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Old 06-11-2012, 07:32   #16
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Re: What the heck have I been thinking!!!

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Becky,

In over thirty years of sailing, on everything from small day sailors to 70' maxi racing boats I have never pitch poled, and never broken a mast on a keel boat while sailing (did it once on the hard when a crane line snapped). Sure it happens, but like most risks if you play it safe, and don't push the likelihood of suffering from something terrible is remote.

Sadly a number of people do wind up buying boats that need lots of work, and don't realize exactly how much time and money it takes to return a distress boat back into shape. What's worse look at almost any thread entitled "found a wreck, is it crazy to fix it" or similar, and you will find people almost universally recommending staying away from these project boats. Frankly I consider anyone who would ask this question to not be well informed enough about boat maintenance to consider this type of project.

The trick is to buy a boat you are comfortable with, that is in good enough shape right now to go sailing. You may pay a little more upfront, but just being able to go sailing makes doing the maintenance much easier to deal with. To me the worst is people who wind up buying boats, spending huge amounts of money, and never getting to sail them.
I get that advice and I agree with it. And my post was a little bit tongue in cheek. But it was a little bit also wondering why so many people seem to get out there and get so disillusioned so fast. Are they inexperienced to start with? Do they try to do it with inadequate or unsafe boats? Do they not plan for enough money to support a reasonably comfortable lifestyle? Are they really and truly naive enough starting out to think it's all mai tais and hula girls?? Or is there something else afoot?

We haven't been just thinking about sailing for 30 years, we have actually been doing it for that same amount of time. We have owned a dozen sailboats of different sizes and designs, have rebuilt (from total wrecks) several boats and have lived aboard for a total of about 5 years on several different boats. Six months of that was spent living on the hook. We have never had hot and cold pressure water, a shower, air conditioning, a generator, or refrigeration on any of our boats (some of those items we plan to have in our next boat though.) And we have never been unhappy with the life.

We have also put in a lot of sailing miles. My husband spent 16 years in the Navy and has been in weather that could toss a Navy destroyer around. I haven't seen that kind of weather, but have been out in some snot nonetheless. I've been bored silly at times and apprehensive at others (can't say I have been in anything yet that I found to be truly frightening, thank God). But I have spent many days just enjoying the pure bliss that, for me, only being on the water can provide.

I say all that to just make the point that we know what boat life is like and don't have any pie in the sky expectations for instant or constant nirvana. (Don't have that in a land-based existence either. Can't imagine why anyone would expect it on the water.) We know there are sacrifices to be made in comfort and convenience in order to have this lifestyle. What we want is the travel and the adventure, the freedom to come and go at will, and seeing a new places and meeting new people from a water perspective. We've never wanted to live anywhere but near the water.

I guess my question is then, the people who are always so quick to chime in and emphasize the doom and gloom, danger and discomfort aspect (and there seems to be no shortage of them)....

are they truly not having any fun but refuse to admit that they should probably sell the boat and buy a condo?

are they drawn to tell those stories more than the fun ones about the pot luck on the beach they went to last night, or the great cheap tacos in this or that place, because it makes them sound tougher, more heroic, more stalwart than their land-based counterparts?

or are they just trying to offer a dose of realism to those dreamers who may not have the experience to know what the life is truly about? (There's a fine line I think between a dose of realism and scaring the beegeezus out of somebody.)

Not looking for or needing anybody to affirm or validate our experience or our plan, just wanting to have a conversation that might benefit; the newbie or dreamer who is trying to decipher all the input they see on a forum like this and determine it's relevance to what they're trying to do, or the posters on the forum to understand how the posts come across to others considering the lifestyle.

I wanted to make a point that it seemed like the lion's share of posts were indicating that it was too hard and miserable out there. We all know that's not true, at least not the majority of the time. The reason Lance and I started sailing was because of all the great books we read back in the early years by authors who were out there cruising and having a great time. And they didn't gloss over the hard stuff, but they emphasized the adventure and the freedom. Too much negativity and not enough conversation on the positive could actually dissuade someone from ever buying their first boat. If I had read a lot of this stuff in the beginning, instead of Hal Roth and Lyn Pardey, we'd probably have gotten an RV back then.

Just sayin'
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Old 06-11-2012, 07:35   #17
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Re: What the heck have I been thinking!!!

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Becky, if you've been bitten by the sailing bug (and I don't mean roach LOL), don't be discouraged. It is the bad stuff that makes for good discussion, so you are hearing a disproportionate amount of it.

Been cruising full time for just over five years now and I've had the very best five years of my life by a long shot, and that is saying a lot as I had a good life before .

This was our anchorage taken the day before yesterday. Just another week (or two, you lose track after a while) spent in paradise:

PS You forgot the "Security - What do You Do?" Thread
Now THAT'S THE STUFF I LIKE TO HEAR!!!!!!!! Thanks Lass.
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Old 06-11-2012, 07:52   #18
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Re: What the heck have I been thinking!!!

It's not always sunsets and sun downers for sure... But having a grasp on the reality of what sailing is actually all about should serve you well.

