Originally Posted by jakinchitown
Brianlara3, I would like to keep my boat purchase
cost around $200k, I am planning on having it rigged for sailing shorthanded (by myself), I'm not sure I'll do an ocean crossing
, but I'd like to be capable. My plan is to spend summers in Michigan on the Great Lakes
and take the St Lawrence to the Atlantic down to FL or Caribbean
for Winter. I would like total living expenses to be $50k per year, with repairing/upgrading major systems separate from that.
Does that sound realistic?
The budget IMO puts you into a comfortable boat in the mid-40's (even if you go a bit cheaper and leave yourself 15-25% for unexpected surprises and setting it up).
To me, the question of buying a smaller boat to sail locally comes down to whether sailing AND MAINTAINING a boat is how you want to spend your off time while you're working for the period until you sell up and go...... or....... do you want to sail. I really wonder how much you'll learn about what you want in a 40+ foot cruising boat by owning a high 20's to low '30's foot boat. Interior
layout options, galleys, maintenance
layouts are all a completely different game
in those two size ranges. You'll learn some about systems and maintenance
of diesels, basic electrical
and instrumentation, and possibly refrigeration
, but I've met lots of cruisers who picked that up when they went cruising, particularly when they were setting their boat up in North America before heading south.
To get ready to leave, here's some of what we did:
- Certifications. We both had some basic and intermediate CSA and AYA (Canadian and Australian) coastal cruising certifications (about 10-15 years previously and didn't bother doing any additional formal certifications.
- Chartering. Different locations and progressively larger boats. Different locations gives you more experience whereas returning to the same location every time just gives you the same experience repeated. Anchor
if possible instead of mooring
balls. We primarily chartered monos but also charters a cat to see if we like it. Progressively larger boats again keeps stretching your knowledge, capabilities and confidence.
- My wife took a couple additional navigation
courses and we both took radio
courses with local sailing schools to get our Radio
Operator Certificates (required to be legal
for Marine VHF
here in Canada). I fly as a hobby and had taken a celestial navigation
course in the mid-90s so was comfortable enough.
- Maintenance. I grew up on a farm maintaining equipment
, do a lot of my own minor car maintenance (oil changes, filters, brakes, etc) and restore airplanes as a hobby so didn't spend as much time preparing for that part as some others. I did pick up a few of Nigel Calder's books
and highly recommend them even if you've got some existing mechanical and electrical
knowledge, they're really well done.
- Reading. Jimmy Cornell's World Cruising Routes is a spectacular resource for planning. There are tons of good books
on preparing cruising boats. Note that some however can be dated and are very traditional (ie. watermakers, solar
and furling gear
have come a long way since the '70's, 80's and even 90's). This combined with the author's biases means you'll find lots of conflicting data to sort through (ie. Steve Dashew & Lin Pardey
- two very different perspectives and cruising styles, and IMO both are valid for the type of cruising they prefer), but I think reading both can help you sort out which you're more drawn to.
- Offshore experience. To see if we'd like it and therefore plan for longer offshore passages vs, coastal or Caribbean
island hopping, we both did offshore sail training
legs. We did this with Mahina Expeditions (Mahina Expeditions conducts sailing and navigation training and expeditions in the South Pacific and offers offshore sailing seminars
) in the South Pacific
but there are others who do this also.
- SET A LEAVE DATE...... To me this is the most important planning step of all. Once we'd set this date, we could then lay out a plan backwards (gaining experience, selecting a boat, buying a boat
, fitting out, kids
& prep, telling family
& friends, work
, etc, etc,) from it. LSomething like 5-8 years is too vague in my opinion and runs the risk of staying 5-8 years out for many more years. There'll never be a perfect time and you'll never have enough money, so we just chose a date around our kids
considering where they'd be in school
for the time we planned on being out. This forced us to start aligning our day-to-day decisions (budgeting, careers, buying a new couch....or not, pets
, etc, etc, etc,) with the longer term plan. We've got friends who have been 'a couple years away' for many years and really aren't any closer I believe as they keep inadvertently setting 'anchors' to keep themselves from leaving.
I do have one further observation on your plan. Do I understand it right that your planning on Florida
or the Caribbean in the winter, then back to the Great Lakes
via the St Lawrence EVERY summer? That strikes me as a long 'commute' and I'm not sure we've met any cruiser doing that route
on that frequency. Others have far more experience in that part of the world than I do though and are probably better to advise on whether that part of the plan sounds realistic.
Cheers and have fun planning......and leaving!