There is a lot more to "just go" than the potential loss of your, and family/friends/crew lives. I know people who have been lost
. It does happen. But more people die driving around town than do on sailboats.
What also should be considered is the financial and emotional loss of going "too soon". By "too soon" I mean when you have at least a minimal understanding of what you are investing in. It seems more and more newbies have the dream of getting a boat to retire on. Hey, I am one of those. But I was also very, very considerate of what I didn't know and what the boat needed to do to get me there, and there, and back.
But over, and over, and over again, we all see people who buy a boat without even a clue as to what it really takes to even maintain a boat in a slip let alone crossing oceans. Many buy, are totally excited and then burn out financially or emotionally before the boat is ready even in their own inexperienced eyes. Marinas
are full of them, as are dry storage
and back yards. The only reason I say this is that some people really don't have the disposable income/savings to recover from this hit.
Not to mention the additional cost of cruising. Yes, SOME people find it easy to live off of $500 a month. MOST do not, and not by choice. Not everyone is the same. We all have friends who budgeted what they thought it would cost to have a boat in Mexico
(or wherever) and then found out they left many things off the list, or underestimated the list, and found they could not live without. You can find lots of boats in Mexico
that have been basically abandoned. Sometimes because the crew decided it was not for them and singlehanding/single living will not work for the skipper
The consequences can be disastrous, financially and emotionally. Some will say "oh well, I am happy I tried to do it". Others can't. Some marriages are lost
. Retirements are lost. This is real stuff.
So - I am NOT one of those who says "don't go". What I think needs to happen is at least some consideration, thought, and planning on the part of the owner/skipper/whomever, as to the real issues of cruising. It is not just "can I buy a boat and sail it to the Marquesas
and get there alive". Most people can manage to do that with GPS
nowadays. But then the boat needs repairs
, and believe me, repairs
are not easy or cheap
in the Marquesas
. But it happens all the time. Then they limp in to Tahiti
and find it is better, but not by much, and they abandon the boat there. They sell it if they are lucky. Some leave them as payment for marina/yard fees
. I know people who have done exactly that. Or, the Admiral is sick of cruising and goes back home, leaving the skipper
with a real problem.
Then there are those who lose the boat but they make it out alive due to rescues and equipment
. But the boat is lost. If they have insurance
they are better off, but many can't afford the boat and insurance
. We couldn't. But we understood the consequences if we lost the boat. Some people don't.
What I am advocating here, is that it is more than "can I sail across X body of water
and arrive at Y safely". Whoever says "just go" should at least see if they can inform the new owner of what needs to be considered - without the intention of stopping them from going - but to allow them to consider real everyday potential consequences. By the very nature of this extended cruiser community (as witnessed on CF here), there are many hardy souls who have conquered the seas, and their boats, and their finances. They then tell everyone that "anyone" can do it. Yeah, they can, but you won't be the one who has to pick up the pieces of their lives when it falls apart.
If someone asks me if they can do it, I always tell them "of course you can do it". But I also offer some thoughts about what it all means in the context of their life. And I worry less about the rich people than I do the people who sell the only house to buy the boat. I worry less about the young and stupid as they have a long time to recover from things - financially and emotionally. I also know people who are so obviously clueless, and vulnerable, that I gently try to dissuade from going. If they do go I know the odds of them dying are not really that high. I know it happens but I don't throw stories of that at them to scare them. If I have some concrete recommendation like "fix that bilge pump
before your go" I'll do that.
I do firmly believe we all have the right to do stupid and potentially dangerous things to ourselves
, but not
to clueless others
who put too much trust in a clueless skipper. We were totally clueless once too though but we both knew we were and we at least considered what would happen if we lost the boat and we decided we could pull through if we did. If we died, we died. But we at least got to the point where we could understand and decide that with some real understanding of risks and rewards. We have no second thoughts. Our retirement
has suffered due to the expense of our first boat, and it is suffering even more due to the current
boat. But we understand that. I just hope others understand what they are doing even if they don't understand how.
That's my rant and I am sticking to it. Just go!