We have all seen the news of 15 and 16 year old teenagers (both boys and girls) competing for around the
world records for a solo circumnavigation of the globe. Some people think these "youngsters" should be stopped, that it
is not safe, and that their parents should be locked up for letting their kids make such a dangerous attempt. I say, if they
have the knowledge, ability, and the right boat - let them go... It was (in 1968) after all, that a 16 year old by the name of
Robin Lee Graham (the first teenager to sail around the world) lit a fire in me that burns to this day. In fact, had it not
been for Robin Lee Graham, I may never have set foot in anything larger then a bass boat. (Thank you Robin Lee
Graham!)
    Friends, sailing off to Paradise (especially the Caribbean) and even on around the world is not about how old (or how
young) you are. It is about living your dream, and about the boat, your health, and your faith.

    
My life long best friend took off sailing the Caribbean with his wife in 2001. The priority items in their
provisions included 7 prescription medications for Terry. They included heart medication, blood thinner, cholesterol
medication, and whatever. As of 2005 after spending 4 years sailing around the islands of the Caribbean (with his
Doctor's concurrence and advice, of course) Terry is no longer on any medication. He and his wife Linda are both
healthier and happier then they have ever been. (and by the way, they are still sailing)

    
Of course, I can't say that would work for you, but I do know that to a lesser degree it also worked for me. For one,
you don't catch the common cold sailing in the tropics. For another, with the exception of rough weather bouts with sea
sickness, you never hear of anyone otherwise, just getting sick.

    Whether it has to do with the tropical weather, the lack of everyday stress and job or financial tensions - certainly all
that must come into play... Whatever it is, living a-board your boat for retirement, and sailing around in Paradise - sure
seems to offer a much healthier, relaxing and enjoyable lifestyle then any other I have ever heard of.  Furthermore,
living on your boat as a retirement lifestyle, has to be the most envied, affordable, and frugal lifestyle on the planet.
1. If you plan to live a-board and sail off to Paradise, or on around the world, and you have not yet spent a
night or two or any real time (at least 3 days) sailing far offshore - you need to do that now. If you have the boat and
experience, do it now. If you don't have the boat and/or the experience then go to your nearest offshore sailing school
and sign up for them to take you.
    I'm not kidding here. . . This is serious - and it could save you a ton of money. I can't even begin to tell you how many
boats are for sale, or how many "crew wanted" ads are placed, because someone spent years planing to sail away to
Paradise, only to discover the second or third day out - that they couldn't stand it and in fact, hated it. So, make sure it is
something you and your mate or spouse really love
actually doing before you buy the boat.

2. If you haven't already, we STRONGLY suggest you send your mate or spouse to an independent offshore sailing
instructor for offshore sailing lessons BEFORE you get too wrapped up in the dream of sailing off to Paradise. If she
survives, and indeed maintains or comes back even more enthusiast then before - you've got your hands on a keeper.
For maximum success, your mate (or spouse) needs to learn how to sail and operate the boat independently of you.  
That means taking lessons independently of you. If you are the one giving her lessons - this does not teach her self
confidence of doing it all by herself.  She needs to know she can sail that ship and handle that boat all alone.  Self
confidence is not only something she needs to have - it is something she needs to feel. She will never have it or feel it, if
she hasn't totally (from dock to dock) operated the vessel all by herself.

3. Now, after cruising offshore a few days and nights, if in fact it turns out you hate it. . . All is not lost. If you know
you love boating, but just not offshore - then America's Great Loop offers much - much more then just an alternative to
crossing oceans. Not only is the Great Loop a long-term, long-distance cruise, it offers a complete circumnavigation of
the eastern United States (from the Florida to New York's Hudson River, to the Great Lakes and down the Mississippi
and back to Florida) in a 6,000 mile journey that no American boater should miss. Believe me, this voyage will be the
highlight of any American's life. So. . . don't change your live a-board long-distance cruising dream - just change your
plans and the kind of boat you buy.       

4. Regardless of the boat, sail or power, don't fall in love with a boat. Don't buy any boat with your mind clouded
by dreams, desires, or emotions. Look at your boat - not as a boat - but rather as the most important
tool you will ever
purchase. This
tool will be used to live comfortably on and in. It will also be used to get you where you want to go and
back again - safely.  It is imperative you get the right tool for the job.

