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Old 14-01-2019, 18:09   #1
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How did you get from house to boat?

First time poster.

Can you layout your steps from the moment you decided to unplug from the conventional world and travel with your family to the day that you left? Please lay everything out from income while traveling, downsizing your household in preparation for departure, selecting your sailing vessel, sailing lessons and other training, and did you chose to homeschool your kids or unschool them?

Who's asking?
  • Family size - four 34(m)-30(f)-5(f)-3(f)
  • Occupations - Both bankers
  • Sailing experience - zero, but have been on plenty of boats
  • Time to departure - 5-8 years from now
  • Expected budget (USD) - $250k for boat, $180k spending, $30k emergency.
  • How long have we been thinking about THIS post - 5 years, we want this
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Old 14-01-2019, 18:54   #2
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Re: How did you get from house to boat?

I don't have a boat, yet, but I've downsized twice to the point that my condo is for sale and the kids are almost gone. I have a 25 year old who's independent and a 19 year old who's on the way out the door. I put most things in a mini-warehouse for them to peruse as they get older. I'm 56 so I'm ready.

So many people sell everything but we have some nice collectibles and knick-knacks that I want my kids to have.

Y'all are young, do it!!!
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Old 14-01-2019, 20:28   #3
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Re: How did you get from house to boat?

Thank you, iSaint. We appreciate the encouragement.

In response to us being young and going out there to just, "do it!!!" Let me say a few things.

There is currently a post going around on this website that is talking about sailing and if it is dying. I am adding the link below.

Cruising Sailboats: a Dying Breed?

Many of the comments here hit the mark. I am a millennial, my wife is a millennial, we both went to college. We started having a family much younger than just about ALL of our peers (at least where we live). Essentially, we are steeped in debt. That debt is the reason we are giving a departure window of 5-8 years. Now, we have pretty well paying jobs compared to most Americans and we CAN get there at some point, but we do not want to get there when the kids are in their teenage years and might resent us for pulling them out of school to sail the world.

Another major issue is the complexities of getting from house to home, which is what this thread is all about. What skills and lesson should we learn along the way? Where should we take classes? We are in Philadelphia, the largest fresh water port in the world, does it make sense for us to buy a starter boat 2 years out from now to take out and get more experience, or is it better to just rent a boat a few times for a long weekend? What type of budget should be expected? Plus 1,000 other questions we should be asking but do not even know to ask!

I read through most of the posts in the above link and not one person mentioned the need for a "How to" manual for getting from house to boat and living aboard with a family. What are some creative ways people got out from under debt to get their faster and happier.

I wouldn't say there is a lack of desire, but know how, that is setting younger folks back.
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Old 14-01-2019, 22:54   #4
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Re: How did you get from house to boat?

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Originally Posted by LF4 View Post
Another major issue is the complexities of getting from house to home, which is what this thread is all about. What skills and lesson should we learn along the way? Where should we take classes? We are in Philadelphia, the largest fresh water port in the world, does it make sense for us to buy a starter boat 2 years out from now to take out and get more experience, or is it better to just rent a boat a few times for a long weekend? What type of budget should be expected? Plus 1,000 other questions we should be asking but do not even know to ask!

I read through most of the posts in the above link and not one person mentioned the need for a "How to" manual for getting from house to boat and living aboard with a family. What are some creative ways people got out from under debt to get their faster and happier.

I wouldn't say there is a lack of desire, but know how, that is setting younger folks back.
A couple thoughts..

If ya'll are in it together it will be a grand adventure and the best experience a reasonable amount of money and large amount of time can buy.

There's no guarantee teens and preteens will like the sailing life when that time comes. I've a few friends who bought boats but it ended up not being their kids' cup of tea. One ended up trading in the boat for a hobby farm.. cool, but a bit of a curveball. Consider how you might help foster an appreciation for sailing, simple living, and love of the sea. Perhaps consider activities like camping, snorkeling and/or dinghy sailing with them as you deem age appropriate.

