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Look It Up

Posted on Aug 7, 2013 | 1 comment

Don't know what kind of moth this is? We didn't either so we looked it up!

Don’t know what kind of moth this is? We didn’t either until we looked it up!

Dan and I like to be thoroughly well prepared for big changes and new possibilities in life. When we have a problem, we search Google and figure out how to fix it. When I was pregnant with Carter, I spent hours researching online exactly what to expect and prepare for multiple different outcomes to the point that my doctors were always surprised that I knew exactly what they were talking about and had almost no questions at any of my appointments. Dan visited countless websites and forums along with talking to other landlords before we were confident that we could make well informed decisions about buying rental properties. What can I say? We like to be educated.

Recently, we realized that we had been somewhat slacking in the cruising education division. Sure, we read a lot of other people’s blogs and had spent a lot of time reading cruisersforum and other boating sites when we were first making up our plans, but we hadn’t done a lot of in depth training because we were so focused on the financials of making sure we could get going. That mindset has been able to shift over the last few weeks… We have now reached the point where our rental reserves (six months of expenses per house) and the initial cruising kitty (10k to start, but it will be replenished each month from our various income sources while cruising… think of it as working cash) are established. Now we move into the boat savings stage. It is exhilarating to know that every dollar saved will be building towards a new home. That might not seem like a big deal, but for us it has been a major eye opener. Now we need to make sure that we are ready when the money is!

To start things out right we purchased the full pack of NauticEd* Captain’s courses and have both been working through them together. These courses cover a huge range of topics from diesel engine maintenance and proper sail trim to safety at sea and storm tactics. We have been very impressed with the quality of instruction and depth of information provided from these courses and both of us feel a lot more confident that we will be able to sail our boat safely when the time comes. They even have nice PDF graphs and quick reference guides to laminate and keep on your boat with you as well as practical exercises that we’ll be able to work on together once we get our real boat.

Another course that we are planning to take is the Mahina Expedition seminar that is given at Strictly Sail every year. This seminar is highly rated and addresses a lot of the logistical issues of living on a sailboat. Provisioning, safety, clearing in and out of countries, and having pets on-board are just a few of the topics covered in the all day seminar. The Blue Water Boats list that we’ve been referencing in many of our posts is also created by the Mahina team. These people have a lot of experience under their belts and we’re hoping to take some of that and put it to use on our own journey.

Two other big areas of focus for our studies will be first aid skills and Dan’s SCUBA instructor course. We feel that Dan getting his instructor certification could be a major benefit to us in the future and could potentially give us some additional income throughout the year. The first aid classes we are a little less sure about where to start. Dan is currently EFR/CPR certified as part of his rescue diver certification last year and plans to get his EFR instructor certification at the same time he finishes the PADI instructor certification, which would make it easy for me to get EFR certified as well (which we plan to do.) However as anyone who has taken EFR or the Red Cross first aid class will know, these classes are designed to stabilize a patient until an ambulance or other trained medical staff can reach the patient which usually only takes a short time in comparison to the days it could take if someone was seriously injured at sea. We are currently trying to find other options that would give us a more thorough training, but are having a hard time finding something reasonably priced that we could both be trained in. The most promising so far has been the Wilderness First Response program but that is about $800/person and requires a week of hands-on training so we aren’t sure if we want to jump into that without more … research.

Do you know of any other classes we should consider taking in the next year of preparation? We’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment or shoot us an email from the Contact Us page.

*Use our coupon code followthehorizon at NauticEd to get $15 off any classes! (Full disclosure: we get a very small credit to our NauticEd account when you use this code)

We’ve also done some major updates to our To-Do List page! Click on over to check it out.

Boat Review: Krogen 38 and Morgan 382

Posted on Jul 31, 2013 | 0 comments

After visiting the Cape Dory and Morgan Out Island in the marina at the broker’s office (check them out here: Boat Review: Morgan Out Island and Cape Dory 33), we followed our broker about half an hour away to a small boat yard that housed the next boat of the day, the Krogen 38. We hadn’t ever heard of a Krogen before looking at the broker’s website but were pleasantly surprised to find an extremely nice boat for the listing price of only $53,000. (Someone else must have thought the same due to the fact that the boat is now sold.)

