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Old 08-03-2009, 09:54   #16
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Oh yeah and Mr. Canuck.

Agreed, I can use this real life experience to sell the leave my bosses. That's the plan!

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Old 08-03-2009, 18:30   #17
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Originally Posted by Young_Engineer View Post

Ziggy - Where do you think my budget could be boosted? I think the longest I can realistically spend cruising is 8 months. I could wait another year, get more money, then go. But it gets back to the dessert first... why wait yet another year?
Well, you have a $10k budget for a 27 to 30 foot boat. I think getting financing for a Carib. cruise will be difficult. At the very least, the lender will probably insist on insurance, which will be expensive. You may be able to pick up a good boat at the lower end of your range though for less than $10k, especially in this economy. But a boat in this price range will probably not be equipped with much safety gear such as a liferaft, epirb, etc. So will have to decide whether you're willing to go without. A water maker and solar power are also expensive, but give you considerable freedom to explore places out of the beaten path. An SSB rig allows you to keep in touch with other cruisers, friends, and family. All that costs money, more than the $5k that you budgeted for getting the boat ready. I think $10k for 1 year cruising is realistic, but I think it's too little time to visit all the places you listed without the time pressure and feeling that you're on schedule. So you may want to consider altering you plan as follows: 1) Buy a good boat that you can afford now; 2) spend the summer sailing it on Lake Ontario, shaking it out, fixing stuff up, and upgrading; 3) continue working for another year to build up your cruising kitty and pay for all the stuff you're doing on the boat; 4) try to talk your boss into giving you a 2 year leave of absence instead of 1; and 5) go south. You will have to allow an additional 2-3 months to get to Florida from Toronto, but on the other hand, you probably will save this time in fixing up your boat before you leave. And by the way, depending on which way you go, you'll get to see some very pretty cruising grounds along the way.

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Old 08-03-2009, 19:04   #18
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As a not so young engineer it is interesting considering your question. Looking back I have wondered whether the option you are considering was one I should have taken. But then having had a good run in the business (engineering is a wonderful portable career) with some hard work allowing me to achieve my dream yacht at 40 I cannot complain. Career wise you have alot more to sell with a couple of years experience under your belt than as a new graduate
Have you asked yourself do you want to sail or cruise? As others have suggested buying a boat and refitting it can consume your time and budget rapidly - I know from experience the usual rules of cost control and schedule management go out the window where boats are concerned!!
So as another option if you are going to stick to the 6-12 mths, you could look at some crewing options, something like the Carib 1500 or delivery trips to get you into the cruising areas and I am sure further opportunities would arise. Gives you an opportunity to decide if this lifestyle is actually what you are looking for. Good luck
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Old 08-03-2009, 20:21   #19
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Hey man, I'm in the same boat as you, except my plan is a little more ambitious (circumnavigation). At the moment I am living pretty much like a bum saving money for this trip, although I have been spending an awful lot of money bolstering my climbing gear, anyway...

I am also an engineer (Software), and am trying to save 50k by years end to fund my voyage. Like you I have many ambitions in life, and climbing the corporate ladder is not one of them. Seriously man DO IT AS SOON AS YOU CAN. At worst you will be coming back to the job market the same as if you were a new college graduate, if employers discount your current job experience and this adventure, although I would bet neither would be true.

Anyway good luck on the voyage.

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Old 08-03-2009, 20:32   #20
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I have only one word of warning - you may never go back! As long as you're OK with that possibility... go!

I'm you, 29 years later. After an equivalent engineering education I spent four years as a well-paid engineer before my midlife crisis hit at the ripe old age of 25. In my case I took my "sabbatical year" offer and did a Thoreau - moved off the grid into a cabin in the New England woods for a year. No electricity at all! It was a life changing experience. At the end of the year... I never went back. Instead I trained as a paramedic and have worked at that ever since - it allowed me to live in the woods and still eat. Now I'm getting ready for my second leap, onto the full-time cruising boat. I have the family and kids now and we're all going.

It's a big world. Enjoy it!
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Old 09-03-2009, 06:51   #21
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You say you want to cruise from Florida through the Bahamas to the eastern Caribbean on a very limited budget, and you have 6-12 months to do it.

Schedule: It will take some time to find a boat and fit it out for cruising. How long for outfitting depends on the condition that the boat is in when you buy it, and how much "stuff" you plan to install. A thorough survey by a professional marine surveyor is absolutely essential in order to know what you need to do to make the boat ready. So, if you end up with, say eight or nine months to cruise, you're really going to be pressed to do the whole circuit from Florida to Grenada and back. Six months will be a marathon race. It will probably take two or three months to get from Florida to the Virgin Islands. Use the Google search in the "Search" pull-down menu above, and type in "Thorny Path" to get the flavor of the bash to windward from the Bahamas to the VI. My wife and I spent six months cruising from the Spanish Virgins down to Grenada and back two years in a row, and wished we'd had more time just for that portion.

Budget: Since your plan is to cruise for a limited time and then sell the boat, you probably don't want to invest in a lot of the equipment that a full-time, long-term liveaboard would consider essential. For that cruising area, you don't need a watermaker. There are plenty of places to get water along the way. You might have to jerry-jug it every now and then. You can get by without an SSB radio. There are enough Internet cafes ashore, and WiFi hotspots if you take a laptop. You can even get by without an EPIRB or liferaft if you want to go really cheaply, although it would be prudent to have both. On the route you're thinking of taking, you're almost never out of sight of land. You'll be anchoring out to save money. You don't need a fancy dinghy setup--a 9' rollup inflatable with a 3-5 hp outboard will get you ashore and back just fine.

