August 17, 2010


Maia, Carolyne and Amy enjoying their reunion
We had just returned to the boats after snorkelling with the folks on Hotspur when we saw the boat. Actually we heard it first. A frantic (no, it was enthusiastic) air horn blasting away, over and over.
Then as the monster boat got close, with laundry flapping from every line, we saw kids up on the bow waving and cheering.
Third Day! Aka S/V Hugeness.
Lori and Rich  toast their return to the cruising life with the only cold beer I had.

We haven’t seen Lori, Rich, Jason and Amy since we were in La Cruz together--and all our South Seas bound friends were departing. Since then they’ve headed to Mazatlan, bought a new boat in San Diego, travelled up to San Diego to retrieve it, sailed it back down the Baja to Mazatlan, transferred their gear from old Third Day to new Third Day, and then sailed non-stop from Mazatlan to here. Hotspur saw them more recently— when they also were in Mazatlan getting their own mid-cruise-boat-swap new boat set up.

Switching boats mid-cruise is more common than you might think. We’ve known several people who have done it. Most seem to do what Evan and I did—cruise for a while then stop to earn more money for the next boat and the next leg. But for growing families, who set out on one boat and discover they really enjoy cruising, and suddenly have large children rather than the little ones they left with, the overwhelming need for more space can come on rather quickly.

I know some people will argue for having the right boat, right off the bat. But for many people having the right boat seems to equal having a perfect boat. And honestly, those perfect boats never seem to leave the dock. There is always one more thing to do, or one more payment to make.

The other side of the ‘right boat’ argument is you can’t really know what you need until you are out here. No matter how many books you read, and how many seminars you attend, perfect boats aren’t created when you have a West Marine down the street and a reference book in your hand. They happen gradually, as you put on miles, and sort out your real needs and wants from all the theoretical ones that you thought made sense.

We have old friends (who are still cruising after 20+ years and who did their own mid-cruise-boat-swap about four years ago) who offered us this advice when it came to outfitting and choosing boats: Go with the simplest, least expensive version of whatever it is you need. If it doesn’t work, you can upgrade. But if it does work, and often it does, you’ve saved money and you’ve done something the easy way.

I guess the point I’m getting at is the same one that cruisers make over and over, don’t wait until its perfect, just go. You may end up needing a bigger boat, or a smaller boat (or one with more hulls) than the one you started off with.
these guys care less about the boat and more about the life
 But this isn’t a lesson you can learn at the dock.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sage words.