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Old 02-08-2011, 09:29 AM   #21
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Your in such good shape right now at 33 that I would be very hesitant to unplug your current plan. If you just keep doing what your doing right now, I think you could retire permanently at around 43 or so (not 50). You would have the rest of your life to sail as much as you want and the kids would be old enough to appreciate it more. With young kids that age, the next 10 years are going to fly by.

I think it would be hard to restart careers after 5 years off.

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Apocalypse Now !
Old 02-08-2011, 09:55 AM   #22
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Apocalypse Now !

On the other hand...

What if you develop leprosy at 43.

Or what if at 43 a nuclear war breaks out or a comet strikes the earth at that time. Space Aliens could invade and force us into submission. Or worldwide famine or pestilence could strike forcing the end of modern civilization.

If you had gone sailing at 37 then at least you'd have enjoyed your life before the apocalypse.


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Old 02-08-2011, 10:35 AM   #23
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or as warren miller dribble...

"if you don't do it this year, you probably never will."
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Old 02-08-2011, 02:58 PM   #24
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Back in the mid to late 70s my sister and her boyfriend (now husband) sailed the South Pacific, on 55' schooner for 18 months, spent 6 months traveling in Asia and about 1 year living in Tahiti. He was 34 or so she 25.

It was the adventure of the lifetime and I certainly envy them their experiences.
Neither they nor the other 2 couples they started the journey ith had kids. However, during their yachting years they meet 2 other families with kids. In both cases the kids were in their tweens/teens and able to help out on the boat. I meet one of kids later, and despite many years at sea he did managed to get into college and seems to have done fine. That said my niece homeschools her three kids ages 5-8 and I can't imagine trying to do it on a sailboat.

There are certainly some cons regarding stress of sailing and being in confined quarter caused two of the couples to get a divorce, but my sister and boyfriend got married.
It wasn't overly challenging for my very smart brother-in-law to find a job. He had experience, an engineering degree and master in economics, but his choices were limited. He ended up working for the Navy for the rest of the career and found putting up with work BS more difficult after experiencing freedom. Although, that may have always been there.

I will say beside the obvious benefits of fun, they made life long friends in various parts of the world. They are currently visiting somebody in New Zealand. The long trip sort of cured my sister of wanderlust, and it has cut back on her need to travel considerably. This trip is their first in a decade. It was definitely cheaper to travel by sailboat, and being young they had less need for expensive western style comfort, so who know the trip may have saved the money over a lifetime
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Old 02-08-2011, 03:56 PM   #25
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I'm just fascinated your wife is on board with this plan. That's impressive. She must be a keeper.

As for me, I'd advise staying the course to early retirement. Mainly because I don't see how you can educate kids while on a 5 year sailing adventure. It would be great fun. And they would be world wise. But how about book wise. Geez I sound old as I write this.

Never mind. Go for it.
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Old 02-08-2011, 04:45 PM   #26
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Great plan but I agree that 5 and 7 may not be the best ages to start. Not for reasons of socialization (there are plenty of different ways to raise kids in all different environments and mostly they turn out just fine), but rather because I'd wait until they can hold their own and do their share of the work. The ability to read, write, compute + a little upper body strength will go a long way to making it more enjoyable for all

We're hoping to do some variation of this when our son (now 4) is 11+, the catch being that he'll have a mind of his own by then and may or may not have the same definition of fun. We already plan to homeschool from the beginning which should help, and are beginning the indoctrination into "adventure" early.

Two books to look at:

Adventuring with Children: An Inspirational Guide to World Travel and the Outdoors


Extreme Kids: How to connect with your children through todays extreme (and not so extreme) sports.
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Old 02-08-2011, 05:19 PM   #27
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I wish you could find the episodes from Ocean Wanderer, a Canadian dentist (guessing mid-30's), his wife and two young children. A great TV series, can't remember what network it was on. The kids are grown now, and were richer for the experience - I think the daughter went back to sea after college.

This is the story of one family that dared to dream, sold all their belongings, bought a boat…and just sailed away. The story of OCEAN WANDERER, chronicles the Knight family's (Tony, Arien, Michael, & Saskia) voyage of exploration of the planet and themselves.
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Old 02-08-2011, 08:00 PM   #28
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Do it.

What's the best that could happen? Experience of a lifetime. Kids' college applications look amazing. Your savings compound while you're out at sea. You realize how incredible freedom is, compared to the working life, and find a way to make things work even longer.

What's the worst? You push back early retirement a few years. Big deal.
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Old 02-09-2011, 08:38 AM   #29
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Just to weigh in again, I recommend putting it off for a few years and see how you feel. Most of the folks on this forum are "delayed gratification" types, so delaying such a trip will help you put things in perspective. You'll also have the advantage of saving more money, allowing your kids to get a bit older, etc.... Who knows, by that point you may decide that waiting another 5 years and then pulling the plug permanently is appropriate.
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Old 02-09-2011, 09:08 AM   #30
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LAS, you sound like you're already halfway in the "go sailing" bag.

