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Date: 25 August 2014. Romanticism versus Reality.

An online associate, Sealaskan, recently said "I believe a lot of wannabees get caught by the romanticism and don't realize how demanding it really is." Truer words than those are seldom found when it comes to the boating world. So many want the sunlit day sails while dragging a lure, the evenings at anchor surrounded by playful dolphin and mornings spent swimming in crystal clear waters. Who wouldn't want all that?
 


The reality is quite a bit different.

I've been mentoring as it were a woman for approximately three years now who is no closer to living aboard her boat than she was when we started talking. Prior to purchase, she was aboard hers ten minutes -- no survey of course because she was on a budget.

After purchase the vessel went on a trailer and from there to her property. Her sailboat is on blocks in the backyard and has been for over a year.
 


She says she wants to sail *across the pond (she does have a grasp of the terminology) yet she doesn't listen to weather reports. Understanding weather norms is helpful in my opinion and that takes long-term (start now) listening to broadcasts. Learning patterns is crucial for safe boating experiences.

*Across the pond: crossing the Atlantic Ocean (to Europe from here or vice versa)

Excellence is not an act but a habit. The things you do the most
are the things you will do the best. Marva Collins, Educator.

And ten minutes on the boat doesn't mean you're going to like the tilt of a sailboat under sail. Heck, it doesn't even tell you how the boat handles.

I don't know that she'll ever live aboard much less move her vessel. So far there are lots of dreams. Lots of talk. And lots (and lots!) of money spent on making her boat safer.

And none spent at my recommendation either as I advocate using before improving -- you never know what you'll find unnecessary after living aboard. Buying before you're sure is a recipe for unneeded expenditures.

Even with decades of experience on our 40'er, I was wrong on some costly items that I'd bought because I "knew" I'd need X, Y and Z to be happy aboard. I should have waited before spending the money.

Hers is a Clorox bottle* and I have nothing against cheap plastic production models. There's a reason they are so prevalent: Because they are awesome Starter Boats. In protected waters, one will give the owner valuable experience in sailing. If you intend to simply go out and have fun on weekends, there's absolutely no need to spend tens of thousands on a world cruiser. A low-cost vessel is a good choice for fun afloat.

*Clorox bottle is a term used among some boaters for the lighter weight fiberglass sailboats. They float high and sail fast in the wind.

However spending thousands of dollars, albeit in $500 increments, isn't going to make her 22' Venture a world cruiser. Not in my opinion.
 


For the record, my Seaweed is not a world cruiser either. She's built for coastal hopping and no amount of money will turn her into what she is not. These small boats are perfectly suited for their target audience: those that want to get out on the water and have fun.

I do wish the gal well but as I tell anyone who asks: buy the cheapest boat you can use today, and use the vessel for a time. Don't try to change a thing until you've got months of experience afloat. Then, and only then, will you have a clue as to if this life is for you.

If it is, great. And if not, you've not spent your life's savings on a dream destined to fizzle. If you need to see fizzle, go to any Do-It-Yourself boatyard and walk around the back lot.

Those are dreams that didn't work out as planned. And lo and behold, I'll bet you could have one for a song. Just make sure it's not a Funeral Dirge you're buying into.

What was your first boat?
If money were no object, what boat would you own/live aboard?

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