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Old 28-06-2015, 18:24   #1
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Looking for anyone who has experienced pacific coast to south america

Hi,

I am new here and this is my first post ever to a forum such as this. I am looking for information, advise or input from others who have sailed the pacific coast to south america.

I have elected for early retirement and looking forward to some excitemen in my life.

This is a little crazy but I would like some input from others who may have sailed this route and could tell me what to expect.

I met a man on Craiglist (I've already heard it so ..) He has a sailboat anchored in a bay of Pend Oreille Lake in North Idaho. He placed the ad as he is looking for someone to be his sailing mate to gutemala in a few months. I am guessing he is perhaps between 65 and 70 years old. He is only 5'6", so small man, who lives on a 30' sailboart. He wants someone to help him sail from Washington State to guatemala when the weather starts turning to fall. Once in Guatemala he is picking up his other boat, a 31 ' sailboat and meander the caribbean. He wants to spend some time in Panama then off to Jamaca and where ever else. He has told me he was once in the Merchant Marine and is retired from teaching. He has spent time as a photographer and I have seen many of his pictures in Africa and other places. He assisted a woman in a fair trade business for a while, photographing and helping her with a travel blog. He now wants to do the same thing but on a much smaller scale. He is asking for someone who can help him with this and also assist in sailing.

I have no sailing experience but am a avid swimmer and water lover. I use to dream of living on a boat. This sounds like a chance of lifetime if it can work out. He says he is interested in a relationship, I am not at this point and we have not discussed this yet. He seems very nice and gentlemanly. He will be here in my area for the entire summer so I plan on getting to know him and see if we are compatable.

Has anyone sailed the pacific coast, thru the Panama Canel and onto Guatemala? He told me prior sailing experience not necessary, is this true? I don't know how much sailing experience he has but do intend on finding that out!

I am healthy and although small am in pretty good shape for my age.

How hard is it to be a shipmate? He says he will always be in eyeshot of land, does that mean it is safer if weather turns bad?

Any input or information from anyone who can give me insight is greatly appreciated!!

Valerie
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Old 28-06-2015, 19:19   #2
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Re: looking for anyone who has experienced pacific coast to sourth america

Howdy Valerie, and Welcome Aboard this Forum!

You have posted a good question, with good background info in your introduction.

What follows is written in a friendly tone of voice and with the sole intent to help you with an opinion. But, I don't want to discourage you from pursuing your dream of sailing adventure.

______________________

There are many people on this forum who have sailed down the Pacific coast of the USA down to the Panama Canal and into the Caribbean (or head West towards the South Pacific). It is something people do.

But, there are a few things to consider to make sure you have a safe trip and a good time:

1. The Time of the Year Matters
The Eastern Pacific (South of Baja California to Panama) is notorious for being a starting point for Pacific hurricanes (tropical storms). The weather can get very rough/bad at some times of the year (same as the Caribbean's Hurricane Season).

2. The Boat Matters
A 30 foot boat is big enough for the trip, but it is also going to be "small space" and so the crew will/must be able to get along in tight quarters and share space. This means you must tolerate the human quirks and the habits and the smells, noises, bodily functions, and other aspects of living with someone, in a very small space with nowhere to go. So, imagine that you are in your house or apartment locked in the bedroom or kitchen with the man (skipper) for weeks. That is pretty close to what it will be like. Sometimes being THAT close to a stranger for 24/7 can be difficult for some. I hope you are lucky to find someone compatible.

The boat should be "seaworthy." Since you are someone without any sailing experience, that means you have to trust the skipper (owner) and his judgement. However, if you do see the boat and you do get an uneasy feeling in the first few days, there is no shame in making a smart choice if you sense the skipper or boat are not "seaworthy."

For example, there was a recent case where an older sailboat (and skipper) went down that same coast (from California to Panama too) and the volunteer crew (3 men, all with some level of sailing experience) all thought the boat was NOT seaworthy and they were very unhappy about risking their lives on a boat that needed so much repair etc. They "jumped ship" when the boat got to Panama (as I recall). So, there are cases where a boat may be in excellent condition, and others where it may be marginal (and perhaps not the safest). I don't recall the thread or the name of the skipper of that boat, but it just happened a few months ago as I recall. Perhaps another forum member can post a link to that thread where the situation was discussed, as you might learn something from what happened. As I recall that same skipper wanted to take his old boat through the Canal and to the Bahamas or somewhere like that.

