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Retire or Hiatus on Cruising boat changes everything !
Old 11-27-2006, 07:14 PM   #1
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Retire or Hiatus on Cruising boat changes everything !

My company went out of business in 2003 so at the age of 50 I dropped 50 K
into a sailboat outfitted it for Living aboard fulltime and left for passages south.
Now realize I had 6 children and worked for 1 company for 28 yrs. Very stable.

Left Detroit in August 2003 and voyaged until 2005. My first mate Ann and I have comfortably enjoyed cruising Canada, eastern US coast and voyaged the Caribbean Islands. During that time we anchored every day except about 6 times. We found our boat "Fairwinds" capable and easy to handle. "Fairwinds" never failed us and our trust was well founded.

Luckily we were fast learners. It helped that both of us were typed A
people and failure was not going to happen. Also we were Lucky in that we had a 10 year Springer Spaniel aboard. Because of Hershal we went to shore twice a day. Also because of Hershal we met so many nice people. Also aboard was a 15 year cranky Siamse cat Stosh never left the boat.......

We found ourselves part of a cruising community that enjoyed adventure. Cruising also kept you in great physical and mental condition. Most cruisers we met were in their 60's and 70's. Even a few in their 80's! We lived on $500 a month
in the islands. That including sightseeing and travel!

After Lots of adventures we made our way back to the USA and now live in North Carolina. We like the temperate climate and people here. What a stark contrast our previous life! Our home cost us 62,000 vs the 240+ home we had in
Michigan. Also we can enjoy the outdoors during the winter months. Cruising really changed our lives and needs. Much simpler. Better!!




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Re: Retire or Hiatus on Cruising boat changes everything !
Old 11-27-2006, 07:38 PM   #2
 
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Re: Retire or Hiatus on Cruising boat changes everything !

Wow! - What a story! - Sounds like you had a great adventure. How many miles would you guess that you traveled? Are you planning on sailing for that long again?

Your total expenses were $500 a month! - That's great! - I mentioned that my wife and I spent about $500 a month for groceries alone, and some posters could not see how 2 people could eat very well on only $500 a month.
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Re: Retire or Hiatus on Cruising boat changes everything !
Old 11-27-2006, 09:00 PM   #3
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Re: Retire or Hiatus on Cruising boat changes everything !

Interesting story. Here I am single, about to retire and I can't imagine trying such an adventure. Congrats on having the ba11s to just do it!
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Re: Retire or Hiatus on Cruising boat changes everything !
Old 11-27-2006, 09:08 PM   #4
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Re: Retire or Hiatus on Cruising boat changes everything !

Id like to hear more of the story, doesn't sound like a "Latitudes & Attitudes" article, not enough drinking & bare skin. How big a boat, how old the children, where did you winter over, etc....?
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Re: Retire or Hiatus on Cruising boat changes everything !
Old 11-27-2006, 09:42 PM   #5
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Re: Retire or Hiatus on Cruising boat changes everything !

This is a great story. I met some people like yourselves in Tortola; just enjoying the sunshine. How much sailing experience did you have prior to buying the sailboat? And tell us more about that cruising community you speak of. Did you meet frequently for dinner/parties, etc. 80 year olds? Wow.
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Re: Retire or Hiatus on Cruising boat changes everything !
Old 11-27-2006, 10:38 PM   #6
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Re: Retire or Hiatus on Cruising boat changes everything !

I came close to puddling up when I read this story -- congratulations on pulling off what so many people only dream and scheme about.

Would you mind answering a few personal questions, such as:

1. Rough idea of net worth when you bailed?

2. Do you plan on ever going back to work? (use of the word "hiatus" in the title makes me wonder). If not, why did you come back to land? Did sailing get old after a time? Family or other incentives? What do you plan on doing now?

