The Cruising Life

'The cruising life ... what does it mean to you?'

I asked Peter and Mel two sailors on their way back from Vanuatu their first blue water sail this question.

“Freedom!! Adventure!! Exotic places and colourful people!!”

Were just some of the enthusiastic comments. Both had left partners behind for the call of the sea and the off shore cruise, such was the attraction, or could I say the addiction!

Ali is new to sailing and when asked the same question she will go into enthusiastic detail of the disaster sailing trip she went on to the Pacific Islands.

Stories of the incompetent skipper who lost the head sail and couldn’t use the main sail so he motored nearly all the way then ran out of fuel, the rescue, the islands, and the amazing people she met.

And in her last breath she tells you that she would not have missed that voyage for the world. What an adventure!!

And now Ali has a new guy in her life and she introduced him to the cruising life. Brian’s comments, “I was a virgin to boating, it was a little frightening at first ... then it was a totally different world”. He loved it, he’s ‘hooked!’

Ask James a seasoned sailor and he reminisced, “The fantastic feeling of freedom as land becomes a distant spec in the ocean and then is no more!”

I’m with James and I would add that as you cast the ropes off that tie you to land, you cast off all the cares and problems of an earth bound existence, you commence the freedom of a cruising life.

And you do feel invincible after battling storms on a blue water crossing, like you can do anything.

It really doesn’t matter who you speak to in the sailing fraternity there are different variations of the same reasons.

They love the freedom to go where you want, subject to weather and finances. And cruising folk love to keep in touch ... tell their stories ... get solutions to problems!

Questions on the Cruising Life:

Idyllic as it sounds, there are some real challenges to overcome!  These are the stories and experiences of other cruising sailors.

What nobody told me about life at sea:

In its diversity, you experience life differently from living in a land based home; you learn to live in small confined spaces with a fraction of the worldly possessions and conveniences, and with this comes much less and much more concentrated house work, or ‘boat work’.

Time on voyages is structured differently as some one always needs to be on watch, so sleeping patterns change as do what activities and past times you become involved with.

The cruising life means you, need to be organized, most times you can't duck to the corner store if you need anything. Daily washing is mostly done in a bucket at the back of the boat, and there are plenty of other issues too.

This is why to many the cruising life style seems as alien as living in outer space! Are there any benefits in giving up a big house to live on a small boat?? Go to the sailors who know and find out what cruisers say about the cruising life? 

Surviving 24/7 with Your Partner:

How will you manage being cooped up 24/7 in a small space with your partner?

This really needs discussion long before you cast off the lines and pursue life on the ocean. 

Stress usually comes from an imbalance in responsibility and knowledge, without knowledge of what to expect in living aboard and sailing it can be frightening and uncomfortable.

Gender differences can grow sharper the minute the lines are cast off and men can get aggressive or impatient; there can be an imbalance of power and a real ego once they are at the helm.

Women can then decline to participate and with that become fearful and not enjoy the experience. So how do others make it a shared dream? 

This does not just apply to a 'life partner', it also applies to a sailing partner. Ali was yacht crew on a blue water cruise with a skipper that had some big challenges, it could have ended badly.

This is a case of women beware!

My friends Peter and Mel are a great sailing team and have come to terms with one another’s health problems and differences.

They love the cruising life and respect each others privacy and work like a well oiled machine when sailing on Peter’s yacht.

And the question on some sailors minds is what about working and the cruising life?  What about jobs on line ... see the video below for another option that brings in a passive income for me ...that could be you!!


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