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Old 09-27-2006, 06:38 PM   #1
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Greetings Guys and Gals

By way of intro my name is Melissa and partner is Damien. We are another dream to be cruising couple. It is not a question of IF but rather a matter of how and when. For a few years the idea of shedding societies demands and adorning ourselves in free rags has been a constant companion. We are both serving out time in the Austalian Navy just biding our time. All our energy is being put into achieving our goals but alas it feels like we "Searching for a Heading"

After constantly surfing the net for all things cruisy Damien stumbled upon this website and promptly called me at work like a kid in a candy store. The few posts I have read explain his enthusiasm. You are a great bunch of people describing the kind of lifestyle we both crave.

But Dreams and Fairytales aside, what we are searching for are the home truths. We had settled on the idea of a catamaran in the 40ft range due to accessabilty to shallow draft anchorages and space for lifestyle. The plan as it stands is to start our new lifestyle at the end of our service time in a couple of years and extensively sail the Australian coast from Perth on the West Coast to Shute Harbour on the East Coast. After a few years building up our experience we hope to cruise far more extensively. No boundaries, just follow the wind.

What are the pros and cons of building verse buying used??

We respect the great library of experience we have come across and hope to become shipmates ready to meet in a port someday.

A warm hello to all the salty dogs out there
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Old 09-27-2006, 06:58 PM   #2
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Welcome aboard to you both - I know some very helpful "salts" will be along shortly to try to assist you to follow your dreams.

Fair winds.
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Old 09-27-2006, 07:14 PM   #3
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Hi and welcome also.

I sailed out of Freo for 20 years and have a couple of pals who built large cats themselves there. If it helps I could try and re-locate at least one of them for you to chat to. Let me know if thats any use.

JOHN
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Old 09-27-2006, 07:39 PM   #4
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What can i say, thanks for the offer John. That would be great, no hurry of course.

We both look forward to meeting people of like mind.

One thing we are keen on learning is how people manage to fund their cruising life "fattening the kitty" so to speak. Any advice on that would be appreciated also. Less is more of course but what would be "sensible" to start out?? The reason I ask being Melissa is a bit of a take what comes, give it a go and deal with the repurcusions type of gal and I am a little more conservative..

Damien
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Old 09-27-2006, 10:22 PM   #5
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Footprints! (Damien, Melissa...)

Welcome to the Cruiser Log. I am a fairly new member as well. My experiences so far have been very positive.

Here is my 2 cents worth (USD) that is about 2.6 cents (AUS). I also am in the process of finding a boat to move on to. At first, a cat was the boat of choice, but found the cost of any boats I found to be far above my tight budget. Any that were located that fit the budget needed extensive refitting before she could sail. While I dont mind doing some repairs, I want to be able to enjoy the boat at the same time. All of this to say that the first thing you need to do is decide how much you are willing to pay for the boat. And then start searching. The pros for buying a used boat are (IMO) usually less expensive, the boat has a history (which can actually be good or bad) so you can find out how she sails. The cons that I see are that there will be things you are going to want to change (interior, paint color, etc), frequently there will be minor repairs needed and sometimes major. There certainly are more of both.

I have found a 45' Columbia Mariner that I am seriously considering. I think I can get her for around $45k (US). She is a monohull, but I decided I can live with that because of cost. Also when you dock, I think that it will cost more to dock a cat than a monohull.(If this is incorrect, please correct me)

My wife and I are opposite of the two of you. I am the one that usually jumps in before looking. Suddenly I am knee deep in... well... stuff. My wife however wants to study eveything until there is no mystery left and then take another 6 months or so to decide if she thinks she can do it or not.

ANyway!

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The sails swell full. To sea, to sea! (Thomas Lovell Beddoe)
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Old 09-27-2006, 10:40 PM   #6
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Ahoy Melissa & Damien!

Just another thought... When I was in the US Navy, we could apply for and get a Basic Allowance for Quarters (BAQ) to open-up space in the barracks and allow some of us some breathing room by living off base. The money was intended to pay for off base housing, based on current rental prices. The ammount varied with rank but was always several hundred dollars (tax free) per month. I'm sure it's more now.

To encourage financial responsibility, the Navy Federal Credit Union would offer financing for home purchasing - knowing that they'd get paid every month by deducting the ammount of BAQ you were given.

The only requirement was that you had to live in the home, caravan, mobile home you were getting paid for. No big deal.

Just before I got out of the navy, I met a guy who'd applied his BAQ / Home Loan to the purchase of a liveaboard sailboat which he kept berthed in a marina near the navy base. As soon as the boat was paid for, he rolled the loan into another fixer-upper yacht, move aboard and rent the smaller yacht to his shipmates. At the time, he was varnishing teak on his Choey Lee 41 and collecting rent from three smaller yachts in the same marina. They'd ALL been paid for with his housing allowance while serving in the Navy and was beginning to perpetuate into a positive cash flow!