Lots of problems get created by folks who define their dreams by that of others. Decide on how YOU want to use your boat and do so. No need to sail around the world in order to enjoy the sailing life. As a matter of fact I can't imagine a worse way to enjoy MY boat. BUT that's just me. I find that I enjoy day sailing, weekend sailing, month long vacations, summer vacations, etc on the boat. BUT no way would I enjoy living 24/7 on a sailboat.. At least not one I can afford. I did see 400 footer that could work though!

Good luck with what you decide...
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Old 06-11-2012, 07:59   #19
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Re: What the heck have I been thinking!!!

I'm posting, for my wife and I are looking to do the same thing, with regard to cruising.

First I must say I'm a techie. I love my internet. I love my electronic gadgets. I, however, despise television.

The one fear that I have, is the issue of not having internet access. I know there are many places free WiFi, or paid WiFi are available.

But on the other hand I've lost something in my years, that I want to reclaim. The ability to enjoy the simpleness of life.

I love to sail, and my wife and I can spend countless hours together.

We plan to start slow, maybe a week trip, progressing to a couple of months (possible eventually being years). We do have one still in high school, so just taking off and going cruising is not realistic for us right now. We respect his wishes to finish school at his current location. Right, wrong or indifferent, it is the way we are handling it.

Maintenance on the yacht/boat/vessel is the least of my worries, for I'm widely versed with different systems. I'm much more worried about being "unplugged".

I want to do this, but worry about my mindset after some time. Only way to know is to go........

I do read a lot on CF, and have learned much. I have much to learn (mostly charts and true navigation), but with some time, maybe I'll be considered "prepared".

Would everyone consider that a realistic view?

James L
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Old 06-11-2012, 07:59   #20
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[QUOTE="msponer"]I've been wondering if the Internet enables people to overdevelop the nerd part of their sailing brain and get ahead of their love for it. This vast information transfer can be grounding, since it replaces uncertainty (or maybe fear) with a kind of nerdy trivia or series of problems and solutions that can be solved in a front-brain, rational way.

So one can, on the surface, know everything about sailing. And could be a great sailor, who knows all about anchoring and boats and navigation and electronics and all of that. But maybe lack the well developed and odd aesthetic sense to really love it, to appreciate all the little moments that it adds up to.

And without that love it's a completely ridiculous undertaking, and thus the first string of bad days transforms the boat into an enormously expensive, empty, toy.

I want to express this thought without ego, and so am not pretending to be better -- just curious, if anyone else has wondered this from the limited view of other people we have here. The stories of disappointment seem so ... calculative, and in that context sailing never makes sense.

My own path was recent and thoroughly modern, but before the ubiquitous Internet. And so I left knowing much much less than folks do now, but I feel that not having a well trodden path laid out before me in minor detai
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Old 06-11-2012, 08:01   #21
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Originally Posted by msponer
I've been wondering if the Internet enables people to overdevelop the nerd part of their sailing brain and get ahead of their love for it. This vast information transfer can be grounding, since it replaces uncertainty (or maybe fear) with a kind of nerdy trivia or series of problems and solutions that can be solved in a front-brain, rational way.

So one can, on the surface, know everything about sailing. And could be a great sailor, who knows all about anchoring and boats and navigation and electronics and all of that. But maybe lack the well developed and odd aesthetic sense to really love it, to appreciate all the little moments that it adds up to.

And without that love it's a completely ridiculous undertaking, and thus the first string of bad days transforms the boat into an enormously expensive, empty, toy.

I want to express this thought without ego, and so am not pretending to be better -- just curious, if anyone else has wondered this from the limited view of other people we have here. The stories of disappointment seem so ... calculative, and in that context sailing never makes sense.

My own path was recent and thoroughly modern, but before the ubiquitous Internet. And so I left knowing much much less than folks do now, but I feel that not having a well trodden path laid out before me in minor detail also meant that I had very few expectations, the story was wide open in my mind for how it would turn out, and that left room for an immediacy of experience that developed the love, first hand, that can be hard to find when sailing is approached entirely as a technical exercise solved with linear thoughts, and a huge set of expectations filled in from other peoples 'best of' narratives on their blogs.
I think that's a pretty dead on assessment. The "good " side of the Internet is the information transfer in advance of learning the hard way. But you still, ultimately, need to find out for yourself if you enjoy sailing.

Half the time I would never call it "fun ", but there is more to life than fun.
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Old 06-11-2012, 08:04   #22
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Re: What the heck have I been thinking!!!

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It's a retirement plan. When we can both draw our pensions we'll go. No hurry though. We've been sailing all along, living aboard at times. We haven't been wasting our time, and we've been taking care of business, raising our kids (and helping to raise our grandkids), living a good life.

There's all kinds of ways to enjoy the sailing life. Full time cruising is just one of them. But it's one we'd like to try someday. From the sounds of the threads lately it doesn't sound like anyone is having any fun out there though. Just had me wondering WTH.
That's because the majority of the ones out there having fun doing it aren't sitting around on the internet.
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Old 06-11-2012, 08:21   #23
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Re: What the heck have I been thinking!!!

