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Old 19-07-2012, 08:43   #1
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Sailing Commune ?

Hello all! I have been a member of this forum for almost a year now. Mostly just reading......contributing where I can. This would be the first thread I have opened and look forward to all the good information/opinions that could be given as well as expecting the negative to surface as well.

In my past life I was in an extremely 'professional' position where I had 60+ people that were in direct report to me as well as servicing 250+ customers withing a 100 mile radius. I only state this so that viewers understand that I have some concept of business, capitalism, etc.

In my new life, I am an at home father and home school teacher. I guess you can say that I have gotten in touch with the more 'natural' side of myself. Some of it was forced on my by a failing public school system and the lack of work in the business position that I come from but after the initial shock of everything I have come to realize and understand that I am exactly where I am suppose to be!

So there is a little background and to keep the story short(ish) I pose my question. Are there any sailing 'communes'? (I am having trouble finding another word to fit, and I don't mean 'commune' as a religious organization). Are there any 'lifers' out there that can see the benefits of such a thing, as I do? I understand that sailing is more about the 'solitary' lifestyle but as this forum clearly shows, with all the regulations, maintenance issues, costs...(and the list is really quite endless in today's world) that a community, of sorts, could greatly reduce all the clutter of such a zen lifestyle.

I grew up all over the world as a child/teenager, and I can understand that the 'stereotypical American' is going to see something 'weird' in what I ask, but I found that this forum to be extremely diverse and I am hoping that through this diversity a health discussion on the topic will evolve.
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Old 19-07-2012, 09:29   #2
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Re: Sailing Commune?

I've never heard of one - some sailing clubs may be the closest thing, but I think it's an intriguing idea. I used to work for outdoor organizations that had a very communal type feel about them and always thought capturing that in a sailing environment could be interesting.

I think one larger boat would be more conducive than a number of small boats. Maybe buy one of the old, smaller windjammers. That said, there are certainly places like Georgetown, Bahamas where hundreds of boats gather for the season creating a community of boaters that may fit what you are looking for.
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Old 19-07-2012, 09:34   #3
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Re: Sailing Commune?

Is this the sort of thing that you mean?
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Old 19-07-2012, 09:45   #4
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Re: Sailing Commune?

Back in the late 70's, outside of Santa Fe, NM, I visited a theater commune. Because of someone's book asserting that for all individuals to be able to fully interrelate, there could be no more than 19. 19 adults and various children lived at that location, but the commune had grown and their were now 4 other communal offshoot groups along the same lines. One of those communes was aboard a large schooner, at that time in OZ IIRC. That's the only floating commune I've come across, but think the idea has merit. I've lived communally for a year, when friends who had sold their house moved in with us. It was a very agreeable time.
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Old 19-07-2012, 12:05   #5
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Re: Sailing Commune?

Thanks for the positive responses, hopefully that will keep up!

Nautical62 - I think I am understanding the angle you are coming from, but I am actually thinking of the opposite. Not that a 'big' boat couldn't be involved but more of a community of boats that could sail together and have each others back (safety/security). That way at the end of the day, as sailing is a zen activity that has so much intrigue because of the ability to 'get away from it all', one could retreat to ones own boat.

Stingo - Thanks. I have actually looked at that group before, and yeah...kinda like that. But again...more of an idea where families, singles, and even seniors could come together on individual boats to travel together with the hopes that each person would be able to contribute in their own way to the group. Kind of like a permanent/semi flotilla.

Speakeasy - Thanks for the info. I like the 'back in the 70's' reference! Yes, this is kind of a 'hippy' idea if one was to categorize it!

After posting another term that could be used came to mind..... Guild. Of course the guild system isn't used any more in the modern world, but what I am speaking of could be termed as a 'Sailors Guild'. Maybe with dynamics that would allow the 'guild' members to give destinations that would be sailed to in the coming year and then a course set to sail to all the ports. Or, if there was a large number of members, then maybe a lottery to pick however many ports could be sailed to in that year. Then the next year the remaining ports would be sailed too.... or something along that line.

I am just 'spit balling' here...... and look forward to other ideas!
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Old 19-07-2012, 12:22   #6
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Re: Sailing Commune?

I lived in couple of communes in my youth. The benefits of a communal approach are huge. Shared costs and infrastructure added to shared effort can work very well.

Working out the details can be challenging since not everyone will offer the same level of effort and commitment but it's an interesting idea.
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Old 19-07-2012, 13:23   #7
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Re: Sailing Commune?

I've seen some alternative communities whilst traveling. Are they better than average life? Depends. It's not easy but yes it can be loads better.

- If you're earning $100,000/year but you're having to work >16 hour days including saturdays running a business or taking corporate calls then i estimate that dropping out is worth it.
- Likewise, if you're earning $18,000 but find yourself with $50 to spare at the end of each week to make ends meet then I would also say that dropping out can also be worth it too.
Both sets of people are very different but it makes sense to investigate alternatives.

Who would I not recommend giving up a normal existence for? Some examples:

- You earn $80,000/yr but only work 4 days a week. You get 8 weeks holiday.
- You earn $16,000/yr but you only work 2 months a year and the rest of the time you have off for fun.

You have to have it pretty good in my opinion to not want to drop out. You've got to be retired or something like that. Even then there's still the advantage of an easier formed, stronger community.

