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Old 12-03-2017, 10:59   #31
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Re: Aging Newbie Needs Reality Check from Experienced Sailors

Just another thought for you - monohulls do not abslutely have to heel. It is possible to trim your sails to reduce heeling. We sail that way all the time. We watch our weather and only sail if we feel comfortable with the conditions. I have to tell you we are on the ocean for the first time. All of our sailing has been on inland lakes. I thought I could not handle ocean sailing and was very nervous our first time. But Ive been amazed to discover that I can do it! I could probably even sail our boat single handed if I have to. Of course, as I said, we go when we are confident. The point is that there is a lot you can control. Its just taking time and learning at your own pace. No rush right? As our friend always says "this is a great day at the office".
As for aches and pains, we have them too. But we would have them on land regardless. I would rather ache in my own aquatic office, under the rule of neptune, than ache in the office of faceless corporate rulers.
If toast always lands butter side down, and cats always land on their feet, what would happen if you strapped toast to a cat's back and dropped it? - Steven Wright
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Old 12-03-2017, 11:07   #32
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Re: Aging Newbie Needs Reality Check from Experienced Sailors

Originally Posted by KeriMoonbeam View Post
I am seriously investigating quitting my job, getting rid of everything, and buying the biggest and best cruising catamaran my meager budget will permit and live on my boat. I think I'd like a seaworthy vessel, so I can travel the intercoastal waterways and visit places like the Bahamas and Caribbean and maybe one day even an ocean crossing.
But of course, there are wrinkles:
(1) I am a 63 year old woman, alone, with one sailing class 40 years ago and maybe 3 minutes actually running a 16 foot sailboat under the teacher's watchful eye on a land locked lake.
(2) And, I have some arthritis that makes twisting myself into a pretzel to do boat maintenance almost entirely impossible. Plus I have fibromyalgia which is fine with proper prescriptions but otherwise is constant pain and crippling fatigue. I know sometimes fibro goes away when rat race stress goes away, so hopefully that will be true for me. The rat race is literally killing me.
I am eligible to retire now and I can put together about $80,000.00 from the sale of my home and cleaning out my retirement savings (yep, legal secretaries aren't wealthy and in my youth, they did not have retirement benefits - that's what husbands were for!)
I will have to make it for probably 3 years without an income or with very little income until I'm eligible for Social Security when I expect to receive about $1,400/month. So, ideally, I would like to buy the biggest, nicest cruising catamaran that I can afford to buy outright (no payments), and live on it. Learn to sail it, learn what maintenance I can do.
I know there are a million questions I need to ask, but for now my question is: Is it insane to think that if I have a "nice" boat and live on the hook or under sail as much as possible, that I could afford the maintenance? And are there such things as better sailors than me who would love to "crew" just for the ride?
My research so far tells me that it would be wildly difficult, if not impossible, but I am not willing to say "Okay, I give up." And this is why: My health is declining and rather than give up my job and finish out my days in bleak poverty, why not risk everything for the joy of sailing and time in paradise? If it kills me, it would be a better way to go than the path I am on now.
Thank you for reading this whole thing and thank you for sharing your wisdom and advice. Feel free to email me. I'm new to this site so not sure how that's done - so post here if I need to do something so you can email me, if you desire. I think the worst day under sail has got to be better than the best day in the rat race. Am I wrong?
Sounds like a desire for a long ship and a pyre? Getting drugs with the ailments will be hard, on the move. If you figure that out let me know.

Best of luck.
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Old 12-03-2017, 11:11   #33
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Re: Aging Newbie Needs Reality Check from Experienced Sailors

Do not buy a boat....Do not touch your nest egg....Quit the job.....Rent the house.....Buy a second hand RV or pickup truck with a camper and follow the wild geese North to South. Stay in the marina parking lots until they tell you to move. Also many casinos have free or inexpensive parking. You will not have to gamble if you do not wish. Learn boat detailing, waxing, bright work, some cleaning and you will find all the part time work you will want under the table. You will also meet sailors with all sorts of boats that you can get a ride on. Visit the yacht clubs many offer free lessons and a cheerful hand is always in demand. Do laundry/shower at the marinas. Go to the local yacht clubs and pick up part time detailing. There you can do enough part time to cover living expenses. Become a well spoken, well read fun loving BUM. Sailing lessons come pretty cheap from the people you meet and there is always a need for assistance even movable ballast is in demand. What is movable ballast? People who just move from one side of the boat to the other so boats can carry more sail and not heal so much. You just sit there chatting with friends until the boat tacks and then trot to the other side of the boat and sit down again. You will learn a lot for free! Come to the North West there is a need for female companions as there seem to be a lot more males on the water here than females.

Just take it easy, you may not like sailing! Have fun and quit the job!

