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Old 06-04-2010, 11:37   #1
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Very Possibly the Strangest Post You've Ever Read

This might possibly be one of the most unique posts that many of you have read on here. I say that only because I’m in an incredibly unique situation, and considering making some tremendous changes in order to finally follow what seems like my intended path. (Be warned – this post involves quite a bit of daydreaming.)

I’m 38, and in a very unique financial situation. I retired when I was 22. I am not rich, but I’m comfortably middle-class. The story behind my retirement is not one of financial success or that of a brilliant entrepreneur. It’s a story filled with hardship, difficult times, and my finally struggling to overcome them. The only direct allusion that I’ll make to my story is that I published an autobiographical op-ed piece in the New York Times many years ago, and have been working on a book about my life since. I’m lucky to have lived this amazing life because in my humble opinion it has, through a tremendous amount of reflection and introspection, changed my perception of life and the world around me from one of a victim to someone who now sees beauty in most everything.

I mention the above for only a couple reasons. Firstly, that my financial situation allows me to pursue this dream of mine. Second, and more importantly, because this perception of mine is not allowing me to go back into the cave… to borrow Plato’s metaphor. I grew up in southern California. My father was in the Navy, and often took me sailing off the coast of Newport Beach when I was a child. It was a small boat, likely about a 20 footer. At first I was simply terrified… and I mean scared out of my rational self. The boat would be rolled enough to one side that the gunwale was inches from the water… all the while, following us, were dozens of seals with teeth that looked perfect for eating children. But after several trips I loved every moment of it. I grew up in the water, in the ocean. I was literally born about a hundred years from the surf.

Then I got shipped to Texas, where I’ve been stuck ever since. Life unfolded, I grew roots, made changes, and simply lost my way. I’ve accomplished great things… but I’m done here… and have sensed it for ages. I’ve looked for ways to find the inertia to leave this place, to leave the strong gravity of friendships for a new life filled with new experiences… and it seems that time has come.

My closest of friends and his family are purchasing a house in far north LA (Shadow Hills to be exact). They’ve offered me a room, free of rent, with the chance to continue to do as I please whenever I please. That normally amounts to reading, writing, hiking, camping, etc. But I feel the call of the ocean again… and I want to use this inertia to carry me all the way there.

Honestly, I dream of eventually buying a cruising boat and living a life upon the ocean. However, I currently don’t have the funds… and more importantly… I lack the knowledge… which would be considered novice at best. (I know the portions of a boat, some of the sails, and some terminology. That’s it, for the most part.) However, what I lack in knowledge I make up for in intelligence, ability, and willingness/eagerness to learn and work.

So, what is it that I am asking of this community? I am not limited to just California. I could, in all reality, relocate to Florida (or God forbid, the Texas coast) for the right opportunity. But what I need is to find someone willing to take on a complete novice (or find somewhere to take relatively affordable lessons near LA). What’s in this for you? I’ll work for free. I have no schedule. I’m entirely drug-free, intelligent, eager to start this new chapter of my life, and a damn nice person to be around. I’ve spent years of my life very isolated (no, not in prison, I have no criminal record), so its impossible for me to get lonely. All I need is the knowledge… and I’ll trade my hard work to gain it, if you, or anyone you know, would be willing to take me on board.

If the above is a pipedream, then I’d love some suggestions as to how to practically pursue this dream of mine. Any tips, words of advice, or experience will all be very much appreciated.

Regardless, thanks for taking the time to read this. Feel free to send me any private messages, or respond here.

Safe and wonderful cruising to all of you! Say'Hi' to the ocean for me!
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Old 06-04-2010, 11:51   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Monkeypunch View Post
This might possibly be one of the most unique posts that many of you have read on here. I say that only because I’m in an incredibly unique situation, and considering making some tremendous changes in order to finally follow what seems like my intended path. (Be warned – this post involves quite a bit of daydreaming.)

I’m 38, and in a very unique financial situation. I retired when I was 22. I am not rich, but I’m comfortably middle-class. The story behind my retirement is not one of financial success or that of a brilliant entrepreneur. It’s a story filled with hardship, difficult times, and my finally struggling to overcome them. The only direct allusion that I’ll make to my story is that I published an autobiographical op-ed piece in the New York Times many years ago, and have been working on a book about my life since. I’m lucky to have lived this amazing life because in my humble opinion it has, through a tremendous amount of reflection and introspection, changed my perception of life and the world around me from one of a victim to someone who now sees beauty in most everything.

I mention the above for only a couple reasons. Firstly, that my financial situation allows me to pursue this dream of mine. Second, and more importantly, because this perception of mine is not allowing me to go back into the cave… to borrow Plato’s metaphor. I grew up in southern California. My father was in the Navy, and often took me sailing off the coast of Newport Beach when I was a child. It was a small boat, likely about a 20 footer. At first I was simply terrified… and I mean scared out of my rational self. The boat would be rolled enough to one side that the gunwale was inches from the water… all the while, following us, were dozens of seals with teeth that looked perfect for eating children. But after several trips I loved every moment of it. I grew up in the water, in the ocean. I was literally born about a hundred years from the surf.

