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giving up the dream

Jul 21, 2014
hunter 28.5 lake
We have been planning to cruise full time for the past eight years. Began building a financial plan so we could retire at 57 and 52 so we could afford to buy boat with cash, cruise full time, be financially set (to cruise), and planned on selling house with cash put into savings.everything was rocking along, both wife and I met with our retirement facilities and all the money would be set. Have a boat we planned on looking at next week and sounded like the one. We even discussed how much we could offer and our strategy for the deal. Did a cruise in the BVI to test our skills and knowledge. We are ready!

Then three nights ago the wife says stop. She has decided she wants to stay and watch the grand baby grow. This after we have had some serious talks about never wanting to say "what if".

I am a DAV having foot damage that will only get worse with age. We even discussed that this was our time since lantern my feet would become an issue.

How do you just stop over night after devoting the past 8 years to preparing, searching, educating yourself, building a future life cruising, and then STOP?


Sep 13, 2012
1979 Hunter Cherubini 30 Clemmons
Is she not interested in cruising at all now or just against the full time part?. What's wrong wiith keeping a home and still doing the 1 or 2 month cruises?


Mar 16, 2010
Beneteau 411 Oceanis Annapolis
We have a deal in our house - I don't talk about how much she spends on shoes and handbags, and she doesn't concern herself with boat work. Neither of us is qualified to speculate on relative value, so we don't. But more specifically, my grandma would have been way cooler to visit if she had been anchored in the lee of some random tropical island. Her son-in-law would have also found way more reasons to visit with the babies.
May 23, 2004
I'm in the market as were . Colonial Beach
Yep.....Just went through something sort of similar. I ended up downsizing from a Catalina 30 to a Compac 23.

It is a tough situation and it will cause a lot of stress for you and some stress for your wife. This may be a big enough blow to cause couples counseling.

My best advise is not to rush into anything. Communicate and try to find compromise when you can.
Feb 3, 2014
Beneteau 32s5 Cork, Ireland
Years ago my wife and I did the cruising thing when we were in our 30’s. We lived aboard for 6 years, paid off the boat, got the sailing skills, quit our jobs and sailed south to the Mediterranean Sea for 2.5 years. This was before the internet, skype and other modern means of communication. I found that about 20% of the people we knew over the years who planned on going cruising actually did it. And of those who did, some of relationships did not last. So I would say that your story is not unique. The cruising lifestyle is by far ideal and is in fact very hard, both physically and mentally. After a 20 year absence from boat ownership, we have recently got ‘ Mischief’. We have done a couple of offshore trips and I am surprised to find it now much harder for both my wife and I than when we were younger. Luckily we have a 16 year old daughter that has energy and youthful enthusiasm for sailing. Thus, I suggest that you don’t quit, however compromise; as you can do both! I would suggest a bit of sailing, leave the boat somewhere, go home and do a bit more of sailing, leave the boat, go home …and so on. I would also suggest getting a bit of crew together for legs of the journey. Don’t make any plans to go afar, just take it in short steps, one little bit of sailing at a time and enjoy the ride. Should you budget permit, there is also the option of having the boat shipped somewhere and fly back and forth for your cruising. We found much enjoyment of sailing into a new harbour/marina and just hanging out, getting to know the locals, trying new foods and enjoying life. Aquanut
Aug 2, 2005
Pearson 33-2 & Typhoon 18 Seneca Lake
Hello Mr & Mrs Olden,

We never planned on full time cruising, but sailing has been (and is yet) a large part of our recreational activities. In July of 2010 our daughter told us of the upcoming birth of our granddaughter. Tears, Joy, Reactions all happened at once! Sold the boat within 3 months to spend lots of time with our growing family. We even thought of selling our home in Florida, but hesitated on that for several reasons.

Granddaughter arrives; everybody oohs and aahs; we help out and visit often; we miss our own recreational time. We also realize (slowly, I guess) that we are infringing on the activities and needs of the new family.....Son in law, daughter, and THEIR child! My point is this: Grandparents need to live their own lives in the time periods between seeing and caring for their grandchild(ren). Also (we are now 65 and 64 respectively), body parts do not react as quickly, heal as quickly, nor work without pain in the manner they did in our 50s. Spend time with your growing family, but enjoy your own interests so you will be able to joyfully help when needed. I agree with the "compromise" idea mentioned in other posts. Sailing/cruising does not need to be an "all or nothing" activity.

