This is the $64,000 question. We live in Phoenix, love our home, but now own a boat in Yankeetown, Florida. How does this fit?
We're not retired, I'm still working in our business, but one of the main attractions to this business is that it's pretty portable, no store front, and few face-to-face customer interactions. For those of you who don't know or have forgotten- we buy and sell mortgages, so internet and phone connections are our essential tools. We have great vendors who do a lot of the work and we communicate with them primarily by email and phone. So we can maintain an ongoing cash trickle from the business. We would, perhaps, rent the house in Phoenix for the winter months and use those funds for the dream (and peanut butter.)
My highest priority is maintaining my wonderful relationship with Kathleen. She has sailed before and has enthusiasm for the project, although it's clearly my "dream" not hers. I have listened to her concerns during the boat hunt, and this boat seems to meet her basic criteria (at least until she sees it in person). Assuming that she's not immediately repulsed, the plan is to do a week-long shakedown cruise in late April. 6 days of sailing/motoring gives us a round trip distance of about 500 miles. Sanibel Island is about 250 miles one way, so that would be the outside of a trip diameter. Take it slow and easy, sail when we can, anchor at night, swim on reefs and wrecks, enjoy the wildlife. Return the boat to Yankeetown for the summer and planning for the next adventure.
Then assess. Do we want to do more? It is certainly possible that the one week tells us all we ever want to know about cruising- too slow, too icky, to cramped, not for us. But I hope we are thrilled by the shakedown cruise. Then, what needs to happen with the boat? If we try it and don't like it, we sell it. If we like it, what do we need to change about the boat to take the next step.
After the hurricane season, I hope we will be ready for a longer cruise, maybe a month or two (or longer??) The Dry Tortugas, Keys, Bahamas. Then probably find a home port on the East Coast of Fla or farther north for adventures in the Mid-Atlantic states. Recently read up on the Grand Loop and this boat would do that well, 4.5 ft draft, efficient diesel for motoring! Or how about Maine and Down East?
In short, this isn't a plan for weekend trips. This is a boat built for comfort and hopefully easy living with coffee and cereal in the cockpit under the bimini. The plan is for periodic week-long or longer trips with the boat not necessarily returning to the same home port as we voyage around the country.