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Old 18-08-2011, 20:51   #1
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Four Year Plan . . . So Far

Looking for some advice on what to buy when. I live near the Chesapeake Bay, and after a 21-year hiatus, starting sailing again, 3-5 times a week, mostly in J22s, Sonar 23s, and some dinks. My previous experience was all in beach boats, e.g., Hobies, Lasers, and one-designs, like the 420, and larger centerboard racing craft, but it was every day from when I was a kid to when I was about 25. I've done a lot of single-handed sailing in all of these. I also crewed on a J30 back in the late eighties and early nineties.

So, after raising a family, working in different parts of the world, living in deserts, and so on, I went out on friend's sailboat on the Bay last May and said to myself, "How have I not been doing this for so long?"

Long story short, I became a volunteer/member at a local sailing center and have been taking sailing lessons with one of my almost-grown kids (the others all want to do so, but are wrapped up in tight schedules with work, school, and sports). My wife is now recovering (fingers crossed) from a chronic injury that precludes athletic pursuits. Anyway, I'm sailing 3-5 times a week (with the wife's blessing, she knows nothing about boats but has enjoyed being out and has professed that she will learn how to do so), and have but together a four year (plus) plan that will eventually lead us to the South Pacific and Australia, where we lived for several years (the wife's onboard for this, btw, she loves to travel and is really adventurous. Various children have also volunteered).

So, like all stories, not really short.

And like all plans, subject to change. As D. Eisenhower once said, "Plans are nothing, but planning is everything." This is a process, and open to change!

Anyway, here's the requirements and what I'd like to do.

2012: Buy a boat between 25-30 feet and cruise around the bay. Do some daysailing, overnighting, and one and two-week cruises around the Bay. I'd be single-handing the boat, even if the wife is along. Might have a kid or two along to help for a bit.

I have $10K. Needs:

Safety and seaworthiness.
Comfort (I'm 6'2" and the wife likes nice things)
Sailing performance (I'm okay with going slow as long as we get there, the Dana 24 and Island packet 27 look good to me, but are a bit pricey, don't you think?)
Single-handed ability.
Ease of Maintainance.
Shallow draft.

2013: Two-month trip. Down the ICW and round about Florida. Some offshore passages?
2014: Bahamas for 3-4 months. Offshore transit to/from the Chesapeake.
2015: Having saved up $50K or so, buy a bigger boat. Chesapeake to Bahamas, Carib, Panama.

Lucky for me, I'll be able to continue working through this period. By 2016 I hope to be retired, although I'll still work (praise the interwebs and electronics).

Let me know what you think--I look forward to everyone's opinion, and let me know if this is in the wrong forum. Thanks!
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Old 18-08-2011, 20:58   #2
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More money?

Your plan looks good.

The only possible flaw is the $50k to buy a boat. Its on the low end of what is available and, particularly if your wife is not able to help much, a fair bit of upgrading and adapting could be necessary.
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Old 18-08-2011, 21:08   #3
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Re: Four year plan, so far.

Originally Posted by boborama View Post
I'd be single-handing the boat, even if the wife is along.
Hmmmm. If there's a flaw in the plan, this may be it.

Have her participate with the planning, boat-selecting, and dreaming. She'll get you closer to where you want to be than we will.
cruising is entirely about showing up--in boat shoes.
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Old 18-08-2011, 21:26   #4
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Re: Four year plan, so far.

Thanks for advice that's come in, appreciate it!

I'm hoping that the wife will recover and be back to her athletic self in a year or so--that's the prognosis, so we'll see. She's game, let me tell you. Over the next year or so, we'll just be going around the Bay, which is really just saying that it will be a succession of day sails from anchorage to anchorage, which I think I can manage myself. After that...we'll see how it goes.

I'm trying to be conservative on the US$ amounts, i.e., the low-end of what I'll have to purchase a boat, not what will be spent on upgrades/maintainance, because I know I'll be surprised and it will be more. I'm a bit good with repairing things and upgrading things. Optimist in spirit, pessimist in planning. I expect to spend more and work more on this plan, but if I can get to Australia eventually on a 30-40 foot boat, after exploring some of the South Pacific, I'll be happy.
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Old 18-08-2011, 21:47   #5
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Re: Four year plan, so far.

Why not rent for a week every year for several years wherever you want. Same cost (depreciation, maint)...... less headache
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Old 19-08-2011, 06:45   #6
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Re: Four Year Plan . . . So Far

Where on the Chesapeake are you located?
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Old 20-08-2011, 21:15   #7
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Re: Four Year Plan . . . So Far

I'm in HoCo MD, 20 minute drive from the Inner Harbor, about an hour from Back Creek, south of Annapolis, and quite close to the headwaters of the Patapsco River.

I will have more funds available, but (and there's always a but) I'm trying to be low-key about this plan. Just talked to the wife, and she said "sorry I've not been able to do this, but best thing you've ever done." How lucky am I?
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