So you want go cruising!

So you want go cruising. Hmpf, about that. I’ll start with a disclaimer because in America we love that shit. Kind of a mental get out of jail card. Admittedly I realize the value of my disclaimer – I do not know what I am talking about – but I’ll put it out there anyway. Have I gone cruising? No. Do I have experience cruising the big blue? No. Well maybe a little bit but not enough to be an expert.

Okay, that out of the way I can get to the meat of this post. Cruising is a shock to the system and it begins the moment your offer is accepted. There is a wrinkle in your mind, that elation of moving a step forward followed seconds later with a kick to the shin, a little, “Hey dumbass, do you really know what you just did?” This is a recurring theme.

Here comes the first piece of advice – when looking at a boat, if you don’t think you could hop on the boat and sail 50 miles down the coast then walk, no RUN away. I have followed multiple blogs from people about the process from finding a boat to getting out there cruising. One thing is clear; those who bought a boat that couldn’t make a 50 mile hop, on day one, write post after post that will make you cringe as the number of significant repairs keep adding up. We are talking six or more months of delays, heartache, and more boat bucks than they can afford. And then they go for their first big hop and the engine won’t start. Fuck, that shin is sore.

I’m getting ahead of myself. Facts are needed…The second boat I looked at was Cool Runnings, before seeing her I had prepared a list of what would be needed to get her to the condition I’d be comfortable with (a previous survey was provided by the broker so I had some idea of the condition). This list was a joke compared to what I found when seeing her in person. A whole other level than I was prepared to take on. I think her care by previous owners was average but boats are mechanical beasts and parts constantly wear out. Unless the previous owner was meticulous, every year in age is a 25% percent longer list. Meaning longer time tied to the dock for you. Meaning longer time working to pay for repairs. I RAN away. And this was a boat that would have cost $100,000 less than Strikhedonia. Not a small amount of cash, at least for me.

Regardless of how closely you checked over the vessel before making an offer, at the survey you will suddenly find a huge list of new items. “Am I really up to this?” starts seeping into your consciousness. Maybe seeping is too weak, blaring is more accurate. Strikhedonia was owned by a guy who had laminated check lists, a maintenance board for everything, spare parts to go cruising, and hired professionals to jump on any issues that popped up. And still I nearly walked away.

Clear the survey hurdle and the fun begins – US Coast Guard registration, FCC radio station license, insurance, searching for a marina, re-register EPIRB, dingy registration, dingy title transfer. I could continue but then you’d probably run away. Leave it at, you will spend weeks getting everything organized. Maybe not a kick to the shin but you will learn why sailors drink sundowners every night, and it ain’t because they go well with watching the sunset.

Then the day arrives, you get to dance with your new wife (or husband). Stepping aboard, you instantly see more items to add to the list. That bile starts rising in your throat. Your mind reels, “What have I gotten myself into?” Fuck, it is too late to back out. Back is against the wall, you have to begin comprehending the arduous responsibility you have just assumed.

What is that? You thought this post would be about cruising? About that, we will get there but not today. You need to let all of this sink in first. Can you picture the drizzle of blood running down your shin? The dull throbbing? Have you begun to reconsidering the idea of going cruising? Not yet? Then you are not ready to buy a cruising sailboat because we still haven’t reached the disorienting part where you feel like a tequila shot was poured down your throat while some jackass in a sombrero violently shook your head. Yay, that is pretty neat. Oh and if your spouse isn’t fully on board with the idea – RUN.

1 Comment

  • John January 2, 2017 at 10:12 am

    Thanks for that!


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