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Old 07-03-2009, 13:19   #1
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Young & Ambitious Engineer with Six Month Leave to SAIL - Advice ?

Hello All!

I am a 25 yr old Engineer working in Toronto Ontario. I completed school 1 year ago (achieved highest and GPA in class) currently work for a good Safety analysis firm.

Here's my problem; I'm a little bored at work and quite depressed at the thought of doing this for the next 30 yrs then retiring and having fun. I want to live life now (while young and able) and get back to work when I'm ready to settle; wife, dog, kids, house etc...

My work offers a 'unpaid leave of absence' that they readily give, with the promise to come back after your adventure.

So I'm thinking of using my savings to buy a 27-32 ft sailboat in Florida and sail from the Keys to the Bahamas to the Caribbean and then turn around... or sell the boat there and fly home. The idea would be to sell the boat in the South eiter way.

I've been trying to read up on Young People who do this sailing adventure but not having much luck so far. I have read;

A youngpup's Caribbean dream? Advice!!

Wherein some advise MarkJ tries to recomend using savings for partying rather then sinking in a boat - which is understandble as I know BOAT stands for Bring On Another Thousand.

But any advice on my 'adventure'. I differ as I have an education, job to return to, no commitments here in Canada...

Here's my thoughts in a 'engineering' point form;

Time: 6-12 months Leave
Funds: $20-30k
Boat: 27-32 ft (I like Bayfields for low draught) to be purchased
Departute: Florida
Ideal trip: Keys -> Bahamas -> Caribbean -> Touch South America (time permitting)
Exit strategy: Sell boat at a loss (~5k under what I bought it for is no sweat)
Crew: Friends planning 1-6 week stays / rest of it alone.
Funds Partition:
$10k - down on boat (if financed)
$5k - fixing / addons for boat
$5k - financing payments
$10k - living (provisions, moorage, other fees, rum, etc.)
Sailing Experience:
-Many Years on a CL-16
-I Plan to crew racing / cruising out of Toronto this summer

So this has gotten quite long winded... Just wanted to say hello all! I admire you who are live aboards. Hopefully I will join you one day. Any advice on my ideas would be lovely. AND anyone in need of crew in Greater Toronto Area please let me know!

Aloha.

The Young Engineer.
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Old 07-03-2009, 13:33   #2
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Hello, YE. Welcome to CF!

"Eat the dessert first", is a tempting philosophy. I didn't do it that way--plugged away for 30+ years, but was lucky enough to retire at 56 and get some cruising in before I got too decrepit. It's a great lifestyle even if you're old! I've sometimes wondered how everything would have turned out if I'd done it the way you're contemplating.

I'm sure you'll get some opinions from our members. This is a topic we all warm up to. BTW, a reading suggestion for you...Ann Vanderhoof is a writer in your city of Toronto. She wrote a really delightful book about the voyage she and her husband took to the Caribbean and back. Great reading, and a super way to get the feel of cruising in the islands. The book is titled An Embarassment of Mangoes.
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Old 07-03-2009, 13:43   #3
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Thanks Hud!

Thanks for the warm welcome Hud.

I've been recomended this book one already in the past week. I'll put in my order on Amazon now.

So have you any opinion Hud? Should I aim to be President of my company get all that career stuff done? or take this break and worry about that when I get back? Interested in Your opinion.
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Old 07-03-2009, 13:54   #4
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Welcome aboard Youngster. At nearly 60 I can no longer call myself young with a straight face

I do, however have some young friends through the American Vega Association who are out cruising in boats like mine.

Check it out:

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Old 07-03-2009, 13:59   #5
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Well, I think that everyone has to find their own path. Some would feel very uncomfortable putting career on hold in order to sail off to the tropics, worrying about losing ground economically and professionally. Others would focus on the opportunity to experience unparalleled adventure while still young enough to wring the most out of it, even if on a skinny budget. That's not really something anyone else can decide for you.

I think what we can do here is share our own experiences, critique your plan, and answer your questions about boats, and costs, and the "hows" and "how nots". Being an engineer, I'm sure you appreciate the value of making such an important life decision based on good input data. There's a lot of real-world experience represented here.
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Old 07-03-2009, 14:09   #6
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There are some blogs on the Internet put up by young people who've chucked the life ashore for the cruising life. For example...

Here's a 27 year old Aussie who's out there right now Bigoceans | Tiny Boat

And a young couple who decided to "go now" cast and crew

And the ever popular Bumfuzzles (they're having a land adventure now, but did quite a bit of cruising on a catamaran a few years ago).
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Old 07-03-2009, 14:58   #7
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Vega - Thanks for the video - If this plan comes to fruition, i will start in Florida and avoid the cold those sailors had in Oregon... That looked chilly!

Hud, sounds like a wise - not yes and not no answer. I clasify myself as more the type to go for the adventure then worry about professional / economic setbacks.

I really appreciate the websites / blogs of other young people who have decided to live this adventure - this is what I was looking for and couldn't find.

Once again, appreciate the warm welcomes, advice and experience.

YE.
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Old 07-03-2009, 15:32   #8
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We did it in our late 20's. Had a truly mahvelous time for 3 years. Our first child and the reality of being respectable ended our cruising days.