January 2013: while home from Florida (where we spend the winter) to visit our granddaughter for Christmas we put a deposit on a sailboat.
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Jun 8, 2004
Hunter 26 Illinois

Yes, those Grandchildren change everything! So, we stay on the boat one week a month. A key thing perhaps is that we have a group of friends that we cruise with for two plus weeks every summer. I know that my wife really enjoys the group sailing. I think having this group that enjoy sailing and sailing together has increased her desire to sail. Both the fellowship and the positive reinforcement from the others are key. "If these guys are enjoying this so much, there must be something to it!" I think you are asking her to change EVERYTHING and this is too hard for most people. That's not to say I wouldn't love to leave tomorrow for the Great Loop, but that's not going to happen.

I think your wife was in on the plan, but that was planning, now it's pull the trigger and jump into this great unknown. That scares the hell out of her. Remember when you were first married and living hand to mouth? Suppose you had said, "honey, you know I've always wanted to write a book, well I quit my job and I'm going to start writing tomorrow." When she says, "how are we going to pay the bills?" And you say, "honey we talked about this it'll be fine."

Take a deep breath, find some retired folks to sail with, do a two week cruise. Do another. See if YOU like the lifestyle.

Ease into this massive culture shift and see how it works.

Again, take a deep breath.
Jun 21, 2007
Hunter Cherubini 36_80-82 Sausalito / San Francisco Bay

I do not have the veteran's experiences that you do. But I thank extremely the commitment/sacrifices that you and your military colleagues have made and are continuing to make for our country.

My situation is a wife with a 32 year medical history of lung disease leading to lung transplant leading to kidney failure leading to kidney transplant leading to numerous post-operative complications, leading to ... well there is more.

But notwithstanding these challenges … As long as the time duration is limited to an afternoon or so >> SHE LOVES TO GO SAILING! Her and me together. And/or with our daughter or friends. The fresher the wind the better is her liking.

By geographic happenstance, our sailing playground is limited to San Francisco's Bay's “The Slot”. So I have to be very careful about always being reefed and maintaining predictable control of our 36' boat to avoid sudden lurches. Or at least I must always anticipate enough to warn her when things are likely to happen.

I don't have the live-aboard extended cruising aspirations that you do. But still I would like to be able to take our boat with my wife on week long cruises to various greater SF Bay destinations or venture down the Pacific Coast to Half Moon Bay or up to Drake's Bay … and the like. But for the medical reasons above, these type of ventures aren't possible. We can't ever be time/distance far from top tier medical facilities. And she isn't strong enough anyway to maintain the day-in day-out rigors of a cruising life.

Notwithstanding her challenges, every time we are out for our afternoon day sails I am happy/satisfied/uplifted about the enthusiasm my wife has for sailing, and the time we have together experiencing the elements on the bay.

My divulging of this is a bit of commiseration about the disruption to your plans. But further, as a lead-in to suggest that you lean towards recognizing/adjusting to your wife's current preferences. Obviously she likes to sail or she wouldn't have been a joint owner of the plan to begin with. If you can, maybe make adjustments to your plan? As already been suggested, go for (say) month long or shorter ventures instead. Or do any other variation that keeps you and your family in the sailing scene which seems to be something that is very dear to your hearts.
Feb 26, 2004
Catalina 34 224 Maple Bay, BC, Canada
Don't give up the dream

I appreciate all the uplifting suggestions that have been provided, especially the "inching her along" variety.

I have a different take on this.

She said sure for eight years and then changed her mind?!?

Not fair at all to the hubby. OK, OK, I know, people change their minds all the time, but...

She didn't know grandkid #1 was going to be coming along? Was her daughter in a convent?

I think it's rotten to make changes like that. They invented airplanes to satisfy "sudden grandkid syndrome".
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Oct 26, 2008
Catalina 320 Barnegat, NJ
Go with the flow ...

Apparently, Stu never learned how to adjust his sails ;). Seahorse is right, I think. You've got retirement at a young age ahead of you and you will soon find that grandchildren aren't going to occupy as much time as you may think right now. If your finances can swing it, perhaps adjust the expenses for the boat, perhaps move down to a less expensive home base, and you should find that you can have the best of both worlds. Optimism is the best medicine! Cheerfulness will probably lead to more than you wished for. Resentment will lead to misery.
May 17, 2014
hunter 380 Plano, TX
I didnt hear where you guys had actually quit working at this time. If you are still employed, have you considered charter ownership? You will have a lot of sail time available during the year and will be able to hit foreign charters. Or just buy the charters. If she doesn't enjoy that, I doubt she is going to go for the live-aboard passagemaking.

