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Old 22-08-2004, 10:56   #1
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Want to cruise? DO IT NOW!

Hi there! I just found this forum. Here's a short tale and some sage advice:
I have always (well, since age 9 anyways) loved sailing, and have always been involved. Have owned a few boats over the years, too.
Back in '78 I bought my first boat - a Catalina 22. Owned it for 5 years - great beginning boat. My first wife tried sailing with me several times, but she just didn't like it. She's a great gal, but there were several other issues between us, so she's now my "ex", but still a good friend.
My second wife LOVES sailing, and we chartered together many times on the Chesapeake, in Maine and in the BVI. We dreamed of living aboard and cruising after retirement - "when we could afford it".
In '95 I did the early retirement thing after 30-odd years in sales and sales management for "corporate America" and tried my hand in a new business venture which was intended to set us up financially quicker than our original plan. Simply put, it didn't work out and after a few years I had to get another "job". I started driving a long-distance tour bus (great fun), but the dream was still alive.
In '01 we happened upon our "dream boat" at a great price, so, even though we really couldn't afford it, we bought her. She's a '77 CSY 44 "walkover" cutter - big, heavy, comfortable and built like a tank. She needed a bit of TLC, but was basically very sound and had many good upgrades like new engine, rigging, mainsail, etc. We keep her in the southern Caribbean. (She's currently in Carriacou - one island north of Grenada.)
But, we couldn't afford to cast off just yet. Then we hit upon an idea: run the boat in charter to pay our way! We sold our house and much of our belongings, advertised and had enough paying guests in our first season to cover our expenses for the 4 months we lived aboard. We thought we were on to something. I drove the bus another year while we promoted the charter business like crazy and our next season was completely booked out! WE not only covered our costs, but had enough money left over to pay for a few upgrades and most of the cost of storing the boat over the summer. We KNEW we were on to something! Full time living aboard seemed a real possibility again - and soon!
However - all was not well! That first summer I had to have shoulder surgery and so missed a lot of work time which set us back financially. Then, the next summer I had to have an operation on the other shoulder and missed more work - another setback for the schedule.
Now here's the REAL kicker! This spring, after returning to the states from our wonderful charter season, I had a few warning signs so went to see my doctor. I was diagnosed with rectal cancer. Then, three weeks later, my wife was diagnosed with colon cancer! Suddenly everything in our lives turned upside down!
I have had chemo and radiation therapy. A month ago the primary tumor was surgically removed. I now wear an ostomy bag (I call it my poop sack) hanging from my belly until the surgery on my internal plumbing heals. It was also discovered that one lymph node tested positive so the possibility of the cancer spreading exists and I will start a 6 month chemo schedule next week. Long term prognosis is good, but there is this cloud!
My wife (slightly different disease, different location) had surgery, but it was then discovered that the disease has spread to several other organs in her abdomen including both lobes of her liver - inoperable. She is now on a long-term chemo schedule, but the long term outlook is not good.
Our attitude is such that we plan to beat this thing and continue with our cruising dream. But if things don't work out at least we can say we went for it, and that we got to enjoy a few winters living aboard our dream boat in paradise. That's a lot more than most people can say!
The sage advice? If you have a dream of cruising "someday", DO IT NOW! That "someday" may never get here!
"But I can't afford it yet." News flash: You won't be able to afford it later, either - so to hell with it - just GO!
"But what about the kids". Do a sales job on them and take them along! Work with your school and home-school them while you're gone. They'll get a much better education and will get first-hand real-life experiences, too!
"But this, that and the other thing ...." OK, make all the excuses you want ... but if you Really want to go cruising ... I mean REALLY want to go, then DO IT! If you don't, then all those "reasons" not to will prevail - and guess what ... you'll never go! Of course, you will then be able to fool yourself into thinking that you didn't get to go because of all those good reasons ... but the bottom line is that you won't have realized your dream ... get it?
If you really, REALLY want to go there are ways to do it. Buy an adequate boat - it doesn't have to be huge and new and have all the bells and whistles (they just break down anyways). Spend a year fixing it and preparing it to do what you want. Do it yourselves so you learn about the boat in the process (and save money). Then do some coastal cruising to hone your skills - then a couple of short passages - then go cruise the Caribbean for a couple of years. At this point re-asses yourselves. Maybe you'll find you've fulfilled your goal and you can return to shore and take up where you left off. Maybe you'll find you love the lifestyle and will set off to explore the rest of the world. But either way you can say you did it!
Favorite bumper sticker: "Life's short. Eat dessert first!"
As I said - we're going to beat this current setback
Hope to see y'all out there real soon!
By the way - check out our website at: www.lanostra.net.
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Old 22-08-2004, 14:56   #2
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Good luck, our thoughts and best wishes are with you. Hope to meet you in Caribbean in abt 4 years time!
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Old 23-08-2004, 01:47   #3
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I wish you both the very best and the richest of blessing upon both your lives. Your comments have strengthend even more, the thoughts I have had for sometime now. We sold our home and are trying to get the boat ready. Taking a lot more money than I thought, but I am not going to give up.
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Old 23-08-2004, 09:12   #4
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Thanks for the kind thoughts.
Wheels - EVERYTHING takes more money than first thought! Observation: probably about half of the gear you are thinking you "must have" prior to shoving off you don't really need. Once the basic boat is seaworthy and safe (DO NOT skimp here!) sit down and really think about all that new gear you "need". Cross off the marginal stuff and get out of there sooner than later. After a year or so if you find you can no longer live without an item or two, buy them and instal them at that time - but by all means go ASAP.
BTW - I noted in your profile that you enjoy 4wding. I'm somewhat into that myself. I have an old 78 Ford F-150 shortbed pickup which I've refurbished (owned it for 13 years now) into which I've stuffed a huge big-block Ford 429 engine. She really hauls. Did a fair amount of off-roading with her a while back, but have gotten awy from that lately. Diverting our limited funds elsewhere. Learned that you can have about ANYTHING you want in life - but you can't have EVERYTHING!
See you out there ....
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Old 24-08-2004, 18:13   #5
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Lost for words

