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Old 01-04-2005, 09:02   #1
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Women Aboard?

Hey everyone.. First I would like to say this forum has been very
informative & everyone is so candid with his or her ideas or advice..
Whether It is good or bad.. So I know as I write this and ask these questions that I will get the honest & brutal opinion from all of you.

My story is this.. I will try to keep it short..
My husband has been trying to convince me to dispose of all of our possessions and move aboard a boat, to travel (not a circumnavigation, but perhaps the Bahamas, Caribbean etc..) for at least a few years or longer if we or should I say “I” like it..

He has always been very supportive of my dreams, idea’s, career,
and so forth.. And for the past 8 long years I have shot him down on this one.. (which is his dream)
So for the past few months I have actually said “Okay, if this is what you really want” I mean it has been 8 years, and he has only become more persistent lol.. The first year I thought it was just a phase he was going
through.. The second year I was like “damn, this is a long phase” the third year I thought he is having a midlife crisis.. The years have passed and well this is his dream..and it is only fair that I support it.. and sailing to see new cultures & new places is intriguing to me..
I want to know what will I as a woman really hate about it. Just so you all know.. We are avid travelers via plane that is.. We have basically lived on a island or should I say at least 6 months of last year we did. I understand the “you won’t have access to what you normally have” I can adapt so to speak.. I enjoy the islands.. getting involved with the locals & their communities..

But my concern is living aboard a boat~ I personally have no experience with boating..
I have read where many of you said “ if you want to sail longer make sure your wife or significant other is happy & comfortable” obviously there are some issues here for the women.. Please warn me of these, and please don’t sugar coat it~
I know this is not a true sailing question so to speak ~ but I want to know from your experience what is it that the women hate so much.. ( I see this can be a pretty broad question & it can vary depending upon the person) I guess what is the most common complaints that women have when moving aboard..

Practically committed to trading my suburban in for a dingy & need help!

Thanks in advance
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Old 01-04-2005, 09:35   #2

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Would you like to speak to my wife?


My wife is at least as excited as I am(if not more so) about living on a boat. Also, we will be doing it while working corporate jobs before any vacationing takes place. The ultimate in inconvenience.

If you want to send me a private message on here with your email address, I'd be happy to see if she will let you know what the drawbacks are.

We actually lived aboard a 30 footer for 2 months for our honeymoon.
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Old 01-04-2005, 11:29   #3
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It's the nesting syndrome

Security, woman like security.

Woman who have run a businesses, climbed high mountains, fly jet fighters, astronauts and so on have gone past the nesting syndrome. Not saying it's a bad thing, just that it's an adventure and that's a "mans world", as it's said. Just look at history.

It takes a special woman to want these things and to go along with the other to do these things.

When two young people meet they go everywhere and do everything together. Then something happens, they buy a house and that nesting thing starts to take over. The woman wants to plant flowers, decorate the house and start having babies. while the man is still out there looking for more adventures, buying cars, motorcycles, planes, BOATs and ect.

This gives a man a little control (conquer syndrome) over his inviroments. If one can afford it, motorcycles, boats and planes are the biggest magnets.

If you want to support him in his adventures that's fine, but don't draw a line and say this is as far as he can go. Reason with him!!!!! Let him go to sea for a few weeks on his own or with friends. When he gets back, see if he still wants that big adventure. He may just need to get it out of his system.

He may just need a taste and not the whole thing. Very few of us here REALLY want the whole thing, but dream about it. The ones that do, have strong wills. It that our hubby?

I have more to say but I have to get back to work ...............Later
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Old 01-04-2005, 11:59   #4
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I have tried to talk my wife into just that:
Sell the junk and sail towards the horizon.

She just ain't gonne do it.
Even when she enjoys the 4 week Bahamas crusies we do every year, (And the many shorter ones)

I guess she is afraid of the unknown, afraid of leaving friends, family and property behind.
Afraid of bad weather, storms, etc......

Have given up talking her into it, she is just a little chicken who's idea of adventure is to watch the Discovery channel on TV.

