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Old 16-09-2019, 11:19   #31
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Re: Single-handed cruising lifestyle: what is it REALLY like?

Docking single-handed can be an exciting time, when the winds are up. It takes lots and lots and lots of practice. Myself I don't even put fenders out until the boat has come to a stop at the slip. That extra few inches gives me a few more seconds to smartly step off the boat and girl handle it the last few feet into the slip.

Of course when docking with an upwind finger, you really have to move smartly. For that circumstance, I try to get the pointy end pointed a tad up wind, and not toward the middle of the slip. Again, this gives me an extra second or three to step off the boat and grab the dock lines, before the boat drifts off. I try to keep just a tiny bit of way on. That also helps keep the boat from being blown over too quickly.

I have the dock lines all ready to go, before I even enter the Marina. I have longer dock lines that Drape to the center stays. This allows me to control the boat from the finger dock.

Racing boats are another thing. Accommodations tend to be a little bit rougher. With no excess tools, clothing Etc on the boat. And generally smaller anchor, perhaps no dinghy, etc.

Living aboard does require a dinghy or at least a kayak, and space to store it. That is hard to do on a 25 or 26 foot boat. It can be done. I would tell you that my 34-foot boat gets a little small, after the third day of rain.

In my case having, lived on the boat for the last 15 years, everything I own is on it. I have known a few people that have lived on smaller boats. In the US, at least on the West Coast, there is a minimum size boat to live aboard. In some places that 30 ft. Others it's 35 or even 40 feet.

I supposed a smaller boat would be easier to med moor. I've never had that particular pleasure. The issue is how many inches okay centimeters does the boat sink when you move all your stuff aboard. That and the smaller tankage, that is for water and fuel, is a drawback.
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Old 17-09-2019, 08:26   #32
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Re: Single-handed cruising lifestyle: what is it REALLY like?

I wonder how you deal with a serious sickness on board when living full time on the hook in a foreign country with language barriers.

We are two and got a set back for a week, as my admiral got on the Weekend suddenly 40.9C fever and a painfull kidney infect in Italy testing the healthcare system there. Would not have worked out well alone without a partner.

How do you prepare for such incidents and get along singlehanded?
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Old 17-09-2019, 09:07   #33
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Re: Single-handed cruising lifestyle: what is it REALLY like?

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Originally Posted by CatNewBee View Post
I wonder how you deal with a serious sickness on board when living full time on the hook in a foreign country with language barriers

This is something that seams to worry lots of people from the USA which is understandable. Not a big concern in any othe industrialized countries and cirtainly should not be in Europe or Canada. Emergency medical care is available everywhere and insurence for visitors is quite reasonable (don't buy it from a US company!). The standard sea language is english so a call to the coastguard will get help in english anywhere if you are not in habour. In harbour jest get a mesage to the habour master or marina manager. The same applies to the Caribbean islands that look to European countries like Aruba and the french islands. Elsewhere it can get difficult. If you plan on going to wild and remote places you definitly need SSB and maybe one of the satalite emergency systems like spot or delorne. It is one of the times I can see a sat phone being a godsend but that is lots of $ unless you plan on using it for other stuff.
I do advice all sailors to get advance first aid training and carry the Ships Captains Medical Guide. Most of us are in places wher medical help can take hours not min to reach us.
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Old 17-09-2019, 09:07   #34
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Re: Single-handed cruising lifestyle: what is it REALLY like?

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Originally Posted by CatNewBee View Post
How do you prepare for such incidents and get along singlehanded?
Don't get ill has worked flawlessly so far

Generally plenty people around cruiser anchorages to help out.
On passage is bit more of a worry, top tip is go hide in a quiet anchorage for a day or 2 alone before a long passage so you know you haven't picked up a local bug before leaving.
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Old 17-09-2019, 10:41   #35
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Re: Single-handed cruising lifestyle: what is it REALLY like?

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Great post.. Thanks
Has anyone experienced the three weeks (?) of lonesome psychological/emotial/ human/ communication desert required of a solo transatlantic voyage?
Never even dreamt about I.... Just read extensively about the issues....
The longest I've been was 32 days, not even a ship sighting. Loneliness not an issue, isolation, ditto, plenty of things to do. People who cannot be alone on terra firma should not attempt a solo passage.

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Originally Posted by daletournier View Post
Being a singlehander dosen't mean your alone.

I haven't been a singlehander for years but are again for the time being. Theres no shortage of people if you like a chat, to be honest often theres to many!

I'm on the hard at the moment trying to get work done, it's always social witch results in only getting a few of the jobs done that you had planned each day.
I think it really comes down to ones personality, if you like your own company and space punctuated by passing conversation you'll enjoy being a singlehander.
Well said ...

