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Old 10-03-2009, 19:13   #31
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Hello YE,
i also am a young engineer with ambition. I graduated around 3 years ago, and have been working hard for a company in the building industry since then. With no way to afford a 300K cat, my mind worked tirelessly for around 6 months - a year figuring out how to acquire a cat and sail around the world. (I dont want to go on a lean). Cut a long story short, i bought a house at the end of last year with 1 major goal. BUILD IT. We have been tidying up the house a bit since we moved in (then the bushfires hit) but i have just acquired what will become IT. A half finished Kelsall 40' cat kit. One hull is nearing completion, with the panels for the other one made, and some other panels and plans etc. I am currently in the process of building a shed, (20m * 13m). THe pad went down last weekend i just need some holes and the process will begin. 5 years is the aim for completion, then i wouldnt mind trying to organise a job with my current employer (Multinational company) overseas and taking a while to get there. I will be starting a blog / building site soon for all to follow.
GO MATE and i'll see you there soon....

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Old 10-03-2009, 19:21   #32
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Originally Posted by GDFL View Post
Really? Honestly I didn't know that.
Maybe, maybe not. While it may be a romantic notion to set off into the sunset right out of college/grad school, the fact of the matter is that if you do, you will be an entry level employee (at best) when you return. If you've been out of the loop for a while, you'll be perceived as rusty and won't even be competitive with those fresh out of school. You need a robust job market or a lot of savings to take that kind of gamble. You have neither.

On the other hand, if you have a proven ability to execute a specific job function (not just the academic training), a hiring manager has far more confidence that you can be hired and will immediately perform. This opens you to contract work, too.

Look, you could go sailing tomorrow and do just fine. But you can dramatically increase your odds of post-cruise employment by staying put for two years, not to mention having a bigger cruising kitty.

Sorry to be the wet blanket of reality.


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Old 11-03-2009, 04:37   #33
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I sure wished I had finished my mech. engineering degree, it's such a versatile thing to have. I don't know much about Canada, but in the U.S. I've seen lots of jobs available for engineers (all kinds), even with the economy down the tubes.

I'm kinda in a similar but different boat (no pun intended!). My better half and I have the same ambitions, and we're both 26. She's an ER nurse, and I'm an air traffic controller for the FAA. Unfortunately for me, I can't just "leave". I can, however, retire at age 48 with a good pension and benefits. I just can't see waiting 22 years to do that though, and I'm sure you and many others can't either. There will always be jobs available when you get back, or wherever you go.

The thing about life, there are no guarantees. Live it up while its here! Make a reasonable plan, execute and sail!

BTW, check this cool site out about 3 young engineers that circumnavigated the world. Very cool site:

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Old 11-03-2009, 06:37   #34
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Originally Posted by LtBrett View Post

Sorry to be the wet blanket of reality.

Oh not for me. My plans have been maturing in my head for quite awhile and it's all pretty realistic. I've been out of school for 6 years and I've been working in my field for 11. We won't be leaving for another 6-8 years so I'll have plenty of job experience and money behind me. My goal is to not really come home after it's done, but probably bounce around the southeastern US coast working wherever there is good boating and a decent job.
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Old 11-03-2009, 09:37   #35
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Check out Eric Forsyth's story.

Yacht Fiona Home Page - Yacht, Fiona, Forsyth, Sailing, Sail, Voyage, YachtFiona, Ocean Cruising

He's a fellow Canadian engineer with a passion for sailing and exploring.
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Old 11-03-2009, 20:56   #36
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Thank you all for the advice and discussion. The differing views & advice is great - and entertaining. I haven't done 'forums' before and surprised by all the responses!! But we all know that people on boats are the friendliest people around...

So here's what I've gathered so far from all the posts;
-Budget is workable, with concessions to luxuries & safety features (a tad worrying as I work in Safety Analysis...)
-Boats are money holes (knew this already - put $500 in my dads powerboat after a rock snuck up on me... lesson learned... my dad gave me the bill and says, "everyone hits one rock, then they read the charts...')
-Waiting 1-2 years will bolster the budget and give better security
-GO NOW, as waiting the 1-2 years may result in putting off the dream for longer (as commitments; mortgage, wife, etc. ask my ex's about how much I like commitment... )
-The lifestyle is appealing and I may not come back
-Schedule is tight, best not to commit or drive to make a destination - rather enjoy the destinations you're in.
-There is life after retirement (I think life begins at retirement - the death sentence can be a job you don't like and putting up with it for 25 years to get to retirement...)
-Bahamas should keep me busy for 6 months, better leave Caribbean for retirment... or until i decide to live on board
-2-4 yrs work experience goes a long ways.
-May be job opportunities abroad / contract work in engineering (experience is needed to get to that point)
Geekclothing - You sound like Noah & the Ark - you have 20 m shed??? I don't think it's called a shed at that point, more like a construction yard. Make room for 2 of every animal on that cat.

