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Old 17-11-2020, 17:28   #1
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Laying out a plan to sail off!

Hello all,

My wife and I recently decided that we'd like to try out life living aboard a sailboat and likely head down to the Caribbean and see where life takes us from there! Since being introduced to the idea of living a board a sailboat 2 years ago, its been something I'm very interested in. I read/watch blogs, look at different kinds of boats, etc. I was hoping to lay out my plan and see what everyone's thoughts, comments or concerns with it are.

Background:
We currently live in Washington D.C. My wife's father owned a 28ft hunter for most of her childhood and they would go on a week long cruise in the Chesapeake every year. So she has some experience living aboard. Her family also owns some waterfront property in southern Maryland and they have a dock that we could live at on our boat for as long as needed. My own experience has been sailing a laser around and going for sails on her father's current 36ft hunter. I like to think that both of us are prepared for the lifestyle. Both of us don't need much in the way of material things and can live in a small space, as we currently live in a 500sqft apartment and are both working from home.

Plan:
The plan is that we would buy a boat (currently looking at IP35s, but open to suggestions) in March or April. Her father has a decent amount of sailboat knowledge and I'm going to look to him to assist us in the buying process.

We'd move on board at her parents dock and spend the next 5 or 6 months getting it in full liveaboard shape, learning the ropes of sailing our boat, and, maybe most importantly, see how we like the lifestyle before traveling anywhere.

If all has gone well, we'd look to take off for the Caribbean in October or November of next year and see where it takes us!

In the meantime, with our proximity to Annapolis, I am signed up for a marine diesel engine maintenance and marine electrical systems courses (which are 2 days each) in the next few months. I figured it couldn't hurt to learn more about these systems.

I'm excited to hear what everyone thinks. I think it is a pretty well laid out plan, but would love to hear thoughts and opinions!!
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Old 17-11-2020, 20:19   #2
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Re: Laying out a plan to sail off!

Ahoy There:


I finally bailed out at 40 and LOVED IT. So I say "Go for it!"

Good to hear you say you're planning to take courses. One I would strongly suggest is anything you can find on weather. Under power or sail, you'll have to deal with weather EVERY day. And the more you understand about weather, the more safe and thus comfortable your passages will be.

Well except for the winter I spent in the U.S.V.I. There we never discussed the weather--because it was the SAME every day: sun with possible shower in afternoon, wind east 10-15 knots.

You also mention living onboard at the dock to, among other things, "see how we like the lifestyle." You can't really "experience" cruising until you leave the dock. As some wag once said, "Living onboard at a dock is just second class housing." <grin>


Good Luck and fair winds.
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Old 18-11-2020, 00:10   #3
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Re: Laying out a plan to sail off!

What is your plan for income?

If you can sail a Laser then you can work out how to sail a yacht. But a yacht has more equipment to go wrong. Learn how it works and don't be afraid to ask questions
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Old 18-11-2020, 01:02   #4
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Re: Laying out a plan to sail off!

Personally I think your plan is better than most. That said I'll echo that being tied to the in-laws dock may not be such a great idea. Its too easy to step off, walk up the lawn and grab a coffee. So take as many weeklong or longer hops off the dock as possible. Think beyond the Caribbean.
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Old 18-11-2020, 01:12   #5
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Re: Laying out a plan to sail off!

Jane I did a medicical course that gave what drugs and medical kit you have to take plus sea survival course.
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Old 18-11-2020, 01:22   #6
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Re: Laying out a plan to sail off!

That sounds way too comfortable and sensible. Waterfront property in Maryland looks pretty good. Only suggestion would be maybe the IP35 is a little overpriced. I use to sail a catalina 36 on the weekend. Nice roomy layout for liveaboard and plenty around the 30k mark. Love the little for two diner style table opposite the sofa, this way you can keep the computers setup on the main table and have the little table for meals.

Very envious.



Hard to beat this layout in this size range. On the newer beneteaus you need to be 41 feet to get the second table
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Old 18-11-2020, 05:50   #7
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Re: Laying out a plan to sail off!

Ahoy blueshorts:


-The advice about taking a medical course is excellent.
-Catalina versus IP: Of course the IP will cost more. High quality boats that will weather a heavy storm always cost more than one safe for weekend sailing.
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Old 18-11-2020, 07:06   #8
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Re: Laying out a plan to sail off!

Thanks everyone for the replies!
Taking weather and medical courses are great ideas, i'll have to look into the courses available. Any recommendations for books or online resources related to weather?

