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Old 16-01-2006, 15:03   #1
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The Hardships of Cruising

Hi everyone - this question is geared to those who have actually had the courage to cast off the dock lines and cruise - at least for a good while if they're not still at it. Anyway, here I sit, in my comfortable office, about to get into my comfortable car and drive home to a nice house. I'm in my fifties - not a kid any more.....and the million-dollar question in my mind, is how hard, or maybe I should ask, how easy can you make cruising? Is the all-too-typical-image of wonderful days and nights at anchor only a small part of the reality, and half the time struggling with god-knows-what? If you can sense I'm somewhat scared, I guess you're right.....I would just hate to chuck it all, only to look at each other in 6 months and say what a mistake we made.....any advice would be appreciated.......50% of me can't wait to go, the other 50% is really leery.....I know there are no guarantees, but like I said, any advice would be deeply appreciated.......thank you.
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Old 16-01-2006, 16:13   #2
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If you have LOTS of money and LOTS of time! cruising can be VERY comfortable. Most of the trade offs start coming when you don't want to spend LOTS of money on EVERYTHING. You compound that with wanting things NOW and I think that is where things start getting less comfortable.

We live on a small catamaran, we have showers, microwave, hot water, water maker, built in stereo, computers, etc... When we don't move and stay at a marina, it is not much different than living in a small condo on the water. VERY comfortable. When we start working on the boat, a small space becomes very messy, very quickly. You compound that with actually moving! Well, depending on where you go, how fast you want to get there it can be blissful to stressful.

The most important thing to bring with you is a good outlook! You can control that. Don't think of having to fix things as a chore, think of it as an oppurtunity to accomplish something significant. If you get tired of doing something, stop and go smell some roses. Remember you are doing it because you WANT to, not because you HAVE to. Don't get frustrated because the yard is not going to be finished when they said they were or the boat person didn't show up when they said they were going to. Count on it and be pleasantly surprised when something does get finished on scheduled.

It can be great, if you bring a good attitude.

Fair winds, see you out here!

Keith
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Old 16-01-2006, 18:14   #3
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Stry put it very well.
We have spent months on board and he is dead on. We are in the process of moving aboard now, and yes it is a bit scary. But to quote Bob Bitchin " Attitude is the difference between ordeal and adventure" or something like that.
We just really focus on the positives and try and make the negatives into positives And keep a good sense of humor!
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Old 16-01-2006, 18:42   #4
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Another important point is you will always have problems if you try to sail to a schedule. This can be extended to the leave date. Ours has been pushed back a few more times than i would like to admit, but when things are in place enough to leave the US, we will do it. As it is, we have lots of fun cruising the Pacific coast. We are totally commited to cruising, and have sold off all the stuff.
Unfortunately, you will never know until you do it. THere are allot of cheap boats for sale in San Diego by people that headed south, and realized that this was not what they signed up for.
If you have a real concern about about rebuilding if things do not work out. THere are some options to get your feet wet.
Try a charter (ssullivan has a good one available). Consider taking the courses, and do a bare boat charter. You also might consider buying a small boat to do some extended weekends You can always sell it and rcover your cost, and it is a great way to get an idea of how well you take to boat life.
Life has no guarantys, and you can take the safe route and just stay home, or take a calculated risk, and change your life. I can say we have no regrets.
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Old 16-01-2006, 18:52   #5
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I think Keith did a great job of explaining the ups and downs and attitudes as well. I might add a few things for you:

If you sail, you will get much more exercise than you currently get going from car to office to car to bed. It's a much more healthy lifestyle than what you are doing now. My wife and I marvel at this all the time. If you accept some of the increased physical activity as a healty thing, rather than a discomfort, you will be quite happy with it.

Also, as you get better at handling boats, the work required to do so becomes much less. You will find techniques which allow you to do every little detail with the greatest of ease. This would add to your comfort.

