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bernie 10-09-2008 03:24 PM

Hi, I'm a novice sailor who is desperately trying to get more experience and develope a plan for extended cruising. I'd like to just 'cut the lines and go!' You know, sell the house, cars, televisions, etc., buy a great cruising boat, and just sail away!

Enter my wife. She has to have a house. This is not negotiable. So, here I am. My only alternative is to get the largest trailerable boat I can find and try to get a job that allows me the time to enjoy it, like working for a local school system.

Any other ideas? Anybody done this type of thing and have some advice?

b. hinton

Lighthouse 10-09-2008 04:11 PM

Welcome aboard Bernie. Good luck with your plans - hope you go off cruising sooner than you thought.

redbopeep 10-09-2008 06:00 PM

Welcome to the Cruiser Log. A trailerable boat is a good way to go if you'd like to see many different areas but don't want to/or have time to sail all the way there. Also, if you don't have a slip available. Do you live somewhere that a boat in a slip isn't an option?

Sailing together as a team is a wonderful part of my relationship with my husband. I always want to know "why" when I meet a woman who isn't interested in the same cruising life that her husband/boyfriend is. Frequently we women have all kinds of quality of life issues that the guys, well, just don't think of or aren't willing to acknowledge. If you and your wife identify the "root" of why the house is non-negotiable, you might actually find a good way to spend a good deal of time cruising together--with or without ownership of the house.

In any case, you alone, or with your wife, can enjoy many wonderful sailing hours in just about any boat big or small that you choose. For more than twenty five years, my husband and I kept our own voyaging dream alive by renting boats, sailing on friends' boats, owning a sailing canoe and using it lots and just "dreaming" about the day that we'd have our cruising boat. Sailing is a wonderful lifelong hobby.

Fair winds

bernie 10-09-2008 07:11 PM

Thank's for the encouragement! My wife is just scared of not having a 'net' to fall back into. Also, the idea of living in a very confined space doesn't really appeal to her. I, on the other hand, think it would be more like having the whole world as my back yard!

We have owned a 22' sailboat and enjoyed it very much. Used it to get out to the islands off Mississippi and Alabama. I sold the boat when we needed a new roof on our house. I wanted a bigger one anyway. Problem is, three years have gone by and I am still no closer to having that cruising boat I've always wanted.

I do have a couple of plans i'm concidering.

1. work hard on the several novels i'm writing and set up a webpage to showcase my photography and stories.

place a contribution button on the site explaining my insatiable need to sail the world!

2. convince the wife that selling everything and living every day by the seat of our pants is a sane and do-able plan.

JeanneP 10-09-2008 10:07 PM


Originally Posted by bernie (Post 26471)
2. convince the wife that selling everything and living every day by the seat of our pants is a sane and do-able plan.

That's a hard sell when you're trying to sell a pig in a poke.

First find out if she can be converted to living aboard a boat. If she enjoys it and feels comfortable with the lifestyle, then you might again suggest selling the house and you might get her to agree.

My husband's answer to "what if.....?" is always: "we'll worry about that if it happens." Not good enough for me, and possibly not good enough for your wife. Think about it. What if.... one of you gets very sick and needs months of care + recuperation + being near medical centers and good doctors? Where do you live?

My chemotherapy/radiation therapy was more aggressive than most people I've met have gone through, and it went on for 7 weeks - another cancer center told me I'd be going through chemo for six months! Then wait a month for the next CT scan, then a month because they weren't sure that I could return to Australia and the S. Pacific, and finally after another CT scan we were free to go. That illness (first it had to be diagnosed, and that took six months in the US after six months unsuccessfully trying to find out what the problem was outside the US) had us locked into the US staying with friends and family for 10 months. Do you have friends or family that can put you up for that long? Peter's bypass surgery necessitated a much longer recovery and rehab. than my problems, but by then we had a house we could stay in.

You're right to think that the chances of that happening to you might be slim, but there are lots of considerations, including just getting too old to continue on the boat (though with our power catamaran we can live aboard in a marina well into our dotage).

Much less stressful if you take it a bit slowly since your wife is far from convinced that it's what she will like. If she's not happy, I don't think you will, so work on what will keep her happy as you try out the life.

