Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 11-03-2017, 17:17   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Nebraska, MidWest USA
Posts: 21
Exclamation Aging Newbie Needs Reality Check from Experienced Sailors

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?
__________________

KeriMoonbeam is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-03-2017, 17:35   #2
Marine Service Provider

Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Little Compton, RI
Boat: Cape George 31
Posts: 1,235
Re: Aging Newbie Needs Reality Check from Experienced Sailors

Keri,

$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.
Ben
zartmancruising.com
__________________

Benz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-03-2017, 17:36   #3
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Toronto area when not travelling
Boat: Catalina 36 Mk II
Posts: 1,044
Re: Aging Newbie Needs Reality Check from Experienced Sailors

I would say you are semi-sane. The idea of escape is great. We have done it and it is great. Your goal of getting a large catamaran seems unrealistic to me. The first is cost - your budget is just not big enough both for the cost of buying and for running costs. For example, many marinas charge 1.5 or even 2 times the amount of a monohull of the same length. A second consideration is how easy or hard it is to single hand. I think I would be looking at a monohull in the 30 to 35 foot range.

Another consideration is what your cruising goals are. A boat that would be great for the ICW and the Bahamas will find the trip to the eastern Caribbean a challenge (but doable). Doing an ocean crossing is another matter entirely since you need to be self-sufficient. Also an ocean crossing implies two ocean crossings unless you plan to move to Europe or Australia.

Bring on your questions.
__________________
Back to Great Lakes sailing on our Catalina 36 MkII after many years ocean sailing on a Bristol 45.5, which was just too big for the yacht clubs on Lake Ontario.
AiniA is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-03-2017, 17:44   #4
Senior Cruiser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: May 2013
Location: Oregon to Alaska
Boat: Wheeler Shipyard 83' ex USCG
Posts: 2,731
Re: Aging Newbie Needs Reality Check from Experienced Sailors

With arthritis, a power boat may be a better idea. I made that choice years ago and found I rarely aggravate my joints. There are economic power boats and they can make a more comfortable liveaboard.
Many sailboaters I see, power most of the time.
Lepke is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-03-2017, 17:53   #5
Registered User
 
s/v Moondancer's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Miami
Boat: Boatless
Posts: 1,460
Re: Aging Newbie Needs Reality Check from Experienced Sailors

I write as an older cruiser, a sailing instructor and a retired doctor.

Sailing is lots of fun but it is not a game and physically more demanding than you imagine, especially with your physical limitations.

The best plan would be to join a 'working men's type' sailing club, volunteer and take sailing lessons. Many clubs have programs to encourage beginners. Mine, Where Sailors Belong!
leads beginners from basic keelboat through bareboat to enable them to use the Club boats, 30 and 35 ft Beneteaus to sail in Biscayne Bay. From the Beneteaus they graduate to crossing oceans on my boat.

Please go on with your sailing ambitions but keep your money in the bank.
__________________
Phil

"Remember, experience only means that you screw-up less often."
s/v Moondancer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-03-2017, 17:54   #6
Moderator
 
JPA Cate's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: aboard, cruising in Australia
Boat: Sayer 46' Solent rig sloop
Posts: 18,461
Re: Aging Newbie Needs Reality Check from Experienced Sailors

I'd have to agree with Benz. $80k is a small nest egg for retirement by itself, in terms of the income it will generate in conservative investment... A boat, any boat, is a depreciating asset, not an investment.

$80k, carefully spent, will get you a small, decent mono to live aboard, but then you have the physiological difficulties that will make everything more difficult as time goes on. You do not have a deep sailing background, you do not have a mechanical background that you mentioned, so you're going to be on the steep part of the learning curve with both endeavours. 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.

If you have a mountain of determination, you might be able to pull it off, but it would be hard like you wouldn't believe. One of the difficulties is berthing and insurance fees, but beyond that, at least in the States and Australia, marine specialists, whether electrics, diesel, plumbing, whatever, are not all reliable, some will make recommendations that are not good, meanwhile you are bleeding money. To be a successful low bucks cruiser, you need sound mechanical skills, at least imo. So much to learn, so little time.

I am sorry to write so discouragingly, because I'd love to encourage you instead. If you think you can bear to fail, then go for it anyway: it'll be an interesting ride. Good luck with it.

Ann

On edit, AiniA has a good point. I think CF is better at answering specific questions than philosophical ones, so bring on the questions!
__________________
Who scorns the calm has forgotten the storm.
JPA Cate is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-03-2017, 17:59   #7
Registered User
 
Suijin's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Mayaguana
Boat: Valiant 40
Posts: 4,616
Re: Aging Newbie Needs Reality Check from Experienced Sailors

I have to agree with Benz.

The fundamental issue is that you own an appreciating asset (or at least a non-depreciating capital asset), and you want to sell it and take the equity AND clean out your IRA and sink it into a depreciating asset. On some level, you'd come out ahead by just taking that pile of money and setting it on fire. Here's why.

