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Old 19-07-2007, 22:48   #121
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When I met Eric he had recently broken up with his girlfriend of three years. He had always wanted to sail, but she wasn't interested, so he gave up those hopes to be with her. The relationship didn't work out. To top it off, his plans of hiking the Pacific Coast Trail failed when he seriously injured his knee toward the end of their relationship.

Fast forward to me. I meet a handsome, intelligent, hunk of a man. He's had many of his (what I considered exciting) dreams dashed. He invites me to Catalina for the weekend. I'm addicted to traveling. He mentions that he would like to cruise. I tell him, "Well, don't go anywhere without me." All my life I had been trying to figure out how I could continue to travel while making (somewhat) of a living. Though I didn't have it all planned out when I said that to him, I knew we could make it work. 10 months into our relationship, we purchased our 36' Hans Christian.

We've been together for over 2 1/2 years now, and we moved on board a month ago. We're on a 5 year plan to leave to cruise, which will put us both in our early 30's. We're planning on bringing a kid with us. As time has progressed, I see this lifestyle as not only a chance to continue to travel, but for both of us to be able to spend time with our (future) children, to live off the grid, and to not have to be part of the rat race that pretty much repels us both. To be financially independent and self-sufficient is an alluring dream for sure.

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Old 10-01-2008, 14:17   #122
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Let's see, back in 1983, my ex and I went to a boat show and fell in love with the idea. Five kids, a different wife and 22 years later a coworker said he had a sailboat for sale for a Grand. I bought it (1976 Venture 21) and taught myself to sail on the lake in front of my house. Even though it was only lake sailing it was everything I thought it would be and more. However, as we looked and schemed to get a bigger boat, all I could see was us being tied to a big mortgage and never going anywhere. This September, Oh Joy found me. She was nothing like what we were looking for, being a classic wooden yawl built in 1961 but she was only twenty dollars plus 700 in back moorage.

The forecast was off on the delivery trip and we caught a 60 knot gale. As I was at the helm while we were screaming along, surfing down the waves in this gorgeous old girl with spray flying, I knew right then, this is where I was supposed to be. My wife also fell in love with this old boat after just one weekend aboard her. So now we have a very capable and comfortable 40' classic yawl with no mortgage and can work in earnest at turning left from the San Juan de Fuca that much sooner.

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Old 10-01-2008, 14:26   #123

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Originally Posted by CharlieCobra View Post
Oh Joy found me. She was nothing like what we were looking for, being a classic wooden yawl built in 1961 but she was only twenty dollars plus 700 in back moorage.

The forecast was off on the delivery trip and we caught a 60 knot gale. As I was at the helm while we were screaming along, surfing down the waves in this gorgeous old girl with spray flying, I knew right then, this is where I was supposed to be. My wife also fell in love with this old boat after just one weekend aboard her. So now we have a very capable and comfortable 40' classic yawl with no mortgage and can work in earnest at turning left from the San Juan de Fuca that much sooner.

Now THAT is one cool boat. I like the sounds of her.
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Old 10-01-2008, 14:48   #124
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I love this old boat. She routinely outruns newer boats with more WL and has a sweet motion in the ocean.

Here's some pics, including that first delivery sail.

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Old 10-01-2008, 19:12   #125
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I knew very early on that I could never be part of the American machine. As a boy I bagged groceries at the local market and bought myself a small sailboat and taught myself to sail. Hello freedom...

After school I went to work for corporate America. Lasted five years until they threw me out. I played hookie three days a week and went sailing in the afternoons. They had no sense of homor.

Later I started my own company but had no taste for managing 30 employees with 60 personalities. I took a little time to go boating and when I returned my top two employees had looted all the funds and bankrupted the firm.

Time to start over. Saw, once again, the futility for me of the American machine so I bought another boat and am now out of the rat race, wandering aimlessly in the sunshine, staying warm, doing lots of reading, anchored most of the time, indulging in demon rum occasionally and loving all of it.

At one time I thought I would have a lovely lady with me doing all this but after two wives I have come to grips with solitude and going solo. There is a certain zen to it. I am at peace.
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Old 27-01-2008, 07:15   #126
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Wow, great stories all.

