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Old 10-12-2008, 10:15   #16
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Sonne --

We've been cruising for a year now and looking forward to the next. Sailors are great people! There's a lot to learn and I still feel very stupid, pretty often, but there's almost always someone around who knows and is willing to share, in a nice way. It is a wonderful lifestyle, with only those occasional moments of terror (yes, they happen!) or emotional breakdown (those happen, too). But, one of the things I've notices that almost everything is accentuated, when compared to life on the dirt. The risks, certainly -- and the pleasures!

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Old 10-12-2008, 13:13   #17
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There are all different kinds of cruising lifestyles - all of them are valid for different people. For this reason it is difficult and probably foolish to try to generalize. Nevertheless, most cruising boats spend about 90% of their time at anchor, and most cruisers probably don’t even cross oceans.

We spent 2 years sailing the Bahamas/Eastern Caribbean. You can sail all the way from Florida to South America and never be more than 24 hrs. at sea. Our attitude was that once we were already in paradise, if the weather or the boat wasn’t quite right, there was no good reason to move. For most people cruising is all about going slowly and leisurely while taking time to explore anything or anyplace that catches your fancy. Does that mean that you can always avoid bad weather, nasty surprises, or serious equipment failure? Of course not, but you can minimize those things.

Yes, cruisers spend a fair amount of time on maintenance and repair, but if you start with a boat in good condition, these things are usually manageable and not overwhelming. When we bought our boat, my wife had spent exactly one day on a sailboat. When we went cruising about 4 months later, she was a pretty fair boat handler and an excellent anchorer. She has never changed oil or a fuel filter or replaced an alternator belt. She has become an excellent navigator, she reads and understands grib files (which have always baffled me), and she is the only person in the world who can interpret my hand signals from the bow when we weave our way into a coral head studded anchorage. It’s a division of labor and it worked for us.

As someone said previously, attitude is critical - you must be quick to admit what you don't know or understand; you must be both curious and confident; and you must be able to laugh at yourself and eachother. For some insight into what it was really like for 3 different couples, go here:

http://www.boatus.com/cruising/littlegidding/archivelog.asp

http://www.boatus.com/cruising/ithaka/logbook.asp

http://www.wind_borne.com/journal_Index.htm
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Old 12-12-2008, 05:43   #18
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The title of this thread - Is Sailing for Me - fails to raise the very important differences between the types of sailing and got me thinking to how different sailing is to many people.

I believe the question was more addressed to the cruising lifestyle as were the responses, but many sailors are in it for racing, day recreation and some don't sail at all but live in a boat dockside (or at anchor). What these all share in common is that those who do them spend time afloat in a relatively small vessel. All of them require basic seamanship and each requires a different skill set (though ever lapping) and all serve different needs and provide different rewards.

There's no escaping that sailing is a technical "thing" and requires a basic ability to be comfortable in the mechanical and physical universe. It also requires a fair amount of self sufficiency and self motivation and confidence. Since it is not a "skill set" taught on "dirt" you should be prepared for and comfortable with learning a whole new set of "things" and hopefully that is part of the motivation to get wet.

Aside from the rewards of increased knowledge and basic survival and independence skills you must acquire, you will find that the cruising lifestyle is very different from that on dirt. For one. you become out of necessity. responsible for your survival on a day to day and even moment to moment basis. To most this feels like freedom, offers freedom and is at the essence of getting off dirt.

For another it seems to set you apart for the "economic universe" on dirt as well as many cultural ones. But it does allow you to go over there at "will" when you want and if you have the resources. It's all up to you and you and you. Some choose to completely get away and watch the sunsets in the the tropics, others choose to sample new cultures, others mix it all up through in some adventure, mixed with moments of terror and boredom.

If I had to boil "cruising down" to one concept I'd say it's "self sufficiency on the water at the edge of dirt".

Does that make sense?
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Old 12-12-2008, 22:28   #19
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My female thoughts on what I think we women need. I've been reading threads that ask if relationships should end if the cruising life dream is his but not hers. Whoa!
I've been cruising, liveaboard at different times over years. Twice on monohulls, once for two years on a catamaran. We're selling the boat now and although it's time to sell, part of me grieves at the loss. The wondrous adventure and freedom that fills me when the sails are full and the boat strains to fly faster, cutting quietly and quickly through the sea will be sorely missed. My fast moving, fast healing youthful self is missed too.
It's time for us to do other things, travel Europe more, intern at a Congressman's office, finish the stone wall at home, finish writing a half completed book sitting patiently on my desk... these are all part of my ways to live life fully too. Maybe charter a boat for a month in the South Seas, or Greece, or the BVI, I'd like that too.
Possibly our next gig will be a year in Kenya doing some medical work, and learning more than I can ever give to those wonderful people. It's my time now if I ever could go live in Kenya for awhile. It's my time to find depth to my life and use what I have left wisely.
I've loved sailing, in my soul...indeed I taught my husband Bob how to sail...I realize there's another side for me that I think many women have in common. Women, unlike most men, need and usually have other women we depend upon as our support persons. Support for stuff about our relationships, children, jobs, health, age, and our personal struggles to grow we bounce off a few deep friends. It makes us stronger and gives us a sense of unity and balance.
I meet other like minded cruising women, and this works for us for awhile, but then we part sailing off in different directions.
Boat life tends to give long periods of isolation from our personal support people, and darn little personal space. Men, who tend to go it alone emotionally, except perhaps occasionally with woman he's talks to some, don't feel the loss women feel when they depart their land world, or the need to connect in the same way.
At times when I talk to other cruising women their men growl at me when I've said, I need a home to go home to, my nest, for at least part of the year...as they worry their wife might really feel the same. Or could. And might thier dream come crumbling down?
Rather than break off loving relationships why not a compromise? Keep a modest apartment or home in the place she has that support. Fly her home every now and then to get her head settled and feel her own person. Then enjoy the reunion when you get together again! Maybe you can't get the biggest and best boat or afford more upgraded equipment right away and afford this 'break' for her.
But I can say, this independance and connection to my own seperate, strong world away from the boat would have made me even more delighted with the whole cruising lifestyle. The amount one woman needs would differ of course compared to another. I suggest an understanding compromise rather than 'my way or the highway' approach.
Give her a regular break from the boat and I'll bet she'll want to be on the boat more and more. And want to see you more too. It'll be way more fun than cruising alone!

