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Old 20-09-2019, 11:45   #46
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Single-handed cruising lifestyle: what is it REALLY like?

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Originally Posted by Ecos View Post
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 do that on daysails ready port, ready starboard. Tacking :-)
But not the fancy dress...
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Old 20-09-2019, 12:28   #47
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Re: Single-handed cruising lifestyle: what is it REALLY like?

Sojourner sums up your choices quite accurately. If you are a good conversationalist, there are endless people to meet. If not, bring a partner who is. The town docks in Greece are cheep and packed full of interesting sailors. Language is a big barrier so plan on learning some French and Spanish. My wife and I spent most of our time at anchor, snorkelling, exploring the coast and towns by dingy. The stern to Med moor is difficult solo, especially without a bowthruster and remote windlass controls. I found an inflatable SUP to be the best socializing and exploring toy.
The eastern Med is also a great area to buy a boat. Thousands of charter boats go for sale every year at seasons end, and are sold for whatever the best offer was by April when the new one arrives. My advise, buy the biggest boat you can afford, with bow thruster and windlass, not the smallest you can squeeze into. Also you're already there. No oceans to cross. You won't regret jumping into the cruising lifestyle.
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Old 20-09-2019, 15:01   #48
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Re: Single-handed cruising lifestyle: what is it REALLY like?

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Originally Posted by sailorladd View Post
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.
Hi sailorladd, put a plug to your book, it sounds interesting.
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Old 20-09-2019, 15:19   #49
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Re: Single-handed cruising lifestyle: what is it REALLY like?

Ive been living on a 8mtr solid glass sloop, shoal draught, standing room, hot shower/toliet,refrigeration, 100% solar powered, big volume boat, if i want to sit on a sand bank i can put my two stainless legs over the side, when i get home from work i can jump in my massive maintenence free swimming pool, its been nearly 2 years now and i looove it. There are over 2 million people living alone in my country so im not alone its just that i like the water. They can have the apartments, houses, whatever. Hey look how many people live on park benches. Im livin the dream maaan!
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Old 20-09-2019, 17:06   #50
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Re: Single-handed cruising lifestyle: what is it REALLY like?

Free Range Sailing have an excellent cruising channel on YouTube. They have. Clansman 30 and are currently circumnavigating Australia. Lots of practical advice on living sustainably and sailing as well as maintenance.
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Old 20-09-2019, 17:36   #51
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Re: Single-handed cruising lifestyle: what is it REALLY like?

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Originally Posted by Hugo B View Post
Hi

I am thinking of living the cruising lifestyle. I am wondering of some of you that live life as single-handers (not couples) can share your experiences with me.

I am particularly interested in those that live on a yacht less than 30 ft and are actively cruising i.e. not living in a marina permanently. Also, I am planning to do this in Europe so posts from those cruising Europe are most welcome, although any US cruisers are welcome to share their thoughts as well of course.

I am interested in budgets of course, my annual target would be around 20,000 EUR (22,000 US), please let me know if you think this is feasible. The yacht, not more than 30,000 EUR (34,000 US).

But I would also like to find out what the lifestyle itself is REALLY like, i.e. is it lonely at times, is there boredom, does it get very tough living "on the hook" or even spending times in marinas? Are there particular exhilarating moments too?

Lastly I suppose there are two broad categories of livaboards (of course I am generalizing here): young people often on small budgets with an adventurous spirit, or older people, often retirees that choose for this lifestyle more as a reward for having slaved away in an office for decades. They often have bigger budgets and want more comfort.

I am in the "older" category (over 50), but don't mind roughing it: as you can see both in terms of boat price and length (under 30 ft) and budget, I am not in the rich cruisers category, and this is not just because I want to make the budget last, but also because I deliberately choose for the more simple and natural lifestyle.

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
Hi Hugo
Iím a retiree in my 60ís revisiting my earlier years on boats. I bought a 30í steel sloop 3 years ago and have been living on board since. In that time, Iíve sailed the Coral Sea, stayed on Corsl atolls, lived up mangrove creeks, lived in Brisbaneís CBD and in general, love the idea of the life. It has its challenges and that is what attracts me to the lifestyle. Itís not easy, and I didnít expect it to be. Rewarding? Yes.
I purchased the boat for $30K au. and have since put that again into her, setting up for single-handed sailing. Getting things like the motor( 30hp Yanmar) reliable, standing/ running rigging current. Having Insurance means I can access marinas when I take a break off the pick. Rubbish and laundry are the two biggest issues as any boat owner living aboard will tell you. Iíve learned to Ďshowerí/ douche in a 1/4 bucket of fresh water to not be labeled a Ďgrotty yachtieí
My only creature comfort was to retrofit a kero stove and oven on gimbals for those cold(??) SE Qld nights. No need for a heater that you would probably need in Europe. Being a steel hull, the little stove makes for a snug evening with the gentle hiss of the burner in the background.
Lonely? No. Alone? Yes. Having said that, Iíve hardly been alone. Itís really all the beautiful people you meet along the way. Cruising people are truly amazing. So helpful, kind and generous.
I wish you all the best in your endeavours for the future. If you donít give it a go, you wonít know.
Jim
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Old 20-09-2019, 17:42   #52
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Re: Single-handed cruising lifestyle: what is it REALLY like?

It is interesting that some do care about what others think, while some others do not!


I think it is well explained in one book I read some time back on introverts vs. extraverts. It claimed introverts do it for themselves (just like sisters). While extraverts will whine and ask others on (what should be) ones own experience. Experiences are not enough to them, even more - experiences are less relevant than the feedback they get from the people who did.



So what do you think jumping out of the plane without a parachute feels like?