"There is nothing, absolutely nothing, half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats." Kenneth Graham, The wind in the willows.
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Old 12-03-2017, 11:16   #34
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Re: Aging Newbie Needs Reality Check from Experienced Sailors

Go to Miami and join " Singles for Sailing ".
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Old 12-03-2017, 11:24   #35
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Re: Aging Newbie Needs Reality Check from Experienced Sailors

Thank you so much for starting this thread, and for sharing your concerns, your hopes and your aspirations! Thanks also to those who have contributed, both for and against.
I have learned more, and gained more support for my own future boating plans, from this thread than any other over the past ten years!


By the way, my opinion? GO FOR IT !
Do so intelligently, with a well-considered plan, incorporating much of the wonderful advice you have been given here, but, DO IT !

None of us is getting out of this alive / this is not a dress rehearsal etc., etc.
Some days you step in it ............... some days you don't.
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Old 12-03-2017, 11:30   #36
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Re: Aging Newbie Needs Reality Check from Experienced Sailors

[QUOTE=Ann T. Cate;2344809]Once you've got your first 10 posts in, maybe send a PM to Zen Girl, she has had some experience with what you're suggesting. Zeehag grew up sailing and has owned many boats. SailorChic34 is an engineer. Gamayun is single and self taught, she may have input, too.QUOTE]

Ann, thank you so much for your honest assessment! It's exactly what I was looking for (as many of the replies here are). I had spent a lot of time researching this and finally decided to ask some experts who could offer the hard truths I was discovering and not wanting to accept. Truly, thank you very much. But, I have a question: when you said "first 10 posts," did you mean my first 10 posts to this site (as opposed to say something a boat is tied to)? LOL! Probably an incredibly stupid question, but I don't want to leave any stone unturned.

Thanks again and best sailing to you!
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Old 12-03-2017, 11:34   #37
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Re: Aging Newbie Needs Reality Check from Experienced Sailors

There are some interesting you tube videos of folk living on small yachts in the 30 feet range just out there doing it, well worth an evening watching some of them.

The US also has a huge canal network join the sea to lakes and estuaries. With something small like Boatmans61 suggestions you could spend a life time slowly travelling and exploring quite cheaply this great network, moving north and south with the seasons to avoid excessive heat or cold.

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Old 12-03-2017, 11:45   #38
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Re: Aging Newbie Needs Reality Check from Experienced Sailors

Hi Keri
I am not sure about the USA but if you were in the UK I would suggest a barge, and live a slow relaxed life on the canals. Clearly there is more to it than that but the ICW has so much to offer, and you get to be a live aboard on the water. You should be able to pick up a reasonable barge which may need some work, but that can be done in good time. What ever you choose to do, Good luck.
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Old 12-03-2017, 11:49   #39
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Re: Aging Newbie Needs Reality Check from Experienced Sailors

It sounds like you're looking for a dream, and that's the important thing. Anything is possible, but given your physical limitations, life aboard alone may not be worth trading away for the comfort and stability of the life you've built ashore. Maybe find a way to wade in, rather than diving. Join a boat club, or take some sailing classes, or look to crew on the vessels of others. Networking could be your best bet right now, and always remember that sailors are very romantic fellows Friendship or romance opens doors. Best wishes.
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Old 12-03-2017, 11:55   #40
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Re: Aging Newbie Needs Reality Check from Experienced Sailors

I'm pretty much in the same position as you are. Same age, even. I have my houses on the market, and I'm shopping for a boat. Crazy? Maybe...but I keep thinking of all the women on the Titanic that waved off the dessert cart. We have to live while we're alive and be happy. Sailing makes me happy. I'll send you a PM, we have a lot in common.
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Old 12-03-2017, 12:36   #41
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Re: Aging Newbie Needs Reality Check from Experienced Sailors

Hi Keri,
I'm understanding your post/dilemma to be 2 separate decisions. Retire now or wait? Buy a boat or not?

Yes retire

Better for your health, and you qualify to draw from your savings without penalty and clearly that is your heartfelt wish.

Financial concerns have options,

1) Sell the house. Bank the equity.
2) Move to somewhere seaside, affordable, and warm.

Mexico and other Central American countries come to mind. With your retirement income you could become qualified as a resident and have much more affordable prescription and health care coverage than you will in the US for the next 3 years allowing you to stretch your income/nest egg further.

3) While living in your new environment seek opportunity to sail and learn on other peoples boat. Or........

3) Live seaside and in a warm environment in the US. while learning and exploring as crew on other peoples boats.

4) Spend all equity on a boat.Realizing the for 3 years you will have to have enough money to maintain yourself and boat. That includes all insurances, repairs, prescriptions food, fuel, etc.

I don't know what the split on your 401k and equity in the house is. I don't want to know. What you should do is figure out how much you need personally per year, then figure out how much you'd need per year maintaining a boat/house/rent on top of that and figure out how/where makes the most personal and financial sense towards achieving your happiness.