I am not certain that I can give a complete answer, since I am smack dab in the middle of the Epiphany event! Here is an admittedly incomplete answer:

I write this from a laptop in Baghdad, and after almost twenty years of serving I have come to the realization that it is time for a change (As I said in my meet and great post, I have no desire to engage in a political debate however my current environment is certainly a contributing factor in the epiphany.)

Like many of you I bought into the Matrix early on. I have been with the same "company" since I was 17 and until recently I had no real desire to "do" anything else. I was trapped by the mirage of success. A deceptively enchanting vision that was just out of reach - almost up for promotion, almost ready for this great opportunity, you are the only ready for this challenge, do this and the sky is the limit.

I have led a fairly conservative lifestyle, not fully succumbing to the pressure to consume more than the Jones. We save more than we spend, which is getting harder and harder to do: success is expensive!

I stumbled across "The wealthy barber" while stationed in Pearl Harbor, and then read the "The millionaire next door" while in grad school in Monterey. Needless to say these two books and the locales that I have had the pleasure to live in planted the seed - it just needed water.

I have spent the last 320 days away from T(the other half of P&T), and our amazing daughters. Being your average, typical type A person, I had a plan. The plan was to only do this until I was able to say "No." No - to taking a new position, No - to getting up and commuting an hour, No - to not being able to take vacations. You get the picture.

I "think" cruising allows us to say No much sooner than I had originally planned. My gut is telling now is a great time to say No.

I said think because T's idea of getting off of the grid involves a house in Costa Rica or Panama (and she is ready to go NOW) - I think cruising offers a compromise.

As I said earlier, the epiphany is happening in real time. I haven't "sailed" since college, but I have sailed the seas, and enjoy sea spray on my face, the smell of the ocean, the unmatched beauty of the setting sun on an uncluttered horizon, the beauty of the night sky when 1,500 miles from land, and the joy and excitement of setting foot on a sandy shoreline in a land that you had previously only dreamed of.
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Old 27-01-2008, 08:02   #127
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Getting off the grid and shrinking your personal space down into a relatively small yacht is a real paradigm shift. For those who have made enough to do it they were well hooked into the grid it takes some real weaning away from living ashore. On the other hand, you have all sorts of freedom to travel about interact with like minds and local folks and live a less wasteful lifestyle. And you realize... who needs all this sh*t we a seduced to acquire and often "slave" for? Children will complicate things, but some have been born to cruisers and seem to adapt fine growing up knowing nothing but boats, anchorages and self sufficiency. My dreams are more like nightmares about the life I live and my day dreams are about the life I would like to live. I have been fortunate to have 3 years of relative youth cruising about ... off the grid. That makes for some good day dreams. I'm emotionally ready to go... just need the time to get the boat in shape for "that" type of sailing again, and the wifey to be ready. Then... I'm off the grid. Can't wait.
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Old 27-01-2008, 11:23   #128
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My life changing moment occurred when my urologist told me that I had prostate cancer. I realized then that life was too short not to enjoy it. That event merely accelerated my plans, however.

Sometime during my 3rd or 4th year at the U.S. Naval Academy I developed a long range dream of someday after retirement providing custom charters in the Caribbean on a 65 foot yacht. When I shared that dream with my wife to be, she embraced it and many years later was instrumental in purchasing our first boat, a 30 foot Erickson. We sailed that boat for 20 years until I was close enough to retirement from my second career that we could seriously look for a bigger boat to move aboard and cruise on. We saw a Fountaine-Pajot Belize 43 at the Miami Boat Show, bought a new one, outfitted it for cruising, and have been living the Dream since July 2005. It's not quite 65 feet but it's definitely close enough.
Formerly S/V Yachtsman's Dream
Go sailing now. Life is too short not to enjoy it.
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Old 27-01-2008, 18:02   #129
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Amazing how many Navy types lurk about this thread... I'm YG83 myself... and my ex was a ring knocker class of 81. Don't hold that against me..
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Old 27-01-2008, 20:23   #130
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It has been gradual for me. Realizing that there is a big world out there that I need to see before I get too old. I love my job skippering a small research boat but there is so much more to see over that horizon. What more intimate perspective on the world can you get than by boat?

