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Old 29-09-2010, 18:16   #1
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What Do You Wish You Had Known ? What's Your Best Piece of Advice for Us ?

Hi, all,

I've been helped a lot on the Cruisers' Forum in the few posts I've made so far -- thanks to everyone for the invaluable advice on re-caulking a teak deck!

I wanted to introduce myself and see if I could pick your brains before we lose daily internet access when we take off from the Chesapeake on our 41' Hardin SeaWolf Ketch for our big, hopefully-round-the-world-adventure on our boat Picaroon. "We" in this case is me, a 37-year-old save-the-world Washington, DC professional and my husband, Philip, a ridiculously witty yet chronically-underemployed Brit who recently changed his Linked-In account profession from "Gentleman of Leisure" to "Gentleman Adventurer." You can read more about us on our blog, Picaroon Blog | BETTER DROWNED THAN DUFFERS IF NOT DUFFERS WONT DROWN., which chronicles the past four years of our adventures in the Chesapeake, preparing for this big adventure 'round the world.

Here's what I'd like from y'all: you represent an unprecedented accumulation of experience in how to actually do this, to pull up your roots, pack up, and actually sail around the world. What's the one piece of advice you wish someone had given you before you left?
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Old 29-09-2010, 19:46   #2
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For me, it's a toss-up.

For me, it's a toss-up between:

1. Don't rent the house, just sell it instead. Trust me, you won't be going back. - Turns out, they would have been right.

and

2. Pack about five times the fun foods you think you'll need, because those bluewater passages can get tedious at times, and there's nothing like comfort food to quell a rebellious spirit.

Seriously though, it's mostly little stuff like answer #2. It looks like you guys are pretty well prepared, and are going to do a good little coastal shakedown before doing any longer passages, so you'll get your boat figured out beautifully. Good luck!
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Old 29-09-2010, 19:56   #3
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Depends on how much experience you have. If you're new to sailing and new to the boat then a shakedown of at least a few weeks is in order. Sail around your local waters putting you and the boat through its paces and make sure everything is working as expected. A lot easier to fix things in your own hometown and where you can haul heavy things down a dock ramp to your slip.

If you've had the boat a bit and are experienced sailors, well I don't give advice to people like that. :-)
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Old 29-09-2010, 20:05   #4
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Short (relatively speaking) shakedowns.....explore your own backyard first while you work any kinks out.....plus you will find out how much you can live without.....
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Old 29-09-2010, 20:27   #5
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Just one? But there are so many that are useful, helpful, critical, fun, necessary and more.

Aside from the obvious get the boat ready, if you haven't already get a really good, bullet proof autopilot.
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Old 29-09-2010, 20:38   #6
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I see you've got a bit of time under your belt so there's nothing I can add to skills etc. The most important thing I've seen is 'Stick to your budget'. It's really easy to say, 'oh, we'll send a bit more here and make it up later'. That won't happen. It sound contrary but it costs more than you expect, so have a contingency fund for 'real' emergencies and forget it exists until the rainy day.

P.
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Old 29-09-2010, 20:51   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rebel heart View Post
Depends on how much experience you have. If you're new to sailing and new to the boat then a shakedown of at least a few weeks is in order. Sail around your local waters putting you and the boat through its paces and make sure everything is working as expected. A lot easier to fix things in your own hometown and where you can haul heavy things down a dock ramp to your slip.

If you've had the boat a bit and are experienced sailors, well I don't give advice to people like that. :-)
Thanks - we're not new to sailing but haven't ever sailed this boat. We're planning to spend a couple of weeks gunkholing in the Chesapeake to get to know her, practicing man-overboard drills, heaving-to, anchoring, and getting to know her systems, before heading south to the ICW.
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Old 29-09-2010, 20:52   #8
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Makes a lot of sense

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Originally Posted by heatherbrie View Post
Thanks - we're not new to sailing but haven't ever sailed this boat. We're planning to spend a couple of weeks gunkholing in the Chesapeake to get to know her, practicing man-overboard drills, heaving-to, anchoring, and getting to know her systems, before heading south to the ICW.
Thanks - it's hard to have a budget at the moment because we're still outfitting, but we're generally pretty good at sticking to one. That's what has made this all possible, of course!
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Old 29-09-2010, 20:56   #9
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Renting vs. selling and food

Quote:
Originally Posted by NotQuiteLost View Post
For me, it's a toss-up between:

1. Don't rent the house, just sell it instead. Trust me, you won't be going back. - Turns out, they would have been right.

and

2. Pack about five times the fun foods you think you'll need, because those bluewater passages can get tedious at times, and there's nothing like comfort food to quell a rebellious spirit.

