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Old 01-31-2008, 01:37 AM   #1
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Hi

I joined another group with same question just an hour ago. This is very important so I need as much info from as many different scources as I can get. Hope you can help!

I'm sure after reading my questions, all will know I'm a complete newbie. I need GOOD advice as to whether my Dream/plan will work. So I have a few questions that I really hope I can get real answers for.

In 6 years I wish to retire. To do this I hope to find a lifestyle that I can afford. To that end, my plan is: I hope to be able to buy a good used boat. (Hopefully a cat around 36 to 40") I will be able to pay about $130k cash for it. Thats question 1. Is it possible to find a decent boat for this price?

I will also put $40k in the bank as a buffer for emergency's and to gain a little cash on interest. For income I need to know if it is possible for my wife and I to take out vacation charters and if so how many per year. I understand that an average all inclusive sailing vacation per week start at around $3.500. The boat would have to be kept spotless and good looking of course. By the time I'd like to retire I would be well qualified as in holding a Masters license, cpr, wife is registered medical professional. Licensed Diver. Speak 3 languages between us etc. All the things that seem to be what most people desire in a captain and crew. I apologize in advance for the length of this letter. I hope all who read this will be able to help we make this decision. I'm pretty much open to anywhere in the world but it does have to be WARM
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Old 01-31-2008, 08:37 AM   #2
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Welcome aboard.

I'm sure others here will be able to give more detail but, let me give you the "bottom line" (unfortunately).

If you take any money (or kind) at all from anyone aboard you are classified as a "Charter".

A charter vessel must be registered and documented as such and the skipper/crew must be fully qualified and documented to be in control of a charter vessel. There are various strict laws, insurances, regular inspections, equipment specifications, etc., involved.

Many owner/skippers take a chance by taking on "crew" that "share" expenses. In maritime law this is illegal (an attempt to circumvent the law) and owners/skippers will get away with it until there is an incident or (God forbid) a serious accident aboard. This could even be a "disagreement" with one of these "crew". Worth taking the chance? I don't think so!

I am sorry if this is all bad news for you. However if you have the facts, you can plan your dream better. Good luck with your plans.

[EDIT]

Sorry, I just re-read your your post:

Quote:
By the time I'd like to retire I would be well qualified as in holding a Masters license, cpr, wife is registered medical professional. Licensed Diver. Speak 3 languages between us etc. All the things that seem to be what most people desire in a captain and crew.
My post above does then not apply to you. It may however be of assistance to others.

Good luck with your plans.
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Old 01-31-2008, 01:13 PM   #3
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"All At Sea" is a Caribbean sailing newspaper which has Cap'n Fatty Goodlander as its editor. Well, he is presently in the South Pacific on his second circumnavigation, and sends home a bit of wit. I first read his humorous articles about the boating and chartering scene in the Caribbean about 20 years ago.

I'm drawing from many years of reading his articles about the Caribbean boating scene. The USVIs were the haven of the crewed charter for many years, and Fatty wrote about the nitty-gritty, not the glamour. finding some of these articles might be difficult, but he has a collection of stories out that might have some of them. I've not read it although I plan to. Here's the link to Seadogs, Clowns, and Gypsies: http://stjohnlinks.com/App/Seadogs.html

Let's see if I can remember some of his comments: smiling graciously when your charter guests show up with four hard-sided suitcases you have to stow somewhere. You can't remind them that your letter to them booking the charter explicitly stated that only soft-sided luggage could be accomodated. (or, as I wrote to one of our pending guests, "you will be sleeping on your luggage, since the only place to stow it is underneath your mattress.")

Smiling graciously when all the food you present is unacceptable to them, either because they are allergic to it, are on a high-carb diet, or a low-carb diet, or whatever diet you haven't provisioned for.

Smiling graciously when they drop their towels in a lump on the cabin sole and get another one, and on your second day out all the towels on the boat are wet and too dirty for your guests to use.

All the other quirks and foibles that occur when sailing, with a completely clueless audience witnessing your discomfort and missteps.