The reason I say all this is because when I saw real hippies, living in real squalor I thought to myself yes this is a better deal, but not for people who are already doing really well. The people I saw clearly had a better way of life because there's no advertising, home schooling,
but it's also damn cold in winter without central heating and the grid. There are downsides but I still believe the upsides outweigh the downsides for the right people, which I think could be most people.

I like the idea of a Yacht community. It could make survival ability much more workable. Working together on something is a lot easier. But of course the location I think is something you can't get around... where would it be? Somewhere warm I believe...
The advantage is that people can join and the community can grow quickly and dynamically. All it would take is a critical mass of people doing this successfully in one area and you could have people wanting to visit from all over the world. I can see many advantages. On land you're always confined by land rights. Same thing at sea but less so.

I've read "Sailing the Farm" but what about that inner critic? How do we fix those major repairs with no cash? Is it fanaticism? I think it depends on the amount of capital going in at the start and the ability to self sustain on the things that we can't do ourselves, like treating a hull with osmosis - does the group have access to a boat yard and ability to shore it up? Focus on that advantage a group might have to address these kind of scenarios. This is doable with the budget and inclination. How realistic the plan is to me depends entirely on the people involved. Some hippies are lazy, some are incredibly hard working. It can work. I'd like to meet likeminded people on this.


edit: I reckon if I have some land and some time I can probably survive. I just don't have any place of my own to rest my head. In lieu of that I look to the sea.
Many hippy projects I've seen working had land and that wasn't free. They had to save to buy that land first. What's the equivalent here?
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Old 19-07-2012, 13:55   #8
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Re: Sailing Commune?

I think you're misconstruing the idea of communal effort with something else. A successful commune as likely is functioning in accord with the larger community around as not. It's members have, to some degree of other, chosen to share the effort required in some enterprise. There's nothing in it that implies otherwise. There are communal gardens, work spaces, and enterprises as well as communal living situations that all function as part of society at large.

If you're looking for a communal escape there are many threads in the forum on the topic of escaping by sailboat (or surviving on little money or surviving the end of the world) which would seem more in line what you're discussing.
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Old 19-07-2012, 14:03   #9
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Re: Sailing Commune?

here's the closest to a commune that I've ever seen: Welcome to the Galilee Harbor Community Association Website
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Old 20-07-2012, 08:11   #10
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Re: Sailing Commune?

As I mentioned in OP, 'commune' may not have been the right word to use, I am seeing why. I am not thinking in terms of "real hippies, living in real squalor", and actually the exact opposite. Also, this isn't about abandoning society or end of world scenarios either.

i.e. - one member may be able to offer a higher monetary contribution, but is so mechanically inept that he/she can't even change the oil correctly. While another member may not be able to offer as much of a monetary contribution but is one heck of a diesel mechanic.

Another example is one of a personal one. My family was all out fishing (no winds) and I pushed the sheath off my new fishing knife with my thumb. It was new and I didn't realize the the latch of the sheath was on the same side as the blade (prob why it was such a good deal, but I made the purchase with other items that I was paying more attention to and didn't notice this). Fortunately for me, I sail with a nurse! This became a very small problem of taping it off first to see if it even needed stitches, and if it did need stitches then a suture kit was available in the first aid kit. Fortunately it did not need a stitch and today...hardly even a scar!

My point is....how many people out there are sailing with a nurse? I can say that I am currently not sailing with a diesel mechanic. And....which one is more important?

This is the questions/insights that I am looking for. And there is a large group of constant contributors that haven't even piped in yet!
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Old 20-07-2012, 08:12   #11
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Re: Sailing Commune?

BTW....Bash...thanks for the link. I have looked at it and will look at it further. There may be some info there that could be useful.
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Old 20-07-2012, 17:09   #12
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Re: Sailing Commune?

I think there is something in the idea - not entirely sure what though .

A nice one to mull over
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Old 20-07-2012, 18:00   #13
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Long rallies are probably the closet thing to an onwater commune. Ie blue water rally, ArC world etc. however unless you all li e together on a large boat, sailing is a solitary exercise. Even in rallies, sailing boat are rarely in eyesight. So the land based metaphor only works to a point. The other thing is sailing s relatively expensive. Do it's not really for the impecunious.

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Old 20-07-2012, 18:09   #14
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Re: Sailing Commune?

Sounds Kinda Like Waterworld or Barter Town.
Nothing wrong with what you are saying, in a practical sense its how Commerce began oh so long ago.
Can we achieve it again?? ...my answer is a most fervent yes...after all,, the ocean going community built the world we know through visiting and bartering for services and products with other cultures.

At present there is an organization call the "SeaSteaders Institute" proposing a similar bunch of goals. except they wish to build sea going states capable of supporting thousands.

I have no doubt that my skill set will hold me in good stead with our Cruising Family's, and those i will meet at points of call.

As long as a bunch of Krishnas dont show up at my future home(boat) asking for donations in exchange for an incense flower then i say "Bring IT ON" !!!!!!
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Old 20-07-2012, 18:23   #15
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Re: Sailing Commune?

I think, back in the old days, it was called "Having a social life" and "Having friends with similar interests". No real need to go searching for some sort of philosophical society for that.
I'm just round the corner from you in the marina up the creek. I'll be down there in a few weeks once the missus has had her next hospital visit. We can have a go at the social life and friends with similar interests bit if ya like. That is also what we are looking for.
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