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Old 19-02-2019, 22:04   #1
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Lifestyle implications of living on a small yacht in the Mediterranean

Hi

I am curious to know about experiences people have when they live alone on a fairly small yacht (27 to 30 feet), permanently or semi-permanently in the Mediterranean. I am not so much interested in budgets, practicalities or even discomfort, but more about what it feels like as an overall lifestyle. What concerns me is the social isolation this may bring. I am talking here about doing this solo, and of course you do not get visitors on your yacht every day especially because you are moving around a lot (why else have a yacht). Fun and interesting on many levels, but is it a lonely lifestyle?

Anyone care to share their experience as a solo long-term livaboard?

Thanks

Hugo
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Old 19-02-2019, 22:37   #2
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Re: Lifestyle implications of living on a small yacht in the Mediterranean

Depends on the person. I lived aboard much of my life. 70+ now. Mostly alone, except when on ships, USN, or commercial boats. I like traveling and remote places. I have a private dock where I winter, otherwise I anchor and only dock at fuel docks. I don't get lonely or miss social experiences away from the dock. You might. Especially if you don't have ways to keep yourself busy.

But if you frequent yacht anchorages or marinas, you'll probably have plenty of human contact.
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Old 20-02-2019, 00:52   #3
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Re: Lifestyle implications of living on a small yacht in the Mediterranean

I keep a boat in the eastern med and spend my summers on the boat. It is up to you how much social interaction you want. I have never had issues meeting and talking to locals and other boaters. If you want a more social scene then go to a busy anchorage or better yet tie up in a port and you will be talking to your neighbors. For the most part, everyone is friendly in varying degrees. Locals are generally very friendly and unlike what you describe about moving around, which I do, I always come back to the same marina and thus go through the same areas when heading out and in at the beginning of and end of season and most of the people along the way know me. I have had people swimming by talk to me while I am sitting in the cockpit. At anchor I have had other boaters ask me over for dinner/drinks. Having said that I avoid charter boat flotillas and charter boats in general like the plague but that's a whole other topic in itself.
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Old 20-02-2019, 01:08   #4
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Re: Lifestyle implications of living on a small yacht in the Mediterranean

We're here in Spain at the moment for winter repairs, and have been sailing around here for the past year). People are as friendly as you let them. Be approachable and other cruisers will come chat, or you go chat! Best way is to always ALWAYS hop out and offer a hand to those docking nearby, even if the pit crew is there from the marina. It's a nice move that will break the ice no matter the language. Another one is if you're running around in the dinghy on anchor, swing by the guy next to you (or the one with the pretty girls or boys or whichever boat you wanna visit or talk to) and ask if they need anything from shore since you're already going. That's a nice gesture as well.

But if all else fails, my favorite quote from one of my favorite movies, Misery:
If you ain't fit company for yourself, how can you expect to be fit company for anyone else?
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Old 20-02-2019, 09:42   #5
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Re: Lifestyle implications of living on a small yacht in the Mediterranean

Lot's of lonely people in Manhatten. I did the Med some years ago (early 80's) and met the most interesting cast of characters that I've intersected with on this mortal coil. Some crewed with me for several weeks, some with their own boats I cruised in company with and a surprising number of people who will respond favorably to conversing and socializing with a soul on a small boat. Go for it.
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Old 20-02-2019, 10:04   #6
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Re: Lifestyle implications of living on a small yacht in the Mediterranean

That's a great question, not really asked very often. I think people who dream of that sort of adventure/lifestyle generally picture it without regard to specific companions, and have a vague, but optimistic, expectation of what it would be like socially.

It's interesting to hear what some real life experiences are, from those who have actually done it. It seems like it could be isolating if one did not have a outgoing demeanor. Is there much general camaraderie among single handed, or full-time appearing, cruisers? What rough percentage of season-long cruisers are single handed would you say?
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Old 20-02-2019, 10:25   #7
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Re: Lifestyle implications of living on a small yacht in the Mediterranean

The social problem only poses itself in the off season. There are a dozen or so marinas with a reputation for their Communities - say 40 - 60 boats with people onboard even at x-mas. These marinas tend to be reasonably cheap and convenient with good facilities, shopping, and things to do. You can get a 6-7 month winter contract for 1200 for a boat your size. Check Licata in Siciliy (mild southern exposure); Kemer in Turkey (spectacular landscape and great hiking), Agios Nikolaos on Crete (ditto).
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Old 20-02-2019, 10:27   #8
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pirate Re: Lifestyle implications of living on a small yacht in the Mediterranean

There's few other single handers out there however as has been said, you are as isolated or social as you choose to be..
You may find you get to an anchorage you really like because of the setting and folks you meet and stay a while.. others its resupply and water then move on because its full of holiday crowds getting ratarsed.. San Antonio, Ibiza springs to mind.
Just one thing, dont talk boats and engines unless someone else triggered it.. used to do my head in when someone dropped by for a beer then spend the next few beers blathering about his boat problems, possible mods etc.. about as welcome as someone whining about their marital problems..
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Old 20-02-2019, 11:41   #9
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Re: Lifestyle implications of living on a small yacht in the Mediterranean

Hey Hugo,
I left the Uk in 1996 in a 26ft Eventide, French canals to the Med single handed. I got really lonely at first, which made me sad but you learn how to cope with it, after a while my attitude towards lonely changed and it no longer made me sad. If you've got a bit of adventure on your mind I wouldnt let the thought of being lonely slow you down. I had some fantastic years in the Med.
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Old 20-02-2019, 17:11   #10
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Re: Lifestyle implications of living on a small yacht in the Mediterranean

Don't worry, on a tiny boat in the hot months in the Med you are going to be too uncomfortable to worry about being lonely.

Which means that you are going to find a bar with air con and that in turns means you will find someone to chat to...
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Old 20-02-2019, 17:54   #11
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Re: Lifestyle implications of living on a small yacht in the Mediterranean

As with so much else, it all depends... On you, and whether you reach out. On where and when; winter in places with other cruisers and you will have plenty of social life then, and you will probably cross paths the following summer. I often met other singlehanders during the summer, sometimes would just have a drink and other times would end up buddy-boating for weeks. The cruising community isn't all that large so after a while you will keep renewing acquaintances. That said spending the days sailing solo and the nights at anchor can be lonely - you will need to be comfortable with that. If you haven't spent much time alone I recommend doing it for a while.


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Old 26-02-2019, 19:07   #12
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Re: Lifestyle implications of living on a small yacht in the Mediterranean

Thaks you all for the great replies. Food for thought!
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