3. The Skipper Matters
Some sailors have many years of sailing experience, but may have never been on an "offshore" or "blue water" long voyage. Everyone has a "first time," so that does not mean that your Craig's List skipper may not have the experience. But, if you are concerned, it is probably best to begin your sailing experience with a skipper that DOES have offshore (ocean) experience and lots of it. Since you have no experience, it is more likely that you will make mistakes, simply due to ignorance of what needs to be done. Some skippers are tolerant of mistakes and questions. Some are not and some lose their tempers and do not handle stress well. Sailing can be relaxing much of the time, but it can also have very stressful moments too.

4. Personalities Matter
Being in a small boat for weeks together means the crew must put up with the idiosyncrasies of the other crew members, most especially the skipper. On a boat, what the skipper says is "law" and what he commands should be followed. This is generally the best way to assure the boat functions and the crew is safe. But, this also requires a skipper that understands (knows) how to sail and manage both the boat and the crew. Not all people are adept at that.

5. Single Male Skippers Look for Relationships
This is common. Only you can tell if that is something you want.
________________________

IF I were in your situation, and considering such a trip with a stranger, I would expect the following conditions to be met prior to agreeing to take the voyage:

1. The boat MUST have a life raft. I would not take this kind of trip on a boat that does not have one.
2. The boat MUST have an EPIRB (This is an emergency beacon to call for help.) I would not take the trip on a boat that does not have one.
3. The boat should have a working engine.
4. I should get my own berth/bunk/bed in which I can sleep alone.
5. The skipper should pay for most expenses, but you might pay for some food expense (your share of the food). You should not have to pay for any maintenance or repairs to the boat, even if something breaks during the voyage. You should not have to pay for any fees for the boat, such as mooring, docking, marina, etc. You should not have to pay for any "canal transit" fees etc.

______________

IF you are willing to pay for your trip, then there are many more options available to you. Many cruisers take on crew who can "contribute" (money) to their trips. IF you are in that position, you should consider your options.

Look in the forum that is focused on Crew Wanted & Available. You will see many people post that they are available as crew (even without any experience) and some post that they need crew (willing to pay some expenses).
http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...refixid=Wanted


Good luck!

____________________

I hope you find this helpful. I know that many others here may have different advice or opinions.

Good luck on your pursuit of a sailing adventure, with whichever boat you do find.

Steady
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Ahoy All Sailors! Need experienced crew for a passage or delivery in Atlantic, Pacific, Caribbean, Med, PNW, ICW, coastal or across an ocean anytime in 2017? I am available on 24hr notice. See my CF Profile "About Me" page for details. Happy to lend a hand!
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Old 28-06-2015, 19:47   #3
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Re: looking for anyone who has experienced pacific coast to sourth america

Steady Hand covered it pretty well. Things I might add:

Before you gamble your life on it, and recognizing you aren't knowledgable enough to judge the "seaworthiness" of the boat, get a licensed surveyor to inspect it and give you his or her judgement.

Is the "captain" seaworthy? How many trips and what distances in what conditions has he done. An ocean voyage is not lake sailing.

Being in sight of land going down the West Coast isn't necessarily the best place to be. Conditions may be better further off the coast, and if you get in trouble (lose the mast or engines) and you are close to land, the wind and current may take you into a rocky shoreline.

When going down the West Coast and things get rough, you can't necessarily just duck into a safe harbor. There are few good harbors in some long stretches, and most of those have bars at their entrances which can get dangerously rough in storm conditions, when the USCG may "close" the bar, so you are stuck offshore.
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Old 28-06-2015, 22:14   #4
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Re: looking for anyone who has experienced pacific coast to sourth america

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steady Hand View Post
Howdy Valerie, and Welcome Aboard this Forum!