3. Did you just draw down savings, work a little from time-to-time, or...?

4. Health care??

5. Did spouse take any convincing, or was she on board from the get-go?

Again, congratulations on going for the gold -- it sounds like you had a fabulous time, and, given your employment record, one that was richly deserved.
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Re: Retire or Hiatus on Cruising boat changes everything !
Old 11-27-2006, 11:13 PM   #7
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Re: Retire or Hiatus on Cruising boat changes everything !

My son and his wife think that DH and I should bail from the house, put our stuff in storage and buy a boat as our home for while we travel before moving to a retirement community. Advantage: they own a marina and a boat yard.

We did a lot of boating in earlier years but DH is kicking 70 now and although they would doubtless look after the ship, renting an apartment or condo seems so much easier. Charting a boat and sailing for a while in the Gulf Islands in September works for us.

Yes, if you sail you can live on $500/mo BUT that doesn't include fuel, depreciation or care of the boat. Recently son & wife skipper'd a motor yacht from Portland to Tacoma, the fuel bill alone was $3,000. I didn't ask about the yard bill.

One of their classmates has a sailboat with solar power generation and state of the art electronics. He can and his wife can live on $500/mo out of pocket off FL. But the boat is paid for and he is a Maritime Acadamy graduate who can take care of the ship at sea.

As a Norsewoman I know well the song of the sea. Do not under estimate the score.

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Re: Retire or Hiatus on Cruising boat changes everything !
Old 11-28-2006, 06:36 AM   #8
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Re: Retire or Hiatus on Cruising boat changes everything !

Chuck,
welcome to the board, great story.
At first I had the same questions yakers had, now after finding your web page ( http://www.fairwindsjourney.com/ ) I have one less (what boat).
Nevertheless I'll join the questioning crowd: What made you stop? How much did you spent?
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Re: Retire or Hiatus on Cruising boat changes everything !
Old 11-28-2006, 10:41 AM   #9
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Re: Retire or Hiatus on Cruising boat changes everything !

What the heck... I've asked a bunch of factual questions -- while I'm grilling you mercilessly I have one more "philosophical" question...

If you had NOT had your company "kick you out of the nest" so to speak, do you think you would have made this move? Or would the golden handcuffs and / or inertia have kept you in place?
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How we did it.......Retire or Hiatus on Cruising boat changes everything !
Old 11-28-2006, 10:55 AM   #10
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How we did it.......Retire or Hiatus on Cruising boat changes everything !

Thanks for a positive response to our adventure.
To answer a few of your questions..There is a website mentioned in one
of the responses made by my son called FairwindsJourney.com

Our boat is a 1988 Cal 33. It had a very good reputation as a strong boat.
It was my first and only boat so I was Lucky! Also I bought it in Michigan
as well as being a Fresh Water boat ( saltwater is corrosive) it was only
used 5 months a year due to the weather ( It was hauled ashore every year ).
I made a few updates to the design to make it a easier to live aboard. Stern Rail seats ( The best seats in the house ). Additional batteries ( we could be at anchor
for up to a week before running the engines,stainless steel anchor rollers and a
way to hold and deploy the heavy dinghy outboard motor. For the type of trip
I planned I figured a boat for 50K would do it. Some people drop a lot more
into a boat in hoping to insure a safe trip. We found that wasn't necessary.
I learned quite a bit about boats thankfully I didn't have a Hunter,Catalina
or Beneteau........

Most cruising boats are from the '70's and very heavy and slow.
I wanted a modern layout with a good engine.

My sailing experiance was 1 year in a sailing club. They owned the boats
and taught all things about sailboats and navigation.

However we used electronic charts the entire trip. Even though we had paper
charts aboard rarely did we use them. Our boat was setup so I ran our days route
on the electronic Chart then uploaded the route to the GPS and our Autohelm steered the boat. That way we Knew we always had good water underneath.
We used laptops a lot aboard ( Movies,charting and writing emails). We sent home
quarterly emails. They were written by one of us then commented on by the other
in a different font and color. Also we embeded pics. They were very good!!
We call it the Pink vs the Blue perpective.

