PDF Sailing Out of Retirement: Living the Dream

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A foot sailboat, currently docked in Ipswich, England, about an hour north of London. Over the past year, they've used the boat as a base to visit several different countries, such as Germany, France, Iceland and India. This summer, they'll move the boat further North to Norway to explore the countries in that region. Only got into debt for mortgages," said Fletcher. Fletcher, 59, retired last year from a longtime career as chief financial officer for several small industrial gas suppliers throughout New England.

Bruce, 61, retired seven years ago from her career in advertising.

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More recently, she worked part-time at a local YMCA but left last spring. The couple had tested out the boating life in the past. These sails only reaffirmed their commitment to the sea.

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So they kept saving and started plotting a return. Each year, they put away even more into their savings accounts. Fletcher was also well-versed in investing. In the early s, he started managing his own investments, and started investing in smaller publicly-traded companies called microcaps. The more independent you can become the better. Now's the time to start acquiring skills such as engine maintenance, sail repair, head repair, etc.

You don't need to have all these skills immediately, but if you're spending a couple of years saving money for your sailaway dreams, you may as well use that time wisely. Many cruisers have to work from time to time to supplement the cruising kitty. Portable occupational skills are other skills worth acquiring.

You may also want to pursue interests such as scuba diving, photography, learning a foreign language or getting your ham radio license - activities that will enhance your cruising. Get yourself a boat. You need a seaworthy vessel and one on which you feel comfortable living aboard.

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I won't go into what makes a boat capable of safely sailing the oceans. There are books out there that will tell you this. Size is not important either but I think it's important to be comfortable. Comfort to the solo sailor and comfort to the family of five will most likely differ, just as what is comfortable for one couple may be unliveable for the next.

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Also what might be suitable for a nine-month sabbatical may not be what you would like to call home for the next ten years. Most people do have to settle for less than their ideal boat. Start with whatever you can afford. Perhaps you'll find that you don't need everything you thought you did. It is the boat that takes you cruising.

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I don't recommend burning all your bridges, buying a big cruising boat and taking off. People have done it but the chances of success are less then if you take it one step at a time.

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Tom and I bought our first boat, a Balboa 26, while we were still living in the middle of the Colorado mountains. It gave us a chance to find out if we liked sailing and to acquire some sailing skills without selling our home, quitting our jobs, and pulling up our roots. Knowing when to cross a bridge and when to burn one can help you succeed. When choosing a boat or upgrading your existing one, remember to take a good look at your different boat systems. The more self-reliant you can become, the better. This is the hardest step for most people. While choosing your new home afloat and strengthening sailing skills by sailing off to your favorite anchorage are fun - saving money means hard work.

But again, if you believe in your dream and are willing to put in that hard work, you will eventually get where you're going. Here are some ideas to help you build a cruising kitty. This will accomplish several important things. You can save money by renting your present home or saving rent that you would otherwise pay; you get to know your boat - really know your boat; and it gives you a chance to see what you think of living aboard. While we were still "sailaway dreaming," I took an evening job as a bartender so I could stay home with the kids during the day.

I did freelance writing during nap times. Tom had a great job as a computer specialist but would pick up whatever he could on the weekends. He worked as a carpenter, a bartender and as a computer consultant. Everyone's financial situation is different, but you'll find that most people have to put in an enormous amount of hard work to make their sailaway dream a reality. I don't know any short cuts in lieu of hard work and making some sacrifices.

Start thinking of a car as nothing more then transportation. Perhaps you don't need a car at all. But your sailaway dream is worth it. Take a look at where your money is going and make some tough decisions. Perhaps you can eat out less often, maybe you can reduce your clothing budget you won't need much when you sailaway anyway , how about brown bagging it at lunch, etc.

Go to the library and check out a book or two on how to reduce your bills and how to save money. The little things really do add up. Stephen McKenney Keeping the Dream Alive Sustaining your dream can be tough, especially if you need several years to obtain the skills, boat and money necessary to sail off. Remember, most people can't imagine doing what you're doing. Their minds are not able to envision what you see beyond the horizon. Yet, here you are taking positive steps towards making your dream a reality.

Give yourself lots of pats on the back for your accomplishments, however small they may seem. It's important to enjoy the company of those with similar dreams or anyone who supports you in your dream. Being constantly surrounded by people who tell you how crazy you are, how you'll never succeed, and by those with nothing but negative feelings towards what you're doing is very defeating.

But remember that your dream may be sprung upon family and friends quite suddenly. Give them time to accept it. Many of their negative comments are probably genuine concerns. I suggest that you give your dream a lot of thought and formulate a plan before you tell others about it. Then you will be prepared to answer their questions and concerns.

I was very hurt when Tom's and my parents didn't jump for joy at the idea of our sailaway dream. My mother seemed to ignore the whole thing, hoping we might just forget about our "crazy idea. Her last one was "the kids will be of school age by then, you can't possibly go. In fact my parents are now planning their own retirement cruise and my mother-in-law, who we won over to the idea of homeschooling, expanded her job as a university continuing education counselor to include distance education for high school homeschoolers.

I also kept motivated by reading accounts of other people who had pursued sailaway dreams.

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Imagining myself in a similar adventure was a great morale booster. But the biggest motivator of all is to start living the dream right now. It doesn't matter if all you've done so far is get out a notebook to write down your sailaway dream goals. It's been fifteen years since my husband first popped the big question "do you want to go sailing for awhile? It took us five years from the conception of our dream until we moved aboard our 41' Gulfstar, Out of Bounds.

We've spent the past ten years aboard - cruising, raising our children, and living our dream. So often I've read "if you want to sail away, do it today, don't wait. But that doesn't mean you'll never be able to do it. If sailing away is your dream and you truly believe that you can accomplish that dream, then taking it step by step will get you there.