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Old 17-04-2012, 19:23   #1
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One Step Closer


The house is on the market... and that means I am one step closer to the cruising life. I have really appreciated all the information and insight gleaned from this forum over the past several months. I thought I would take a moment and briefly share my story and plan. I've been serious about this change for about one year.

I'm an emergency physician (second career) in Florida. I am 53, and my wife of 32 years is 55. She is a wonderful woman who has supported my crazy ideas (like going to med school at 38) throughout our marriage. She has been expectedly slower coming around to the idea of forsaking land-based life for a nautical one, but at this time seems genuinely excited, at least most of the time, about our future plans.

Here's what we've done thus far. I've read (and continue to read) everything about sailing and cruising that I can get my hands on. We've attending the sailboat shows in St. Pete and Miami in the last 6 months. We've both taken and passed ASA 101, 103, and 104. We've gotten a little experience sailing on a friend's boat. We plan to take 105 and 106 in the next few months. We have a pretty good idea what boat we would like to make our future home (probably a new catamaran in the 37-42 ft range. The house just went up for sell this week. The money from the sale of the house will go toward the boat.

Our last child is graduating from high school and will be heading off to Boston to attend college (major expense!). We are going to buy the boat as soon as the house sells and live on it is St. Pete/Tampa area in a marina while I continue to work full time (~16-17 9-hr shifts/month) for the next three years. We will be doing a lot of sailing in the gulf in preparation for our future lifestyle. At that time, with some diligent budgeting, I will have the boat and my daughter's college education paid for. We will be debt free at that time and will leave land behind to sail wherever. That means probably the east coast of the USA and the Caribbean at first, and then far beyond (circumnavigation).

I had a late start at medicine (out of residency at age 45) and so I can't dip into what retirement that I've been able to lay aside for probably another 4 years after starting cruising. My tentative plan for those years is to come back to the states and work for 1 month and then cruise for 6 months, repeating that cycle until the time that I can start living on retirement. My job as an emergency physician should make that task easier since locum tenens positions are usually available.

I'm extremely excited and thought I'd share my enthusiasm with you. Any comments or commentary on my plans or any advice is welcome.
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Old 17-04-2012, 19:55   #2
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Re: One Step Closer

Sounds like a plan. A physician from Texas keeps his boat on a mooring near mine in BVI. He spends 6 months in BVI and 6 months in Texas as a hospitalist. Works for him.
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Old 17-04-2012, 20:43   #3
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Re: One Step Closer

When I went cruising, it was easier because I left my job in Saudi Arabia, and I did not have a house to sell. It was get off the plane from Riyadh, and get on the boat in Fort Lauderdale. In four months on the boat, I was off for my circumnavigation.

I was an ophthalmologist in Riyadh, and during the circumnavigation, I flew back to Riyadh to do locum tenens and keep the cash flow going. We never ran out of Freedom Chips during our voyage around the world because I kept working when the opportunity arose in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Your plan has a good chance of succeeding if you don't get tired of living on the boat in the USA. Depending on the yacht, it could be easy or hard. Some people burn out on cruising because of the hassles of living dockside before they actually set sail. There is a big difference between cruising and living in a marina.

Good luck as you enter this new phase of your life. Living the dream can be awesome.






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Old 17-04-2012, 20:57   #4
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Re: One Step Closer

Your plan has a good chance of succeeding if you don't get tired of living on the boat in the USA. Depending on the yacht, it could be easy or hard. Some people burn out on cruising because of the hassles of living dockside before they actually set sail. There is a big difference between cruising and living in a marina.

