Monday, January 25, 2010

Advice, Part 1

Vero Beach, FL

A reader asked:
I am writing because my husband wants to sail me around the world someday. He is in Vero Beach and he sent me a link to your blog and said "don't tell me this can't be done…these people are doing it". He grew up in a sailing family and spent many years on the boat and literally has water running through his veins…I on the other hand have never sailed but love my husband, nature, adventure, and would be up for a life on a sailboat. My problem is I am very practical and think we need a LOT of money saved up before we can live a lifestyle like yours and we still have lots of debts to pay. Do you have any advise of someone in their early 40's about getting financially prepared for life on a boat?

I have read some of your blogs and am fascinated. Did you start your sailing adventure when you retired or did you do part time sailing at first?? My husband is a nomadic artist and enjoys traveling around. We are trying to figure out a way to do his art full time and sail up and down the coast and ICW to get our sea legs. Any guidance you have would be appreciated.

It's flattering to be asked for advice. Here goes.

You can't know for sure whether or not the cruising life is suitable for you or your husband. However, money is probably not the reason. We live on about $30K/year; mostly from Social Security. I figure that is about half the rock bottom we could live on on land. Think. We don't pay rent/mortgage, taxes, utilities, no car, no car insurance, no cable ...

However, we jumped in both feet, selling house, cars, no storage bin, nothing else other than our boat. Cruisers who want to keep one foot anchored on land and who still own houses, cars, and the like find that cruising is an extra expense, not a saving.

If you or your husband can continue doing paid work while on board, more power to you. Few of us have professions that lend themselves to that.

Many men dream about cruising but few actually do it. The truth is that men adapt to the life easier than most women. You might be one of the ones who love it, but then again you might not. He might not like it either after trying it out. The thing to avoid is to be the spoiler of your husbands dreams without trying it. That could cause unnecessary resentment and guilt. I say unnecessary because it's possible that you could like cruising more than him.

Here's a plan for trying it out.

Start by chartering a cruising boat for a 1-2 week vacation. There are lovely places in the Virgins and the Bahamas where you can charter. Go for the smaller boats that you can handle yourself without a paid captain.

If you find that you liked the vacation, then try a 6-8 month cruise over the winter season. Consider it a sabbatical. If you do it on the US East Coast, then there is little or no need to sail in the open sea. If you're lucky, you may be able to borrow a cruising boat to do it rather than buying one. You get to see most of the fun part without the scary parts. Many people do that. It makes for the grand adventure of their lives even thought whether or not they're not ready to consider it as a life style.

If both of you want more, then consider full time cruising.

The magic number for many cruisers seems to be 2 years. By the end of 2 years, everyone knows with certainty if the cruising life is or is not for them. There are few secrets and no privacy on a boat (indeed, that's one of the obstacles) so you won't need a confrontation to pronounce the verdict; both of you will be keenly aware of each other's feelings.

After 2 years have passed, if you still want to cruise, that would be a good time to dispose of your land-based assets, and your expenses will go down drastically.

Continued tomorrow...

1 comment:

  1. Dick,

    just read your posting on your liking Tabasco Sauce. The reason you might like this product so much is that it is aged 3 years in used oak Kentucky Bourbon Barrels. The barrels are filled with "White Dog" 190 proof green bourbon--at the end of 20 years there is only about 12 gal left in the barrels. About 6-8 gal has been soaked up by the white oak barrel--the rest missing has evaporated into the air--is called "Angels Share" has gone to the heavens! Had a great time last year riding my BMer bike on part of the Bourbon Trail--and having samples. Not too many--I don't have training wheels on my bike. So have a little Tabasco/Bourbon with your meal



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