Hi there! I just found this forum. Here's a short tale and some sage advice
I have always (well, since age 9 anyways) loved sailing, and have always been involved. Have owned a few boats over the years, too.
Back in '78 I bought my first boat
- a Catalina
22. Owned it for 5 years - great beginning boat
. My first wife tried sailing with me several times, but she just didn't like it. She's a great gal, but there were several other issues between us, so she's now my "ex", but still a good friend.
My second wife LOVES sailing, and we chartered together many times on the Chesapeake, in Maine
and in the BVI
. We dreamed of living aboard
and cruising after retirement
- "when we could afford it".
In '95 I did the early retirement
thing after 30-odd years in sales and sales management for "corporate America" and tried my hand in a new business venture which was intended to set us up financially quicker than our original plan. Simply put, it didn't work
out and after a few years I had to get another "job". I started driving a long-distance tour bus (great fun), but the dream was still alive.
In '01 we happened upon our "dream boat" at a great price
, so, even though we really couldn't afford it, we bought her. She's a '77 CSY
44 "walkover" cutter
- big, heavy, comfortable and built like a tank. She needed a bit of TLC, but was basically very sound and had many good upgrades like new engine
, etc. We keep her in the southern Caribbean
. (She's currently in Carriacou - one island north of Grenada
But, we couldn't afford to cast off just yet. Then we hit upon an idea: run the boat in charter
to pay our way! We sold
our house and much of our belongings, advertised and had enough paying guests in our first season to cover our expenses for the 4 months we lived aboard. We thought we were on to something. I drove the bus another year while we promoted the charter
business like crazy and our next season was completely booked out! WE not only covered our costs, but had enough money
left over to pay for a few upgrades and most of the cost of storing the boat over the summer. We KNEW we were on to something!
Full time living aboard
seemed a real possibility again - and soon!
However - all was not well! That first summer I had to have shoulder surgery and so missed a lot of work
time which set us back financially. Then, the next summer I had to have an operation on the other shoulder and missed more work - another setback for the schedule.
Now here's the REAL kicker! This spring, after returning to the states from our wonderful charter season, I had a few warning signs so went to see my doctor. I was diagnosed with rectal cancer.
Then, three weeks later, my wife was diagnosed with colon cancer!
Suddenly everything in our lives turned upside down!
I have had chemo and radiation therapy. A month ago the primary tumor was surgically removed. I now wear an ostomy bag (I call it my poop sack) hanging from my belly until the surgery on my internal plumbing
heals. It was also discovered that one lymph node tested positive so the possibility of the cancer spreading exists and I will start a 6 month chemo schedule next week. Long term prognosis is good, but there is this cloud!
My wife (slightly different disease, different location) had surgery, but it was then discovered that the disease has spread to several other organs in her abdomen including both lobes of her liver - inoperable. She is now on a long-term chemo schedule, but the long term outlook is not good.
Our attitude is such that we plan to beat this thing and continue with our cruising dream. But if things don't work out at least we can say we went for it, and that we got to enjoy a few winters living aboard our dream boat in paradise. That's a lot more than most people can say!
The sage advice
? If you have a dream of cruising "someday", DO IT NOW! That "someday" may never get here!
"But I can't afford it yet." News flash: You won't be able to afford it later, either - so to hell with it - just GO!
"But what about the kids". Do a sales job on them and take them along! Work with your school
and home-school them while you're gone. They'll get a much better education and will get first-hand real-life experiences, too!
"But this, that and the other thing ...." OK, make all the excuses you want ... but if you Really want to go cruising ... I mean REALLY want to go, then DO IT! If you don't, then all those "reasons" not to will prevail - and guess what ... you'll never go! Of course, you will then be able to fool yourself into thinking that you didn't get to go because of all those good reasons ... but the bottom line is that you won't have realized your dream ... get it?
If you really, REALLY want to go there are ways to do it. Buy an adequate boat - it doesn't have to be huge and new and have all the bells and whistles (they just break down anyways). Spend a year fixing it and preparing it to do what you want. Do it yourselves so you learn about the boat in the process (and save money). Then do some coastal cruising to hone your skills - then a couple of short passages - then go cruise
for a couple of years. At this point re-asses yourselves. Maybe you'll find you've fulfilled your goal and you can return to shore and take up where you left off. Maybe you'll find you love the lifestyle and will set off to explore the rest of the world. But either way you can say you did it!
Favorite bumper sticker: "Life's short. Eat dessert first!"
As I said - we're going to beat this current
Hope to see y'all out there real soon!
By the way - check out our website at: www.lanostra.net.