Since then, I've met several other active duty navy sailors doing the same thing to a lesser degree. And they were doing absolutely nothing wrong so long as they lived in the "home" the BAQ was being applied to. And in these cases - the homes were boats!

When you compare the current cost of renting / buying a house to the cost of buying & berthing a seaworthy liveaboard yacht... you may be able to aquire your dreamboat now by combining both your housing allowances - and let the Navy pay for it, for you!

Maybe something to look into while you're both still in the Navy.

Had I only known and had the ambition earlier - I could have owned my first yacht and had it paid for, in full, by the US Government!

Were you guys, by chance, part of the recent Australian Naval Amphibious Landing on the island of Guam? I can assure you that it was a decisive defeat resulting in the total loss of the island's beer supply, my undershorts and my car's number plates! Well Done!

Carry on,

Kirk
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Old 09-28-2006, 07:58 AM   #7
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Thanks for your input guys, we really appreciate it!

CLAY: Sounds like we are all in the same boat, so to speak. At the same stage at the very least. The thing that has us at a cross road is the fact that over here multis run at about $350k (Aust) for a decent second hand boat with pretty much all you would need to go cruising. However, i have been told by a few people, who have led me to believe that they are in the know, that for about the same price i could have one built to my specs with my choice of layout and fitout. How true this is i am not sure, but living very close to Fremantle, the boat building capital of the west, it shouldnt be too hard to find out. The only down side is that if i build new, the boat will not have all those little added touches that are made from many years of cruising experience which make it just that little more pleasurable. Herein lies the dilema!!!!

KIRK: It never ceases to amaze us, no matter how far you go, or how wide you roam, you always seem to bump into someone from the Navy....

We have only just finished looking into that very course of action you described a few weeks ago. Unfortunatly the amount of money to be gained by doing it that way, in this navy, is about $70 aust per week. This option we decided would end up costing us more than we already payout for our own house. But thanks, we like people who think "outside the box"

Our current position is that we have 1 house with about $200K+ equity in it and a block of land with about $150K+ equity (all dollars aust of course). Our biggest worry is do we sell up everything and buy a boat and set off, hence the "how do we support ourselves" question earlier.

Since we have a couple of years left to run in the Navy, we are trying to pay of at least one of the loans so as when we do sell all the money can be directed to the boat, which still leaves us with the problem of funding our dream whilst cruising. Do we forsake all land ties and set sail without keeping any realestate ashore to fall back on if things go bad and we loose our home afloat.

As we have read in other posts, the cost of cruising can vary greatly. We dont need all the luxury that we intend leaving behind, but we dont want to live on "rice and spice" alone. It seems that insurance is a big factor in the overall cost of cruisng. To me it would seem silly to sell up everything put it into a depreciating liability and then set off into a somewhat hostile environment without any insurance. But i have read that cruisers without insurance tend to be more reserved in their decision making, thus adopting a safer cruising ethic....

Anyway i think i have rambled enough. I guess these are the same concerns nearly everyone has had at one stage or another.

We are keen to hear what people have done or how they have overcome it or mitigated against it

Cheers

Damien

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Old 09-28-2006, 10:29 AM   #8
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Coo-eee Cobbers,

My wife and I decided to buy a second hand boat instead of building. We wanted one that was designed & built for ocean going & could sail. Searched & searched and we got it for around AU$150k. Spent another $50k and went cruising 1999. We sold everything except a marina berth, and live on the interest. We returned to OZ in 2003 for 2 years to care for a parent and both got jobs to add to the kitty. Now back cruising and in SE Asia. Brief, but you can picture how we are doing it.

Hard to give advice about how to do it without knowing you, so will just give some observations/thoughts, mine not the Admirals.[}: )]

New expensive boats often have nervous and stressed owners(not always), you hear them yelling at one another a lot. Some seem to love the boat more than the life style, or the partner.

Dirty, dented old boats make you want to lock everything up, or move to another anchorage.:0)

Mono or Multi, is a personal choice, we chose Multi. Generaly it does cost more to berth a multi,50% normally. In the Med you pay by the square metre for a berth and the haul out.

Insurance, a lot of cruisers get by without it for most of the time. We have it when in the Med or when in a busy place, would hate to scratch a Rolls.

Have not worked for pay while cruising, but have friends that do it. They do very well and are happy and that is the most important thing.

You have to be comfortable with your boat & lifstyle, no one else.

I think cruising is the best way of seeing the world and meeting the locals. I hope your dream comes true.