To the question about income.. we don't really have a plan for that. Luckily we have some money saved and we own our condo in DC (which should rent well if Covid doesn't drive everyone out of the city!) and based on some of the math i've done, using this forum to help approximate monthly costs, we should be able to do this for awhile.

As to living at my inlaws dock. I agree that its not a real test of the lifestyle and is too 'easy', but my wife is currently finishing a masters program (early childhood education) and needs to go somewhere in MD once or twice a week until July. But we definitely plan on doing as many long weekend or week long trips as we can before leaving for good.

Its a funny thing to get worried about... but our plan does almost sound too logical and plotted out. Reading so many stories of people just casting off within months of deciding makes me think we are some how doing this wrong
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Old 18-11-2020, 11:55   #9
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Re: Laying out a plan to sail off!

Quote:
Originally Posted by blueshorts View Post
Hello all,

My wife and I recently decided that we'd like to try out life living aboard a sailboat and likely head down to the Caribbean and see where life takes us from there! Since being introduced to the idea of living a board a sailboat 2 years ago, its been something I'm very interested in. I read/watch blogs, look at different kinds of boats, etc. I was hoping to lay out my plan and see what everyone's thoughts, comments or concerns with it are.

Background:
We currently live in Washington D.C. My wife's father owned a 28ft hunter for most of her childhood and they would go on a week long cruise in the Chesapeake every year. So she has some experience living aboard. Her family also owns some waterfront property in southern Maryland and they have a dock that we could live at on our boat for as long as needed. My own experience has been sailing a laser around and going for sails on her father's current 36ft hunter. I like to think that both of us are prepared for the lifestyle. Both of us don't need much in the way of material things and can live in a small space, as we currently live in a 500sqft apartment and are both working from home.

Plan:
The plan is that we would buy a boat (currently looking at IP35s, but open to suggestions) in March or April. Her father has a decent amount of sailboat knowledge and I'm going to look to him to assist us in the buying process.

We'd move on board at her parents dock and spend the next 5 or 6 months getting it in full liveaboard shape, learning the ropes of sailing our boat, and, maybe most importantly, see how we like the lifestyle before traveling anywhere.

If all has gone well, we'd look to take off for the Caribbean in October or November of next year and see where it takes us!

In the meantime, with our proximity to Annapolis, I am signed up for a marine diesel engine maintenance and marine electrical systems courses (which are 2 days each) in the next few months. I figured it couldn't hurt to learn more about these systems.

I'm excited to hear what everyone thinks. I think it is a pretty well laid out plan, but would love to hear thoughts and opinions!!
A well laid out plan indeed. The total antithesis of most of the posts we get like this that range from no money and experience (would anyone like to loan me their boat to circumnavigate?) to "planning on moving my family of five onto a 27' boat" to cruise the world with zero budget. The boat you would need for the Caribbean could be quite different than one that would round the horns. Get the one that will serve your long term plans rather than some interim boat you'll need to upgrade later. It'll cost more upfront but will save you a bundle in the long run.
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Old 18-11-2020, 12:16   #10
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Re: Laying out a plan to sail off!

Quote:
Originally Posted by joelhemington View Post
A well laid out plan indeed. The total antithesis of most of the posts we get like this that range from no money and experience (would anyone like to loan me their boat to circumnavigate?) to "planning on moving my family of five onto a 27' boat" to cruise the world with zero budget. The boat you would need for the Caribbean could be quite different than one that would round the horns. Get the one that will serve your long term plans rather than some interim boat you'll need to upgrade later. It'll cost more upfront but will save you a bundle in the long run.
Thanks for the reply Joel. Do you think that a IP 35 could reasonably get around the horns? (and I say 'reasonably' because I've read plenty of people say that many boats CAN make it around, but may not be recommended)
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Old 18-11-2020, 12:28   #11
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Re: Laying out a plan to sail off!

We're taking a little bit different of a tactic than are you - mainly just a longer timeline. We're also in DC - our timeline is to leave in 4 years rather than 4 months .


What you've outlined is certainly not insensible, although there a few things I would do right now if I were you:


1. Start looking at actual, available boats *in person* right now. The reality is always very different than the pictures, and you've got to look at real life boats in person before you can start to really "read" a picture and "see" what it's telling you (beyond "oooh, that looks nice").



There's a very good chance that once you view half a dozen boats in person that your expectations will shift some (most likely there will be some "we'll need a bigger boat and/or budget than we were thinking).


