Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Advice for sailing YOLO

For the not aware, YOLO stands for You Only Live Once. This is generally associated with people accomplishing their bucket lists, quitting a bad job or marriage for accomplishing something they've always wanted to do.

First of all, I am the first one that envies the life of people living an Alternative lifestyle. Either giving up everything to go Sailing, Vanning, Biking, etc. God knows my YouTube subscriptions and blogs that I follow are full of people living it up, such as Sailing La Vagabonde, RAN Sailing, Hasta Alaska (aka Kombi Life), etc.

I almost did that myself, but....responsibilities and making sure I will retire with decent means, held those plans in check. I did, however, compromise by moving out of the city to live by the water with access to boating and fishing year round (not boating, but yes fishing). I have definitely improved my quality of life, not beating traffic and living in nature and on the water, plus having a great community all around.

So, a pet peeve of mine is definitely when someone seems to throw everything to the wind (literally and figuratively).  The following two recent cases show what the dark side of YOLO can be:

Case 1 (detailed article here, which is spread all over facebook).

Nikki Walsh and Tanner Broadwell bought at $5,000 1969 Columbia 28-foot sailboat to sail around the world. Their trip lasted 2 days. In the end the boat sunk to the bottom of the ocean. They departed Tarpon Springs, Florida. By 9PM on Wednesday, February 7, 2018, their boat was at the bottom of the sea. They were able to save their dog, a dinghy, and their IDs before abandoning ship to a SeaTow.
Case 2

This one pains me, as I know the couple. Mike and Rebecca Sweeney of ZeroToCruising, perhaps they should rename their blog CruisingToZero (bad joke, I know).

They left Canada about 8 years ago sold everything and bought a catamaran PDQ 32, sailed down to the Caribbean. They then went into business and chartered a boat for about 2 years from what I remember, then left that (due to unfortunate circumstances), bought an Amel 46 sailboat with the intention to sailing it to Patagonia. Unfortunately, issues were found after buying the boat. They have a pending lawsuit regarding the boat issues. They then decided to bike down from California to Patagonia instead. Suddenly, in Costa Rica, they are completely out of funds.

How does that happen? Lack of planning? Lack of acknowledging reality? Hoping for a miracle? Biking through central America is as cheap as it gets.

Thank god I know these guys will bounce back as they have a great network and many friends, but it is very unfortunate and sad to see.

General Advice for YOLOing (for sailing specifically):
  • Learn to sail first
  • Never enter a strange harbour at night
  • Have an overall backup plan (totally missing in both cases)
  • Better planning, especially financially, I know life can throw curveballs, so being conservative is better/safer. 
    • Example: On buying a boat, I would say a good rule of thumb would be to buy a boat that is less than 10% of your net worth. Probably higher when younger as time give you a chance to recover, but at most 30%. The reason for this is to make sure you are not sunk (pardon the pun) financially should disaster strike.
  • Have a revenue stream to keep you afloat.
    • House being rented out (or passive investments)
    • Books or articles revenues
    • Work and travel. Replenish the cruising kitty frequently.
    • Less attractive, but do-able: make money while travelling (here, here, here, and here)
  • Others?

I am not trying to condescending in anyways, but frankly, I don't see too many of these pieces of advice on the internet. Hopefully, some people see this and think about consequences and more importantly PLAN better.

Okay, off my soapbox.

Now go, plan and enjoy life!

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