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Old 20-04-2018, 03:59   #1
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From physics to sailing. How?

Hello fellow mariners,

(I hope this is the right place, otherwise may an admin please move this post accordingly.)

I have been reading here for a while already, since I started sailing about 2 years ago. In the meantime I did my RYA Dayskipper, have been sailing in the Med and Atlantic and I am now planning to get my own sailing boat one day (better sooner than later ) to make the transition to live afloat and explorer the world from the sea. Ideally something in the range of 40-45 foot, not too old, lets say max 10 years.

However, as all of you know, sailing and especially getting your own boat is a financial challenge to say the least. Unfortunately I don't have a the financial background to "just do it", as I have been told already many times from other full-time sailors. In fact I am just a physicist with an academic degree in spectroscopy and computational modelling, and working in academia is not one of the best paid jobs. And since my contract runs out soon, I am currently looking for a new job.

Considering that I want to get my own boat, the logic way of thinking seems to be to look for any "well paid job" related to my physics/spectroscopy education, which is already a challenge on its own due to the transition from fundamental academic research to industrial R&D. And, if that works, then start saving and wait another 5-10 years until I can afford my own boat to live on. But that is a pretty long projection ahead, 10 years is a looong time waiting. After all, buying a boat is financially almost equal to a (small) house.
(Also leisure sailing in the meantime will be limited as saving for the boat would have preference over spending it for a charter week.)

On the other hand, I feel that it would be nice to go towards sailing and think about a job in to the marine industry now. Since it would be already a step into the right direction; giving experience and be already a bit closer to the "sailing life". I am even considering to spend all the money I have saved now and do the Yachtmaster now, and then try to find a job in the marine industry. (We are not getting younger, aren't we?)
However, I have no professional experience within the marine industry and I am not sure if there is any demand for a physicist with my background. Because after all, just doing some small job somewhere in a marina or a boatyard would not contribute enough money to save up for a nice boat. In fact, it even seems that even a qualified RYA Cruising Instructor or a Flotilla Skipper with a YM will have a tough time to save the 100-200k Euro for his own boat. Even on Superyachts (which is probably not the ideal job for me) it would not be easy to save money quickly, since one would start as a Deckhand.

So how does this work??? Should I get used to the fact that it will take me at least 5-10 years? Or am I missing something?

Anyway, the intention of this post is to ask you for your ideas, suggestions, income options or maybe just your own experiences. Perhaps someone just has some company names which could be worth to check. I'd like to hear if you can recommend one way or another as being 'most promising' to actually buy my own boat one day. Perhaps someone even knows of an open position with some boat manufacturer or so, something that could fit me.
Any hint is appreciated. Any comment ist appreciated. What would you recommend me to do in my situation?
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Old 20-04-2018, 05:20   #2
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Re: From physics to sailing. How?

Not sure where you're located, but here in the United States there are plenty of universities in coastal areas. Personally, in your situation, I would try to find a position at one of those schools. Then you can make the transition from living in a cheap apartment near the university, to living on-board near the university.

I work for the largest university in the Tampa Bay area, and they have a sub-campus in St. Petersburg that is walking distance to the city marina. I might have already wrangled something down there, except that my wife isn't quite ready for the live-aboard life yet.
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Old 20-04-2018, 05:47   #3
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Re: From physics to sailing. How?

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Not sure where you're located,....
Sorry I didn't give that info: I am currently based in the Netherlands, Europe.
The only one here relevant do not pay sufficiently to even consider buying a boat in the near future.
Even with a doctoral degree, most salaries in academia here are roughly in the region of 30-40k Euro gros (before social and tax) annually. Considering what that turns out as net, the normal expenses, flat, food, insurances, etc pepe,... then one can not hardly save 1k per month. Leading to roughly a decade of saving money. - Not really what I have in mind.
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Old 20-04-2018, 05:59   #4
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Re: From physics to sailing. How?

Here is a guy name Mads who lives aboard a boat in Denmark. He can answer your questions. He is a programmer by day and fixes his boats OCD like style by night and the weekends. Take a look at his overview video on his channel called SailLife on Youtube
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Old 20-04-2018, 06:12   #5
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Re: From physics to sailing. How?

