Date: 3 December 2018. Mistakes Made -
Pick the Right Boat.
Online websites such as
Cruisers Forum and
Trawler Forum often have posts by
enthusiastic couples wanting to join the water world. Folks are gung-ho
to buy a boat and get right out here. Then a few months later we see
the boat listed For Sale on
YachtWorld. Today I detail some of the mistakes I've seen made, and how you
might avoid the same pitfalls.
First of all, DO
NOT be totally focused on what you want.
Southbound with wind and rain on the nose...
Nobody's having fun this day. Photo by Irene in Titusville.
Pay Serious Attention to what you DO NOT EVER WANT.
Additionally, few women have ever had an epiphany
because her wise
husband decided that XZY was fine. The same is true in reverse as
well. Agreement comes with time and consideration of all the
Life at anchor is my preference. It is peaceful and
Couple A: They were living
aboard a boat that was destroyed by a hurricane. They bought another
trawler with a DIFFERENT LAYOUT. The wife LOVED to cook. The new
galley was a dungeon. It was Truly Dreadful. Frankly, I don't
believe it could have been much worse.
He told me the boat they bought
was a bargain.
It wasn't, at least not if you
liked to cook. For instance, in order to open the oven door the wife
had to step out into the companionway. They enjoyed dining on the
sundeck. That meant walking up four steps (galley dungeon,
remember?) to the salon, out the starboard door, down the side deck,
up two or three more steps to the aft deck. Serve.
This was a huge problem. If the husband had really listened he
would have heard her say the galley was wrong. Alas, he did not. About a year later they were ashore in a condo. The boat for sale.
Couple A loved entertaining. A boat
such as M/V Edge (Atlantic44) might have been better for them.
Aboard Edge you go from the galley to the salon and
then up a few steps to the aft deck. It's easy.
Plus you're enclosed, inside the boat while moving between levels.
It feels safer and more homey.
Couple B: Wife told hubby "I hate passages longer than 3 days"
I'm not sure how it happened but she was aboard for a terrible NINE
DAY voyage bashing into the northeast trade winds of the Caribbean. Guess who jumped ship?
Frankly, he would have been
far better off to put her on a plane and hire a crew member to help
with the trip. But he didn't.
Island hopping through the Caribbean is a blast. The
return trip bucking the prevailing NE winds is rough.
They are friends (good ones!) of mine. He was an old sailor with
forty-plus years of experience afloat. She was new to boating, and
LOVED IT. Underway though she was a nightmare. She worried and was
frightened, even without cause to be honest. Every time they moved the
boat there was an argument.
Finally I convinced her to meet him at the
destination. Then all was well. For about three years though things
were Very Rocky. She was simply a bad traveler however she was a
wonderful mate. They made their life afloat work by not moving the
If one partner
doesn't like being underway, then let them get to the next
destination via car or plane. Seriously, boating is supposed to be
fun. If both are not enjoying the journey, then change something.
A boat is a small space when a relationship hits a
rocky patch. Getting along is crucial for happiness.
Couple D: He wanted and they bought a sailboat. She agreed to a one
year test trip. For their inaugural cruise he chose the Bahamas as a
destination, in the winter. While there they met another couple who
LOVED sailing. The wives got along as did the husbands. Both boats traveled in
the end of the trip Couple D wife was fully on board for a part time
life at sea. Now they boat six months of the year. The rest of the time she
does the Grandma thing.
Cruising in tandem means that two boats are
heading the same way and follow along as a pair. Sometimes two
boats, sometimes more but all heading in the same general direction.
Boating should not be an all or
nothing experience. Folks that are happiest have options. Captain D
was a smart fellow. They lived in the snowy north. He took his wife to the Bahamas in the dead of
winter. That was no doubt a key
component of his planning. The other was fortuitous: meeting another
cruising couple expanded
the possibilities and enjoyment for both couples.
Ladies find solutions to things you fellows
might not even consider a problem. We share our experiences. Those
insights can make a world of difference. For instance, knowing
how to keep my hair soft when swimming a couple times a day is
important to me. A guy might not care, but I do.
