Position N 27° 22.225’.
W 82° 37.075’.
Longboat Key Club Moorings, FL
|The vista from our stern (taken using Photosyth)|
I recently read on the Nordhavn Dreamers website where various ‘Dreamers’ were writing their top 5 requirements that would be on their boat...when they bought one! All people who eventually ‘go cruising’ dream. Visions of grandeur are the beginning and over time the reality of actually getting going looms. Some continue to dream striving for the unattainable to fill their minds eye picture of what is needed to realize their goal. Some come down to earth and make the necessary compromises, actually buy a boat and ‘get out there’. My point here is not to cut corners in the important stuff such as all the safety equipment but I am saying that it is not necessary to overload the pilot house with more toys than are necessary for good navigation and have the super duper entertainment system etc. I am suggesting that it is better to only ‘work’ to provide the necessary equipment and not to ‘work’ indefinitely to acquire too many toys to play with. By striving for the ‘perfect’ will delay going cruising and you will miss the wonderful adventures, people and places one meets...get out there and do it earlier rather than later. Money is not everything and working and working for it is the biggest burden standing in the way of becoming a cruiser. Just go! You will make do with what you have and have a great time; cruising does not have to be super expensive, quit work, learn how to maintain your own boat and machinery and be happy! The transition from ‘dreamer’ to ‘doer’ sometimes needs a ‘kick’ and fortunately it is sometimes a friend just giving you a push but unfortunately it is sometimes one’s own health or that of your spouse, sometimes it is letting go of work or a business, whatever... once you have taken the step I don’t think there is one cruiser out there that isn’t happy they took the plunge. Time does run out, cruising is an active lifestyle, just owning a boat, as we do, climbing, twisting crawling and the general activity a boat causes gets you, and more importantly, keeps you fit. I lost 21 lbs in the first year just living on our boat! I should qualify that by explaining that I am 5’11½”, started at 210lbs and am now 189lbs. We made ourselves a promise to outfit the boat from income and not touch our income producing savings. We are extending our leaving due to equipping the boat with some additional essential ‘stuff’, a new life raft, a redundant autopilot and some more batteries and solar panels but we do live aboard fulltime and, although not cruising very far from home port at present, are living our dream. The point here is we bought the boat we liked and could afford, sold the house and all the trappings and moved aboard. We took the first big step. This plan has worked for us and has given the time we needed to get the boat ready for ‘us’ (all owners have their idea of how the boat should be equipped, furnished etc.) and get used to living aboard. Yes, it is a ‘shock’ moving from a 3,000 sq. Ft. home to a small boat but also very freeing.
Now I want to talk about life in general; I have just listened to the news headlines plug from NBC, yes, we still have television on board. While we are at the dock we are ‘plugged in’, what it was advertising were the headlines for the next news programme...the Foreclosure debacle, the Election battle and ‘low blow’ political campaigns we have to put up with. Wow, how interesting. Courtesy of my friends Larry and his lovely wife Jo we have a modest rent to pay (they own our slip), no property taxes, no cable or water, they are included in the rent and a small electricity bill. Very few bills equal no stress and more funds for having fun and doing the things we want. At this stage of my life, I can’t speak for the Admiral totally, she voted the current guy in, I don’t care which president we have, both leading candidates, I think, are borderline and I think for the first time I will be voting for ‘someone else’, how sad! The point here is let it go folks follow your dream and make your own news. It is not hard, just have some confidence in yourself and develop your self preservation skills. Even if you don’t have any now they will come, just remind yourself that every plumber, diesel mechanic and electrician is a human being, you are one too, you can learn as they did especially if you have to, branch out become independent quench your sense of adventure go boating, coastal, off shore anywhere just go, it really is fun and liberating. The experience is like nothing else, the sea offers a freedom that is both attainable and sustainable. Enjoyable would be an understatement.
In October last year, just before we left Oriental, NC, we had the bottom of ‘Partner’ coated with Petit Trinidad antifouling paint, this month is the first month that we have had to get a diver to go down and clean off her bottom. He reported that it wasn’t too bad and that the sacrificial anodes (zincs) were fine. In the warmer waters of Florida and places south from here I find that one year for the paint is about it. One might get lucky and stretch that to 18 months if you are moving around a fair bit. Water passing over the hull bottom does have a cleaning effect especially if the sea is rough and the boat is heaving and doing a little pounding. Obviously sitting in a marina, as we have done primarily, is the worst. I am, with the help of the diver, going to stretch ours to the spring when I will get a fresh coat of paint. This timing will coincide with the beginning of summer when the water is at its warmest and the marine growth is at its worst and ‘Partner’ also leaving the dock to go cruising!