I had planned to quit so thankfully due to the downturn in the auto business
I had a legit reason for sailing away. It was meant to be.

We paid cash for the boat. That way we avoided having insurance.
Due to our use of electronic charts I believe it was a good safe move.
We were in Grenada during Hurricane Ivan. I stayed on the boat with
135 MPH winds.What an experiance! Never felt in danger I was lucky.

Health care was great out of USA. Very inexpensive and drugs 1/10 the cost.
I know a great number of people who continue cruising due to this fact.

We sold our home in Michigan and had enough money to do this trip,
then our plan was to buy several homes in the south for investment
when we returned to the USA. We always pay cash for our large expenses.
There was ATM's available to withdraw funds throughout our trip.

I think some months we spent only $300. In the Dominican Republic you can eat out for $1.00 USD. A quart of El Presidente Beer is 25 cents.In Grenada it was $3.00 USD to eat out. The French Islands depended on your taste. Most of the foods in the French Islands were shipped in from France. However France subsided their islands Guadeloupe and Martinique. The only Island that produced their own food supply was Trinidad that was the end of our trip. There are 1.3 million people there. Most islands normally have 70,000 people.

We anchored out every day for 2 years except 6 days. Normally in front of a
million dollar home or a 200 million dollar resort. However quite often in a quiet bay. We probably spent an additional $200-$300 per month in Traveling
( motoring more often ) to the Caribbean from the USA . However once we got to the Caribbean we motored a less frequently. This is not a trip for motor yachts. Too expensive.

Quite often cruisers got together for pot luck dinners( bring a dish to pass). If
someone caught a large or Lots of fish there would be a Fish Fry on the beach.
We always towed behind a 12 inch long lure behind the boat ( on 200 lb Line)when going between islands. We caught quite a lot of Fresh fish.

I had only met one fella in his 80's. In Trinidad ( a kinda crossroads of the world ) He
had hauled his boat to prepare for a passage west into the Pacific. Wow!

I was lucky in the fact that my fiance' was discouraged with the climate in Michigan
and even though a VP of Finance she wanted a change. Today she is using her
Master's degree in Music for the first time. Teaching. She is very happy. Thankfully
my 1st wife divorced me and I met Ann who though is childless, albeit not by choice. We were not burdened by the " grandchildren" problem facing so many people. I do have children and grandchildren however we visit ..............

Sadly our boat now is up for sale. $48,500. Dockage is less than $200 per month that includes a clubhouse,pool,TV,water and ice. We bought it for our trip and had an unbelievable time. We followed the race boats south in 2005 by chance
we were in St. Martins for the Heinken Regatta. St. Barts for the Bucket Cup.
and Luckily in 2005 and 2006 for Antigua Race Week. In 2005 we raced on a wooden boat from South Africa and 2006 a 2 1/2 million yacht fron Sweden.

Our future plans in about 6 years will be to cruise the Med. I really don't see
ourselves as great sailors. There are a lot better sailors than us. However in
using technology and common sense we traveled 8000 miles and saw probably
the easiest and best part of the islands. We only had to sail 4 night passages to reach Trinidad. Most of our passages were day sails......

However as my original post states I think that taking this trip changes Ann and myself life's in how we live. Simply and Better.

Any questions send me an email clcjr54@hotmail.com










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Re: Retire or Hiatus on Cruising boat changes everything !
Old 11-28-2006, 11:47 AM   #11
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Re: Retire or Hiatus on Cruising boat changes everything !

$62,000 Wow, didn't know you could buy anything for $62,000 anymore. Mind sharing with us what you bought?
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Re: Retire or Hiatus on Cruising boat changes everything !
Old 11-28-2006, 12:51 PM   #12
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Re: Retire or Hiatus on Cruising boat changes everything !

Notice several things Chick711 did right. Learned to sail through a club. Selected a strong well maintained boat that had been hauled out regularly (agree about the fresh vs salt). Purchased good electronics and charts. Fitted the boat for ease of sailing.

