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Old 30-01-2021, 12:31   #1
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Single Mom Ramping up for Sailing Adventure with the Kiddo

Hello everyone!

I'm gearing up to go travel the world via sail in 2 years. And it's all because of my 7 year old.

A little background about me:
I'm a 50-something single momma living and working in the San Francisco Bay Area. Children were not in my life plan, but my life took a complete and utter surprise left turn 8 years ago when I found out I was pregnant at age 44. I ended up with a wonderful, extremely bright, beautiful daughter who is currently 7 years old and I could not be happier in the way it has all turned out.
The utter joy of motherhood has enriched my life beyond measure.

Traveling has always been my thing (but not sailing) and before my daughter was born, I spent my life saving up while I planned my next adventure. I've travelled all over the world at this point and when my daughter was born, I didn't let that change who I was. I simply took her with me and she's been an amazing travel companion. It's been so satisfying to teach her the joys of travel, seeing and experiencing new cultures and new places and wonderful people all over the world. I LOVE people!

I don't own a TV because it's a "time vampire" but when Covid Struck me and my daughter started watching lots of Travel Vlogs on Youtube to make up for the fact that we couldn't actually travel.

Well, a few of the vlogs we watched involved people getting to their destinations via sailing and my daughter fell absolutely madly in love with the idea.

We went out for a sail on San Francisco Bay with a friend who is in our very limited "social bubble" and that cemented it. She's obsessed with all things sailing. I haven't done live aboard but I've been on day sails and love it myself. So I think we'll do OK.

I'm set to retire in 2.5 years when I'm 54.5 with a wonderful savings, 401K and a solid monthly pension for life and hopefully selling my home is going to add to the kitty. What the hell! What else am I going to do? I'm retiring relatively young, I have my health and so I've decided to let my daughter have her dream of sailing and travelling when I retire. 2.5 years year is a short time to wait, it'll go by sure quick!

I am already starting to prepare. I've started downsizing possessions, researching homeschools, reading and watching videos about sailing and learning as much as I can, even though it's in an off-hands manner. I've taken a few online safety courses and a few "beginner" video courses just to learn the basics and I've even been lurking here for a few months. My daughter had watched the courses with me and at this point knows more than me. Kids are sponges.

Please don't laugh but we haven't taken actual hands on sailing lessons yet - but we will as soon as we all get vaccinations. Can't wait!

I'm still not 100% sure how it's going to work, but the important part is that I am making steps toward making it happen.

For example, I'm not sure I want to or am capable of doing the adventure alone.. I'm neither a skilled sailor nor do I have that much mechanical ability (but I want to learn). I'm hoping in the next couple years as we get ready to go, learning more sailing, etc. that I make connections. I'm not talking about a love connection, though that's not off the table, but rather finding someone(s) or a family who is cruising that has room for two in exchange for a monthly contribution toward expenses. That's just one idea.

In any case, it sure has given me a kick in the pants to have this goal and it's everything to me that I can work toward making this happen for my daughter.

Nice to meet you all!
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Old 30-01-2021, 13:15   #2
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Re: Single Mom Ramping up for Sailing Adventure with the Kiddo

Hi Trix, Welcome Aboard!

Please update your profile with your location so when Forum Members respond to your queries the replies will be relevant to your geographical location on the globe.

Remember, this is an international forum!

Try these two threads as inspiration:
It All Began as a Joke...

Am I a Sailor Yet?
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Old 30-01-2021, 13:27   #3
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Re: Single Mom Ramping up for Sailing Adventure with the Kiddo

It’s always a good thing to have aspirations and dreams for retirement. I was able to step away from a lifelong career at 57 and my only regret is that I hadn’t done so sooner. To be lucky enough to retire with the assets to allow you to live the life you want and have your health are a true blessing. Good luck!
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Old 30-01-2021, 14:59   #4
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Re: Single Mom Ramping up for Sailing Adventure with the Kiddo

Hi Trix - interesting first post. I’m currently exploring (as covid allows) the west coast of Mexico. I live on my bluewater cruising sailboat, am retired (in my mid 60’s) in a somewhat similar situation you are planning to be in several years. I look for crew/companionship and like kids. Try to shoot me a PM when CF allows you.
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Old 30-01-2021, 15:06   #5
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Re: Single Mom Ramping up for Sailing Adventure with the Kiddo

Welcome, take some lessons as part of a sailing holiday for the two of you and then, in small steps go for it
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Old 30-01-2021, 15:29   #6
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Re: Single Mom Ramping up for Sailing Adventure with the Kiddo

Hi, and welcome.