Can it be done? Apparently, from some of the charter skippers I've met, yes. With a caveat, of course. I only know personally one fellow who was financially successful at it, and his approach was quite different from what you are planning. He had a large, 52' catamaran that could take out 25 or 30 people. He marketed exclusively to the cruise ship trade, taking the day-tripping cruise ship passenger out on a half-day sail and snorkel trip. He took out two groups per day, 5 or 6 days a week, and made a bundle. However, it was a terrible strain on his marriage, which failed, though he did not blame his charter business as the reason for the failure.

His charter business was during the early 80s when regulation and rules were still pretty sparse in the Caribbean. The officials on many of the islands conveniently looked the other way, which nurtured the fledgling charter business. Nowadays there are more rules, the USCG has a presence in the USVIs, and many of the islands are much more sophisticated than in the past. Parts of the Caribbean are still a bit like the Old West, but it's changing rapidly.

That means you must have a more business-like approach to doing this. First, of course, is your captain's license, and second is very good liability insurance.

Your idea of a catamaran is a good one, and will make some of the stresses of a charter boat a bit less difficult. You will have far more comfort and privacy in a 35-40 foot cat, which is a good thing. As far as your price, I just looked at some listing on Yachtworld.com and found several catamarans in the size and price range you mention. That isn't an answer as to their suitability for your purposes, or whether they are value for the money, but it's a start.

You might further your research by booking a crewed charter for yourselves, to give yourself an idea of what is involved, and how experienced skippers run the charter.

Fortunately you have several years to do the necessary research. Good luck!
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Old 01-12-2009, 07:10 AM   #4
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Gary,

I like your idea, as it is one that I have also entertained. Please allow me to speak from a more macro-economic point of view.

The present economic crisis that we are facing is actually very real, and the governmental prescriptions for fixing it are both unworkable and misdirected - they can't fix it. They are proposing more of what ails us, so the recovery isn't going to be for some time. I project at least 20 years, and that is without a war.

Where this weighs upon you is in the matter of currency deflation (not inflation). In other words, money is about to become very scarce, which is what you have been seeing in the news. The $350B that the Treasury Dept spent on the banks simply disappeared, as it is needed to pay down bad bets.

People that have easy access to money have the luxury to spend it on travel and tourism. Those that can't find easy money will spend almost all of their money on simple survival. Chartering cats is not a priority.

If you have the capital to spend on a cat (assuming your $130K), you are going to have a difficult time getting the necessary charters to pay down that investment, regardless if you financed it or the bank did. The bond market is on the precipice of shattering, which will drive interest rates to levels that would make people that begin transactions with "psst...buddy," envious. You will either be paying a high interest rate on your bank note or forgoing a high interest rate on the capital you threw at your cat.

As I said before, we are entering a period of intense deflation, which is a fancy term for the widespread destruction of money by debt defaults, rising interest rates and paying down of debt. Foreign currencies (Euro, Pound, Franc, Kroner, Rupee, Baht, Ruble...) are going to crater in value, which will lock those people in their lands. The US dollar will be gaining strength in an uncontrollable fashion as money is destroyed by debt redemption and default, while simultaneously demanded by 80% of the entire world-wide debt due to its denomination in dollars. People will be selling their own currencies to buy dollars to pay down dollar denominated debt until the velocity of money approaches zero.

The current US policy of "stimulus" is going to exacerbate this problem as US taxpayers will be furiously working to pay the taxes to extinguish this debt that is being created to pay off bankers' bets gone bad (to say nothing of all the land lubbers' home mortgages that they can not afford). The stimulus will be the impetus that shatters the bond market and the cratering value of US debt will cut-off Congress at the knees, but the existing debt will remain at face value for the US taxpayer.

Travel and tourism will be one of the first casualties (along with the modern 'globalism' paradigm), and I fully expect that all those 40-50' charter cats that presently are working will find themselves forceably put on the auction block as their operators default on their payments. Prices of cats will be declining in a big way (monohulls, too).

If we get a war, then the problems with a charter just entered a whole new dimension.

Airlines are frantically reducing seat capacity. Hotels are below their break-even for occupancy rates. Rental car agencies are clamoring for free government cheese to bail them out of their overcapacity. Heaven only knows what the market would be for a 30 foot cat charter.

The last period of deflation was 80 years ago, and the Keynesian policies of the era exacerbated the problem. The fundamentals today are several orders of magnitude worse than back then, but the "solution" is the same failed Keynesian economics that got us here. Back then, the government "solution" was a kitten. Today, it is a Siberian tiger.

