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Old 15-09-2010, 14:38   #1
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Closer Than Ever, Yet Still So Far Away

If the choice is 1) Going small and simple without a liferaft, radar, chart, satellite phone, chartplotter, new diesel engine, new sails, new rigging, etc and risk losing your life in a storm or hitting a shipping container or whatever or 2) Working for two or three more years to buy all of those things and risk losing your life driving to and from work and around town by the hand of someone texting or driving under the influence....what would you do? I don't really care -- I'm leaving in 21 months and I'm going with what I have (which isn't much). Because if I don't, I will surely go insane. And it doesn't help that I frequently drive over the Coleman Bridge with a magnificent view of the York River where it empties into the Chesapeake Bay and am constantly reminded of what I'd rather be doing (for the past 20 + years). AGHHHH!! Sorry.
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Old 15-09-2010, 14:53   #2
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If the choice is 1) Going small and simple without a liferaft, radar, chart, satellite phone, chartplotter, new diesel engine, new sails, new rigging, etc and risk losing your life in a storm or hitting a shipping container or whatever or 2) .

Hate to disillusion you but even with a liferaft, radar, chart, satellite phone, chartplotter, new diesel engine, new sails, new rigging, etc you can still risk losing your life in a storm or hitting a container or whatever. Happens more often than you think.
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Old 15-09-2010, 15:02   #3
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You should get a chart or two and go. You are absolutely better off away on your boat than dewaddling around waiting to get ready. I've got only half the stuff you listed and have been out here, now 12,000 miles away, for four years.
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Old 15-09-2010, 15:34   #4
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If you've already set 21 months, then just cut all your spending to the bare bones over that time and save every penny...
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Old 15-09-2010, 15:45   #5
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The ways to get yourself killed increase as you learn more things you didn't know you didn't know. Not knowing can let you ignore them and with practice you won't look for them. This creates the world as you would prefer it to be. You then sail off the edge of the earth never to be seen again but the boat survives. It sounds pretty bad to me.

You can prepare to be successful because there are just too many things against you if you don't. The concept of overcoming great obstacles just by your personal strength and free will is certain death.

A lack of patience now is not a good sign for when it becomes required. The fact that you set deadlines is no assurance you will meet them quicker. Surrender the deadlines because it lets you focus more on the preparation. It's all so you will really know when you are ready not when you want to think you are ready. Can your personal strength and commitment enable you to do what is required to be prepared? I would say it's the only way possible.

You need to just get your head right. You will leave as soon as you are ready! This can be a certainty if you can work through the preparations. There is far greater danger leaving unprepared because you thought you were running out of time. It's where you are today. There is no deadline and you are not in a hurry. You are busy preparing. You drive back and forth over the bridge because you mean to be prepared.

If you would rather not prepare you might take up something less adventurous requiring less preparation. Sitting on the beach in Yorktown has the better view of the bridge.
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Old 15-09-2010, 16:30   #6
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Paul is right about the deadlines and schedules. I've gotten in the most trouble when I imposed them in my travels. Life is much better without them. Also don't be afraid to make changes to plans and journeys. Sometimes changing course and direction can result in pleasant surprises:
THE BIANKA LOG BLOG: NOAA, NO WHA? & THE HAPPY ENDING
My advice is to spend as much time on your boat between now and when you plan to leave. Live on it every weekend maybe during the week too if it fits into your commute. Some of my best ideas and thinking occurs when I'm on board. You may find it a great place to sort out all the things that you need or want to do before you finally head out.
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Old 15-09-2010, 16:36   #7
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Originally Posted by Triton318 View Post
Going small and simple without a liferaft, radar, chart, satellite phone, chartplotter, new diesel engine, new sails, new rigging, etc
I am guessing your list also includes a lot of other dull things that all simply add up $$$ wise............

But FWIW from your list I don't see Radar, a Sat Phone, a new Engine (and even a liferaft ) as being absolute essentials for the safety of a voyage. And chartplotter don't need to be this decade. or simply go old style GPS and chart your position.

Not to say that not nice or very useful to have, but...........
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Old 15-09-2010, 17:44   #8
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it's like backpacking in the back country

since I'm landlocked most of the year in Colorado (my boat, along with my pops is down in Houston) my wife and I use a different form of escape... backpacking.

It's similar in that if you aren't prepared you can get yourself in some awfully stressful, health endangering, and even life threatening situations.

When we first started mountaineering we made some very ignorant/prideful decisions... and suffered the consequences (almost killing 1 of our dogs, getting lost and hiking an extra 5-6 miles with no water and food...sliding down a massive couloir about 500 feet at a very steep pitch with no protection whatsoever (I still get chills thinking about it))

But what I've learned about wilderness adventuring is:

1.) Listen to what more experienced mountaineers/sailors/adventurists say about it... in person and through books. Ask lots of questions.... don't be afraid to admit that you're a noob. Read like a little bookworm.

2.) Ease into it, keep a journal of your experiences paying attention to what you did well and what would have helped a lot... refer back to your journal before your next trip.

3.) Always bring a friend/partner

4.) Proper nutrition/hydration for any adventure is of the utmost importance, you simply cant think and act when you're low blood sugar or really thirsty.