These days, the sky's the limit as far as onboard amenities go. Your boat can be every bit as comfortable as your current home, depending on your budget. Washers and dryers, microwave, computer, satellite TV, you name it, it's available. BUT... as you add more and more toys, you will have to spend more of your time "struggling with god knows what." (Unless you are extremely wealthy and can afford to hire people to fix your boat) There lies one of the many tradeoffs in choosing how you will set up your boat and your life on the water. But all the comfort in the world is available to those who can pay for it.
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Old 16-01-2006, 20:30   #6
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OK, hardships of sailing. I have redone this dog gone answer 4 times now, but I lost my WiFi connection when I hit submit, and it lost it. Grummble Grummble Grummble! How's that for a hardship?
Seriously though, Cruising has no more hardships than any other lifestyle IMHO. THere are trade offs. I find that I have to take my car to shops for work that I would normally do myself because I no longer have a garage. I no longer have a custom car for the same reason. My cars are now nothing more than transportation.
I have satellite TV, a nice stereo, Karaoke, an extensive library, and a workshop on board.
The fact is that this is the best lifestyle on earth. Doing without on a boat is a choice, not a necessity, and it is so full of rewards, that you will probably find that your needs are met much more simply. I would also like to add a note about the cruising community. I have lived in neighborhoods in cities, and been part of fraternal organizations, but I have never encountered anything like the cruising community. Friendships begin quickly and last long. distance and time are not mitigating factors. Cruisers often become friends at an anchorage over a period of a couple of weeks, and meet again half way around the world and years later. Yet the friendship takes off on the same level as it left off. Cruisers often perform herioc feats to assist other cruisers, and consider it fun. Throw the dock lines, and you are in. That simple.
Without knowing you, I can not adress what you may have to change in your life to go cruising, and your priorities may not be congreous with cruising, but changing those priorities should not be a sacrifice, but more a trade up.
It is interesting, I have heard a number of stories of boats sold cheap and relationships ruined by the realization that cruising was not for a particular person, but I have yet to meet one of those people. One of the most miserable people I ever met cruised Mexico for 8 years. He came back and said that the problem with Mexico was that there were too many Mexicans?!? He said you really have to watch out for all the Narcotics (you had to here him say the word. It was truly comical). When asked if he had any regrets, he said no. Without exception, everyone I have met that has gone cruising has said that it changed their life. Are the hardships worth it?
I think so. My friends think so, and as far as I can tell, my quality of life is far bette cruising than it is ashore.
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Old 17-01-2006, 18:26   #7
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Well put, Kai!

So you have Karaoke on board?? That has to be the BEST for a late night after the bars. ha ha ha

While we're admitting to funny things to have on board, I'll admit we have "Dance Dance Revolution 2" for PS2 complete with large mat.

It's great for when you want some exercise on a rainy day.