The starter boat idea has pros and cons for you, I think. If you're looking to get out from debt while saving and cruising before your kids are teenagers, even a smallish starter while still living on land in Philly will probably eat into your savings big time. On the other hand, it would be the best way to get real exposure to the lifestyle and a notion of what you really want in the next boat. There's a million ways to cruise and no two boats or people are exactly alike. But my sense is that it might make a lot more sense for you to buy a sailing dinghy or small trailerable boat, or rent a larger boat at a local sailing club. The latter could give you exposure to a number of different boats.

Cruising is also just as much about knowing the systems onboard as it is sailing. the more you know about diesels, rigging, DC electrical, navigation, etc, the easier the learning curve will be. Consider taking some classes over the years to grease the wheels a bit.

The budget thing is extremely variable. Can't comment too much on that one other than to say your budget sounds doable. Depending on what kind of boat you want, you could also get by for less purchase price. The "creative" solution I'd say to getting out there faster would be to simply temper your expectations and desire to buy as much boat as you feel you can afford.

Finally, by way of comparison, we are 35 and 28. I bought our boat as my first house about 10 years ago. $30k upfront and about $40k over the years has gotten us an extremely seaworthy (if not also small) boat with some small luxuries. With two kids, obviously you're probably looking at something bigger, but again, you don't necessarily need a $250k boat to be safe with the family. The kind of boat you're looking for also largely depends on your travel plans. For example, you don't need a 60ft swan to cruise the US east coast and the bahamas for a few years.

Hope some of this helps! Best of luck to you and the fam.

Ryan
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Old 14-01-2019, 23:08   #5
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Re: How did you get from house to boat?

1. Develop or be born with a good work ethic. When not on the boat, I work 70-80 hours per week at something I enjoy and can always come back to if I needed some extra money. I’ve always been like this.

2. You (the OP) set a 5-8 year timeline. My timeline was and is always looking 20-30 years ahead in order to achieve goals all along the way, I don’t have singular goals. I’m now 61, the planning started in my early 20’s and the voyage into boating in my mid 50’s.

3. Surround youself with other ambitious, self-starters and don’t let the “takers” drag you down and talk you into lowering your expectations or goals.

4. Always aim high, because if you miss.... you’re still likely to hit someplace on the target.

5. Only hang around with positive people, life’s too short to waste time with negative people.

6. Buy a starter boat like the 11ft Kite we learned on back in our early 20’s.

7. Do something good each day for someone without expecting anything in return, it’ll teach you compasion and humility. Think of it as a “good karma” savings account that will pay dividends someday.

8. Good luck and don’t let setbacks stop you from moving forward.

9. Don’t buy a house and drive cheap basic transportation cars.
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Old 15-01-2019, 00:08   #6
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Re: How did you get from house to boat?

First of all, welcome aboard! It sounds like you have really caught the bug, and I think you can get there from here, but the issue of how to get out from under the debt is more of a financial question rather than nautical! You can either make more money or spend less, of course... but I am sure you knew that.
Now we are not living aboard although I am pretty sure my kids (8 and 13) would go for it in a heartbeat BUT the question is: how can a family happily live on and sail a boat? First, everyone has to be in on it. Since you have little time sailing I would suggest that you and your wife start by getting two small fun, fast, simple, inexpensive little boats to learn on and practice and to see if you both really catch the sailing bug. I know the impulse is to get one boat and both learn on it together, but I think learning on your own is more instructive and more fun. Later on when you get the "big" boat you will both be better prepared to work as a team. The let the kids play with the two little boats too.
Now do you have a nice area to explore on a bigger boat so that you all can try out short fun trips? If you are excited about what the boat can do and where it can take you easily and locally, your experiences and enthusiasm are likely to carry you on to the larger boat, which is when you are more likely to cut the cord.
But, before all that, any idea how you caught the bug in the first place? Absolutely no criticism intended there. I just think it is a good thing to consider before any big bucks are spent. I just know of at least one gentleman who had no sailing experience but plenty of money, so he bought a large boat that was already in good shape, then refitted it. He took it out with a skipper along to show him the ropes. Three or four days later he came back and put the boat up for sale; the sailing thing was not for him. Needless to say he lost a lot of money. But he could afford it.
That said, from the kids' standpoint, there is a lot of good that come from from any kind of boating and especially family coastal cruising, and more, when it gets to that point. My 8 year-old recently said he was homesick for sailing and the sea (we haven't been out much lately) and he is determined we live on a boat someday out at the local islands. He also has become a real shark expert (after a close call with one) and has declared he will be a marine paleontologist (he's obsessed with megalodon.) My 13 year-old daughter would also be very content to snorkel and kayak and hike and draw and take pictures everyday. But as far as living, my feeling is, the kids need their network of friends and time with them, and school time. I know there are many folks who cruise very successfully, great distances, with their kids, so my opinions should be taken with a grain of salt. I'm just saying for the kids, having local islands to visit (where they have met other kids out cruising too) and having the regular kind of life too has been very good for them, and has prepared them for longer journeys if I were planning that, which I am not right now.
I don't know if that helps, hope it does. It's just one perspective. Here is a link to a social group that might have something of interest. Also I'd encourage you to search here for threads related to family cruising and learning to sail.
Cruisers & Sailing Forums - Cruising with Kids
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Old 15-01-2019, 02:03   #7
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Re: How did you get from house to boat?