On another note, I had 2 very interesting career developments today;
1) A meeting with a manager that works at the site that our company supports (they want me for 1 year to move to the site and do the 'real' engineering - ie. checking out design mods, plant walkdowns etc.).
2) recieved an interview for another employer regarding an engineering job at another site.

So my plate is now full with decisions - and this pays tribute to the wealth of oppotunity in my particular field (nuclear safety analysis). The nuclear industry is growing, has retiring demographics and 2 new builds in Ontario scheduled for 2015 - which is why I am not particularly worried about job security (as I have degree in nuclear engineering + about 2 yrs experience with my internship included) and the industry is in demand. I should be cautious tho, as the auto industry lays off experienced engineers I am sure quite a few will make capable nuclear engineers

One of my driving forces for planning to take this trip was low job satisfaction, and these 2 developments present opportunities to get more engaged in my engineering work.

I meet with the big boss of my current company to informally discuss this 'leave of absence' policy when he returns from vacation. If he says yes then I will probably start to put the wheels in motion (and make many many more posts about provisioning, which boat and which routes to take). If he says no, then I will look into the other job, and possibly accept with a request to differ the start date and get a bit of sailing in before the next job. The employers I have talked to have been flexible about when to start... given the demand in industry they are happy to have people at all.

Options in my preferential order;
1) stay where i am + leave of absence in November for 6 months of sailing the bahamas on a sparsely outfitted 27-30 footer purchased in Florida.
2) go to site with current employer (too the middle of no where, but on a nice lake...)
3) go to different site with new employer (to a bigger city, also on a lake)
4) stay where i am and nothing changes... (downtown biggest canadian city, job is meh...)
5) sell it all and live out the rest of my days on a sailboat (this should be #1, but it's not overly practical at this point...)

So I'll make a decision about all this end of March / early April. I appreciate the advice from you all and look forward to cruisin down south sometime soon.


The Young Engineer.
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Old 11-03-2009, 21:42   #37
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Thumbs up Good luck as they say!

What ever you decide I hope the best to ya!

And hey if you ever need any of them special valves, let me know!

Just kidding!
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Faithful are the Wounds of a Friend, but the Kisses of the Enemy are Deceitful! ........
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Old 11-03-2009, 23:03   #38
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I'm a mech. eng. / naval architect who retired for the first time at about 28, about 5 or 6 years out of school. My wife and I bought a modest 30' boat, spent 4 years cruising on it before working for another 4 years in the US.

The 3 or 4 potential US employers were all intrigued by somebody who had done what I had done and it made me _more_ interesting as a job candidate. Cruising changes you. The amount of self confidence you gain from difficult situations make any office job in the future a walk in the park. I think that self confidence must have come through strongly in interviews because I got job offers from all of them.

Now, I am 43 (wow!) and we are ready to retire again. On a bigger boat, with a 7 year old daughter, and a bit more money.

Will we be financially 100% safe? Uh, no not really. A fair bit depends on my wife's remote / portable career. I'm not sure my career is very portable in 3rd world countries where they can't pay their doctors or teachers well; engineers fare no better unless working for a big multinational.

Your budget is on the low end certainly, but with careful choices there is no reason you can enjoy 6 months in the Caribbean. I'd suggest Cuba as the cost of food in the Bahamas can be steep and Canadians can visit there freely, eh.
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Old 15-03-2009, 00:10   #39
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Thanks folks!

Those are some impressive valves - i'll keep them in mind if i move into supply chain!

One option I may have is leaving soon...

I could cruise from May to Sept possibly before starting the new job.

Any thoughts on cruising in the summer? I hear it is hurricane season which is none to appealing to me...
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Old 15-03-2009, 17:30   #40
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Option 5

5) sell it all and live out the rest of my days on a sailboat (this should be #1, but it's not overly practical at this point...)

Do option 5 you have so little to loose.
I am an engineer and 50 and I am trying to do it now, but with a morgage and kids going to university it's difficult, but if you take some time (a gap year we call it in the UK) no one will berate you for this, you gain important 'life skills' and to be entirely honest the guys doing the hiring secretly respect you and wish they had had the b*lls to do it themselves, so really you are a step further up the ladder.
Trust me do it now, later in life you won't regret the things you've done but the things you didn't do.
You can allways get another job (you've some options now) but you may not get the oppertunity to go cruising again.
Go Now Go Now Go Now Go Now Go Now!!!!!!!!
Please Go Now
Cheers Jamie
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Old 06-05-2010, 20:58   #41
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Back on the dream.

Did two exciting things today... Discussed the Leave of Absence with work (and they seem keen on it). Had my first night out at National Yacht Club (Intro to Keelboat sailing).

