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  #1  
Old 06-05-2011
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Cruising - What's it like?

Hereís a question I donít think I have seen posted before.

It has been a plan since I sold my last boat in 1985 that I would not buy another until I could spend time cruising on it. And so here I am. In a couple of years, Iím going to be able to retire (if the economy doesnít crash again). A cruising boat is in the near future.

Iím not new to sailing. Since the mid 70ís I have sailed the Bahamas and Caribbean, but never more than a couple of weeks at a time on my own boat, charters or doing deliveries. During that time, I have always enjoyed myself and had fun. Nevertheless, I often wondered what it would be like to live on a boat for a year or more rather than get on a plane after two weeks and go home. Living expenses are high, affordable repair facilities slim and the sometimes challenging weather are all factors that will work to offset living in paradise. After snorkeling starts to wear thin and too many visits to the beach bars because there is nothing else to do, what then?

There is another part to the equation. Iím single and it is unlikely that will change. So, if I buy the boat and go, it will be alone or with a succession of temporary crew. From my delivery and charter days the experiences proved to be good and bad with that sort of arrangement.

So, I would really like to hear from anyone who has done it by themselves, with temporary crew and even those who went with a mate. Can you really keep yourself occupied and engaged or do the days just run into each other after a month or so? What did you do during your cruise? Did you stop at a favorite place for several months or always keep moving. All feedback would be much appreciated.
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  #2  
Old 06-05-2011
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We are on our second circuit of the Caribbean but this time only visiting the great diving spots, we dive 5 days a weeks. If not diving we have folding bikes and ride the islands or take local transport exploring. Occasionally we put the boat in a marina and rent a car for a few days to explore inland when we are on the main land, we stayed in Mexico for almost 3 months and enjoyed every minute.

It is a wonderful lifestyle and next year we cross the Atlantic and explore Europe. To be bored you would have to be without initiative.

However, without my highly competent wife who can handle a 55 ft alone in a gale I do not think I would be doing it.

So my advice is to find a sailing partner.

Phil
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Old 06-05-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yorksailor View Post
So my advice is to find a sailing partner.
I'll second that. Sailing on your own is not so much fun. It's OK when you get to anchorages or ports where there are a lot of other boats and you can meet up with new folks and make new friends.

It's not so cool to be in spots where you're pretty much alone or where the other boat/s aren't particularly friendly. It's also not cool to sail through really bad weather on your own. And it's also true to say that long voyages are better with someone to share the goods and the bads.

I guess that it really depends on your character - some folks are solitary souls. But for me - if I had to do it alone or not at all it would be not at all. And trust me, I'm strongly passionate about cruising.

I have done one ocean crossing alone. I just couldn't do it alone again.
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Old 06-09-2011
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Try reading my web page Lifestyle of Living on a Boat

Also, my whole site has lots of good stuff on it.
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Old 06-09-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptTony View Post
After snorkeling starts to wear thin and too many visits to the beach bars because there is nothing else to do, what then?
Well, if cruising is anything like living at dock, when the snorkeling is done I'll have some teak to refinish, the mast step to repaint, a couple through hulls to replace, cushions to repair and a new mattress to make. Will need to redo the wiring for the one 12v fan that's acting wonky and I suppose I should put in a circuit breaker on that inverter. Oil needs changing again and the fridge really sucks down the amperage, wonder if I can find a cold plate fridge on the cheap. Maybe I can pick up an extra short work contract to pay for a new one. A damn bird keeps shitting on the deck, really tired of that, maybe I should haul up a branch on the halyard to keep him off the mast. God damn branch broke my anchor light, so now I gotta replace that and the bird is sitting on the branch mocking me while he craps all over the deck. Maybe I can use my spear sling to nail the sucker. Okay, I put a small hole in my deck and bimini, but the bird is finally gone. Maybe he got tired of laughing at me. Gonna have to patch the deck and repaint. Might as well repaint the entire deck while I'm at it. Also going to need to learn some canvas work since I didn't repair the hole in the bimini and it ripped wide open in last night's blow.

Boredom, what's that?
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Old 06-09-2011
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A lot depends on your expectations, your personality, and your self-sufficiency (not just at taking care of things, but being on your own).

While it would be more enjoyable to have a cruising partner, I'd rather be cruising alone, than not cruising at all. But then, I don't mind being alone. The thing I miss the most, as I'm stuck feeding the kitty, is the journey, not the destination. But I've also met around 50 folks from SailNet and other sailing sites.

So far, there's never been a lack of things to keep me occupied at something I want to be doing, and much more I haven't gotten to yet.

I knew, going in, I wasn't going to be crossing oceans, but coastal cruising and the Bahamas, and possibly into the Caribbean. So I bought my boat accordingly, as well as coming up with a rough budget. It's like anything else, preparation is the biggest part.
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Old 06-09-2011
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I recommend that you buy your boat now because the Dollar is being debased, Spend it now while it may still buy what you want.
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Old 06-09-2011
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I can't agree more with those who have urged you to find a sailing partner. Also, your worry about boredom while cruising? Unlikely! Only boring people are bored.

Lots of info on "The Cruising Dream" on our Frugal Mariner Website.

Quote:
the Dollar is being debased
??? Maybe. And maybe we'll all get raptured. But let's not turn the thread into a political thing.
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  #9  
Old 06-09-2011
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Thanks all for the great input on the subject. I have never been bored on a boat, but then I have never spent more than a couple of weeks at a time on a boat. Your remarks on that subject are encouraging.

What's not encouraging is the majority who say find a sailing companion. At this stage of the game, I'm not sure that will happen. I tried the web dating sites years ago and that was disastrous. Bars were a big hangout for me 30 years ago but not appealing today.

Guess I have some work to do.

By the way, thanks bdietrich for the link. There is a lot of information there and Iíll be digging into it over the weekend.

Iíd still like to hear from other sailors on the topic Ė especially any lone sailor who is currently or did in the past go long term cruising.
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Old 06-09-2011
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I've always kind of wondered what the dating scene potential was while cruising. Maybe point the bow towards a destination where the native women are warm and inviting
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