Regards,

Stephen
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Old 09-28-2006, 02:36 PM   #9
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A couple of things to think about:

Get as much sailing experience as you can. There is plenty of sailing to be had in WA (Are yo based at HMAS Stirling?). It doesn't matter if its big boats or small boats, monohulls or cats, just get as many sea miles under your belts as possible. Try and get some overnight experience if you can. Try your local yacht clubs and marinas for crewing opportunities.

Bear in mind that this move will not be all romantic sunsets and tropical beaches... you are, essentially, going to be living in a caravan on the water. and sometimes the water will cut up pretty rough.

Bear in mind also, that a boat needs more upkeep than a house. People talk about allowing 10% of the initial value of the boat each year for upkeep, slipping & maintenance, and thats not including living costs, fuel etc.

Having said all that, go for it! I am in the process of refitting a 2nd-hand 40' monohull that will become my home once its done...
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Old 09-28-2006, 09:38 PM   #10
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One of the things that I love about this forum is the obvious passion everyone has for sailing!

As Stephen said, it is going to end up being all about personal choice. Personally, I cant see why someone would go cruising if they are too high strung.. but again that is me. I find cruising VERY relaxing. Even when I was awakened at 2AM because the generator (which we ran 24 hrs) sucked something into the intake, or the time we were under full sail, rounded a point off Bimini, got hit by a strong gust, and buried the caprail about 3" underwater...

The dilemna of how to finance the cruising life seems to be a popular topic. There seem to be a great many options as far as I can see. If you are fortunate (or smart enough) to have made investments that earn you enough to live, great! I am a Texan that just aint that smart. My wife and I still own a travel agency which we can run pretty much from anywhere. Plus we have several timeshares which we rent out. Again, we will get down to personal choice and abilities though. You can cruise for parts of the year say 6 months out of the year, dock somewhere for the remaining 6 months to earn enough to cover the cruising time. If you like to dive, you can always become an instructor and do that on the side to add a little more income. In some marinas, you may be able to offer boat repair/cleaning services. Some people dream of writing... I still do. There are really endless possibilities. What do you like to do, what are you good at, do you happen to have any certifications that might help?

Hmmm Now I am rambling.

Clay
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Old 09-29-2006, 03:56 AM   #11
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Two of our Oz cruising friends finance their lifestyle with rental properties. One in Darwin, the other in either Melbourne or Sydney (yeah, big difference, I just don't remember!). The second couple went cruising on savings for a few years, loved it so much that they came back to Oz, spent several years buying old houses, fixing them up and renting them. Single-minded, but they succeeded well. The fellow is a welder, and supplements their cruising kitty in various countries by working in boatyards as a welder.

Lots of ways to do it, everybody has some skill or talent that is marketable.

Shallow draft. SV Watermelon drew a bit over 2 meters (7' 2"), and we went just about everywhere we wanted, even anchoring in Island Head Creek (no army/navy exercises being held when we were there, thankfully) where at low tide we were in a pool of water not much bigger than the boat surrounded by sand! (1st creek in. Rest were easier). I like monohulls, they're more forgiving of your mistakes than a multihull. I like multihulls for all the space they offer. Oh, my, life is just one big compromise.

Good luck, keep us posted on your progress.

Fair winds,

Jeanne
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Old 09-29-2006, 03:09 PM   #12
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Thankyou so much guys, the info is good and we have taken it onboard.

Trust me when we say that after 13 years each in the navy serving on submarines, we know how to live in close proximity to each other. Often we are underwater in a "caravan" for upto 60 days, so having windows now should make it alot easier.

We are currently discussing the merits of combining everything you have said and will probably look at obtaining a couple of rental properties and even a marina berth (i believe even they can provide a rental return)

Thanks again for your help, we are keen to stay intouch with this forum and help out when we can. There is alot of good information on here and have been overwhelmed by it all.

Keep up the good work and keep living the dream

cheers

Mel and Damien
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Old 09-29-2006, 09:54 PM   #13
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SubMariners?

I, too, was a SubHuman in my former life. After the Navy, I built, re-built and piloted a number of small manned submersibles, including the tour sub operating up in Bali.

My good Ozzy Mate (Peter Robinson - RIP) once served as crew aboard the 1960's era Swiss sub AUGUSTE PICCARD - a diesel electric boat capable of carrying 40 passengers and five crew. Test Depth was 750 meters - Crush Depth was 1500 meters.

So... What's this have to do with cruising?

Pete told me that they sometimes bent a sail onto their snorkel and could actually motorsail while recharging batteries on the surface! She couldn't point to weather but she could certainly ride out a typhoon comfortably while submerged!

Maybe the two of you could get your hands on a pair of surplus Collins Class subs and build your catamaran by simply adding centre boards and a mast. You could start a revolution undersea, under sail!

It might work... it's been done before.

Happy hunting and have a great weekend!

Love to Live - Live to Love,

Kirk
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