Excited to be back in the sailing mindset. 9-10 months from now I hope to be on the boat!
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Old 06-05-2010, 22:34   #42
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Consider taking your sabbatical to work in the Super yacht industry.

You would be amazed what you will learn and the related career opportunities that might develop.

At your age and experience, it would be entry level on deck or engine room, but that means you can learn from the pros and party with the rest of the junior crew, who are generally pretty amazing individuals
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Old 07-05-2010, 04:36   #43
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It is said that youth is wasted on the young. Sounds to me like you can make this saying rubbish. A lot of good ideas given to you in support of a wonderful dream. There are no promises in life for career, health, and fortunes.

If it were me, and I was given the year. I would buy a boat as close by as possible. Take one more year to know her. To make her sound for travel, and put some money away. You will know her systems, and how she behaves in a gale by then.

A year is a reasonable time to sail down the east coast. Possibly down the ICW, and enjoy the simplicity of getting there. You will find there in the Bahamas everything you will seek for beauty, adventure, partying, or solitude. You can always return home with experience via sailing on the outside nonstop.

While you are young is it easy to tolerate the small discomforts a smaller boat holds. You are still strong, flexible, and innocent in many ways. You ever watch a 60yr old man get out of a chair? Go now, but go smart. Have a good kitty, and know your boat inside, and out. I think buying in Florida, and just leaving will be hard to find the boat that will give you no grief.

We all get through life differently, and that is why there are many varied approaches to your drea,. Remember it is your dream, and you sound to be a logical, and practical young man. Go now, or soon while there are no committments that will keep you ashore. You can always come back, or just keep going!........i2f
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Old 07-05-2010, 05:55   #44
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It's great to see there are people in the same boat as I am. Young, engineer (MS Mech), handsome...looking to spend their time sailing in the tropics. My plan is set 5-8 years in the future so I can get a nice little sum of cash built up in the bank/invested, possibly a property I can rent out, and my hands on some e-income. My reasons for the extra time spent are that I'd like to own a nice blue water CAT (which you can't find for cheap), and I'll probably want more than a year for adventure/misadventure.

My advice as someone who has been researching this for awhile is...don't leave you're job till you have a boat, or are on the very cusp of buying one. Use paid vacation. A cheap boat is going to need work and there will be a balance game of expensive and quick, or cheap/slow DIY. As people have already advised, boat work takes an unfathomably long time that seems to defy reason. The people that told you this are logical, practical, and serious. If you get a boat that needs 70 man hours of work to get ready, plan for 120 and try to take two weeks off paid and work on it non-stop. Stay in the black as long as possible!
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Old 09-05-2011, 09:25   #45
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Re: Young & Ambitious Engineer with Six Month Leave to SAIL - Advice ?

Well well, after a 3 year hiatus, I'm back on track.

Brief summary of the last 3 years:
+ Started liking my job (late 2009).
+ Was given promotion and added responsibility (2010).
+ Managed a very large project (Early 2010).
- Worked 70-80 hrs / wk for 3 months (Summer 2010)
- burnt out (Sept 2010)
- contemplated going back to school (Oct-Nov 2010)
+ got another job (internally) and another promotion. (Jan 2011)
+job is OK, pays well, not loving it, would be difficult to do for next 10 yrs (today)

I've come to the realization that I want (and can) live out this sailing dream sooner rather than later. I'm starting to put together the pieces and here's where I am at (comments are graciously appreciated):

+ Did Intro to keelboat sailing last season at local yacht club.
+Have a time share in C&C 25 at local yacht club (practice boat) for this season.
+Obtained VHF operator’s license
+Obtained PADI SCUBA ceritification

+Apply for 1 year Leave of Absence (LOA) from work for Nov 2011 – Sept 2012. (TCD May 2011)

+ ~$25k CAD in Cash
+$20k CAD in RRSP (untouchable?),
+$30k CAD Approved line of credit
+$? boat loan?
+ 6 months of work left – potential for $10k CAD or more?

+ Find a first mate (preferably young lady + petit + blonde (not essential)) (TCD August 2011)
+ Found someone who nearly fits the above

+Still interested in purchasing in Florida
+CAD:USD exchange rate, strongly favours CAD (likely purchase USD $1000 / wk from now until I leave = $24k)
+Looks like there are still good deals on boats in Florida.

Trip Itinerary
+1 month sublet apt in Florida to find, practice sail and provision.
+Set off for Bahamas after comfortable on the boat.
+go wherever the wind blows (kind of..)
+Just returned from Cayman Islands and I would like to add them to the list of places to visit.

-Purchasing a boat in the US as a Canadian – anyone have info on this?
-Not getting the LOA from work (option to quit if not given the LOA?)
-Convincing potential crew member to join me (should not be an issue, she seems keen)
-Boat Insurance, advised? required if there is a boat loan? required if I used a line of credit?

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