There are situations where an autopilot is not a good thing because there needs to be a skipper at the helm reading the sea, the Columbia River Bar for example.
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Re: Retire or Hiatus on Cruising boat changes everything !
Old 11-28-2006, 07:46 PM   #13
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Re: Retire or Hiatus on Cruising boat changes everything !

October 2006 article Cruising World magazine titled “Cruising Budgets That Work” (by Beth Leonard) has budgets for 3 sets of live-aboard cruisers:
Simplicity: $7,754 annually for a couple aboard a 33 sailboat (not blue water)
Moderation: $23,438 annually for a family of 4 aboard a 40 ft catamaran
High life: $63,454 annually for a couple aboard a 52 ft sailboat
Add to that from another source:
Bumfuzzle: $34,729 annually for couple currently circumnavigating aboard a 35 ft cat – that’s based on 38 months of very detailed budget (excluding about 33K in repairs they treat separately) currently on their website (referenced by others on this forum as well – apparently they are quite popular among this crowd – don’t know if they are RE they appear to have either been born FI or are just really intent on making the most of their youth and will sort out what to do for money later). http://bumfuzzle.com/

Gilana: http://www.seakin.com/gilana/ $16087 annual (I converted from euros based only one recent exchange rate) average over last 6 years family of 3 from South Africa A on a 53 foot monohull – looks like they really knew what they were doing long before they started.

Example situation boat annual monthly
Simplicity couple 33’ mono $7,774 $648
Gilana Family- 3 53’ mono $16,087 $1,341
Moderation Family- 4 40’ cat $23,438 $1,953
Bumfuzzle couple 35’ cat $34,729 $2,894
High life couple 52’ mono $63,454 $5,288

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Re: Retire or Hiatus on Cruising boat changes everything !
Old 11-28-2006, 07:50 PM   #14
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Re: Retire or Hiatus on Cruising boat changes everything !

Quote:
Originally Posted by Average Joe

High life: $63,454 annually for a couple aboard a 5 ft sailboat
I suppose the extra $ is for all those nights spent in hotels...
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Re: Retire or Hiatus on Cruising boat changes everything !
Old 11-28-2006, 08:00 PM   #15
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Re: Retire or Hiatus on Cruising boat changes everything !

But it's very maneuverable...
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Re: Retire or Hiatus on Cruising boat changes everything !
Old 11-28-2006, 09:15 PM   #16
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Re: Retire or Hiatus on Cruising boat changes everything !

Quote:
Originally Posted by HFWR
But it's very maneuverable...
And the maintenance is inexpensive
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Re: Retire or Hiatus on Cruising boat changes everything !
Old 11-29-2006, 08:00 AM   #17
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Re: Retire or Hiatus on Cruising boat changes everything !

Love this story ... but DW is ratteled after sitting in a 16ft canoe. We won't be living at sea.

On the bright side ... saved a ton of dough on cruises we never took.
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Re: Retire or Hiatus on Cruising boat changes everything !
Old 11-29-2006, 02:00 PM   #18
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Re: Retire or Hiatus on Cruising boat changes everything !

Chuck711
Quote:
Cruising really changed our lives and needs. Much simpler. Better!!
I support that view as well, Chuck. Simpler and better.

Quote:
We were in Grenada during Hurricane Ivan. I stayed on the boat with
135 MPH winds.What an experiance! Never felt in danger I was lucky.
I would be terrified. That is, when you could peel me off the railings ‘cause I’m hanging over them feeding the fish…

Quote:
Health care was great out of USA. Very inexpensive and drugs 1/10 the cost. I know a great number of people who continue cruising due to this fact.
I didn’t realize that was a common theme among cruisers. I am familiar with health care outside the States, and my experience has been pretty good.

Thanks for the info, Chuck. Best to you and yours.

Akaisha
Author, The Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement
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