You have posted a good question, with good background info in your introduction.

What follows is written in a friendly tone of voice and with the sole intent to help you with an opinion. But, I don't want to discourage you from pursuing your dream of sailing adventure.

______________________

There are many people on this forum who have sailed down the Pacific coast of the USA down to the Panama Canal and into the Caribbean (or head West towards the South Pacific). It is something people do.

But, there are a few things to consider to make sure you have a safe trip and a good time:

1. The Time of the Year Matters
The Eastern Pacific (South of Baja California to Panama) is notorious for being a starting point for Pacific hurricanes (tropical storms). The weather can get very rough/bad at some times of the year (same as the Caribbean's Hurricane Season).

2. The Boat Matters
A 30 foot boat is big enough for the trip, but it is also going to be "small space" and so the crew will/must be able to get along in tight quarters and share space. This means you must tolerate the human quirks and the habits and the smells, noises, bodily functions, and other aspects of living with someone, in a very small space with nowhere to go. So, imagine that you are in your house or apartment locked in the bedroom or kitchen with the man (skipper) for weeks. That is pretty close to what it will be like. Sometimes being THAT close to a stranger for 24/7 can be difficult for some. I hope you are lucky to find someone compatible.

The boat should be "seaworthy." Since you are someone without any sailing experience, that means you have to trust the skipper (owner) and his judgement. However, if you do see the boat and you do get an uneasy feeling in the first few days, there is no shame in making a smart choice if you sense the skipper or boat are not "seaworthy."

For example, there was a recent case where an older sailboat (and skipper) went down that same coast (from California to Panama too) and the volunteer crew (3 men, all with some level of sailing experience) all thought the boat was NOT seaworthy and they were very unhappy about risking their lives on a boat that needed so much repair etc. They "jumped ship" when the boat got to Panama (as I recall). So, there are cases where a boat may be in excellent condition, and others where it may be marginal (and perhaps not the safest). I don't recall the thread or the name of the skipper of that boat, but it just happened a few months ago as I recall. Perhaps another forum member can post a link to that thread where the situation was discussed, as you might learn something from what happened. As I recall that same skipper wanted to take his old boat through the Canal and to the Bahamas or somewhere like that.

3. The Skipper Matters
Some sailors have many years of sailing experience, but may have never been on an "offshore" or "blue water" long voyage. Everyone has a "first time," so that does not mean that your Craig's List skipper may not have the experience. But, if you are concerned, it is probably best to begin your sailing experience with a skipper that DOES have offshore (ocean) experience and lots of it. Since you have no experience, it is more likely that you will make mistakes, simply due to ignorance of what needs to be done. Some skippers are tolerant of mistakes and questions. Some are not and some lose their tempers and do not handle stress well. Sailing can be relaxing much of the time, but it can also have very stressful moments too.

4. Personalities Matter
Being in a small boat for weeks together means the crew must put up with the idiosyncrasies of the other crew members, most especially the skipper. On a boat, what the skipper says is "law" and what he commands should be followed. This is generally the best way to assure the boat functions and the crew is safe. But, this also requires a skipper that understands (knows) how to sail and manage both the boat and the crew. Not all people are adept at that.

5. Single Male Skippers Look for Relationships
This is common. Only you can tell if that is something you want.
________________________

IF I were in your situation, and considering such a trip with a stranger, I would expect the following conditions to be met prior to agreeing to take the voyage:

1. The boat MUST have a life raft. I would not take this kind of trip on a boat that does not have one.
2. The boat MUST have an EPIRB (This is an emergency beacon to call for help.) I would not take the trip on a boat that does not have one.
3. The boat should have a working engine.
4. I should get my own berth/bunk/bed in which I can sleep alone.
5. The skipper should pay for most expenses, but you might pay for some food expense (your share of the food). You should not have to pay for any maintenance or repairs to the boat, even if something breaks during the voyage. You should not have to pay for any fees for the boat, such as mooring, docking, marina, etc. You should not have to pay for any "canal transit" fees etc.

______________

IF you are willing to pay for your trip, then there are many more options available to you. Many cruisers take on crew who can "contribute" (money) to their trips. IF you are in that position, you should consider your options.

