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Old 29-04-2007, 14:24   #1
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Donna Lange's Day

As I followed the websites of other sailors, I too was following Donna Lange. That's how I first heard of Ken Barnes misfortune. I didn't know alot about other solo women. Having met just a few. When my husband wanted us to be pilots, I took classes and student pilot courses to learn the basics. Never with the desire to be the Captain, content to be the helper or last resort for troubles. I met some of the most exciting and interesting women who have done awesome in a male dominated field. Once you have learned the "flying" theory, one hopes sailing is along the same lines. We are going to be moving from air to sea...

As I read of the round the world adventures of Donna Lange, I developed respect and compassion for her great personal struggles to do this. But I also was unsettled about her having opted to do this on the barest of essentials. If you read her website and view all the list of sponsors, you see that everything, that you would expect a boat to already have, she didn't. And that generous people were in her path to offer so much. I think that this "attraction" to Donna's story is something that we can be proud of. So many giving and caring souls that wanted her to succeed... Yet I know that this is not available to so many sailors. I haven't read of men receiving that same good fortune, unless men simply don't view that type of assistance in the same way women do.

Here's my question? Do sailors generally find that they can find free repair services, when needed. Do you find other sailors who will give you parts or trade services for services? Is there ports where you can get free rental of dry docking or anchoring? Can you sail around the world and find the type of generosity that Donna found if you are just a regular "joe" out there? I often have read where the fees for all of this is very high..and can wipe out ones cash flow. But is there this network that benefits those sailors who have the hearts desire and the drive, yet are limited on the resources?

Our family sent assistance to donna, and we are glad to have been helpful. As we have done for other sailors we have heard about. But is this a normal life style in the sailing community and just a few get singled out for mention. I know there's awful stories of nasty sailing experiences. But it would be great to know that the sailing community is there for one another and we just got a good glimpse of that in the journey of Donna Lange. If you don't have a link to her site, wwwdonnalange.com, and you would like to see the sponsors, take a look at the site and maybe you can recall some similiar times when you were in the same position and help came your way. Some people say they go to sea to find themselves, I have noticed some people have gone to sea and found their friends.

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Old 29-04-2007, 16:16   #2
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First I would like to say, Donna is a very self sufficient person. She, like most people who dive into the sailing world with little or no experience, achieved what she did by jumping into the projects that needed to be done. The help she recieved, in my experience, is common place. Haul out in any boat yard, and you will have a dozen people a day coming by to offer advice. Some good, some bad, most unsolicited. A few of these people are more than willing to put hands on to show you haw to do what they are suggesting. Each time I have hauled out over the years, I have had people bring me meals, offer to sand, and run for parts. All unsolicited. I have had offers of electronics and other gear for free, or so cheap it might as well have been, from other boaters who were upgrading. I even had a member here look at a picture of my Wood Freman A/P and nearly insist on sending me an upgraded unit that didn't predate the steam engine
So, in a word, yes. The commoraderie is out there. Most who do not receive it, do so by choice. Publicity helps. A history of helping other people out also helps.
Most of the non commercial assistance Donna received was not asked for by her, but by those that care about her. As for the commercial assistance, it is out there, but to obtain it is a full time job for anyone. Donna's voyage was a rare thing, and something that a manufacturer of marine equipment would benefit from having a name attached to. If you want that sort of sponsership, you need to plan something extraordinary, and be able to present it as a viable plan.
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Old 29-04-2007, 16:47   #3
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I think sailors out crusing tend to be helpful when they can... but also some with special skill want to make some cash off them. Bidness is bidness and I don't see many commerical operations giving anything for free including a tie up alongside a dock... at least in New England waters. You might find things a bit different far from America.. the land of "No!" and money talks... of take a walk jack.
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Old 29-04-2007, 18:09   #4
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Thank You for sharing your own experiences

And I have read other sailing books about how to secure sponsors. But we will not be doing that. We want to just fit in with the rest of the gang. And I wanted to know that the offers are genuine and that finding such good hearted people is a everyday thing. Even as you said, some good, some bad...

Thanks for your comments.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kai Nui
First I would like to say, Donna is a very self sufficient person. She, like most people who dive into the sailing world with little or no experience, achieved what she did by jumping into the projects that needed to be done. The help she recieved, in my experience, is common place. Haul out in any boat yard, and you will have a dozen people a day coming by to offer advice. Some good, some bad, most unsolicited. A few of these people are more than willing to put hands on to show you haw to do what they are suggesting. Each time I have hauled out over the years, I have had people bring me meals, offer to sand, and run for parts. All unsolicited. I have had offers of electronics and other gear for free, or so cheap it might as well have been, from other boaters who were upgrading. I even had a member here look at a picture of my Wood Freman A/P and nearly insist on sending me an upgraded unit that didn't predate the steam engine
So, in a word, yes. The commoraderie is out there. Most who do not receive it, do so by choice. Publicity helps. A history of helping other people out also helps.
Most of the non commercial assistance Donna received was not asked for by her, but by those that care about her. As for the commercial assistance, it is out there, but to obtain it is a full time job for anyone. Donna's voyage was a rare thing, and something that a manufacturer of marine equipment would benefit from having a name attached to. If you want that sort of sponsership, you need to plan something extraordinary, and be able to present it as a viable plan.
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Old 29-04-2007, 18:25   #5
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The cruising community is just that. A community. defjef's comments are not without basis in fact, but I would say overall, that has not been my experience. I often travel for work. A couple of weeks ago, I was in Cleveland again (one of my more common destinations). My wife flew out there with me. The last time we were out there, we met several people tied off by the Museum and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. We were offered great hospitality, and lot's of local info. This time, we stopped by a local chandlery. We were greeted with a list of the local yacht clubs, an open invite to walk around the yard and look at boats, and some great conversation.
In Port Townsend Washington, we were welcomed on several boats, and well fed. In yards all up and down the West Coast, I have visited with people in yards, and lent a hand with projects on other people's boats.
A member here was asking about building a rudder. I dug into my old magazines and found an article on that, and mailed it to New Zealand. A local sailor ran up on the jetty, and holed his boat. There were a dozen of us out there when it was towed to a dock, trying to keep it bailed, and find the hole. We managed to get hold of one of the boat yard employees on a sunday through someone knowing someone else, and had the boat hauled out by the time the owner was released from the hospital.
Fit in? If you are good to people, you will do fine. The offers ARE genuine. There is a clear connection between people who can relate to the difficulties of owning, maintaining, and cruising a boat.
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Old 29-04-2007, 18:26   #6
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I know that there are nice people in the world. They exist, and are probably much more prevelent than is easy to realize living a land life in(at least in my case) the United States. I like to think I'm one of them, I'm the kind of person, call me nice, or call me a sucker, or whatever, but if someone on the street or somewhere asks me for a reasonable amount of money and I can spare it I usually will. I really WANT to pick up hitch hikers, but years of fear drilled into me by my upbringing and society have stopped me so far.

