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Old 17-03-2011, 07:12   #16
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pirate Re: Is the cruising life a lonely life????

A question I'm often asked...
no I do not get lonely.. how is it possible to be lonely if you've a ton of great memories...
And the ambition to create new ones...
Thats not lonliness... thats called 'Self Pity..'
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Old 17-03-2011, 07:19   #17
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Re: Is the cruising life a lonely life????

As some of the above posts illustrate there is a variety of meaning to the term "lonely" and few of them apply to cruisers - both single-handers and couples.
- - I have observed amongst singlehanders (after having been one for more than 10 years) that this group is mainly made up of people who are quite comfortable with themselves and being by themselves. They might be called natural "loners."
- - But still they have lots of access to social situations within the cruising community who welcome them for sundowners or pot lucks or just some time chatting about this, that and everything.
- - Also, from a humorous curiosity, I have been observing how long it takes a typical single-handing young male cruiser to go from checking into a new place/island to bringing a local "sweet young thing" for a visit to his boat. The record is about 40 minutes and the average seems to be two days. So I don't think "lonely" can be attached to this group at all.
- - However, amongst cruising couples there seems to be a variety of different situations. Maybe just because they make more noise/activity, one group of cruising couples seem to travel in social "packs/herds" of boats with considerable social activity ashore and afloat within their groups. Again this group is almost always involved in social activities except when actually underway so "lonely" cannot really be applied to them. They are also very heavy users of the local nets and SSB nets like the Coconut Telegraph.
- - Then there is a subgroup of cruising couples who I think are unique in the world. These couples have a deep affection and commitment to each other and you very rarely ever see one without the other. Like two parts of the same whole, kind of thing. They tend to be quite content to stay for large amounts of time on their boats in idyllic anchorages alone with just each other for company. Yet, they do frequent the social shore-side events but nearly always as a couple. If there is a "lady's day out" or "men's activity" ashore these are the first ones to leave and return to their partner on the boat. So "yes, Dorothy, there really are loving couples who cleave to each other in a happy, fulfilling relationship."
- - Even amongst the cruisers who came from a land-life full of social activities to the cruising life, the opportunities for social interaction are huge and you can observe them frequently in "hen parties" and "poker-night" sessions in almost all the various harbors and anchorages.
- - Maybe, the OP raised the question based on the "long passages" that are possible in ocean cruising which might be considered "lonely." But by almost all measurements, the actual time spend sailing/cruising between ports or destinations is less than 10% of the total time spent living on a cruising boat. The 90% portion is full of social opportunities and loneliness is really not even a concept thought about.
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Old 17-03-2011, 07:19   #18
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Re: Is the cruising life a lonely life????

As a group, I would say most definitely not. That being said, its hard to group sailors that way just as it is hard to group any number of people who have a common passion but are influenced by other things such as fishing, diving or wine tasting etc. The comraderie of diving with others can be the catalyst that takes lonely out the equation for instance.

Obviously the single handed sailor is more susceptible to being lonely. Slocum alluded to it without coming out and saying it by describing himself "giving in to his feelings". A single hander makes a conscience decision to be alone and makes passages that way usually to satisfy their need to challenge themselves. I would say that this feeling of independence during a passage alone over rides feelings of loneliness and the triumph is celebrated vigorously upon arrival at the nearest pub! (some of us) Some may cry their eyes out the whole passage but seem fine otherwise.

Bleh, sailors can not be grouped in such a way to properly answer the question. We are all so different and handle situations in our own way.
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Old 17-03-2011, 07:23   #19
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Re: Is the cruising life a lonely life????

Its only lonely if you think New York & London don't have enough people.
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Old 17-03-2011, 07:26   #20
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Re: Is the cruising life a lonely life????

I feel more lonely on land. On the water there are friendly people in every harbor that you will meet and can become closer to if you want to. Plus, they are people with similar interests and experiences to mine, which I don't find on land so easily. Some kids on boats find it lonely, because there aren't many kids out there. You have to go to kid gathering places, like Georgetown in the Bahamas, to find many children on boats.
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Old 17-03-2011, 07:32   #21
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Re: Is the cruising life a lonely life????

Jobi,
Loneliness, like life, is what you make it.
Were cruising in the Abacos, Bahamas currently. Yesterday a Grandfather, Father and two kids were anchored near us on a charter cat. Last night we went to a weekly Pot-Luck dinner on one of the cays where there were a number of small kids, grandchildren of some of the cruisers. I just got off the phone talking with my Son in Toronto.
The thing about cruising is that one can control the amount of social interaction you have. You can sail to a solitary island and never see anyone. You can moor near New York City and interact with millions. When Im lonely for my children its because they are in their twenties and no longer live with me, its not because I live on a sailboat.
A few years ago we were discussing full time cruising with some very experienced circumnavigators. They told us to do it, Youll have more fun than you can possibly imagine!
Allez-y mon ami ! Vous aurez plus de plaisir que vous pouvez imaginer.
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Old 17-03-2011, 07:42   #22
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pirate Re: Is the cruising life a lonely life????