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Most singlehanded boats have odd skippers. I saw a guy wearing a fancy dress with fake boobs once.. I've done some solo cruising and I started talking to myself.
I usually wear a huge blue wig with an orange shirt and no shorts, I drive the dinghy around looking for kind souls like you to say hi and offer me food.

C'mon, Ecos, get serious... with one stroke of a brush? Don't tell me you've never met strange couples.

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Don't get ill has worked flawlessly so far

....
This is a very active and healthy lifestyle and we are usually on non-polluted environments. We have to do our part - eat properly and take care of ourselves.
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Old 17-09-2019, 10:59   #36
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Re: Single-handed cruising lifestyle: what is it REALLY like?

We are in Europe, and have health insurance with EU coverage reciprocity while travelling to the social standards of the guest country usually. We've been in the emergency reception of a hospital in a somewhat large city, happened on Saturday. No doctor nor nurse could speak english, no lab tests were done, got just a short checkup, an compulsory injection and a prescription of antibiotica, a few nutrition supplements and about 2 preparates for im injection (10 ampules) for im application plus only 3 pumps with needles. No sterile stuff to do the disinfection prior injections nor an advise how to make it or where to let make it, just the receipe and advice when to take it in italian. There are maybe ambulant services I guess, but if you are at anchor, how will they come to you?

Had to search for a pharmacy, that has open 24h at the weekend to get the drugs, you have to get there somehow. Next day, fever has increased over 40, tried to call the doc on duty for emergencies in the district nearby, he spoke only italian too, used google in advance to translate the situation. Only phone advice to get some other medicine from a pharmacy. On monday visited a settled family physician (find one on google, get there) , had to pay him for the checkup, he called somebody to at least translate and perscribed the tests on a sheet of paper. The regular labs were on strike, so he could not sent us there (covered by the eu insurance) but fortunately there is a private lab on the opposite side of the town that can do the urine and blood tests plus sonography (paid in advance), they do collect the tests in the morning only, so wait another day, it took us 4 days to get investigated and another 3 days for the results. Fortunately the antibiotics helped in the mean time.

You are dead if you count on the system. And they are one of the "developed" countries. Btw, nobody spoke English, but the phone joker and google translate worked at the labs too somehow finally. We could sent the results to our doc at home for interpretation of them and for advise.

Yes you can fire up an mayday. But there are situations and escallation steps in between, you cannot estimate if a high fever is a life threatening event and could be handled without a SAR mission. You need to learn the system to play it right. The further south you go the more complicated it gets.
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Old 17-09-2019, 12:46   #37
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Re: Single-handed cruising lifestyle: what is it REALLY like?

But assuming OP does not speak Spanish (which I take would be rare if one comes from the US) then why would one want to live in a Spanish speaking country ???


If you are English speaking, Spanish can be easily learned (the basics) in less than a year. Most vocabulary is the same. So do it now, then Polish your Spanish, living on Rio Dulce, listening to local FM stations and talking to local people. You will be fluent in no time, say max 10 years.


There is a huge difference between learning English and Spanish - the Spanish (and the Latinoes) will accept your Spanish as is and will actually encourage your effort making possibly a bit blown out statements about your excellent mastery of their language.


Do not expect the same attitude if you are a Spanish speaking immigrant coming to live in London with poor mastery of English!


Learn hard now. Cruise happily ever after.


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Old 20-09-2019, 07:05   #38
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Re: Single-handed cruising lifestyle: what is it REALLY like?

The answers on the forum so far have been about cruising with sailing vessels. So in Europe ou would be sailing around the coast of whatever country you were in.
The alternative is to cruise the inland waterways which are vast. France, Belgium, Holland, then up to Germany and Berlin, cross to Sweden, Denmark, Norway.
Apart from the sea trip across to Sweden, I have cruised the waterways of Europe in an old hire cruiser. The one that I had was a Caribean37 from Norfolk which had a flat floor throughout so was more like a 'flatafloat'. Adequate for any of the inland waterways. With 4x100w solar panels, she was self-sufficient for electricity (the fridge which was a compressor type as they are much more effcient, small 40hp diesel. A floating home which we used for 3/4years exploring the history of the European waterways.
Most moorings alongside are free.
So it is very doable BUT I personally would not do it alone.
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Old 20-09-2019, 09:29   #39
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Re: Single-handed cruising lifestyle: what is it REALLY like?

Q
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Hi

Although I like to hear everyone's experience, it means I am particularly interested in people over 50 that are in the "go small, go simple, go now" category and what they have to say about it.

Thanks

Hugo

You answered your own question..."Go small, go simple, go now...". No amount of advice will help nor replace your own good sense. If I were forced to opine... and my partner and I sold our home to buy a 32 ft Bristol for $18k...I'd say buy something cheap and capable of local sailing...and anchor out nearby.
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Old 20-09-2019, 09:42   #40
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Re: Single-handed cruising lifestyle: what is it REALLY like?

