The Shark Tank

After spending some time looking for more information on which boat is best for the cruising family and reading other people’s posts in a sailing forum, I too posted a small question hoping to get some advice from the more experienced “old salts” about which boat would be best for us. What followed, along with welcoming and kind encouragements, was a storm of criticism. The forum folks basically told us that “this is not the way to do it.” Here are some favorite excerpts:

“Shear insanity as are all the posts offering encouragement to these totally unrealistic, unprepared Daydreamers; no experience, no knowledge, limited funds, no real plans [children’s long term educational, destinations etc etc].
The best part is that they will, in all likelihood, end up on some other Nation’s welfare rolls other than Canada’s.”- duanecatman

“ Since you haven’t had a boat or sailing experience, and are mobile, perhaps a cartopper sailingdinghy would be a useful addition to your belongings. Buy or build, there are plenty of options that won’t break the budget. Your mobility is an asset, and with the mobile home your first vessel doesn’t have to do it all….beach cruising is the topic to research. The small boat can then serve as dinghy for the liveaboard if you decide to keep going. For fitout, repairs and maintenance, spend only about half your kitty on the actual purchase…and be very careful about the purchase.” –micah719

“ The notion that a family of 4 with two small kids and absolutely no sailing experience are going to buy a 40 footer and sail off is nonsense. You might as well , suggest buying a 737 and fly off. Did you buy your camper van and just ” drive off” of course not you have driving licenses and. Suspect some experience in driving cars too.
Get some sailing experience in first , crew , see of you can handle the environment. Make sure the kids can handle it. Otherwise the sea does not suffer fools gladly.
Put a toe in the water not your whole body.
Given that you are most welcome to CF of course.” – Dave

“I think ,making such a huge step into an area you have no personal experience at all in is foolish!”- foggysail

Not all sharks in the tank bite though, some understand the notion of ‘difference’ and ‘individuality’ better than others and allow for an alternative way of doing the same thing; a bit of foolishness is permitted.

“maybe these folks should try the cruising life first before diving right in”

“This is said over and over in various forms in various threads. What makes this true? It is different from the reasonable advice not to buy a boat and sail across an ocean the next day – but really why shouldn’t people dive right in?
Some people live life by diving in, that is their personality. I really don’t see anything wrong with making a major life decision, assuming you have full awareness and support from your spouse and kids, and just going for it.
Will they get the best boat this way? Of course not. Will they make tons of mistakes? Of course.
Who cares, this is what they are choosing to do. They seem smart enough not to do something foolish so lets offer more advice on what boat to buy and advice on how to manage your systems, repair sails and deal with the strange new world of marine toilets instead of wasting everyone’s time saying that same worn out mantra over and over again about how if it took you 20 years to be able to make the right decisions it should take everyone else the same time and the same path.” – foolishsailor

Here are the rest of the posts in the forum

http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f49/four-people-and-a-sailboat-the-quest-93441.html

Everyone we met on our journey so far has been much supportive of our endeavor, telling us we are doing the right thing. But you know, people, when you talk to them face to face, especially when you meet them for a first time, are generally nice and careful not to offend you. Sometimes, out of much practiced politeness, they wouldn’t tell you their true opinion.  In forums, however, the opposite phenomenon can be observed. There, hidden behind their screens and nicknames, people feel free to write what they truly think, sometimes forgetting about such things as politeness and courtesy. I guess I prefer an honest insult to a dishonest compliment.

The result of this forum-experience so far is:
1. We took everyone’s advice and signed up for a sailing school in Saint Petersburg, Florida. We will learn to sail on basic 18-feet keel boats for 75$ for me and Ivo + 350$ for a full year of unlimited sailing on these same keel boats. This means that we will be able to sail every day from 0800 to 1700 except on Mondays for a full year exploring the St Pete bay area and the kids are welcome onboard with us. They too will learn to sail. How cool is this!!! So we will be staying in St Pete for a while, couple of months probably, until we feel comfortable with the small boats.