Sorry to be a wet blanket. I certainly wish that I am wrong, but I know I am not. Perhaps if you can get a suitable cat for practically free, then you could probably eek out enough money to pay your overhead, but competition from others that got overleveraged 40-50foot cats at bargain prices will be tough.

I wish you well and I hope that 10 years from now, you will regard me as one of those 'naysayers' that you had to ignore on your way to success. All I ask is that you observe what is happening around you and think about how that effects your plans.

Fair winds...
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Old 01-12-2009, 07:49 AM   #5
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Old 01-12-2009, 07:56 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eleua View Post
Foreign currencies (Euro, Pound, Franc, Kroner, Rupee, Baht, Ruble...) are going to crater in value, which will lock those people in their lands.
A sad senario you paint but I wonder, in all financial ignorance, about the relative values of different currencies.

If, as you say, the bottom drops out of the Euro. Pound, Franc (I suppose you mean Swiss Franc as France uses the Euro), Kroner, Rupee, Baht, Ruble.... then surely the staus quo will remain. For example, if the Pound drops by 20% and the Euro also by 20% the exchange rate between the Pound and the Euro will remain the same and should not keep the Brits locked up on their island but they will continue to come to mainland Europe as will we continue to visit the UK. If things come to a grinding halt and there are many unemployed then the lack of money will put the brakes on things but surely not the exchange rate.

As one who is seriously financially challanged, can I please ask for an explination - in simple terms?

One other question. How do oil producing countries, such as Saudi, Norway and Angola fit into the scenario?

Aye // Stephen
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Old 01-13-2009, 05:22 AM   #7
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We are experiencing DE-flation, which is the rapid drop in the velocity of money. When I say that the smaller currencies (US dollar denominates 80% of the worldwide debt, and all money is debt) will crater in value, I am saying that the Euro (which is about a decade old currency compared to the dollar which is several centuries old) is going to have to be sold to obtain dollars to extinguish dollar denominated debt.

Selling Eruo (or any currency) decreases its value, just like anything else you have to sell.

Buying dollars (or any currency) increases its value, just like anything else you have to buy.

Extinguishing debt destroys existing currency, which means that the US$ is going to become harder to find at a time that it is being aggressively sought for debt extinguishing. This is why gold is an unwise investment at this juncture.

As for petro-economies...

As worldwide economic activity contracts severely (due to deflation), the DEMAND for oil goes with it. We need less oil for energy industrial output and for transportation, WHILE AT THE SAME TIME, petro-economies projected budgets and expectations on the July 2008 prices (US$130-150), so they have to make it up on volume, rather than price. OPEC cuts are hollow threats. In fact, all the moves by Vlad Putin in Georgia and now Ukraine are designed to entice the US into confronting them as to get the price of hydrocarbons up. It should be no surprise why dictators like Chavez and Putin are both trying to goad the US into enforcing the Monroe Doctrine - they need heightened tensions to jack up oil prices.

Don't forget, the Iran-Iraq war was played on both sides by the Reagan Administration to keep both countries pumping oil onto the world market so the Soviet Union (a huge oil producer) would run out of money. Eastern Europe is free today because of the Iran-Iraq war.

Less demand.

More supply.

Much lower prices.

Last summer, Norway was the wealthiest country on the planet. It will suffer going forward, just like all the other petro-economies.

Yes, the various currencies will be cratering compared to the dollar, but it doesn't mean that their people will be travelling. The velocity of their money will also be shrinking and they will not have the travel/tourism luxury dollar to spend. They will be fighting for national survival as they attempt to get international resources to support their populations. When you are wondering where the next meal is coming from, you don't plan Caribbean cat charters.

Meanwhile...the US taxpayer will be working double-shifts (if he works any shift at all, due to the depression that will be raging) just to pay the insane taxes of his government. If US healthcare gets nationalized, foreign national socialized healthcare schemes won't have Uncle Sugar to draft upon, and will be forced to confront the actual cost of their health rationing, rather than letting Americans foot the bill for the massive R/D costs of medicine.

