Sailing Blogs

Our Favorite Sailing Blogs

While researching over the last few years, both Jenn and myself have come across many blogs and sites that either gave us the information we were looking for or just turned out to be so interesting that we ended up following the authors. We found there were many couples out there who went through our same thoughts and concerns, and wanted to share their stories. So here is a small list of links, or pages that we wanted to acknowledge and share.

If you have any that changed your perspective on sailing, or just means something special to you, please let us know. We love to learn, and hear of other’s adventures.

 


Sailing Soulianis

Kirk and Lauren were one of the first couples we started following. We found them by watching their sail across Lake Michigan, and were shocked to watch the video of them sailing into Jenn’s hometown of Charlevoix. We followed the adventures they were on, and loved that they were learning everything and never scared to try new adventures. I highly recommend subscribing to their YouTube channel. https://www.youtube.com/sailingsoulianis


Sailing Uma –

Dan and Kika are another couple that really are inspirational in their adventures. They are constantly working to better their life, and the lives of all around them. They put in a ton of work to ensure their story and adventures are told. They also put great pride into the fact that their sailboat, Uma is completely self sufficient. It has an electric motor for the engine, and uses Solar power to charge the battery bank. They go very in depth on the energy consumption, and what they do to to help keep the use of electricity low on their sailboat.


Matt and Jessica’s Sailing Page –

This is another couple that hits close to home for me, as they are from Michigan like us. They put years of work into their boat to turn it into a live aboard vessel, and now travel the world.  They started in 2008 taking up sailing as a hobby, and within a few years were embarking on a new life aboard their 34 foot Targa. I have only recently discovered Matt and Jessica’s page, but am already excited to get to know them as fellow sailors.

The Cost of Sailing

Without even thinking about it, I would say the number one topic about RedSky has been money. Starting before the search for RedSky even began, all the way until the time of me writing this post, money and cost has been a large topic of conversations for us, and almost anyone we talk to. Most revolve around the same “How can you afford that” or “It must be nice to be able to do that”. So I wanted to take a second and break down the research we did, the costs we found, and the budget we use. I have watched countless videos and spoke with many sailors, and found that every situation is different, and every plan has unseen variables that are dealt with differently.

The first thing we considered before even putting a budget together was our situation, and our end goal. We watched countless videos and followed many sailors on social media to learn as much as we could. Most were couples that were moving to the boat life, and lived solely on their sailboats. Some were just weekend sailors. There were even ones that were from all over the world. But one thing was common between them all, no two stories were the same. As for us, we are a young couple with a lot of kids, careers that didn’t allow us to work remotely, and no knowledge of the sailing life. We quickly set our goal as being able to sail for a weekend or up to a week, not planning on leaving the great lakes, and something that allowed us to be flexible.

So the very basics of the plan was set, next was finding the different costs beyond just finding a sailboat. I quickly learned that the cheapest part of being a boat owner was buying the boat. Our local harbor had a 3 year waiting list for a seasonal slip, and came out to just under $3000 a year. I searched the area and found that the range of a seasonal slip was between $800 and $4000 in the area, and they had many different amenities. I ensured to take in to consideration the fact that we would be limited on our time to sail due to the kids, and the weather. So we wanted something close and something that was ready all the time. Obviously not being able to get a season slip, we found that our local harbor would allow us to stay at the transient slips, and for a 25 Foot craft, it would come to about $190 a week. This appeared as our best bet for planning our budget.

Next was winter storage. This was a huge variable, as there were parts of this that could change depending on what was purchased. For example we spoke with a couple that bought a 25 foot that had a swing keel and a mast that they could step themselves. They didn’t pay any winter storage as they covered it and kept it at their house. They also did not have to pay any dock fees as they could put it in and pull it out of the water themselves. However they noted that it didn’t seem as stable in the open water as other 25 Foot boats they had been in, and to go out for a weekend required them to plan and watch the weather very close.

