Wednesday, April 28, 2010

House Showings & Boat Viewings

The month of April is quickly passing astern and I have very few blog postings to show for it!

Two major items of note took place this month:

Our house in Albany went on the market on April 9th.  So far we have had two open houses and two sets of people interested, but no offers.  In this market we will probably have to lower our asking price a bit, but it was re-assuring to have some interest, as we are expecting it to take a little while to sell.

We have put an offer in on a boat! The boat is a Down East 32, cutter rigged, with a diesel engine.  After doing a fair bit of research on the boat after we saw the listing we decided to go for something that could take us around the world if need be, a boat that we could grow into.  She has a great sail inventory, and several upgraded, albeit simple (simple = good on a boat), systems, and she is priced very reasonably.  Not to mention the space below decks.  There is actually headroom for me at 6'3" tall.  It is the most spacious boat we have been in in this size range, including new boats at the boat shows.

Gracie Emmett

So, as it was, fate stepped in and threw us a boat that is located in our backyard, on Lake Champlain. Of course we haven't sold the house yet, so we are looking at a boat loan, which is actually pretty reasonable.  It is not much more than if we were to finance a car, and it will be the only debt we will have.

Included in the sale price is a slip on Lake Champlain for the year, which realistically is only until sometime in October.  This was the icing on the cake for us, as it will allow us to take this summer and really get to hone our sailing and cruising skills while keeping our relatively well paying jobs to save more for the cruising kitty.  And then, if all goes according to plan we can head south before it gets cold here this fall.

Away we go...

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Plans & Schedules & Fate

"A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving" ~ Lao Tzu

"Those who fail to plan, plan to fail"

The second quote there is what I have heard from my Dad throughout my life.  I think there is merit to both.

As we get closer and closer to the start of our adventure, I hope to be able to transition more to Lau Tzu's line of thinking.  But it has been a mixture of planning, schedules, and the un-planned that has gotten us this far.

When we went to Jamaica for our honeymoon in 2006, I had never been on a sailboat, let alone to the tropics, before. There are moments in your life when time divides, when it splits to what came before and everything after it.  To me Jamaica was one of those.  It was totally un-planned but has largely determined the past four years of our lives.

Though our time in the Caribbean was transformational, the idea to actually live on a sailboat probably didn't hit until sometime in 2008, almost two years later.  We made a trip to the Newport, RI boat show and that was probably the beginning of the actual realization that we could in fact live on a boat.

Since that time, we have had a mixture of plans & schedules.  Our schedule got pushed off from last year due to the economy and real estate markets at large.  We deemed that it wouldn't be worth selling our house at the time for a variety of reasons.  So our plans and schedule changed. 

Our current schedule has us listing the house for sale within a month and to be moving south to find a boat by September.  That is, unless we find a boat here in NY before that (we have a few scheduled to be looked at in the next month), then our plans will be tossed aside and fate will have intervened.
There are people out there who spend so much time planning and preparing and trying to figure out the perfect conditions and set of equipment, that their boats never leave the dock. 

On the other hand, if we were to go buy a boat tomorrow and sail away with little experience it could be hazardous to our lives. 

But, yet again, there are people like Pat & Ali who bought a boat after a weekend of looking and circumnavigated the globe with a day's worth of sailing lessons.

For us, I think it will be a balancing act of these three approaches.  As of this writing, we have no intention to circumnavigate the globe.  We would however like to sail through the Bahamas and into the Caribbean, perhaps setting up shop in the US Virgin Islands for a while.  We believe that we can do that with a little more practice and "big boat" (30 ft. range) experience.

So, these are our plans, in no particular order:
  • To buy a boat small enough to be in our price range, but big enough for the two of us. 
  • To learn to sail said boat to the best of our ability.
  • To live minimally and simply enough to make our lifestyle sustainable on less than $1000/month.
  • To enjoy ourselves while we are young and try not to go back to "work" again.
 Who knows what fate will have to say about these plans...

One final thought:  I've read that the most dangerous thing you can have aboard a sailboat is a schedule.  This has to do with rushing to be to the next port despite the weather or other conditions.  I really cannot wait to not have a schedule.

How about you, have you had plans where you feel fate has intervened?  Or the converse, were fate has led to your plans?