And now it's time for my standard question of you...now that a good number of sailors have taken off their time to share their own experiences... now please return the favor and share what you've decided or learned from them.



It's only fair...
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Old 20-09-2019, 10:29   #41
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Re: Single-handed cruising lifestyle: what is it REALLY like?

Hi, I lived and sailed alone on my boat for a number of years and it was possibly the most growth time as a human I ever experienced....

You do need to feel comfortable with yourself, as being alone for weeks at a time at sea can be challenging, to put it mildly...Good days and bad days and very scary days and very beautiful days..

I wrote chapters in my book about my experiences being alone out at sea, and even in harbours or anchored out...I single handed from Australia to New Zealand and then up to Hawaii through the Cook Island chain...not sure if I am allowed to mention the name of my book here,it is a kindle book, and if you wanted to read it perhaps contact me in private.

I was in my 40's then so it may be relevant to your situation...But I would end by saying, do it in small increments as you really dont know yourself and your reactions until you are alone out there in the dark...it's not for everyone, but the fact that you are contemplating it may be a positive sign....Good luck.
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Old 20-09-2019, 10:30   #42
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Re: Single-handed cruising lifestyle: what is it REALLY like?

I see you have plenty of advice on tactics and expenses. I will just give you a few thoughts from my voyage at 70 years of age. I spent a year living and sailing solo on a trip from Seattle to Mexico, Hawaii, Alaska and back to Seattle.
I found there is little time to be bored. There is so much to be done even if the boat is well found to begin with.
You are alone. There is no one to say "here hold this while I do - - - ". It may seem obvious but until you get out there you will really discover what I mean. You must preplan each move carefully. Reducing sail, jibing, tacking docking etc. You are really busy a lot of the time. I discovered after being married for many years and having meals prepared that cooking took me an unusually long time. Baking bread at sea was a chore but OH the results. Yum. Navigating takes time. Concerns of weather approaching requires planning. So I guess what I am saying is never a dull moment while at sea. It helps to enjoy reading. i did get enough time to read several really good books. Also having a small Ham radio is wonderful for you can send and receive E-mail via Winlink or Sailmail. As I crossed from Mexico to Hilo I discovered there was another single hander just 200 miles south of me with the same destination. He was on a 26 ft Pearson Triton I believe. He made good time in transit and although a little wet in his words it was OK.
I think I would be tempted to find a Pearson Vanguard myself as it is 32 ft and has a better motion at sea and with more freeboard it is a little drier. We kept a daily schedule and it was good to have some company at times. You will find with the Ham radio that you will find many others in the same situation.
It is a very satisfying feeling when you arrive in port several weeks after being at sea. Having solved many problems and fixed many things you will have a very good feeling of accomplishment.
In Port is another thing. There is as much company as you want. Lots of others in similar situations. Also there is always something to be fixed, repaired, improved. You will be as busy as you want both physically and socially.
Good luck and good sailing.
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Old 20-09-2019, 10:44   #43
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Re: Single-handed cruising lifestyle: what is it REALLY like?

Folks that say they never get bored while doing nothing but sailing a boat (and navigating, etc) are the lucky ones.

I'm not sure whether they just don't have much experience on sailboats or that they just over plan and over do every single thing
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Old 20-09-2019, 10:49   #44
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Re: Single-handed cruising lifestyle: what is it REALLY like?

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Boredom depends one whether you depend on others to entertain you or if your happy with your own company.
A cheerful outlook goes a long way, and a basic grasp of languages.. A Bonjour, Buenas dia etc is welcomed

I think this is the biggest factor. For some people, having an experience alone - is almost like it didn't happen for them. For others, it only really means something if they experience it alone. I think it's largely what you choose to make of it. If you carry a smile, and a friendly attitude, you can manage a lot of social life in transient environments. On the other hand, if you can't be somewhat outgoing in personality at times, and open to different kinds of personalities, it can be lonely. It's also relative, the more you get used to doing things alone, the less alone you feel - the interaction with the environment is a form of companionship - as zen as it sounds. If you are that way, it's not lonely or disconnected, but just what you are doing at that point in time.
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Old 20-09-2019, 11:16   #45
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Re: Single-handed cruising lifestyle: what is it REALLY like?

It appears some folks equate boredom with loneliness but these two to me at least are totally exclusive

Like with sailing (cruising), you can be totally bored but not lonely in the least.

It's just that if you are used to doing so much more at one time than simply making a boat go where you want it to go and being aware of the weather, tide, etc it's easy to get bored

I'm thinking after a couple weeks on the boat one can adjust after stopping work, but to go from work directly to a two week cruise (or longer) it's definitely a very slow lifestyle to get used to at first
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