Is cruising only for my parents? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 81 Old 07-02-2006 Thread Starter
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Exclamation Is cruising only for my parents?

I've been reading forums and articles here for months and there's something that they all have in common. Why is it that everyone talking about cruising is double my age? I understand the obvious reasons. Can't go because of kids, career, finances, ect. But tell me, is there anyone here planning on going cruising before they're retired? And those of you who are retired, and have been to the South Pacific, across the Atlantic or even just to the Caribbean, have you seen anyone out there under thirty? I'm 24. I wasn't born into money or given anything. I've managed to make it happen. I own a boat, she's well outfitted and I'm in the planning stages of leaving for the South Pacific next season. So, I've proven that if someone wants to do it while they're young, they can. Am I the only one? And another question for those seasoned cruisers. How do you think your experiences would have been different if you'd done it when you were 24? Looking forward to hearing back, you all seem like a good group of people with a lot of knowledge and even more opinions. Thanks, Chris,
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post #2 of 81 Old 07-03-2006
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First of all Dude....This site is for Geezers and Preeners. (Wannabes). Most people on this site don't leave their harbors let alone their hemisphere. But they are very good at talking about it and excel at criticizing.
I have said on this site many times that if you have sailed the Carribean you know that there are so many more kids like you on small boats than people on big boats. The big Boats you do see are owned by a cruising charter corporation. I say go get it and have fun.
When I was young I sailed the Carribean with a band of brothers in search of big waves. We had an awesome two years of surfing, diving and partying. I returned to go to law school. You are 100% correct that now is the time to go and get it. Good luck Chris.
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post #3 of 81 Old 07-04-2006
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Youths like us mostly go racing.
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post #4 of 81 Old 07-04-2006
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Cruising is for anyone who enjoys it (how's that for stating the obvious).

Will you enjoy it? It's probably best to find out on something less than a trip to the South Pacific. There are some awe-inspiring distances that you and anybody with you will have to endure. Do a shorter trip first. One that has at least one other port. Be sure it's what you want.

And if it is, go for it!
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post #5 of 81 Old 07-04-2006
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There are plenty of geezers who race infonote!
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post #6 of 81 Old 07-04-2006
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You want to know what some of us geezers think about going cruising early. I cannot say that I have a strong opinion one way or another, because going cruising is such a personal experience. For what it is worth, I can only tell you about my own experiences and life.

A lot of us who are approaching geezerhood, went cruising when we were younger, before beginning our 'real' lives. In my case when I got out of college, I bought an old wooden 25 foot Folkboat for $400 fixed her up and lived aboard for a while. I did not have the money, or the urge to do anything more than coastal cruising, picking up odd jobs, parking cars and bussing tables as I went. I frankly I personally find being offshore pretty boring and prefer poking around, exploring places along the coast.

I have owned cruising boats or racer-cruiser type boats of one kind or another ever since the early 1970's, and have cruised for 42 of my 55 years. I still actively race my boat single and double handed, race other people's boats and cruise mostly my own boat. As my sailmaker says, I cruise like most people race, keeping the boat up to speed and shunning use of the engine.

In any event, when I was in my 20's, wherever you looked there were young people out cruising. Most of us were in 30 foot or less, old wooden boats. We lived simply and cheaply. We anchored out in free public anchorages, and used free public dinghy docks. We'd haul out at DIY yards and do our own maintenance. We'd barter and trade stuff, help each other out. It was almost a floating extention of the hippie culture of that era. We'd work for a while, lay in a supply of generic can goods and then keep moving. While I mostly stayed around southern Florida, the Hippie sailors of the 1960's and 1970's went all over the place.

It was a good life but wasn't a full enough life for me. Speaking only for myself, and not trying to imply that one course in life is more proper than another, as a kid I the cruising life felt superficial, self indulgent, and detatched from the world. I wanted to do more with my life than simply sail and work odd jobs.

I eventually went back to graduate school and became an architect. For me there was a lot that I like about being part of a shore based community. And for me I like the idea of designing buildings that will positively touch people's lives long after I am gone. For me cruising was an important part of life but was not the meaning of life. But as I said above that is just me.....I still enjoy cruising and as a long term goal, hope to cruise longer periods of time, eventually retiring aboard and perhaps exploring Europe using my boat as a base of operation.

I get a lot of email from people, of all ages, thinking of doing what you are considering doing. They come from all walks of life and have all kinds of asperations from setting somekind of rounding record, to stopping almost everywhere along the way. They have all kinds of budgets and all kinds of skill levels. The one thing that keeps hitting me is that back in the 1970's, when people went cruising it was in small, reasonably well suited designs.

Today I see a lot more people, like yourself, buying increasingly large, often poorly suited boats (both in terms of build quality and design) and somehow trying to make it work. For examples boats like the Newport 41 were never meant for the kind of abuse that a circumnavigation implies. The Newports were cheaply built, ill-handling, miserable seaboats intended raced by large crews. They can be adapted for offshore work, but they never were particularly robust and I question how well one of these old girls will hold up to the abuse that you intend her to withstand. On the other hand you can buy them cheaply, and the Newport does not make the whole trip, you can always replace like they did with Dove. As the old southern expression says, No great loss, you were looking for a boat when you bought her.