5. Think things through to the very end - and I do mean the very end. Seeing how we all have to die sooner or
later - Where do you want to die?
    While some may think this is a morbid question - fact is, it is an unavoidable issue - one in which you (and your
spouse or mate) need to discuss and plan ahead for. Do you want to die in an old folks home, or in a hospice? Or would
you rather die on your boat while living your dream?  Where do you want to be buried? Is there a "family" plot? Do you
care? Or do you want to be buried (as me - if that's where I die) at sea? If you die at sea, what do you want your spouse
to do? Can your spouse get your body, the boat, and him or herself back to the mainland safely? If your spouse is
possibly going to be faced with getting your body back to the mainland, from the middle of the ocean? If so, you best
include a body-bag on your list of provisions - as you are not going to be smelling very sweet after a day in the tropics.
    Here again, is an issue that may point you toward cruising the Great Loop vs sailing the Caribbean, as you are never
more then a stones throw from land, almost never out of cellphone range, and as near a car rental, airport, or hospital
as most land loving, television watching Americans.

6. The most essential component to your success at living a-board and cruising as a means of retirement - is
the relationship between you and your mate or spouse. I don't care if you have been married to each other for 40 years -
what you are about to embark on - is a life changing experience that will bring the two of you closer, physically, mentally,
and emotionally, then all your years and experiences together so far. Either that, or you will have ended up making a
terrible financial mistake in buying a boat, or you will end up in divorce court over it.
    Friends, I have seen the best and the worst of couples living together on a boat. If your relationship is already a close
and enduring one, and if you both share the dream equally, the experience will epoxy the two of you together forever.If
on the other hand, your marriage or relationship is on the rocks. . . living on a boat together (even in Paradise) is not
going to repair your relationship, or bring the allure and romance of the sea into the lives of two hardened and frustrated
people.

7. The dream must be a "shared" dream. Your mate or spouse must be every bit as excited and enthusiastic as
you are.  He or she, must also be a very active participant, and take an active role in the entire experience.  Not only in
the research, educational and information gathering process, but your spouse or mate will also have to take an active
role, in planning, preparations, provisions, selecting and sailing the boat. If she (for example) has dreams of being
stretched out on the bow covered with tanning lotion with a good book to read, and an umbrella drink, while you're
busting your hump to change the sails - you're going to need to change boats, change mates, or change your plans.
     By the time you have been sailing for a month, you'll find that a particular cruising routine has evolved.  
You wake at the beginning of sunrise, and you start yawning just after sundown. That first cup of fresh brewed coffee
is like heaven to your taste buds, and your olfactory senses celebrate its aroma blending with the sea air.

    Your first rain storm at sea has come and gone during the night; your anchor held, though you had serious
doubts and concern when other boaters motored into the anchorage after dark. Your beginning to realize by now
that you make your own good luck by exercising common sense and thoughtful planning, with your good judgment.

    The emotional swings that you and your loved one are still having at this early stage can is a bit troublesome.
One moment you feel intense joy that your cruising dream has come true, and then the next you find that nagging
question has popped back into your mind: "Did I make a mistake by leaving my home and land-based lifestyle?"

    Don't worry, these feelings are natural. As you gain more confidence with living a-board and cruising, your broad
emotional swings will lessen and you will eventually end up wondering (as all of us do) why in the world it took you so
long to get here in the first place.

    We know one couple in fact, that made an agreement before sailing off to Paradise. She was very hesitate and
reluctant about it. He just wouldn't stop nagging her about it. Finally, she gave in to his living a-board and cruising
dreams. But, she had an agreement drawn up in writing. . . It stated that she agreed to go, but if she didn't like it, at
the end of the first year they would return to land; where he would never speak of it again.
She hated it at first. Half a year went by and he knew they would be returning home, and thus, he tried best he knew
how, to make the best of their last six months. By the time the year was up however, you couldn't have taken her off
that boat if you tried. Now, four years later, they are still living on their boat and leisurely cruising from one Paradise
Island to the next; while making their way around the world.

    Sure, it took her some getting used to. . . giving up a big house with all its amenities and comforts for living on and
in such a small amount of space as a boat - takes some getting used to. It takes all of us some getting used to. It is a
life changing experience. It is a lifestyle like none other.    
It is not about your age!
After a month or two. . .
       We hope you enjoy this site, and obtained some useful information, as well as a bit of encouragement.
While we tried to be as objective as possible, we hope you realize that this is our chosen lifestyle - and we think - for
very good reasons.
   In my case, I simply could not afford to travel, see the world, meet all its wonderful people and enjoy God's
wonderful gift of life as much as I do without the freedom that God, America, and little live aboard boats, have given
us the opportunity to do.  We sure hope we'll be seeing you "out there".
Bon Voyage,
Capt. John   
Hope you enjoyed. . .
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