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Old 10-03-2009, 20:26   #1
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Not Just Dreaming

Wow, this is the first forum I have registered with as a user. I have been a professional lurker (travel forums) for a few years though and here for a few weeks (I only just discovered you).

Always wondered how to get those faces and thingamajigs . That would be my first! Thought you had to be super computer savvy. It took me 30 minutes to get through the registering and opening a new thread. I'm cool... really.

And I won't use too many. I actually want to put one here.

Anyway...

I am so excited! Gotta talk about it somewhere. No friend, coworker, neighbour, grocery store clerk, babysitter really wants to hear about my plans. Family does but has already. I need help sustaining my plan / dream.

BRIEFLY about myself.... Husband and three children. We've tilted to forty (not quite). And our kids are two, six and eight. I'm a crazy saver. Actually, whatever I do I tend to go overboard (embrace with enthusiasm is what I'm really doing - whatever). We've paid off the mortgage, set aside funds for kids education, topped up RRSPs (that's 401 for U.S. I think), no consumer debt.

The DREAM (plan)... in seven years my husband retires with a pension (military). Decent income. I will be pretty much giving up mine (will only have 20 years service in a 30 year plan before the early retirement age). We'll save all the money we threw at the mortgage for our boat fund (we paid off our first and only mortgage in ten years). This times seven years will give us a nice chunk of change for buying a seasoned boat. We want to keep the house. No experience renting anything out though.

We want to go cruising. Live-aboard. (I don't wanna work, wanna bang on the drum all day - I cannot carry a tune.) The kids will be nine, 15 and 17. We'll be in our mid forties.

We took a sailing course at the local marina. Basic Sailing. Absolutely loved it! This was years ago. We had plans to be mates through the marina. Got knocked up...... Anyway. I'm back on track now.

This December, we are taking a sailing course in BVI. Basic Sailing and Bareboat Sailing (Catamaran). We have not committed to a company. There is a big difference between them in terms of price, duration for the same qualifications and the reviews that they have received. Especially regarding the 'sailing' time versus 'touring around and sampling the local cuisine' time. Offshore Sailing is the most expensive I've seen but the longer duration (10 days) and the itinerary is more appealing to me. I'd love to find something serious that won't set us back 10 k though. And that is not including the flight and the conversion from our loonie to USD. Next year we'll charter on our own, maybe with another couple but without the kids. After that, we'll charter with the kids each year, sampling a different model of catamaran. Ideally one that we have narrowed down in our search to purchase.

I am already perusing boats for sale. This is really difficult. It's almost like buying a used car. I can't evaluate the condition or value of it. It will take me years to be knowledgeable of the fair market value pricing of a well equipped cruising catamaran.

And I keep straying outside my projected price range. That new Cantana 50' is making me think of Mr and Mrs Jones.

Anyway, clearly you can see I need some inspiration to stay on track. I find it hard to believe that noone I know personally has obsessive all-consuming dreams that they intend to fulfill.

I have used up too much space and taken too much of your time. And my internet connection has timed out three times.

I just wanted to say hi.

I also see the [More] button beside the smiley faces.
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Old 10-03-2009, 20:38   #2
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Wow, what a first post.

Hi back, sounds like you have a plan. I can't think of anything to say.
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Old 10-03-2009, 20:39   #3
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Hi NJD, and welcome. I think you'll be pleasantly suprised to find that your story is not that unique here, and there will be lots of folks with which to both scheme and commiserate.

Best to you!
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Old 10-03-2009, 21:00   #4
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This is pretty funny. I wasn't expecting a reply so soon. I was browsing other threads. I could not resist checking before I logged out and went to bed.

.... when I saw that someone replied to my post my heart started to beat faster, I was looking forward to reading it. I felt like I was in highschool. My dial up was causing me great pain ......

Nice to meet you skipmac and anotherT34C! Thanks for taking the time to welcome a newbie.
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Old 10-03-2009, 21:38   #5
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Hi again,

I love your enthusiasm. As T34C says, you will find plenty of us on the forum with the same dream, some may call it an addiction. Planning my own retirement and cruising in the next couple of years (ok maybe five or six with current economy). For me it is a return to sailing as I was lucky enough to spend a few years sailing in my younger days.

You will find plenty of help and opinions on this forum. When you get serious about the boat shopping don't be afraid to ask questions.

Skip
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Old 10-03-2009, 22:16   #6
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Not Just Dreaming,

So great to hear the energy and enthusiasm in your post, welcome! You clearly have the same bug I do. My wife and I have been on a path towards cruising since last year, when we started to learn...here's our progression (to serve as a reference for how someone else with the bug has been approaching it).

