We've been asked this question several times recently. Now that our house is actually listed for sale our friends are starting to think we are serious about going sailing. They have all nodded and said things like, "Oh, that sounds interesting." Generally they have that look in their eyes that says, "I'll nod and agree, but I don't really believe anyone would do that." Well now that they see we are actually taking the steps necessary to live our dream, they want to know what we have for a plan.
So what is the plan? Obviously everything hinges on the sale of our home. Once we have closed on the house we will shift from window shopping to actively shopping for the right sailboat. Our Com-Pac 23 is a great little cruiser, but we will need something in the 30 - 40 foot long range to safely and comfortably live aboard. The plan then depends somewhat on where we find the boat. Ideally we will purchase one right along the Gulf coast or at least somewhere in Florida. If we purchase one farther away, we would have to decide whether to sail it to the Gulf Coast or have it shipped. Either way we would end up with the boat at a marina near our condo in Orange Beach, Alabama. We are considering Bear Point Marina as it offers everything we would need and has a nice protected location.
We hope to arrive in Orange Beach around June/July of 2014. We would live aboard and refit the boat as needed while taking sailing trips of 1 - 2 weeks duration to practice sailing, acclimate to boat life and wait for the hurricane season to end. Once the threat of hurricanes is past we hope to untie the dock lines and cruise along the west coast of Florida all the way to the Keys. If we enjoy the lifestyle and sailing in the Keys we would spend the season there. When the next hurricane season approaches we would reverse our route up the coast until we arrive back in Orange Beach.
This is when we have to make some decisions about our futures by asking ourselves some questions. Do we enjoy this lifestyle? Can we afford to continue? Is the boat we chose suitable? Are we accomplished enough sailors to go farther offshore?
If we answer yes to all these questions then the next sailing season will see us going directly to the Keys and then hopping over to the Bahamas or farther. Beyond that time we don't have a solid plan. Continue sailing? Go back to work? Decisions, decisions, decisions!