SeaVenture 10-09-2008 11:49 PM

I agree with Jeanne. Go slowly and do things in small increments. We've been living aboard for two years now and set out from SF Bay last May. (That trip is another story!) We love being here in Ensenada and look forward to our next jump south.

I've been sailing all my life, so Michael and I always shared the excitement of cruising. Still, in retirement, we feel the creaks and groans that weren't there in earlier years. We're fortunate to have a house to which we can return, and that has made all of this a lot less frightening and stressful: we'll cruise until we no longer find it fun and then we'll either go back to day sailing my sharpie or we'll buy a much smaller boat for coastal cruising. Keeping a house and renting it could help with your monthly income and allow you to keep your investment in something a lot more stable than a bank!

My 80-year-old mother sailed for years with her husband. Most of it was day sailing, but sometimes they'd go off for weeks at a time in their trailerable French sloop. When that wasn't enough, they chartered larger boats in places they couldn't reach otherwise. She's about to join us in La Paz for a month of snorkeling and cruising the islands.

There are a lot of men whose wives don't want to sail with them on extended trips. One older gentleman here at Baja Naval gathers crew for the offshore trips now that his wife no longer wants to do that. She'll meet him in the Sea of Cortez for easier trips and to spend the winter. If you can manage your plans so that your wife feels included, so she feels her needs are also being met, then you can share some wonderful times together.

I met one couple a few years ago who'd made a pact: if either of them tired of the cruising life after a year of trying it, then the other wouldn't complain if they quit. To make that sort of deal, you've got to have a place to return to, but just knowing she could back out had gotten that wife onto the boat. I'm afraid I don't know the end of the story, but she seemed happy when I last saw her.


bernie 10-10-2008 01:17 PM

Yes, that is the route I plan on taking. I'll be patient, keep the house, scrape and save the money to get a really nice trailer/sailor, and then just see how it goes.

Thank's for all the advice!!!!!!!

imagine2frolic 10-11-2008 02:32 PM


Look around in today's world, and where is the safety net? People who have done everything right are losing everything, because someone else is doing everything wrong. BEST WISHES in getting your dream started, and especially that your love will join you. Charter a small cat with friends in the BVI. That knocks the cost down. Exposes her to a week of living aboard, and exploring...........i2f

Marianne 10-12-2008 06:27 PM


Originally Posted by bernie (Post 26461)
My only alternative is to get the largest trailerable boat I can find and try to get a job that allows me the time to enjoy it, like working for a local school system.

Any other ideas? Anybody done this type of thing and have some advice?

Yup become a teacher and get a trailer sailer. Perfect!

In all seriousness trailer sailers can be as much fun as a larger boat, especially if you are new to this sailing malarky. A trailer sailer can enable you to go gunkholing; nosing about up creaks and in places noone else can reach as well as being suitable for proper extended cruises along the coast. Also, provided you get the right boat, two people can live aboard it for a month or two at a time as well as the boat being sailable single-handed. I'm biased and think Privateer 20s are wonderful, Parker also do some great trailer sailers.

As it's your first boat I wouldn't advise buying new as more than likely the first boat you get may not *quite* be right for you. We got our Privateer for a couple of grand sterling and we really haven't regretted it. However in retrospect although I love my boat, I would have gone for one with a toilet. Seriously it makes a huge difference if you are planning on any longer trips...Hanging over the edge of the boat with your bum in the breeze isn't so much fun if its raining and windy..>/laugh.gif for our trailer sailer log.

Whatever you decide try not to buy a boat on a whim. Learn to sail, go for a test sail in any boat you like, and take it would suck if you bought a huge cruiser and then found out that you didn't like the sailing life.

Swagman 11-06-2008 02:28 PM

G'Day Bernie,

We too started with a 21 foot trailer sailor and have to say, the most fun over the whooe journey since was in those first few years.

Nothing wrong with starting small - but nothing wrong either with your good lady wanting her bolt hole.

We've been lucky enough to graduate into spending lots of time cruising away and still having a place to come back to.

But we've also met lotsa ladies who put a brave face on the fact thier boat is their home, but who quietly admit behind their skippers back they too would love both options.

So why not try and have both?

Bit more time, bit more work, but worth it in the end.

Good luck


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