put: we want our cake and eat it too! We own and operate a very
small business (Advanced Research Corporation) that specializes in
Information Security. We own a small house on wooded acreage near
Washington DC. We have a burning desire to build a business that
is compatible with the boating community. And we like to cruise
the East Coast and the Caribbean. We do not want to sell our house
(it's home), we do not want to give up our business (we enjoy it
and we have an impact) and we don't want to merely daysail.
How can we do this? Well, we tried an experiment called Voyage
2000. The experiment attempted to answer the following questions:
We attempted to affirm our conclusions with Voyage 2002. (We were on the 'hard' in 2001 due to deck problems.)
- Are we like other cruisers?
- Can we satisfy current (and hopefully future) customer commitments while cruising?
- Can we expand our business into the boatyard; cruising community?
- Can we take care of the house and the boat?
- Can we maintain our family commitments?
- Can we pay for all of this?
Are we like other cruisers?
Probably not? The majority of
the cruisers we met were retired. They were old, young, and in the
middle. The majority of the retired cruisers did not have
land-based dwellings. None of the retired were conducting
business, most had family commitments, and some of the younger
cruisers are concerned with the current financial downturn. The
few non-retirees we met dealt in real estate or cutlery. In all
cases, their business duties were minimal.
However, most cruisers were careful with their money as their cruising kiddy was limited. We still have income from our business which makes us lazy at times (marinas vs anchoring; contract work rather than do it yourself). However, we are getting better at conserving!
Can we satisfy customer
Absolutely! Jule III has the
necessary communications and computer resources to access our
customers worldwide. We proved it on the Intracoastal Waterway
(ICW), in the Florida Keys, in the Dry Tortugas, and the Bahamas.
We conducted system development, computer forensics, and marketing
(all in secure fashion). For 9 months of the year, our boat is
However, Voyage 2002 indicated that Levi and Gina (our canine companions) were not dedicated cruisers. So, we are cruising only every other year. During our cruising year, we stick the dogs with our younger son. Good younger son!
Can we expand our business in
the boatyard and cruising communities?
The jury is out! We are making
some inroads in the boatyard business. We are providing
consulting services on shipboard computing and communications. We
are offering photographs, videos, and publications to the cruising
journals. Not much is happening yet.
After Voyage 2002, we had some success in penetrating the boat yard market. Bob is a guru in computer networking and security. He is supporting many of the on-site contractors at our boat yard. He already has all of his FCC licenses and soon will receive his ABYC certification. It is looking up!
Can we take care of the house
and the boat?
The jury is out here also. Our
younger son managed the house and the dogs and the cat during
Voyage 2000. However, he is moving to another state. We are
conducting exercises to ensure that we can take our pets on the
next cruise (our boat is not pet friendly and our pets are not
boat friendly). The house endures but protests. Frequent trips
back home and petitioning our sons to monitor the homestead will
be in order.
Voyage 2002 indicated that this was going to be a problem area. Our dirt dwelling did not fair too well. Much of our grass was dead (our leaf racker didn't), cleaning didn't get done ... bottom line, our house was tuckered. We are working on this one.
Can we maintain our family
Of course! This is really the
primary requirement. If we can't do this then we don't go
cruising! Bob's mother is XX (can't tell her age) and is doing
fine but we want to be in contact. Our older son and his
wife made us grandparents in April 2002. We were
During Voyage 2002, Bob's mom was diagnosed with cancer. We rushed home for the vigil. Fortunately, we had not left Florida for the Bahamas.
Can we pay for this?
Probably. We got a couple of
unexpected high cost maintenance items on the boat (e.g.,our teak
deck died, some rot in the core, many cosmetic things) and our
house will need attention in the next couple of years. Our
land-based and maritime business is doing well. Our retirement
fund has been impacted somewhat by 9-11 but we are doing better
The Rest of the Story
We are changing our plans for the near term as Bob had a little heart problem in 2004 which delayed one of our trips for over a year. Recently, We had several new grandbabies... need I say more. Our other 'kids', Levi, Gina, and Sammantha Jane (two dogs and a cat) are not getting any younger and are less agreeable to long boat trips. So, we are changing our plans. We are delaying any long voyages until the other 'kids' 'go to college' in favor of trips in the Chesapeake, and coastal Carolina. We ae readying Jule III for substantial travel in the 2009-2015 timeframe. Too much going on with too little time.
The New Direction
Well, it has worked out pretty well for us for over a decade but it will soon be time to close up shop and spend more time for cruising, family, and community; and less time worrying about work. The workplace has some really sharp players and this player is getting old; harder to do two things at once. But we will see.