I must say that I disagree with some that maintaining a boat costs more than maintaining a house. (add the disclaimer that I'm currently not a boat owner, I'm trying to rid myself of home ownership as we speak) Granted we are talking a huge differential in square feet living space.And some may argue the depreciation factor. But IMHO...It's an affordable home, one that offers the opportunity to give back life and travel experiences that a house never could. And given your age a depreciating home might work to your advantage if you ever found yourself in bankruptcy due to medical costs. Bankruptcy courts will take your cash savings, and put a lien on your assets. They are not too excited about a depreciating asset though, boat/trailer/rv as a primary residence. To my knowledge they are not allowed to put a lien on your retirement savings or HSA either. They will put a lien on your cash and equity though. So I'd also advise you to seek the advice of a fiduciary financial planner, fiduciary being key because you want the person advising for you and not for the profit of his company.

So, no, not so crazy! And yes you can make a reasonable plan the fits your desires and needs.

Keep dreaming, asking questions and planning
Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. - Eckhart Tolle
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Old 12-03-2017, 12:44   #42
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Re: Aging Newbie Needs Reality Check from Experienced Sailors


may I point you in a different direction?
The world has grown accustomed to much bigger boats than it needs and if I was in your position I would looking at a 26 to 30ft boat, and ancient at that, 70s probably.
At least one of the boats in the first OSTAR ( Trans Atlantic ) race was only 26ft, and a few years ago I met a lad who crossed the Atlantic in a 24ft Wharram.
I rather imagine that you will be doing a lot of fair weather coast hoping so sailing performance will not the high on your wish list.
I've just had a quick trawl through Apolloduck with a 6,000 upper limit. You will find something big enough to live aboard and in good condition if you look hard enough. And those were asking prices.
Suggested game plan:-
Find a sailing club, a very unposh one, and charm your way on board and out for a sail as much as you can. Get as much experience and advice as you can, and find one or more sensible practical people to check out your potential purchase.
Your boat must have as nearly new an engine as you can find. Other wise as simple as can be. Definitely plastic, and everything important must be sound, your boat shouldn't require any significant repair or upgrading if it's not, move on, keep looking.

Basic electronics are cheap, everything else is a luxury. Our first boat we had a Tilley lamp for light and it was adequate heating in the English winter.

There are lots of old boats, many were well built, now that are very unfashionable, that have had money ( relatively speaking ) spent on them that the seller will never recuperate.
Don't sell your house, rent it if you can, you will likely want it as a home later on.
Buy wisely and you will get a modest but sound boat for less than $10,000.

Good luck
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Old 12-03-2017, 15:18   #43
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Originally Posted by Benz View Post

$80,000 won't get you much catamaran, but it will get you a decent small monohull. However, given all you've said, your time might be better served not buying a boat at all. Why not fly to Isla Mujeres via Cancun, check into a backpacker's hostel, and spend as many weeks as you want on the beach? When Isla loses it's charm, you can head south to Tulum and Chetumal via short bus hops. All of central america is easily available by bus, and you can (like I did in my youth), jump onto the occasional cruising boat and work your passage to wherever they're going next.
By the time you spent your $80K, unless you spent it very rashly, you'd be receiving Social Security, and you might just have found the perfect spot to hang out where the living is easy, inexpensive, and stress-free. Many people spend a small fortune on a boat, get it all kitted out, sail as far as the Rio Dulce or Bocas del Toro, and realize that all they want is to hang out there forever, which can be pretty cheap in a rented room, without the hassle of a boat.
Trouble is, boat maintenance is unescapable, esp. if on a budget, and tying oneself in knots is often a necessary part of that.
Anyway, food for thought--and it's exactly what I'd do in your shoes.
I'm with Ben, I did the catamaran thing and the maintenance cost forced me to sell her as I was on a very limited income. Plenty of men down in the Caribbean who would share their boat with you in exchange for company and help on board.
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Old 12-03-2017, 16:00   #44
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Re: Aging Newbie Needs Reality Check from Experienced Sailors

As with all endeavours there are plenty of people who will give you a million reasons not to do something and very few who give you the one reason to do something.
Be determined.
Look at whatever you buy as "x feet" of machinery which will go wrong, rather than a mono- or multihull. Your learning curve will be instant if you need whatever it is that has just failed.
The hardest task for me, I have limited mobility, is transferring to shore in the tender. I need relatively flat seas and that means I might be marooned on board for days.
I am also a fair weather sailor, the weather window has to be more than right before I leave an anchorage. I only get a marina berth when I absolutely have to.
So, you need a watermaker, cos hauling water is impossible, a genset, cos solar and wind alone make it too much like camping and enough food for at least two weeks on the hook.
Carry a tender made for you with a motor you can start.
Then, just do it.
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Old 12-03-2017, 16:41   #45
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Re: Aging Newbie Needs Reality Check from Experienced Sailors

Yea, just do it. Remember boats are easy to buy, hard to sell. What part of the world are you in? There is lot's of help out there so don't be afraid to ask.
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