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Old 11-05-2016, 13:07   #1
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Leaving the city life...

Hey everyone, just wanted to make a quick introduction.

My wife and I have decided that we are going to leave our life in New York City since getting married over 10 years ago and start taking the necessary steps (experience, financial...etc) to sail for an indefinite period of time. We're both in our early 30s (we married young) and like most people in their 30s, aren't profoundly wealthy, so some significant planning is actively in the works. We've set a tentative timeline of 3-4 years to get everything in order, and to start a few investment properties that will hopefully stretch our savings and provide for a modest supplement when we finally set sail. We take our first sailing certification course next week, followed by joining a local sailing club where we will, in hopes, become more confident on the water before buying our own boat in a couple years. After getting our feet wet and a little basic experience, we plan to take more advanced courses and even do some bare boat charters in the Caribbean within the next two summers.

For all those experienced in cruising/sailing, what are some words of advice or wisdom you'd wished you'd known and if you could go back and tell your beginning self?

I look forward to continue following all of your discussions as the months go on.

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Old 11-05-2016, 13:43   #2
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Re: Leaving the city life...

Watch Captain Ron. Sailing's like that but with a smaller engine room and shower.

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Old 11-05-2016, 13:51   #3
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Re: Leaving the city life...

Hi, Sail Awy,

Welcome aboard CF. Your plan sounds do-able. I would suggest getting out on the water, both of you, and in a small, inexpensive dinghy. It will teach you how to be in tune with the boat, something I don't think the courses can. It will cost little, and it should be heaps of fun, as long as both of you like and are competent in the water.

Becoming debt-free is a big hurdle to overcome, but will make the rest so much easier.

Hang out with other people with boats.

Immerse yourself in boating books, and learn from them how others solved problems.

Get involved with someone who owns a 35-40 foot boat and help with all the maintenance, for the knowledge and the friendship.

Enjoy, but remember, although cruising reads like mai tai's in the sunset, sometimes it's carrying heavy items over dirt roads in the hot sun, and staying someplace where you can get the parts shipped to you to fix something. There's no "super" to call when the marine head clogs during a gale. Just trying to say, it isn't for everyone, so if it's fun for you, go for it!

Ann & Jim, U.S. s/v Insatiable II, SE Qld, for a while
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Old 11-05-2016, 14:10   #4
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Re: Leaving the city life...

Thank you, Ann. Really great advice. And I love the idea of getting a dinghy in the mean time.

We're very excited about seeing this through, and even getting my hands dirty again has an exciting appeal. (It's been years since I've been able to use my hands for anything other than hailing a taxi.)

To be honest, one of the main reasons, other than the freedom it affords us to see areas of the world that wouldn't otherwise be possible, is simply being self sufficient.

Thank you again for such thoughtful advice.
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Old 11-05-2016, 14:40   #5
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Re: Leaving the city life...

Despite what a lot of folks will tell you, it just isn't that difficult. We're about the same age and did the same as you want to but with 2 kids (quit working last Dec, Cast off Jan 30). Get out of debt is the big one. Downsize as much as possible while still working and you see a big increase in income headed toward the sailing budget.

I wouldn't bother with the bareboat charters- waste of money better spent towards your own boat. You'll like hanging out in the islands on a boat- everybody does. No need to drop many thousands of dollars to have that confirmed. Instead do several day sails with local charter captains (preferably on boats similar to what you're considering buying) to find out the important things - like are you prone to seasickness, are there any sudden phobias that arise when the wind and swell pick up, are you OK with using a marine head when heeled 15 degrees, etc. For well under the cost of one bareboat you can have many many day sails with a local skipper who will be glad to show you the good and bad parts of sailing if you ask them to.

A dinghy might be a fun and cheap diversion while saving for the big jump, but it's by no means a necessary step (no offence meant Ann). We find that sailling just isn't that difficult even as novices. Navigation and visual piloting is more difficult, and even that is pretty easy with a little practice.

I'm 35, wife is 33, we have 2 kids on an "classic plastic" 42' ketch. We went from a dream with no real funds to full time cruising (in Bahamas since March 1) and it sure didn't take 3-4 years to get it done. I'll probably check out of this thread before the doom and gloom crowd shows up, but if you want more info from someone who took the exact path you're considering send me a PM and I'll be glad to discuss any questions or comments you might have.
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Old 11-05-2016, 14:54   #6
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Re: Leaving the city life...

SailAwy, You have all that wonderful playground to begin with! Long Island Sound can be a great starting area and then the Chespeake,....Florida,.... The Bahamas,... The Caribbean,..... more!