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Here is a guy name Mads who lives aboard a boat...
Thanks for the link. I will have a look at his video. One thing though I noticed right away. He starts by saying that "he sold his house in 2015 and bought a boat"...

Unfortunately I do not have a house to sell. Hence, my Situation is "one step below". Because if I had a house (or something equally valuable), then I would certainly sell it and buy a boat for it. Making a living once the boat is there, is a completely different story. (In fact, I think it is much easier to earn some money to cover running costs, than actually getting quickly the 100-200k saved to buy the boat.)
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Old 20-04-2018, 06:17   #6
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Re: From physics to sailing. How?

Howdy DR ZED. Welcome aboard CF!

Focus.
If you have a micro budget, you must look at a micro level, not a macro level.

A 40-45 foot boat can be expensive to buy and maintain and berth.
My friendly suggestion: focus on finding the smallest boat you can tolerate living on with a small budget.

For inspiration, read this linked thread from start to finish. While most of the boats are in the USA, it should give you some ideas of what is on the market in the USA, and how the boats are maintained (I only post boats that appear in good to very good condition) and at what age and price.
http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...ds-147098.html

Good luck!
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Old 20-04-2018, 06:32   #7
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Re: From physics to sailing. How?

Welcome to the forum. You are asking two of the fundamental life questions: "I want to do this, but my resources are not enough." and "How do I balance fun and paying for fun."

Some suggestions that have worked for myself and others include:
(1) Get a higher-paying job with your education and save: work now, play later.
(2) Be friendly and sail on other-people's-boats (very popular if you are outgoing). Older sailors are often looking for crew because it is still fun but they cannot lift things. Of course, you go where they want to because they own the boat.
(3) Do a fun job that pays nothing - the fun is half your pay.

Owning a boat should be the last step of your sailing life. Remember to budget about 10% of purchase price for supplies / maintenance, and perhaps another 10% for storage, insurance, dock, etc. Of course, if you do the work yourself you can save on either figure, which is what the Dane on SailLife does.
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Old 20-04-2018, 06:32   #8
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Re: From physics to sailing. How?

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Originally Posted by Steadman Uhlich View Post
Howdy DR ZED. Welcome aboard CF!

Focus.
If you have a micro budget, you must look at a micro level, not a macro level.

A 40-45 foot boat can be expensive to buy and maintain and berth.
My friendly suggestion: focus on finding the smallest boat you can tolerate living on with a small budget.

For inspiration, read this linked thread from start to finish. While most of the boats are in the USA, it should give you some ideas of what is on the market in the USA, and how the boats are maintained (I only post boats that appear in good to very good condition) and at what age and price.
http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...ds-147098.html

Good luck!
Thanks pal. In fact I was already thinking about that, but the idea is to have a nice place to call home, just on the water. I am aware that a 40ft will cost more than a 27ft, be it maintenance or marina or else. However, for two I think the minimum we would feel comfortable with is around 39/40 foot. For space (comfort & storage), but also when thinking as the boat as a real home for an extended period of time and when thinking of long trips and passages.

However, your advice is fair. And we were also thinking to buy a small boat first, but that - we know for sure - would not make us happy and would be only an intermediate step. And most likely consume some of the money that would be better used to save up for a boat we really would enjoy.

That is the reason why I was asking here for "the best income path".

Either way, thanks for the link. I will have a look. You never know enough, right.
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Old 20-04-2018, 06:41   #9
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Re: From physics to sailing. How?

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Originally Posted by John_Trusty View Post
Welcome to the forum. You are asking two of the fundamental life questions: "I want to do this, but my resources are not enough." and "How do I balance fun and paying for fun."

Some suggestions that have worked for myself and others include:
(1) Get a higher-paying job with your education and save: work now, play later.
(2) Be friendly and sail on other-people's-boats (very popular if you are outgoing). Older sailors are often looking for crew because it is still fun but they cannot lift things. Of course, you go where they want to because they own the boat.
(3) Do a fun job that pays nothing - the fun is half your pay.
Thanks John. In deed, you are in fact summarising my dilemma quite well.
Option 1 is what my logic tells me. Maybe just thinking in a way others buy a house. Work, earn, save, wait. Perhaps the only way to really get you own boat one day.
And Option 2 is the "guts decision". And we all now, often the guts are right, but sometimes they make us switch off all of our common senses, and then we might regret the decision made in the future.

