With more and more friends about to leave (this summer or the next) and having left already, I am kinda feeling the pressure ... And I'm not getting any younger either, so there's that little voice in the back of my head
telling me that waiting for later could very well mean never. I'm only in my early 40's but come from a family
where 65'ish seems to be the magic number. So - I should probably get a move on
I am not at all sure I'll enjoy sailing solo all the time. It's no problem for day trips obviously (been doing that for years), but getting from the Netherlands
to where there be coconuts will take a little more then comfy day trips and overnighters straight out of the brochure.
On the other hand, sailing from the Netherlands
to the Caribbean
is relatively easy sailing, as far as routes go, with the brochure promising me an easy downwind sail (...). The Gulf of Biscay is, in theory, the hardest part, but I'm more worried about what comes after.
Taking on crew on a 29' boat
- now there's a challenge
Provided there are people willing to hop on a tiny 29' boat
with only the basics instead of a nice, luxury 45' + footer ...
I think it might be even more difficult then just biting the bullet and go solo. There is no room (I usually go outside to comfortably change my mind), no privacy and zero luxury.
Also, I've been told that dumping annoying crew members in a liferaft
mid ocean is frowned upon ... so I'm guessing I'd be stuck with whomever joins me for (over) a month.
Right now, I can barely make it through a couple of hours with a 2nd person onboard
I know that sounds horrible, but I've been living alone for most of my adult life, and I've been living alone (with a cat) on this boat since I bought her, a little over 2 yrs ago.
Having said that: most people that join me are landlubbers, who seem to have a freaky talent for getting in the way every single
chance they get, and bringing bags that are bigger then my V-berth
My redeeming quality is that I get along just fine with my kid (now an adult who complains about the lack of headroom) aboard for a week or so at a time. Bought a 22' boat when he was little so he is well adjusted
If I were to wait a few more years, I could buy myself a nice Centurion 36 (yes, I like old but expensive and smallish boats ...)
which would at least make it a little easier to sail with a crew when needed.
I have more or less given up on the idea of finding a nice guy to join me -- landlubbers be landlubbers, and single
handers ... well, they are simply impossible to live with
Sailing solo together has been discussed, but I don't think that's viable option. Very, very difficult to stay close enough -but not too close!- on a crossing.
I think it'll just make things harder for both boats, not easier, and that's putting it nicely. Especially considering I'll be trying to keep up with 38+ ft boats since very few people go smaller these days.
Anyway -- this is obviously a decision I have to make for myself, while remembering why I want to go sailing in the first place: cos it's fun. Most of the time. Usually. I luckily suffer from sailors' amnesia
I am just not sure having to sail solo all the time is as enjoyable as being able to sleep sometimes, knowing there's someone keeping watch.
More and more people put more & more trust into AIS
as "2nd crew member" but call me old fashioned - I really like the idea of another human being sitting outside keeping a human eye on things. Not to mention human beings can make coffee and actually take action when an electronic crew member
goes bleep bleep BLEEEPP!
Pretty much everyone I know (will) set sail as a couple.The only other solosailors I know personally haven't left yet.
Again, I have to decide for myself obviously , but I wanted to post anyway - maybe there's solo sailors here who are willing to share their experiences?
And I am sort of curious to know what others would do in my position. Go solo on a small boat
(more or less cancelling out taking on a crew) now, while I know I'm healthy and fit, or wait a couple of years and at least go with a bigger, more comfortable boat that also has a little room for a crew member
when needed / wanted?
Since there's little use outfitting this boat if I'm going to end up selling her (read: donating her to my son and buying
and outfitting a larger boat to actually leave with) I kinda have to make up my mind this winter ...