We lived in The Bay Area from the late 70s to 2016 when we moved here (and sailed the boat up) to support my then 95 yo f-i-l who passed away last year.

I learned to sail as a kid, but didn't much since until I came to SF, rented some, then bought a Catalina 22, then a Catalina 25 then this boat in 1998. Sailed The Bay, the ocean and The Delta in all three boats.

Find a copy of Kimball Livingston's excellent book Sailing The Bay. It's a great read.

Good luck for your future to both of you. Smart Kid!!!
Stu Jackson
Catalina 34 #224 (1986) C34IA Secretary
Cowichan Bay, BC, SR/FK, M25, Rocna 10 (22#) (NZ model)
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Old 30-01-2021, 16:12   #7
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Re: Single Mom Ramping up for Sailing Adventure with the Kiddo

Welcome to the forum.
Think it's a good idea as you can have the best of times ( & the worst but much more rare! ) cruising.
If you can find someone to crew for on a trip before you jump in the deep end its a good idea. Put your name up in the local yacht club to volunteer for a bit of crewing as there are usually people looking for crew. Tell a bit about your plan in a short note & pin up on noticeboard & someone might be willing to give you a bit of experience. I had a good time crewing a few races at Pt Richmond whilst in SF.

Yes you can learn a lot from youtube but of course real world is better.
Good luck with pursuing your dream.
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Old 30-01-2021, 17:13   #8
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Re: Single Mom Ramping up for Sailing Adventure with the Kiddo

For the sailing part: there is quite a gap from day sailing to many other kinds of sailing. So use these 2.5 years well. Courses are fine, but not a substitute for sailing, sailing and then even more sailing. Sailing is like dancing. You learn it by doing not by reading or watching videos.

For the kids part: young people often like sailing a lot. Do they like spending much time with their parents? Well, maybe some do. I think they mostly prefer their peers' company.

So make sure this adventure is yours, and if the kid likes to join now and then, that's probably fine.
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Old 30-01-2021, 18:52   #9
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Re: Single Mom Ramping up for Sailing Adventure with the Kiddo

So I grew up in the Bay Area and started my sailing out of Redwood City and then also had fun with friends and a Laser up in Sausalito too. The Bay is a great place to learn, and you could even practice anchoring out at Angel Island too. I bet your daughter would love that! So then I'd recommend coming down to Ventura (driving probably) and take the Island Packers (ferry) boat out to Scorpion Anchorage on Santa Cruz Island for the day, or you may want to camp. Reserve a spot there for a few days and enjoy the hiking, the beach, snorkeling and/or kayaking. THEN if you are both still fired up, you could perhaps look for a boat to buy (maybe liveaboard?) between Santa Barbara and Channel Islands harbor and then make the Channel Islands your playground for a while. Sailing around the islands is fairly easy, kid friendly (relatively safe) and distances are not far and weather is usually pretty predictable. The skills you learn around there will serve you well anywhere. And it is beautiful out there. (Don't tell anyone) My kids love it out there. My 10 year-old son's ambition is to be ranger out there. Feel free to see my albums. Then if you still have the itch, you could cruise down to Baja and explore the Sea of Cortez!
Welcome aboard and best of luck. The sea is even more wondrous when you share it with a child.
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Old 30-01-2021, 19:52   #10
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Re: Single Mom Ramping up for Sailing Adventure with the Kiddo

Hi Trix,
You're in a great place to learn. With the wind and current, tides, etc. they say if you can sail in San Francisco Bay you can sail anywhere. Take advantage of the next 2 1/2 years.
Join a club.. there are a lot of sailing opportunities even without owning a boat.
I just retired a few months ago from a company based in the Bay Area... and doing exactly what you're doing. I started several years ago too.. stick with it, it's worth it!
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Old 30-01-2021, 22:50   #11
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Re: Single Mom Ramping up for Sailing Adventure with the Kiddo

I’m going to be the pessimist........your daughter will be 10 when you retire and have different aspirations than as she is as 7. Don’t be absolute and consider the possibility that she just doesn’t want to leave her school friends and family when the timelines come about. Take it easy and ease into it being that you are starting from the beginning with the only the experience being YouTube.
I guess what I’m trying to say is don’t pivot your dreams and desires off of a 10 year olds who’s tend to wonder on a daily basis. This coming from a 47yo with a 21yo daughter who is a officer in the Army and 19 yo twins (son and daughter) who are just starting to figure out adulting.
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Old 30-01-2021, 23:21   #12
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Re: Single Mom Ramping up for Sailing Adventure with the Kiddo


First of all - good for you and your daughter!

