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Old 30-03-2011, 12:55   #1
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Disillusionment with Cruising?

Maybe not the right place to ask, but...

How many people plan to take up the cruising life, but become disillusioned once actually out on the water? If so, what factors most influenced the disappointment? The people frequenting these boards may not fall in this category, but I'm sure you've seen your share.

For a long, long, long time, I have dreamed of cruising. I grew up boating and sailing. I crew in local races and am quite comfortable on the water. I love sailing. But .... there's always a but ... I don't see cruising happening for me for over a decade unless I make radical life-altering changes (job, pension, wife). Quite frankly, it kills me to think I'm trapped with no hope of ever achieving this life style.

I know this is something I need to decide after very carefull deliberation, but my frustration is mounting and I'm trying to gather as much information as possible.
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Old 30-03-2011, 13:16   #2
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Re: Disillusionment with cruising?

Welcome aboard and enjoy CF.

I think one of the reasons I've heard most frequently is the paperwork for entering and clearing out. Never understood what the big deal is, you are in another country and have to by their rules and regulations. NO BIG DEAL, bit some cruisers think it should be done their way.
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Old 30-03-2011, 13:24   #3
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Re: Disillusionment with cruising?

And what makes you believe this kind of lifestyle will be any better than the one you have now? Maybe instead you need to base your choices on a worse case - that it's worse than you have now - and see if the benefits you do receive from changing over (yes there are a few) are worth those worse case bad things.

I might recommend Beth's book: Amazon.com: The Voyager's Handbook: The Essential Guide to Blue Water Cruising (9780071437653): Beth Leonard: Books

Part of it discusses ages and generations out cruising, and I think it's a valid and realistic assumption.

Remember cruising is a EXPENSE, not an INCOME, and most come back to shore after an extended time - either due to age, health, or plain money and medical/benefit reasons. Another thing to ponder is once you get out there and accomplish the goal of just getting out there in your "dream", you may not have any other goal and you will realize you dont really like or want it. Each person has to go through this on their own, and surveys and readings won't help you.
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Old 30-03-2011, 13:35   #4
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Re: Disillusionment with cruising?

We are not liveaboards (yet) but I come into contact with quite a few. In the last 16 years I can think of only one couple that went cruising, came back wthin a few months and sold the boat. A storm blew them into Haiti and apparently the combo of the storm and experience of being trapped in Haiti was all it took.

Every other person that I have met seems to be quite happy. If not, they've never let on. Some are cruisers, some just stay tied to the dock. Of course some eventually go back to shore. There are a variety of reasons, loss of a spouse, health, move on to new things, and so on.

For my lady and me, we do not plan to sell everything in the beginning. We plan to give it a shot for say 6 mo to a year and then decide. Our problem is that my lady needs to keep a job to get medical insurance, that's not good. On the other hand, as certified critical care RN, she can get 3 month contracts at almost any hospital she wants anytime she wants. That's our plan, get our ducks in a row, pick a destination, get contract and she'll work off the boat. As a contractor or traveling nurse, she gets her salary, a per diem, and housing cost. Housing cost here being a marina.

Big decision, perhaps you can slip into it gradually. Get a boat, enjoy it with local sailing, and try living aboard for varying amounts of time. Spend the weekend on her, then perhaps, spend a week or two. If you like it, you will eventually spend more time on the boat than at the house. Your decision will be made. If not, you will still have the house plus a boat. If you are landlocked, which doesn't sound like the case, perhaps arrange for charters.

Best of luck on your decision,

Rich
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Old 30-03-2011, 13:36   #5
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Re: Disillusionment with cruising?

Well said SaltMonkey.

Rich
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Old 30-03-2011, 13:41   #6
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Re: Disillusionment with cruising?

Good question! I have some of the same concerns for my transition to cruising. I am very interested in feedback from actual disillusioned cruisers, although like you say, this may be the wrong place to find them.

In what I've read the two most common problems are (1) the significant other doesn't want to cruise and (2) general boredom. I don't have either of those problems. My wife is as eager as I am to cruise and we can entertain ourselves and each other. After having been burned out for years, I can stand doing nothing for years.
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Old 30-03-2011, 13:47   #7
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Re: Disillusionment with cruising?

also agree w/ cabo_sailor - a great deal of it is acclimation. Throwing yourself into a new lifestyle - whatever it is - is extremely stressful and has a higher rate of failure. The technical aspects of sailing and cruising aren't that hard IMHO; but the emotional and psychological ones are, and need careful planning and time. Short cruises aren't just for learning to sail and shaking down the boat. They are there for us to get acclimated to living in a different world, and learning to let go of certain attitudes, and picking up new ones. Would you drop yourself at the top of Mt. Everest w/o careful acclimation to altitude and conditioning over time? You'd be dead in a few minutes. Not a great analogy but I think you can see the point.
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Old 30-03-2011, 13:49   #8
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Re: Disillusionment with cruising?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kevingy View Post
In what I've read the two most common problems are (1) the significant other doesn't want to cruise and (2) general boredom. I don't have either of those problems. My wife is as eager as I am to cruise and we can entertain ourselves and each other. After having been burned out for years, I can stand doing nothing for years.
I too was burnt out, my health was going to hell. Fortunately, I started saving for retirement 30 years ago and was able to retire early at 58. My wife too, is eager to go. Critical care is pretty high stress, too many can't be saved and then its "tag and bag".

As to boredom, I've never been bored. Even if it is just watching traffic on the river, it's relaxing. Besides, there is always at least a half dozen chores that need doing. I stopped making a list because it was getting longer and more depressing each day. Now, I just tackle what I either really need to, or what I feel like doing. No lack of things to do.

Rich
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Old 30-03-2011, 13:59   #9
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Re: Disillusionment with cruising?

