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Old 22-06-2010, 12:18   #1
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The Downside of Cruising

I guess I'm like many on this forum. I have a yacht and do short coastal cruising while I work out a plan to throw off the docklines in a major way and see the world. For me there's almost 2 years left on the plan.

I want to know from experienced cruisers, What are the issues which have or almost have caused you to chuck it all in and go back to living on land? I hear of the boats for sale in distant destinations because the dream was not as expected.

Maybe your stories can help people like me coming after you.

Greg
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Old 22-06-2010, 13:06   #2
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We came back to deal with some financial matters and get a bigger boat. We fully intended to set off again, but then health issues intervened. In the Bahamas/Caribbean most cruisers are baby boomers. We’re old, and health is probably an increasingly common cruise ender.

Also, after the market melt down in 2000, a lot of cruisers had cruise threatening financial problems. However, when we were cruising by far the most common reason why people we actually knew quit was because it just wasn’t fun living on the boat anymore. Mostly this had nothing to do with constant boat repair (although I’ve seen that too); it was more a case of being frustrated with camping. Crawl in bunks, sit down showers, church pew settees, small cockpits, constant stooping and lack of amenities gets old. And, after spending awhile in the Caribbean you mistakenly think you’ve seen it all anyway, so you burn out. Suddenly the boat that was fine for 2 week vacations, sails great, and can take you anywhere becomes unacceptable. More than a few of us came to realize we really did want a floating condo after all. Some can trade up, some just have to go home.
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Old 22-06-2010, 14:57   #3
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slo motoin puts it very well;it is never mentioned that life is easier on land, not necessarly better, just less effort required for those myriad little things that one takes for granted until you do without or try to incorporate into your boating life style.
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Old 22-06-2010, 15:48   #4
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I fully agree, I am under no illusion that it will be a cake walk or a non-stop movie like atmosphere!! Most people do take for granted the pervasive things in life until they actually have to initiate that device by hand to make it work or get things started for it to work 20 minutes later..

When I finally move onboard full time as a live aboard, I am fully aware that I will be spending all of my spare time, either learning or redoing everything in/on the yacht. If not for general or needed maintenance, then for upkeep of pride of ownership. Most people can't even get used to the constant motion of the yacht, let alone trying to prepare meals or even a simple cup of coffee without fulfilling the 4 basic ballet moves to accomplish it.....

My plan/vision is to spend all of my spare time, trying to be accomplished enough to be very proficient at all of the basic systems on the yacht (plumbing, electrical, mechanical) without having to rely on someone else. This is perhaps a little slanted on the dreamy side but I know that I will get there within a few degrees.

I do believe that if the situation gets old for them or even gets uncomfortable, they should try to rearrange the layout that will suit them best. Perhaps, that's the wrong yacht for them and they were just too eager with the dream without considering the long term affects it may have.

Regardless, it is a definite lifestyle change and most people can't handle the extreme self reliance that it demands. Most people have become WAY to dependent on the system's teet to quite cold turkey. It is an emotional, psychological and physical life change that either needs to change slowly or not at all...
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Old 22-06-2010, 18:23   #5
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Look at cruising as an adventure. A way to express yourself and to have fun. At some point in your cruising experience you'll decide that it's time to move ashore.
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Old 22-06-2010, 19:39   #6
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My plan/vision is to spend all of my spare time, trying to be accomplished enough to be very proficient at all of the basic systems on the yacht (plumbing, electrical, mechanical) without having to rely on someone else.
This is the part that I found to be a challenge when I initially moved aboard. I had considerable knowledge of sailing, rigging, navigating, all of which I'd enjoyed learning throughout a lifetime of sailing. But now I had to learn, often the hard way, about refrigeration, plumbing, waste management systems, electrical systems, diesel maintenance, et cetera. Not as fun to learn as dead reckoning or how to splice double braid.

The make it/break it point for me was to adopt a one-project-at-a-time attitude rather than to become overwhelmed at how many projects were looming. You do one thing to make the boat happier, and then you go sailing. Life stays fresh that way. I like to alternate between maintenance projects--and you'll have these even on a brand-new boat--and improvements. The improvements are a bit less draining because you get to see something new develop, like a solar charging system or even a graywater tank.

The people I see burn out on the lifestyle are the ones who don't get enough sailing in. If you don't mix the work with the play, what's the point of cruising?
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Old 23-06-2010, 08:48   #7
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Boredom.

Sheer boredom. Particularly females.

Especially those on tight budgets where its financially difficult to get off the boat and do some land travel.

For some people theres only so many ABC's and AFC's you can see before keeling over (Another Bloody Castle and Another F'ing Cathedral); how many deserted bays before you go crazy; how many swims/snorkels before being totally waterlogged.

Unless theres some great techniques in using leisure time in confined quarters then I think boredom could hit hard after a few years.

Perhaps before setting out there are some courses you or your wife can do. In Australia we have community education which are like night courses either at Technical colleges or universities... but they are not degree or diploma courses, you just take the learning..

Some of the types of courses that I would have liked to do before coming away:

World History
Geography
Marine Biology
Architectural appreciation
French, Spanish, and language
Cookin'
Photography
Anything that will start you off in a hobby.