Any boat you can buy for $80k, that provides you with the sort of platform that you'd (likely) be willing to live on, is going to be a maintenance pig. Boats are generally more expensive to maintain than houses are. While you don't have a mortgage, or property taxes, you have systems breaking and general maintenance that can quickly outstrip those of a a smaller well built home. If you buy a boat for $80k you'd probably need to invest in it's power systems to allow you live away from a dock, and fix a number of other issues. Conservatively, let's say that costs you $10k. If something breaks, it might be a critical system and it could cost you thousands to fix it, particularly because you don't have any experience at all in boat maintenance and fixing the myriad mechanical and electrical parts of a boat. And this is sort of the best case scenario.

In short, your risking everything and enjoying your time in paradise could be very short, and you'd be financially far worse off than if you'd pursued another plan.

FYI, I have a woman acquaintance who has fibromyalgia, a few years younger than you but not much, who owns her own boat and manages. It's not easy at times, but she gets on. I don't think it's the physical issues that should hold you back, it's the financial ones.

And that's not to say you should not pursue your goal in one way or the other, just that I think your particular plan is not a good one.

One option is to rent your house out and head out and be a bit of a boat tramp...volunteer as crew, from here to there, learn to sail, learn about boats, and see the world. Would not cost you much, you'd learn a lot, and certainly be in a better position, knowledge wise, in a few years to know what your options were...your own boat might or might not be among them, but that's for you to discover.
Suijin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-03-2017, 18:04   #8
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Nebraska, MidWest USA
Posts: 21
Re: Aging Newbie Needs Reality Check from Experienced Sailors

Thank you for the "semi-sane" comment. I needed that!

All my reason says it's probably not a good decision to risk everything financially, but my heart says SAILING!!! PARADISE!!! ESCAPE!!!

I will keep researching. I'm a tad fearful of monohulls because I have no sailing experience and from what I've read, cats (if you can afford the right one) practically sail themselves and for living aboard are far more stable. I'm afraid I'd capsize a monohull out of sheer inexperience. And one person (on YouTube) said their monohull was rocking so hard while they were docked at a marina that they couldn't stand it and so they left the boat and went to a motel! I think that's definitely beyond my budget if it happened very often. Once a year (or whatever) while painting the bottom of the boat, I ought to be able to stay in a hotel - but I need to be able to really live full time on any boat I would buy. And having to get a motel every time the water is a bit rough wouldn't work. But, again, I really don't know enough to have any firm opinions. LOL! I appreciate your input very much!
KeriMoonbeam is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-03-2017, 18:24   #9
Long Range Cruiser
 
MarkJ's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Australian living on "Sea Life" currently in England.
Boat: Beneteau 393 "Sea Life"
Posts: 12,826
Images: 25
Re: Aging Newbie Needs Reality Check from Experienced Sailors

Hi Keri,

Thank you for being explicit in your posts. We get many like these and most hide the true extent of their personal disabilities.

I have just come back from a party where I sank a bottle of wine so please take my notes with that understanding.

I don't think you can do it.

The budget for a catamaran is too small.
You still need money to live and maintain any boat.
Your disabilities are not good for sailing.
You can never get crew to help you... people think they can but its very difficult.
Your disabilities are not going to improve sailing, in fact arthritis has forced many good sailors off the water.

The beach party I was at tonight was 'normal' cruisers, your age, mine, a little older. Their one similar a tribute was they were all pretty fit. Yes sailing may have given them that but I can't help think they all started a fair bit luckier than you.

I think you need to join a sailing club, as someone suggested, and go sailing on their peoples boats. If, after a while, can sail well and are happy doing it then, YES, go for it. But just to shove your life savings into a boat without knowing its within your abilities is a recipe for ummmmm, well, you know the cliché.


Sorry to be so blunt.


Mark
MarkJ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-03-2017, 18:29   #10
Moderator
 
JPA Cate's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: aboard, cruising in Australia
Boat: Sayer 46' Solent rig sloop
Posts: 18,461
Re: Aging Newbie Needs Reality Check from Experienced Sailors

Be of good cheer Keri, your fears about monos are unrealistic, at least by my experience. Jim had a 30 ft. monohull when we met. We spend many nights at anchor, and many in the marina. We crossed from San Francisco to HI and returned. Never any fear of capsizing, though sometimes the motion wasn't pleasant. It really wasn't bad at all--of course, we were younger then. [fyi, we've been cruising 30 some odd years, now, lots of experiences to back up what we write.]

This may be, as suggested above, a thing of refining the plan. You need experience sailing and in mechanic-ing, for starters.