Keep us posted of your adventures!
Take care and joy, Aythya crew
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Old 11-05-2016, 17:30   #7
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Re: Leaving the city life...

I doubt you will hear much doom and gloom here. Reason being you sound very reasonable in your approach. Your plan sounds workable. I can't speak to the financial challenges other than to say that the experience can be anywhere from a financial blackhole to affordable. Just take your time and don't assume that the answer to everything is more boat or more money. There are lots of ways to do this affordable. Pay for nothing, including classes until you have to. Who knows you might even encounter someone here who could get you started. I know if you get to my neck of the woods I would gladly show what I know and for free. Press on! I am anchored tonight far from city lights watching Dolphins hunt in a SC salt Marsh after cooking burgers on the stern tied up to a dock I do not own but was free. It can be done and affordably. This in just our third year and we started knowing little or nothing.
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Old 11-05-2016, 18:01   #8
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Re: Leaving the city life...

Go small before you go big. You don't need a huge yacht to have a great time.
Dave -Sailing Vessel Exit Only
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Old 11-05-2016, 18:03   #9
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Re: Leaving the city life...

Hello and welcome! I could type what little wisdom I have gained... But we live in the same city, so we could do it in person (!).

My story and goal is very similar to yours; I'm just a step or two ahead as I have the boat. I ALWAYS am looking for crew. I don't know why it is so freakin hard, but it is. I sail out of Sheepshead Bay. PM me your details and we can connect.

Launching this Friday actually. (Of course, by myself as my co-captain is flying out that day!)

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Old 11-05-2016, 18:09   #10
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Re: Leaving the city life...

Plan your work and work your plan. An old saying but it sounds like you've got that part down pat.

Sailing is the easy part. educate yourself on vessel systems. May I suggest you start with Marine Survey 101.
Be the man Sharon thinks I am - wg
I can do that - wg
If you're not laughing, you're not doing it right. - wg
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Old 11-05-2016, 18:41   #11
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Re: Leaving the city life...

My wife and I lived in a shoebox apartment in the East Village for a dozen years that was costing us about $3k a month in rent by the time we moved onto our boat at a marina across the river in JC which cost us about $700 per month. Put the savings in the bank.

Winters can be a little tough livingaboard in the northeast but we had a pet swan named Fred and a million dollar view that sort of made up for it.
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Old 11-05-2016, 19:19   #12
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Re: Leaving the city life...

Go sailing a lot. Sunny skies, clouds. Too hot, cold and raining buckets. No wind, too much, plenty of waves. You need to see what mother nature will dish out and learn if you can handle it/like it. When on the water, the weather (past, present and future) always has to be in you mind.

Join a yacht club with no clubhouse so the membership is inexpensive. The best way to learn about sailing in different conditions is to get involved in someone's active racing program. There are many cruising style boats raced. Even if you don't care about the competition you will have a chance to learn many things fairly quickly.

Shop around to find a club to join. Tell them exactly what your plans are and see if they are interested in helping. Different clubs have different foci.

Early on take the two day ISAF Safety at Sea class. You need to know how to be safe on a boat and what to do when things go wrong.

Get clothing that stays warm when damp/wet. You will need weather gear">foul weather gear and boots. You don't need the best gear at first but you want to stay warm or the fun ends.

Don't get hit in the head by the boom and always, STAY ON THE BOAT no matter what.

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Old 12-05-2016, 07:25   #13
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Re: Leaving the city life...

Thank you everyone for the great advice. Definitely more than I was expecting. I Look forward to reaching out to a few of you in the near future.

Thanks again,
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Old 12-05-2016, 07:33   #14
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Re: Leaving the city life...

Check out Sailing Chance for some fellow new yorkers living on their boat across the river.

Sounds like you may not own real estate in NY, but we've met several folks that were able to sell their 'modest' home/apartment and buy really expensive catamarans. We just can't do that in Ohio, the equity build up isn't there. Our cost of living is much cheaper, but so are the home prices and salaries.

~ Following Cs~
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Old 12-05-2016, 07:49   #15
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Re: Leaving the city life...

I can't add much to the above comments. Ann always gives such thoughtful & encouraging replied.

You might want to read some blogs if you haven't already. They are very good to learn from and I greatly appreciate the work they put into them. They tell the good, bad & the ugly.

Suggest: Totem, Del Viento, Zero to Cruising and Two Fish. There are many others. The first two are kid boats.

Best of luck to you! 👍

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Wherever we want to go, we go. That's what a ship is you know - it's not just a keel and a hull and a deck and sails, that's what a ship needs. But what a ship is...really is, is freedom. ~Johnny Depp as Capt. Jack Sparrow
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