Then I got shipped to Texas, where I’ve been stuck ever since. Life unfolded, I grew roots, made changes, and simply lost my way. I’ve accomplished great things… but I’m done here… and have sensed it for ages. I’ve looked for ways to find the inertia to leave this place, to leave the strong gravity of friendships for a new life filled with new experiences… and it seems that time has come.

My closest of friends and his family are purchasing a house in far north LA (Shadow Hills to be exact). They’ve offered me a room, free of rent, with the chance to continue to do as I please whenever I please. That normally amounts to reading, writing, hiking, camping, etc. But I feel the call of the ocean again… and I want to use this inertia to carry me all the way there.

Honestly, I dream of eventually buying a cruising boat and living a life upon the ocean. However, I currently don’t have the funds… and more importantly… I lack the knowledge… which would be considered novice at best. (I know the portions of a boat, some of the sails, and some terminology. That’s it, for the most part.) However, what I lack in knowledge I make up for in intelligence, ability, and willingness/eagerness to learn and work.

So, what is it that I am asking of this community? I am not limited to just California. I could, in all reality, relocate to Florida (or God forbid, the Texas coast) for the right opportunity. But what I need is to find someone willing to take on a complete novice (or find somewhere to take relatively affordable lessons near LA). What’s in this for you? I’ll work for free. I have no schedule. I’m entirely drug-free, intelligent, eager to start this new chapter of my life, and a damn nice person to be around. I’ve spent years of my life very isolated, so its impossible for me to get lonely. All I need is the knowledge… and I’ll trade my hard work to gain it, if you, or anyone you know, would be willing to take me on board.

If the above is a pipedream, then I’d love some suggestions as to how to practically pursue this dream of mine. Any tips, words of advice, or experience will all be very much appreciated.

Regardless, thanks for taking the time to read this. Feel free to send me any private messages, or respond here.

Safe and wonderful cruising to all of you! Say ‘Hi’ to the ocean for me.
Hi Monkeypunch
I wish you good luck, I do have a qustion on what you wrote you said " Firstly, that my financial situation allows me to pursue this dream of mine." and then down a ways you say -" then However, I currently don’t have the funds… " what does this mean?
am I getting mixed messages here?
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Old 06-04-2010, 11:56   #3
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not strange at all Monk...

You love sailing and want to find a way back to it... hear it all the time around here!

Welcome ; -)
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Old 06-04-2010, 12:01   #4
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Originally Posted by Ram View Post
Hi Monkeypunch
I wish you good luck, I do have a qustion on what you wrote you said " Firstly, that my financial situation allows me to pursue this dream of mine." and then down a ways you say -" then However, I currently don’t have the funds… " what does this mean?
am I getting mixed messages here?
I live off an annuity that I setup when I was 22. I receive monthly payments for the rest of my life, but have no immediate access to a large sum of money. This was intentional, as God knows what stupid crap I would have wasted the money on in my 20s.

Short answer, the money is safely out of my hands and securely (and permanently) invested.

Edit - If I do move to California, free of rent, I'll be able to tuck away as much as $1000 a month in savings. Giving me, what I assume would be a decent down payment on a cruiser, in a couple years.
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Old 06-04-2010, 12:25   #5
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Originally Posted by Monkeypunch View Post
I live off an annuity that I setup when I was 22. I receive monthly payments for the rest of my life, but have no immediate access to a large sum of money. This was intentional, as God knows what stupid crap I would have wasted the money on in my 20s.

Short answer, the money is safely out of my hands and securely (and permanently) invested.

Edit - If I do move to California, free of rent, I'll be able to tuck away as much as $1000 a month in savings. Giving me, what I assume would be a decent down payment on a cruiser, in a couple years.

Sounds good and if you got a job around boats think how much faster you could learn and save money, again good luck -I beleave if you want it enough it will come to you, some how some way!!
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Old 06-04-2010, 12:30   #6
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Good job on that annuity. I've have friends that were in a similar situation that blew theirs. Now they struggle.
Get a smaller boat and start from scratch. I know of a nice Catalina 22 on a trailer coming to the market here in Texas very soon ($3k or less; I would bet closer to 2k). Hang out at the marinas and sail with anyone who'll let you come along. Sail your own also.
One step at a time...

Good luck!
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Old 06-04-2010, 13:14   #7
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Fisherman X has the right suggestion. Get a Cal 25 or Hunter . Take the ASA 101 course, and off you go until time is right to move up to a larger boat. Best of luck.
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Old 06-04-2010, 13:17   #8
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Aloha and welcome to the forum!
There is no doubt you'll find your dreams coming true if you are persistent in their pursuit. Just writing what you did should get you started in the right direction.
There are many boating opportunities in Southern California by hanging out at marinas and joining a sailing club. Just walking the docks and talking with people will get you headed in the right direction. Of course, Florida and other places you mentioned have marinas too.
Reading your post as a retired Navy man who taught his daughter to sail when she was very young gives me hope that she might try again.
regards,
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Old 06-04-2010, 14:35   #9
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Wow, thanks to everyone for the warm and very informative responses. I'll certainly do my best to work out some options, assuming someone doesn't find this post and decide to take me under their wing.

