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Starting from scratch
Old 07-24-2004, 08:53 PM   #1
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Starting from scratch

This topic interests me a lot. Maybe I've watched Le Grand Bleu a few too many times and haven't watched Jaws enough lately but I'm considering this as a way to get away and live simply for a few years. The solitude appeals to me a lot.

I'm thinking I'm going to start by learning to dive, then spend some time aboard for more than a few hours, which is the longest I've ever been at sea so far.

What would be the best way to test drive a lifestyle like this? I live near L.A. currently and I'm stuck working unfortunately but if I can come up with a plan, I hope to take a month or so off and spend it at sea to see if it's something I could do long term.

Suggestions would be so very welcome.
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Re: Starting from scratch
Old 07-25-2004, 08:20 AM   #2
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Re: Starting from scratch

To simulate the boating experience...

Find a small closet in your house.

Put a large tub in it and start filling it with water.

While thats filling, cook something but shut the heat off halfway through as though your stove just ran out of gas.

Put a smaller tub into the big one thats full of water.

Put one of those huge fans they sell at warehouse stores in the closet next to the tub.

Sit in the smaller tub.

Turn out the lights.

Put on some headphones with sloshing water sounds playing continuously.

Pull a piece of cardboard over the top of the tub you're sitting in.

Play the theme from "Jaws".

Eat your half cooked meal. Drink a lukewarm beer while cursing the dead battery that caused your refrigerator to kick out.

Periodically turn on the huge fan and while thats blowing 150mph air at you, splash water on yourself.

This also works to simulate living in much of the southeast, except the tub and closet are bigger.
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Re: Starting from scratch
Old 07-25-2004, 08:41 AM   #3
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Re: Starting from scratch

TH:

You are so Synical Boat Life is in the Eye of the beholder. We live for 6 months of the year (Winter) in the Caribbean on a FRIENDS 45' Robertson Caine "Leopard" Catamaran and cruise from the USVIs to the BVIs and all the way down to the Grenadines, then back in the Winter. There is so mch room we cannot hear each other snore, and the gas never runs out as we have a backup supply which is auto switched. We also have hot and cold running water and 120v electricity an time we like. We make fresh water, and have never run out yet. We also shower every day. And the views are to die for. Watching the Dolphins playing is a favorite of mine along with looking for the "Green Flash" at sunset from St. Maarten and St. Barths.

So it is all in the eye of the beholder.

SWR.
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Re: Starting from scratch
Old 07-25-2004, 12:58 PM   #4
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Re: Starting from scratch

This kind of lifestyle appeals to me as well, although I don't know a whole lot about it either. I recently bought a little I/O power boat to play with (it's very broken) and to learn about boats a bit. I'm mechanical, so fixing it should be fun and educational. My biggest problem with living on a boat is giving up my other great love, where do I ride my Harley !!

Seriously though, to start off you might just want to take some sailing lessons. Where they offer these you can usually join a club and take out boats any time you want for a small fee. Not very big boats, but I'm told sailing is pretty much the same in any boat, once you get used to it.

Anybody else got more lifestyle on board stories ? Sizes of boat, sail vs power, costs of doing this, How to keep the chrome on your motorcycle from rusting ? I'd be very interested in reading some more of these, like the ones Dory used to do.

-Pan
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Re: Starting from scratch
Old 07-25-2004, 02:15 PM   #5
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Re: Starting from scratch

IMHO I would not entertain it unless you have at least 38'. Where we are in the Caribbean, 40' - 45' used Benetaus and Jeaneaus are for sale around $100k - $175k USD. Many couples start out with a 40' because of the reasonable cost. Also you really want a warm climate. We only sail in the Winter in the Caribbean and then come back to Canada and the US in the Summer. The Summer in the Caribbean, is far too hot and the winds can get high. Hurricane Season is from July - November so we put the boat to bed some place quiet, and come back to wake it up in November.

