Below is an email we received full of questions and uncertainties surrounding making the move to full time cruising. They have 3 kids which tends to make it a tough decision to make and harder to keep alive. So many obstacles... Here are our answers to the questions asked, but I'm sure there are many other people with many other questions that need help finding the answers.... not that we have any answers, but sometimes it just feels good, a little reassuring I'd say, to hear about what someone else did, feel free to ask.
"Hi guys, I've been watching your youtube blog for the last couple of days. My family has decided to take the plunge recently to sell off everything, to buy a sailboat and sail away. We currently live in Georgia, USA and have no experience sailing but I have been reading and watching sailing videos for the past 8 years and feel I have a good sitting understanding of it all.
We've been sailing for years. So many out there don't have much experience, but if you are a do it yourselfer and can problem solve on the fly, if you can keep it relatively together as life throws you a curve ball then I think you will be fine.
Our biggest question in this quest is how much money should we have saved up, what will it cost us to pursue this dream? Over the past few years I have ask many bloggers and have understood that it is all relative as to what is needed based on our own personal needs, however, seeing your video of Catamaran shopping, I was curious as to what you found for sale in Florida?
There is quite a bit of inventory out there, most boats will need something done to them. We found that what one boat had another lacked. So when looking for that "perfect" boat for us, there was always going to be a compromise.
We made our dream budget, added to it how much we thought (or have heard) we would spend per month, (we budgeted $1,100 to $1,300 a month) we multiplied that by how long we though we would like to cruise for, in years, and without working that is.
Next, we hit the boat show and made $$$ notes to see how much upgrading our boat would cost, the kind of things we would like new on our boat. (the Miami boat show was the most informative show I have ever been to and I've been to shows in Long Beach CA, Seattle WA, Miami FL and Vancouver CDN and numerous times) Then we added that all up and went to look at boats. : )
For us we wanted a Catamaran, 40 foot minimum. We knew they would be in the $200k-$300k range depending on how outfitted they were.
We had done the math and knew what to expect as far as what it would cost us $$$ if the boat wasn't outiftted to fit our needs.
It became a game of math, a game of addition and subtraction EVERY time we viewed a different boat.
I think we all enjoyed playing the addition subtraction game as we decided if the boat we were viewing was the one for us... what does this boat have that the last one didn't, what does this boat have that is usless to me but the seller has built into the price, like for instance, batteries.
Batteries were of no consequence to us. When a boat listing listed new batteries as a feature, my question was always "how have those batteries been treated?" An abused "NEW" battery may as well be a ten year old battery, it is going to fail. Can you start to see my point?
Boat shopping is a game and should be treated as one. Keep it fun and light hearted, you're gaining valuable experience with every boat you view.
We soon learnt when we were wasting the broker's time or not, in other words... we soon learnt exactly what we were looking for, what we wanted in the boat and what we could do without...
Brokers are a different story. I think you need to "click" with a broker.
Your broker is someone you are asking to help make a big investment decision. Someone you are hoping understands your needs and understands value in the Cats you are viewing. I needed to know they were looking out for us and that I could trust them to honestly help us make the right decision. James Fachtmann of Yachmann.com was our Broker. He made us feel that we could trust him to be honest with us, we felt that he knew his stuff. He has plenty of experience with boats and he went out of his way to make us happy, even going so far as to loan us his car for weeks while we upgraded and provisioned our boat for getting underway.
I can tell you more about his service and his integrity in another email should you want to know. He is a good man.
I have a family of 5. Myself, my wife, a daughter 13, a daughter 9, and a son 5. We do have a dog but we are not sure if it is even plausible to bring a dog on a sailboat/small yacht?
I don't think a dog is a good idea for journeys further afield, at least for us. Different countries have different rules for pets. Some expect you to quarantine your pet for months which means your pet cannot leave the boat. We couldn't do that.
I'm sure www.noonsite.com would have better information on pet regulations in specific countries.
They can limit much of what you can do. If you decided to do overnight trips maybe into the interior of new countries I think it would be tough to bring your dog, longer passages or rough ones would be tough too, even dogs get seasick and should they go through extreme dehydration...that could be tough. But I'm talking about the coast of South America or through the Panama Canal and further...
On the other hand, the joy of having your pet walk next to you or run down the beach after a ball you have thrown is a wonderful and enjoyable thing to do. I know we miss our dog many times while sailing. The family pet is member of the family more than they are simply pets, but you knew that...
If your plan is the Bahamas it could work easily enough though. I've seen many people with dogs and loving having them along.
