My experience: its not the size of the boat
, it’s how you use it. My dream was blue water
AND coastal exploration. I wanted on the grid benefits but off the grid comforts. The right boat was a good sailor offshore
but an engine
that could sail/motor sail like a trawler
. I started my dream in South Texas
. My wife is 8 years younger and enjoys her career, so my first 4 years was mostly coastal exploration and I did the Gulf ICW
, the Atlantic ICW
, the Florida Keys
, north to Bar Harbor ME and almost all of the Bahamas
. I am a solo sailor on a HR40. My longest offshore
transit was 4 days from the Bahamas
to NC. Doing the whole ICW with a 60’ stick and a 6’ 5” keel
is doable but you need to be/get good at groundings, tides and weather
The boat choice is also about “buy right, sell right”. The best deal up front makes an exit plan less painful. Also, during your ownership
, are you going to “ride it hard and put it away dirty” or maintain and improve your home afloat. A budget
of 10-20 percent of the value is not out of the question while you use the cruiser. Canvas
, mechanics, bottom jobs, running rigging
all wear out with use and time.
is driven mostly by travel to/from my wife (her job moved from TX to NC to CT) and your relationship with partners and children
needs a budget to stay engaged. My experience is I have more flexibility to travel to them than the other way around.
Next on spending is maintenance
and upkeep. Most maintenance folks are knowledgeable and honest. But the question all cruisers get is “Aren’t you afraid of pirates?” Yes, and the biggest skallywags are waiting for inattentive lubbers with a pocket of booty. Your budget is driven by how competent you are at carpentry, diesel
, etc. Honestly, learning
and improving these skills after a career in an office has been on the top of the list of benefits of the cruising lifestyle.
Another big ticket is lifestyle choices. Anchor
balls, Marina fees
, dining in or out, cost of entering and exiting internationally, etc. these can really add up. How are you at deprivation from your land based habits? Short term, we all enjoy an adventure is rustic living, but is that what you dream of long term? I love meeting folks in my travels and experiencing their local cultures and amenities. So, my choices includes frequent visits to marinas
, brew pubs and grub hubs. Being solo is how I like to travel but being socialable is part of the joy of cruising and that can swing the full gambit of spending. So, be aware of how you will define “life” while afloat in your budget.
That’s a good chunk of the budget on the cash outflows, but you provided details and asked advice
on cash inflows. I managed funds all my life as a CPA, Comptroller, landlord and the last 14 years as a portfolio manager of a large endowment fund. I didn’t want to keep working full time so I chose to have very little of my savings in marketable investments, ie. stocks and bonds. Inflation and fees
are the “death by a thousand cuts” of cash. If I owned the real estate you described, I would balance the cash flow and inflation benefits of rentals against the drawndowns of loosing occupancy, fluctuations in RE market value and maintaining your investments. Like all investments sell high and buy low. If your property has appreciated and you have a willing buyer, sell and stuff the money
into insured investments like secure bonds and/or CDs. ETFs and funds can be nice but require attention and work
. To me, the risk of an “economic correction” is greater than inflation risks, so cash is king. If you are in cash while cruising, perhaps the sound of the siren to bring you back is an economic downturn which always creates opportunities for cash heavy investors. Imagine cruising through the years before 2008 with your money in cash and returning in 2009 with money to invest. That may be where we sit today. So, “sitting well in order and smite the sounding furrows” works. And that brings me to your last point, health
is nice for disasters but the best health insurance
is youth and lifestyle. Buy a plan with a huge deductible that you will only use after the shark spits you out or the heart goes on vacation
without you. The best dockside advice
I got was from all the marina commodores that had beautiful boats but waited till their bodies could no longer fill the dreams. I have met 40 year olds whose bodies were too used up to handle active cruising and 80 year olds who were perfectly prepared for the next adventure. As a solo cruiser, I ship out with two vessels, my body and my boat. Be aware of the limitations of both. It breaks my heart to see beauties tied to a dock
going unused by their owners. Boats fall apart faster in neglect then in use. That happens to people too.
In conclusion, you are young enough, owning rentals you obviously are competent enough and it sounds like you are fiscally prudent. You described having children
and taking care of them with child support. I assume you are a good role model and stay engaged with them so you are an emotionally grounded and responsible human who enjoys social living. My only concern about who you are is why you ask a forum for the advice on a lifestyle you should already know. So, “ come my friend, tis not too late to seek a newer world, push off.” Because, “between the dream and the Deed lies the doldrums.”
I have no regrets.