New Cruiser Mistakes
you are having difficulties anchoring, picking up a mooring, coming
along side, or changing a sail, and you are back there on the helm
yelling at your partner, consider these perspectives: A) You are
advertising that you're perfect--beyond reproach. You are trying
to make it clear that it's your partner's fault there's a problem
and that they're a jerk, not you. B) Everyone within ear shot is
feeling sorry for your partner and thinks you are the biggest jerk
in the world for yelling.
natural to get angry with yourself when things go wrong, because
most shipboard blunders are avoidable if you are on the ball. You're
mad 'cause you know better. Another reason you might get mad is
you don't feel as is you are in control. Trying to shift the burden-of-blame
by yelling at your partner is a sure indication you were in la-la
land. Get a grip.
if it really is your partner's fault something stupid happens, do
everything in your power to make it seem as if it was your fault.
This is called "scoring points.")
centuries women have complained that they are stuck with all the
chores while the man sits at the helm sipping a toddy and giving
orders. While it's true that some men are power-hungry morons who
want all the glory, it's difficult for us guys relinquish power
to someone who we think doesn't seem to understand, or care, about
the mechanics of the boat. We are worried about leaving the helm
and going below for fear that there might be a serious problem that
needs immediate attention--such as a right of way situation, or
a buoyage decision.
the best way for a woman to get experience is to sail or race with
an all women crew. Either that, or take the boat out with her friends
and leave the guy on the dock for the afternoon. Being afraid of
making mistakes and feeling judged by men can dampen the learning
curve. Learn about genoa leads, halyard tension, tuning the rig,
buoyage, variation, oil pressure, engine rpm's, and charting. Whatever.
Next time you're out with Captain Bligh illustrate by action that
you understand what is going on. You'll be respected.
Every day is not a vacation.
Thinking that every day on the boat is going to be a vacation is
the inherent lure of the cruising lifestyle. It's the carrot that
leads us into the depths of preparation and debt. We see ourselves
in a travel brochure, living the high life without a care in the
it's true that just about anything is better than the 9 to 5 grind,
if cruising is going to be your chosen lifestyle, get ready for
life to complicate it. There is no escaping dentists, taxes, repairs,
illness, childbirth, funerals, weddings, divorce, and laundromats.
On DRIVER we designate certain days or entire weeks in which we
plan to do nothing except have fun. Otherwise, it sometimes seems
as if we are always doing chores: organizing repairs, doing laundry,
or going grocery shopping.
an anchor that is too small. I'm not sure why cruisers
are afraid of buying a wonking big anchor. The old adage "A pound
rich and a penny poor" applies here. If the worry is that a big
anchor costs too much, figure out how much your boat is worth and
then figure the ratio between an adequate anchor and a wonking big
anchor. The result is probably less than a tankful or two of diesel
weight on the bow is a concern try to follow our reasoning: For
our 33-foot steel sloop DRIVER an adequate anchor is a 33 pound
Bruce. But we chose to buy a wonking big 44-pound Bruce. That's
a difference of 11 pounds. With 210 feet of chain in the chain locker,
that 11-pound difference is approximately equal to 8 feet of chain.
Eleven pounds? No biggie.
we cruise in remote areas and use our 70-pound Luke anchor, the
difference between it and the Bruce is 26 pounds. DRIVER weighs
18,000 pounds. What's an extra 26 pounds on the bow for a ton of
Going gadget crazy. Buying
presents for the boat is fun. It stimulates the brain into thinking
that every day really is a vacation. But everything eventually breaks
or needs maintenance. Gadgets not only clutter a boat they create
more work, and often they demand more battery power. So, I guess
if you buy a lot of "time saving" devices, it will leave you with
more time to fix the broken stuff.
Buying too big a boat.The
benchmark for what constitutes ideal boat length has risen over
the years. It used to be that a 35-footer was a palace. Then it
was 40, 50, 60, and now 70 feet seems like a good thing. Either
folks have more money than they used to, or the folks who have always
had it have discovered boating as an outlet.
the scenario, the improvement of gear has allowed smaller crews
to handle these bigger boats. In addition, going fast on passage
is a good prerogative, and having enough room below to seat 20 for
dinner would definitely be fun.
throwing money at the cruising lifestyle and buying the biggest
boat in the fleet is missing the point of what cruising can afford
you. My perspective is: where do I want to cruise and how much flexibility
do I want to have when I get there? When you get away from cities
it can be rather tricky to find parking places for 60-plus-foot
boats. In many places you will be restricted to the commercial side
of harbors where it is loud and often rough. Smaller boats will
fit in the inner harbors where it is quaint, and where you will
meet normal people. Commercial docks tend to attract bums and tourists.
A 60-plus-foot boat takes up a lot of swinging room, and many cozy
coves are just too small to accommodate. A big boat also has a tall
mast and may not make it under bridges--on the other side of which
might lay a good anchorage, or a short cut.
Even if money was no issue, Jaja and I would not own a boat over
40 feet. The perks of space and speed would not be enough to compensate
for missing out on the quiet spots accessible only to smaller boats.
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