Feb '08: US Sailing Basic Keelboat, Basic Cruising and Bareboat Cruising courses with Rob Swain Sailing School in Tortola. We did our basic keelboat class onshore and onboard an IC24 for three days, and then went aboard a Lagoon 420 hybrid cat for a week (through Catamaran Co) with a fabulous teaching captain and completed Basic Cruising and Bareboat Cruising. We did this with one other couple and had the time of our lives.

May '08: Back to Tortola to bareboat an FP Mahe 36' cat through TMM. Karen and my first time bareboating, and we had a blast! Sailed to Anegada and all around the BVIs for a week by ourselves, gained some experience and confidence.

Oct '08: Bareboat chartered an FP Orana 44' cat through Let's Go Sailing in Annapolis, MD. Sailed the Chesapeake for 5 days, gained more confidence, then turned in our charter the day the Annapolis boat show started, and we stayed for 3 more days, enjoying the unusual opportunity to get on board more than a dozen different cats.

Dec '08: Bareboat chartered an FP Bahia 46' cat out of Jolly Harbor in Antigua through Horizon for 2 weeks. The second week we had our trusty teaching captain aboard (again from Rob Swain Sailing School) and spent a week sailing ~ 400 nm around the French West Indies (Guadaloupe, Les Saintes, Marie Gallante, Iles de la Petite Terre) with three overnight passages and completing my US Sailing Coastal Navigation and Coastal Passagemaking certifications. Incredible learning and confidence building trip.

And now, we're 6 weeks away from two more weeks chartering in the BVI (late April): The first week aboard a 38' cat (just Karen and me); the second week with three other couples aboard an FP Salina 48' cat for an additional second week of bareboat. Sailing and more sailing....just what the doctor ordered while I am making a job change.

We are continuing to build our experience chartering, and doing additional certifications with onboard teaching captains during our charters. I incessantly internet shop for catamarans, so I know what you mean!
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Old 10-03-2009, 22:54   #7
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Aloha and welcome to the forum fellow Canuck. You will learn a lot from this forum. A very friendly and light hearted place to come and share.
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Old 10-03-2009, 23:37   #8
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Originally Posted by NotJustDreaming View Post
Wow, this is the first forum I have registered with as a user.
Don't get addicted!!!!!!!!!!!!! Beware internet forums!

Quote:
Originally Posted by NotJustDreaming View Post


We've paid off the mortgage, set aside funds for kids education, .....no consumer debt.

The DREAM (plan)... in seven years my husband retires with a pension (military). Decent income.
You are well on the road to the water... (!)

We have our house paid off and its rented out. That pays our monthly income. (I know USA people dont get high returns for rental income compared to us in Australia.) And our boat is paid off. And no debt.

So we are nearly like you So YES you can do it and never work again!!!

Save like all @#$%& and get a good boat and go from there
No get rich quick schemes, just good, honest money saving and planning.

Quote:
The kids will be nine, 15 and 17. We'll be in our mid forties
None of those ages matter. You will get younger and younger and the kids will have to get off sometime to do their on thang. Its OK, they have to stand on their own 2 feet sometime anyway.

I am 49 and I relish everytime I meet a cruiser who has just started aged 65 and just retired. I have 15 good years of cruising before I get to their age

If you want to show the kids what sort of things they might see at sea then have a look at our website www.OurLifeAtSea.com but also you may want to keep it a secret from them so each discovery is even more amazing!


Mark
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Old 10-03-2009, 23:45   #9
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We are continuing to build our experience chartering, and doing additional certifications with onboard teaching captains during our charters.
Antigua Race Week alows bareboat entries. Racing can give you some training as your miind is switched onto one thing: Sail trimming.

You dont have to take races too seriously, but it will teach you how to set you sails


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Old 11-03-2009, 01:08   #10
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Hi Hank&Karen
You have managed to sail on so many cats in such a short time, congratulations. Especially when living so far away from the cruising grounds.
May I ask which boat you liked best (and why) - Orana or Bahia ?
Thanks
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Old 11-03-2009, 01:13   #11
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Welcome Not Just Dreaming

What a breath of fresh air as I read your post this morning with my coffee.

So happy to have you with us and I REALLY look forward to reading more about how this adventure shakes out for you.

I think your screen name should be Sunshine, you definitely brightened my day!
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Old 11-03-2009, 01:28   #12
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Hi NotJustDreaming,
I liked your post so must that I had to read it to my wife. This is the first time that I've read about a woman being the driving force (it seems) behind a family's sailing-into-the-sunset dreams. Congratulations. If my girls (2, 5 and 8) were easily convinced, I had to work a bit on their mother... until a cruise in Tonga on a 42' cat sold her on the idea. Cheers
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Old 11-03-2009, 12:15   #13
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I am loving this! You guys (that is non-gender by the way) are great for responding.

