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Old 14-08-2015, 16:31   #16
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Re: What makes a great cruiser?

As Chris said above, skills are only part of the picture. An important part, a vital part, but far from enough. What takes time is judgement. Judgement requires experience. There are enough aspects of seamanship that judgement - aka wisdom - can grow for a whole lifetime.
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Old 14-08-2015, 16:56   #17
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Re: What makes a great cruiser?

An interesting subject.

I think it is not only the matter of hours. Some people are naturals, some are not. Some people are thorough, while others are lame.

Now imagine a lame natural vs. a thorough, but less talented cruiser - which one will get great first???

Then again, think again: if greatness comes in return for your time and given we all agree our time is limited, which important things in their lives have the greatest cruisers botched? Their family life? Their health? Their professional, human or otherwise development?

And if we abandon the lofty and plant our feet on the hard ground, it seems that it is somewhere between the third and the fifth year that outboards get upgraded while they will start asking about energy onboard required to run an additional fridge. They are clearly getting great.

Well, so to say, I am in the anti-greatness camp.

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Old 14-08-2015, 17:00   #18
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Re: What makes a great cruiser?

Beth and I met many new/starting out cruisers, and always tried to guess if they would 'make it' or not . . . we concluded that there were five factors that contributed to a successful cruising couple:

(1) By far the most important one was tenacity . . . the willingness and ability to keep going when things are not so good. Cruising has many many terrific times, way more than ashore . . . but in return it also has some terrible times, way more than ashore. And you need to not give up during those bad times. If you have this in spades, it is sufficient in and of itself for 'success' (we know at least two multi-circumnavigators who are pretty crappy sailors and seamen but just never ever give up). We found EMT's to usually have this trait.

(2) A certain amount of self-confidence combined with a certain amount of humble willingness to learn. This is an unusual trait. Many successful people ashore have the self confidence but not the humble willingness to learn . . . and they fail at sea. We found successful businessmen to be particularly bad at this.

(3) The ability to accept change and lack of stability. In cruising almost by definition you moving a lot and that means figuring out new officials and new stores and new friends, etc. Some people just never like that and find it tiring and wearing after a while.

(4) If you are going as a couple, one pessimist and one optimist is very helpful. The optimist will push you to leave the dock and explore new places; while the pessimist will help you avoid wrecking your boat and killing yourselves. If you are sailing solo, then you need a split personality

(5) An ability to live within your means. You can cruise with almost any level of resources, from dirt poor to tremendously wealthy . . . but many folks in the middle somehow don't manage to (or don't want to) manage their resources for their own personal sustainability. They want to keep up with "the neighbors" (as many of them did ashore). However, while cruising, some of your neighbours are simply going to be way beyond your asset class (we were anchored next to larry Ellison a couple times) and you just are never going to be able to keep up with the wealthier cruisers - just can't afford to keep their boats as nice, nor travel ashore as much, nor eat out as often in the same places, etc. You have to accept this. Live your own life and don't compare yourself or your life to those anchored next to you. This is a new and difficult concept for many.

You will note that no-where do I mention sailing skills . . . they are just not that important for cruising success. But #2 suggests you should be willing to learn 'seamanship' and that can make things easier/smoother and compensate for a little less tenacity.
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Old 14-08-2015, 18:03   #19
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Re: What makes a great cruiser?

I think what estarzinger points out as their 5 Indicators of Success does a good job of answering the question, specifically because those 5 highlighted points of "success indicators" are true in LIFE in general not just in cruising.

Here's the thing however, "what's the definition of great"?
Do you want to be Great in who's eyes? Yours? The locals you meet? Other cruisers? Your friends and family back home? Articles published in Cruising World? Writing books and giving speeches at cruising seminars?

In my world view, being a Great Cruising starts with nailing down YOUR PERSONAL definition of what a "great cruiser" actually is for you. Second is learning to not give a rats ass if others think you are Great Cruiser or a Cruising Bozo.
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Old 14-08-2015, 18:28   #20
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Re: What makes a great cruiser?

So the answer isn't a strong liver, lungs of steel and a good mambo?

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Old 14-08-2015, 19:08   #21
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Re: What makes a great cruiser?

Wonderful post Evans. I feel a bit foolish to say, b/c we've just begun our cruising life, but I fully concur. I was going to say something about knowing (and loving) who you really are is vital. That, and being able to live with, and enjoy, a lack of certainty about life. Dance with the mystery.


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Old 14-08-2015, 19:45   #22
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Re: What makes a great cruiser?

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So the answer isn't a strong liver, lungs of steel and a good mambo?

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Sounds like the definition of greatness to me.... Although you forgot to add a really huge, #$&! off beard...

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Old 14-08-2015, 20:03   #23
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Re: What makes a great cruiser?