I also didnt see where you live. Maybe time for coastal living?
Sep 15, 2009
S2 9.2a Fairhope Al
just give her time to sort out the thrill/shock of the forthcoming grand child ...after all there is the 3 day right of rescission ya know;) ....when she starts thinking about it to more degree i bet she will try to satisfy all concerned even her self in the mix
Dec 9, 2006
Oday 22 Hickory, NC
I guess I am a 'glass is half full' type guy, at least you weren't already on the boat before she changed her mind!
Mar 20, 2012
Cal 34-III, MacGregor 25 Salem, Oregon
I agree wit Stu that its a rotten deal.....

you have a dream/fantasy that has been hatched and nurtured with your mate. probably the only one that you have lived for for the past few years, and believed she was fully committed to the dream.

you have always known that someday you would to be able to cut loose at a certain point and start living the fantasy that you have worked towards for so long, and now that the time has come, your mate kills the dream/fantasy against all your desires, with one sentence....

its as bad as being as being blindsided by divorce papers..... a life altering moment.

in my opinion, the grandkids, as long as the actual parents are in the picture, will grow to be the same kids no matter if grandma sees them weekly or every few months.... grandkids can be spoiled from a distance by loving grandparents, so it dont really matter....

in addition, when one is ready to settle down, stay home and do the grandparent thing and forget all about their own long awaited dreams, that is when old age will begin to creep up on them.

fate has away of altering our courses thru life.... it can so quickly make a change in our plans and dreams and leave us without options, so that we have no choice but to accept it or fade away.
but to have another person make these changes for us, at their whim, without discussion or options, is not conducive to me being a happy person to be around (and i cant imagine anyone else accepting it so passivly).... and I refuse to just fade away because of someone else's desires.
in my case, I would do whatever I had to, to find a way to keep my dream alive. its what keeps us going as we get older.

I think there are options and compromises that can be made without the dream being lost forever, but they have not been explored yet.... best of luck to you
Jul 21, 2014
hunter 28.5 lake
Here is situation geographically and financially. I live in north Texas and our boat ( hunter 28.5 ) was on a lake 25 minutes from our house. We sold the boat to cut operating costs and started looking for our live aboard/cruising boat. Found a boat in Galveston. Plan was to live aboard prepping and then doing the ICW to Florida, off to Bahamas, back to Miami, and up ICW to Virginia, and then south with snowbirds to repeat Bahamas. We have cruised the San Blast with friends and did the BVI just us two. She loved the entire experience and had been in on planning. I have one son with two daughters but military keep them at a distance. Her son and new grandkids are close by. My financial plans had us secure to cruise with boat paid for but we are not so financially off we can do both home ownership and boat cruising if we retire now. She wants to be able to visit baby weekly so part time is out. She has always made the comment that everything is subject to change. Truer words were never spoken.

I keep going back to standing beside my dads hospital bed. Just before he died he grabbed my hand and told me to never give up on my dream. He did early on and was sorry he did. He always wondered what his life would have been like had he stopped listening to family and per sued his passion.
Sep 15, 2009
S2 9.2a Fairhope Al
i wonder what the grand parents are doing that have to take care of their drug addicted offsprings children........i don't think it gets any worse than that


Jun 4, 2009
Pearson 530 Admiralty Bay, Bequia SVG
Wow, what a heart breaker!
I have lost two wives because they both wanted the white picket fence and the minivan after 10 years of sailing. It was slightly different for us, because the sailing was my profession, but none the less, loosing a loved one, or your dream, is a tough choice.
As mentioned above, we know a lot of "commuter cruisers" who sail the winters and spend the summers at home. I know it's not the same, but perhaps it might work.
On the other hand, as far as physical limitations are concerned, I had a friend who returned from SE Asia, legless. He used his severance pay from the army to buy a boat and covered the cockpit and below, so he could get around legless with ease, and sailed the Caribbean, a lot less egotistically than Don Street ever did, but just as much. Sea Legs was a great name for his boat!
May 17, 2014
hunter 380 Plano, TX
i wonder what the grand parents are doing that have to take care of their drug addicted offsprings children........i don't think it gets any worse than that

You put the retirement and the dream on hold. We did this and thought we were free about 4 months ago. Started looking at boats on the coast to get going again but figured we were sidetracked a couple years. In talking with a gentleman about his boat, I told him it was a too far for the move at this time but asked why he was selling. The boat was great and ready to go. They had planned for 15yrs and he said he ran out of time due to health.

He then told me, "Don't wait for it all, take what you can today."

I drove back to Dallas and told my wife to get her shoes on. We were going to go buy a boat. Three weeks later we spent memorial weekend on our 38' hunter. It s not the dream boat but its as big as we need on the lake. We are enjoying it, sailing it, fixing it, (always) and I thank God for that moment of clarity that said "don't wait you fool".

Well it looks like we will be with one of the grandkids again since the parents can't make it. If it happens this time though, I'm filing for sole custody and we will take her with us.

Sorry to hijack but if this is something you want, you just have to take what you can when you can.