When planning to live aboard and cruise long term there are a few decisions you will need to make quite early on.
Will you cruise a specific area or do you aim (or hope) to circumnavigate?
While much of the advice in this blog is applicable to both, long distance passage making and the associated choices are beyond the scope at this time.
Will you live aboard full time or split your time between the yacht and home?
If you will only be part time then you may be able get away with a smaller, less well equipped and less comfortable yacht.
Many cruisers only sail the Summer months. Others sail Spring and Autumn to miss out the blisteringly hot months.
Relatively few cruisers spend the full 12 months on board.
If splitting your time between home & boat you will probably keep your existing home.
Unless you have adult family members to live there while you are away you will need to make special insurance provisions if you will be away for more than 60 nights.
Another unexpected cost will come from having to duplicate your life in the 2 locations unless you intend to carry everything back & to.
If you will cruise full time, how will you fund the cost of the yacht, support yourself while cruising and what will happen to the family home?
Some cruisers do manage to earn a living while out and about but it can be hard unless you have an online skill that doesn’t need your actual presence. Don’t expect to earn much from writing yachting articles unless you are already a published writer. Software & games writers seem to do best.
If you intend to make and sell things from the boat beware of calling too much attention from the authorities who will want to tax you. The paperwork alone is horrendous.
If you intend to charter your yacht, research it very carefully as each country has its own rules and regulations, license fees etc. Obviously your yacht will have to be coded to allow you to take paying passengers but again different countries have different standards to follow. Finding clients can be very time consuming and will only grow slowly so you may need to run at a loss for several years.
If it is at all possible, keep the 2 assets (yacht & house) separate.
Many people sell up or at least downsize their house to generate the cash to buy the yacht.
Just be aware that yachts tends to depreciate, much like cars, while historically property gets more expensive. Any cash you may have invested may not grow at the same rate. In 5 or 10 years time when you want to return ashore you may not be able to afford anything as good as you have now.
A better plan is to let-out your home and use the rental income to fund the purchase of the yacht. At least that keeps a peg in the market and allows for your eventual return.
Another rather subtle distinction you will have to make is:
- Do you want to live on a yacht ? OR
Do you want a home that happens to float?
You may not answer this explicitly at first, but the choices you make about what kit to take along will answer it for you in the long run.
Even the most die-hard sailors gradually move from type 1 to type 2 especially if their significant others are to accompany them and more importantly stay with them on the adventure.