Next year we may sail the Med to Europe for the summer that's the great thing about boat life is you need not make the decision till it happens.

You can see more about our travels by going to our WebSite and clicking on "Cruising The Caribbean" links.



http://www.impconcepts.com/cruisingthecaribbean.htm

SWR
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Re: Starting from scratch
Old 07-25-2004, 02:17 PM   #6
 
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Re: Starting from scratch

My main activities are biking, fishing, boating, not necessarily in that order. I am presently involved
in phasing out my biker activities and concentrating on
the other stuff (I'm gettin' older folks). Anyway, I never
had any desire to sail. Looks like work to me, which I
avoid. Nope, I want to punch the throttle and go!

John Galt
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Re: Starting from scratch
Old 07-25-2004, 02:23 PM   #7
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Re: Starting from scratch

In contrast to Pan - I like the part mentioned by Shock - a friend's boat. Not in the same class but on one side my neighbor has 7 (counting waveriders) and on the other three. Having owned some small runabouts in the long distant past - friend owned boats are the best - as I'm NOT mechanically inclined.

I think saving up and trying a windjammer type cruise might be the quickest way to test your 'feel' for living aboard.

A fish camp over water(25 yrs) is enough maintenance/view/fun for me. The sailing itch hits every few years but I've successfully fought it off - so far.
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Re: Starting from scratch
Old 07-25-2004, 02:36 PM   #8
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Re: Starting from scratch

Don't look at too many of Shock's thumnail's on the website - the itch to sail may get to where scratching won't help. Nice - I had to stop after a few.
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Re: Starting from scratch
Old 07-25-2004, 02:50 PM   #9
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Re: Starting from scratch

The Key for us was the access the a friends boat. You simply cannot sail a 45' cat with manual winches on your own. So with my help with the sailing and the mechanical repairs (I am/was an engineer) it works out well. We do not pay rent, he does not pay labor for repairs and installs. We do not fork out wodges of cash. My wife is happy to cook in the Galley. We actually based our ER on the opportunity to spend many months aboard "Bewdy II". Average cost for both of us in Food Grog and Entertainment is about $1000 Us per month.

http://www.impconcepts.com/cruisingthecaribbean.htm

SWR
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Re: Starting from scratch
Old 07-25-2004, 04:10 PM   #10
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Re: Starting from scratch

Here's the best place on the internet to learn about the lifestyle:

http://cruisenews.net

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Re: Starting from scratch
Old 07-25-2004, 04:49 PM   #11
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Re: Starting from scratch

Quote:
Here's the best place on the internet to learn about the lifestyle:

http://cruisenews.net

This site appears to be down...

SWR
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Re: Starting from scratch
Old 07-25-2004, 05:23 PM   #12
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Re: Starting from scratch

I would say that 2/3rds of the full time/early-retired cruisers we met in the past 3 years on the east coast Intracoastal Waterway were on boats averaging 35 feet. Probably half were older boats. Many of these were bought for $50k and under.

My boat sold new for about $400k, but we bought it when it was 25+ years old, and only paid about $60k. We spent about $5k for things we felt were necessary, and another $25k for things we wanted for creature comforts.

One problem with testing the lifestyle is similar to testing early retirement. Doing it over a couple of weeks during vacation cannot give you the feel for what it is like over the long term.

One way to test the waters, so to speak, is to arrange a "crewed charter". This means you get a full time captain, and usually another person who cooks and assists with whatever else. Go for the smallest boat you can arrange, to make it more realistic. Try to talk with the crew before you make your selection, and tell them you want to make it a combination vacation and sailing lesson.

I don't know about the west coast, but the Bahamas and Caribbean are full of these sorts of things. Do a google search on "crewed charter" and you'll find a lot of options.

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Re: Starting from scratch
Old 07-25-2004, 05:53 PM   #13
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Re: Starting from scratch

Dory is quite correct. However, crewed charters in the Caribbean range from $4000 - $8000 per week per couple, for a 40' class Catamaran. I am not sure what smaller crewed charters are. And unfortunately one week is not enough to experience the life. A month or 2 would be better.

