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Old 15-07-2014, 23:03   #1
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Landlocked in the Desert With a Five Year Plan

Hello Cruisers, Dreamers, and Wishers....

My name is Stephanie, my husband is Paul, and we have a PLAN!! I am sure no one hear has heard that before. I find myself here after staying up too late and seeing a show on Outdoor Network which briefly highlighted the cruising lifestyle. I suddenly felt as if I had an epiphany! Why couldn't WE do that? The fact that I have never set foot on a sailboat? The fact that I don't even KNOW anyone with a sailboat? The fact that I have no idea what jib, tack, genoa, spinnaker, keel, ballast, schooner, cutter, sloop or even halyard or sheet means? I dont know how to read a chart, use a compass, reef a sail, or even properly board a boat without falling in. BUT, I am a reader, and a dreamer, and a mull it over till you figure it outer. I'm a bulldog, I dont give up and by God, if I can learn how to assist in surgery or deliver babies or navigate the insurance "system", then I figure I can learn all of these things.

So the research has begun. Our plan and dream is to buy a 35-45 foot well appointed monohull for around 50,000 to 70,000 cash. Of course we know that is only the INITIAL investment, right? We plan to buy in the gulf or eastern seaboard and spend a year learning how to actually sail. (We will be taking our basic ASA certs in Long Beach or San Diego in the next few years). We then plan to cruise the Caribbean for a few years.

Our family is mostly supportive, except for the few who have blatantly told me I am stupid for even daring to dream a little dream. I am hoping that there are those that will offer encouragement as well as advice. We do not wish to be the type that end up forever landlocked or completely disenfranchised.

Our youngest kids will be 18 in three years (twins). They have been given the option of joining us or being independent when we leave. We will have a modest retirement and SS income, and I am a Registered Nurse, so the option to return to the states and pick up a good paying job is not a problem. There is a twenty year age gap between Paul and I, and we are cognizant of the fact that he has a window of good health in which to do this.

So, at this point I am reading voraciously, watching videos, and learning the difference in handling between aft and center cockpit, beam VS LOA ratio, cutter VS sloop. We want to be happy and comfortable, but I do not relish the thought of sailing into weather we cant handle in a boat that is too difficult to handle. Did I mention the fact that I also dont relish the thought of sinking a boat, running aground or DROWNING?

Hoping to spend a week on a charter next year to even see if we LIKE it. I think this is a foregone conclusion, but seems like a logical step. Suggestions on affordable charter appreciated, as I dont imagine anyone wants to take on "crew" that have zero experience...

Looking forward to your feedback, and enjoying all the threads and info.

Stephanie
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Old 15-07-2014, 23:49   #2
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Re: Landlocked in the Desert With a Five Year Plan

As soon as you can....... go do a week on a boat and see if you like it. Dont wait. do it NOW and then the dream can go to fruition or you can leave it behind.

Welcome to C.F.
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Old 16-07-2014, 00:13   #3
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Re: Landlocked in the Desert With a Five Year Plan

Welcome aboard Stephanie,

Is your husband in favor of this plan? If so, weavis' suggestion to give it a go sooner rather than later has some merit.

You can learn the basics of sailing in a weekend and spend the rest of your life learning good seamanship, so, IMO, you've set yourselves a very high goal to attain.

In addition, you should be warned that cruising really isn't for everyone. Furthermore, many contributors to CF have done only first world cruising, or only coastal. And it's all different.

Another aspect to it, and this may not apply to you guys in particular, but I think I see it a lot, is a sort of attitude about buying a sailboat like buying an SUV and going to Death Valley or some such. It isn't like that, because water is not the human animal's natural environment. Sure, you could sink a SUV by driving into a body of water, but you're contemplating living on the water, and if your hull doesn't keep the water on the outside, you-all can be goners sooner than you planned. Although weather prediction has improved greatly over the last thirty years, one can still be caught out, and the ocean and wind don't care even the tiniest whit about us! We are irrelevant to them.

Much of your time will be spent with maintenance. Some buyers are good mechanics and electronickers, others not so much. Everything for boats costs a lot. Sometimes you get lucky, your engine is based on a tractor block and you can get parts from the agricultural places rather than Mr. Volvo, et al.

The vocabulary will come easily, its simpler than medical terminology.

Over all, if you can learn to live with it, the simplest boat will be best. If you want genset, watermaker, washing machine, you're talking about adding a lot of complexity to a sailboat that was never designed for it, and losing a lot of storage space to boot.

At this point, you might find it helpful to search on SailorChic here on CF, a single woman engineer who has adopted the KISS principle and loves the life. Then think about it.

Really, cruising isn't for everyone, and there's nothing wrong with that, but if you're still thinking you're hooked, also look at the $500/month thread. You can always spend more, but the ability to be happy at the lower end of the financial spectrum will serve you well. In my experience, nurses make great sailors.