Hi Harryezz

An all inspiring topic, touching my heart and a boost for me personally. Having just bought my first boat a Martzcraft 35 she is a sea worthy vessal (cutter rig) and I nick named it "my bus" no hurry to get anywhere so long as we do, heavy, beamy and built for a couple to cruise. My new partner and friend have been searching for well over a year and this is it......I to have been dreaming from an early age to cruise as life is just to short...... Sues mother died at an early age 35 of bowl cancer and it is also our fear that it may appear in her or her kids. Just recienty we returned from Queensland, paying a visit to her brother and wife who unfortunitly was diagnosed with breast cancer-currently under kemo-she as you do are all to positive-it makes me wonder if there is such a thing as "God" why does he deal such bad cards to those who in this case most deffently dont deserve it. I do not want to sound callas by no means but we all must accept the fact death is a part of life...to live you must die, how we do is the one that hurts but getting there is what should count.Our reason for crusing or selling up and sailing is because we are able to. I dont mean that by way of money, I mean because we can nothing holds us to our homes or lives or jobs for that matter, it only does if we let it. We dont have a time frame or endless amounts of money....I will look for work on the way to pay for fuel and food and so on. Many can only dream of the life style you have in all respect.....earn a keep by driving the bus then crusing the Caribbean for the remainder of the year.....please dont take that the wrong way. I look at some who enter the club in which I work, they do the same thing every day, smoke ,drink and put on weight and never venture more than 5 km from home,that is sad. What you and your partner have , the guts, the attitude, the energy to keep moving on is inspiring-you have given me something today that I will treasure for ever, I hope to meet you some day and your wife...all the best and safe and happy crusing for an eternity.

