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Old 11-09-2017, 05:22   #1
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Sailing sabbatical?


I'm new to these forums; I've been sailing for about 10 years, both yacht and dinghy sailing. Yacht sailing has mostly been 1-2 week holidays in the Med, so while I have quite a lot of weeks of sailing experience of that kind, I haven't owned a boat or lived with one for extended periods.

I can take a 6 month sabbatical from work, and would love to spend it sailing, but I'm not sure what approach to take; I don't fancy sailing single handed, and don't really know other skippers or crew I could team up with; I'm also not sure how possible it is to get hold of a boat for an extended period like this.

If anyone has any ideas as to how I could get started that'd be great!

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Old 11-09-2017, 06:48   #2
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Re: Sailing sabbatical?

Good day and welcome to the forum!

I guess it all depends on what you're actually trying to accomplish.
But, going on the assumption that you simply want to spend that time "sailing", then I'll state the obvious and suggest that your best bet is to offer yourself as crew on as many sites / forums as possible to see if you can find a good match.

Here are a couple of examples to get you started:
Cruisers & Sailing Forums - Crew Positions: Wanted & Available
Crewseekers International
Find A Crew
The Crew Finder - Sailing Networks
SSCA - Crew Exchange

Best of luck!
Carlos & Maria
S/V Rocinante
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Old 11-09-2017, 08:43   #3
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Re: Sailing sabbatical?

I don't think you will find an economical way to charter a boat for 6 months. We looked at it from every angle we could, and in the end decided it would still be cheaper to buy a nicer boat and then sell it again after the sabbatical, eating any losses than any sort of rental scheme.

As to single handing, I suppose if you are young, good looking and somewhere warm, you could do like a lot of YouTubers and take on equally good looking crew and make a career of it. ;-) Seriously though, it might come down to where you want to cruise. There are a lot of people in a lot of places who want to go cruising for free. Or, I suppose, you could be one of them yourself, and bum rides on other peoples boats, offering up your services for deliveries etc. although that route is difficult to guarantee success.

My advice? Figure out where you want to be, then figure out how you will get a boat, and then work on acquiring crew. Then go back to the beginning and see how it works in another location. I believe you will find that the scenarios for cruising in the Med will be completely different than the ones for cruising in the PNW etc. At least it was for us...
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Old 11-09-2017, 09:08   #4
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Re: Sailing sabbatical?

I've taken some cruising sabbaticals and it is indeed an awkward time frame. One thing I think important is that if you buy a used boat, you need to budget time to sail the boat, get to know issues and get them addressed before doing any serious cruising. If you wait until your sabbatical, you may use half the time purchasing your boat and getting it ready.

There are some online sources for finding crew. I've had probably 10 people join me through such crew sites. As much as I like the CruisersForum, I don't really like their find a crew thread as most responses are not from potential crew, but rather people who feel a need to publicly state their opinion about your crew search. There are better sites.

Since I was quite capable of cruising my boat on my own, I looked for share the experience type crew rather than experienced working crew and did so on a cost sharing basis, crew paying their share of provisions. Key to this was that I could comfortably cruise the boat on my own, so there was no pressure on inexperienced crew and secondly if they bailed, I had no problem just cruising on my own that week or two. I find a week to 10 days a good time frame when taking on this sort of crew, then inviting them for longer commitments if that goes well.
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Old 11-09-2017, 09:23   #5
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Re: Sailing sabbatical?

PM sent.

"Remember, experience only means that you screw-up less often."
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Old 18-09-2017, 06:42   #6
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Re: Sailing sabbatical?

Thanks for the replies everyone. It does mostly confirm my guess that getting hold of a boat for that length of time isn't going to be the easiest thing in the world But the replies so far have already given me some ideas I can look into.

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Old 19-09-2017, 02:57   #7
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Re: Sailing sabbatical?

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Jon.
Gord May
"If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time/$ to fix it?"

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Old 19-09-2017, 04:29   #8
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Re: Sailing sabbatical?

Something to think about re a sabbatical...I took one in 2001. The plan was to take a sailing sabbatical for a quarter and then resume being involved in the business. I had great partners who ran the business while I was away. But, upon attemptimg re-entry into our fast paced, intense business environment, I found that a few months of full time cruising had ruined me. I no longer had an interest in running at 110% throttle all the time. After about a year of struggling to make full re-entry, I finally gave up and fired myself for poor performance. [emoji41]

Left again to go cruising in 2004 with the plan to not return...its now 2017 and Im still "out there".

So, think about your reaction to re-entry.
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