Making Cruising plans

Last night we decided to make some plans for where we want to cruise when we start living aboard after retirement in a few years time, after all that was the goal right from the beginning of this journey with Vida and Sustainable Sailing.

I will be writing those dreams up, but we realised that they will need a bit of an introduction. Otherwise they will look like a whole lot of crazy non-stop random passages.

Our situation and our plans are very different from pretty much all the YouTube channels we watch, which is ironic given how much we enjoy watching them πŸ™‚

The move to living aboard

One of the key differences for us, is that it will be a very abrupt change from preparation to off we go. Unlike most jobs, I will know, at least a year in advance, almost to the day when I will retire. I already know that it will be in a July and that after I finish work and have the farewell we will need to moved out of the house within a month and onto the boat. This will be in an absolute minimum of 2 1/2 years from now but could be quite a years longer than that

So it will be a dramatic and rapid change, we and the boat need to be ready for it. If we are not ready it will immediately start costing us retirement money, eg if we have to pay for removal fees or storage if we haven’t already downsized to what we will have on the boat.

Once, we have launched Vida her normal home, until we retire, will be a swinging mooring in the Menai Strait. Mostly convenient (and cheap) for the next few years. But not so good for living aboard as it leaves you very car dependant (the road between Beaumaris and Menai Bridge is busy narrow and not very cycle friendly) and we will be getting rid of the car ASAP. Whilst the mooring is convenient when we are going for odd nights or to start holidays from it isn’t somewhere we will want to be based at when living aboard.

Also the mooring is not somewhere we would want to spend our first winter living on the boat. It isn’t just the lack of convenience for shore (and shipping) access, it is also too exposed and the wind/waves really funnel through the Menai Straits. We could easily end up spending days at a time when it will be too rough to or from the shore in the dinghy.

The intention behind all the preparations, getting the refit finished and Vida properly ready is that we also don’t want to move aboard for retirement and then soon after bring her out of the water for the winter. So after a settling in period we will be sailing off to somewhere more suitable for the winter.

So, let’s imagine that by the September we are settled aboard and ready to sell the mooring and head off.

Cruising Speed

As we started making our plans, building on what we started thinking about cruising in Scandinavia, it was very obvious that we are looking at very different pace to cruising life to most YouTube Channels. So the plans will seem crazy if you are used to watching them. But then there are a whole bunch of things we won’t be doing:

  • We won’t need to spend 30 hours a week editing videos
  • We don’t want to go skiing each day
  • We don’t want to climb every mountain on every Caribbean island
  • We don’t want to fill everyone’s freezer by spear fishing everyday
  • We won’t have a baby to care for
  • No pets that will need frequent access to land (well none that don’t need frequent access either)
  • While we will be doing repairs and maintenance (after a refit designed to minimise both) but we won’t be trying to refit the boat as we sail
  • We won’t be spending much time in marinas to go exploring the land (in part to keep our costs down, but also because we want to see more places by boat)

Plus, of course, we will be at a different stage in our lives with different goals. Two critical impacts from that are a sense of urgency. We will be starting at around 60 years old and we want to see lots of the world while we can. So we don’t want to “Sail around the world as slowly as possible” (Sailing Magic carpet) but we want to begin by rapidly ramping up our experience on this boat, longer passage making and so on. Sitting in a marina or doing day sails with lots of time at anchor isn’t what we want to be focused on. Nor does sitting in a marina fit with our budget.

So we know we will be looking at our first winter being one where we can get lots of sailing practice in, to build our skills, gain confidence in poor conditions and check that we are comfortable with passage sailing for multiple days. AFter that, our plans might change a lot and we are quite ok with that. So when we start sharing plans remember that they are more dreams than anything else and we would be shocked and stunned if we kept to them πŸ™‚

7 thoughts on “Making Cruising plans

  1. svsoltara March 11, 2021 / 12:25 am

    When we were in our first year of sailing, friends of ours told us that plans are written in the sand at low tide. It took us a while to really get it, now it is something we frequently say.


    • Rebecca Milaschewski March 18, 2021 / 1:44 pm

      This is such a great quote! Will have to remember this as I’m trying to β€œplan” my first year cruise.

      Liked by 1 person

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