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Old 06-02-2009, 13:18   #1
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We Go!

My wife and two kids, aged 9 and 5 (very soon to be 10 and 6) have been planning on going cruising for the past several years. The plan was to buy a boat, spend several years gaining experience with the boat and getting her fully refit and then to head out cruising for at least 1 year when the kids were 12 and 8... in 2011.

We bought our 1981 Stevens 47 last April and we have enjoyed her a good bit in the USVI and BVI. I am planning on bringing the boat back to Savannah in mid May of this year (anyone interested in the trip... send me a message).

Our plans have now dramatically changed. I own a mortgage company and for the last year business has been all but non-existent. Even now with interest rates at historical lows, there are tons of loan applications but very few closed loans. Crazy tight lending guidelines.... decreased home values resulting in no equity..... lots of problems the end result of which is no business.

Over the past year, I have however gotten deep into the real estate investing game. I figured banks were giving houses away so why not buy a couple to rehab and rent out? Well, lets just say things got a bit out of control and now I own 10 rental houses. My plan had been to sell some of the houses to other investors looking for a turn key real estate investment (and I have done well with this) but it dawned on me recently that there was a better plan.

I figured out that I could keep the houses and with the amount of rental income coming in, I could make all of our debt payments and still have about $3K per month net. Surely we can go cruising on $3K a month? Right? Am I crazy? Is anyone who does this crazy?

I figure, rather than ask WHY.... I should be asking: Why Not?

So screw it..... WE GO.

So, the plan now is to be living aboard and heading out by August 1st of this year. 6 months.... start to go. I am planning to have the boat back to Savannah by June 1st and to spend all of June and July 100% focused on refit projects. I have to totally rebuild the fridge and freezer, update the electrical system and add battery capacity plus monitors and such, add a wind generator and a couple of solar panels plus get a Honda Generator and replace a bunch of the plumbing hoses and re-do the holding tank system. There is plenty of other stuff to be done, but the above I figure HAS to be done before we move aboard.

WE have to sell everything..... cars, junk, stuff galore.... Heck, I am not even positive of all the stuff we need to do in order to be ready to GO.

So.... the purpose of this rambling post...... Suggestions? What to focus on? What am I not thinking of? Boat suggestions?

Thanks for any input and comments!


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Old 06-02-2009, 13:36   #2
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1. A good management company for your rental properties.

2. A good hard bottom dinghy, a good outboard, and davits to support it all.

3. The amount of income you need for cruising depends almost entirely on your cruising life style. But, $3K/mo. would be more than sufficient for most people.

"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 06-02-2009, 14:24   #3
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Surely we can go cruising on $3K a month? Right? Am I crazy? Is anyone who does this crazy?
You could be crazy. I doubt you can get it treated in time so you'll just have to live with it. You could still be well planned!

The $3K / month is relative to how you spend when not on the boat. You tend to be like you always were. You can make changes but it's pretty hard to change a whole family on a dime. They can gang up on you in your sleep too. Since you've done some trips already I would start with that as a baseline of what you will likely do on a longer trip. You need to save up for a few things exciting just to keep the crew and the Admiral happy. It can't be all fun and games every single day. Things need to get redefined. This could all be for the good.

Starting your refit June 1st to leave by August 1st probably is crazy or at least very rushed. You need to get this right. It's a lot of work and crawling around on a boat doing it is pretty slow going. You can't base this on how long it takes you to do work on your house(s). You could move aboard and just consider yourselves "already there" and leave when you are darn sure you are ready. Setting dates and agendas just really is not the mind set you need. It's fine to be well planned for a 5 day cruise given you have to leave and get back in a tight window. For a long term trip you have a lot more considerations and a whole family to tend to. Being in a hurry lends itself more to disaster than enjoyment. The "already there" mindset is better for cruising. It means you start when you all show up instead of when the boat leaves the dock. It really matters how you look at things.

I would tend to the required items to live aboard first and the generally nasty stuff (anything head related) before you move aboard. The last details take the longest and the real curse of it all is you find more things as you do more things on the boat. They are already there right now but it will take the full two months before you stop finding often. Everything needs a field test and a few adjustments.

You could change your mind on a few items just because crawling around for a month will start getting your mind right and being more focused. The good new is you should learn a lot and get smarter. Just don't forget the "work smarter not harder mentality" is most often practiced by people that don't do much work. Tasks will tend to take a lot longer for a while as you figure out how doing them correctly adds a lot more time. The craziness may also subside. If you are not sure the Admiral always knows.
Paul Blais
s/v Bright Eyes Gozzard 36
37 15.7 N 76 28.9 W
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Old 06-02-2009, 14:55   #4
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Make no mistake... I am under no illusions about completing a comprehensive refit in 2 months. Not gonna happen.

My objective is to try and get a short list of "must do" things (like the head hoses and holding tank) done so we can move aboard. During this period, I will also be compiling a further detailed list and then prioritizing it so I can tackle the rest of the refit stuff along the way.

Our plans are to spend the first year for the most part on the US east coast, spending several weeks at a time in certain places. I plan to plan for and tackle one major refit project for each prolonged stop. After a year of this, I hope to have the boat good to go for venturing further off..... south into the Caribbean and who knows where (I have dreams of New Zealand!).

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Old 06-02-2009, 16:05   #5
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Originally Posted by Tspringer View Post

So screw it..... WE GO.

Yay! Just Go!!!!!!!

Just sell or give away everything you have... keep the photos etc. They just go! SAll your admin can be done on the net. Don't load your boatw ith the crap of your land life. Let the kids take 2 toys each.

The GO!!!!!

In a few months you will know what you need to buy

Notes on a Circumnavigation.

Somalia Pirates and our Convoy
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Old 06-02-2009, 18:54   #6
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Hi Terry,

Is 3k net disposable income after all non-boat expenses and insurances? Cell phones etc included?

If so.. $750 per week sounds doable. It sounds like your fitting out to be able to hang on a hook which would be necessary. $750 will disappear quickly on the East Coast for a 50 foot transient slip. I'd focus on those places where you can anchor comfortably and have lots to do while there. If you're doing re-fits while there choice of locations becomes even more important. Good Ground tackle.

Fuel for the boat and the dinghy will eat into that kitty..if you're always on the move, so hanging out for a couple of weeks enjoying a place is a good idea...

I don't think there's a lot of room for frills. What happens if you lose a renter for a few months? If you are normally thrifty you should do fine.

Paul's Right, the Admiral will know when she's ready to go....

Good Luck and Have Fun!..
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Old 16-05-2009, 20:35   #7
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Hi Terry,

We're just a few years behind you. Kids are 5 & 7 and we have the same plans for a departure in 3 years from now. Best of luck as you leave your land land and keep in touch!
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Old 17-05-2009, 07:01   #8
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I just wanted to say - you can do it! And drop us a line when you come up the east coast if you end up in the Chesapeake Bay.
Cindy (Schoonerdog's wife)
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Old 17-05-2009, 16:50   #9
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Just in case you have not run across their blog yet, here is a family with three kids that are currently cruising in Mexico (they also are on a Stevens 47').
The write a very informative article that is published in 48 North magazine every month.
Super fantastic family too:
S/V Totem Family


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