Guess I will take my best buddy, the one who likes sailing, diving, beer drinking and all that, take him to the hospital and give him a sex-change, then marry him / her, THEN go sailing full-time.

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Old 01-04-2005, 12:25   #5
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My wife and I are amicably separating after 20 years. I wanted to go sailing, she wanted a farm. I have worked on the farm at the exspense of holidays and weekends away on the boat. I am 58, should I just keep working at my day job and on the farm with out holidays until my body and mind can not take it anymore, and then die early. I realise these are major issues but they are not a faze and will not go away. In the end we give away all the junk we accumulated, or someone else does it for you. On earth you eventually end up in a folder as a bunch of paperwork for the executor. You might like sailing, you might not. When I left NZ in 1968 and told the boss I was leaving for foreign shores he said, " you are young and I am not going to try and stop you" Bless him forever. Michael
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Old 01-04-2005, 12:41   #6
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All the comments have been spot on.
I can add though, it takes time to adjust. The same for your Husband. Once onboard, it will take time to adjust to the new environment. It also means a major adjustment to way of life. You have moved from a home, Spaciouse environment, to a Shoe box. This means the way you live your life has to change. Excercise will mean EXCERSISE for example.
Actually, it can be just as hard for the Male. Depends on him as well. We lived aboard for 4months. That was it for me. My wife actually enjoyed it. But I am an extremely creative person. I needed a workshop so as I could build stuff for the boat. Your husband may be totaly different of course.
But anyway, I was warned it would take two weeks to a month just to get used to the environment. Yep it did. So give yourself time and even when the initial one to two weeks seem unbearable, hang in there through it.
I know of several woman that just love the living aboard part. The cleaning is easy and gthey love that part. If you are one that likes to blob in front of a TV in the evenings, then you will struggle the most. But if you are one that has hobbies like crafts etc, then you will fit in faster. You have to keep yourself busy.
When it comes to long term traveling, then the boat has to be viewed as the means of getting you somewhere. The destinations become the goals. The ones that want to see exotic destinations are the ones that fit this life the best. The Journey can be fun, but at the same time, can be tediouse. As the saying goes, "venturing the world by boat means extremely long periods of boardem, punctuated by short intervals of extreme terror".
Actually that is not always true, but......
Oh one other thing. If you have been married for a while, and your husband reaaaaaaly knows you, he should be able to understand you enough to know if you would take a liking to the cruising life or not. I knew that with my wife. She was very hesitant at first, but is starting to jump in with both feet know. I knew her enough to know she would take to it given time and no pressure.
All the best

For God so loved the world..........He didn't send a committee.
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Old 01-04-2005, 13:06   #7
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You've asked some really loaded questions, and it is hard to know where to start. But here goes...

Whether or not you feel safe and comfortable on a boat often depends on how much input you have had into the selection of that boat and its equipment. Many women who do not like living aboard are those whose husbands have selected everything and then said "here it is". When my husband and I were buying a house on land, we jointly decided what would work for us, with some compromises in the process. The same thing holds for a boat. If you currently own one and cannot imagine living on it 24/7, try to decide what it is that makes it unliveable to you. Then see if there isn't another boat (not necessarily larger - maybe just configured differently) that would suit you better.

You mentioned you have no boating experience. I would recommend some "women only" sailing classes to improve your skills and your confidence. That will go a long way toward making you more comfortable. And it eases some of the stress of working through bad weather, because you have confidence in your boat-handling skills. If, after a few classes, you decide you really hate it, at least you will know before you sell all the stuff and loose the dock lines.

As for weather, I am lucky to have a prudent captain who believes in waiting for weather. If he were not, I doubt that we would still be sailing together. Neither of us likes sailing in severe weather, although we trust our boat and ourselves when we have to do it. Do I get scared sometimes? Yes. But I know it won't last forever, and every time we make a destination after a rough trip, I know we will manage the next time it get rough.

Is a boat as comfortable to live in/
on as a house? Not really. But is it worth it? Absolutely. Think dolphins playing across your bow, sunrise in a peaceful anchorage, the gentle rocking as you fall asleep at night. For me, that makes up for having to conserve water (marine showers) and power, keeping the holding tank clean to avoid head odors, using public transportation because you have no car, etc.

