Live aboard to Sail Away, Part 1

Part 1:
Live aboard to Sail Away
“It's a bad plan that can't be changed.” [Publilius Syrus: Maxims]

Call it wanderlust, me a vagabond or any other term; I've finally decided what I want do when I grow up. After many years of never knowing what I wanted to be, it hit me while sailing with a friend on a 22' boat in Chesapeake Bay. Sailing brought back the feelings I had has a boy when canoeing in the wilderness of Louisiana. Nature about you, eyes wide open absorbing it all and learning to read then environment and understand how it influences your sail boat. This is something I can do for a living and be happy! I just found it thirty years too late. So instead of sailing for a living, I would sail for the rest of my life.

How do you make it happen? I started researching and continued to sail other people's boats. I also realized that I will need time to build up a “cruise kitty” sufficiently to support sailing without working. I have some time to spare in building up the kitty, knowing that it would take several years until I could pull this off in a way that, I hope, I will never run out of cash needed to support a simple lifestyle of a cruiser. In many ways, recognizing that there is time to spare provides one the opportunity to take steps that will provide benefits to the journey in the end. First, I would have to find a sail boat that would become my home for the remainder of my life and take me across the oceans of the world. I, in turn, would have time to refit the boat and learn everything possible about her. Then when the time comes, I'll be ready to leave with confidence in my vessel and my abilities to handle and maintain her properly.

Today, the dogs and I are happy aboard our sail boat. We have been here for over five years. Being a live aboard is strange concept to most land lubbers. We are live-aboards because we are planning to sail all over the world and we need a boat that we can settle into and learn inside out. Stage one of our plan is to live on the boat and learn everything we possibly can about her - learn how she works and how every component of her is maintained before we depart. I say “we” because the dogs are a part of this plan as well. They were part of the decision process for selecting our vessel. Though I know they will be of little use in sailing or maintaining the vessel; nevertheless, they are the assistant boatswain and purser of our yacht.

Will this bring back the eyes wide open feelings of newness, the absorbing sponge of senses and the oneness with the environment – I do not know; nevertheless, it will be worth the effort to try. If it works, I'll be smiling from ear to ear. If it doesn't, I'll still have the enjoyable memories I have experience to date.

Choosing to live aboard a boat with the intention of traveling upon her is different from other types of live aboard situations. I break the live aboard culture into two basic groups: 1) those that live on their boats as an inexpensive way to have a condo in a prime location and 2) those that live aboard in preparation for a long-term adventure. I am of the latter type. I plan on sailing around the world and live aboard my boat until I can no longer safely manage her. As a result, my discussion is focused on finding a long-term, ocean-worthy vessel that will take me across the world's oceans and provide a comfortable long-term home.