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Old 07-01-2013, 13:56   #1
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Where to start? -with 2 young kids 4 & 8

So my dream for years has been to drop everything and sail around the Caribbean and maybe the world. My husband is finally on board with this after years of talking about it. We have spent the last month searching the Internet for information and are about to start sailing classes in South Carolina. Our families think we are crazy and are going to ruin our lives and our children's lives. We all are very comfortable on the water, my in laws have a place in NMB, SC and my brother in law lives on the lake. My kids have been in love with the ocean as much as we are. My questions that I can't find real answers to are.....health insurance needed?......catamaran or monohull (our budget for a boat is 60,000)?......when is the best time of year to start?....if you are in our same boat are you happy you did it?
Right now our plan it to buy a smaller sailboat to practice on at the beach for a year so we feel like we have some clue what we are doing. Then sale the starter boat, our house, and cars and pack everything else at our parents house. Buy our boat and take off for a year. I am sure we will not have money to go more than a year. My husband is a diesel mechanic and should be able to save us some on repairs...he has been fixing our motor boats for years. I have read some very harsh comments to post like mine about if you don't the things I am asking you should not be on the water, but you have to start somewhere. Any information is useful.
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Old 07-01-2013, 14:09   #2
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Re: Where to start? -with 2 young kids 4 & 8

Great dream -- Sorting out your boat and finances are stuff you'll work out. Take the US Power Squadrons basic navigation course. Take a weather course and/or read books. Take sailing lessons and my best advice is to give the kids "jobs" to get them involved as crew and don't YELL at the crew. Have them steer, keep watch, chart courses (which you'll review before you rely on them) etc. As for mono-multihull, with your $60k budget you'll get much more boat for the money if you go mono (and that's coming from a multi guy).

As a parent with two kids in their early 20's my number 1 advice is go ASAP! Once they hit the teens they'll want to be with peers more than with you, and explore on their own, so take advantage of the opportunity to enjoy this with them. They grow up so fast it seems like a blink of an eye, looking back.
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Old 07-01-2013, 14:10   #3
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Originally Posted by Rebekahnorway View Post
..catamaran or monohull (our budget for a boat is 60,000)?......when is the best time of year to start?.....
I see this is your first post. You might want to be around for a while before asking big general questions that are likely to draw strong but useless opinions.... I think I've seen this post many times.
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Old 07-01-2013, 14:54   #4
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Re: Where to start? -with 2 young kids 4 & 8

Hi Rebekah and welcome Cruiser's Forum, aka the internet boat nut club.

Yes you ask a common question but do so from a realistic point of view. Not like some posts that are along the lines of "I've never been on a boat, saw a cool movie last week, I have $15,000 and want to leave on a solo around the world sail in 8 weeks."

I sailed with my daughter from about 1 to 2 years old and the only regret is that we didn't continue longer.

With your budget I think you will need to focus on monohulls. Unless you luck into a really good deal on a cat I think you will get more bang (and room) for your buck on a monohull.

The concerns from your family are pretty common: have you lost your mind? You're all gonna die. How could you do this to your poor, innocent children?

It is certainly doable for a novice family to buy a boat and learn how to sail and cruise safely in a reasonably short time. After all, even on this forum I doubt there are more than a handful of members that grew up boating. With few exceptions all of us had to start out as a total newbie and learn. If you are blessed with a modicum of intelligence and a lot of motivation and dedication you can do it.

Meanwhile it is an excellent recommendation to spend a little time reading previous threads on this forum. I've been boating for forty years (I started really, really young so I'm not yet very old ) and I still learn things on here just about every day. AND, it's free. Otherwise, you could go to Amazon and spend a few hundred bucks on boat books but I like the free option. Plus in the forum people will answer questions.
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Old 07-01-2013, 14:57   #5
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There are lots of threads here about people wanting to do the same. Read some of them to get ideas what its like. Sailing can be days of beauty boredom peace and tranquility followed by moments of shear terror lol. Someone once suggested move everything you think you need to live with on a boat into one of your bathrooms, then everyone you want to live with you into same bathroom then all of you get into a cold shower while burning hundred dollar bills for the next 8 hours... seriously though.best to crew or rent a sailboat, charter etc first to gain some experience. Learning to sail isnt hard. But living in small quarters,with few amenities going 6 knots or less anywhere you want to go isnt always fun and not for everyone.
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Old 07-01-2013, 15:14   #6
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Re: Where to start? -with 2 young kids 4 & 8

What yous really need is to be able to look at a boat and see if it is suitable for what you want.