This board has way too many sad & cautionary tales of "just one more year" for us to advise anything other than "make a plan and have fun". You'll certainly find ways to live a frugal lifestyle that's devoid of consumerism. If you can avoid major equipment casualties then you may have plenty of funds for the trip, but you'll want to be conservative on the expenses of maintenance/repairs... for example having to replace the keel in Fiji.

A few devil's advocate questions: Does it have to be years of sustained sea time or is there a compromise position? Could you stick to a local area or one coastline, or does it need to be international? Would you be able to split your sailing with the school year at home and summers on the water? Does it have to be sailing or could you motor a boat up & down the ICW with the other seasonal sailors? Would you be able to do part-time sailing, for example sailing boats for absentee owners who want to move them to a new port?

While you're out there, you may want to seriously consider finding a career that's associated with the sailing business or at least different from your current occupation. Many of this board's members who took an extended sabbatical returned to work refreshed & re-energized, only to learn that they had no patience for the crap they'd formerly tolerated. You may find that after all those years of independence you're totally unsuited for corporate cubicle life.

Originally Posted by aaronc879 View Post
Your kids will be 5 and 7 at the start of your proposed trip. That is an important age to learn in a structured school environment and also to socialize with kids their age. Will they have that opportunity? Doesn't seem good for the kids.
Originally Posted by MooreBonds View Post
I'm also worrying about it from the kids' perspective....not only from socialization, but also from what the average (at that time) 5 and 7 year olds (up to 9 and 11 years old) would want to do.
I think you guys have totally overgeneralized society's accepted norms of raising kids. Millions of American homeschoolers don't worry about "structured school environments" and don't need school to be the source of socializing.

Gotta know your kids, and they don't know any other environments than the ones they're raised in. The easiest answer to the question would be to go sailing for four weeks or so and see if the kids like it. Them being kids, I suspect that they'll adapt a lot more easily than the parents will. I think those kids will learn skills far more advanced than anything they'll see in classroom boating videos or books, and they'll return far more mature than their peers.

As for mutiny, it's a lot easier to take them to sea when they're young than when they're teenagers. They're smaller, can't run as fast, and can't fight back as viciously. Just kidding.

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Old 02-09-2011, 09:24 AM   #31
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My answers in red below:

Originally Posted by las200 View Post
  • Health insurance while we're on the trip - I haven't investigated at all. How much is a plan for an unemployed family?

    To get you an idea: if you don't have any pre-existing conditions, go to Health Insurance - Find Affordable Health Insurance Plans and Buy Medical Coverage Online and pretend you are 5 years older. For example for my zip code and family of 4 with the ages you mentionad +5, the cheapest insurance is 217 per month, the most expensive is 1153 per month.

  • Overspending on the trip - But, we've always been good at living modestly and well below our means. I hope we can stick to a budget.

    Well, with the boats they say you'll spend what you have, but if you are able to LBYM now, you should have better luck in the future. Also the nice sunset at the anchorage looks the same from $30k boat as from $2M boat

  • Restarting work - I know we won't be anywhere close to our quitting salaries, but will we be down to an entry level position after a 5 year haitus?

    What are your careers? In some fields it's easier, in some not so much. We have a plan to go cruising after reaching FI. Part of the prep was "plan D" - reentry strategy. I'm a software engineer and I opened my own consulting business (doing a token amount work during moonlight hours), so if I ever need to return to the workforce, I don't have a resume gap. DW is slowly retraining, and is one pre-req short of starting nursing degree (which she wants to start when our kids, currently aged 6/4/2, are older)

  • When will we be able to retire? - I can't get a grasp on this because I don't have a clue how much this will de-rail our careers and our salary. But maybe getting used to a lower salary will be beneficial and we won't be that bad.

    You might find that if you LBYM, 595k + whatever you save in the mean time might sustain your cruising lifestyle indefinitely. IIRC Dreamcatcher folks annual budget was $18k for relatively upscale boat ( | The Sailing Adventures of Dream Catcher )

Nothing will be set into motion that couldn't be undone for another 3 years, so we have plenty of time to rethink and reinvest to our retirement if necessary.

Oh and yes, the wife's onboard (pun intended)
That's the most important part
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Old 02-09-2011, 10:02 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by Bestwifeever View Post
Taking two little kids on a sailboat for five years would make me mighty nervous from a safety standpoint, but I'm a worry wart and no doubt sailing folk do it all the time. You probably have gotten lots of advice about kids on boats.
There is a lot of advice about sailing with kids.
And if you live on a sailboat, statistically you and your kids are safer than driving a car (and when you get a little experience, few orders of magnitude safer).

