Our Original Plan
This was our original plan, conceived over a period of about five years until April, 2018, when, soon after buying our boat and moving aboard, it was scrapped and replaced with the latest plan found at Our Plan.
So, what’s the plan? Where are we headed? What’s our intended route? How long will it take? These are the questions Jane and I get all the time. Frankly, it’s a plan that’s slowly evolved over the past three years since our decision to really do this. It’ll probably evolve even more. After all, we have nowhere to go fast, so we have the freedom to make some changes as circumstances warrant.
With that caveat, here’s the plan we’ve been settled on for the past eighteen months.
We’re currently living in our RV, traveling the southern U.S., enjoying the warm weather, searching for the right sailboat to purchase and getting all the sailing training and experience possible.
Once we begin the sailing portion of our adventure, our intended cruising route begins in the Great Lakes region. More specifically, somewhere in the South Haven, Michigan area. Jane and I consider the Great Lakes some of the most wonderful cruising grounds in the world. Lake Michigan, Beaver Island, Mackinaw Island, the North Channel and Georgian Bay, just to list a few of the areas we’re interested in exploring. We could easily spend a couple of sailing seasons exploring just that area of the Great Lakes easily accessible. That doesn’t even include the upper reaches of Lake Superior or Lake Ontario!
The problem is that the sailing season on the Great Lakes is limited – June through October is about it and then it’s time to pull the boat out of the water and put it in storage until the following spring. It’s our plan to have the truck and RV stored somewhere in a location close to where we anticipate ending our sailing travels for the season. Once we put the boat in storage, we’ll head to the RV and head south for the winter months, returning the following spring to continue on our cruising route.
This routine will continue as we make our way south in latitude, until we are far enough south that the sailing season is year-round – maybe the southern Chesapeake. At that point we’ll consider selling the truck and RV to become full time boat liveaboards while continuing our travels south along the inter-coastal waterway.
We’re in no hurry. We know that we may never again have the opportunity to explore many of the regions we’ll be traveling through or near. We’ll frequently get off the boat and travel inland by car to explore regions not accessible by water.
Our route from South Haven, Michigan to Key West, Florida could easily take us three years, maybe more. After all, what’s the hurry?
Our journey through the Great Lakes will take us through Lake Michigan, Lake Huron and Lake Erie, until we come to the western entrance to the Erie Canal. We’ll need to temporarily remove the sailboat mast before entering the canal due to height clearance limitations along the way.k We’ll slowly make our way along the Erie Canal to the Hudson River, where we’ll have the mast re-set. We’ll make our way down the Hudson, exploring all the wonderful culture and history of that region until we dock for a time in New York City.
From New York, we’ll carefully make our way along the New Jersey coast to Cape May, and then up Delaware Bay, through the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal into the northern Chesapeake. There’s so much to explore in the Chesapeake. Many sailors spend there entire cruising life just in the Chesapeake! It’s also a great area to sharpen our sailing skills. We don’t want to miss the opportunity to head up the Potomac, along the way visiting George Washington’s Mount Vernon, then traveling inland by car for another visit to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, followed by a visit to Washington D.C.
At the southern Chesapeake, around Norfolk, Virginia, we’ll enter the inter-coastal waterway system and continue slowly down that protected waterway through Virginia, the Carolinas, Georgia and into Florida as we make our way towards Key West.
Once we get to Key West, we’ll decide what to do next. We may decide to head over to the Bahamas for a time. We may decide to head south to Cuba and the western Caribbean.
We may decide to sell the boat and look for the right location to buy a house or condo. Or we may decide to sell the boat, buy another RV and visit all our wonderful National Parks.
You’re probably wondering about our search for a boat in the southern states. That’s a long way from the Great Lakes! It sure is! If we purchase our sailboat in the southern U.S., we’ll have it shipped to the Great Lakes for a, hopefully, short refit. We’d obviously prefer to find our boat in the Great Lakes region, as it will be a fresh water boat, and we avoid the cost of shipping a large sailboat 1,500 miles – probably about $5K!
So that’s the plan.
However, we retain the right to make changes at any time.
After all, we’re in no hurry to get anywhere fast!