I've heard enough stories about nice things happening, such as one where a couple lost their HF radio in either India, or Sri Lanka(can't remember, I believe I read it on a website somewhere but fail to remember which.). Made a call on VHF, person came up to the boat out of the blue and took it away. The couple felt like idiots that they'd been ripped off until a couple of hours later when the guy came back with the radio fixed up good at no cost and then they felt bad for thinking that they had been stolen from. If I'm remembering correctly, they also got a meal out of it, or possibly cooked a meal for the guy who repaired it, can't remember, in either case they had good company while eating said meal.
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Old 29-04-2007, 19:10   #7
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I am still learning how to navigate the reply and posting here, so hope this shows up where I meant it to go. I have heard it's very expensive in that area also. Having been up to Maine for a Boat show a few years ago, I can see why. We are thinking of Panama for our first big venture. But at this point its chosing the right boat. We have a few in mind and are getting the final surveys done. The first boat we chose we realized we were limiting out ability to go the distance if we took to world sailing. So we started looking for that cruiser. We have an Archer II and want to sell that first. A man can have way too many toys! At least a wife can think so...But we are excited. Thanks for your comments.
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Old 30-04-2007, 23:08   #8
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Being a marine engineer I often find myself helping out other boaties. I lay it on the line and say I will diagnose and repair simple faults if they buy all the parts needed and I will not charge, but yes, I do drink rum/beer/wine/scotch and Sue & I do like to have a meal cooked for us occasionally. I haven't been taken advantage of yet and people are more than happy to do something in return for the use of my skills.
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Old 01-05-2007, 19:26   #9
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Mostly great

I hav to say most of the cruisers we have met over the last 7 months have been good people we were happy to meet.

The community is VERY supportive as a whole but like any other community it attracts its parasites.

I have read many dogmatic posts about how one has no business going cruising unless they have $20k/yr kitty and the perfect boat on which nothing will ever go wrong and I couldnt disagree with that sentiment more.

However, there are people out here who go cruising on literally nothing and count on the support of the community to get them to their next port. These people are IMO freeloaders who strain the goodwill of the community and make it harder to be supportive.

We have had many mechanical problems coming down the coast and we never ask for help because i am hung up on being self-sufficient and perhaps i am too stubborn to seek the help of others. That said I have recieved help several times from some really persistant cruisers who couldnt bear to see me struggle and have appreciated it every time. We are about to sail enginelessly into the Sea of Cortez which is supposedly impossible (though I intend to prove that theory wrong) and one cruising boat we were barely acquainted with actually emailed us to offer to motor 50 miles toward us and then tow our boat 50 miles into La Paz. I declined the offer but that is the kind of thing that happens when you dont even ask for help.

I know another couple who had major freeloaders. They offerd the use of their cell phone and coffee and had two cruisers from two different boats show up every morning wanting breakfast and to use their phone for hour long phone calls home. This isnt exaggerated, it is a true story.

I have seen much of this phenomenon and feel like there is nothing wrong with being on a shoestring but the shoestring needs to exist and a plan should be in place to live off of that shoestring. The plan should not be "Sail off and have cruisers foot the bill for my cruising"

On that note, we know of at least one vessel that was wrecked and the reaction of the owner was to go panhandling to the cruisers in surrounding anchorages. Most cruisers arent wealthy in this region and the wealthy ones didnt get that way from paying for other people's cruises. It seems sometimes people forget that cruising is a luxury, if we lost Estrella we would be devastated, but we would go find an apartment and get jobs so we could afford to replace her someday and keep cruising.

Anyway, just my .02

P.S. here are two stories of amazing cruiser generosity. Both stories AFAIK were unsolicited and done for people who were not freeloaders.

Sarana's SLOG: Nowhere to go but up.

March 23, 2007
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Old 01-05-2007, 20:57   #10
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Good observations, Adam.

Mine would echo yours, and DefJef's. I only wish they had more of a Kai Nui ring to them.

I can say that I consistently pay into the universe by towing stranded people in. I do this almost weekly, believe it or not. I just towed a jet skiier in today who had lost power and was paddling the jet ski in like a kick board. Didn't look fun at all!

More than one boat passed him right by with his arms waving.

Hopefully, someone else will be nice out there as well. I do enjoy helping others out when they are in need. The only place I don't do that is financially, since I'm more likely at the bottom rung of that ladder and more needy than able to give in that department.
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