Slice of Cruising Life
By  Trish Lambert

I found an essay I wrote on a slice of cruising life the other day while I was digging through the collection of writing I've amassed over my writing career.  It's an "in the moment" expression of some of the trials (and joys) of cruising!

A Terrible Confession:

I have a terrible confession to make. Sometimes I think about throwing in the horseshoe buoy and calling off our cruise.

It's embarrassing to admit, because I'm the one who pushed the idea in the first place. Not only that, I presented the idea of cruising to my land-dwelling friends and relatives in such an enlightened way, talking about it as my "spiritually resonant lifestyle."

I even basked a bit in their envy. True, I would often turn humble and say something like, "Cruising isn't an exciting escape. It's just another lifestyle, with its own advantages and disadvantages." But I didn't really believe myself when I said stuff like that.

'Calamity Trish':

Maybe I think about giving it up because I've been having a bad spell. Just call me "Calamity Trish."

  • I lost our passports and credit cards to a thief in San Jose, Costa Rica.
  • I ran over a reef in the dinghy when we were island-hopping in Panama and damaged the outboard propeller, the only part for which we don't have an on board spare.
  • At anchor during a squall, I trailed the dink aft in such a way that, once the storm passed, the wind-vane gouged a large hole in the starboard pontoon.
  • And I left the fuel filter sitting in the open deck fill during a tropical downpour, introducing fresh water into the wrong tank.
  • These are just the big items. I haven't included small things like .... Running out of fuel while charging the battery at anchor (I got to learn how to bleed the engine that time!)
  • Rigging the rain catcher so that all the much-needed water poured over the side rather than down the through hull and into the tank.

My Husbands Frustration:

Needless to say, Jim, my long-suffering husband and sailing companion, has not been overly thrilled with these accomplishments.

Lately his sentences all start with "Trish, I don't understand how you can [or can't]..." He tries hard to be understanding, but usually fails, and ends up jumping up and down in frustration. Poor Jim. His is a terrible burden.  But this is just a slice of cruising life.

Boat Maintenance Getting Me Down:

It's not just my errors that are getting me down. Boat maintenance looms large in my mind as a hopeless endeavor. We have so much wood trim on our boat that I should be varnishing some portion of it every single day.

Even if I actually had the discipline to do that, tropical weather being what it is, there is only about a half-hour every day when varnishing can be accomplished successfully.  This is a slice of cruising life that I'm not happy about!

The number of canvas projects on my work list is overwhelming; new mainsail cover, replace all ten sail bags, ditto hatch covers, and a sailing awning has become a necessity.

Not the mention the various minor repairs to the sails. I'm sure that some people find doing canvas projects on small boats an exciting challenge, but I personally hate turning our small living space into a mobile canvas loft.

This is a slice of cruising life I could do without.  It might be okay if I could spend my nights ashore, preferably in a five-star hotel, but as the likelihood of that is non existent, I'm very slow to activate the sewing machine.

Just a Slice of Cruising Life:

Actually, I only think of giving up occasionally. It didn't cross my mind as I watched a full solar eclipse near La Paz, Mexico. Nor when I splashed around with ten or so baby sea lions at Puerto Refugio in the Gulf of California.

And for sure not when I had a one-hour ride aboard a giant Pacific manta ray off San Benedicto Island in the eastern Pacific.

Sunsets at sea never cause this kind of soul-searching, and on a night passage, when visiting dolphins are bathed in phosphorescence and look like benign torpedoes, I don't have any misgivings.

I have wavered slightly when I discovered that I was swimming with many sharks whenever I hit the water at Cocos Island, or when our mast was struck by lightning on the passage from Cocos to mainland Costa Rica, but I didn't entertain really serious doubts.

Perhaps my destructiveness is just an unlucky streak, and I should give cruising a little longer. After all, we all go through bad patches from time to time, no matter where or how we live. In fact, now that I think of it, the last two weeks have been error-free.

I know this is just a slice of cruising life and maybe my "Calamity Trish" days are over.

I know that Jim certainly hopes so.

I was back in San Diego within a year of writing this slice of cruising life, alone and determined to get my own boat.

The main reason I wanted to share this with you is that it captures some of what life is like in far flung parts of the cruising village, and the fact that Murphy and his law don't exempt us!

Also, that though stuff goes wrong, there so much right about the life that any misgivings don't last long-at least for me, at least so far!


Trish Lambert has been a cruising sailor for over twenty-five years and a first mate three times, with three different skippers and three very different cruising styles. A lady who knows a slice of cruising life from many angles.

She knows first hand what makes cruising successful, and what she has to share may surprise you! Whether you are a skipper or first mate, a single hander or part of a cruising couple, sail boater or power boater, Trish has insights that will help make your cruising dream a reality.

Article Source: Ezine Articles - Trish Lambert


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