We do a lot of short passages,- little hops between islands or out one inlet in the morning and in another late in the day. It's not uncommon for us to met a crew in port who expound about the challenges of their day,...."Yeah, it was rough out there, We were knocked down twice and shredded our headsail. We almost hit the jetties and we bumped on the shoal at the inlet!" All this is said with great bravado and I wouldn't deny them their achievement, but when they ask how we did, we have little to say. We crossed the day before the front or the day after with winds around 15 kts abeam and an easy ride with no events. Or we left at three am in arrived before the forecast afternoon thunderstorms. In most cases they seem to consider that their experience is a greater achievement. In my opinion "better" cruisers might be more boring!
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Old 14-08-2015, 20:26   #24
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Re: What makes a great cruiser?

Hmmmm...Malcolm Gladwell--eh? Did he spend 10,000 hours to become an expert on telling folks how to become an expert? Freakonomics? Tried to read it..gave up. Recall the words of Otto Von Bismarck:
“Only a fool learns from his own mistakes. The wise man learns from the mistakes of others.”― Otto von Bismarck


Take that and do with it what you will......does my "Advice" seem contradictory? I dunno....
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Old 14-08-2015, 20:39   #25
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Re: What makes a great cruiser?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hudson Force View Post
We do a lot of short passages,- little hops between islands or out one inlet in the morning and in another late in the day. It's not uncommon for us to met a crew in port who expound about the challenges of their day,...."Yeah, it was rough out there, We were knocked down twice and shredded our headsail. We almost hit the jetties and we bumped on the shoal at the inlet!" All this is said with great bravado and I would deny them their achievement, but when they ask how we did, we have little to say. We crossed the day before the front or the day after with winds around 15 kts abeam and an easy ride with no events. Or we left at three am in arrived before the forecast afternoon thunderstorms. In most cases they seem to consider that their experience is a greater achievement. In my opinion "better" cruisers might be more boring!
Something along the lines of Mr Smith's approach?

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Old 14-08-2015, 21:38   #26
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Re: What makes a great cruiser?

Quote:
Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
Beth and I met many new/starting out cruisers, and always tried to guess if they would 'make it' or not . . . we concluded that there were five factors that contributed to a successful cruising couple:

...
Fantastic post, Evans! You guys should write a book or something!
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Old 14-08-2015, 21:40   #27
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Re: What makes a great cruiser?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hudson Force View Post
We do a lot of short passages,- little hops between islands or out one inlet in the morning and in another late in the day. It's not uncommon for us to met a crew in port who expound about the challenges of their day,...."Yeah, it was rough out there, We were knocked down twice and shredded our headsail. We almost hit the jetties and we bumped on the shoal at the inlet!" All this is said with great bravado and I would deny them their achievement, but when they ask how we did, we have little to say. We crossed the day before the front or the day after with winds around 15 kts abeam and an easy ride with no events. Or we left at three am in arrived before the forecast afternoon thunderstorms. In most cases they seem to consider that their experience is a greater achievement. In my opinion "better" cruisers might be more boring!
Awesome point. Perhaps the short version would be that a great cruiser has the skills to handle heavy weather and the judgement to avoid it?
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Old 15-08-2015, 01:47   #28
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Re: What makes a great cruiser?

What makes a great cruiser? Positive mental attitude. With that all else can be over come.
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Old 15-08-2015, 13:47   #29
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Re: What makes a great cruiser?

Thanks for the continued replies everyone: patience, judgement, and the right personality seem to rank high. As far as my motivations for asking the question: I'm getting done with my 6-month cruise and going back to work soon (I'm 30). I was reflecting on my last few months on the water and what I've learned (which is less about the sea and more about myself) and thought it would be interesting to hear what those with many more miles thought as well. I've got a few hundred more miles and about a month left, so thought I'd see if there were any gaps I should fill, and since I don't feel I've really learned much more about boat handling being out here, if that was a common circumstance, and it appears it is, with many mentioning that the 'skills' are often readily acquired. Thanks again for the thoughts!


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Old 15-08-2015, 15:55   #30
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Re: What makes a great cruiser?

Maybe the secret is to have a good time wherever you go, and whatever happens to you...

I think it is a very difficult concept for me to get my head around. A "great" cruiser, well Evans and Beth come to mind.

Most cruisers I meet who approach "great", are generous with time and effort (including visiting), considerate of all others (including foreign officials who may be frustrating), applying the "Golden Rule" (Do unto others as you'd have them do unto you). Cruising is not a competitive sport. For some, it is a way of life. For others, it is a way of vacationing, or simply travel. There are lots of modes in which to go cruising.

Ask yourself if you enjoyed the 6 month interlude. It wasn't a mountain to climb, although at times you wrote as if it were. It's not like racing. If you enjoyed it, then ask yourself if you want to do it again. And finally, ask yourself what changes you want to make.... If you liked it. Otherwise, it may be time to move on. "Cruising" is an interactive process: doing it changes you and then you keep changing how you do it to fit your own needs. As to "great", well, you have to decide, yourself, whether you give yourself that sought-after "A++" or not. And even look a little into that perfectionism if you have it; some ways it's a curse and needs to be curbed. [Don't ask.]

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