2. Take pictures *AND* lots of notes as you view boats in person.



3. Start developing a checklist of things to specifically look at. There are a few books and articles on questions to ask yourself/checklists to go through as you look at a boat - read them, and tailor the questions to your specific situation/preferences (especially around the "work from home/boat" aspect which until very recently have been unaddressed in the classic "checklists for looking at boats" - e.g. do you need two work spaces? will you have to both be on conference calls at the same time? can one person use the galley/head/any boat system at all while the other one is on a business call, or will they have to quietly do _____).


4. Once you've done the above, start casting a very wide net in looking at boats for sale. If you find a make/model/year that checks all your boxes but that particular one is too expensive or needs too much work, write the make/model down so that you can look closely at any others when they pop up on your searches - this goes the other way too: if you eliminate a model because it just won't work due to _____, write it down so that you don't waste time looking at ads for that make/model anymore. We had 40 different specific make/models on our "we'd buy the right one of ____" by the time we made our purchase (and a much, much longer "nope, those will never work for us" list - note: our "won't work" list had many very popular (and very good) cruising models - they just didn't fit what would work for us).



5. Also remember that asking prices are just that, asking. Most are *very* negotiable (we paid almost 30% less than asking when we bought, and that's not unusual).



6. One thing that can be helpful is to post a link and pictures to any specific boat you're thinking about here - lots of people will point out strengths and weaknesses of the design and comment on specific things (good and bad) that they see in the pictures.



Lastly, I have no relation at all to this boat, and have only seen the ad here on CF, but if I were looking for a cruising boat in the DC area right now, I'd take an afternoon and go a look at this one:
https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums...se-238644.html


If it weren't for the little pandemic thing going on, I'd be glad to meet you for a beer, and discussion, etc - I also spent a lot of time racing lasers (mostly in college) before "graduating" to bigger boats as a so-called "adult."
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Old 18-11-2020, 12:28   #12
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Re: Laying out a plan to sail off!

Quote:
Originally Posted by joelhemington View Post
A well laid out plan indeed. The total antithesis of most of the posts we get like this that range from no money and experience (would anyone like to loan me their boat to circumnavigate?) to "planning on moving my family of five onto a 27' boat" to cruise the world with zero budget. The boat you would need for the Caribbean could be quite different than one that would round the horns. Get the one that will serve your long term plans rather than some interim boat you'll need to upgrade later. It'll cost more upfront but will save you a bundle in the long run.
The trick is to know what your long term boat needs to look like. My last boat was a "reality test" boat that we could cruise, but was cheap enough we could dump and move on to other adventures if sailing for weeks/months wasn't fun. My approach was to start with an amount of money I was "comfortable" throwing away on living aboard. With boat, maintenance, dockage, sale of the boat 5 years later I netted about a $28,000 loss and we thoroughly enjoyed five multi-week sailing trips over that time. Probably more time for less money than chartering. We're now looking for a "better" boat- newer diesel, primarily, and will probably end up spending 3-5 times what I spent on the last boat. If we hadn't enjoyed the last boat and the lifestyle I would be out 28k, if we had bought the "nicer" boat first without being happy with a long-term lifestyle aboard I could have lost twice that pretty easily.
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Old 18-11-2020, 14:13   #13
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Re: Laying out a plan to sail off!

Quote:
Originally Posted by blueshorts View Post
my wife is currently finishing a masters program (early childhood education)
Forgive me if this is a bit nosy, but how does this tie in with your plans? I'd have thought somebody in that position would be keen to put her new qualifications to use rather than putting it all on hold to go cruising. Probably a bit presumptive of me, just wanted to check that you're both on the same page- it's not uncommon for one half to be more in to the idea than the other!
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Old 18-11-2020, 15:05   #14
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Re: Laying out a plan to sail off!

You might consider waiting until after November to shove off after hurricane season
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Old 18-11-2020, 18:24   #15
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Re: Laying out a plan to sail off!

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Forgive me if this is a bit nosy, but how does this tie in with your plans? I'd have thought somebody in that position would be keen to put her new qualifications to use rather than putting it all on hold to go cruising. Probably a bit presumptive of me, just wanted to check that you're both on the same page- it's not uncommon for one half to be more in to the idea than the other!
She has indicated that she is ok with not using her degree right away. Its a 1 year program that she started a few months ago and there is a bit of a funny story behind her getting accepted. (was about as last minute as it could be and at a discounted rate)

I do have to say that my enthusiasm for taking this farther (the Pacific) is greater than hers (she wants to do it for a year or two in the Caribbean), but I'm hoping that we get closer to the same page as time goes on. Who knows.. maybe I'll end up wanting to get back to dry land and she won't want to!
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