What's the worst of it? The frequency of mechanical breakdowns, 3 a.m. anchor dragging, the lack of personal space/time away from one another.

I would recommend a book by Deborah Cantrell (I can't remember the name of it right now) that deals with a women's view of cruising and its effect on relationships. Also, if you come up with any specific questions, you can send me a private message, and I will be happy to "chat" with you.

Hope this helps.
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Old 01-04-2005, 14:55   #8
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From a womans view. Surprising that all answers were from the guys. The worst thing I have a problem with is: Water conservation! You will have to get used to sponge baths & if you are lucky you can wash your hair once a week (or less often, depending on how long you are between ports. Solution: wear hats a lot!
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Old 01-04-2005, 17:34   #9
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Hi Danielle,
My story is a lot like yours. This was my husbands idea, and although we have traveled and loved the islands, the boat life is a whole other planet.
We refinanced some real estate instead of selling so that kept my roots intact. I researched and chose the boat we bought. The advise I listened to said, buy the biggest boat you can afford and learn on that. I see now that may not have been the best way to go as we are now making some more changes, but this whole year has been about changes and learning.
In this past year I have become hooked on the boat life. I never thought I would become so different. From a former business owner/perfectionist to "hey there really are other ways to live".
I also recommend a book called "Changing Course, A Womans Guide to Choosing the Cruising Life" by Barbara Ann Cantrell.

The downside for me, the toilet. We have a very efficient head but....
I bump my head alot (we have a 37' boat), and I need to stretch and exercise so am getting creative exercise routines going.

I have also just completed some ASA courses. That has made a huge difference. I am making sailing friends that are inviting me to crew on their boats! Amazing. But these changes have taken almost a year from our 1st boat purchase so be gentle in your expectations from yourself. Are you on the east or west coast?
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Old 01-04-2005, 20:46   #10
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Similar Tale

Hi All,

I'm reading the responses to this post with great interest. Gosh, I could have written it Danielle, except I tossed out the idea 6 years ago, more as a joke as I had never been sailing, and my husband has been running with it ever since. I read several books that really gave me the longing. I'd highly recommend "The Voyage of the Northern Magic: A Family Odyssey" by Diane Steumer (check out the website and "Cruising for Cowards" by Lisa Copeland. What inspired me about Northern Magic is how they shared their experiences and positively impacted many remote and underprivileged people they met during their circumnavigation and eventually set up a foundation. Having a meaningful purpose for this adventure is vital to both of us.

We are currently getting rid of our "stuff" and selling our house. Have pretty well settled on a CSY 44 (loads of fuel/water capacity and roominess and a great reputation for taking care of you) but just waiting for the right one, at the right price.

To relieve my initial fears we took formal training through a sailing school (correspondence and practical) on a 44' boat, got our day skipper certificates, then the radio operator's license and are working on navigation. Each step of the process is building confidence. We plan to live aboard and spend about a year getting familiar with our boat before we venture too far afield.

It's a huge step but like somebody asked me recently as I was expressing my fears: "When you are sitting in your rocking chair at 85 looking back will you say to yourself - I wish I had taken the leap and done it". To me, regret is the larger risk!

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Old 02-04-2005, 09:13   #11
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My wife and I lives aboard a 34' boat with a 9 foot beam, with our two kids,one a teenager the other close, for 4 years. We have been living on land now for about 5 months and I have never been more depressed...I talked my wife into going the first time, and she relutantly, she to misses it horribly...We will go back out again, and what we are doing now is all part of the plan to be able to do that again in a way we feel will be even better, but it is hard, very hard ,for us to be "dirt dwellers" again.

All the advise here seems to me like really good stuff...but It all boils down to you only get to go around once in this life...Try new things...Take a life and don't, when you come to die find you never really lived at we use to Say in the pacific..."Chance 'em!"