As I track these people's paths, I find that the vast majority, alter their plans along the way. taking different routes, discovering that offshore work does not thrill them, shortening trips or extending trips. Wearing out and replacing boats (sometimes bigger, sometimes smaller) Some spend the rest of their days out there. Some never become distance voyagers.

I don't see this as a failure in any way. To me cruising is about the experiences that youy have out there and there is no yardstick for a successful voyage except getting out alive and mostly uninjured, and truly seeing and feeling the world that passes along the way. It is about getting out there and doing.

With all due respect to Surfesq, I strongly disagree with his position that "This site is for Geezers and Preeners. (Wannabes)." Surfesq has posted his own definition of what a 'sailor' and that definition seems to be quite specific. While it may be valid for Surfesq to define himself as a sailor, I strongly disagree that his definition should be viewed as a universal truth (I am not sure that Surfesq means to do that).

From my perspective, we all come to sailing for our own reasons, and take from it what we want. Stereotypical ideas and grandious plans do not a sailor make. If cruising around the world is what floats your boat, then I think that is quite valid for you to do. But at least around here, I find a lot of people your age who own boats, and sail them quite frequently. To me the joy that they recieve from sailing is no less valid, or no more valid than people who chose to pursue a more aggressive sailing life. That does not make them preeners.There is no universal right and wrong way to be a sailor. There are only people who chose to go out on the water under sail for their own pleasure.

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post #7 of 81 Old 07-04-2006
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Chris.. I am not one of those who usually respond "go now". My feelings are that everyone has their own idea of what cruising should be like and my advice is to wait until you are competent enough to undertake the adventure you want AND financially able to do it in the style you want. Otherwise your cruise will end unhappily.
For me...that meant waiting till the kids were grown...blah, blah.
For you...that day will come much sooner it seems. It sounds as if you are quite mechanically competent and self reliant and you have a boat that can take you where you want to go. I assume you have the sailing experience to handle your boat in all kinds of weather and will outfit her appropriately for cruising in isolated places. The only thing I would suggest to you is to cruise to someplace easy for your first 6 months or so and get used to living aboard the boat and figuring out what works and doesn't for you.
There are lots of under 30's out there and living modestly on boats smaller than yours. The only thing bad about going cruising while you're young is that you'll have to give up and go to work again some day. That is something I don't have to worry about!
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post #8 of 81 Old 07-04-2006
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You have really strong opinions and that's fine. But I have read a lot of your comments in the archives and you definitely are not timid about expressing your views. You should be the last guy to criticize anyone for expressing a view point! Incidentally, not much has changed in cruising. It's still a bunch of young kids filing the islands with small boats. I go to Puerto Rico every winter to surf and I am always amazed at the numbers of young people seeing the world from a boat.

By the way Jeff, by your own admission you are a geezer! lol. (I have a few short years left before geezer-hood). I would certainly not call you a preener, you are very knowledgeable and I respect your opinions. But you have to admit that there are a lot of goofballs on this site.

As for our young man, Dude, go do it. Don't let a bunch of people on a silly website talk you into staying here and working at Wendy's. See the world, experience the cultures of other countries. The "real" world will be here waiting for you when you return. Look at Jeff H...he was a hippie for cripes sakes and now he contributes to Urban Sprawl! lol. (By the way, I studied architecture in college as well but had the good sense to go to law school). The best year of my life was spent surfing in South America on a break from college. I learned to respect other people for who they were rather than what they have. But I would make sure you boat was seaworthy before you go.
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post #9 of 81 Old 07-04-2006
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Actually Chris, don't let anybody talk you into anything. It's your life, live it as you see fit. Seek opinions from others, but not reasons. Be honest to yourself, and don't worry about what others may think or say.


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post #10 of 81 Old 07-04-2006
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Smile Pirates opinion

Ahoy me lad, ye be fortunate to have the nerve to be a sailor at your age. Truth is the sport of sailing is a rich mans game and well crusing is expensive as hell if your still making the mortgage back at the ranch and if your career is sacrificed for your time spent at sea. Relationships don't hold up to well either. Truth is unless your retired or sponsored is some fashion you'd better have a nice nest egg to rely upon. Crusing as you speak is not for anyone but the most ardent of sailors. Taking a two week cruise down the Chesapeake is called boating. Chartering a sailboat in the islands is called a vacation. Voyaging to the south seas alone is extreme sport. I've spent enough time in the big blue water to tell you it is hard and lonley and dangerous.For me it is also the best times of my life when I can forsake my worldy attachments and test my nerve and skills with god almighty himself. I find nothing lacking in crusing as a way of life, but its just not a very productive way to spend your young life. Being a sailing bum for a few years isn't going to ruin your life either. Go have a good time , See you on the horizon. Pirate of Pine Island.
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