Its easier to feel more alone in a crowded room than you'll ever feel on a sailboat...
sorry... forgot to tag that 'quote' on my last post...
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Old 17-03-2011, 09:07   #23
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Re: Is the cruising life a lonely life????

Longest passage I ever made was a two-week coastal cruise on a 37-footer with a 10-year-old boy aboard. Only time I've ever seen crew fight over who gets to stand the dog watch, not that sleeping during the day was remotely possible on that boat.

In flat seas we'd put him in the dink and tow him 30 meters behind. He thought it was great fun to have his own boat. And we thought it was great fun just to get him out of the cockpit.
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Old 17-03-2011, 09:49   #24
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Re: Is the cruising life a lonely life????

@ DEEPSTAR - News from and aboot The Toon, nothing better, no matter if it's good or bad.

About loneliness, I find that the older I get the fewer close friends I have, and that the ones who I last the course with are such good friends that every time we meet again just seems like yesterday. Sailing is such a friendly community that seagoing acquaintances become friends much quicker than lubbers, it's a life where you can enjoy solitude if you wish, and you can spend every night in a different cockpit making new friends if you wish.
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Old 17-03-2011, 10:25   #25
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Re: Is the cruising life a lonely life????

Very thought provoking thread! I am glad to hear some of the mixed opinions. One of the things that I consistently hear cruisers talk about is the community. It doesn't sound lonely. although a month long passage might. it sounds like a great way to meet new people and move on. not necessarily the best way to have one or two great friends.
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Old 17-03-2011, 10:49   #26
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Re: Is the cruising life a lonely life????

Scook 1, that doesn't have to happen. I have met boats that stuck together as they cruised, even chatting with each other constantly on the radio when they were offshore. They anchor near each other all the time. If you want that type of cruising friends you can find them. Then you can also do this for awhile, and eventually go your own way, and then meet up later. It is a small world, and you will see old friends again as you meet up in some harbor. We have had many funny meet ups. Like the time we came in from Bermuda and anchored in Newport harbor after dark in order to clear customs in the morning. The first person I saw in the morning was one of my best friends rowing by who had also come in after dark but from Cape May and they had anchored right next to us but didn't realize it was us until the morning. Or another great set of friends we hadn't seen in years but we ran into in a pea souper while groping to find a buoy up in Maine--we both converged out of the fog on the buoy at the same instant but from opposite directions.
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Old 17-03-2011, 10:51   #27
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Re: Is the cruising life a lonely life????

Thats a great story Kettle! Very encouraging as well.
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Old 17-03-2011, 12:32   #28
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Re: Is the cruising life a lonely life????

This is the downside of the cruising life - there is always someone nearby who thinks it will be a great idea to pay me a visit. In fact, the idea sucks - I am busy fixing something or building something or I am reading and writing or else I am busy being asleep.

Fortunately, if you fail to participate in the social part - Peter cat's birthday party, a rum-and-pointless-chat beach barbacoa party, etc., soon will you be labeled a dangerous hobo freak and left alone. In fact, this is the best part of it - so that I can return to work in peace on my fixing, building, reading and sleeping.

There is a place for everybody, if at times a bit further out offshore.

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Old 17-03-2011, 12:46   #29
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Re: Is the cruising life a lonely life????

I was at my lonliest when I lived in a city. Its easy to be lonely even in a crowd.
Its all down to the individual person. Some people cant be still and peacfull, they need the noise of other people, radio, TV etc.

If you appreciate the peace and tranquility of nature, your never alone. If that doesnt work for you, then talk to yourself. You wont fall out or come to blows and you can always find something to laugh about.

In short, its all about you. Company is all around you if you want it.
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Old 17-03-2011, 12:54   #30
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Re: Is the cruising life a lonely life????

Spent a lot of time alone aboard and enjoyed most of it. Big difference between loneliness and solitude. What I really missed was sharing magical times with someone I cared for. On the other hand, the quiet solitude of singlehanding has a wonderfully cleansing effect on ones psyche, a sense of personal accomplishment and the anticipation of making landfall or an anchorage outweighs the downside of having a constant companion and all the negatives that can bring. I've found that both being alone and being with someone you trust and share intimate moments with can be equally rewarding at different times in your life.
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