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Old 02-24-2014, 11:51 AM   #1
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Long Distance Cruising

I hope this doesn't start a war, but here it goes.

Many of us here on TF have dreams of long distance cruising.

Some have dreams of cruising around the world. Some have dreams of cruising the carribean. Some, the great loop.

Here on TF, we tend to focus on the boat. we tend to look for a more capable boat than the one we have. We tell ourselves that once we get a (insert your dream boat here) we'll go cruising.

The more I research actual people that cruise for a lifestyle, the more I realize its not the boat. Its them. Its the people. The boat is just a means to an end. The actual boat is almost unimportant.

I am in the middle of reading a series of first hand accounts by a lady that cruises full time with her husband John aboard their 38' bayliner. They have been all through the Bahamas, the Carribean, the loop, and are right now in Rotan Honduras. They have been cruising full time since it appears 2005 when they left their home in Canada aboard their 38' Bayliner.

I have also in my searching found blog after blog, written by people that have taken their boats up and down the west coast, through mexico, and the like as a lifestyle for years. There are even more blogs written by people cruising the east coast, the Bahamas and the Carribean.

None of these people died aboard their relativly inexpensive boats. Actually, reading their accounts, they have had a GREAT time. They watched the weather like all good mariners should, but they venturefd forth, they overcame the challenges, and they explored.

Possibly, some here could learn a lesson from this. I know I have. These successful cruisers took the money they had, bought a boat they could afford on their budget and they went cruising.

So, its not the bigger, better, badder boat that we're waiting for. Its the rest of life that we need to get settled before we, ourselves go cruising.

Possibly if we focus more on those aspects of our lives, arranging our affairs, preparing to leave the workforce at an earlier age, perhaps planning on a more modest retirement, then possibly we too can set forth on our adventure.

I just wonder...

Would we have more fun in life, retiring a few years early, and cruising on a 38' Bayliner (as an example). Or would we have more fun in life, working to our mid/late 60's and buying that badder, more capable boat....

And missing out on that decade of cruising.
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Old 02-24-2014, 12:09 PM   #2
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Old 02-24-2014, 12:31 PM   #3
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Spot on, Kevin. Our plan is to make tracks and go cruising in the next few years; we'll be in our mid 50s, and want to make things happen sooner rather than later.

I find it rather hilarious when the folks talk about what boat can and can't do- and the "doers" contradict them by doing exactly what the talkers say is impossible/not safe/etc.

Your trip from Seattle to Alaska is an excellent example of this, as is Stuart's trip down the coast from Seattle to Stockton in his 5788 Bayliner.
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Old 02-24-2014, 12:45 PM   #4
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Yes, yes, yes. The boat is 90% just about how convenient and comfortable you want to be. The person chooses to go cruising, not the boat. The only place where I can see the boat type/capability being a critical requirement is for long passages where there is some range requirement, but that's a very small subset of cruising.
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Old 02-24-2014, 12:57 PM   #5
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I agree itís not the boats as much as the people/owners. Having the time to be able to cruise, family/friends/land ties, having a budget/cash and many simple do not have an interest. I know people that have gone to Alaska and back in boats under 30 ft and one couple did it in a 20 ft cuddy cabin. So itís no so much the boat as the owners.

We are a prime example as the Eagle is way more capable then our cruising plans. We bought the Eagle as a dock condo as it was big and we got a good deal. We have been a live aboard for 17+ years and probable going sell it in the next couple of years. The reason is I am retiring in July, my wife wants to be a snow bird land cruise 9 months of the years, so itís going to be hard to justify the cost of ownership at 10+ grand per year.
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Old 02-24-2014, 01:07 PM   #6
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I agree Kevin, sooner is much better then later. I do believe there is a certain reliability factor needed in a cruising vessel, it doesn't need to be completely out of sight in the over build department though.

Do you have a link to that blog on the 38 Bayliner?
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Old 02-24-2014, 01:19 PM   #7
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Old 02-24-2014, 01:21 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twistedtree View Post
Yes, yes, yes. The boat is 90% just about how convenient and comfortable you want to be. The person chooses to go cruising, not the boat. The only place where I can see the boat type/capability being a critical requirement is for long passages where there is some range requirement, but that's a very small subset of cruising.
It is about comfort, and being realistic about your finances. There is a small group of people that are fortunate enough to afford a very expensive, very capable boat, and to have the time to use it. Most of us trade time for money. It is the dynamics of that time for money trade that we tend to get caught up in.

