Hello, Free Willy,
This is Ann writing, not Jim, and from the perspective of having become a cruising sailor following Jim's dream. Even if it is not your dream, now, if you want to go, you will find ways to make it work out. We've been out of the States cruising since March of '89. [We did make air trips home to see family
and friends during this time, and come for medical
treatment, as well.] I really thought after I read your OP that you were just going through the "heebie-jeebies". I do agree that fear is normal, with the advice to use knowledge as a weapon against anxiety, and I thought Mike's advice about involving your daughter was brilliant. The lady who suggested finding a way to make part of it your own is also exactly correct.
Just a few comments, though... Although a small dog surely would let you know when people approach your boat, in some countries your dog would have to be quarantined at your expense, and it can run in the thousands for just one cyclone season. Other factors in our choice to avoid on-board pets
are that I know I would feel devastated if I were unable to retrieve a pet washed overboard
, and there've been times when it likely would not have been possible.
There are people who will try to make you feel afraid. The poster who suggested that you consider what's going on with them offered you a valuable suggestion. For example, one grandmother of my acquaintance tried to stop her daughter from taking her grandsons offshore
. Grandma was afraid, but didn't know anything, really, about cruising. I belong to the faction who consider it safer than land life, but also "safety" is often an illusion, anyway. Factors abound which are outside our control; hence a waste of time to worry about.
are almost all really wonderful. They learn skills, develop self confidence, real interests, are less assailed by media brainwashing, and become able to deal with folks of varying age with aplomb and skill. I predict you all find the home schooling will be extremely valuable. One family
we knew were out for 1 1/2 years, and soon everyone in the fleet knew school
was from 8-noon, respected them, and playtime was later. Once you accept the challenge or problem, you handle it. Usually the kids
that do return to the public education system are way ahead of their grade level both scholastically and for maturity level. I think it will be great for your daughter, if you decide to follow through.
Pirates. Most cruisers belong to radio
, or via ham radio
or marine single
sideband. News of places where dinghies or people are molested passes at the speed of sound or light, depending on whether it's via radio or internet
. The "grapevine" will warn you of places to not go. There are inexpensive motion sensors that can warn you of intruders on your boat, we had one on our first "Insatiable"; and real pirates are better armed than you'll ever be. Our solution has been to avoid places we're warned about, and together, all of you think up an emergency
plan if you decide it's necessary.
Cruising as a lifestyle is like being a member
of a small town, except it's afloat. In my experience, the great majority are generous and helpful, reciprocally supportive. If your Mom's alive, and worried about granddaughter, she might like to know that. It really is like a large, extended family.
Good luck with this one, and fair winds.
Ann Cate, US yacht "Insatiable II" lying NSW, Australia