Ann
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Old 16-07-2014, 00:25   #4
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Re: Landlocked in the Desert With a Five Year Plan

Ann, good onya mate.
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Old 16-07-2014, 05:50   #5
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Re: Landlocked in the Desert With a Five Year Plan

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Stephanie & Paul.
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Old 16-07-2014, 06:12   #6
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pirate Re: Landlocked in the Desert With a Five Year Plan

HiYa Stephanie/Paul.. Welcome to CF.
Nice dream and I like the logical process.. you'll go far..
2nd Ann's advice.. re Sailorchic.. also another lady from the Health Services ZeeHag.. when she returns to us..
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Old 16-07-2014, 06:19   #7
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Re: Landlocked in the Desert With a Five Year Plan

Stephanie and Paul, It's extremely rare to find a fulltime cruiser who was born into the life aboard. Virtually all of us came to this life with a plan and few had plans as well defined as yours. Welcome to the community. Keep us posted of your progress.
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Old 16-07-2014, 06:50   #8
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Re: Landlocked in the Desert With a Five Year Plan

I saw the desert (around Tucson) for the first time about 10 years ago and fell in love with the place. It was much like my experience with sailing. I bought my first sailboat(a used 26 foot S2) back in 1982 and had never set foot on a sailboat before. However, I enjoyed boating with a small row boat and knew that a sailboat would open up more areas for exploring. Several years later I bought another boat and lived aboard for 2 decades and met many world crusiers during that time. Never did cross the pond, but put many miles exploring the east coast of the US. You learn as you go and even repairs can be challenging and eventually rewarding after it's all done. Do what you enjoy and don't let the nay sayers discourage you from following your dreams.
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Old 16-07-2014, 07:19   #9
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Re: Landlocked in the Desert With a Five Year Plan

Hi, welcome,

I say take it slow.

You have set yourselves a very long time horizon hence you have time enough to do everything the right way. Start sailing, get the skills, get the boat, go cruising.

Do not over/worry the boat issue. Almost any boat will do as long as it has the space you desire. Give some thought to a catamaran too. I know many people who started late and with nill experience, who went for cats and ended up very happy cruisers.

Do not over/educate yourself prior to getting your hands on the real thing. It is good to do some sailing up first and then see what pieces of cruising know-how you may be missing. Mix and match, sailing with learning ABOUT sailing. These are two separate things. Knowing a lot about sailing will not make you a good sailor.

Try to listen to your alt, the one who says it is a BAD IDEA. Then use this input towards managing the possibly less desirable aspects of having a boat and cruising in it.

No need to hurry anyways. The world will be out there tomorrow too.

Cheers,
b.
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Old 16-07-2014, 08:27   #10
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Re: Landlocked in the Desert With a Five Year Plan

I have been blogging with people like you in mind. I started in New Mexico. You can too (sail in the desert). Don't regret any of my sailing adventures.
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Old 16-07-2014, 08:39   #11
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Re: Landlocked in the Desert With a Five Year Plan

one of the things i always say to future live aboards .. you can practice living in your closet to see if you like the space you will have on the boat. i hope you and your mate get along well
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Old 16-07-2014, 08:52   #12
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Re: Landlocked in the Desert With a Five Year Plan

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Originally Posted by gonesail View Post
one of the things i always say to future live aboards .. you can practice living in your closet to see if you like the space you will have on the boat. i hope you and your mate get along well
This is often said but a boat is nothing like a closet. Just go into the cockpit and look around you. You have all the space in the world and if you're out cruising, it's beautiful. As for storage, everyone makes do. What law is it that says on a boat junk accumulates to fill all storage space? Welcome to CF.
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Old 16-07-2014, 11:47   #13
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Re: Landlocked in the Desert With a Five Year Plan

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This is often said but a boat is nothing like a closet. Just go into the cockpit and look around you. You have all the space in the world and if you're out cruising, it's beautiful. As for storage, everyone makes do. What law is it that says on a boat junk accumulates to fill all storage space? Welcome to CF.
Alright, alright. A closet with a view. ..
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Old 16-07-2014, 21:54   #14
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Re: Landlocked in the Desert With a Five Year Plan

Thanks so much for the words of encouragement! My husband actually sent me a text this morning which said, "Can we just go sailing today?". He is very excited about the prospect and can talk about little else. I wouldn't be considering this at his age if he weren't the type of guy who wakes at 4 in the morning and works doing SOMETHING till dusk (if only I were that productive!).

In response to the comment about the closet... funny thing is, thinking about my closet is one of the things that got me thinking about a complete lifestyle change. I have an enormous closet, filled with clothes. I was sitting and feeling guilty about its lack of organization. I made plans to buy stuff to organize and build out my closet. I realized that I was contemplating buying stuff FOR my stuff! Then I thought deeper about our life and realized that for almost twenty years we had both been grinding away, skipping vacations, working 60 hour weeks just to keep up with the Joneses. I realized that even though we have lots of square footage I can be found in five different spots at all times. On the back porch reading, on the couch reading or watching TV, at the table with my family, in the kitchen with my family, or in bed. I actually utilize very little square footage. What, I'm going to do cartwheels in here? Dance?

I have five thousand things I dont NEED, yet I have never scuba dived. My husband has a motorcycle he doesn't ride, yet he has never fished in the Gulf. We are owned by our belongings, not the other way around. I want to explore like I did when I was a kid. I want to take pictures of bugs and frogs and fish and shells and then make a book of watercolors. I want to watch sunrises and sunsets and wake up in the morning and figure out if I want to take the dinghy to the beach we saw the day before or to town to wander aimlessly. I want to stop paying 450 a month for power. I want to feel that feeling one always experiences when starting off on a trip alot more often.

Paul thought the living in the closet thing was hilarious, and I have the feeling I am going to return home one of these days and find a hotplate and microwave and such all moved into my closet for the grand experiment!!! If so I will post pics

Thanks again for the encouragement. It means alot. People look at me as if I am crazy when I tell them our plans, and it feels good to hear people say that its not an impossible or even implausible dream.
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Old 16-07-2014, 22:04   #15
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Re: Landlocked in the Desert With a Five Year Plan

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Originally Posted by s/v Beth View Post
Alright, alright. A closet with a view. ..
And that rocks and rolls.
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