According to the Kadey-Krogen Yachts page on the boat, the Krogen 38 is one of the only sailboats designed by the architect James Krogen. Krogen usually designed luxury trawlers but he designed this boat for himself as an ideal sailing cruiser for shallow areas like Florida and the Caribbean. It certainly seemed pretty ideal to us. There was tons of storage space everywhere, had very large bedrooms (or berths to sea people), and overall had the most “home-y” feel to us. As an extra bonus, it is cutter rigged which would be nice to have the extra flexibility of more sail options at sea. If we come across another one of these this time next year, there is a good chance we would buy one though with only 85 ever produced the chances are fairly low that we’ll find one. Good luck to whoever bought this boat, she was a beauty!

Being in a working boat yard was a new experience for us and the one that we were in had a huge assortment of boats in every stage of life. There were trawlers and sailboats, a 50′ wooden boat styled like a pirate ship, boats that were beautiful and well-cared for, and a couple that looked like they had been abandoned some time ago. We even saw a 30′ sailboat (with no mast in sight) hailing from Alaska! It looked like it had sailed the whole way, though I’m not sure from which direction. I would love to hear the stories that those boats have to tell.

The final boat of the day was the Morgan 382. This boat was clearly in the best shape of the four that we had toured and certainly made a good impression. A couple of the features that we liked were the settee design, large quarter berth area for Carter, U-shaped galley, and the general feel of the boat. The only thing that concerned us was the size of the V-berth, which would serve as our master bedroom. It seemed quite small compared to the other boats we had visited, but we would need to do additional tests to see if we could sleep in it comfortably. I might love the boat but if I can’t get a good night’s rest I would not be a happy sailor! Overall though, we really liked the boat and are much more likely to find one of these in our real search due to the wider production range of Morgans.

Do you have any boat model suggestions for us? Questions or comments? Leave a comment and let us know!

A New Car with a Side of Friendship

Posted on Jul 22, 2013 | 0 comments

Small but mighty!

Small but mighty!

Over the last few months, several times Dan and I have brought up selling our GMC Jimmy and buying a vehicle with better gas mileage. Though we had only owned the Jimmy for a little over a year, we’ve had multiple repairs that we’ve had to make in addition to only getting around 15 mpg on average. We figured out that even though we only are planning to own our cars for one more year or so, there was still significant savings to be made so we starting searching for a reliable car with good gas mileage. We got a little help from the financial blogger Mr. Money Mustache who has a list that we used of the top rated small cars for reliability.

We quickly found that we really liked the look, efficiency, and pricing of the Scion xD and xA hatchbacks. These cars are stylish and fun while getting great gas mileage and having plenty of interior room for the three of us. (Note: they are still pretty small cars so anything more than 2 adults and 2 small kids is going to feel cramped.) We found an xD on craigslist only about 45 minutes from us and decided to check it out.

As Dan went on the test drive (we had Carter with us so I stayed behind) I started talking to the couple that currently owned the car, Kyle and Becky. The conversation sounded something like this:

“So, why are you selling your car?”

“Well, we’re pretty much selling all of our stuff because we are moving to Belize.”

“Really? Are you going there to do anything specific?”

(apprehensive pause) “We’re planning to be self-sustaining farmers and work at an orphanage there.”

How cool is that! Just in the course of a few minutes I got to hear about how this couple about our age are getting ready to head out on their own epic journey and follow their hearts off of the well worn path. Even though I could tell Becky was obviously nervous about telling us their plan (as I understand completely) I’m so glad she broke the ice. We were able to share some of our experiences in trying to plan for the unknown and made new friends. Most of all it was so encouraging to meet other people who share in common with us their belief that we are not prepared for our current life to continue on without change. Their journey will be very different from ours, but it comes from the same desire to live more extraordinary lives while we have the opportunity.

We were happy to be able to help fund their goal in some small way by buying their car (which we love by the way) and if you would be interested in buying their house in Lincoln, Illinois here is the listing. We wish the best of luck to Kyle and Becky and hope that they see their dreams come to fruition very soon. Maybe if we make our way over to Belize in the next few years we will meet up with them again.