Who cares. (An introvert)



Jump and feel it. Then move on to another experience.


As simple as that. (again, to an introvert)

A bit of drift, but otherwise I think it applies quite well here.


b.
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Old 20-09-2019, 17:56   #53
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Re: Single-handed cruising lifestyle: what is it REALLY like?

Since the beginning of time we humans have been designed to seek connection with others for our survival which is why people want to belong to a tribe, whatever that tribe may be and approval seeking is therefore a common trait but there are also benefits to be had from experiencing solitude. Just remember that being alone and being lonely isn't the same thing and neither have to be a permanent state.
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Old 20-09-2019, 17:59   #54
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Re: Single-handed cruising lifestyle: what is it REALLY like?

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Originally Posted by Capn Jimbo View Post
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...
Yes of course .. I did post a reply earlier on but there have been many more posts since then.

The way I see it is like this: if you are living year in year out on a boat there is a good case to be made for something somewhat larger than what I am thinking of (under 30 ft). I can see there are issues with storing the dinghy, water and fuel.

But you are a livaboard for about half a year and the other half you try to pick up a work contract here and there to fill up the kitty and are therefore living back on land, then perhaps something smaller is OK. This is something I think could be good in Greece where in the off-season (European winter) there is little to do and the sailing is unpredictable.

I could go both ways, but in reality at this stage I would prefer to leave work life behind altogether .. but then there is no money top-up, and you may need a bigger, better and more expensive boat .. ah well..

As far as loneliness and boredom is concerned, I will probably be OK with that .. I am not the sort of person who seeks out other people's company all the time and anyway it seems there are always plenty of people to talk to. If I get really bored I can always start talking to myself more often, there's nobody to notice that I am going bonkers

The comments from mikecambrai about cruising inland waterways are interesting.. but for now I want to sail the seas, but who knows, a long time from now when I am old , I may take up such a more gentle pursuit. Would be interesting to hear a bit more about that though, there are not many posts about inland cruising.

What I do see and what is not often mentioned is that you need very good all-round handyman skills, particularly with engines. I am OK with the sailing but I am no McGyver and do not know much about engines. Before writing this post I just watched another episode of the "Old Seadog". It seems just about all he does is fixing things. I know it is necessary to be able to do this, but if that's just about all you are doing .. where's the joy in that? Any comments on that?

Anyway very interesting replies, it seems I am still mostly thinking along the lines of Capn Jimbo, Jimthebuilder and Eshelby67 that is "go small, go simple, go now".
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Old 20-09-2019, 21:58   #55
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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....
I spent 3 weeks on my own in central Australia as a caretaker for a seismic survey site. Nearest people 50km away. It was OK, a little weird, but doable. Radio check every 48 hours to say I was OK. I'd do it again.
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Old 20-09-2019, 22:26   #56
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Re: Single-handed cruising lifestyle: what is it REALLY like?

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Sojourner, I don't think we've enough years left to get to the Med, so you should get out here to the Pacific so that we can dinghy by and say g'day... I think we might get along ok!

Jim
Hey Jim! I do believe I agree...I always liked your style on here. We're working on it!

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Old 20-09-2019, 22:35   #57
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Re: Single-handed cruising lifestyle: what is it REALLY like?

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I truly donít enjoy talking to random people. Itís not fun for me to go strike up conversations walking around the shore like sojourner does. I find that tedious and exhausting. I truly donít want to hear whatever it is those people have to say. And Iím busy thinking about other things or doing other things.
This is SURPRISING! You seem gregarious enough on here, and really, what is this forum if not constantly striking up conversations with randos and hearing what we all have to say?
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Old 20-09-2019, 22:39   #58
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Re: Single-handed cruising lifestyle: what is it REALLY like?

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Early on we were warned: "beware of single handers - they talk too much, and always appear at dinnertime". We have met - and enjoyed the company of - some notable exceptions, but the stereotype often applies.
Knowing the prejudices of others might help you avoid the pitfalls!
Hah! Also, add: Beware of russian boat-wives.... Mine is liable to appear at your stern, ready to chat until sunrise in 6 languages, but usually with a bottle of something good in hand
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Old 20-09-2019, 22:57   #59
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Re: Single-handed cruising lifestyle: what is it REALLY like?

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Originally Posted by thomm225 View Post
This is nice, but you don't need to sail singlehanded to enjoy this type thing.

Actually you don't even need to own a boat.

This is simply about being alone too long and needing companionship.

Most any beach bar near a marina will provide this sort of entertainment.....
You're right about not needing to be singlehanding, but the other points I disagree. The ONLY reason we can strike up conversations and make friends this easily cruising is our shared commonalities. If a random guy from the street showed up at my stern, there is a much smaller (to zero) chance I'd invite him up for a look or beer than someone I just helped dock. The three of us are grade A weirdos, covered in tattoos and colored hair and holding each others' hands (when there isn't a cat in them)....I don't think there's a huge chance I'd be sitting down at dinner with the sweet 70 year old couple from Belgium or New Zealand if we didn't also own a big boat and have all that in common that boating requires of people. But we do all the time, and have wonderful exchanges of ideas, stories and alcohols. Boats make it possible, or at least very much easier to bridge all kinds of societal gaps that bars just don't do. In my humble opinion

On that note, not mentioned,
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Old 21-09-2019, 02:34   #60
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Re: Single-handed cruising lifestyle: what is it REALLY like?

Some wise words I was told by a seasoned old salt single hander were:

"Lonelyness is imposed on you by others, solitude one chooses oneself".

Having done a fair bit of single handing over my life, I think there is something to that. It might even help to lift ones spirits when feeling lonely at some stage.

Enjoy! You will meet lovely people on the way if you are warm at heart and friendly.
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