The only thing preventing me from weighing anchor right now is that I need to be around to raise my son to be a responsible adult. Perhaps I will take him with me when he turns 18? His mother, (my ex), will not be able to object then.

Life begins where land ends.
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Old 27-01-2008, 20:32   #131
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Enjoyed your web site. The picture of the Seattle marina is Bell Harbor, not Elliot Bay. Tis one of our favorite winter places. Close to downtown, which means my wife can shop while I stay on the boat and read. That defines a perfect day for both of us.

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Old 27-01-2008, 23:18   #132
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Nice to see that you finally surfaced and became a proper sailor - yep I am a SWO!

Not a boat-school grad, but would have loved to have had the access the fine sailing fleet in Annapolis.

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Old 06-04-2008, 17:43   #133
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Looking these over (great reading by the way), I guess I have a little different view.
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Old 06-04-2008, 18:41   #134
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Originally Posted by ixtlan22 View Post
Looking these over (great reading by the way), I guess I have a little different view.
And that is?
Dignity on the web
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Old 06-04-2008, 23:20   #135
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I watched my grandfather and dad work their businesses through thick and thin. They, unable to leave, or be outside of driving distance for much time at all, in case something went wrong on third shift. Through bankruptcy, through family feuds, through customers outsourcing jobs, price increases. Growing up my dad left before I was awake and was home after I was asleep until I was ten, hardly knew the man. In my early teens I saw my dad age ten years after one year of engineering struggles, people problems, on a job that would make or break the business. Before the year was out he picked up high blood pressure and subsequently type 2 diabetes. A white haired at 40 year old, and at 50 , old lined and wrinkled well before his time... just like my grandfather before him. You haven't lived until you've been introduced as a grandson, or been in earshot of your mother called a daughter. One years time.

I've watched twice as business models were attempted to allow owners to stray farther afield, only to watch them crumble, as their owners were what made them successful. Relying on others to make your wage... giving them the keys just doesn't work. If the management is smart enough to run it, they are smart enough to be your competition and take the customer book with them. (Bankruptcy) If they aren’t smart enough to run it without you, then their challenges are your challenges, every single one of them.

Life is not meant to be spent in front of a display of gauges, monitoring part counts bathed in an array of chemicals of varying detriment to health. We aren't meant to suffer from ringing ears from the scream of saws... or go from strong as an ox to meek as a mouse laying on a hospital bed with lung cancer from asbestos, loaded with pain medications drooling as those who love you watch you wither and finally give up.

The Epiphany was a day about ten years ago, at a violin recital in which my brother was playing at an old folk’s home. Among the stench of urine, and other various smells that come along as folks age (Sadly we don't seem to be much like wine...) a fellow in a wheel chair grabbed my dads arm and said, "Son... don't do what I did. Spend time with your family, don't work so hard that you forget what is important. If I had it to do all over again, I’ll be damned if I would have worked as much as I did."

I was a kid, maybe 12 years old. That moment stuck with me ever since. What does it mean to go through life saving every penny for tomorrow, working for others to profit from the sweat from your back, giving you enough to be satisfied, but not enough to get ahead and be happy. I have enough family that never made it to retirement, enough friends and co-workers whose dreams they never achieved... and it eats at them.

For me, it’s a genetic. I've given up hope that I have any hope of this nut getting far from the tree. As I worked and saved, and signed the check for my boat... the question was always, with this money I could start a business. I could start something all my own, and nurture it... restoring cars. For every fiber in me that is passionate about sailing and traveling, there is one that loves speed and the sound of a healthy V8. But the two cannot mix, they are oil and water. One will forever chain me to a bay with a wrench in my hand, the other a bay with an anchor shackled to that chain. It pained me to choose, and it still does. I'm an addict; I live and breathe the improvement and modification of anything that moves.