Kind Regards
Pandy7 ( Andy & Sue)
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Old 25-08-2004, 14:29   #6
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Andy -
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Old 25-08-2004, 14:36   #7
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Andy -
Thanks for the kind words
Just a thought, from what you describe, Sue may well be carrying what is known a HNPCC gene. I'm not a medical expert, but I do know that this gene, passed along through families, predisposes certain people to colorectal cancer. Judging from Sue's Mom's early death, there is a good possibility she may carry it. A genetic counselor can have her tested for it and can recommend what to do if she is positive. At the very least she should have a colonoscopy, and follow up with testing on a frequency suggested by her doctor. Don't delay on this as early detection is vital to a succesful outcome. Treate properly, even if positive, she can life a long and healthy life.
That said - hope to run in to you guys "out there" some time.
Be sure to check out our website at www.lanostra.net.
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Old 25-08-2004, 15:59   #8
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Pandy 7, I am not intending this to be taken as preaching. In fact, it is maybe just me talking out loud to myself. I too have lost my Mum early on. I have stuggled myself with health issues and as a result we struggle with finacial issues. It would be easy for me to blame God as well. But I look to him not at him. You have the very answer within your words. To live you must die. And I intend to LIVE before I die. (hopefully still along way off, but who know's)
And I have learn't that it is "us" that place the importance on our "mortal" life, not God. I trust there is so much more and so much better beyond this here and now life, that loosing someone is not a lose as such.

I want to take this further as a help to those wanting to travel the world. If NZ ever becomes a destination to any cruiser, our home and any help with what ever that we can provide within our means is an open invitation to those on this site.
Warmest regards to all
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Old 25-08-2004, 17:37   #9
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Wheels:
I could not have said it better! I belive in everybodies life things occur that put you a step back, The hard part is taking two forward after.
Some-day when im in NZ Ill definetly take you up on your offer.
Cheers
Dustin
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Old 26-08-2004, 01:36   #10
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Any time Kingfish. Hehe, thats if we haven't sailed off to your place first. Can just picture it now, you kn ocking on my front door and I on yours. Hmmm no one home.

Yep harry, my other passion is 4WDing. I have a Nissan Safari/Patrol. Bit of a beast as well, but nothing that growls like a 429. Mate!!!Now that would light up my dial.
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Old 26-08-2004, 08:48   #11
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Wheels -
Somewhere up near the top of my list of favorite things is having some youngster in a Mustang or hopped up rice-burner (oriental import car) pull up along side my old truck at a stop light. They tend to smile when they look over at the old codger in a pickup truck. I'd love to see the expression on their faces as they gaze sadly at the disappearing black and gold tailgate while they wonder what in the world just happened to their "fast" car!

That ranks just a bit below a broad reach in 15 kt trade winds or a cold beer while waiting for the Green Flash at sunset in a quiet anchorage
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Old 26-08-2004, 18:07   #12
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Thanks!

Harryrezz .. thanks so much for the posting and the inspiration. And for a great website (yes, I checked it out). I had a five way cardiac bypass 3 years ago and as soon I could hobble around, sold the business (a weekly newspaper) and the house (beautiful rock 4,000 sq ft expensive place for a single ol' codger to live in) gave the kids an "early" inheritance and bought a Robert Beebe passagemaker. Have cruised from North Carolina down the eastern seaboard, took a left in Florida to play in the Bahamas for a few months, then dashed across the Gulf to Texas to settle up financial needs and "dashed" back across the Gulf to Isla Mujereas then Belize and Guatemala. That bypass surgery was the best thing to happen to me .. woke me up and sent me cruising.

Roy
living aboard the "Steel Magnolia"
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Old 26-08-2004, 18:10   #13
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junior?

Hmm ..
Just noticed 'Junior Cruiser' beneath my posting. Never thought of myself as such!
Roy
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Old 26-08-2004, 19:09   #14
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Roy,

When you get to be a candidate for senility like myself, anything that lets us live in fantasy land, such as "junior" should just be enjoyed...don't think of it as a measure of ability but of age. While I know it is a way of measuring the number of posts made on this board...it still made me feel like the nine year old kid inside was showing through!!!!

LOL
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Old 29-08-2004, 16:17   #15
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Thanks, Roy. Isn't it an odd comment on human nature that it sometimes takes something which shakes us to our very roots to make us do what we really wanted to be doing in the first place!?!
Whole thing I was trying to get people to do is just that - DO IT NOW, while you still can!
Will watch for Steel Magnolia when we get back out there!
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