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Old 18-06-2008, 21:08   #1
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If you could do it all over again...


I am new to this forum, and have actually only been sailing a few times, but really enjoyed it. I love the open water, and I love to travel. So I figure sailing would be a good hobby to get into. My ultimate goal is to one day be able to sail 3-6 months out of the year, and work 6-9 months out of the year.

Anyways, I am 26 years old and have one year of school left. I am getting my degree in Construction Management. Unfortunately, this is not a career where I can come and go as I please. Since I only have a year of school left, and I am interested in the field, I am going to stick with it.

But I can't help but romanticize about sailing the open seas when I please.

I don't plan on buying a boat for a loooooong time (maybe 15 years). This is because I can't afford it, and most of the money I earn/save in the future will go towards loans.

Since I have awhile until I plan on owning my own boat, what sorts of things can I do in the meantime to help prepare for ownership? Joining a sailing club and learning how to sail would be the obvious choice. Are there other things you all can think of? Maybe learning a set of skills like rebuilding a ship (Would I be able to learn something like that?) Or learning a new set of skills that would one day allow me to be employed when I want, so I could sail half the year and work half the year. What sorts of things do you wish you'd done to prepare for owning a live-aboard boat.

Let it be said that my ultimate goal is to own a boat, and actually have the time to use it. I don't want to wait until I'm retired to do so. I want to stick with my current career long enough to pay off my loans, buy a boat, and save a little bit of money. After that, I want to do what so many of you on this board do. I know this is some serious long term planning, but I figure you can never start planning too early for a dream.

Thanks so much for any advice you can offer!

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Old 19-06-2008, 03:42   #2
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Congratulations on your soon to be graduation. Sailing and working do not have to be mutually exclusive. Expand your horizons.

Asia is the highest growth rate region in the world. And with growth is construction. People joke that you can't build a building in the west because all the cranes are in Asia and Dubai.

When you get to the point of looking for a company, think about global reach. Make it clear to them you would be happy to work overseas. Finding good talent to work overseas can be tough and while a lot of the actual construciton business is local labor and leadership there is a lot of international oversight and project management.

Eventually you may get to a point like my friend. He is a construction engineer. He works conractually overseeing soil analysis, stress analysis, pipeline laying designs etc. He picks and chooses and pays his bills with about 3-6 months of work. He lives aboard full time and has a small office/apartment where he does business.

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Old 19-06-2008, 05:35   #3
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When we planed our cruising, the idea of working while we cruise was a number 1 thought. we planned this by adding many different skills to chose from, which has worked well for us..
One of these skills, and I bring it up as you're in the same field, is the construction industry. I was a certified welder and an Iron Worker by trade, but made the change to Construction Inspection. I now hold a hand-full of qualifications as an ICC - Special Inspector in Concrete and Steel. I've been working in the position for a few years now and have had offers from around the world..
And the best thing about it is, your sought after, and paid well, so moving around from job to job or country to country is a reality..
My advice to you would be to add to your list of qualifications as you work.
Being in construction can take you around the world, and your mode of transportation, your sail boat... Its worked for me........
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Old 19-06-2008, 05:41   #4
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A sailing club is a great place to start. Read allot of books.

Take a look around in your area for neglected small boats. A friend of mine just sold a small 15 ft day sailor for $500.00. It's not a live aboard but it's a great place to learn the basics of sailing. Another friend bought a Cal 20 that had been abandoned at the marina for $200.00. It's not nice looking but it sails.

Once you have the basics down start looking for boats in need of crew. Allot of times there are boats that are short handed that are glad to have an extra hand onboard. You can learn allot by helping out.

Best of luck.

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Old 19-06-2008, 05:47   #5
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If your goal is to buy a boat in 15 years you will succeed!!!!!

However if your goal is to buy a boat in 3 years you WILL succeed too.

So what would you prefer? 15 years or 3?

You will learn a bit crewing but you will leafrn vastly more on your own boat.

Set your goal and ACHIEVE it!!!!!!!!!!!

PS 26 is not young! Pull your finger out and get your life going
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Old 19-06-2008, 06:43   #6
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Originally Posted by WannaBeTraveln View Post
Let it be said that my ultimate goal is to own a boat... I want to stick with my current career long enough to pay off my loans, buy a boat, and save a little bit of money...
I like Mark and Dan’s counsel… Tim may be right too, but I’ve never been much of a club person… it may take 15 years for you to achieve what you want for the ultimate vessel; however, incrementally you could probably be sailing within a very short time, starting small, inexpensively and moving in the direction you want as your skills and situation develops…

But to answer your real question; “If you could do it all over again...” I’d not do what you propose; nevertheless, yours is the prevailing approach… I had smaller boats for years, but mentally postponed the big-step until some indistinct date off in the ethereal mists -- after my career was established, etc., etc… in the end; after two and a half careers, I never got very far outa sight of land, and then only briefly – postponement, you see, is also a way of life, and for those who practice it well, it becomes an ingrained habit just as debilitating as any other addiction…
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Old 19-06-2008, 08:53   #7
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I am with the 'don't wait' crowd. Get in where you fit in and do it as soon as you can. If you are not afraid of a little work and making some valuable mistakes, you can get a seaworthy monohull boat less expensively than you might think. We are broke right now from switching careers and starting a new business and preparing to send our oldest kid to college. I mean, beanie weenies broke. But I am determined to move up into a 25-30 ft mono next Spring-Summer and get it to the Bahamas before the 2010 tax season cranks up (Nov/Dec '09).

And I will.
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Old 19-06-2008, 11:50   #8
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Thanks for all the information guys/gals. I'll definitely try to get into sailing sooner than later, even if it isn't the boat of choice. Got to learn somewhere, and somehow.
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