Look in the forum that is focused on Crew Wanted & Available. You will see many people post that they are available as crew (even without any experience) and some post that they need crew (willing to pay some expenses).
Crew Positions: Wanted & Available - Cruisers & Sailing Forums


Good luck!

____________________

I hope you find this helpful. I know that many others here may have different advice or opinions.

Good luck on your pursuit of a sailing adventure, with whichever boat you do find.

Steady



I don't see a reply button so hope this works. You have supplied me with some intelligent questions to ask and I have used them as a guide to find out the 'important' stuff.

Quck reply! Awesome!

Will be back with more questions after his reply I am sure.

Thanks!

Valerie
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Old 29-06-2015, 04:49   #5
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Re: looking for anyone who has experienced pacific coast to sourth america

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Valerie.
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Old 29-06-2015, 07:16   #6
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Re: looking for anyone who has experienced pacific coast to sourth america

learn who it is you are gonna sail with. is very important.
personality clash in open ocean sucks, there is no where to esape to in clash times.
do you get seasick in rolly seas.. there will be plenty of those all down coast.
you might wanna learn some sailing for self preservation. these cruises are not like those on a huge cruise ship where ye sit back and swill parasol drinks and do nothing. there is no one to wait on ye hand and foot, and probably the owner might wish sexual favors. then what. ok so you think you have this part handled.. isnt so. things change suddenly on water. stuff happens at aea.
not all owners of boats who cruise are jakasses and pervs, but ye never know. that is the fun part.
captain bligh happens. those who are sweet nice men on land become diffrent in open oceans. especially in their own boats.
try to sail daysails with him before ye leave. if he is able to drag his boat away from the local lake, see if he has sea time or merely lake time.
this could be important.
definitely get to know him BEFORE you set out. learn his demands and how he requests things to be done. can he handle self in dire emergency and can he manage to keep head together in small emergency conditions, like when ye flush something down head that will not progress and you have to rebuild the toilet. yes that happens., learn well, grasshoppah.
practice showering with only a quart of water ..practice turning out lights each and every time used. cannot waste electriity on a passage.
if he is worth his salt, he will teach ye what ye need to know on his boat.
i usually keep my crew at a dock fro 2 weeks until we acclimate. then passage. others do it differently.
good luck, grasshoppaahh.. may you have a hella great and grande adventure.


ps..welcome
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Old 29-06-2015, 10:21   #7
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Re: looking for anyone who has experienced pacific coast to sourth america

Quote:
Originally Posted by rgesner View Post
Steady Hand covered it pretty well. Things I might add:

Before you gamble your life on it, and recognizing you aren't knowledgable enough to judge the "seaworthiness" of the boat, get a licensed surveyor to inspect it and give you his or her judgement.

Is the "captain" seaworthy? How many trips and what distances in what conditions has he done. An ocean voyage is not lake sailing.

Being in sight of land going down the West Coast isn't necessarily the best place to be. Conditions may be better further off the coast, and if you get in trouble (lose the mast or engines) and you are close to land, the wind and current may take you into a rocky shoreline.

When going down the West Coast and things get rough, you can't necessarily just duck into a safe harbor. There are few good harbors in some long stretches, and most of those have bars at their entrances which can get dangerously rough in storm conditions, when the USCG may "close" the bar, so you are stuck offshore.
errr.......I'm not sure someone is going to splash out hundreds of dollars on a survey. Rather find someone reasonably knowlegable to view the boat and chat to the captain.
Steady Hand summed it pretty well.
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Old 29-06-2015, 10:23   #8
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Re: looking for anyone who has experienced pacific coast to sourth america

Valerinna - I think you posted your questions because that little voice is saying in your ear:
"what's wrong with this?" I think what everyone here is trying to say is that if you have reservations they quite possibly are valid. Making a mistake in your home town is one thing. Making a mistake at sea with an unknown boat and captain in international waters is another.

