Wow. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised at the variation in boats, but boy are there a lot of different options out there. And I don’t know anything about any of them. And because I don’t know anything about any of them, how am I supposed to know what I should be looking for? I don’t even know the difference between a boat and a ship… but there seems to be some disagreement there. There is no right answer to what I should be looking for, but I turned to an expert for some advice.
Christa Prows and her husband sold their farm in Utah back in 1997 and moved their family of 7 onto a Catamaran and have spent lived on it in the Caribbean ever since. The Deseret News had an article about them last summer that I came across on day 1 of my research. I reached out to the author of the article and he put me in touch with Christa herself.
Now I’ve never met her, but she seems like a wonderful person. Very gracious and encouraging. We’ve exchanged a few emails where she gave me some advice, waylaid some fears/concerns, and has answer many questions. She game me her number and said to call any time, but I told her until I know enough to know what questions I SHOULD be asking, I’d stick to email and hopefully avoid coming across as a fool.
Christa’s recommendation regarding a boat for a family our size was a Catamaran between 40-55 feet long. That seemed as good a place to start as any… so I went out looking. Now if you followed that link, you’ll probably notice the first thing that I noticed… Boats are expensive! Now I didn’t expect to pick one up for my pocket change, but I didn’t know for sure what to expect. What I found is pretty close to what I expected. If you are going to buy a boat large enough to use as a house, then expect to pay about what you would for a house.
But I also wanted to look at other options. Turns out the prices for traditional mono-hull sailboats are about as expensive as Catamarans/Mulit-hull boats, or possibly a little less. But who said we have to have sails? Something like this would seem nice and I wouldn’t need to learn to sail. However, further research tells me that I NEED to learn to sail… the power yachts are about the same price as those with sails, but they only travel about one nautical mile per gallon of fuel. Which means that I’d be able to live on it, but almost certainly wouldn’t be able to afford to move it. And since we’d like to move around… sails it is.
But what type? The answer to that depends largely on what we want to do with it, and we don’t really have an answer to that yet. I’d love to sail the world, Julie would love me to forget it all together, and the kids just don’t want to be eaten by sharks (Kristie). I think for at least a few years we’d be content to just putter around the gulf coast and Caribbean/Bahamas with possibly an excursion or two up the East Coast. The biggest concern we have is safety, and so we’d hold to sheltered waters until we felt real comfortable, and the Atlantic (and Pacific) don’t really fit that description just yet.
So what will we do? Not a clue. I guess you’ll have to just keep checking back to find out.