Buffet in San Diego-

Jimmy Buffett in San Diego on a Tuesday, playing a small venue with sets that included acoustic and all the classics that Parrotheads love,,,,,on the water.  What could get any better?  Getting a ticket might have been better!

Jimmy Buffett continued his “I Don’t Know” tour last night at Humphrey’s by the Bay in San Diego.  What a great small stage venue on the water, next to a myriad of marina’s and right down on Shelter Island in San Diego.   Well,,,,as this blog attempts to report on things maritime to those who read it, we tried our best to get tickets to the concert so we could give you great blog content on relevant matters like “Jimmy Buffett”.  Alas, tickets went on sale at 10am on a workday,,,,and sold out in less than two minutes.  I missed the tickets and didn’t want to pay the $475 each on Stubhub,,,and couldn’t afford it.  But, I know it’s very important to bring you all refreshing and updated blog content, so we concocted a plan to get as close as possible and try to catch some of the concert,,,,and check on the boat in San Diego of course to make sure she was still clean.

On advice from our broker with Windseakers/Yachtfinders, we chanced the fact that we might be able to hear some of the concert from the hotel next to Humphrey’s, and the gamble paid off.  We enjoyed a fine evening with a bunch of other Parrotheads listening to concert quality sound.  And, the Parrot heads who came by dinghy, kayak, paddle board and other small craft to the docks below the concert venue were priceless to watch,,,,especially toward the end of the night.

YEP,  this blog will continue to bring you relevant matters like this as often as possible, because I know this is essential material to cruising, sailboating and production boats!  This blog was also not meant to sound like I’m bragging or flaunting the fact that you were not able to be at a Buffett Concert in San Diego on a Tuesday.  I wasn’t at the concert either, I was forced to sit next door and spend hours thinking through the material I would use to write this inciteful and exciting post-

If you’ve continued to read this far down,,,,thanks,,,,I was stoked and humbled to be able to hear any of the concert and damn glad to be there. 

Selling Tulum- Part 2

So you made the decision to sell your boat,,,,now what?    At this point, it’s much easier to make decisions on what to do next with a boat small enough to fit on a trailer,,,,you can put it on a trailer and either take it to a dealer/broker, sell it yourself (while on the trailer) or keep it in the water at a slip and sell it there.  But if you own a larger boat, you’ll need to make a few more decisions at this point:

1.  Leave it in place and sell it yourself (on this subject I have no experience but I don’t recommend it for the complexity of legal, tax and Coast Guard regulations involved).

2.  Leave the boat in it’s current slip and have a broker represent you, making sure your slip is somewhere people can easily get to.  (This suggestion can be flexible, as I know people who moved their boat to another state hundreds of miles away from their broker [and sold their boat fairly quickly], but their boat was a highly sought after model.  The power of the internet and yachtworld.com definitely works to your advantage if you have a boat that people want and will travel to see).  This same couple was also smart as they moved somewhere with natural hurricane protection that had much less expensive slips than the original area, which could be a concern when you’re selling a larger boat.

3.  Or if the broker has slips near their office or has brokerage slips, you could move your boat there to sell it.

After we made the decision to sell Tulum, we knew we needed to do a bit of cosmetic work on her and we knew we needed to move her somewhere accessible.  Our original marina (where we have good friends and we liked very much) wasn’t as accessible as we wanted and would have taken the broker and clients several hours to get to driving round trip in traffic.  We put some thought into this one before deciding to move the boat, as it meant losing our slip but increasing our chances of more easily selling the boat.  So after discussion with our broker (at Yachtfinders/Windseakers), we decided to move the boat to a brokerage slip, which is also conveniently behind a major boatyard.  Being behind a boatyard we also found the services to quickly get Tulum all the work she needed prior to going on the market, which has given us peace of mind that we’re selling a very nice boat that’s now even more shiny and updated than when we bought her.  There’s no substitute or reason not to continually seek improvement on your boat or yourself.

NEXT POST: PREPPING THE BOAT FOR SALE- Yep, it was a ton of work but worth it.



Sailboat Cruising, I’ve got to keep learning!

Since me and my family live three hours from the ocean, I’m obviously not on my boat as often as I want to be, but I want to keep learning as much as possible on technical sailboat cruising subjects.  These are often the ones that involve expensive specialty experts; who are more than happy to come to your boat and do whatever needs to be done, for a price per hour.  I know,,,,I’ve hired the best of them,,,,from surveyer, rig inspector, diesel mechanic, electrician, gelcoat repairman, polisher, bottom cleaner and the list goes on.  These would have been very expensive ventures if I simply sat back with a Corona and let them work while I relaxed in the hammock.  Since I don’t do this and follow thier every move to learn as much as I can, I chalk each of these bills up to  training AND repair cost on my boat.  Thus, if you figure out how much that electrical training and work would have cost if done separately and amertize those two costs together, it’s really quite affordable?  Right,,,,see my logic?  This the point in the blog where people with true mechanical skills roll thier eyes in disgust!   Yes, Yes, I could have spent countless hours trying to figure it all out for free and read the manuals, but I just don’t always have time,,,,but I’m learning quick.