I hope that helps in your understanding. Believe it or not, I'm not a 'doom and gloomer.' I just think the economic adjustment going forward is perfectly understandable and best understood if you do not listen to government or Wall Street propaganda arms.
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Old 01-13-2009, 07:29 PM   #8
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The original post is a year! old. I just figured that out. While the economic analysis is interesting, it's drawing away from the core topic--which is really the underlying question of "can I live aboard and find a way for others to pay me to 'share' in the experience for a bit?" The charter question.

I appreciate Jeanne's response which is very thorough. I do believe that the time to casually charter is long past. Perhaps in the '80's it was best--before insurance and lawsuits and all the messiness of our world intervened and have made it too hard to do in many parts of the world since then. My sister-in-law and her (now ex-) husband ran an excursion fishing and diving charter boat out of Key Largo in the early 1990's. They were barely making the money to pay off the boat and start paying themselves when their marriage failed (the strain of the business had a lot to do with it). Lessons learned from her experience--people on vacation are rude, self-centered, and frequently trying to get their vacation for "nothing." If anything goes wrong--big or small, they want their money back. I agree with her that many folks do become monsters when on vacation and if they are not getting what they want for free or next to nothing.

I'd suggest that anyone trying to live the cruising life try very hard to find a way to be self-sufficient or to perform work (telecommute so to speak) that doesn't involve bringing folks onto their boat for hire in any way. Being frugal goes a long way towards not needing others to fund the lifestyle.

Fair winds,

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Old 09-29-2009, 04:41 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redbopeep View Post
I'd suggest that anyone trying to live the cruising life try very hard to find a way to be self-sufficient or to perform work (telecommute so to speak) that doesn't involve bringing folks onto their boat for hire in any way. Being frugal goes a long way towards not needing others to fund the lifestyle.
I haven't had the chance yet to read any of the books mentioned in the forum about how one earns the money needed for cruising by cruising. Can someone enlighten me on what income one can count on?

I could come out with some ideas, but I am far from convinced that any one of them would be overly effective.

Charter: you just said that it is essentially a no-go

Trafficking (I do not know whether it is the good word in English, I mean buying goods here, bringing them legally there, paying customs when applicable and selling them): I do not know if it could be prosperous, but based on the space available on a cruiser I doubt it. And for me it would be a disaster anyway (I am the guy who has zero ability to do good deals).

Telecommuting: Well, I am an experienced programmer, I could do that on board. But I doubt there is a lot of bandwidth available on high seas, and not using the internet while working would seriously hinder effectiveness. And I just cannot figure out how one could do something needing high level of concentration while on the watch.
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Old 05-12-2010, 04:01 AM   #10
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Hello

I retired almost 10 years ago, age 50 to spend time travelling, cycling and pottering around in boats. I had been living on a peniche (french barge) on the river Seine in Paris for 4 years and got used to the smell of water beneath me. I tried Cannes (south of France) for a couple of years but almost impossible to make friends there as 80% of residents were also Parisiens with weekend homes.

I always liked Asia and set about exploring by bicycle for 4 months a year> Firstly Thailand which I disliked immensely and had great language problems, Laos was too remote, Vietnam was great but culturally very different apart from french atmosphere left over from the french colonism. I liked Philippines a lot, same language, culture, beautiful girls, friendly locals and cheap.

After several cycle tours exploring each island, I found nice land at 2 US dlls a sq metre, with beach side on a tranquil and up and coming island called Camiguin. Also I met my present filippina partner on the island.

I was fascinated by the idea of cruising around the philippine islands and searched for a suitable liveaboard boat. I found a 5 year old Indonesian phinisi (schooner), built in Bira, Sulawesi, Indonesia and moored in Bira. After a few emails and a visit to Bira we were the owners of our own ocean going schooner 75 ft, 15ft beam and 2 metres draft. The previous owner organised a buginese crrew to help sail her to the Philippines after a short tour of Indonesian Islands (Flores,, Komodo etc). We arrived Camiguin in March 2007.

On the land I bought previously we set up a watersports and sailing centre, with the schooner as a centrepiece attraction. We lived onboard the schooner which was very comfortable with shoreside power (very important to us), fresh water hose to shore,, beer chiller, air con ( temperatures never drop below 30 C degs here) and 12 berths.

We hire local crew, captain with licence most important in Philipppines, engineer, AB and my filippina wife as galley slave. We started with sunset cruises - drinks and beach parties for tourists, then cruising the islands like boracay and Palawan.