I'm getting ready to do it again, mostly solo, 30 years later and find age has definitely put some limits on my abilities. Can't encourage enough young people to go while they still have their health. Getting serious with kids, house and career will usually end your cruising dreams. That and the finite limits of your existance encourages you to go early, the old 'eat desert first' parable.

Don't put too much into the boat. All you need is a place to sleep and cook and a self steering vane for crew. Anything more is ego and usually ends most peoples cruises before they begin.

Aloha
Peter O.
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Old 07-03-2009, 15:40   #9
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Thanks roverhi,

Appreciate the advice. Good to hear people have done it, come back, and plan to do it again.

BTW... I spent 3 months in Kona HI. I Loved it!! You live in a beautiful place and I would hazard to say you don't even need to cruise! Just walk down to the beach! I would eventually love to sail the pacific to Hawaii. the Big Island is beautiful - I did a lot of spear fishing out of that cove were the dude invented boogie boarding.

Alohas.
YE.
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Old 07-03-2009, 16:09   #10
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Do it! Do it! Do It!

Spin it as a positive career move, which it is. Which 25 year old will grow faster? Someone who does what you propose or the person with the corporate blinders on. Any manager worth his/her salt will see that you have courage and insights beyond those who might be in competition with you for a position.

The world is full of 1st in their class, intelligent hard workers. It's disappointiing how many of them forget to live outside of the corporate world.

Seize the opportunity.

Trust me on this.
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Old 07-03-2009, 18:38   #11
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Here is a quote from Sterling Hayden. It motivated my life somewhat....

To be truly challenging, a voyage, like a life, must rest on a firm foundation of financial unrest. Otherwise, you are doomed to a routine traverse, the kind known to yachtsmen who play with their boats at sea... "cruising" it is called. Voyaging belongs to seamen, and to the wanderers of the world who cannot, or will not, fit in. If you are contemplating a voyage and you have the means, abandon the venture until your fortunes change. Only then will you know what the sea is all about.
"I've always wanted to sail to the South Seas, but I can't afford it." What these men can't afford is not to go. They are enmeshed in the cancerous discipline of "security." And in the worship of security we fling our lives beneath the wheels of routine - and before we know it our lives are gone.
What does a man need - really need? A few pounds of food each day, heat and shelter, six feet to lie down in - and some form of working activity that will yield a sense of accomplishment. That's all - in the material sense, and we know it. But we are brainwashed by our economic system until we end up in a tomb beneath a pyramid of time payments, mortgages, preposterous gadgetry, playthings that divert our attention for the sheer idiocy of the charade.
The years thunder by. The dreams of youth grow dim where they lie caked in dust on the shelves of patience. Before we know it, the tomb is sealed.
Where, then, lies the answer? In choice. Which shall it be: bankruptcy of purse or bankruptcy of life?
- Sterling Hayden (Wanderer, 1973)
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Old 07-03-2009, 19:31   #12
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"the corporate world" is a trap.

and a marriage too if with the wrong person.

I didn't start to settle in until I reached 40 and I'm not regretting it. Now I'm nearly 60 and ready to head off again. One just has to set their priorities and do as they darn well please as long as it doesn't hurt anyone else. If you have that adventurous blood in you, avoid having kids. I took care of that when I was 27 YO.

If your smart, a hard working conscious worker, work is always available. If your employer is willing to let you go and come back, you must have the nack. I've had three ex-employers that kept trying to get me back and here I am working for one of them again only because he was willing to pay me right.

You'll always have someone out there telling you "your nuts" but in fact it's them who's nuts wanting to dig a mine hoping to hit pay-dirt. For them it's like playing the lotto (a tax on someone who is bad at math).

The best assets in life are youth, health, enthusiasm, and good looks will go ways too so take care of yourself.

.................................................. ...._/)
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Old 07-03-2009, 20:13   #13
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Many of us who were working hard to save money to retire at 55 and go cruising have now seen our funds and dreams melt away. Others found deteriorating health, or commitments to spouses or elderly parents that prevent them from taking off. I think your plan to take some time off while you're young is wise. I have never encountered anyone who regretted taking off a few years while they were young, but many who regretted not doing it while they had a chance.

Your budget is a little on the lean side, and you might consider waiting a year to fatten it up a bit, but others have done it on less. Also, I think one year will go by really fast--I'd plan for at least two.
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Old 07-03-2009, 20:23   #14
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Three years ago, I would have encouraged you to go for it. The way the market is today, I would caution against it. Not only do you have a rather lean budget, but you absolutely cannot count on having a job when you decide to return. Your first task is to fully develop a skill set that you can sell to a different employer. That way, you will be much more employable and you won't have to fight through the entry level engineer pool again.

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Old 08-03-2009, 10:50   #15
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Hello All.

Celestial - great quote, very inspirational. I'll save that one.

Del - Agreed, Corporate world can be a trap, it's important to keep ones head head up! That's what I'm trying to do with the leave... get a taste for life outside the 9-5... As for the wife... no plans to married soon, but dare I ask how you 'took care' of the not having kids? haha. I'm not too woried about finding work, as I work in a very specialized field, have a good network and have a 4 yr degree in my specialization.

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?

Lt. - As i wrote above, the job on return should not be problem given the market for my industry (specialized safety analysis is booming) and my company hired 25 new engineer this yr and plans to continue to do so for the next 3 yrs. BUT having enough experience to sell to other companies is good advice. Any advice on bolstering the budget? Which area should I put more into?

Cheers.
YE
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