I have been planning this one for YEARS.
I know everyone says "go now, don't wait for things to be 'ready'", so I took it to heart as best I could.
I have been dreaming of sailing around the world, or just cruising in general since I was 18 years old. It became much more of a real life goal about the age of 20. I built a couple of wooden sail boats with my dad (14 foot and 18 foot open boats) who was raised in the LA area and sailed and built boats when he was younger and has spent a lifetime obsessed with them, I graduated college, joined the Army as an Officer, and began the financial journey to sailing. I could never get a financial planner to understand my goals (nor my first wife for that matter) of NOT HAVING a "legacy" as they liked to call it. I tried to make them understand that I do not plan on having children
ever, I just want to make enough money
to one day be able to buy a boat, move on board, quit my job, and start sailing, even if I went broke trying. Financial planners never understood that. In fact no one did. It wasn't until I came on this forum and began surfing that I finally found a group of people that realize that having just enough to get by is just fine, and in fact: better. And here I was thinking that all the Henry David Thoreau's of the world were gone.
Anyway, I finished my initial term of three years (wife divorced me in the last year of my term: 2006), had all my money
saved, planned on at least a year and a half off to sail the Caribbean
, and then off to an IT Management job in Manhattan. (I am doing Communications/Network Mangement in the Army)... It didn't work out.
The Army denied my application to exit. See, Army officers don't just get out at the end of their contract
anymore, we have to apply to be released after our contract
expires. That kind of defeats the purpose for the contract I think, but that is the way it is. They said that they needed more Captains, and since I was a 1st Leuitenant, one month away from making Captain
, I had to stay: Bush's back door draft
So I continued to save, ran into my old highschool sweetheart from 8 years earlier while home on leave a couple years ago, fell back in love (we were right for each other from the beginning, I just... lived the college experience, so we split) and we got married.
So now I am remarried to my high school
sweetheart who wants more than anything in life to sail around the world (wouldn't remarry if that wasn't the case), aproaching 30 (28 right now), and just chomping at the bit to complete this dream/goal I have had for the last decade.
and the excitement grips me everyday...
except that I am in Iraq right now and still in the Army until April 2011.
Luckily I pulled all my money out of stocks and funds about a year before the big crash, so I didn't experience too much loss, but still, only a few years of working afer college doesn't amount to much start up capital. However, my wife is used to the ultra-simple lifestyle and doesn't even care if we have hot showers or refrigeration
as long as she gets to sail around the world. She is hard as nails. 5'2 and 98 pounds, but in college she had an abcessed tooth and didn't have health insurance
(she never has) so she paid someone 30 bucks to yank it out with some pliers and took ibuprofen. Gotta love a woman like that. She always made ends meet and put herself through college while making less than 6000 a year as a waitress. I had a similar college life (I made it on about 10,000 a year with a wife), and being that we aren't too far removed from college, and still not too soft and used to the officer life, I think we can easily pare back down to that sort of life. Especially since we look back at that sort of poverty/simplicity rather fondly. We really dislike having money, it just adds up to more bills and more problems... anyway.
My dad had me read all the older stories of great sailors from Slocum's "Spray" all the way up through "Apogee's" circumnavigation
, and he taught me the basics of celestial and chart navigation
, so I have never really expected that I would ever have pressurized water
or hot water
or much other than a hand held GPS
and a VHF radio
, or even a windlass
, much less an ELECTRIC
windlass! So I figure if we can make it on 10,000 a year or less, especially seeing the quality of life of others living onboard in the Caribbean
making it happen for about that much.
The one thing that gets me: I can't imagine having much less than a 32 foot boat, and preferably closer to 36. I know there are lots of 27 foot sailors out there, but I just can't imagine the way those cabins are arranged that my wife and I could really make it comfortablly onboard. I know that the cost of living aboard
goes up exponentially with the length of boat, but I hope if I can keep it really simple: no refrigeration, no pressurized water, no hot water, minimal electronics
, etc. and be able to keep cost way down.
Anyway, I just wanted to tell my story to give a bit of an introduction
Oh, and I want to learn to sail (with my wife) and get a bareboat license
so I can charter
later on in life if I need/want to, but since I am 100% certain that I am going to sail, I want to buy a boat, and I can only expect that it would be cheaper to find someone who can instruct and certify us on our own boat, but I can not find anyone who seems to offer this service
. I guess it is rare that someone would want to learn how to sail yet already has thier own boat... But the apparent minimum of $4000 for two people to go through school
cuts deeply into a cruising budget
when we plan on making it for just under 10,000 a year, and for someone who is fully committed, I know there must be a cheaper option.
I already know the basics of sailing, having sailed a dinghy
on the lake back home, but I know that there is a large difference between a lake and the open ocean and maneuvering a 600 pound 18 footer to a dock
versus a 35 foot 5 ton sail boat with 5 feet of draft
, so I want to start from the beginning.
So any instructors out there want to teach my wife and I how to sail a larger boat (she has done no sailing) and certify us for bareboat
over the course of a week or so? She lives in Germany
right now, and I will redeploy from Iraq to join her this November, but I have even been thinking about buying
a boat soon (here in Europe) so that when we get back I can drive down to Croatia
and sail around the coast of Italy
on my four day weekends and weeks off for practice (and pleasure of course).
The other option is the northern coast of Germany/Holland/Denmark area.
So if any of you cruisers out there happen to be cruising in the general Europe
area any time in 2010 and want to have an easy going couple pay a thousand dollars or so to hop aboard and learn to sail on your boat for a week or more, we would love to learn.
Or hey, here's an idea if we end up buying
one here: In 2010 WE pay YOU about $1000 to "charter" our boat in the Mediterranian/Agean while you teach us how to sail for one week. Maybe offset the cost of something you might have done anyway. (charter a boat in Croatia). Just an idea to toss out there.
Thanks for reading if you made it this far,
(well, in the Army) Andrew Lea