SWR.
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Re: Starting from scratch
Old 07-26-2004, 07:21 AM   #14
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Re: Starting from scratch

The problem is that learning about a completely different lifestyle is awfully difficult when you are just trying it for a few days or weeks.

Retirement is nothing at all like vacation, even when I took 4-6 week vacations. But it took many months for the differences to start to be felt, and I'm not sure I could articulate them easily.

Cruising is the same way.

For what it's worth, we found lots of people who sought out the solitude that is not easily found elsewhere, and lots who found the instant comraderie that any cruisers have when they happen to anchor nearby. Most of us alternate between these as the situation and our mood dictates.

In many ways, it's not even much about boating. The boat and the water just facilitate the lifestyle. But cruisers don't mix much with sport or commercial fishing boats, or with folks who take their boats to the water on a trailer.

Maybe a better idea than renting or chartering is to meet and talk with lots of cruisers. Go to a Seven Seas Cruising Association (ssca.org) rendezvous perhaps.
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Re: Starting from scratch
Old 07-26-2004, 07:45 PM   #15
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Re: Starting from scratch

$4000-8000 a week?

Heck, you can sit in a tub in MY closet for half that...deal?
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Re: Starting from scratch
Old 07-28-2004, 01:35 PM   #16
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Re: Starting from scratch

Amy, we're right there with you! My husband and I about to do it - there's no way to know until you try it I guess! 150 days and counting... here's a few sites that keep us busy in the meantime.

http://www.wind-borne.com/journal_Index.htm

http://www.boatus.com/cruising/

http://www.livingaboard.com/

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Re: Starting from scratch
Old 07-28-2004, 01:51 PM   #17
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Re: Starting from scratch

Thanks to each of you for your recommendations. Even the spectacularly cynical ones which remind me to stay realistic in my thinking.

Certainly one of the reasons sailing and retirement are both such pleasant thoughts is that they're unknown to me and the grass is always greener in your imagination.

I feel swept away by the notion of things quite often. In this case I'm drawn to the amazement and wonder in the Voyage of the Kon-Tiki and the feeling of communion from Life of Pi. Simply driving the ocean appeals to me not at all, I tend to be a floater, in love with the drifting Kon-Tiki or Joe's luggage in Joe vs. the Volcano. Getting to know the life beneath the waves, leaving humanity to itself in exchange for that same consideration.

Explore the other 2/3rds of this planet and skip the usual hordes of people trying to do likewise upon more traditional vacation stomping grounds.

Too much fiction no doubt, facts are often more cruel. But everyone needs things to cling to and so I hope this idea sticks around long enough for me to try it on for size at least.
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Re: Starting from scratch
Old 07-28-2004, 01:59 PM   #18
 
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Re: Starting from scratch

Hello Amy! Know exactly what you mean. Fortunately
for me I have more than enough dreams and plans
to last out my lifetime. Funny you should mention
Kon-Tiki because I was driving around today and mulling over boat names (one of my as yet unrealized goals is to
own a large power boat). Anyway, we have a name
picked out, but I still like to run through "possibles".
It occurred to me that I have one investment that paid
off exceedingly well and perhaps I should name the boat after it. The name of the company which gave me
a big transfusion can be tweaked to resemble Kon-Tiki.
Doubt I would do that though as my wife and I selected
the boat name together and it has a special meaning to
us, which is real important to women (see, even an old guy like me can still learn stuff)

John Galt
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Re: Starting from scratch
Old 07-31-2004, 07:47 PM   #19
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Re: Starting from scratch

Quote:
mulling over boat names
My only advice on boat names is to pick one that sounds ok when heard through a Coast Guard bull horn.

Avoid names like "Ganga Queen". " Sailbad the Sinner", "Harvey Dockbanger" and "Yachta, Yachta, Yachta".

BUM :
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