First, kudos for having a dream and a plan. You're ahead of most. Good luck.
Second, luck's got nuthin' to do with it. You decide to do it. You do it.
But, I think your plan is backwards. The sailing school
is a great idea. Definitely do that. The day you finish it, you will know more about sailing and boat handling than probably 90% of the people on the water
But it won't teach you anything about what it's like to live on a boat. Including wether or not you will even like it. A lot of people who have this dream spend months or years dreaming, studying, planning and preparing. Then they buy a boat. Like as not, the wrong boat. And almost always too big. (I KNOW that wasn't a sentence and I DON"T CARE, English
major!lol) And they pay too much for it. Then they spend more months or even years preparing the boat. For what, exactly, they aren't quite sure. But they read in a magazine that they they should do this, that or the other. THEN they move aboard and sail away.
And like as not, discover in short order that one or the other or both of them hate it.
They don't like living in a small space. They miss having all their "stuff." The "house" is always moving; sometimes violently. They experience a constant underlying low level of stress, worry, and fear. What's THAT noise
??? Why is my bed
wet???!!! What do you mean, the motor
won't start? OMG! They're sea sick. They miss all their friends. Malls. Restaurants. Having a car to hop in and drive anywhere they want to go. Cell phone service
. Tunafish, again? Really?
becomes a much more personal experience.
If you really need all that, then a house works much better. Boats make lousy houses. And the only way to know is to do it.
Try this idea on for size instead. Book a charter
in the caribbean
on a boat similar in size and type to what you are imagining. WITH captain
. Fully provisioned. AND with who ever you are thinking you will do this with.
At least a week. Two weeks will be three times as good. Do this immediately. Try to pick a location that won't be ALL just other charters.
What ever it costs will be money well spent in the long run. See if you even like this lifestyle in the VERY BEST and EASIEST of circumstances. The captain
will teach you as much as you want to know. And you'll meet some cruisers. people who are doing it.
If you return even more convinced that this is your dream, then buy a boat right away. A SMALL boat. A daysailer. 14 feet at most. Learn how to sail it and motor
it. Every other boat you ever own will handle exactly the same way, only more so. Learn to manage the forces of wind
, waves and inertia on a small, manageable platform.
A screw up will not cost thousands (TENS of thousands?!!) of dollars in broken gear
; or your whole boat, or even your life. A grounding, dock
crash, flogging main sail or an accidental crash jibe, knock down or round up on a 14 foot daysailer is a LOT less scary (and expensive!!! don't forget expensive!) than it is on a 40 footer. But the mechanics and physics involved are exactly the same. The forces are just less. It's cheap
, easy, safe school
Learn how to use wind
to sail it off of and back onto the dock
without the motor. Learn to anchor
it. Learn to tune it and maintain it. When you have mastered that boat sell it. See what the difference is between what you thought it was worth when you bought it and what everyone else apparently does when you sell it. This can be a real learning
Then buy another one. A little bigger. Buy one you can sleep on. Something with a little galley
, an electrical system
, a head
, maybe even an inboard engine
. I think 24 feet is a great little starter cruiser. And people have made trans Atlantic and trans pacific passages in them!
Learn how to manage and work on all that stuff. See how much bigger all the forces are. Start weekending. Go on a few trips.
Do this over and over until;
A, you're somewhat confident that you might be starting to know what you're doing. And you don't need a friend to drive it for you.
B, you know what kind of boats you like. And what they cost to buy, operate, store and maintain.
C, go on another Caribbean charter
. This time sans captain. See how you do. How you like it. Again, under ideal circumstances and on someone else's fully insured boat.
D, Eventually you find yourself on a boat you think you'd be comfortable sailing away on and you can't think of any reason you shouldn't.
And if at any time during this process you or your crew says, "ARRRGGHHHH!!! I HATE THIS #@%&!!!" Then it may be time for a course correction. You may find that you need a different boat. Or a different kind of boat. Or a boat in a different ocean. Or no boat.
You can easily do this within your time frame. You could do it in as little as three boats. Just don't make the mistake that you can learn what you need to know from books
and magazines and school
courses and other people or on other people's boats. Or delude yourself that by throwing enough money at it you can guarantee a good time and a successful outcome. I know of someone locally who tried that. And apparently 1.2 million wasn't enough...You need your own experience. You need time on the water
I think your plan to only "buy once" is a guaranteed path to an expensive disappointment and ultimately, complete failure. I can't imagine wanting to own a boat you know nothing about and are afraid to even back out of the slip by yourself.
And I would remove the phrase, "...if ever," from my vocabulary. You should be able to do that by the time you're through with the second boat.
That's how I would do it now, if I hadn't already done it wrong!!!!