One family had a Golden Retriever and dad was constantly leaving what he was doing to go and take care of the dog or worrying aloud about how it was doing. But we did meet many Cruisers with dogs and they wouldn't have done it any other way. Of course I think they were just doing the Bahamas and then heading back North for home. It makes a difference I think.
We had a Golden Retriever and had planned on a sad good bye leaving her with Krista's mom until we returned, but she passed away 9 months before we left, for us, a blessing in disguise I imagine...
We are curious if you are willing to share your thoughts and knowledge on how we can proceed. Some things you would have done differently based on your videos, things you wouldn't have changed etc. Would you be willing to share that either in a video or in writing back to us. My wife, is really needing to know some financial details to make this transition easier for her. She is a financial person, a Sr VP at an Investment firm in Atlanta, GA and it is in her blood to need to understand the cost of this both financial and perhaps emotional.
I have gathered buying the sailboat is the biggest expense in this adventure and I also know we will not be docking at yacht clubs along our journey due to cost. I also am very mechanical and can fix things myself or with the help of others, be able to get things accomplished if need be.
Not much goes wrong that you won't be able to fix, but things will go wrong. Count on it. Prepare for it, meaning; ask youself what spares you mght need and then go buy them. We haven't spent much time at docks. In the Bahamas anchorages are everywhere. Marinas and docks are expensive and do not offer much besides a feel for being back on land and easy access to restaurants. We do not eat out too much, choosing to save $ where we can to extend our cruising life. That said if we feel the urge we tend not to fight it too much and we will enjoy a nice meal at a nice restuarant. We keep connected with our internet and cell phone usage and when it all adds up we tend to spend $1300 US per month. I haven't felt that there are too many things we would have done differently... There maybe some boat upgrades that could have been omitted but we're happy enough. Nothing comes to mind. I would have liked to have done a few more things actually but I'm sure we will get to them soon enough.
The emotional cost is something to take into account definately. Questioins always come up, most times by friends or family.
"What are you leaving behind, what are you doing to your kids, what about your family, what about your job, what about everything that is going to be different when you cast off the bow lines"...woa, I'll stop there...I'm starting to overwhelm myself and we're out there already...
I will leave the emotional cost for another Blog Post. Check back later k : )
This is something we have made our decision on, we will do this. We just are not even sure where to start or how to start going about making our dreams come true. We are debt free except for our house. We are saving every penny we can, but again, we have no clue how much anything will cost us or how much to budget.
We budgeted $225 US for the boat including two years of sailing without working. Selling our house allowed us to spend this much money, but now we are homeless. Our Catamaran is now our home and as most peoples homes are, it is our primary investment.
Selling the house and being debt free is probably key if you want to leave the stress of everyday landlubber living behind. We wanted a Catamaran and as I mentioned, welling the house had to happen.
Please read this article; http://www.catamaransite.com/women_love_catamarans.html
Having been out there for 3 months, living at anchor instead of in a marina, having enough solar to keep us happy without worrying about rationing our electrical usage, buying fuel for the dinghy and diesel for the Cat, minor repairs and the odd dinner out or drink at the beach, without changing the way we like to live much at all (good food and alcoholic drinks when we want, treats for Cole when he wants, etc) we were living for less than $1300 US a month. We think we can do it for even less when we get back, our first few months had us just getting into our groove. There are other unexpected costs like internet but still we managed to keep our budget at $1300.
Would you be willing to share with us your thoughts? We would greatly appreciate it very much.
Living on a Sailboat is freeing. We have enjoyed the things that life has had to offer on land based living, taking all this into consideration, we still cannot wait to get back on our boat. Back to living simply.
I do worry that we will miss the security of land based living though.
I guess that is the real trade off here, it can and has really shaken us up at times....but...
The monotony of everday life is what we wanted to escape, the Rat Race if you will. The up at 7 off to work by 8, home by 6, dinner and a kiss on the forehead, some TV and it's off to bed to do it again tomorrow until the weekend arrives and then...well you get the picture.
Living on a sailboat is completely different, it is learning to live completely different. Self reliance.
If you like change or adventure, or the reward that comes with over coming challenges then you will love this life!
We do not want for anything other than what we have. No Walmarts, no Black Friday sales, no rush hour traffic.
I could go on and on...
I will end my message here, I feel it is getting too lengthy and I am not much of a writer... that said I've also been working on our website www.triotravels.ca and have continued this message there, elaborating on our trials and tribulations.
More details of where we are actually at now as we continue to wait for our house to sell.
I hope you continue to follow our journey and that it continues to inspire you to do the same.
It is an amazingly different but emotionally rewarding life.
It is a huge departure from "regular life" and you will LOVE IT! We do.