Alot of things can happen in 5-8years obviously set goals to work towards

What we did was purchase an older 27' catalina so we could enjoy using on our local lake and an annual trip to the coast each summer for a few weeks. Our timeline originally would have seen us leaving 2023 and now it has been bumped up to spring of 2020 (only due to positive finacial changes) our kids will be 8 and 10 when we leave.

We have a deposit on a vessel and have been clearing out all our stuff quite effectively we have a hobby farm and a small business to fold up. So if it sits its sold or junked
We each have a single large rubbermaid bin to put our important keep items in

Our income will be primarily from equity investments commercial real estate revenues and a short term rental.

Boat choice is a personal thing as well as situational. I think looking at a combination of where you want to go. How quickly and how comfortably.

I choose ours (still have to sell our property to complete the deal) with a list of criteria it had to fill and if anything was missing the price dropped to suit

-Steel hull, natural choice as i am a metal fabricator by trade
-Pilothouse with two helm stations as we intend on going high lat.
- space, enough of it to sleep another family of four at a minimum for when we have visitors
-etc.

We will be homeschooling and likely with a cirriculum package to start with


Been boating my whole life on various sizes of vessels but not on a sailboat bigger than a hobie cat until w hears ago whe. We bought our old catalina to learn on
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Old 15-01-2019, 05:16   #8
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Re: How did you get from house to boat?

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, LF4.
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Old 15-01-2019, 06:31   #9
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Re: How did you get from house to boat?

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We are in Philadelphia, the largest fresh water port in the world, does it make sense for us to buy a starter boat 2 years out from now to take out and get more experience, or is it better to just rent a boat a few times for a long weekend?
I would suggest you do this. But do it as soon as possible. Buy a pocket cruiser between 25'-30'. Learn to sail it well. Take it out and spend the weekend on it. Then try to take it out and spend a week or two, and if possible a month or two on it. You will learn all about sailing, you will also learn about anchoring, marinas, making things work in a small space. And most important how to fix things.

All the while, eliminate possessions down to the basics. Even if you do there will still a lot of things to eliminate before you would be able to cast off on the big boat.

And as someone else mentioned, you might find out the lifestyle is not for you or your family.

We sold our house two years ago, but are still attached to our area by work and possessions we have not fully eliminated yet. Getting closer everyday.
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Old 15-01-2019, 07:47   #10
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Re: How did you get from house to boat?

you will need to seriously downsize at least 2 or 3 times. then maybe try living in one of your empty closets to get the feeling of being on a boat
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Old 15-01-2019, 08:15   #11
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Re: How did you get from house to boat?

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But my sense is that it might make a lot more sense for you to buy a sailing dinghy or small trailerable boat, or rent a larger boat at a local sailing club. The latter could give you exposure to a number of different boats.
Ryan, thank you for the well wishes! Same to you and yours.

As for trailerable boats...we have an issue. We live IN the city, like downtown. We do have 1 vehicle and it has a 5,000lbs towing capacity which is good. But not sure how its done if you cannot tow your boat to and from your residence. Renting a boat might be more feasible.