Hint: use way less conditioner
than you think you need, and leave it in. My hair is waist length
and thin. I use a dab about 1/2" by maybe a 1/4" high. That
treatment plus fresh water showers keeps my hair soft and silky.
Cruising in tandem offers a way for cruising boaters
experience camaraderie while underway.
NOTE: Please be open to new folks too. Sometimes I've seen cruisers
so enamored with their group that they close off meeting new people.
That gent who rowed up to your vessel just might be someone you will
like, so do say hello.
regarding visiting: DO NOT come
by a boat that has just anchored. Offer the new boaters time to
unwind, wash up and relax before stopping by.
writers, scientists, computer geeks, missionaries, divers,
entertainers and more. One thing I love about boating is the
variety of folks out here. Though we come from diverse
backgrounds, that seems to make little difference. Friendships are
made and experiences shared. It is a wonderful life.
A few years ago I met Cynthia of Pier 17 over in
Jacksonville. I knew her Daddy over 50 years ago!
This is Cynthia ↑ of Pier
17 in Jacksonville, FL. Pier 17 was a favorite store of mine since
When I was a little girl Daddy would stop by
various marine hardware stores along the coast. One place I looked
forward to visiting was in Jacksonville, FL. The business was called Pier 17. I
remember that Daddy and the owner would sit down smoking their pipes
and shooting the breeze. I wandered around peeking into buckets of
brass hardware. Perhaps that is where I first became enamored with
Decades later I saw the store name
and went inside. The same family owned and operated Pier 17 as I
knew all those years ago. I was fortunate enough to be invited by
Cynthia and her mom to
dinner at their home along the Ortega River. Gosh that was
Cynthia's mom (Miss Grace) and her
daddy began the store eons ago.
Cynthia's dog ↑
Reesa and I.
It is these experiences that end up
meaning more than one can realize at the time. They make up
the fabric of our lives. I have been blessed. Someday I hope
to again visit the Ortega River. It would be fabulous
to see Cynthia again too. She is quite a lady.
But I digress...
All boats are a compromise.
Finding one both partners can enjoy is important. Few ladies of a
certain age (mine, for instance) are going to be willing to
downgrade their life of decadence to live aboard a boat. Make sure
your vessel is comfortable for her too.
Camping is for
kids. The level of decadence I now experience is thoroughly
enjoyed. Aboard Seaweed I am content.
A lot of my happiness is as a direct result of the
improvements made to my boat over the years. Initially I could not
afford everything, so I made a list. Now, ten-plus years into the
journey, many of those original wishes have become my reality. I am
IF you want this to be a success, listen, really listen to each
other. Neither of you should win the competition to pick a boat. It
should be something you both can enjoy. If cooking is more important to
one partner, that person gets Total say-so on the galley. If mechanics are
critical to the other, that individual gets to Rule the engine room
Seaweed anchored off Ellison's Fishery in
Steinhatchee, FL. The successful fisherman by the traps is TJ.
The couples mentioned above are just a few I have met. Most boaters appear to be happy people. Be mindful of your relationship
and treat it with care. Alcoholism can become an issue, especially
for single males out here.
I've been aboard Seaweed for ten-plus years. She is
my last boat. Now that I have the accoutrements of a wonderful
life-style, I can assure you nothing less will suffice. I could not
go back and start over where I was ten years ago.
Back then I had a plan. And I'm almost there now. Truly,
this is a
wonderful life. Pick the correct boat and you too can be out here
having fun. Happy hunting!
In case you
wondered: I've been getting ready for
Christmas. I love this holiday, the music, lights and more. Seaweed
is partially decorated. Tonight I'm listening to a recording of
Campbell's Playhouse. Lionel Barrymore is playing Scrooge. It's
This week and next I'll be writing
out my Christmas cards. Last year I received three cards. That was
Thanks for reading.
I'd love to hear what would turn you off a particular
And, have you picked out one particular brand and size that suits you?
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© 2018, 2019
My Life Afloat Decision (Alz advice too) ~
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