Good luck...
I'm counting up what I've got to show for all these years afloat
a dog eared passport, a weathered face, a tired old boat
a yarn or two that might be true and a couple of battle scars
days of sparkling waters, nights of falling stars

I've got seashells, I've got souvenirs, I've got songs I've penned
I've got phographs, I've got memories, but mostly I've got friends

See the Faithful...
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Old 02-04-2005, 12:56   #12
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Oh yeah, and if ya haven't sailed much or at all. Yachts are SUPPOSED to lean over. Don't panic!

For God so loved the world..........He didn't send a committee.
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Old 03-04-2005, 07:53   #13
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I learned to sail because of my husband. However, learning something does not mean one will like it.
We moved aboard full time at my instigation. We used our boat, decided together about any changes we wanted/needed to make. (Some are a work in progress I add at this point)
Do I like it.... You bet. It is perhaps in some ways less convenient than a big house, and in other perhaps more convenient.
What do I miss about a house.... the bathtub. Something which can be somewhat remedied by renting a room once in awhile, or prevailing upon friends.
I dont miss, cutting grass, shovelling snow, dusting all the stuff one accumulates in a house, property taxes, and so on.
Fair Winds
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Old 03-04-2005, 13:58   #14
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My husband wanted to go sailing as long as we have been together (32 years) We have two children, one still living w/ us, and a declawed cat (found like that).
I agree w/ all, it is just wonderful. A friend was telling me that men are the hunters/gathers and the women make the home no matter where it is. Of course this a hugh generalization, but you do have to make the boat your home.

My husband and I both picked out the boat. We did the wish list and every boat is a compromise. We love our boat, we still have many projects but it is our home and has been more 2 years.

We tried homeschooling our daughter, it was not a great success. I think it works best when the children are young. Laura was in 10th grade, she was ready to leave and try the homeschooling. But has Harriet said, watching the dolphins and all the birds etc. are lots more interesting than World History.
We all decided to stop and finish high school, then we will take off when Laura goes to college. Laura didn't realize how much she had learned, and now she was ready to put forth the effort it takes to do well.
We are staying on the boat. Today I am baking zucchini bread, stuffed peppers and strawberry galette.
It is a great life, and there is no grass to mow!!!
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Old 04-04-2005, 16:54   #15
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Wow ~
Thanks to all of you for the responses~ I was expecting to hear some really horror stories.. I let hubby read my post, prior to posting it and I could see him cringe because I had finally decided okay ~ "Lets do this" and I think he was concerned about the answers I might get from all of you which in return could cause me to change my mind.

Okay so Sean S I will be emailing you my address I would love to talk with your wife believe me I have many, many questions.. Just let me know when enough is enough! Lol

Delmerray ~ Yes that is my dear hubby ~ he wants it all.. I think I tend to fall Into the category you described to some degree ~ Hubby & I owned & operated a company .. I have been through the decorating / nesting stage but not to go as far as having babies that’s not me.. (Not now anyway, and I don’t really see that in the future) :0)

I am very active so is hubby ~ but the good thing is we love to scuba so I see that as a plus actually that is on my Pro’s list if you know what I mean. I know this might sound cheesy so to say.. But hubby told me write down a pro’s & con’s list. This way we can figure out how to change the con’s .. for example I listed not having the luxury of taking a long hot bath on my con’s list so he said the same as witchcraft mentioned in her post agreeing to ad extra in our monthly budget so I can rent a room twice a month for this.
So the con’s do not seem to bad and luckily I think I look cute in a hat ~ lol so I will be taking many of those .. Thanks for the heads up Joyce.

ALAN ~ Does the boat really lean over to the side?
-JOKE- I am only kidding I know it really does .. I got a kick out of that comment ~ thanks for the smile!

Okay so I am going to also ask such a broad question and many of you are going to go oh my god this depends on the person, preference and whatnot!
We do not have a boat .. We would like a 38 – 40 ft boat and our budget for a boat is around 60 – 65,000 is it possible to find a good boat of this size that is in pretty good shape for this price range.. and if so what boats would you guys suggest..
I know you all are saying oh good god ~ They really need help.. and guess what you are right!

Ps. isn’t it extremely hard to cook meals, and how do you really provision the boat with such a small fridge? Any good websites or books out there that give ideas or suggestions on this?
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