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Old 02-04-2019, 19:18   #1
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Question Non-Sailor Looking For Advice!!

I have never once set foot on a sail boat. No one in my family has. That should be enough to tell me that the rest of this post foolishness, but damn it, if I don’t make any bad decisions then I won’t have any good stories to tell later in life! So…

We’ve decided to move our family onto a sailboat and escape the stresses and “hoops” of modern US culture. I’m trying to come up with a list of basic steps that my wife and I need to take to get us there. Any and all advice on the topic is welcome.

About us: I’m a 6 foot tall disabled Army veteran with PTSD issues, a bad back, and am way overweight. My wife is perfectly healthy and capable. We have 9 (yes, NINE) children at home now ranging in ages from 6 months up to 16 years old, all healthy, athletic, and willing. I suspect a couple might be moved out by the time we move through this list and make the move.

Here are the steps we came up with as a START so far:
• Drop weight down to 270 (minimum, 250 or less ideally)
• Be able to walk at least 2 miles non-stop
• Visit friend’s 40’ sailboat on nearby lake
• Reorganize spending/savings habits to make sailing the priority
(ie no major purchases that can’t come with us on a boat)

After my weight and health get to be less of an issue we’d then start moving through some other steps:
Charter a boat for a week or so (make sure this isn’t something we’ll hate)
• Take a sailing course (ASA?) near us
• Find some crew opportunities for me (and maybe one of the teenagers) to gain hours and experience

At some point along here (2-3 years from now??) we’d expect to have an idea of boat types, sizes, features, that we could work with and might start looking at boats to buy. I’ve been looking at them now anyway, but only so that I have some idea of what good and bad deals might look like (and some daydreaming of course ) . I figure with a family this size that a Catamaran is going to be a must. We anticipate a few years around the States/Carib/Bahamas to learn/teach/refine our skills, establish routines, get our sea legs, play, etc… before we would like to try circumnavigating.

Enough though… what advice do you have for non-sailors looking to learn? Do these steps and timeframes seem reasonable? What have we overlooked? What are we too ignorant about to even question? Fill us in and help us out! Thanks!!
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Old 02-04-2019, 19:30   #2
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Re: Non-Sailor Looking For Advice!!

Can you, and all appropriately aged family members, swim? You are going to be spending a lot of time in the water. Is motion sickness common in your family?
Thank you for your service, JJ
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Old 02-04-2019, 19:31   #3
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Re: Non-Sailor Looking For Advice!!

Zero experience --------> Overcoming health issues ----------> Circumnavigating with a family of 11 including preschoolers.

Interesting....

Let the show begin.
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Old 02-04-2019, 19:39   #4
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Re: Non-Sailor Looking For Advice!!

Yes, we can all swim. That would be a huge item to add if we didn't though. I'm SCUBA certified as well and might add that to their skill set prior to shoving off as well.

No idea if we are prone to motion sickness...
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Old 02-04-2019, 19:43   #5
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Re: Non-Sailor Looking For Advice!!

Kenomac, Glad you'll enjoy the show... can you offer any advice though? Like physical issues that we should consider as insurmountable? "If you have XXXX then don't even consider a boat" kind of thing? Do you have any knowledge about how other PTSD Veterans have faired on boats? Advice for pre-schoolers we could implement now?
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Old 02-04-2019, 19:45   #6
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Re: Non-Sailor Looking For Advice!!

"I suspect a couple might be moved out by the time we move through this list and make the move."

Wait.... Let me get this straight, you intend to leave a few of the kids behind? I strongly suggest you get your house in order (health issues) prior to even considering such an adventure.
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Old 02-04-2019, 20:06   #7
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Re: Non-Sailor Looking For Advice!!

Is EVERYONE in the family eager to do this? Of course there are big potential obstacles, but if the whole family is behind it, and you have the finances to purchase a boat large enough to be a home to a large family, and cash flow to handle it too, anything's possible.
I used to be a river guide, and I saw many families come on 1, 2 and 3 week trips, and many had never slept outside before, let alone on a river trip. Some families really took to it and loved it, some did not. First I say get out on the ocean on other people's boats, or a catamaran charter, with a skipper, for 2 or 3 days and see how it goes. Losing the weight and getting your back back in shape is a good start for any plan you have. Start with some sailing lessons too for the whole family, where everyone gets to sail their own boat too!
I wish you luck and will look forward to see how things progress for you!
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Old 02-04-2019, 20:31   #8
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Re: Non-Sailor Looking For Advice!!

Regarding weight and health, add flexibility to that list.

Boats require extraordinary feats of agility and mobility just in everyday situations. I regularly step from the dock up to my boat without a moment's thought, but it is only other boaters who do not require or use the set of stairs I made to assist coming and going.

I am constantly surprised by the difficulty non-boat-going visitors experience in coming on board.
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Old 02-04-2019, 20:32   #9
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Re: Non-Sailor Looking For Advice!!