Yes. I think that is my biggest fear... primarily that my wife will tire of living in a boat in a marina for 3 years prior to sailing off. To help offset that, I plan to find a more "upscale" marina with clubhouse, wifi, etc. I have budgeted for a nicer marina in hopes of maintaining enthusiasm.
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Old 18-04-2012, 02:31   #5
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Re: One Step Closer

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Originally Posted by maxingout View Post
Your plan has a good chance of succeeding if you don't get tired of living on the boat in the USA. Depending on the yacht, it could be easy or hard. Some people burn out on cruising because of the hassles of living dockside before they actually set sail. There is a big difference between cruising and living in a marina.
Dave, so are you speaking to the size of the boat here?

Depending on the type of boat and it's size, I would cross compare the fees of a the marinas you would use X 3 years, to the cost of purchase of property with a dock. This is what we have done, essentially what our "Slip" fees in a marina - are now paying for more than our dock. We will not be ready to make the break for about 4 years, so to me I am investing the money, there are pros and cons both ways that is for sure.

Anyway property in general is at its low point, there are some folks who would be happy to let their property go for what is owed, and banks with property they want off of their foreclosed books, statistics say Florida is about to have a huge foreclosure period for the next 6 months or so. Someone just picked up a nice piece of property on the water over here for a song, from the Bank, already with a dock, water, sewage and electricity and no building on the property. All set for living aboard in a great natural setting. While you are waiting to sell your property it doesn't hurt to look around and calculate the numbers. We are going to rent while we are gone, using a rental agency and have a place to return to when that time comes. However we know where we want to live when our boating days are over.
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Old 18-04-2012, 06:19   #6
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Re: One Step Closer

It's not just the money that makes marina smarter than house/dock for blc7 -- there's a boating community that is far easier to access in a marina surrounded by other boaters, than in the isolation of a house/dock. And especially for new liveaboards, the people you'll meet and the advice they can give and the friendships you can form are going to be a vital part of your preparation. Original plan sounds good to me, go for it and enjoy.
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Old 18-04-2012, 06:28   #7
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Re: One Step Closer

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It's not just the money that makes marina smarter than house/dock for blc7 -- there's a boating community that is far easier to access in a marina surrounded by other boaters, than in the isolation of a house/dock. And especially for new liveaboards, the people you'll meet and the advice they can give and the friendships you can form are going to be a vital part of your preparation. Original plan sounds good to me, go for it and enjoy.
1. Could not agree more

2. Not everyone has the resources that others have; and some like me look to preserve wealth where they can

3. I was specifically addressing Dave's comment about the difficulties with Marina living and contrasting that with other liveaboard options that do not involve a marina and can, in the right situation, preserve wealth.
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Old 18-04-2012, 14:42   #8
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Re: One Step Closer

Thanks to everyone for their opinions so far. I have considered the property with access route, but I agree that the marina route will be better for my wife and I. It will be make our time before casting off more tolerable.
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Old 20-04-2012, 20:10   #9
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Re: One Step Closer

I think your plan is awesome and I hope all goes as planned.
We will also be live a board as well in June of this year, we could not be more excited about our trip. 1 full year on our boat down south will be heaven and hard work all at the same time. I say do it while you can.

Good luck with your goals and always be safe.
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Old 21-04-2012, 10:34   #10
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Re: One Step Closer

Thanks, Knowell. Good luck to you as well!
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Old 02-08-2012, 15:08   #11
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Re: One Step Closer

Alright. Another step closer! Didn't sell the house yet, but pulled the trigger on a boat. We have a Lagoon 420 under contract with survey and sea trial scheduled in 10 days! Excited would be an understatement. This weekend we'll do a little marina shopping in the St. Pete area (Plan on looking at the Harborage, St. Pete Municipal, and Regatta Pointe in particular).

Now, to take care of that nagging little problem called selling the house. I'm hoping the survey and sea trial go smoothly!

Thanks for the outlet to express my excitement!
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Old 02-08-2012, 15:44   #12
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Re: One Step Closer

Amazing, I never knew one could type such a legible post while doing triple backward twist somersaults whilst yelling Yeeeeehaw Yippiyaiyay IgottaboatIgottaboatIgottaboat.....

Congratulations!
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