The more knowledge of sailing that you can acquire will allow you to know the questions to ask him and to evaluate his answers. You will only profit from every sailing class, online books and forums you can find. As a former single woman sailor I found that at first I accepted everone's advice - then as I gained my own experiences I was able to winnow out the real from the puff.

All I'm saying is "Trust but verify". Good luck!
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Old 29-06-2015, 10:31   #9
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Re: looking for anyone who has experienced pacific coast to sourth america

Quote:
Originally Posted by zeehag View Post
learn who it is you are gonna sail with. is very important.
like when ye flush something down head that will not progress and you have to rebuild the toilet. yes that happens., learn well, grasshoppah.
practice showering with only a quart of water ..practice turning out lights each and every time used. cannot waste electricity on a passage.
It's not uncommon for a little boat to not even have a toilet; just a bucket. Just making the point life is primitive on a 30ft boat. That precious quart of water zeehag would let you have might not be available for washing on a little boat. Probably only carries 50 or so gallon tank. Mostly we make do with wet wipes and buckets of sea water. Same with what clothes etc to take. You can't take much, there's no space to put stuff.

But it sounds like you need to sort out the relationship issue before you set sail. Because once you leave the dock there's nowhere to hide. It certainly makes a trip so much more fun when you all get on.

And get yourself a good set of wet weather gear; maybe beg/borrow/rent a set from the local sailing school. With only two on board it wont be a deck chair cruise. Discuss the watch and cooking arrangements. Whatever watch arrangement, much of the time only one person will be awake. If either (or both) of you succumb to seasickness life can become difficult for both of you.

The trip you're planning will be a milestone in your life; you will never forget it. The feeling of accomplishment, the sunrises and sunsets and the sea and the clouds; the weather: you will never be closer to nature. So go ahead and embrace the adventure, but work out the relationship issue before you leave.

And OK it's a bit morbid but a point to keep in mind; you've far more chance of becoming a statistic in a car crash driving to the marina, than you have of becoming a statistic on your boat trip.
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Old 29-06-2015, 10:52   #10
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Re: looking for anyone who has experienced pacific coast to sourth america

Val,

Don't walk...RUN away from this guy. He's looking for a maid, a cook, and a whore. You have to ask, if he's such a great guy, why is he posting on craigslist? Its because he's a creep and nobody he knows will sail with him.

If you want a sailing adventure, check out the reputable crew sites, or visit your local yacht club and get some experience.

Living in a confined space with someone is very tough...even for the best of friends. A 30' boat is pretty small for such a trip, although it can be done. I suggest you find a bigger boat, with a larger crew (don't ever be the only girl aboard), and have some fun without taking so many risks.

You are literally putting you life in the hands of a stranger. Whats to stop him from raping you and dumping your body at sea? Nothing!

And finally, if you are willing to trade a relationship for a sailing adventure...at least find a guy with a nicer boat...maybe in the 40'-50' range.
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Old 29-06-2015, 17:52   #11
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Re: looking for anyone who has experienced pacific coast to sourth america

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Val,

Don't walk...RUN away from this guy. He's looking for a maid, a cook, and a whore. You have to ask, if he's such a great guy, why is he posting on craigslist? Its because he's a creep and nobody he knows will sail with him.

If you want a sailing adventure, check out the reputable crew sites, or visit your local yacht club and get some experience.

Living in a confined space with someone is very tough...even for the best of friends. A 30' boat is pretty small for such a trip, although it can be done. I suggest you find a bigger boat, with a larger crew (don't ever be the only girl aboard), and have some fun without taking so many risks.

You are literally putting you life in the hands of a stranger. Whats to stop him from raping you and dumping your body at sea? Nothing!

And finally, if you are willing to trade a relationship for a sailing adventure...at least find a guy with a nicer boat...maybe in the 40'-50' range.
Many assumptions being made here about someone you do not know. Everyone is a stranger until you get to know them. Good advice has been given on how to get to know this person and I also suggest some short cruises to see how it works out. I would give this person no commitment until you know it is going to work. Also, always have a way to buy a ticket home. Good luck.
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Old 29-06-2015, 18:37   #12
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Re: Looking for anyone who has experienced pacific coast to south america

Hamburking, are you saying that if one is to be raped and dumped at sea, a nicer boat is preferable?