To keep learning while away from the boat, I’ve found that the various cruising and sailboating publications I buy often have articles with vast amounts of good, solid technical advice, so I started saving them for future reading.   Today was cleanup sunday,,,and when I looked under the bed and realized I had more than 100 sailing magazines under there, I knew it was time to start actually looking for the articles I wanted to keep.  Much like Captain Couch’s “The Checklist” I’m keeping articles that have specific training and learning points I need or interest me.  So, I simply ripped them out and put them in a folder for a time I want to reference back to them.  I’ve got stacks of articles that cover:  boat buying, places to visit, natural energy (electrical), kids on sailboats and plumbing.  This doesn’t mean I don’t have personal experience with all these things, it just means I want to hear what others say about them and probably find expert knowledge and great ideas from others.  Since I can’t get to my boat all the time, I’m going to keep collecting articles till I’m comfortable with the subjects,,,,but I’m no mechanical or electrical genius, so I’ll keep reading.


Houseboat or something larger- Do it while you can!

Freshwater houseboat or something larger-  Jessica made a comment on the blog about owning a fishing skiff for freshwater, but her husband always wanting “a houseboat or something larger”.   Hope you don’t mind, Jessica, but your comment motivated me to re-read a few buy the right boat articles I have here at the house, and I wanted to take few minutes to throw my thoughts into a readable post.  While I have some really, really smart experts who follow this blog and even may read it from time to time, I’m NOT a boating expert by any means, thus I read a lot to see if my thoughts match what experts say.

First,,,,I have no idea how old you guys are or if you have kids, aging relatives or a ton of responsibilities that preclude a purchase;  but my advice would be to seriously think through a lease or purchase of the houseboat or something larger,,,,while you can.  I’m motivated in this thought by my own experiences and other’s heath scares that precluded them from doing what they always wanted to do, simply because they waited too long.  I hear a lot of folks who say they always wanted to get a houseboat, sailboat or fishing boat to spend vacation or weekends on, but wait too long.  They get older, they can’t afford it or a major health issue comes along and those people fall into the “wish I would have done it while I could category”.

Second,,,,for a larger purchase you can of course buy new or used; but I recommend you follow the same process as buying a sailboat or powerboat.  If the boat is large enough to live on (kitchen, bathroom) then it could be used as a tax write-off in the second home category.  Thus, I would recommend you get a surveyor who specializes in  that type of vessel to look it over, take a test drive in it and get it out of the water to look over the bottom.  I’m no expert in fresh water boats, but these steps just seem logical to me.  Most larger boats have some form of bilge and engine, make sure you and your husband get a good look inside,,,clean bilge =’s happy wife as there will be less smells!

Hope this helps, do it while you’re young enough to enjoy it-

Working toward a Captain’s License

Getting a Captain’s License in the Maritime world can be a bit daunting unless you do your research and know what you want.  Most folks simply want to operate a boat safety and have the option of taking more that 6 passengers at a time on their boat,,,,and possibly get paid for it.  This might only require what the Coast Guard terms the 6-Pack/OUPV License and has the least amount of work involved in getting it.   I’ve working toward this certificate and more,,,as I eventually want my 100 Ton Captains License; which may lead to employment after retirement.

I’ve just received my Transportation Workers Identification Card (TWIC) from TSA, had my CPR Certificate renewed and I’ve figured out I have enough on-water hours to justify going to class to test for my license.  I’m going through the Maritime Institute in San Diego in January to study up for my test, and I’ve been working out of a study guide to identify parts I may need extra work on.

Next up on this Blog project- Prepping the required Coastguard Paperwork.

-Follow us at: Livefree2sailfast.com

Decisions-Decisions: Is it time to sell the boat?

Decisions, Decisions- Boating is all about decisions and problem solving skills, no matter the size or worth of a boat.  Two of the biggest decisions are the buying and selling the boat kind of decisions.  When we started this blog project, we were intent to assist, encourage and inspire people with little money to think through how they might buy a boat.  We walked through our process for buying a boat WITHOUT laying down much cash, although we’ve spent some fixing her up and ensuring her systems were safe and updated.  But after owning Tulum IV for two and a half years, we came face to face with the unexpected; life decisions that made us consider selling the boat we had put so much time and effort into fixing up to prep for cruising.

The intent of next few pieces in this blog and my ongoing project is to walk you through some of our decision points as we considered whether we would have to actually sell the boat, the selling process (in real time) and the outcome.  Whether you are considering buying or selling a boat, this blog series should help, as you will gain knowledge from a sellers perspective (mine) and get to know some of the motivations that might help you as a buyer.   I’ve been involved or have personal knowledge of several folks selling their sailboats and have purchased one of my own, so we’ll work through this together; as most of these folks follow this blog and have great experience with this subject.