Ann
__________________
Who scorns the calm has forgotten the storm.
JPA Cate is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-03-2017, 18:47   #11
Marine Service Provider

Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Little Compton, RI
Boat: Cape George 31
Posts: 1,235
Re: Aging Newbie Needs Reality Check from Experienced Sailors

When I think of "Paradise" and "Escape," I don't think of sailing--I think of a hammock under some palm trees, a frozen drink at my elbow, and a book about someone else sailing. You see, sailing is hard work, and solo sailing is harder work, and the awesome destinations you get to are a reward for hard work; for 30-hour stretches at the tiller, and getting soaked in icy water, and burned in tropical sun, and getting saltwater sores, and heaving-to while a lightning storm passes over. Then there's the aforementioned ever-ongoing maintenance, and checking in and out of places, and carrying groceries for miles along a beach to your dinghy, and nights rocking and rolling in marginal anchorages (BTW, it never got so bad that I went for a motel--but rolling a little is a part of life). Sure, it's a different kind of work from the office grind, and a whole different (and probably less unhealthy) kind of stress, but there's no escaping it.
The way to ease it up the most would be to live aboard in an easy-living paradise, like the Sea of Cortez or the north coast of Panama, and not have to do overnight passages and not need to be set up for it, and kind of hang out for a few weeks or months in each spot, moving only when you feel inclined, and not having anywhere to be.
This works well for many, and might be the best thing if you don't have the bug to be always on the move like I do.
Ben
Benz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-03-2017, 18:50   #12
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Nebraska, MidWest USA
Posts: 21
Re: Aging Newbie Needs Reality Check from Experienced Sailors

I would like to offer many thanks to everyone who responded! I am amazed and deeply touched by your thoughtful and detailed replies. I now have several new directions for my research. I learned some important things from all of you who took your time to offer insights, advice and suggestions. Thank you. And, especially thank you for being straight with me. The truth may hurt, but I'll take truth any day over the alternative. THANK YOU more than you would guess!
KeriMoonbeam is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-03-2017, 18:55   #13
Registered User
 
Sea Dreaming's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Whoo! Finally made it back to Mexico!
Boat: Cheoy Lee Offshore 38
Posts: 1,455
Re: Aging Newbie Needs Reality Check from Experienced Sailors

Hi Keri,

Others have already given comments on Catamarans. However, your dream isnt unrealistic though you may need to tweak some of it to make your dreams fit your resources.
CF member janice142 has a blog about life aboard a trawler. Very charming! See janice142.com

Also, monos are not a bad choice. The boat design will influence how it rides at anchor. It might be that the boat you read about was just not a great fit for the conditions where they were. Or they could have loaded too much gear in the bow and stern. Either way their experience is not common to every monohull.


But take a look at Janices site just to get a taste of what life might be like on a power boat.

Good luck to you!
__________________
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
Sea Dreaming is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-03-2017, 19:17   #14
Registered User
 
meatservo's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: DFW
Boat: wanting a cat
Posts: 509
Re: Aging Newbie Needs Reality Check from Experienced Sailors

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
Hi Keri,

Thank you for being explicit in your posts. We get many like these and most hide the true extent of their personal disabilities.

I have just come back from a party where I sank a bottle of wine so please take my notes with that understanding.

I don't think you can do it.

The budget for a catamaran is too small.
You still need money to live and maintain any boat.
Your disabilities are not good for sailing.
You can never get crew to help you... people think they can but its very difficult.
Your disabilities are not going to improve sailing, in fact arthritis has forced many good sailors off the water.

The beach party I was at tonight was 'normal' cruisers, your age, mine, a little older. Their one similar a tribute was they were all pretty fit. Yes sailing may have given them that but I can't help think they all started a fair bit luckier than you.

I think you need to join a sailing club, as someone suggested, and go sailing on their peoples boats. If, after a while, can sail well and are happy doing it then, YES, go for it. But just to shove your life savings into a boat without knowing its within your abilities is a recipe for ummmmm, well, you know the cliché.


Sorry to be so blunt.


Mark
Dude! How do you sink a bottle of wine? You should have just chugged it!
meatservo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-03-2017, 19:33   #15
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: So Cal
Boat: Lancer 44 Motor Sailer
Posts: 545
Re: Aging Newbie Needs Reality Check from Experienced Sailors

Hi Keri, My heart goes out to you for your open honest post. I think all of us here understand your desire to come home to the sea. For many it's not running away but running to return to a home we have not found on the land. For me I have a need to be near the ocean if not on it. Please listen to all the other posters and not jump into a new life by spending all your resources on a boat and then finding out that it's to difficult for you.
Try to find people with a boat who are willing to share some time to teach you about the rigors of life aboard boats. If you post where you are located I think many on here would open there hearts and boats to you to teach you. this way you would know if it's really what you want for possibly the rest of your life or just a passing dream.
I hope the best for you as you make these decisions. Be sure to keep us posted on which ever way you choose to go.
Diesel Bill
__________________

Diesel Bill is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
enc, sail

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Reality Check for Sailboat Process for Newbie zehnmm Monohull Sailboats 14 03-09-2008 13:48
Diesel Gunk Reality Check Microship Engines and Propulsion Systems 14 17-07-2008 17:10
Newbie Needs Sanity Check leekirk711 General Sailing Forum 10 03-10-2005 20:23

Advertise Here


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 02:45.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.