I started the Roaches and Rats and Bats thread. We never had any of these problems except for a few roaches that tried to sneak aboard in some cardboard boxes in which we had some supplies purchased in Martinique. We squished them before they could escape and multiply. We NEVER kept paper bags or cardboard boxes aboard - most common way for bugs to arrive.

I started the thread to hear about others' experiences and perhaps help folks to learn from them. That, after all, is one of the most important goals of the forum, IMHO.

Be not dismayed.

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Old 06-11-2012, 09:08   #24
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Re: What the heck have I been thinking!!!

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Originally Posted by propellanttech View Post
I'm posting, for my wife and I are looking to do the same thing, with regard to cruising.

First I must say I'm a techie. I love my internet. I love my electronic gadgets. I, however, despise television.

The one fear that I have, is the issue of not having internet access. I know there are many places free WiFi, or paid WiFi are available.
When we first started cruising communication was by snail mail (remember postcards?) and expensive phone calls when we could find a working pay phone. Later came expensive cell phones or Pocketmail (little email gizmo that attached to the phone with an analog signal) and then computers in libraries. And finally wifi. I bought a laptop and a fancy external antenna.

The antenna is now dead. I have a netbook and use that when wifi is available. No big deal. Our communication is now by cell phone, GSM with a local sim card. During my six months a year cruising I get weaned off the internet. The main use used to be communicating with family, (we do not have a blog ) now that's done with the GSM phone.

We do not have a tv aboard. We read and with a Kobo e-book reader no longer have a pile of books aboard or need to swap anymore. Life is simple again. The internet, you will learn does not matter that much when cruising.Your life becomes simpler and knowing everything that's happening in the world is a priority no longer.

If you love electronic gadgets you'll be happy to know that keeping the instruments working will soon turn that love to hate.
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Old 06-11-2012, 09:14   #25
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Re: What the heck have I been thinking!!!

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If you love electronic gadgets you'll be happy to know that keeping the instruments working will soon turn that love to hate.
I don't know about that......I build PCB's for a living, and my gadget loving hasn't diminished much. Troubleshooting PCB's sucks!!!

I'm actually thinking of all the neat gadgets I could build for my boat. But I'm not sure it's the best idea........Then I would have to repair my own gadgets, and couldn't gripe about the designer.....

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Old 06-11-2012, 10:10   #26
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Re: What the heck have I been thinking!!!

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Now THAT'S THE STUFF I LIKE TO HEAR!!!!!!!! Thanks Lass.
Becky, many of the folks that come on the forum are newbies that have never done any boating and they are looking for an escape from a boring life. They read the magazines that emphasize the glitter and gloss. When did you ever read a bad boat review? They may have a short blurb in the editorial section about the tragedy that did happen but not a lot of coverage. They are selling products and in order to keep the advertisers they need to sell the dream. How many boats in your marina get used regularly? Why do think that is?

Perhaps this forum is a good place to try and talk a little sense into people. Learn to sail, buy a boat you can afford. Do some day sailing, weekends, vacations. Do you like it? Great, however you answer that question.
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Old 06-11-2012, 10:29   #27
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Re: What the heck have I been thinking!!!

99% good experiences and 1% "roaches, rats, onry Customs Agents" etc. Actually, never had a customs agent issue or rats. Once got some roaches though. The biggest risk is buying a good boat vs one with a lot of major issues. (thus teh "I'm walking away...") If you have only so much to spend, buy a good boat even if it's smaller than that beautiful huge project boat.
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Old 06-11-2012, 10:52   #28
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Re: What the heck have I been thinking!!!

Oldragbaggers, Just to add a pennysworth to all the good advice given by the knowledgeable people on here.
Set a date and time, work up to it and stick to it, I did 25 years ago and wouldn't change my life for all the tea in China, don't worry about the children/grandchildren, 'Money always keeps the kids in touch' !
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Old 06-11-2012, 10:54   #29
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Reducing systems can help a lot too, or at least grossly simplifying existing ones. Favor simplicity and reliability at every turn, using Cruising World for kindling and buy things that you know you need because they're keeping you from leaving the dock, don't create needs out of thin air. No one's going to argue that radar and chart plotters help, but if those and the myriad of other things are keeping you from sailing, who cares if they're helpful? Things are only helpful if they are indeed a part of your sailing. Some theoretical advantage that you never use because you never get underway is quite the disadvantage.

There are a lot of people on the waterfront who make a lot of money by overcomplicating your boat and acting like some things are a necessity that are far from it.
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Old 06-11-2012, 11:28   #30
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Re: What the heck have I been thinking!!!

This is about the time Don Lucas pops in with his "it sucks out there, don't go" mantra.

I confess, I snapped a mast once, no pitch poling, too much sail on a corroded mast. Until that moment I never realized that aluminum could shear, I always thought it would bend and give a bit of warning.

Anyway, people get depressed around Christmas, maybe that is the "bug" that is bitting them. I still agree with the old saying, "A bad day sailing is better than one day at work!"
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