We needed an office on the island for local business registration so we set up a englsih pub which was also our booking office and comes under the same tax accounts.

So far we are moderately successful, but monied tourists are few and far apart. We are hopiing that China, Korea, Kuwait and Japan will be our main markets.

I feel the moral of this story is that you should get to know your market, where the ideal operating base will be, what financial backups you will have, and alternatives.

You can see our yacht, in old colours and rig, at our web site www.lagunalodgecamiguin.com

Good luck and happy retirement.
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Old 05-28-2010, 01:52 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eleua' date='13 January 2009 - 01:22 AM View Post

We are experiencing DE-flation, which is the rapid drop in the velocity of money. When I say that the smaller currencies (US dollar denominates 80% of the worldwide debt, and all money is debt) will crater in value, I am saying that the Euro (which is about a decade old currency compared to the dollar which is several centuries old) is going to have to be sold to obtain dollars to extinguish dollar denominated debt.

Selling Eruo (or any currency) decreases its value, just like anything else you have to sell.

Buying dollars (or any currency) increases its value, just like anything else you have to buy.

Extinguishing debt destroys existing currency, which means that the US$ is going to become harder to find at a time that it is being aggressively sought for debt extinguishing. This is why gold is an unwise investment at this juncture.

As for petro-economies...

As worldwide economic activity contracts severely (due to deflation), the DEMAND for oil goes with it. We need less oil for energy industrial output and for transportation, WHILE AT THE SAME TIME, petro-economies projected budgets and expectations on the July 2008 prices (US$130-150), so they have to make it up on volume, rather than price. OPEC cuts are hollow threats. In fact, all the moves by Vlad Putin in Georgia and now Ukraine are designed to entice the US into confronting them as to get the price of hydrocarbons up. It should be no surprise why dictators like Chavez and Putin are both trying to goad the US into enforcing the Monroe Doctrine - they need heightened tensions to jack up oil prices.

Don't forget, the Iran-Iraq war was played on both sides by the Reagan Administration to keep both countries pumping oil onto the world market so the Soviet Union (a huge oil producer) would run out of money. Eastern Europe is free today because of the Iran-Iraq war.

Less demand.

More supply.

Much lower prices.

Last summer, Norway was the wealthiest country on the planet. It will suffer going forward, just like all the other petro-economies.

Yes, the various currencies will be cratering compared to the dollar, but it doesn't mean that their people will be travelling. The velocity of their money will also be shrinking and they will not have the travel/tourism luxury dollar to spend. They will be fighting for national survival as they attempt to get international resources to support their populations. When you are wondering where the next meal is coming from, you don't plan Caribbean cat charters.

Meanwhile...the US taxpayer will be working double-shifts (if he works any shift at all, due to the depression that will be raging) just to pay the insane taxes of his government. If US healthcare gets nationalized, foreign national socialized healthcare schemes won't have Uncle Sugar to draft upon, and will be forced to confront the actual cost of their health rationing, rather than letting Americans foot the bill for the massive R/D costs of medicine.

I hope that helps in your understanding. Believe it or not, I'm not a 'doom and gloomer.' I just think the economic adjustment going forward is perfectly understandable and best understood if you do not listen to government or Wall Street propaganda arms.
Could not have said it better myself......don't ya just love reality? The media, apparently, doesn't anymore.....and it has been a long time. Very important things to think about...when you are just starting out....but Lighthouse was too, right on.....

And though somewhat off topic, it is a part of the equation overall....

Good post....

C
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Old 05-28-2010, 06:26 AM   #12
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"Extinguishing debt destroys existing currency, which means that the US$ is going to become harder to find at a time that it is being aggressively sought for debt extinguishing. This is why gold is an unwise investment at this juncture."

Yhanks for the lesson in exonomics - an area in which I have almost zero knowledge. My few assets were earned through plain hard work - not a knowledge of finances and speculation. However, I would like to keep the little I have: any suggestions as to what might be a good investment at this time?

Aye // Stephen
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Old 09-08-2010, 03:37 PM   #13
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I am already living for more than 1 year on-board a charter yacht, yes it is sometimes tricky, luckily the yacht is big enough.

Only thing to watch is that you at all times give the client their privacy and this can be difficult on smaller yachts.

Good luck.

Chris.



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