Jennifer
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Old 15-12-2008, 02:24   #20
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Rather than break off loving relationships why not a compromise? Keep a modest apartment or home in the place she has that support. Fly her home every now and then to get her head settled and feel her own person. Then enjoy the reunion when you get together again! Maybe you can't get the biggest and best boat or afford more upgraded equipment right away and afford this 'break' for her.
Great post but this bit is brilliant. Unfortunately, so far, my experience is that there are few women "secure" enough to be separated from their husbands for extended times.

If you can find the partner who is cool with 3 months on 3 months off and keep an apartment near the kids and grandkids, that would be perfect in my book.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
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Old 15-12-2008, 04:27   #21
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Jennifer raises some interesting and though provoking points about the "difference" between men and women and hence the difference in their needs. I suspect she's hit the nail on the head.

Men are more loner types and hence crusing on a small boat fits that mindset very well. But they do have the nest thing in the sense that they want to build a home, care for it and so fort; it's just a floating one without a picket fence and flower beds.

Men also often bond with their mates, sit in bars, do sports and so forth, but I suspect it's different from women who tend to share more intimate "things" with their friends and this forms a support net outside the marriage (often to the dismay and shock of their partner).

Wanderlust is not gender related either. But one can probably could generalize and say that men like mechanical "things" more than women and this makes sailng more a male thing than a female thing. But this applies in a house as well.

But in the end sailing is a multi faceted, if not somewhat self indulgent isolationist way to spend time. Those who sail are living apart from the main, usually not "contributing", much the way retired folks don't and are content to absorb culture and nature more than build a nest egg or stuff their lives with consumerist purchases. Cruising is a much small carbon footprint ain't it?

I have crusied and lived about for 4 years and it felt "escapist) at 44 yrs old. But I have no regrets. it did take me out of the work force and put a hault to my career which I was never able to recover from. But on the other hand I learned to live with less so the old career path may not be something I really miss. In fact, I am always looking for ways to get rid of "things" and just have a live revolving around my essential "pleasures". Not having children makes this a lot easier.

With children you need to given them a gooid education and the opportunity to do what THEY want and that usually means a stable live ashore with a social group from their pre teens on.

Sailing/crusing is a special gift for those who have the money, time, skill and appreciation for the opportunity it presents. It does not have to be a relationship breaker and it can be a (primary) relationship maker! You just don't get to go shopping and discuss to romance with the gal pals.
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Old 24-01-2009, 16:03   #22
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Hello all,
My husband is a very experienced sailor who has been on a 2-year-cruise before. My sailing experience so far amounts to a 3-weeks-vacation, which I loved.

We have decided that we want to work, save, and then go on a 1-2 year cruise and I am really excited about it! We would take our kids (right now we only have one but this will hopefully change, haha) and just do it! Before we had our baby, I loved to backpack, and I am hoping that sailing will give me the same sense of freedom and adventure and seeing the world!

Until we actually start, I want to learn all I can about it and started today with looking through this forum.

And oops, it has gotten me a bit worried . Here are my two number one worries, and I am looking forward to your opinions:

- I am not very practical, more artistic type than bike repairer if you know what I mean - will I like the life aboard at all, or is it all about using tools and being pragmatic?
Please note: I don't mind getting my hands dirty and am a hard worker. Just have two left hands and have so far not been interested in how a car motor works EXACTLY (don't laugh, I have other talents!)

- I am courageous, but how adventurous does one need to be? Do you really have terror-experiences all the time?

I hope you understand my worries and am looking forward to your opinions.

All the best to all you sailors!
Sonne


When you are cruising for an extended period of time, you will eventually become a slave to your boat. Cleaning and fixing is a never ending job that, for some people, can become rather tedious and tiresome. However, it must be done because if you don't take care of your boat, you boat won't take care of you. Males often fall in love with their boats, and I suspect all the work they do is probably a substitute for sexual indulgence. Polishing the bowsprit gives them quite a thrill! If you get your thrills in other ways, perhaps you may want to reconsider a long term commitment to cruising. It is not the same as a short vacation.
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Old 24-01-2009, 16:53   #23
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Males often fall in love with their boats, and I suspect all the work they do is probably a substitute for sexual indulgence. Polishing the bowsprit gives them quite a thrill! .
Too Funny....!!!!...
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Old 24-01-2009, 17:06   #24
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Edipus I have no bowsprit
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Old 24-01-2009, 20:10   #25
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I concur with David...I learn how to fly in a small Cessna 152 out of Fort Lauderdale, FL and 10 years later what at the time I was learning appeared as an impossible dream, I landed on the regular basis in Boeing and Airbus airliners...it is simply amazing what persistence can do on anybody's life...you will be surprised of one can achieve in a boat by wanting to be there
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Old 24-01-2009, 21:33   #26
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Males often fall in love with their boats, and I suspect all the work they do is probably a substitute for sexual indulgence. Polishing the bowsprit gives them quite a thrill!
WOW!!!

Those guys really need to spend more time in port.

Cheers

Bill
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