I think you get same type of thing with people who emigrate. Some people make a go of it and others want to return after a short period. A lot of the problems you have in your current life can be magnified when you move away from what you are used to, if your running away from a problem, it will catch up with you.
If you go with a clear head then you stand a better chance of coping with what comes up.

TBH it seems like you have some underlying problems in your current life and want to use the cruising lifestyle as way out from your current situation.
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Old 30-03-2011, 14:02   #10
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Re: Disillusionment with cruising?

The main problems that I've seen derail cruisers have been money, inability (often age related) and unrealistic expectations.

Plenty of folks seem to overlook that the cost of living may not change much, and may go up when they move onto a boat. Others eventually run out of money, or more recently see their investment income tank and have to sell-down etc. Running out of money on a boat sometimes leads to trouble and can cause bad decisions which can get dangerous or at least bring about misery from what I've seen.

The other scenario that I've seen play out a few times involves folks that maybe have only been out sailing as a vacation, and in good weather or on other peoples boats. They run into all of the work and some of the challenges of full-timing/cruising and find the experience a lot less fun than they expected. Throw in weariness, a storm, a grounding or major boat failure and they seem to start dreaming of selling the boat and moving back into a simple land life. Similar to this, I've seen folks that had enough $, and were enjoying the reality of full-time cruising but didn't have the ability to do it and therefore had to quit. This is more common in folks of a greater age since they may not be able to go on short sleep during crossings, or be able to handle the boat/ground tackle etc. like they used to. I did see one case though where a young guy didn't know what he was doing, assumed that he did and only made it a few days before messing up the boat badly enough that he had to call it quits for good (couldn't afford repairs after the long tow etc.).

These observations have mostly been made while at the boatyard where I am restoring my boat to go cruising. I've seen a lot of full-time cruisers and live-aboards start out, finish up and pass through in the last few years as I've been here off and on. It seems like you can tell who will do well out there and who may need to find a different pass-time. I'm guessing you can figure out where you fit based on your usual tastes and abilities (physical, mental and financial). If your not sure maybe you should move to a boatyard for a while? I expected to learn about boat maintenance/repair, but am glad for all of the bonus knowledge that comes along with seeing this side of the cruising life.

Jonathan
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Old 30-03-2011, 14:07   #11
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Re: Disillusionment with cruising?

There was a thread last year that touched on this subject. Lots of good responses here:

Do You Know of Anyone Who Quit Right Away ?
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Old 30-03-2011, 14:10   #12
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Re: Disillusionment with cruising?

I doubt you'll get many first person responses from disillusioned cruisers on cruisersforum.

From talking to many cruisers, the reasons I've found why people tend to get out is:

1. The had the begeebers scared out of them.

2. Health and/or family health reasons.

3. Money reasons.

4. Marriage issues.


There is no better test for a marriage than cruising. If you have a strong marriage, it'll get stronger. If you have problems in your marriage, they'll get worse. Cruising amplifies all marriage issues.

First hand I can tell you that we almost got out completely when we had our 5 year old dog die due to rapid, advanced cancer while cruising. I couldn't imagine being on the boat again without him. We took some time off, got a new puppy and an older dog, and now I couldn't imagine being anything but onboard with the whole crew.
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Old 30-03-2011, 14:13   #13
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Re: Disillusionment with cruising?

Hi Redfish,

indeed. I am 30 now. When I was 15 I without a doubt knew that surfing was going to be my life, and that sailing would be the way to live at some point in my life. When, was the question, but no doubt.

I love women and fall for them. Dangerous...

Spent amazing years with different ladies who made me live incredible times.

After an extremely dramatic circumstance with the last girl, today I am free, worn out but strong and absolutely ready to go ahead with sailing.

Everything about it is who I am, there is no way around it.

I wish you to have the courage to find a balance to fulfill your dreams, and know that you should not stay away from it all.

Like surfing, I never will give it up. With sailing, I am working my butt off and in a few months it will be all over, bye bye, I will be gone.

All the best, brother
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Old 30-03-2011, 14:38   #14
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Re: Disillusionment with cruising?

Or is it disillusioned with life in general? Maybe cruising hasn't filled the void of an empty life like they had hoped. If life at it's core is not meaningful then new experiences, fun, leisure, new wife, indulgence or thrills can only mask that fact for a while. If that was your circumstance, then you might be disillusioned with whatever pursuit you ventured into.

Greg
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Old 30-03-2011, 15:11   #15
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Re: Disillusionment with cruising?

Back in for a minute to solve an engine problem (or decide to chuck the damn thing!) but I had just cut the docklines...
Two things almost got me to quit on the way to that.
I was unrealistic about money. It is cheaper to live as a cruiser if you do it right... but cheaper still might not mean affordable unless you want to risk being stuck with a broken down boat that can't go anywhere.
In spite of all my reading and having been a homeowner I was willfully unrealistic about having to deal with repairs and maintenance on an older boat. This wasn't as much on the order of disillusionment as a learning curve... I haven't gotten to disillusionment yet, a ton of frustration maybe...
Even with my limited experience I'm able to tell people who get all starry eyed around me... it's a different kind of life with it's own chores and annoyances balanced by some amazing and uncommon pleasures.

I am really pleased with the way my confidence had grown in general as a person as I have overcome one challenge after another related to this life. I was out with a freind moored during a recent storm and it was bad enough that I was up frequently during the night checking chafe etc. and she said...I watched you get up over and over all night, get dressed go on deck and never a complaint"
I think this could be the case for a lot of cruisers... those who love it accept these things easily... comes with the turf
BTW on one of those two nights I stood on deck awstruck for 30 minutes watching a ton of sea lions racing through the rough waters around the boat all sheathed in and trailing phosphoresence...
something I'd not have seen otherwise
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