I am 100% part of that dynamic. I could buy a more expensive, more capable boat, but it would require years of my time in trade. Do I retire in my 50's or my 60's?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marlinmike View Post
I agree Kevin, sooner is much better then later. I do believe there is a certain reliability factor needed in a cruising vessel, it doesn't need to be completely out of sight in the over build department though.

Do you have a link to that blog on the 38 Bayliner?
The 38' bayliners adventures are written by Melanie Woods, who sells her "books" via Amazon. I have the kindle version of her three books and was happy to help fund her cruising dreams with my modest purchase.
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Old 02-24-2014, 01:32 PM   #9
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The March issue of Power and Motoryacht has a great article on the Detroit which did a transatlantic in 1912. The vessel was 35' loa, 10' beam, 5 foot draft and powered by a 16 HP gasoline engine. It was no stunt, the guys who did it were pros and very experienced sailors. In reading their story it is interesting to note the vessel ran very well and conditions were largely benign (12 foot breaking seas were no issue) as they studied the weather and plotted course with 100 year ago knowledge.

In the logs of N46 Egret it was noted that a 44' DeFever from the US kept popping up in Southern Chile near the Cape. Another good read is the delivery 10 years ago of a 49 DeFever from Seattle to England via the Panama Canal. The list goes on and on of those who make do with their vessel and carry forth. But it does take some knowledge and planning coupled with experience to pull it off safely.

Oh BTW, Paul Allen and Larry Ellison enjoy life too!
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Old 02-24-2014, 01:51 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by ksanders View Post

I have also in my searching found blog after blog, written by people that have taken their boats up and down the west coast, through mexico, and the like as a lifestyle for years. There are even more blogs written by people cruising the east coast, the Bahamas and the Carribean.

None of these people died aboard their relativly inexpensive boats. Actually, reading their accounts, they have had a GREAT time. They watched the weather like all good mariners should, but they venturefd forth, they overcame the challenges, and they explored.

.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but those who died probably are not writing books or blogs. Sorry, but saying none of them have died is a bit much. People do die by combinations of conditions, their own skills, judgement, and boats.

Now, to your real point. I've also read many books including the ones you mentioned. You can go to one site and they'll tell you sail is all that can cruise. Go to another and it's just trawlers, then the site that says it must be 100' and finally those who say it must be a Dutch built steel expedition boat. The reality is people cruise and enjoy it on many different boats, most of which are far less boat that many would say you must have.

GO CRUISE!
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Old 02-24-2014, 01:54 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Marlinmike View Post
I agree Kevin, sooner is much better then later. I do believe there is a certain reliability factor needed in a cruising vessel, it doesn't need to be completely out of sight in the over build department though. Do you have a link to that blog on the 38 Bayliner?
She hasn't kept her blog up after she started writing her books, she has posted several videos on YouTube here is a link to one.
http://youtu.be/HbmFtS61J_o
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Old 02-24-2014, 02:05 PM   #12
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Correct me if I'm wrong, but those who died probably are not writing books or blogs. Sorry, but saying none of them have died is a bit much. People do die by combinations of conditions, their own skills, judgement, and boats.
Quite true.

A sad yachting related death, and aren't they all, occurred about 10 years ago when the deployed fish from a N46 (or 47 maybe) snagged the anchor line of a sailboat. The wife on the N46 saw this sailboat approaching them at a good speed and attempted to fend it off and was killed.

The list goes on for too long, may they all RIP.
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Old 02-24-2014, 02:44 PM   #13
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I'll try & quote Jack London, "......I would but for a moment be a bright, brilliant meteor, than to exist for ever as a twinkle of far and distant star." I have many rivers to cross before my boat is ready to take off for Mexico frm Portland. As soon as I think she's ready, off we go. We all die sometime, war, water, horses or mules. Ya can't get done sett'n in the house. Make the boat the slave. Thanks everyone for your comments by the way.
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Old 02-24-2014, 03:43 PM   #14
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I agree Kevin,
Sure - the odd person dies when they get themselves into trouble on a big journey, but the number would be insignificant compared to those who die waiting for all their stars to align before setting forth.