Second - it's not that scary and complicated for the most part. You can certainly learn and do fine. There is a lot of help online and in real life around the docks. It often times will look difficult, but once you go for it- you will see that things and tasks are not that bad. It's definitely worth at least trying.

We bought a boat before knowing how to sail it (well, almost. I sailed when I was 10. I'm 40+ now... and it is much bigger).

Finding someone to join may be difficult, especially right now, but who knows - maybe you will find. I would suggest at least taking classes and maybe getting an inexpensive, small-ish first sailboat to get the hang of things. Don't need to spend much, no need to have fancy things or go all out on re-fit. Just get something that is safe and will get you learning and getting out on the water. Perhaps it can be a sailboat share arrangement or a club where you get X number of hours.

Good luck to both of you!
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Old 30-01-2021, 23:32   #13
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Re: Single Mom Ramping up for Sailing Adventure with the Kiddo

Hi, Trix, I'm Ann. I'm one of the salty old hands here. I, too, started sailing on SF Bay, around age 38 or so.

I think your plan is very doable, but I also think that you two need to get out on the water together, post haste, so that sailing becomes an integral part of you and your daughter's life from now on. And she could still change her mind, but imho, a youthful introduction, and the modeling for her of how you two go about problem solving can set her up for life with some very positive skills.

CF has a few single women sailors, two whose names come to mind are zeehag, older than you, and gamayun, who may be close to being an age cohort. Me, I'm part of a couple. My husband posts here under the name Jim Cate. Two members of CF who are adult children of cruisers are atoll and Dsanduril. If you use the custom Google Search, you can find them, and read some of their posts. I particularly recommend gamayun's as she prepared for the singlehanded Transpac race. Here is a lady who selected her boat, prepared it, and joined the Singlehanded Sailing Society's race SF to HI...and then delivered her boat back, as well, with the long beat to get around the Pacific High.

It is within your capabilities to accomplish this, and it will be super for your daughter.

You just might consider turning your house into a condo and renting it for the time of your daughter's growing up. It's tricky to find a good property manager, but it could be really handy for her, if she wants to return to CA and go to university.

By age 10, your daughter, if you bring her along well, will be able to stand day time watches, and get you up (if you're napping) if there's something she'd like your input on. By age 10, my youngest son was fixing dinner once a week for our family. In our home boys and girls learned to do the same stuff, cook, sew, work on cars, hammer nails. They (as you already found out) are at least as smart as adults, and lack many "adult" hangups.



on Edit:

When you are ready to start talking about selecting a boat, start a new thread, and many folks will put in their ideas. I'm one of the people who thinks you should go as small as will safely do the job -- but you both have to like it and accept what it is.

Who scorns the calm has forgotten the storm.
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Old 31-01-2021, 01:30   #14
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Re: Single Mom Ramping up for Sailing Adventure with the Kiddo

Hi, great idea. My only advise is don't sell the home as one day you may wish to pack away the sails and having a place to return to will be priceless. In the meantime your home will not only be rising in value but also add to your income through rent. Best of luck. Onward
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Old 31-01-2021, 02:26   #15
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Re: Single Mom Ramping up for Sailing Adventure with the Kiddo

A few things don't sell the house rent it for the income,that is what we did. Do a sailing course and get a certificate. Do a sea survival course and a medical course. It will tell what drugs to carry and the medical kit, such as blood pessure.

The most interesting on the course is if you want to check for appendicitis push it in won't hurt let go and it will. There are two drugs that will stop the appendix breaking for 24 hours so you call for help. Cruise ships have a doctor on board. All commercial ships are mandated to have DSC and are required to monitor DSC marine and SSB frequencies while at sea. In the event of an emergency, they (or any other HF-, SSB-, DSC-equipped vessel) would receive your exact location (assuming you have provided it).

The other thing is an SSB is the lifeblood of long sailing it is used on ocean passages in marinas and bays.
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