2. We will sign up for crewing bigger boats and hopefully someone will take us on board as free helpers later on.

3. We will not spend money and time chartering boats, we just cannot do this.

4. We will keep looking to buy a boat hopefully by the end of the winter.

Mira and Maya infront of Saint Petersburg municipal marina

Mira and Maya infront of Saint Petersburg municipal marina

18-feet keel boat number 2 at the sailing school

18-feet keel boat number 2 at the sailing school

Posing with Jen French, silver medallist from the 2012 London Paralympic Games. I am holding the medal after a seminar she gave at St Petersburg boat show, November 30, 2012

Posing with Jen French, silver medallist from the 2012 London Paralympic Games, sailing. I am holding the medal after a seminar she gave at St Petersburg boat show, November 30, 2012

 

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Categories: adventure, family, off grid, sailing, travel | 12 Comments

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12 thoughts on “The Shark Tank

  1. foggysail

    I see my thoughts on your planned adventure made it to your blog. Personally I wish you and your family a safe venture into what is now the unknown. Be careful, poop sometimes happens without warning. The advice theme from most replies was not…”don’t go” , it suggested instead that you gain experience first. Still sound advice! Regarding spending $180K+ for a boat, your very first boat in a down market is an important consideration of what you will do with it if you have a family mutiny. Those thinks can happen if they find later that the dream turns sour. And remember, money talks although mine is limited to “goodbye!”

    Foggy

    • Thank you Foggy, i got the message! And as you see, because of you guys we are starting sailing school next Saturday.
      What will we do with the boat in case of family mutiny?- I don’t know…I will think about this and probably write a whole chapter on the subject, but even “the worst case scenario” would not stop us from trying to “follow the dream”.
      Hope to hear from you again, we appreciate your opinion and advice.
      cheers

  2. I agree with Foggysail – the comments were mostly aimed at getting a bit more experience in handling a yacht before you go – not “Don’t Go”. Some people think that their way is the only way and they cannot comprehend that other people can do things differently. A friend of mine years ago set out to do exactly what you are doing – except he only had 1 child (then) and the yacht he had was only about 35′. It was painted “battleship grey” courtesy of cheap WWII paint found in Fiji (I think) and had the plastic end of a coke bottle for one of the portholes.

    Follow your dreams – not too many can afford to do so – and most of the rest are too scared.

    • I too agree with Foggy and the others who advise us to get some experience first and then go off shore. So here we go, few more days and we hit the sea!

      I love what your friend did! How are they now, what happened?

      Thank you for your kind words!

  3. Brian

    Crap on the negatives. Keep chasing your dream Filter the cautions. Get the experience and enjoy the journey. You are not fools. Enjoy. Enjoy. Enjoy

  4. Yeah, yeah, and remember the naysayers’ that sent Christopher Columbus off with a “you’ll sail off the edge of the world”… Some people will never get it so don’t worry!

    Mind you, that isn’t to say you shouldn’t take sensible advice; one should always listen.

    But I live my life to a motto “those that don’t think it can be done shouldn’t bother the person doing it”…

    It is aimed at all those armchair critics out there…the real people will be trying to make it happen for you; the armchair critics, well that is all they will ever be!

    Good luck, look forward to seeing how it develops…

  5. Danny (aka Doodles on the CF)

    You guys are doing great, keep it up and don’t let them discourage you. I would take a look at that Wauquiez 49 you found in Rock Hall, MD. Very nice.

  6. Todd B

    I really enjoyed finding your site…found it through the forum post! We are in the process of moving into our RV and changing our lifestyle a lot. This will include letting go of some of the ideas about consumerism that you mention on your site. We have not been as removed from the capitalist culture as you have through the years, but it is time. Clearly there is a better way. I look forward to reading more about your adventures! I will let you know when we get our site up and running for our lifestyle change….

    Do you have a way to subscribe to your website through email? I would love to be able to get updates of new posts through email! Please let me know if you add this feature! Thanks and best of luck!!!

    Todd

    • Todd, it is great what you are about to do. Best of luck!
      To subscribe i think there is the follow button you have to click in order to receive email notifications for our posts.

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