Then when on board setting time aside to do the hobby every day/week whatever. Take active interest in the history etc of the places in the route. Whatever it is to keep a sparkling mind active



Quick Quiz:

In Efes (Ephuses) Who builded the Thunder Boxes and the Library behind??????????

A) Built in the 1850's by Frank Farter
B) Old Turks 1,000 years ago
C) Old Romans 2,000 years ago
D) Old Greeks 2,500 years ago
E) All of the above.
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Old 23-06-2010, 09:35   #8
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C) Old Romans 2,000 years ago
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Old 23-06-2010, 09:53   #9
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Crawl in bunks, sit down showers, church pew settees, small cockpits, constant stooping and lack of amenities gets old
Very interesting question posed by the OP. I have often thought of this question myself. I too, am under no illusions about the fact that cruising will be work. My husband and I work best when we are working on projects together. If we can remodel a house together, I am pretty sure we can maintain the boat together.

My question is what can we do to improve the liveability of the boat to avoid the quote included above? We like to camp, but agree that can get old after awhile. But am I wrong to think that you can do something about that? What can we do to the boat to improve the situation? Some items on my list are: 1) comfortable mattress 2) comfortable cockpit cushions with back support

At some level, I am not looking for a floating condo...still love to sail and all, however want to make sure that we think of comfort items that don't wear us down too quickly. What is on your list? What am I missing?
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Old 23-06-2010, 10:09   #10
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My question is what can we do to improve the liveability of the boat to avoid the quote included above?

1) comfortable mattress 2) comfortable cockpit cushions with back support
Get a well found production boat as modern as possible that has no woodwork to be maintained, a safe reliable engine and simple add-ons.

If you can't afford a good mattress think about extra foam etc. We have extra foam and we put the doona under us when its warm. Every little bit of extra comfort works

We have some small rugs (souveneers) on the floor. To fill a space we bought a $4 rug with very soft squishy nylon carpet fluffy stuff. Our toes love it!!! 'Lil toes just arn't used to all the hard fiberglass and wood of a boat... they love some soft comfort


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Old 23-06-2010, 10:46   #11
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"floating condo"

Quote:
Originally Posted by slomotion View Post
More than a few of us came to realize we really did want a floating condo after all.
Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetsailing View Post
At some level, I am not looking for a floating condo...still love to sail and all, however want to make sure that we think of comfort items that don't wear us down too quickly.
The two quotes above set up an interesting dialogue. The term "floating condo," clearly a term of derision, was no doubt coined by the same boat salesman who coined "bluewater boat." That's the polarity they want you to buy into, you must choose between a bluewater boat, which is admirably austere, or a floating condo, which is to be condemned for its luxury.

I bought the sort of boat that the fellows trying to sell you a boat with church pew settees and tiny cockpits are so fervent in condemning. It came standard with queen-sized berths with real mattresses, with push-button toilets, with a Bose entertainment system, with a separate fridge and freezer, with a cockpit in which you can easily entertain four couples, et cetera. Standard. The kevlar-reinforced hull has a long enough waterline that I can usually zip along between eight and nine knots. The rig is easier to handle than any of my first three boats, all of which were properly austere.

When I was in my twenties I thought myself superior because my boat had a bucket instead of a head. After all, that's what the Pardees were using. But now that I'm in my 50s, I consider myself superior because when so many of my friends are trading in their bluewater boats for power boats, I'm still quite comfy in my sailboat.

Don't buy a boat that's going to give you cabin fever just because the salesguy labels the alternative a "floating condo."
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Old 23-06-2010, 11:07   #12
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Three heart attacks in 5 years. $1200.00 a month medications. Can't walk more than 200ft without stopping. About sums it up. Ken
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Old 23-06-2010, 11:34   #13
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Can't walk more than 200ft without stopping.
Nor can I, Ken. My boat is only 39 foot long.





I hope you can do what you can do and enjoy it I know how lucky I am and I know my Dad died when he was 15 years older than me now. I reckon I have that time between now and then and I'm gunna make the most of it.
Your message doesn't fall on deaf ears not when they are my ears


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Old 23-06-2010, 13:37   #14
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I find the answers above really helpfull. For my part, I could sail off and be happy to just leave family and friends behind for a few years. However Heidi is very relational so we have to find a way to do it without totally losing contact with people at home. We will probably cruise for 6 months then come home for 6 months. We will probably have family and friends aboard from time to time.

Greg
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Old 23-06-2010, 13:59   #15
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This is an interesting question.

Some people go cruising and expect it to be a vacation . . . but it can be hard work and stressful.

Some people go cruising as a way to travel and see the world . . . but you are constantly looking after the boat and if you are really looking to travel there are probably better way.

The fact that cruising can be an emotional roller coaster (intense wonderful high experiences rapidly followed by deep depressing bad times in a rapid cycle) is difficult for some people to adapt to.

Money and health and parents often call people home.

The women are often reluctant at the start and then don't get so much from the experience (except to wash both the clothing and dishes by hand), and so sometimes say enough is enough and bring the couple home.
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