In regard to walking docks and joining sailing a club... is it considered bad form (or do you look like a mooch) if you join a sailing club without owning a boat, hoping to simply gain knowledge and experience (not to mention good company and friendship)? I'd feel a little strange walking into a marina, or joining a club, without owning a boat. However, this idea of purchasing a small boat sounds promising. However, don't slip/dock fees wind up adding up pretty quickly? Anyone have a general idea of what the monthly cost of maintaining a small boat might be?

Thanks again to everyone for all the help... and for the very warm welcome!
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Old 06-04-2010, 14:56   #10
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A lot of times you'll be able to pick a ride on a wed night race. and no it's not bad form to be a part of anything without a boat, the only place that you'd be looked at a little strangely is a rigid blue coat yacht club.
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Old 06-04-2010, 16:17   #11
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However, don't slip/dock fees wind up adding up pretty quickly? Anyone have a general idea of what the monthly cost of maintaining a small boat might be?
That's why the "trailer sail'er". Put it in, go play, take it out. Sounds like....well nevermind.....
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Old 06-04-2010, 16:36   #12
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Well, from some casual research it looks like the ASA 101 class will run me almost $700. If I buy a boat I'm looking at around $1500 to $3000 or so, with annual maintenance running ~ $2000, with slip fees around $1500 or so annually.

So after the class and buying a boat I'm looking at dropping about $3500 to $4000 a year on owning a boat that's not going to live on a trailer.

Do these estimates sound remotely correct?

PS. The reason I'm looking at keeping a boat in the water is that I'd likely spend quite a bit of time on the boat, even if its moored (I'm considering going with a paid mooring instead of a slip as that sounds like it'll be cheaper over time, I'll just pay up front for a decent dinghy.)

I suspect a problem with many new boat owners is that when they have a boat living on a trailer at their house they're less compelled to go to the work to get it in the water only to enjoy it for a day-sail. So, over time, the boat winds up getting used less and less, till they just don't sail any longer.

If I move out to California, and catch the bug as I suspect I will, I'm not going to bother with casually sailing. I want to buy a fixer-upper and live on it for days while I do most of the work, maintenance, and improvements myself. If she's in the water staring at me... I'm going to sail. If she's sitting on a trailer next to the house its much easier to say, 'Tomorrow'.
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Old 06-04-2010, 16:54   #13
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I suspect your right. As a live aboard I can tell you that there are challenges to working on it while you live on it but it keeps it in your face too. Floor hatches open, cushions off, tools out and then put her back together so you can eat and clean up. A full bimini makes it easier to turn the cockpit into a workshop but everything gets cleaned up and stowed so you can cast the lines and get to point of the whole thing. I love it (except when i'm feeling frustrated).
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Old 06-04-2010, 18:40   #14
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My you are unique! Most people, when they want to go sailing don't look for some sailing obi-wan/yoda to help them find the sailing "force." Most of us read books, take sailing courses, and meet people thru our common sailing/boat interests. Over time, these people become friends and we learn a lot from each other.

And when we don't have the money, we get a job or do something to generate income. That helps us buy the boat in addition to paying for the books, classes etc.

But you definitely have your own path!
Interesting that I get loads of warm responses, and now a cynical post filled with assumptions.

A. Why assume I haven't read a library full of books on the topic? I've indeed spent the last few months doing little else than reading on the subject... fom the Annapolis guide to a book on Donald Crowhurt's meltdown. However, reading books is just that - reading. I spent seven years studying philosophy and theology around the world and in the classroom, and to be honest, I've come closest to the topic at a funeral.

B. Why assume that I haven't been trying to meet people with common/sailing interests? What's particularly ironic is that you assume I haven't and go on to make such a criticism in a post on a forum where I am trying to do just that. I could cut the irony with a knife.

C. I mentioned that money/job is not the particular issue. My issue, as I alluded to, is *practical* knowledge. I'm currently landlocked, and reaching out to a community where I might find some friends or connections that will allow me to take a step out of this state and into another with some progress already made. I'm pragmatic enough to not see this as a pipedream, and to take actual steps... instead of just up and moving and wandering docks in a town where I don't know a soul.

/shrug

I'll take any criticism to heart though, accurate or not.

Edit - She apparently deleted her post. I'll leave my reply standing regardless.
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Old 06-04-2010, 19:50   #15
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Originally Posted by Monkeypunch View Post
I live off an annuity that I setup when I was 22. I receive monthly payments for the rest of my life, but have no immediate access to a large sum of money. This was intentional, as God knows what stupid crap I would have wasted the money on in my 20s.

Short answer, the money is safely out of my hands and securely (and permanently) invested.

Edit - If I do move to California, free of rent, I'll be able to tuck away as much as $1000 a month in savings. Giving me, what I assume would be a decent down payment on a cruiser, in a couple years.
I see ads on TV for Peachtree.com where you can cash in an annuity.
It even has a cute doggie.
No financial interest etc......
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