Seriously though, it's mostly little stuff like answer #2. It looks like you guys are pretty well prepared, and are going to do a good little coastal shakedown before doing any longer passages, so you'll get your boat figured out beautifully. Good luck!
Thanks! We don't plan to come back but the house is in an area that's rapidly developing and has accrued value even during this recession, so we're keeping as an income-generating investment.

Your advice on fun foods is great - I've found that even during these grueling preparations of working all weekends and evenings on physical labor I'm craving crunchie-munchies and comfort food. I just wolfed down a whole serving of Trader Joe's frozen mac and cheese AFTER dinner tonight; and I'm a bit of a nazi about not eating anything someone's grandma wouldn't have cooked/whole foods/etc. I'll stock up!
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Old 29-09-2010, 21:24   #10
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Get a bigger ipod...

there is no such thing as too much rum..(still in the bottle)

Bored games...like somebody said..long passages are boring.

Get a copy of Ashley's book of knots...and alot of extra cordage..it is seriously addictive..especially looking back on all the money I have made winning bets..I can tie a bowline faster than you, and I can tie one you can't untie..<G>

Load up on little luxury foods...stuff which doesn't not take up much space..you can seriously miss Pop Tarts..the navy quit buying PopTarts..they put out those god awful whole grain pop tarts...who's communist freakin' idea was that?
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Old 29-09-2010, 21:39   #11
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Just don't be a duffer, and wishing good luck (who is the life long partner of good preparation) and fair winds.
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Old 29-09-2010, 22:12   #12
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Quote:
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I just wolfed down a whole serving of Trader Joe's frozen mac and cheese AFTER dinner tonight; and I'm a bit of a nazi about not eating anything someone's grandma wouldn't have cooked/whole foods/etc. I'll stock up!

When I was on my solo Pacific crossing, it took me about 80 days to complete, and I thought I'd done a reasonably good job of provisioning fun foodstuffs (I don't drink, so food's what I've got when I'm alone). Man, I had it down to where I could eat four pieces of black licorice each day, and drink one can of soda OR mix up some instant lemonade for the evening.

My brother gift-packed a bag with ~$100 of junk food that I opened at Hawaii (I non-stopped, but threw myself a 'party' when I passed the islands) and that was a pretty awesome boost to my 'food morale,' or whatever you wanna call it. I basically doubled my daily junk food intake for the rest of the trip.

But yeah, stupid things are sometimes the most important. Stuff like canned pasta with cheap little frank slices can really hit the spot, or extra buttery popcorn on occasion. Hell, peanut butter is a craving most people experience.

It doesn't cost too much money to load up on those things, and they really can make a difference to your mood.

Your boat looks beautiful, by the way. I liked your blog.
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Old 29-09-2010, 22:14   #13
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I didn't know it was so simple to do. Had I known I would have gone years earlier.
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Old 30-09-2010, 04:50   #14
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I think if someone said 'don't worry about all that stuff, you'll pick it up as you go along'. That would have been good advice. Where most people say don't leave home till your boat is ready. We have left home and now the boat is getting to a stage its nearly ready to go.... although we have sailed it nearly 30,000 miles

So the boat and cruising are self fixing as you go along...

One thing that may be better to plan for before leaving home is some extra knowledge or hobbies that will make the life aboard more varied, interesting and mentally stimulating.

I couldn't afford the book: Identifying Whales and Dolphins. Now I can't find it to buy! So for those 30,000 miles we being saying look that dolphin has a brown stripe, wonder what it is!
Damn, if I had 2 years up my sleeve it would have been good to do a course in marine Biology, or History, or Geography.... or guitar lessons, or keyboard lessons.... maybe starting a degree that one can do on the boat without time restrictions.

If you are a 37-year-old save-the-world Washington, DC professional you might get bored easily! Going round the other cruisers with 'lets all save the world' might bore the crap outta them, so you might need to find a way to keep you excited without having to rely on others.

A male on board a boat can have an easily fulfilled life with his feet up, cold beer and sneakin the odd 'lil smell out.
A woman can need much more.

What your 'much more' entails is the question that has a valuable answer before you leave home, or as you go along.
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Old 30-09-2010, 05:03   #15
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+1 on the shakedown of the new boat. I parted some running rigging on a new-to-me boat once... scary! Silly me, bought the boat and took off on a 200 mile open water passage without inspecting EVERYTHING.
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