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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 have 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 possibilities.

Life at anchor is my preference. It is peaceful and quiet.

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 do not 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 did not.

Island hopping through the Caribbean is a blast. The return trip bucking the prevailing NE winds is rough.


Couple C: 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 boat together.

If one partner does not 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 *tandem. By 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.

*Tandem: 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 to socialize and 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.

Important note 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.

I have met 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 practically forever.



Memory Lane: 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 brass.

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 wonderful.

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 truly blessed.

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 decision-making.

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 am 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 have 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 is truly wonderful.


This week and next I'll be writing out my Christmas cards. Last year I received three cards. That was great fun!

Thanks for reading.

I'd love to hear what would turn you off a particular  boat.
And, have you picked out one particular brand and size that suits you?

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2018, 2019, 2023

Categories: Boat Talk, Boats, Characters, Locations, Memory Lane, Relationships,

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