To the OP... if he is proposing sailing down the Colombia River from Idaho (not sure exactly where his lake is, and if its even possible), that could be a nice adventure, and a decent first section to agree to. If things don't work out, it's also an easy out... Definitely figure out the relationship thing before even doing that...
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Old 29-06-2015, 19:22   #13
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Re: Looking for anyone who has experienced pacific coast to south america

Quote:
Originally Posted by valerinna View Post
Hi,

I am new here and this is my first post ever to a forum such as this. I am looking for information, advise or input from others who have sailed the pacific coast to south america.

I have elected for early retirement and looking forward to some excitemen in my life.

This is a little crazy but I would like some input from others who may have sailed this route and could tell me what to expect.

I met a man on Craiglist (I've already heard it so ..) He has a sailboat anchored in a bay of Pend Oreille Lake in North Idaho. He placed the ad as he is looking for someone to be his sailing mate to gutemala in a few months. I am guessing he is perhaps between 65 and 70 years old. He is only 5'6", so small man, who lives on a 30' sailboart. He wants someone to help him sail from Washington State to guatemala when the weather starts turning to fall. Once in Guatemala he is picking up his other boat, a 31 ' sailboat and meander the caribbean. He wants to spend some time in Panama then off to Jamaca and where ever else. He has told me he was once in the Merchant Marine and is retired from teaching. He has spent time as a photographer and I have seen many of his pictures in Africa and other places. He assisted a woman in a fair trade business for a while, photographing and helping her with a travel blog. He now wants to do the same thing but on a much smaller scale. He is asking for someone who can help him with this and also assist in sailing.

I have no sailing experience but am a avid swimmer and water lover. I use to dream of living on a boat. This sounds like a chance of lifetime if it can work out. He says he is interested in a relationship, I am not at this point and we have not discussed this yet. He seems very nice and gentlemanly. He will be here in my area for the entire summer so I plan on getting to know him and see if we are compatable.

Has anyone sailed the pacific coast, thru the Panama Canel and onto Guatemala? He told me prior sailing experience not necessary, is this true? I don't know how much sailing experience he has but do intend on finding that out!

I am healthy and although small am in pretty good shape for my age.

How hard is it to be a shipmate? He says he will always be in eyeshot of land, does that mean it is safer if weather turns bad?

Any input or information from anyone who can give me insight is greatly appreciated!!

Valerie
Be very careful while in Guatamala approx. 40 year civil strife (war) El Salvador going to hell fast also, Guatamala is said to be the worst place in the world to be a kid (pregnent 10 yr. old recently rescued from sick situation) Attorney recently shot (is that a problem? Of course it is ,sort of)..Unpresidented protest going on right now!! Have fun but watch your back!
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Old 29-06-2015, 20:49   #14
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Re: Looking for anyone who has experienced pacific coast to south america

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Hamburking, are you saying that if one is to be raped and dumped at sea, a nicer boat is preferable?
The waves are big, and the days are long. People get tired...really tired from long watches alone. And hungry for good food that didn't come out of a can. And they feel lousy because of the constant motion of the boat. And no one has showered for a week and the smell is really getting to you. Or the wind dies, and the boat is rocking on its beam ends...the slack main slaps like a gunshot every few minutes...sleep is almost impossible. Thats when people misbehave.

Before I crossed the ocean, I read about customs in Antigua. The anecdote said they ask "how many people aboard?". The next question is "And how many did you start with?". I thought that was hilarious...until I did the crossing with 3 guys I thought I knew. Death is right there, just on the other side of the lifeline. I slept with one eye open.

A bigger boat, with a bigger crew, could reduce the stresses of a long trip. More storage space for better food, better galley...maybe even a shower. Bigger crew for easier/shorter watches. And maybe a nice dry bunk even when the weather turns nasty. Ever try taking off your WWG below on a 30' boat with a good sea running?

Maybe I am 100% wrong about this guy...but red flags are flying. It sounds too much like the opening of a TV news story which ends, well...badly.
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