Focus on the critical elements when working on your purchase budget: sound hull & through-hulls, sound engine, sound standing and running rigging, good ground tackle, reliable VHF, and the personal safety equipment.

Of course, if Kamaloha is right and you never go back, you'll certainly sell the first boat and upgrade to something more substantially equipped, but you'll do so with a lot of firsthand experience as to what you want in the second one.
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Old 09-03-2009, 07:02   #22
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good luck with your quest. Your company's leave policy is a good one. BUT, why do young people think they'll be unable to enjoy life to it's fullest when they are 60+. I'm 62 and I can still hoist myself up my mast single handed. Keep active, eat right and you'll be fine...

Retirement doesn't habve to be a death sentence!!

Happy sailing

Cape Dory 25D Seraph
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Old 09-03-2009, 10:10   #23
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I recently saw a Bayfield 25 (I think) in the local newspaper here for only $3500 - Post & Courier newspaper, Charleston, South Carolina. That is a nice small boat for a great price. Of course it could be in rough shape at that price but you never know.
You might be able to find it online at the newspaper web site or on Craigslist.

Good luck,

Steve (older engineer currently sitting in a small cube)
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Old 09-03-2009, 13:30   #24
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Go for it. But, I pretty much agree with Hud and others:

1. Forget about sailing from Toronto - it will take too long, especially as things begin to break.

2. Buy the boat in FL (easy to say - not so easy to do when you are in Canada). Then cross to the Bahamas (it’s a one day sail). There are literally hundreds of Bahamian islands ranging from completely deserted to vibrant party towns. They are also some of the most spectacular cruising waters in the world and you can easily spend months exploring them. Worry about the Caribbean (if at all) after you get to paradise.

3. There are plenty of good old cheap boats in FL that would be suitable for Bahamas cruising by a young single hander - provided they are in Good Condition, eg:

1975 Columbia Sail Boat For Sale -

And NO, I don’t know anything about this boat except for what the ad says. If its basic systems are truly in sound condition, it would suit your needs. All boats, especially in this price range and even if they are in good basic condition, will need something before you take them cruising - eg. VHF radio x2, GPS x 2, charts, dinghy, Bimini, etc. So, try to reserve as much of your budget as possible for refit/upgrade.
"There's nothing . . . absolutely nothing . . . half so much worth doing as simply messing around in boats."

Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows (River Rat to Mole)
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Old 09-03-2009, 16:17   #25
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If you read any of the cruising books they all say go now.
Do it now while your'e still young and have little to loose and only a few commitments.
Once you have a house and a morgage it becomes very difficult to to take the time to go cruising you allways have to pay that monthly payment.
27' is big enough and easier to handle and cheaper to maintain. My Vancouver 27 circumnavigated 1990 to 93 singlehanded. Windvane as crew.
Your plan sounds good so go for it I wish you the best of luck.
Cheers Jamie
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Old 10-03-2009, 13:55   #26
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Aloha Young,
Welcome aboard! The advice many are giving is that you should go. Money should never be the thing that holds you back. You have some money and a promising job so just do it.
When you decide to look at boats please ask the forum for opinions. The members here can steer you clear of the ones which may not be the best quality for your purpose. It is a buyers market and Florida especially has some great deals.
Kind regards,
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Old 10-03-2009, 14:17   #27
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Welcome!! I say go for it!! I'm in the same boat as you. From NL originally I have been living in seabrook, tx for the past 2 years. Been fixing up an 77 columbia with the intent of sailing off without a real plan in the next year or two.

Being an engineer, you are probably highly employable in many parts of the world. The boat could become a means of traveling from one job to the next rather then just a one time adventure!
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Old 10-03-2009, 15:33   #28
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Being an engineer, you are probably highly employable in many parts of the world. The boat could become a means of traveling from one job to the next rather then just a one time adventure!
I couldn't agree more!
Cheers Jamie
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Old 10-03-2009, 17:29   #29
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Keep an eye on this auction. These boats are excellent boats built to stand up to the North Sea. Seller is a charity who has no ego in the sale. May turn out to be a very good deal. eBay Motors: 1978 albin ballad 30 sloop racer cruiser - fl gree 78 (item 200318544541 end time Mar-16-09 17:00:00 PDT)

Can you work at your present employer as a contract worker. My son, also an engineer, negotiated a 3 day work week at the office with 2 at home via the computer. If it's just a matter of crunching numbers, etc. perhaps you could do it anywhere in the world. May not pay as well as hanging out at the office but it will definitely pay better than most other jobs you'd pick up.

Peter O.
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Old 10-03-2009, 18:03   #30
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Originally Posted by Cacique View Post
Being an engineer, you are probably highly employable in many parts of the world. The boat could become a means of traveling from one job to the next rather then just a one time adventure!
I couldn't agree more!
Really? Honestly I didn't know that. I'm a fairly young mechanical engineer living aboard while working. We have about an 8 year plan that involves saving enough to build a boat that I'm designing that will serve as our home until......forever and we plan to take it around over the course of about 4 years and then go back to work for awhile to fund more cruising. I thought the primary overseas work was in the medical field. That's great to hear that I could work elsewhere.

YoungEngineer. Do as others say and go now. I took a big gamble on investing a large amount of my time and money into a family business with the promise of riches and early retirement. The business was tied to the Florida construction industry so it tanked. I have nothing but debt to show for it except that we bought our boat while down there. Go now before you get hung up on material things and debt. That 1975 columbia looks perfect. I think that only planning on the Bahamas is a great idea. If you find yourself bored then you can contemplate going further, but I doubt that will happen.

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