Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Boat

We are, realistically, 6-10 years from retirement. The reasons behind this are money, money, and money. In order to pay cash for the boat (we don't want a loan on it) we have to have enough equity in the house to sell the house and buy the boat. We are 4 years into a 15 year mortgage on the house, so (assuming the housing market doesn't do a total dive) by the end of 10 years we would have enough to buy a decent boat and enough in savings to live on it. So we have decided on a range of prices based on what we think the housing market will do in that time period.

We started out looking at houseboats, only because I was worried about so many small spaces and felt I could live on a houseboat that we saw that actually had more square footage than the duplex we currently live in. We could take nearly all of our stuff, including my husband's rather obscenely large toolbox, and would actually be able to take our motorcycles onto the boar's deck. The only problem with this boat choice is that we would not be able to take it in the ocean, and while a good bit of our family lives accessible by rivers, some of it is only accessible by ocean. Nix the houseboat, on to an ocean-going power boat.

The ocean-going power boat still has big rooms and a spacious deck. Not big enough for the toolbox or the motorcycles, but plenty big enough to avoid issues with the small spaces. The ocean-going boat has the advantage of traveling to all family members in good time but has one very distinct disadvantage. Unless we win the lottery, we can't afford to put fuel in it. Nix the ocean-going power boat. Enter the sailboat.

While the idea of sailing is something that appeals greatly to me, and I have enjoyed the times I have sailed (I can count them on one hand by the way), the idea of my house tilting at a 45 angle seemed a bit much like living on my motorcycle in a perpetual corner. Nix the sailboat. Enter the catamaran.

Ahhhhhh. After much looking and talking and internet searching and book reading and talking to boat owners, we may have finally found our boat type. Sails well. No expensive fuel required except for docking and generating power. Stays upright while sailing. Has a spacious, open, airy salon. The more we look at these boats the more we like them. We have plans to take a week-long, liveaboard sailing class on a catamaran next year. This class will be the telling point. It may be, after living on a catamaran with 4 other people for a week, we may smile at each other and say what a nice vacation we had, and go on to other retirement plans. Then again, we may get off the cat and decide we need to find some way to make it work a lot sooner than 10 years.

Stay tuned...

The Dream Boat?
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Monday, August 27, 2007

The Reasons

I've thought a lot about why I want to retire to a sailboat. Aside from the obvious, that both of us love the ocean and boats, I have found other reasons to do this, some of them rather enlightening.

One of the results of my "turning 50" evaluation was a desire to live more simply. It occurred to me that there would be a tremendous advantage in getting rid of all this stuff now, while I'm still alive, rather than leaving it for my children to do after I'm gone. Have you asked yourself in a while "Where did all this stuff come from? How much of it have I actually touched in the last 12 months?" Wouldn't it be great to put some of your stuff into your kids' garages?

Most days I find I'm wishing the day would pass quickly at work. It occurred to me the other day that I'm 51 and I'm wishing away days. Even to me this doesn't seem to make much sense, which leads me to reason #2. I really want to live every moment of my life. I want to treasure the ocean smells, or the smell of someone's fresh catch frying in the pan. I want to hear the sounds of gulls, of water lapping against the hull, of people chatting across the dock. I want to stretch out in the hammock and feel the sun warm on my face. I want to work hard all day and have the sore muscles to prove it instead of a sore behind from sitting at a desk all day. Some would say I'm suffering a mid-life crisis. I don't know that I would call it a crisis, but I have become intensely aware that there are less days in front of me than behind and I don't want to waste a single one of them. There's a saying (and I can't remember who said it) that goes something like "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do". Not much more I can add to that.

Those are my philosophical reasons, but there are indeed some practical ones. Our family is spread all over the place and sailing would provide an interesting way to visit.

Living on a sailboat is generally less expensive than living on land, allowing us to retire earlier (see reason #2).

I really really like to travel.

The Retirement Project is newly begun and I'm sure there will be many more reasons that emerge as we move along. At this moment in time, suffice it to say that there are more reasons to do it than not. Good enough for me. How 'bout you?

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Dream

The Retirement Project
(or how to move onto a sailboat)

For our entire married life we have wanted to live near the ocean and have managed only to continue to move farther away from it. With the advent of our 50th birthdays came the usual sorts of life evaluations that one goes through. At what have I succeeded? What contributions have I made? What do I have left that I want to do before I die? Living on the water was high on both our lists.

One day while we were visiting a marina on the river nearby, we happened into a conversation with a boat broker about liveaboard boats. It started a train of thought that grew day by day. We began searching the internet, talking to boaters, reading books, and somewhere in the course of all that, the mist of a dream began to seem tentatively possible. A few more weeks, a few more trips to marinas, a few more internet searches and we have somehow transitioned to the solidly possible.

For any who share the dream, and for our family members who might not understand, this is our story. We don't know where it will take us, but welcome along for the ride!