 13:07   #12
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Re: Looking for opinions / encouragement / reality check!

Quote:
Originally Posted by P3sailor View Post
Take it from me, if you feel you can do it now, do it! Waiting, just makes the decision more difficult and improbable. If you're the "Jack of all Trades" type, you could most likely finance your dreams wherever you may go, provided, of course, you have the ambition and fortitude. The only problem with doing work in most other countries is, you may have to do things on the "sly" as it may be illegal to work for money if you're not a resident. Look at it this way, if things don't work out, you can always go back to work, save some cash, and try it again.
Best Wishes to you...Go For It!
Some of the nicest unspoiled cruising spots have some really nasty jails. Stealing work from the locals might let you experience one. Not as dumb as drug smuggling but definitely not smart.
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Old 08-12-2017, 13:19   #13
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Re: Looking for opinions / encouragement / reality check!

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Originally Posted by RobTryon View Post
My wife said something the other day that went like this " If we had settled for our wildest dreams we would have cheated ourselves.
Exactly this!
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Old 08-12-2017, 13:20   #14
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Re: Looking for opinions / encouragement / reality check!

Gave up on making a living the conventional way in 1970 when I was 26 and bought the first boat and went cruising then. Made a living on the sea..... deliveries , woodwork, navigator etc ever since. Both my wifes have been very happy living an adventurous life and we home schooled our kid along the way. Now on boat number 27 but feeling a bit older and even more crazy... but happy. I would say do it now. Have seen many people put off heading into the unknown who never went and fell off the perch before doing so.
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Old 08-12-2017, 13:27   #15
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Re: Looking for opinions / encouragement / reality check!

Wait a second, you're an auto mechanic? Can you take steps to get some sort of formal certification as a diesel mechanic? As a UK citizen, you can work legally anywhere in the EU, at least for now, correct?


It seems to me with this particular skill set you can make bank off cruisers in the Med at your leisure.
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