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Wandering Dolphin
A Family With 5 Kids Sailing the World!
On a delivery again
01/02/2010

Position: N36 36.22 / W075 25.38 Course 141 M Speed 6.5KT Motor sailing

Happy New Year tonight from the crew of Changin' Tags offshore headed from Norfolk, VA to St Thomas.

The first day of any offshore trip is always filled with a certain degree of anxiety and excitement. No matter how many trips I do I always feel a little tightness in the gut as we throw off the docklines and head for the deep. Maybe it's just because I am a Wyoming boy born and bred and no matter how many offshore miles I rack up my brain says, "Hey Bubba you aint meant to live out there in that wild ocean!" Maybe it's just because my Wyoming family actually does say that to me fairly often, but this feeling only lasts for the first few hours and then I begin to get in the swing of the boat, working the sails feeling the heaving of the deck under my feet and the sound of water rushing by the hull.

This morning as we prepared to throw off the docklines in the freezing rain I had that same feeling in my gut but also a very real feeling that if I didn't get back on the boat under the bimini I might loose my fingers and toes to frostbite! I have been spoiled living on our boat in the Caribbean and am now fully convinced that if you own a sailboat you really should keep it in a warm place. Dick and Jill agree obviously so here we are offshore sailing this beautiful Island Packet back where she belongs... in the warm waters of the Virgin Islands.

The cast of characters on this offshore adventure story will once again be Dick, Jimmy and myself and we are personaly hoping for a trip with a little less excitement than we experienced last time we made did it. We also have another character aboard to play a part. Patrick Howser is an experienced sailor but this is his first real offshore trip so we should expect some adventure tales from him as he shares with you a little about himself and his experiences on Changin Tags". I mentioned playing a part in a drama because Patrick is a bonafide actor and movie star. If you grew up in the 80s like me you might remember him from a movie called "Hot Dog The Movie." When I heard he was coming along I must honestly say I couldn't remember what he looked like but I did remember what his costar Shannon Tweed looked like.... hmmm I wonder why that is?

Well we will keep you all up to date as we take this ocean sleigh ride. We are expecting some weather on Saturday so keep us in your thoughts and prayers. I will try to blog every day so if you would like to sit back in the morning over your coffee and live vicariously through us you are more than welcome to come along for the ride. Rebecca will tag on a note at the end of this blog telling you how you can easily send us free messages via our Sat phone too. It's always fun to hear from you all. It gives us something to look forward to.

In closing I would also like to wish a very heartfelt Happy Anniversary to my sweet wife Rebecca who agreed to marry me and actually went through with it 21 years ago today. Thanks for the adventure Babe! I love you!

Cold and Wet,
Kristofer writing for Dick, Jimmy, Patrick and "Changin Tags"

Anatomy of an Offshore Passage
Captain Tofer
10/31/2009, Trinidad to St Thomas

To read this blog with full pictures go to:

www.wanderingdolphin.blogspot.com

E-mail and Answer
Captain Tofer
08/23/2009, TTSA Trinidad

If you would like to read this blog post with pictures go to

www.wanderingdolphin.blogspot.com

Hello,

I have been talking to my wife for quite some time about sailing like your doing. She is interested but being the realist that she is she keeps bringing the question of money up and how that we would afford to keep sailing as neither of our jobs (aircraft mechanic and nurse) are mobile. So I was wondering are you able to work at some kind of job while sailing? We are currently saving as much as we can to make this dream come true but it is a SLOW process and we would like to do this while the youngest (currently 7yrs old) is still young.

Sorry if this question was answered in some earlier post that I haven't seen.

Thanks,
David Gillum and Family


ANSWER:

David,

Thanks for your e-mail. The whole money issue is probably the biggest set back people fac e when cutting the ties with land. This is a real lifestyle change... we went from owning our own buisness and having several car payments, credit cards etc to now having only about $150.00 per month in bills (bills that have a payment date each month that is) We no longer own a car or have a house payment (we own our boat outright). Our only two big issues are food for our huge family and boat maintenance. We have to stop and work for part of the year to do the work that needs done on the boat and to put enough away for food and living expenses for the months we are out cruising.

Jobs: I have been delivering sailboats for about 3 years now so my oldest son and I head off every year for about 5 deliveries... either up and down the east coast or to and from the Caribbean. The money from these deliveries tends to all go right into the boat every year. We are always in need of new stuff and repairs to old stuff on the boat. I think most people who dream of living on a boat are unrealistic when they think of how much it costs to maintain a boat in "ready for sea" condition at all times. Owning it outright is the only way to go.. we also cut costs by anchoring out all of the time and doing all of our own work on the boat.

Rebecca has been a waitress for the past few years and has earned far more than she ever has before. The key is to find the right place during the right season. She earns more per day in tips in ST Thomas than I do as a Captain.

That being said, you have perfect career jobs for cruising... a nurse could have worked at any of the places we have stopped to work. She would have had a job on day one at any of our work stops... she could get a job here in Trinidad today where neither my wife or myself could. Your job as an Airplane mechanic has SERIOUS potential... we have a cruising buddy who is an airplane mech. and he does free lance work for some stateside company... they fly him back and forth to work on the planes when they need him... another friend of ours is a helicopter pilot who works in British Columbia during fire season every year and he and his family commute to and from their boat for half the year. Here is another thought... it surely wouldn't be a big deal for you to get certified on marine diesel engines... if you did that you could work anywhere cruisers are anytime... I would hire you this winter if you were anchored near me in St Thomas hehehe. Engine work is ALWAYS needed everywhere there are boats.

As a final thought... if this is a dream you share as a family and you are determined to do it, the hardest thing is to risk it all and just go... find the right boat that is seaworthy and that you can aford to buy... she may not look great when you buy her but with love and work you can turn her into a beauty... be willing to go through the stage of getting used to living in small space together... that really does go away eventually... and do what you love to do... work to live... don't live to work.

Good Luck!
Captain Tofer


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