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He also has become a real shark expert (after a close call with one) and has declared he will be a marine paleontologist (he's obsessed with megalodon.) My 13 year-old daughter would also be very content to snorkel and kayak and hike and draw and take pictures everyday. But as far as living, my feeling is, the kids need their network of friends and time with them, and school time.
Don, it sounds like you have some pretty RAD kids! Thank you for all of the advice.

As for how we caught the bug...meditation, visualization, vacations, a love for the water, exploration, etc. We are believers that we have one life to live...and we want to live it. Financially we are going to be okay, my wife and I both work in retirement and have 401k/IRA/HSA/Pensions all working for us right now. Taking a few years off from contributing to them will hurt, but it will be worth it!



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Buy a pocket cruiser between 25'-30'. Learn to sail it well. Take it out and spend the weekend on it. Then try to take it out and spend a week or two, and if possible a month or two on it. You will learn all about sailing, you will also learn about anchoring, marinas, making things work in a small space. And most important how to fix things.

All the while, eliminate possessions down to the basics. Even if you do there will still a lot of things to eliminate before you would be able to cast off on the big boat.

And as someone else mentioned, you might find out the lifestyle is not for you or your family.

We sold our house two years ago, but are still attached to our area by work and possessions we have not fully eliminated yet. Getting closer everyday.
Davy, a few things here. We too are thinking about selling our house and moving onto whatever vessel we land on 2 years ahead of our departure date. This will give us more equity in our home, etc.

My main question is where you find a smaller boat to start with (websites, brokers, etc.) and do you have any brands you might suggest. I am thinking a Multi-hull boat for comfort. But I am far from against Mono-hull. If a Mono is the way to go as a starter boat...what is the minimum length to take out so that we can cover the 800 nautical miles to get from Philadelphia to Bermuda (and back to Philadelphia) over the course of a month?

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Our income will be primarily from equity investments commercial real estate revenues and a short term rental.

-Steel hull, natural choice as i am a metal fabricator by trade
-Pilothouse with two helm stations as we intend on going high lat.
- space, enough of it to sleep another family of four at a minimum for when we have visitors
-etc.
Stainless, I know we are also going to want to head north to see Scandinavia. What boats can make that trek?

As for the property income. What burdens come with managing a real estate portfolio from abroad, what benefits? This is a path we have the means to potentially pursue for passive income while traveling.
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Old 15-01-2019, 08:34   #12
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Re: How did you get from house to boat?

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Davy, a few things here. We too are thinking about selling our house and moving onto whatever vessel we land on 2 years ahead of our departure date. This will give us more equity in our home, etc.

My main question is where you find a smaller boat to start with (websites, brokers, etc.) and do you have any brands you might suggest. I am thinking a Multi-hull boat for comfort. But I am far from against Mono-hull.
The actual part of my advice is to get a starter boat now, before you sell/downsize, and get ready to cast off. Learn, discover sailing and find out if cruising around in a boat is really what you want to do. For example, getting stuck in an anchorage for three or four days while a cold front passes, you may find out that sailing/cruising is not all about sunsets, cocktails and exploration.

As far as boats go, pick an "easy in, easy out" boat. Catalina's and Hunter's in the 25-30' range fit this bill easily. You can find them on CL, eBay, Sailboatlistings.com and many other places. They range in prices from about $5000 to $30,000.00. And most important there are parts readily available and the boat should be easy to sell when you are ready for the big boat.
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Old 15-01-2019, 08:35   #13
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Re: How did you get from house to boat?

How did you get from house to boat?



By foot, 5 minutes walk down the road....


Just kidding. Sold one house for 500.000 euros, bought boat (three years ago) for 400,000 euros. Still have that 100,000 euros leftover on my bank account, don't know what to do with it.


Hope I helped you in your quest for bright and joyous (sea) future.
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Old 15-01-2019, 08:38   #14
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Re: How did you get from house to boat?

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The actual part of my advice is to get a starter boat now, before you sell/downsize, and get ready to cast off.
That's totally the plan. Stay in our row home for another 3-6 years and build equity. Get that starter boat in the meantime and keep working that debt down.
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Old 15-01-2019, 10:42   #15
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Re: How did you get from house to boat?

Read this book:
https://www.amazon.com/Sell-Up-Sail-.../dp/1574090461

Sell Up and Sail, Bill and Laurel Cooper.
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