14 June 2009 | Annapolis, MD
11 June 2009
10 June 2009 | Little Creek Marina, Norfolk, VA, USA
04 June 2009 | Little Creek Marina, Norfolk, VA, USA
31 May 2009 | Little Creek Marina, Norfolk, VA, USA
29 May 2009 | Little Creek Marina, Norfolk, VA, USA
26 May 2009 | Little Creek Marina, Norfolk, VA, USA
25 May 2009 | Little Creek Marina, Norfolk, VA, USA
13 May 2009 | through 21-May-2009
13 May 2009 | through 21-May-2009
12 May 2009 | St George's Town, Bermuda
11 May 2009 | St George's Town, Bermuda
07 May 2009 | St George's Town, Bermuda
04 May 2009 | St George's Town, Bermuda
21 April 2009 | through 02-May-2009

The Idea

01 January 2005 | Durham, NC
We are not sailors. Most of the writers published on this blog site have at least some experience sailing. We do not. We have never been on a cruising boat and would probably struggle with the basic sailing vernacular which is common to almost everyone who is reading this article.

My wife, Sheryl, and I are new to "The Idea." The Idea referring to the lifestyle and philosophy embodied by the cruising experience. From what we currently know, cruisers are people who have stepped away from the American dream of amassing material things: a big house, expensive car, numerous appliances and electronic conveniences. In its place they have chosen to pursue a lifestyle where experiential needs outweigh material wants. From the moment The Idea really took hold, both Sheryl and I started thinking about things differently. Could this be a goal for us? What changes would we have to make in our lives to make this a reality?

It is hard to say how and when The Idea germinated, specifically. I have long been a closet escapist, listening to Jimmy Buffett music and reading books like Desiring Paradise, by Karin W. Schlesinger and A Trip to the Beach, by Melinda and Robert Blanchard. For years, I daydreamed of finding a way to make the Great Escape. However, I was bound by so many concerns. How do we pick the right location? How would we support ourselves? How much would have to be sacrificed to achieve paradise, and what if it turned out not to be paradise after all? All these concerns kept me firmly ensconced in the corporate lifestyle and workstyle throughout my twenties and early thirties.

Sheryl will tell you that The Idea was planted in her mind when some friends of ours bought a cruising sailboat. Being the self-admittedly more obtuse of our happy couple, it took me a little longer. For me, the real seed of possibility was sown when I picked up another seemingly escapist book, An Embarrassment of Mangoes: A Caribbean Interlude by Ann Vanderhoof. This is a story about a Canadian couple who decided to leave their home and occupations behind to cruise for a year (or maybe even two) from Toronto to Trinidad and Tobago. It was the first time I had ever encountered the term, "cruising." After reading the book, I passed it over to Sheryl. It opened up new ideas and new possibilities. Real people taking an indefinite sabbatical from their "normal" lives in a portable waterfront home, perhaps paradise could be found.

I wanted to know more. It was time to find the right nutrients for these seedling notions. Through our internet surfing, we discovered a website published by a young couple, Tom and Amy, The Sailing Adventures of Dream Catcher at www.tendervittles.net. They have been writing semi-regular web logs for the past five years. The logs detail their experiences working towards the goal of cruising for years at a time with short periods ashore to refresh their kitty. We started from the first one and began to read the logs to each other aloud. We read about how Tom and Amy lived aboard a boat in Maryland as they worked to refurbish it, sell it, and purchase their catamaran, Dream Catcher (we had to look up the term catamaran). As we patiently awaited the departure of Dream Catcher for points south, Tom and Amy related their experiences at truck driving school, trucking being their temporary employment strategy between cruising journeys. They wrote about their travels to Alaska to help a friend deliver a boat. Finally, as we approached their log entries for the end of 2004, they sailed their catamaran to the Bahamas and spent 6 months playing in the sand and surf before heading north again. We were so happy for them, as they had become a part of our lives for several months of nightly reading. Strange as it is, because we don't really know them, we anxiously await new log entries from our virtual "friends" out there on the water.

Before we knew it, Sheryl and I were hooked on The Idea. The seedlings had blossomed and we were consumed with their beauty. We started making regular trips to book stores, picking up more accounts of cruisers' voyages, practical and philosophical "how to become a cruiser" books, and even textbooks on the topic of sailing (remember, neither of us knows anything about boats).

Beyond the practicalities of learning to sail, we had to consider how we would transition to such a living situation. We are both gainfully employed at full-time jobs which do not afford the flexibility of living on a boat in some remote and ever-changing locale. However, we are not tied to our current location. We have no children. We love to travel. And, we are both capable of living simply, at least we think so.

Therefore, the major realistic hurdle for us to consider was money. I will save the details of our plans for future postings, but we knew that a cruising kitty would be the key to making The Idea a reality. I played with spreadsheet after spreadsheet and indicated that I thought we could cruise frugally through to our "official" retirement years if we saved diligently for another 10 years at our current jobs. I thought that was saying a lot, considering that Sheryl and I are in our mid-thirties. Sheryl, however, balked at the notion of having to wait for 10 years. She said that she would prefer a 5-year plan.

I went back to the drawing board and concluded that we could be out of the gate in 5 years, with a healthy 401k to look forward to in our retirement years. The kitty savings would, hopefully, last for a few years of cruising. We would then have to return our attention to making some form of income to sustain us until we are old enough for the retirement funds to mature and become available.

Thus was born the Five-Year Plan. Please stay tuned to this blog to find out how Sheryl and I deal with all the issues of making the Five-Year Plan a reality. We will need to figure out the best way to feed the kitty, learn to sail, deal with our accumulated possessions, buy a boat, and begin the cruising adventure. Part of me wonders if we will have the patience to wait for five years. Another part of me wonders if we will have the courage to leave the landlubber lifestyle behind. Only time will tell.
Vessel Name: Prudence
We are Doug & Sheryl, owners and crew of the sailing vessel Prudence.

This blog starts in 2005, when we initially had the idea to quit our jobs and live on a sailboat while we cruised to the Caribbean. At that time we had never owned a boat and had no experience sailing. [...]