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post #1 of 39 Old 2 Weeks Ago Thread Starter
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What are the main obstacles to going offshore and living the cruising life?

Hi there!

I've just returned from a 9 year circumnavigation and I'm working on an educational event aimed at helping those who are either thinking of, or in the process of getting ready to head offshore and into the cruising life. I'd love some insights on if you can.

There are so many obstacles to overcome before we can untie our dock lines for an extended period. Many to do lists for the boat, our financial life, work, home, getting rid of things, our physical bodies and how they are doing, and last but not least, our frame of mind and how we are coping with this new life we are about to embark on.

If you could, in your own words, list the top 5 obstacles that stand in the way of a person going offshore for the first time.

Cheers,
Mark
SV Merkava
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Re: What are the main obstacles to going offshore and living the cruising life?

Knowledge. Not about sailing, navigation or like things but how to get through the fundamentals of life on a boat. Sourcing things, judging who to trust when there’s something you can’t fix. How to get things done and conserve your resources. How to figure out priorities. In short the things you can’t learn from a book or YouTube
Maintaining a good attitude. There are times that are scary. The phrase “stay calm ...sail on” has much truth. Then there’s times nothing goes right for days on end. The ability to stay centered and get joy from surmounting obstacles or unfortunate occurrences allows you to not get yourself down when they inevitably happen. That allows you to be effective and safe.
Boredom. Ben Franklin said boredom is the result of a little mind or something close. Beyond the boat continue with other interests. There are many aspects to the cruising life explore them all. One of the leading things I enjoy about passage is the ability to take on crew. Then you can have these deep philosophical conversations or learn about a discipline of work or knowledge you would otherwise never have been exposed to.
Fear. There is always someone who is more knowledgeable than you or more skilled or more fit. However, these thoughts aren’t worth thinking about. What’s worthwhile is knowing you can get through whatever is thrown at you or die trying. Never discount risks but never inflate them either. The ocean doesn’t care. Only thing that matters is that you complete your passages and cruise safely. Fear paralyzes you. Being scared makes you motivated.

A friend (professional mariner) told me
Here are the rules
Keep the water out
The crew in
The boat floating and moving in the right general direction
You’ll do just fine.

s/v Hippocampus
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Re: What are the main obstacles to going offshore and living the cruising life?

Thanks for this. I love the rules you ended with. Excellent advice and all we really need to do!
Cheers,
Mark.
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Re: What are the main obstacles to going offshore and living the cruising life?

Frame of mind is everything. Not just for casting off but for all of everyday life.

If you donít know where you are going itís unlikely you will get there.

I think Annie Hill nailed it in Voyaging in a Small Income.
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Re: What are the main obstacles to going offshore and living the cruising life?

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Re: What are the main obstacles to going offshore and living the cruising life?

I don't know that these are obstacles anymore thad not having gone to med school is an obstacle to practice medicine.

not in order of importance
1. Financial resources including emergency funds and enough to keep you going when you return and transition to a dirt life. How much this is a huge question. It will cost more than you expect.

2. A well found boat suited for offshore passages which is comfortable to live in at anchor and in a seaway. Boat needs to carry all manner of spares and tools including a sail or two. This includes ground tackle as most time is spend on the hook. Biggest boat you can afford and short hand and maintain all systems on. AP is absolutely mission critical.

3. Experience in sailing, anchoring, especially heavy weather. Experience with the boat you are sailing off in not just sailing experience in general.

4. Knowledge of the places you will sail to. Of course you will learn a lot... but you need to prepare culturally including some working knowledge of a few language

5. Take with you ample stores of food water, water maker, skills to cook and of course some trustworthy competent crew.
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Re: What are the main obstacles to going offshore and living the cruising life?

[QUOTE=Merkava;2051673270

If you could, in your own words, list the top 5 obstacles that stand in the way of a person going offshore for the first time.

Cheers,
Mark
SV Merkava[/QUOTE


- Fear 1
- fear 2
- fear 3
- fear 4
- dont really want to
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Re: What are the main obstacles to going offshore and living the cruising life?

In no particular order:

Health
Finances
Dependent care
Spouse is not onboard
Fear of unknown
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Re: What are the main obstacles to going offshore and living the cruising life?

Weíre still planning on it. Work is the top obstacle at the moment, but we have a plan. Itís always a crap shoot whether health will hold up, but neither of us have any life or mobility threatening morbidities, thankfully. Arthritis is my biggest worry, long term. Runs in the family.

Iím in denial on the next one, but I can count the number of fellow sailors who donít go for this reason: family. At our age, itís often grandchildren. Can be elderly parents, even oneís own kids. To sail off, you need to leave everyone behind for great stretches. Our hope is to have a kitty that allows us the freedom to fly home. Better yet, send plane tickets to the family to meet us. That would be a luxury, worth the money.
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Re: What are the main obstacles to going offshore and living the cruising life?

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Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
Weíre still planning on it. Work is the top obstacle at the moment, but we have a plan. Itís always a crap shoot whether health will hold up, but neither of us have any life or mobility threatening morbidities, thankfully. Arthritis is my biggest worry, long term. Runs in the family.

Iím in denial on the next one, but I can count the number of fellow sailors who donít go for this reason: family. At our age, itís often grandchildren. Can be elderly parents, even oneís own kids. To sail off, you need to leave everyone behind for great stretches. Our hope is to have a kitty that allows us the freedom to fly home. Better yet, send plane tickets to the family to meet us. That would be a luxury, worth the money.
Family separation is likely a huge hurdle. Although I didn't sail off with any intention to remain out there or to return at some point. I was 41 at the time, divorced with no children and my parents has passed. I felt untethered to family but I would miss friends, I also decided to stop or suspend my "career" thinking 20 years in one profession was enough... and when and if I did resume work it would be something different of course drawing on my education and experience. I did not have enough money to not have to work so this was something lurking there in my plan. A could sustain several years living small as I would on the boat... fly back and forth but only for 3 or 4 years maybe. I spent a nice chunk of change trying to develop a new business with I was not able to get investment for... and ultimately returned to my former career in my mid 40s with my experience and my boat.

I suppose most wait until they retire and have the retirement income to support their living off the grid. Younger people need to work or some nest egg to draw from. So I'd say funds are the main hurdle even for keeping up with family however inadequate that may be.

Now there are grandchildren on wifey's side and so she would never sail off. PERIOD.
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