I thought pretty much everybody here was already living the life. I started my browsing in the multihull section of this forum. I thought it would be kind of an imposition for a pretty much novice wanna-be to be posting. Itís great to learn otherwise. Very warm welcome.

Hey skipmac, sorry to hear your plans have been delayed. The markets are pretty gloomy. Throwing money at the mortgage was the easy part since I was guaranteed my mortgage rate as a return (even higher if I reason what we saved in interest payments is not subject to tax.). How to invest for a boat in this economy Ė thatís a problem for me. Seven years isnít very far away. The same principles (mostly equities) we use for retirement and education savings isnít going to work for such a short-term goal. If we put $30k aside per year in a savings account weíll have just over $230k for a boat fund (earning just 2.5% and seven years isnít long for compounding to help out much). $230,000 Canadian is not much boat for a catamaran. Money market funds arenít much better and GICs are worse than savings. I have no experience with short term investing. Saving $45k per year in a savings account would give us just under $350. But that would be tough especially since it would eat into our sailing lessons and chartering money. And there is not much point in buying a boat if we canít sail it.

I really appreciate the detail Hank&Karen. That was an ambitious itinerary you set for yourselves. Would it be possible to discuss $ with you? I can see what the major charter companies charge but any insight as to what worked best for you and anything you would do differently would be hugely appreciated. I am ready to learn from your mistakes, if any. The actual theory behind the way you approached it (close charter sessions and onboard teaching captains) appeals to me. Iím not sure if my bug is as big as yours (or maybe its just my budget).

Aloha Celestialsailor. I donít know where Big Island is. I like your quote a lot but Iím not sure if Iíd want to buy your boat if you ever decided to part with it. "skid in broadside, thouroughly used up, totally worn out" I know I saw somewhere the option to quote someone properly.

MarkJ thanks for the glimpse into your life. Iím looking forward to your website. You are living my dream. My girls are already bugging me every day about the future. On the weekend I showed them some cats for sail. They have their berths picked out and have even invited their friends. Last night at dinner our six year old asked if she could bring three friends on our first charter. Not sure Iíd let my enthusiasm spill over like that again because at six and eight the concept of the future is pretty abstract and they ask a ton of questions on a slow day. I am looking forward to your prediction that Iíll get younger and younger because each year I am startled to learn that I am a year older. A decade just went by in a flash. Hopefully time slows down a bit in the cruising life. Iím not optimistic though. Too many places to go, things to try and people to meet.

James S and Wellington, thanks for what you both said. Makes me super happy that I did my first post. Especially happy that I did not edit most of it out. Sometimes (most) Iím a little long-winded. Wellington, I am also the handyman in our family (and the chief financial officer). My husband is pretty .
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Old 11-03-2009, 12:39   #14
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If we put $30k aside per year in a savings account weíll have just over $230k for a boat fund (earning just 2.5% and seven years isnít long for compounding to help out much). $230,000 Canadian is not much boat for a catamaran. Money market funds arenít much better and GICs are worse than savings. I have no experience with short term investing. .

Depending on how you invest your money you should be able to get more than that. I just put cash into a GIC at 3.65. Actually part of my RRSP, but that didn't affect the interest. That's average over five years.

So you can do better than 2.5.

Perhaps a better option is one of these newfangled taxfree savings accounts that are all over the TV and papers. As I understand it, you can put the money into a TFSA and -- wthin the account -- put it into a GIC, thus avoiding tax on any interest.

(Sorry, all you non-Canucks. GIC is guaranteed interest certificate -- essnetially a kind of bond. RRSP is roughly equivalent to a 410k in the US. No idea what it would be in Oz or other places. TFSA ... well, I spelled that out.)

All that said, if you're looking for a cat with room for five, including two hulking great teenagers, you're gonna need as much as you can get. Two hulls cost twice as much.

But good luck

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Old 11-03-2009, 12:53   #15
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Aloha NJD,
Welcome aboard! Lots of folks have the same bug you've caught. There are many books and videos about what you are wanting to do.
Don't get hung up on needing really large boats to accomplish your intended goal. If you have the money then I guess its ok but boats are a lot like houses, a smaller footprint is better, in my point of view.
Good luck in pursuing the dream.
Kind regards,
JohnL
P. S. The Big Island is roughly the size of the State of Connecticutt 2200 miles out here in the Pacific and the largest one of several islands making up the State of Hawaii. Population 175,000. Today about 65F at 8:55AM
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