Next was setting the price we were willing to pay for a boat. This was our most limiting factor. After researching I set a few qualifications to meet before I would consider a boat. The first was sails and motor. Through my research I found that these were a significant cost if they needed replacing, or weren’t a part of the sale. I set my price limit at $1000 without one of those coming with it, but didn’t want to go over $2500 total. I knew in my research that this would get us something to learn on, and have enough cabin room to basically be like a tent on the water. I put my plan on anything from a 22 to 27 foot and started searching.

You can follow our search and purchase of RedSky, and it only took a few months to find her, and about an hour of talking it over to determine that was what we wanted. We got her at a steal for $1500 with working Sails that would need to be replaced in the next few seasons, and an almost brand new 15HP 4 stroke Yamaha outboard. From everything we could see it was in great condition. However it did not come with a trailer, and the keel was solid, and we would most likely not be able to move it ourselves. However after going over the options and what we were looking for, we decided on it for being perfect for us.

As I mentioned the most expensive part of owning RedSky has been after the purchase. When we bought her, she was in storage, but the fee for having RedSky put in the water, and the mast stepped was covered. Once in the water, we started paying the weekly fees for her being in the water. This came out to about $2000 for June to October. After that we found a great Marina that would pull her out, step the mast, and move it to inside storage for the winter for about $1300. This cost included putting it back in the water in the spring.

As time moves on, this will be adjusted. Again, there are a million variables to put into action when it comes to our sailboat life, and they are changing by the year. Let us know about your budgeting techniques and the costs you have found with your boat ownership.

Learning to Sail

How We Learned To Sail

Part of what made our sailing dream a true adventure is learning to sail. Now when I say we are learning to sail, I don’t mean we took classes or are being taught, I mean we found such a good deal on a boat that fit our needs so perfectly that we didn’t have the time to actually learn. Instead, we purchased RedSky, with never having even stepped foot on a sail boat in our lives. Almost every person we talked to after buying RedSky even asked “Have you ever sailed before” and I had to consistently reply “No, Not even on a sunfish”.

This doesn’t mean we were ignorant to the processes of sailing and the theories and concepts. We had spent countless hours studying not only the actual act of sailing, but what boat life entailed. The costs, the lifestyle, the extra needs and time it took. We studied the difference between sailing on the inland lakes of Michigan, the Great lakes, and even the ocean. I wanted to share some of the things we learned along the way.

The first and probably most important thing to look at is the cost. This is probably the number one question any boater get’s and it’s with good reason. Boat ownership is costly, even well after the actual purchase. It’s no secret, we got a deal on RedSky that was and is still unbelievable, but that was the smallest cost of the ownership. There is everything from the small costs like fuel, and getting personal items for sailing. But there are also the large costs like the docking fee’s, winter storage, moving, and sails. I could (and will) write a whole blog on just the cost of ownership, but I will save that.

The next step to learning was something that came as a pleasant surprise. We learned that the boating community, like most other hobbies, has a large following and everyone is willing to help however they can. The first few days in the marina we had multiple boaters coming up and offering advice, and willing to answer any question we had. We even had one that came and helped us put on our sails, and taught us how to raise them. He also gave us the best advice we will ever get as boaters, “Every sailor has advice, some is good and some isn’t…. but listen to it all and find out what works best for you”.

The next thing we learned is more personal to us, and I say it with a caveat.We learned what we want in a sailboat that RedSky doesn’t have. Now I don’t want that to sound like I don’t like RedSky, on the contrary I love her, and think it was the BEST first boat to have. We have learned alot, and the things we want moving forward are more creature comforts. For example, our next boat will have a rolling furling for a jib, however I love that we have to go connect our Jib halyard, raise and lower the jib EVERY time we want to use it. The comforts we don’t have forces us to learn the skills we need.

One of the last things we learned was a two part lesson. First part was, sailing isn’t a hobby, it is a lifestyle. And part two was, it is the lifestyle we were born to live. Obviously having kids, and limited funds have put us in a place where we can’t just live on a boat. However, this is almost better, we have the time to really decide what we want, and how we want it. But we do know without question….. one day, we WILL live on our boat.

There are so many more lessons we have learned, and each lesson is a story all in itself. I am excited to continue to share, hopefully as much as you are excited to read.

Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home

Josh is the writer, and I like to think that I am the photographer. However, occasionally, I get excited to write about my favorite place to be. By now you have read all about how we found Red Sky, nothing has ever felt more like fate. This boat was meant to be ours, and sailing it has fulfilled a dream that I did not even know I had. Josh has always dreamed of owning, and even living on a sailboat someday. I have always found them to be more appealing than any other form of boat, but because I had no experience, and I am only half the dreamer that Josh is, I just admired them from afar. That being said, one day walking down the piers in our hometown and admiring the sailboats quickly turned into daydreaming about someday owning one of our own. Browsing online quickly became searching in earnest for a boat that could be ours, and far more quickly than we anticipated, we started looking at boats. The first, as you have read was an absolute bust. The only thing that it had going for it, good reviews aside, was the price. However, fate intervened and because the owner never responded, Red Sky became not just an option, but our future.

The first time I saw our boat was in a photo, I had to work in the timeframe that Josh was able to go and look at the boat, but when I saw the photo, I knew. That was our boat. Fortunately, we both felt the same way, and quickly things fell into place and we had the title in hand. The first time I stepped onto our boat, I was both ecstatic and completely overwhelmed at what we had gotten ourselves in to. I wanted so badly for sailing to come naturally to us, but there was that fear that lingered at the surface that we would fail. That fear stayed firmly in place while we waited patiently to be able to get our boat in the water. We knew that she would be going in in Mackinaw City, which is about 49 nautical miles from our hometown of Petoskey, MI. We knew that we were going to have to sail that distance, but really had no idea how we were going to make that happen, but motoring was always an option, so we held on to that with the optimism that we would be able to actually sail by the time we made the trip.

When the day finally came and our boat was in the water, we made our way north for what was sure to be one of the best weekends ever. The first day was absolute chaos. We had to pull everything out that had been stored in the boat for the years it had been at Shepler’s, and begin what will likely be a never-ending list of projects. Despite the chaos, we were both in heaven! Walking onto the boat it just felt “right”, by the end of the weekend I was, and still am, convinced that living on a boat is our future. We were able to take Red Sky out and motor around, and explore the area around the infamous Mackinaw Bridge. Getting our sails up was in the near future, but I will let Josh tell you all about that.

Our First Trip

Finding RedSky Pt 2

Finding RedSky – Part 2

July 2019

With nothing but what we were told over email, I called up to Shepler’s Marina in Mackinaw to ask about the mystery boat that we had been told about. I was excited to hear that the owners were great people that took care of the boat, and had stored it there for years. I worked with the management at Shepler’s to get a chance to see RedSky in person. Jenn had to work, but this was our only chance. It was now or never.

I went to Mackinaw, and made my way into the Marina storage. A few selfies later, and an amount of anxiety that I almost could not handle, I was there. I was in a giant pull barn with only three boats. Two were large 30 plus foot sailboats, and they had a small, red, beautiful boat tucked into a corner. I saw her, and I smiled so hard it almost hurt. I immediately sent a picture to Jenn and with no explanation, she only said back “That is our boat”, and I agreed.

I quickly found a ladder and explored the boat. It was perfect. I texted the owner and said, we are ready to hand over a check immediately. I have never sailed, and rarely boated. However, I knew this was the boat to teach me how to sail.

That week we planned a day, and passed a check. We paid $1500 for the boat of our dreams. I knew the limitations. I knew we could not trailer it, I knew we could not step the mast; I knew we could not get it in or out of the water. Moreover, I knew we could not sail it.

We planned, and waited, and picked a weekend. We counted the days. Every calendar had a countdown to “Boat Day”. We had a Friday afternoon plan for RedSky to go in the water, and be waiting for us. We planned to have no kids, and our time to spend on the boat. We waited, and waited, and waited, and waited… finally the day came. The boat was in the water, and we were on our way to spend a long weekend on it, and make it ours.

After a long drive from Petoskey to Mackinaw we were there and looking at our new baby in the water. RedSky was ours, she was in the water, and our dream was now a reality, and thus starts our adventure, with our first weekend, living on our new boat.

Part 3 – The adventure begins. Our first weekend of Boat Life