For the curious engineering/math types here, driving fatalities: .47 dphe, sailboat fatalities: .12 dphe, I could not find the data tabulated for sailboats and experience, but generic boating fatalities fall with experience significantly:
boaters with less than 100 hours of operating experience had a fatality rate of .64 per million hours, three times higher than the rate of .22 for those with 100-500 hours; and those with over 500 hours of experience had a fatality rate hardly measurable at .0018
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Old 02-09-2011, 11:37 AM   #33
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A few years ago my wife and I were looking very seriously at taking a year off of work and traveling the globe. In the end, we felt the long-term financial opportunity cost was too high and we decided to keep cranking at our careers and taking shorter excursions.

We have both traveled for extended periods in the past, and we have several friends who have been vagabond-style travelers on and off for years. Long-term travel is a lifestyle. It probably appeals to more people in theory than in reality.

The first thing that struck me - if you split the OP in two and put him on two different tracks - OP 1 is returning from an extended adventure at age 42 to face a future of resumption of work for who knows how many years/decades, while OP 2 is in the home stretch and is preparing to retire.

How many extra years of work will result from taking such a trip? I don't know. That's what would concern me most.
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Old 02-09-2011, 04:57 PM   #34
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Take your time and think about it. It is a big decision.
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Old 02-09-2011, 06:47 PM   #35
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Here's one more thing to consider and I apologize if I'm being presumptuous, but ...

What kind of sailing experience do you have? I also once had great plans for an extended sail, but I kinda shelved them (for now) after I experienced the loss of a rudder (snapped and went straight to the bottom) plus the mainsail (ripped) in 12+ feet waves in an ocean race. That convinced me that it would be years before I would have the confidence to tackle such an ordeal on my own AND enjoy it or at least voluntarily put myself at risk for such situations on an ongoing basis---maybe I would never even reach such a point. Don't forget the rest of the crew: Not much point in it, if half the crew is puking and the other half is terrified.

Anecdotal evidence has it that Florida and the Caribbean is full of boats for sale where the story is that one sailor spouse (typically the guy) spent years planning the trip and the boat, and the other spouse was a nonsailor but "willing to try it out" but experienced some bad weather on the first serious trip and took a plane home.

That said, like living on land, cruising can cost as much as you can afford. There are couples who cruise full time for around $10,000/year. There are also those who blow that much chartering a boat for a few weeks in the BVI. They experience the same sunsets and sailing, but the latter have refrigerators and electric winches :-D In general, expenses is inversely proportional to skills and competence---if you don't know, you pay. Same as on land, just four times more expensive with anything marine
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Old 02-09-2011, 06:54 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by sailor View Post
For the curious engineering/math types here, driving fatalities: .47 dphe, sailboat fatalities: .12 dphe, I could not find the data tabulated for sailboats and experience, but generic boating fatalities fall with experience significantly: )
The numbers I remember (which may be completely wrong) are 3000 annual fatalities for boating. Out of those 100 were from sailboats, the rest from motorboats. I don't remember the ratio of deaths related to alcohol but I think it was pretty high.
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Old 02-09-2011, 08:44 PM   #37
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Everyone knows good stories and bad. One of my nieces married a guy whose parents took him and his twin brother sailing in the Caribbean for 5 years because the kids were getting in a lot of trouble in junior high. Drugs, delinquency, etc.

They are OK, but the parents came back and immediately divorced, and the Dad was not able to restart his career and has turned into a 4+ drunk.

I think it would be very involving, to say the least, with all the good and bad that this can imply.

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Old 02-09-2011, 09:24 PM   #38
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A couple of years ago my wife and I quit our jobs to travel the world for one year. We spent a fair amount of money, and obviously didn't to contribute to retirement during that time. It was totally worth it, and I'm very glad we went. Going for just a year we had verbal agreements that we'd get hired back upon our return, assuming everything was OK. The economy crashed and that didn't happen, but we had no problem finding new jobs. For me changing companies has actually been really good. Being gone for 5 years might be hard, but do you really need to go all at once? I'd plan on one year. Then go again 3 years later. (I'm thinking that after 5 years of work my wife and I might do another one year trip.)

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Old 02-21-2011, 05:06 AM   #39
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Check out today's blog at Get Rich Slowly - Personal Finance That Makes Cents. It is about a family that does what you think about: going sailing with kids. Interesting links attached, too.
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Old 02-22-2011, 08:26 AM   #40
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Another great blog I occasionally read is called Zach Aboard

They are a liveaboard homeschooling family with a 6 year-old and a 3 month-old who are preparing to go cruising again soon.

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