5.) Have an escape route ...

Doesn't answer the question about what specific gear you need, but that in the end isn't the most important part... the most important part is being psychologically, emotionally, and physically prepared... sailing/hiking/offgrid adventuring... it's all very similar.

Oh and yeah, taking it in small chunks on the weekends, a week here or there, will totally ease the burden of daily commuting... no doubt about it.
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Old 15-09-2010, 17:53   #9
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I would NOT spend any more of my life-time to buy any more gadgets (yes, liferaft one of them)

BUT I would spend more time getting the boat ready (if she is not ready yet).

And I strongly think it makes a lot of sense to spend any time, a year or ten, if that's what it takes - to get one's life organized around the future 'dream' - read: your investments, your house, your skills. Re-org them, and use them towards making the cruising time last as long as you might like it to last, and be as worry-free as possible.

And then again, I am a worrier. I am.

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Old 15-09-2010, 18:46   #10
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since I'm landlocked most of the year in Colorado (my boat, along with my pops is down in Houston) my wife and I use a different form of escape... backpacking. ...
The biggest difference is that with backpacking, one carries everying. With cruising, the boat carries everything. Also, some of the concerns are different. Instead of "is my anchor dragging," it's "is the bear eating my food?"




Still, I (with early-morning "periscope eye") completely agree with Munkey.
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Old 15-09-2010, 18:58   #11
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I have often heard that unless you set a date you'll never go. Still, I would make the date reasonable and know that my skills and equipment have to be up to par. Set the date as a goal, but be realistic about what needs to be done to achieve success.
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Old 15-09-2010, 19:32   #12
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I have often heard that unless you set a date you'll never go.
I really don't buy that one. If you are determined enough to get ready, you can do the work that it takes to be prepared. Some of it is elbow grease and some long back to back days of work that add up to months but another part really is all about the money. You can think you can live a whole lot cheaper in two years than you actually can live tonight.

Wanting something bad enough to work at it is different than wanting it enough that you can set deadlines to fool yourself today that you'll make it later without working at it today. The ethic you build on land is "you" the day you leave the slip. You carry all the old habits with just change of scenery. The qualities needed on the boat are the same ones that get you there.
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Old 16-09-2010, 05:26   #13
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You can get marina-itis. When the external controlling factors have subsided;

I would suggest, you go for a few days, which turn into a week, then 2 and then you may need some fresh food, but dont go into a marina, anchor off and dinghy in.

Before you know it, you have left the rat race.
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Old 16-09-2010, 07:21   #14
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GO NOW. you never knows whats around the corner. If you can GO, then GO

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Old 16-09-2010, 08:51   #15
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Preparation has to mean more than getting the boat list done. It has to include getting yourself prepared. Going cruising/voyaging for the first time was stressful to me, but as I worked on the boat, learning systems, installing creature comforts, and getting used to pumps that go off in the night, I got more comfortable in the new location.

Work on getting the boat ready, but take time to sail her. Start with overnights at the dock, then day sails, then overnight at another marina or anchorage. Discuss what your concerns are with other cruisers then attempt to fix them. Fixing things and becoming accustomed to my new home fueled the desire to cut the lines. So did selling my car.

FWIW, here's what I did:

Made a list of the things I'd like to have, the things I need, and the time frame to accomplish the goals. If it didn't make it go, keep the water on the outside, or didn't help me get from point A to point B, then it wasn't as high a priority as a new engine or sails or pumps or batteries.

I had four simple requirements: (1) keep the water on the outside; (2) keep the stick in the air; (3) keep the boat moving; (4) don't get lost. I solved (1) by checking every thruhull, seacock, hose and hose clamp I could find, making sure the bilge pumps were either rebuilt or new, and that my tankage was good. I solved (2) by replacing the 20+ year old rigging and saving some of the rigging wire for emergency use. (3) got solved by buying used but quite serviceable sails and having a mechanic look over the engine and transmission, make repairs and help me with a spares list. (4) got solved by taking some Power Squadron navigation courses, investing in a good GPS, buying charts and cruising guides, and talking to other cruisers.

I didn't have a chart plotter, radar, dedicated life raft, water maker or sat phone. I did have an SSB, VHF, homebrew gizmo to inflate my tender, EPIRB, safety harness, and a new water tank. Oh, and a lot of anxiety.

Having a time frame is one way to get you off the dock. Focus your attention on that but don't chisel it in stone. One of the biggest things to learn about cruising is that if you have a fixed schedule, you're already fueling the anxiety. It might be 22 months or 20, but you'll know when it's time. I waited almost two weeks before I found a weather window that I could live with, not what other cruisers or the weather forecasters suggested. The waiting was probably more stressful than getting to the departure date.

I was very apprehensive when I soloed out of port and headed across the Gulf Stream. I was even more so when cell phone coverage ended and land was nowhere in sight. But I saw the reflection of land in the clouds, made my waypoint, and slid onto the thin crystal clear waters of the Bahamas and knew I'd done the right thing.

And so will you. On your terms. On your schedule. I hope to see you out there on the other 80% of the planet.
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