(now that's something I never thought I'd admit on here, but... since you started with Karaoke....
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Old 17-01-2006, 19:35   #8
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There is a story behind the Karaoke. The people we bought the challenger from met at a Karaoke bar. We had never sung Karaoke before, but while we were sharing a marina with these folks, we all got drunk enough to try it. We got hooked. They have one of the most elabrate Karaoke set ups I have ever seen on the boat, and get about 6 or 8 people together for drinks, and the harbor knows where the party is pretty quick Over the past couple of years, we have developed a fairly extensive collection of Karaoke CD's and whenever we get people over, for drinks, we start it up. It is a blast.
My wife has PS2, and I like the idea of the Dance party thing. Just have to figure out where to put the mat, because you get a few drinks in you on one of those things, and all hell breaks loose
The important point, though, is that living aboard a boat does not mean camping. It is much the same as living in a house, only better.
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Old 17-01-2006, 20:01   #9
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IslandBound, We have lived aboard and cruised our current boat for 15 years now. We have just returned last week to the US from an eight month cruise of the Western Caribbean. I can tell you that there are some absolutely wonderful experiences with some spectacular anchorages and experiences. I can also tell you there are middle of the night squalls that blow forty plus knots. Anchors coming loose and putting the boat on a shoal or a reef. Storms on offshore passages that will age you ten years in a day.
Gear that will break when replacements are not available and the part is vital to the boats operation. There are dishonest officials that will make you want to start a revolution in some third world country. You will meet new people and make lasting friendships for a lifetime. You will love it and you will hate it. The boat will be your ticket to far off places that can't be experienced any other way. And your boat will be a millstone around your neck. If you can't handle this ALL and don't believe your partner can too, don't do it. Buy a boat and sail around the bay on weekends. Long distance cruising is not for everyone. But there are no other experiences like it in a lifetime. Charter a boat in the Caribbean or some area that appeals to you and try to imagine living under those conditions for months on end. Any small issues in a relationship will show up as a glaring problem in the confines of a small boat under sometimes stressful conditions. Walk down any dock and you will find slip upon slip of boats that are just sitting unused, owned by dreamers that could not handle the reality. Cruising is wonderful, exciting, healthy, stressful, and even sometimes terrifying. Like almost loosing the boat in a full gale in the Bahamas when almost getting blown up on a reef with seas breaking over the top of the cabin and the grates from the cockpit floating along the deck. Those too are the realities of cruising. Only you and your partner can decide if this lifestyle is going to work for you. We would not trade our experiences for anything. The good and the bad. But that is us and we have been messing about in boats most of our lives and we share a mutual love of this lifestyle. Good luck
BTW you can read all about our current cruise to Central America by going to http://7knots.com and click on Captains Log. Put in Sea Trek in the box over boat name and click search. All of our posts will come up and you can see what we have been up to. We have also included some photos.
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Old 17-01-2006, 21:40   #10
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I hope you don't take this the wrong way, but I find it rather amusing that you would ask if the hardships of cruising a worth it on the "Cruisers Forum"! I mean, you are not really going to find very many people that don't think so spending their time here, any more than you will find the cruiser that hates it "out there" doing it. Those who find out that they made a mistake disappear back into the anonymous multitudes on land pretty quickly.
My take on this is that cruising is like many other "demanding" activities that people do like backpacking or long-distance motorcyle touring: only people that are really PASSIONATE about these activities do them. Someone that says " aw gee, that's a pretty view... ho hum" is not going to lug a 60 lb backpack up and down mountains for days on end for very long - only those are trly and deeply moved by the experience are going to think all that hard work and discomfort are worth it. As contradictory as it sounds, I believe that only those things that I have work hard for, endured hardships or discomfort for are the things I really appreciate. - but then only if I'm really passionate about doing them. I don't think you will find any cruisers that are looking for the "easy life" of comfortable this and that and no need to do anything. Of course, in my opinion, the "easy life" isn't really life at all, just sort of existing, and there are a great many people that strive for just that... You won't find them cruising though.
But, there is a kind of cruising that is easy, comfortable, without hardship - It's called a charter (crewed)! All you really have to put in is money, what you get out of it - well....
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Old 18-01-2006, 08:19   #11
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Quote:
Thermal once whispered in the wind:
I hope you don't take this the wrong way, but I find it rather amusing that you would ask if the hardships of cruising a worth it on the "Cruisers Forum"! I mean, you are not really going to find very many people that don't think so spending their time here, any more than you will find the cruiser that hates it "out there" doing it. Those who find out that they made a mistake disappear back into the anonymous multitudes on land pretty quickly.
My take on this is that cruising is like many other "demanding" activities that people do like backpacking or long-distance motorcyle touring: only people that are really PASSIONATE about these activities do them. Someone that says " aw gee, that's a pretty view... ho hum" is not going to lug a 60 lb backpack up and down mountains for days on end for very long - only those are trly and deeply moved by the experience are going to think all that hard work and discomfort are worth it. As contradictory as it sounds, I believe that only those things that I have work hard for, endured hardships or discomfort for are the things I really appreciate. - but then only if I'm really passionate about doing them. I don't think you will find any cruisers that are looking for the "easy life" of comfortable this and that and no need to do anything. Of course, in my opinion, the "easy life" isn't really life at all, just sort of existing, and there are a great many people that strive for just that... You won't find them cruising though.
But, there is a kind of cruising that is easy, comfortable, without hardship - It's called a charter (crewed)! All you really have to put in is money, what you get out of it - well....
Well put!!
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Old 18-01-2006, 13:49   #12
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50 / 50 eh..?

Thermal, you are so right.

Most posts here dance around what amenities one has / needs / should have or does not have, need... none of that really matters because it is relevant to the poster, not for the next person.

In answer to the initial question: DON'T DO IT. Simply because you say it's 50 %. That's not enough for any dramatic change.
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Old 18-01-2006, 13:56   #13
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That sure is one way to look at it Morski! Some mite say that he is looking for encouragement to get out there. You saw right through his question.
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Old 18-01-2006, 15:05   #14
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Hardships of Cruising

I have to say, the many responses have been great...obviously I knew by posting to a "Cruiser's Forum" the replies would be positive. I have chartered and loved it...but I also see that many people who have cruised are now back stateside - maybe it's money, but I wanted to put it out there, as they say. I just haven't known anyone personally who cruises, and let's face it - it's a dramatic change. I just thought it prudent to check with some more folks that have done it.
Hope to see everyone out there soon!

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Old 18-01-2006, 18:39   #15
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Reading where this thread progressed, I'd like to add one more bit if very practical advice: If you want to get a taste for what cruising in general is like, just buy a small boat you can easily re-sell and sail it in your home waters for long weekends, weeks, etc...

Many of the pesky little problems that plague us all will crop up and you can decide if the sunsets and relaxation are worth replacing an impeller, or some other mechanical problem.
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