Sailboat Dreaming

by Angela
(Irving, TX, USA)

We were thrilled to find your site because you did exactly what we are now in the process of doing. My husband is 57 and I am 50. He wants to retire within the next 2 years from the airline where he has worked for the past 28 years.

We have studied living overseas and traveled to Panama in 2009 and Ecuador in 2010. While we liked some aspects of both, overall my husband just wasn't thrilled with the idea. Years ago in a "previous" life, I did some sailing and presented him with the idea of it which has now evolved from just doing some coastal cruising to becoming full-time live-aboards.

We presently are in search of the right boat. In August we traveled to Florida for a week of sailing lessons and got ASA certifications. We hope to purchase a boat by the end of the year, and then begin sailing on weekends and some short cruises to practice & increase our skills, get involved with a sailing club or yacht club, & get our boat rigged out.

We feel like we'll be ready to head out with confidence in another year.

In the meantime we have sold our home and downsized from an almost 3000 square foot 4 BR/ 3.5 BA home to an 875 square foot 1 BR/1BA apartment. It is so liberating and we love it! I tell friends that one of the joys is plugging the vacuum in one time & vacuuming the whole apartment without moving the cord!

We sold items on ebay, Amazon, Craig's List, the 1/2 price bookstore, consignment stores, garage sales, & even to family members. We gave away to Goodwill, the library, various ministries, & to family members.

We shredded old paperwork, sent saved memorabilia off to grown children, & are continuing the downsizing process even now, still donating & selling unneeded items that made the move. A goal in that regard is to scrapbook old photos & mementos for my siblings & children. This will decrease our storage space needs in the future, as well as share memories with them in a nice, meaningful way rather than just thrown into boxes.

If we can manage this downsize, I dare say others can too, especially considering we combined 2 households 3 years ago when we married and the merger included not only furniture, decor, & clothes, but also all sorts of tools, gardening equipment, multiple hobbies, a home-based business, & numerous sports interests/equipment.

During that time we also moved my parents, sold their home & farm, & I became "caretaker" of many of their keepsakes!! I might add that we are not living in a sea of boxes & clutter, but rather a well-decorated & organized space.

Last night we entertained a group of 10 and our car is parked in the garage! Over the next year, we plan to use up, wear out without replacing, & in general continue to shed unnecessary items. There are some things I won't part with, as we figure sailboat living will be for a window of time, i.e. my fine china, silver, & crystal....yes, I am a southern girl...and some other special items, but the retained items will fit in a small storage space. Everything else will go when we move aboard and can be replaced when we decide to opt for dry land again.

Thanks for your story. We hope to have an interesting one too!

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Sep 19, 2011
You go girl
by: Anonymous


Thanks for the great covered sailing, downsizing and moving to a foreign country...all ways to frugally retire.

If I might make a suggestion... Do some bare boating in the British Virgin Islands... Try Moorings, Sunsail...the BVI is God's gift to cruising sailors and you will be exposed to other cruisers... You can always tell the cruisers from the charter folks... The cruisers have wind generators, solar panels and/or dinghy davits.

Observe and learn from these cruisers... Then you won't make a mistake like I did... see

I also recommend trying to buy a boat in the area that you eventually want to be cruising... Unless you are just dying to take the thorny path, DR, Mona, etc. it will be set up for cruising that area.

Best of luck,


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