It's not easy. The big trap is to look at a pretty boat with nice interior and not see the derelict engine, the rot under the chainplates, the rusted out keelbolts, delaminated rudder or any of the zillion problems that can kill your dream.

Yes, do get a survey (remembering that surveyors are human) but more importantly allow time (and money) to fix what you buy.

I'll second the recommendation that monhulls be your main focus.

I'll also add my voice to the opinion that time is working against yous. While it's would be very tempting to buy something around 42' or so this is a popular size. If you can drop down to a 37'er it may be easier to find one in better condition within your budget.

If your husband is a diesel mechanic be sure to get one with a very good engine/gearbox or even get a boat with an obscure engine in bad condition and replace it. Your husband will thank you later.
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Old 07-01-2013, 15:20   #7
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Re: Where to start? -with 2 young kids 4 & 8

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Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
Hi Rebekah and welcome Cruiser's Forum, aka the internet boat nut club.

that was great!


Anyway Rebekah

-health insurance is probaby out of your budget, sorry, but search the site for an idea of health costs once you get out of the states
- mono
- if you are leaving from SC to the caribbean most leave/start late Nov early Dec for the winter and to avoid hurricane season, but that doesn't mean you can not cruise north of te Chesapeak for the summer first

You have a lot of reading to do. There are also a lot of blogs if you search a while of crisers with kids.

Keep us posted as we rarely read of a case where the wife (especially with kids) wants to go bt had to talk the hubby into it.

Good luck!
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Old 07-01-2013, 15:50   #8
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Re: Where to start? -with 2 young kids 4 & 8

As for health insurance my first advice is get basic training such as an EMT course augmented by wilderness medicine - then with the help of a doctor stock a good medical kit aboard.

A doctors visits for minor ailments in most islands and throughout Central and South America generally cost less than the co-pay on most US policies. Then you can search for the best price on catastrophic health insurance in the US. Finally, join DAN (Diver's Assistance Network) where you will get flight evacuation insurance for pennies a day.
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Old 07-01-2013, 16:12   #9
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Re: Where to start? -with 2 young kids 4 & 8

It's a great dream. You have already accomplished #1 which is having you and your spouse sharing the goal. I hope he appreciates how lucky he is to have the wife on board - and perhaps leading the charge!

Everyone who doesn't "get it" will think you are crazy. You aren't. We did it for 2 years with 3 kids (a little older).

Cruising is the most difficult thing we ever fell in love with doing - other than making a marriage work

Good luck!
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Old 07-01-2013, 16:23   #10
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Re: Where to start? -with 2 young kids 4 & 8

The normal advice here is to sail small boats for a while to make sure you like sailing, and learn enough to not buy a boat (or bunch of equipment) that's completely wrong for you.

But if you are already living in a warm and coastal place like South Carolina, another tack may be to start living aboard sooner, while you are still saving money and getting ready. A marina slip may be cheaper than rent, and you'll have time to find deals on used equipment and save more money. And living aboard is a way to be more sure you like the life before you quit your jobs and sell everything.

