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Old 09-10-2008, 08:33   #1
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Howdy! Intro from Florida

Hello all,

I'm new to the forum. I thought it might be a good idea to post an introduction before I go off and start madly posting.

In late July, my wife and I made the decision to commit to buy a boat and become cruisers. For years, we dreamed about going “one day”, but that was always an ambiguous goal. We read books on cruising. We sailed our Catalina 22 on local lakes. We took sailing classes. We always dreamed, but never really did anything to make our dreams reality.

In fact, we were making negative progress. As recently as mid-July, we were trying to buy a house. If we had been successful, we would have been anchored to land for years, draining money from the “Boat Fund” to supply the “House Fund”. Through the arduous home buying process, we kept asking ourselves and each other “Why don’t we just buy a boat?”

There was only one thing keeping us from living aboard – our son. We were confident that we could home school our 11-year old daughter. She’s self-motivated, brilliant, and would thrive on the attention we would give her, even though it’s school. We didn’t think it would be possible for our 14-year old son, however. Our son has Down syndrome. With his disability, he requires more than we thought we could provide.

That all changed in late July. My wife and I were taking a live aboard sailing class. The school’s boat docked at Gilbert’s Resort in Key Largo for the night. My wife met a family of live aboards with a son with Downs and later introduced me. We spent hours talking to them that night about how they live aboard and home school their son. Almost immediately, our fears and reservations melted away. If they could do it, we could do it.

The next day, our realtor called to tell us that the deal on the fifth house was falling apart. She was stunned when we weren’t upset. I think we were a little stunned too. We were still taking in the events from the night before, deciding for ourselves what we really wanted. Later that day, standing on the deck of La Bamba (a Lagoon 410) somewhere northbound between the Key Largo and Miami, my wife, after a long silence, announced “I’m done. Let’s buy a boat.” My response was simply "OK."

So, here I am (we are). We have a definite plan with dates. We have about nine months left to prepare and go.

I look forward to talking to everyone.

Kevin
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Old 09-10-2008, 09:03   #2
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Welcome aboard!
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Old 09-10-2008, 09:42   #3
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Old 09-10-2008, 11:04   #4
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Kevin, After 17 years of living aboard and cruising we have learned there are no accidents or coincidences. Everything happens for a reason and in the end it always works out for the best even if it does not seem that way at the time. Many times things did not go as we expected or planned so we just waited to see how it played out. And sure enough it worked out right. Good luck and it is our bet your son will do better than fine. We have a couple of cruising friend now in the South Pacific with Down Syndrome children and they seem to thrive better on the boats than they did on land. The cruising community is much more tolerable and understanding also. Good luck and fair winds.
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Old 09-10-2008, 13:00   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck Baier View Post
Kevin, After 17 years of living aboard and cruising we have learned there are no accidents or coincidences. Everything happens for a reason and in the end it always works out for the best even if it does not seem that way at the time. Many times things did not go as we expected or planned so we just waited to see how it played out. And sure enough it worked out right. Good luck and it is our bet your son will do better than fine. We have a couple of cruising friend now in the South Pacific with Down Syndrome children and they seem to thrive better on the boats than they did on land. The cruising community is much more tolerable and understanding also. Good luck and fair winds.
Thanks, Chuck and everyone else for the welcome.

The more structure we can provide our son, the better he does. We've noticed that he doesn't deal with change well. For the most part, all it takes is managing expectations. This seems to be common trait with Down syndrome kids.

From my limited experience, boats seem to provide as structured an environment as one can get without being accused of living on a compound. There's a rythm inherent to life aboard, even if a lot of time is spent ashore. We're hoping that this will be a positive influence on him, like what it sounds like your friends experience in the South Pacfic.

Cheers!
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Old 09-10-2008, 15:17   #6
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G'Day Kevin,
Lovely tale. Well done.
Look forward to seeing you on the water - and welcome to the site.
JOHN
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Old 09-10-2008, 21:31   #7
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Aloha Kevin,
Welcome aboard! Great to have you and your family here. Hope you can find that boat and get cruising. I find kids that have been cruising and been homeschooled to do much better in later life than those who haven't.
Kind regards,
JohnL
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Old 10-10-2008, 05:23   #8
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Gilbert's Resort... many a wise decision has been made at the Tiki Bar there! Good luck with your new adventure.
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