Learning to sail is the easy part. A large number of people in a small space would be a huge challenge for most people. You will need one helluva big boat to carry food and water for that many people and cat's are not known for their cargo capacity. The systems, electrical, mechanical and rigging problems are going to be the steepest learning curve.

I wish you luck.
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Old 02-04-2019, 21:21   #10
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Re: Non-Sailor Looking For Advice!!

Don CL, mostly everyone is on board. Wife is worried that if we jump in too quickly we'll find we don't like the lifestyle only after the money is all gone. So we've tried to set a realistic timeline for learning and experience gathering, rather than just buy a boat and shove off. We do lots of camping, swimming, sports, etc ( I used to guide white water rafting trips myself when younger) and everyone is in for that type of stuff.

GiLow; Flexibility is something I need to work on, and am. Flexibility is not bad, (at almost 300 lbs I can touch my toes and stretch pretty often) but balance is sometimes an issue. I'm hoping that improves with lost weight. Thanks!!
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Old 02-04-2019, 21:27   #11
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Re: Non-Sailor Looking For Advice!!

Boat Poker... with all of us I think 55-65 foot Cat. My oldest is finishing JR year of High school and I can't imagine being ready to shove off before she is done and moving on, so that puts us at 10. The next one has 4 years left and that seems to be about the timeframe I thought might work... so we might not have him either. and honestly, he seems the least excited about leaving friends for an "adventure" and could choose to stay behind living with grandparents. Not sure about those things. We're so far from being ready that making decisions about them seems foolish/pointless. If the whole thing takes me a decade than I'll only have 4-5 left... and the size of the needed boat would change.
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Old 02-04-2019, 21:47   #12
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Re: Non-Sailor Looking For Advice!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by JensenJourney View Post
Boat Poker... with all of us I think 55-65 foot Cat.........

We're so far from being ready that making decisions about them seems foolish/pointless. If the whole thing takes me a decade than I'll only have 4-5 left... and the size of the needed boat would change.
You asked for my thoughts....

Two things which immediately pop out.

1. Are you independently wealthy? Do you have any idea how much a “55-65 foot Cat” costs to buy and then maintain while being used continuously by 10-11 people?

2. Your statement regarding two of your children: “making decisions about them seems foolish/pointless,” deeply concerns me as a licensed professional healthcare worker... who’s employed full time in a locked psychiatric rehabilitation unit.
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Old 02-04-2019, 22:03   #13
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Non-Sailor Looking For Advice!!

Ken: regarding #2 the oldestkids are going to age out and start having their own lives. That’s the whole point of having kids, to teach them to be on their own.

JJ: a 55-65’ cat will be the better part of $1M.
Look at older (‘60s& ‘70s) monohulls in the 48-60’ range.

The reality is that you are going to have a hard time with most kids of high school age.

Where are you and what’s you anticipated budget to buy and outfit?
Outfitting will be about half of purchase price.
Annual maintenance will be about 10% of purchase price.
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Old 02-04-2019, 22:44   #14
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Re: Non-Sailor Looking For Advice!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adelie View Post
Ken: regarding #2 the oldestkids are going to age out and start having their own lives. That’s the whole point of having kids, to teach them to be on their own.

JJ: a 55-65’ cat will be the better part of $1M.
Look at older (‘60s& ‘70s) monohulls in the 48-60’ range.

The reality is that you are going to have a hard time with most kids of high school age.

Where are you and what’s you anticipated budget to buy and outfit?
Outfitting will be about half of purchase price.
Annual maintenance will be about 10% of purchase price.
So I’m guessing that according to your train of thought, college, the costs associated with and logistics for the older children need not be considered in the overall plans. Only boat stuff for this discussion.

OK, then let’s turn our attention to the facts that the OP has an established habit of neglecting his own health while on shore with 12 dependents.... how will this established pattern improve on a crowded sailing vessel with more responsibilities and logistical issues? As a rehabilitation Registered Nurse, it’s been my personal observation that well-established sedentary lifestyles (if this is indeed the cause of his obesity and lack of flexibility) rarely change later in life. Usually under stress, the problem becomes worse... as in living within close quarters with 11 people including small children.

I’m not suggesting there’s no way out of the situation/cycle, but hopping aboard a cat with 11 hours might not be the answer.
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Old 02-04-2019, 23:16   #15
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Re: Non-Sailor Looking For Advice!!

Easy up Kenomac, I thought the original post was a joke but Jensen keeps replying so he must be half serious. He has got few issues, but I imagine he might get a military pension so that will pay for some of his dream.......
As for the rest well we all have to start somewhere and Jensen I suggest you research the cost of insurance and berthing a 55-65 foot cat. While you are at it google the cost of slipping and anti fouling a beast that size.
A monohull is by far the more affordable option. With a family that size you should keep an eye out for an old training vessel with plenty of bunks.
Check this family of 12 out, it looks like my version of hell but they are all smiling.
https://thelargefamilyaroundtheworldadventure.com/
Kids4sail on facey is another good resource.
Cheers
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