I would also look at less expensive boats. When we first started planning to go we were on a much more tight budget, and there was a direct trade off between the cost of the boat and how long we could stay out. We pushed our idea of the boat down until we could afford ~3 years out. This is very individual, but there's a transaction cost to leaving and coming back: selling cars, buying them again, renting a house, money to live on while looking for a job, and etc. And it sounds weird, but I feel it is actually kind of a tight schedule to only be gone for one year, with the way the seasons work out. So while one year is much better than not going at all, we, personally, reduced our idea of the boat until we could afford to stay out for more than that, with the hope of trying to figure out a work visa in New Zealand or some place like that, to then extend it even longer.
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Old 07-01-2013, 16:34   #11
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Re: Where to start? -with 2 young kids 4 & 8

I took my kids, aged 9 and 12 on a two year cruise to the SW Caribean and back and it was a fantastic experience. Before that we did some shorter trips with them to places like Florida and the Bahamas. They both sailed around a lot of the Bahamas when they were around 2. It is perfectly safe if you set up your boat right, learn your stuff, and take normal precautions. It's a wonderful life. It will take a while before you have the skills and the boat set up to take off to distant destinations. I would recommend, as I always do, getting a smaller sailboat, maybe 30-35 feet, older and cheap, and begin learning. We lived in Beaufort, SC, for several years, and my son was born there, then we took off for the Bahamas and ended up in Maine when he was a couple of years old. The ICW down to Florida is a great learning playground, and it is also fun to go up to Maine in the summer. Take your time, learn about boats, don't try to do it all at once.

One thing coming up is the new healthcare requirement for insurance, which will impact all U.S. citizens. Many cruisers will be required to have health insurance, if I understand it correctly, or else will pay a fine. However, if your income is low enough, you may get a subsidy big enough to pay for it. It will all change at the end of this year into 2014. We sailed for many years without any health insurance, and my wife was uninsurable anyway due to a preexisting condition. Health care is much cheaper outside the USA.
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Old 07-01-2013, 16:45   #12
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Re: Where to start? -with 2 young kids 4 & 8

Welcome to the board, sorry you had to post a defensive statement along with your post, most are very welcoming here, and you can learn tons. your plan, and dream, isn't farfetched at all, and if you decide somewhere along the way it isn't what you had in mind, or underestimated the skill set needed to reach your goal, you can make the needed adjustments, and continue. read the thread "attempted sail to Bermuda." Blackoak's misadventures as he sets sail with little or no sailing experience. Its both funny and informative. Good luck, and keep us posted as to your progress.

David on "Shorebird"
Named for the place we had lunch in Honolulu, except my wife changed her mind later and decided she didn't like it, so we tried for days to think of another name I like "Shenadigan" but some idiot pointed out the name was taken...by a Vancouver gay bar, (not that there's anything wrong with that) so we just left the old name on the boat, so now I'm registered here as "Shorebird" but really I should be "Seabird" but I would have had to name my boat "Seabird 10,000th" but I dont think I have enough room on my hull to paint a name that long...oh, now I'm just rambling...
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Old 07-01-2013, 16:53   #13
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Re: Where to start? -with 2 young kids 4 & 8

Check the libraries as well. They had ICW guides, Sailing books, Pardey books and lots of other resources.
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Old 07-01-2013, 17:35   #14
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Re: Where to start? -with 2 young kids 4 & 8

Quote:
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Hi Rebekah and welcome Cruiser's Forum, aka the internet boat nut club.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Lucas View Post
that was great!
Well, I was thinking about you when I added that comment.
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Old 07-01-2013, 17:59   #15
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Re: Where to start? -with 2 young kids 4 & 8

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As for health insurance my first advice is get basic training such as an EMT course augmented by wilderness medicine - then with the help of a doctor stock a good medical kit aboard.

A doctors visits for minor ailments in most islands and throughout Central and South America generally cost less than the co-pay on most US policies. Then you can search for the best price on catastrophic health insurance in the US. Finally, join DAN (Diver's Assistance Network) where you will get flight evacuation insurance for pennies a day.

Good advice, and if you will search some of the threads here you will find that there is excellent and affordable healthcare in many countries outside the USA. Affordable enough that you don't really need insurance. What a concept.

You should also find on the threads here that it is not uncommon for parents to cruise with small children. I see at least a few cruising couples with kids every season. I also have a few friends who cruise, or have cruised, with their kids. From what I have seen, they have given their kids a unique opportunity to experience more of the world around them and broaden their horizons.
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