Alas, it is a pre-disposition, none of my line can really work for anyone else, and barely along side or for each other. We’ve work ethic and passion coming out the ears, but a rebelliousness that doesn't play well with others, intimidating is perhaps the word. The freedom of the open road, and the bending of laws (be it speed or the physics of efficiency) and the freedom offered my the cruising life battle within me.

I've two years of college under my belt. I picked English, not because I particularly like it... but because I can harness the passion. This surprises people, as never am I far from a tool box, spent years practically living in a machine shop, and under a welding hood, or beside a plastic extruder, or a bucket of resin, engines, transmissions, hammer forming steel. I can build or fix anything made by man. My epiphany, which was that little crumpled old man whose name I know not, imparted so much wisdom... his voice says "Son, if you choose engineering you'll sail a desk for someone else." Dreams lay unfulfilled, exchanged for money... for time, to end up old and gray saying... "Damn, I wish I would have gone when I could, have done what I truly wanted... instead of what the world groomed you to think."

I've two years under my belt with college, and the world tells me I must graduate, a part of me struggles with half completing something. A battle rages inside me as the work ethic screams for a challenge, but behind a desk there is none. It’s a terrible thing to pay for a lecture, and get nothing from it, finally turning to seeing how little you can do and still make the mark. There is nothing more unfulfilling, that spinning your wheels occupying time doing that which appears to have no value... and paying for it!

So I bought a boat, I'm saving my nickles and dimes and putting every cent I can away to live off the interest, instead of a GTO. I too read the “Millionaire Next Door” and have spent a lot of time pondering the meaning of compound interest. Doing a google search for “Early Retirement” is also a bad idea if you have a work ethic.

One day while reading a book about bonds, I was eating a sandwich at a joint called Jimmy Johns. On the wall they have posters of various jokes… But one stopped my chewing. This is it:

“An American investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.
The Mexican replied, "only a little while."
The American then asked why didn't he stay out longer and catch more fish?
The Mexican said he had enough to support his family's immediate needs.
The American then asked, "but what do you do with the rest of your time?"
The Mexican fisherman said, "I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siestas with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine, and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life."
The American scoffed, "I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing, and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually New York City, where you will run your expanding enterprise."
The Mexican fisherman asked, "But, how long will this all take?"
To which the American replied, "15 - 20 years."
"But what then?" Asked the Mexican.
The American laughed and said, "That's the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions!"
"Millions - then what?"
The American said, "Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siestas with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos."

I took the time to hand copy that into my notebook that day. I set aside the book of bonds, and pondered the meaning of what I had read. Gradually I’ve come to cherish the tidbits of truth around us, and take note... for like in an English class, "Transcending generations" is not only a great way to start a paper of any long dead poet, but sometimes a tidbit of wisdom is seen in the most unlikely places.

It is a struggle, every day for me to keep the path which I have planned. For every day sometime or another I’m reminded that I’ll be the first in generations to have gone without making a splash. I’m the first son in quite a few, that hasn’t striven for a better life than what my father provided me, and his provided him. Since my great Grandfather bought the farm he grew up share croping… its always been expected to go one better. Nope, my goal in life is to live in a space slightly larger than a bathroom, and probably more damp. To spend my days drifting from place to place with no permanent address, seeing the world and exploring. Just as alive as going 125, but living on the cost of an engine for the year… instead of working till 5 to afford the parts that I’d work till 1 installing.

Throughout all this I’m learning to put things aside, and not stress the little things. Boats do that, if you worry about everything that could go wrong you'll drown in your own tears. I don’t have to be the best at everything, just good enough to have what I want and enjoy life. Relaxed, calm, cool and collected… because there aren’t many moments on land that have anything on single handing on a wet foredeck with no harness, shackling a flying 170% genoa back to the stem head. Yes Sir, along with this epiphany has been a whole lot of learning, what really matters in life, and among that is the realization that no matter how long and how hard you work to craft your art, when you go to sleep at night if there is no one there to reflect on the day… the day wasn’t really worth going through. Tomorrow will be much the same, as this dream seems to be that of solitude…

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