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Find Your Paradise Before You Retire: The SEAbbatical

Alone in an anchorage near Tonga in the South Pacific.

Alone in an anchorage near Tonga in the South Pacific.

From the cockpit of Das Boot, our 43′ sailboat, I watch a sailboat’s navigation lights flicker on followed by the engine’s purr and the drone of the chain as two cruisers haul in their anchor.

It’s almost dark. There are few safe anchorages for a hundred miles.

Where are they going?

Were they off on for several hours of night sailing? A three-day passage? Were they headed out to to cross the ocean?

I was ever curious. The conversation in my head each time I saw a masthead light bobbing out to sea into the night was always the same.

I want to do that.

It took years, but eventually I made it happen.

With my daughter at the helm watching for my signal that the anchor was up and secure on deck, she’d head our boat out of a safe anchorage at dusk for a passage of one night – or two or three.

I always imagined someone in the anchorage having the same thoughts I’d had so many times. It’s getting dark. Where are they going?


The Perfect Pre-Retirement Sabbatical

SEAbbaticals-coverThe lure of the sea isn’t felt by everyone. Yet for many, like me, other cruisers and perhaps you, it’s a siren song of the unknown. Come ‘on, come ‘on, let’s go for an adventure.

For years Brent Vaughn has been selling cruising boats to people all around the world who are fascinated with the world’s oceans, island and harbors.  His new book, SEAbbaticals: How to Pursue Paradise by Sea Before You Retire presents a step-by-step guide to unbolt from land and take time out for a SEAbattical that can transform your life, relationships and bring new vigor to your business and career.

Did you get that part about before you retire?

Brent owns Multihull Central, a yacht brokerage in Australia. He discovered that many of his clients were not waiting until they retire to get the boat of their dreams to set out to sea.

Vaughn observes that while most Australians and Americans wait until they retire before they decide to buy the boat of their dreams and go cruising sometimes this is too late for their fitness. And it’s a dream deferred if one’s health declines. He knew about people who instead of chasing their dream out to sea, decided to play Slots Online until they retired. But when you think about retirement you need to make sure you put money aside for senior care and other stuff like Skylark adult day care.

By contrast, many Europeans take mid-career ‘gap years,’ From his perspective, this is a SEAbattical.

Who Takes a SEAbbatical?

Vaughn’s book educates and prepares individuals for one of the world’s last great adventures – the challenges of sailing while collecting memories for a lifetime.

He covers the financials and re-entry. As well, he fleshes out the idea using concrete examples of individuals who’ve done it or are doing it.

  • Johan Salen sailed with his family from France to New Caledonia in the Pacific on a 59ft catamaran.
  • Doug, a successful executive in an international IT organization, negotiated his SEAbbatical with his employer. (The negotiation part happened after he told his boss he was willing to quit if he needed to.)
  • Entrepreneur Scott Leonard continued to run his financial advisory company, Navigoe, from his boat working a twenty hour week and flying back to headquarter for ten days every quarter. After a year at sea, his Company’s revenues increased by 25 per cent and the number of clients increased by 12 per cent.

Chapter-by-Chapter Plan

With photographs to inspire, Vaughn outlines every step. He includes a logical 5-step formula and the financials. He even offers ideas to fund the boat. While the book is primarily geared to those starting off in Australia, there’s much to learn for anyone who is considering the experience of a cruising life pre-retirement or as part of retirment lifestyle.

Chapter headings include:

  • Finding the Theme for Your Sabbatical
  • Choosing Your Boat
  • Profit from Making Your Boat a Business
  • Prepare for the Journey
  • Proper on Return with an Exit Plan

I’m sure Brent wouldn’t mind selling you a boat. What seems more important to him is helping individuals embrace life fully. The SEAbbatical can be an epic adventure with loved ones that transforms.

Take a look.

You won’t see 10-foot waves breaking over the bow or a jammed windlass. But on days like these you’ll have forgotten all about those things. You’ll simply feel blessed that you made it happen.


All profits from the sale of Byron Bay go to support Sea Mercy, a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing free health care, education, economic development and disaster response & recovery programs to the thousands of “at risk” remote islands across the South Pacific.

Visit to learn more.

Full Disclosure: yourSABBATICAL contributed information for Vaughn’s book. Pages 29-30 are suggestions for a longer-lasting return from the experience of a SEAbattical based on our work with individuals, organizations and our own 6-month sailing adventure.

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