I met 2 guys who paddled a 17ft canoe from Winnipeg, up the Red River to the Mississsippi, and then on down to the Gulf of Mexico. They were enjoying the trip and wanted to continue, so followed the coast around the GOM and made it down to Brazil. They got rolled in the surf twice, and eventually decided a bigger boat might be handy to venture further south from there.

They had an adventure of a lifetime, and their cost was almost nothing. The canoe manufacturer covered most of their minimal expenses after word got out about what they were doing.

And here we are, waiting for the new Niaid/Generator/ice maker which is holding us back from making the trip to our destination.
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Old 02-24-2014, 03:52 PM   #15
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Old 02-24-2014, 04:11 PM   #16
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Correct me if I'm wrong, but those who died probably are not writing books or blogs. Sorry, but saying none of them have died is a bit much. People do die by combinations of conditions, their own skills, judgement, and boats. ............
I was about to point that out but you beat me to it. It's a bit like the portable generator argument; the people writing about how safe they are are the ones who haven't been killed by one yet.

Back on topic, "Long Distance Cruising" is a relative term. Some cruise around the world, some from Maryland to Florida. That's a thousand miles and for many, that's "long distance".

It's a matter of what you want to do, what you can afford to do and what you have the time to do. I've never had a desire to cruise around the world, my boat is not suited for it, and I don't have the money or time.

The Great Loop is fun to read about but I have no plans for that either. Up and down the AICW and the Chesapeake Bay should keep me entertained for as long as I'm able to operate and maintain a boat.
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Old 02-24-2014, 04:33 PM   #17
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Kevin, great thread, and it just welcomes discussion from just about everyone on TF. I agree with you that it's the people, not the boat.

Before we bought our current boat I was looking for something in the ~40' range. I knew about what I wanted to spend for the boat, plus some upgrades in electronics, etc.

We have no "long range" cruising plans as far as distance goes. We do have some long range plans in terms of time spent on the cruises. This spring we're heading to the coast and will be gone about 2 weeks. That's not what I call long range in time or distance.

Next year(?) we plan on going around the coast and spending the summer (June to Sept.) in the Puget Sound/Desolation Sound/Broughtons areas. That fits more closely with my definition of "long range".

We could easily have done that with a 40'er or 45'er or our 60'er. The big difference in that equation is $$$. The constant in that equation is us. We are still the same people enjoying being in God's country on a boat.
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Old 02-24-2014, 04:40 PM   #18
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One of the funniest forum threads I ever read was started by Eric Grab (not on this forum) after he and his wife returned from a circumnavigation in their 43' boat. Half the people replying seemed to want to argue about how it couldn't be done, despite the fact that Eric and Christie had just returned from doing it. Neither started with much of any boating experience, but decided to take a break from their professional careers, finance a boat, and go do it. They were in their 30's as I recall. Now they are back working, have a family, etc.

You can do it in any order, and there are clear benefits to cruising while young(er). I was fortunate to retire early, and we were hesitant to spend a big chunk or our retirement on a boat. But we figured we'd get more out of boating and be less likely to get stopped unexpectedly by health issues if we started earlier, so off we went. We are coming up on 7,000 miles over the past 4 years with many, many more to go (hopefully).
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Old 02-24-2014, 06:03 PM   #19
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Great post!
In the slip across from me here in Key West is a Cal 27 that cost less than many of us pay for insurance. It is owned by two delightful young lady's in their mid twenties. They are half way through the great loop (started in Michigan), have been to the Bahamas, and are working here for a couple of months to earn enough to do the second half of the loop. Their blog is
KATIE & JESSIE | - Aboard Lovely Louise -

I believe the would agree that it isn't the boat, it is the adventurous spirit of the boaters that counts.

As for me, 5,863 miles at an average of 7.5 MPH over the last 10 months in my very modest 1978 Marine Trader 36. I leave Wednesday for the Bahamas.

Think smaller, less expensive, pay cash, and go as soon as you can.

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Old 02-24-2014, 06:05 PM   #20
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Fantastic posts. Wish I could think of something wiser to say, but I'm already dying a little each day while I split my time working to finish the projects on my boat and cope with the enormous process of dealing with my Admiral's "stuff".
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