Diana & I, with Tinker Belle the wonder dog, moved aboard Far Niente on December 5, 2006. It has been a wonderful experience. We just returned from wintering in the Bahamas and will be heading for Maine in a few weeks. Far Niente is a 40' Jeanneau (1991). She's a great boat!
I think that a 3rd option needed to be added ---- pre-cruiser. I am taking US Sailing courses through OCSC sailing school out of Berkeley, CA. I want to be a part-time cruiser for vacations and extended weekends at the moment and maybe 'full-time' later; I will have to check with my fiancee with the latter. At the moment, it is transitional as I am a day-sailor (twice a month) with hopes of getting more part-time cruising (1-month of sailing) in a few years or so.
I cruised full time from 1998 to early 2007. Most of the time was spent at anchor, with a few seasons in the Virgin islands working for boat dollars. Even then we were at anchor. My partner left in 2004 and I had to sell my boat early in 2007, way too big and too expensive to take care of for a singlehander. I sure do miss it and would love to go out again, but not as a singlehander.
My wife, Gail and I started full time cruising in 1999 and moved ashore again in 2003 to look after a sick/dying parent. Took off cruising again in 2005. About to put the boat on the hard in Turkey and fly back to Australia for the rest of the year due to Gail's heath problems. Hopefully we will continue our slow circumnavigation next year. Cruising is a wonderfull life, glad we made the break when we did.
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"I had to replace my sheeve on both sides and really struggled to get the bolts out. Once I had them out, each was bent thus the challenge. I ended up stripping one or two of the hex bolts and used an angle grinder to square off the head of the bolt…"