Anyway, simply said: I want something beyond my current ability, and I am asking around for comments on suggestions which path might be the best. Experience and empirical proof can often save you from making wrong decisions. What ever "right" and "wrong" might be in whatever case.
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Old 20-04-2018, 08:31   #10
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Re: From physics to sailing. How?

Welcome aboard Dr.! I don’t know what the market is like for boats in the Netherlands, but I suspect if you stretch your ideas of a suitable boat you may find a very good one that is less to buy and less to maintain especially if you sharpen your DIY skills. Boats require a certain cash flow, and the more you can do yourself, the cheaper your boat becomes very quickly! There are many really wonderful older boats in very good condition on this side (they often show up in the $30k and under thread) that you may be able to find in your area too. A 40 foot is a good liveaboard size for a couple, and you may find one that is mechanically and structurally sound but cosmetically challenged that is affordable ( but that means probably in the $50k range) The more you hang out around boatyards, the more you can see what you can and cannot live with/afford. Now once living aboard it can be very difficult to just clean up and take your home out for an afternoon sail, especially if you are in the middle of some work on the boat. So you might call the boat home and get a small boat or good sailing dinghy to practice and have fun in around the harbor. I am a teacher too, with kids, so I am doing everything on a shoestring, so I visit the consignment shops, wait for sales, browse eBay a lot, check the sail lofts for good used ones... stuff like that. But I am not living aboard (though I have.) Once you are living aboard you should have more cash flow available for the boat, and you will be in the network, making friends with other liveaboards who can be very helpful too. As far as work close to the harbor for a physicist, that I am not sure, but I’d guess you have a skill set that would be adaptable to many marine businesses if you are willing to get a little dirty. Get sea time and record it all, that will likely come in handy. Look for yacht deliveries to crew on with well-regarded skippers, you’ll get sea time and you will learn more than you can imagine. Good luck, and let us know how it pans out, I am curious how things are in the Netherlands!
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Old 20-04-2018, 09:27   #11
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Re: From physics to sailing. How?

I agree with the living aboard as a way to save money. As far as working goes, there is a need for high end electronics techs, especially to work on larger boats, as the modern networked electronics get very complicated and are released onto the unsuspecting public before they are properly tested.
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Old 20-04-2018, 18:58   #12
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Re: From physics to sailing. How?

The easiest way to buy a boat is to work at your full time job normally, and get a second job (on the level of bartending or some such) and put ALL the money from the second job toward the boat.
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Old 21-04-2018, 02:50   #13
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Re: From physics to sailing. How?

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, DrZed.
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Old 21-04-2018, 03:20   #14
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Re: From physics to sailing. How?

As a physicist your skills would be of use in the nuclear sector. Contract work in this field pays well as you are in the EU you could work in the UK. If you have any political problems with nuclear your conscience would be clear as nearly all the work is involved in decommissioning.
PM me if you would like an introduction to a leading established company.

My other thought is perhaps be content with a shire based life for a while until you have built up funds. Buy a small boat 20 to 25 feet for weekend and holiday trips.

A bonus of being a contractor is that you can take a 6 week holiday without crawling to the boss for special permission.

Just a couple of thoughts.
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Old 21-04-2018, 03:21   #15
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Re: From physics to sailing. How?

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The easiest way to buy a boat is to work at your full time job normally, and get a second job (on the level of bartending or some such) and put ALL the money from the second job toward the boat.
I was afraid this might be the case. But thanks for those honest and clear words.

My current full time job enabled me to save, in a good month, maybe 1k Euro. Which is not much when measured on the costs of 100-200k for a decent boat. My contract soon runs out, and the economy has changed dramatically in the past years. Some companies I spoke to receive in excess of 400 applications (!!) for one open position. I have never written so many applications in my life, and so far no success at all.

I guess - even assuming I find a similar job again - I have to accept the fact that it will take me at least 10 years of saving every possible dime. But that's 10 years of sacrifice without not even knowing if it will pay off in the end. (Who knows what will happen in the meantime?) Either one has enough money, or not. Some even have more than they could ever spend in a lifetime. Life is unfortunately not a fair game. I guess, I should just forget about having my own decent boat anytime soon.
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