Decisions, Decisions- Why do people sell their boats and why did we make the selling decision;  what drives selling decisions?

Some selling decisions are easy,,,some are more complicated:-

I want to sell my boat because: I want another one, it’s time to stop cruising, I’m too old,  poor, unhealthy to handle the boat anymore, I want something else beside a boat, my boat costs too much to maintain, my boat slip to too expensive, my wife thinks the boat is becoming my Mistress, my wife told me to sell the boat, my wife wants another boat, my wife has divorced me and taken the boat in the settlement, my kids won’t get on the boat anymore (it’s no longer cool), I need to sell the boat to pay for college,,,,house,,,vacation.     See what I’m getting at,,,,it could be complicated or it could be easy, but somewhere along the line something started you thinking about selling the boat and now you actually have to make that decision, either quickly or eventually.  If you can’t make a selling decision quickly, I would advise you to slow down and rethink the decision, as you might find you really don’t want to sell the boat, you need to solve some other problem in your life that selling the boat might represent?

Why and how did we come to selling decision?

I’ve covered some of this in previous blogs, but here’s a quick update:   Several months ago my wife was offered another job with the same company that will move her out of our immediate area and I will need to stay here (Yep, we both work full time and have several small childrens).   This move will impact our ability to work and play on our boat as my wife will have to move to where the job is.  Thinking it through made us consider our immediate priorities and whether we could afford to keep the boat but not be able to use it or work on it as much as we wanted.   We also may want a larger boat or a catamaran, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.  This time in our lives was a boating crossroads, we needed to make decisions about our upcoming trip.  Because of Michelle’s work change, we pushed the trip off by another year at least and remain flexible as a family.  Because we loved our previous Marina and the people we know there, it took us several weeks to come to a selling decision, but once we came to the decision as a team, we knew it was the right one.  Upon making the decision, we knew Tulum was in great shape because of the work and upgrades we had made; but we didn’t feel we wanted to present her for sale before making a few cosmetic upgrades (waxing/buffing the hull, getting a few gel coat scrapes fixed, getting the prop rebalanced and making sure she was shiny clean inside and getting a new sail cover made) so we held off putting her up for sale before getting all this done.  This is a tactic I would highly recommend and something our broker asked us to do prior to putting her on the market.  So, for the past month the boat has been sitting at the brokers docks behind a boatyard, slowly getting fixed by a combination of our labor on weekends and a few specialists coming down to give us some professional help.

Lastly, here’s something I want to pass on that might help:  When you’re looking at boats to buy, look at how much prep the owner’s done to sell.  It might not all be the owners fault if the boat isn’t gleaming everywhere all the time with fresh gel coat, wash job and no clutter on board.  There are always two sides to every story.  Two weeks ago we went on two boats the same size; one obviously prepared for sale and gleaming nicely while the other had personal effects and needed a bit of spit and polish, but both boats had nice bones.  On the opposite tack, three years ago we went on a boat prepped for sale and looking ok.  We met the owner and took the boat out for a sail, hauled her out and looked at her.  But the owner would not budge on price and may have privately asked our broker if he could get a copy of the survey that we had paid to have done that day.  We rescinded our offer and moved on to look at other boats.  So think this over,,,,was the owner of that boat serious about selling or did he just want a free survey and haul out to look over his own boat?  As for us, we’re serious about selling and have polished, cleaned, decluttered and semi-staged our boat.


Hurricane Prep for Island OCDers

Several of my readers including a good friend are on the East Coast and Florida now wondering what this late year storm will do. We’re watching it closely and everyone effected is in our thoughts.  I think the storm may bounce  back toward the ocean, but we’ll watch and see. Please keep those effected by the storm in ur thoughts too-   this article was good food for thought for those of u “prepping” for the storms arrival


For a normal island dweller, this is an anxious time. For one with OCD tendencies like me, this is a ramped up, gut-wrenching time of utter madness.

Source: Hurricane Prep for Island OCDers

Puerto Rico

Guys, wow, what great info from someone out there and doing it for real, a great post filled with info on Puerto Rico. We’ve been there twice, but nothing like this, you may want to check thier site out when u have time-

Arriving in Puerto Rico marked our first time clearing into an American controlled area. Since we left for the Bahamas in January we have been outside of the US.  Prior to leaving for the Bahamas, I researched what would be needed for our entry into Puerto Rico. The prime thing that is needed is a US Customs Decal.

To get the US Customs Decal you visit the website for US Customs and Border Protection [https://dtops.cbp.dhs.gov/main/#].  Its a relatively simple process to register as a user and then apply for a decal online.  Within 5 days our decal number was issued and it could be viewed online. The actual physical decal showed up at my farther’s house several weeks later. But all you really need is the decal number. The fee is $27.50 for a year for a private vessel and there was an online user fee…

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