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
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 email@example.com