First printed in 2007, Dinghy Driving 101 is a perfect companion piece for the previous three Admirals’ Angle columns on cruising dinghies. In fact, Dingy Driving 101 was set to rerun in the July 2012 issue of Latitudes and Attitudes for that reason. Unfortunately, that issue of Latitudes and Attitudes never made it to print. With the debut of Cruising Outpost Magazine and the transfer of Admirals’ Angle to that platform, Dinghy Driving 101 got skipped. However we at Women and Cruising still feel it goes so well with the Cruising Dinghy trio, that we are reposting it here.
An Achilles heel for many cruising women – even for some Admirals – is driving the dinghy. Hardly surprising since couples cruising – especially for the first time – are doing pretty much everything together, and, without any particular thought, the guy gets into the habit of driving. When they finally reach Georgetown or Trinidad or Zihuatenejo, hundreds of miles out from their home port, enough is going on that couples need — or want — to do things separately. Suddenly, women discover that they’ve become dependent on their men to drive them around.
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Few cruisers have a master plan for accessorizing their dinghies, and instead leave things to evolve.
The result is often a cluttered dinghy, the kind that’s hard to step into, a pain to hoist aboard, and all-too-often not prepared to do what you need it to do when you need to do it! Improvements and additions are often devised AFTER there’s a problem and not before. To help you think ahead, here’s a collection of popular cruiser aftermarket upgrades. » Read full column
Once you’ve selected a dinghy that you believe will best serve your needs when cruising (see last month’s Admirals’ Angle), it’s time to start outfitting it so that it WILL serve those needs. Many sailors allow this to evolve, but some forethought can make a huge difference in how easy your dinghy will be to run, use, hoist aboard and launch.
The first thing you will shop for is an outboard.
You may be offered a package deal for one when you buy your dinghy. Proceed cautiously; just because it’s a deal, doesn’t always mean it’s a good deal for you. » Read full column
Drop a new cruiser into a busy anchorage, and one thing sure to surprise is the variety of tenders hanging behind the anchored boats. Who knew they came in such a mind-boggling array of sizes, shapes and materials?!
New cruisers who have bought pre-owned boats may have inherited the previous owner’s dinghy choice…and considered it a good deal: an accessory they didn’t have to go out and shop for right away. Cruisers who buy new are likely to choose a model on display (or on sale) at the last boat show or closest chandlery.
Chances are in neither case do they fully evaluate all the ramifications of choosing a tender for their new lifestyle. We tend to think of tenders as a means to get between the boat and shore and forget to consider so many of the other things they do for us. » Read full column
Chances are you never used the word provisioning before you went cruising. My online dictionary defines provision as “food and other necessities, especially for a long journey,” and provisioning as a “preparatory step taken to meet a possible or expected need.”
Provisioning the boat with food and essential spares is the single biggest preoccupation of cruisers getting ready to leave port.
This is especially true when leaving your home country and heading to parts unknown. Before you have been somewhere, it is hard to imagine what you will and will not be able to get or how much it will cost. After a lifetime in the first world where you can get anything anytime you want it, the possibility of doing without, of making substitutions, or of making favorite things from SCRATCH (or jerry-rigging a part) is a daunting prospect. » Read full column
|Gwen at the helm, owner on the beanbag
When a long passage looms, many cruisers begin thinking about whether or not to take on crew to help. What pops promptly into our heads are the shorter watches that having extra crew enables. How seductive that idea of lying abed for more than two hours at a stretch! Maybe, even… together?! Uh, huh! But like most great ideas, taking crew aboard your boat is an issue with many facets worth considering closely. And the same is true for those crewing.
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Lifestyles Aboard Three Big Boats
It has come as a bit of shock to Don and me that our style of cruising aboard Tackless II might rank as rather middle class these days. When I do Women and Cruising boat-show seminars and stand with Pam Wall and Kathy Parsons, Pam has always represented older-style, purist cruising, Kathy a middle ground, and I the relatively cushy, gadgety way.
But these days it seems there is an increasingly sizable “upper class” of cruising, folks who’ve sunk a lot of money into really nice boats, state-of-the-art equipment, and lots of little luxuries. I’m not talking about the mega-yacht circle, the ones with professional crews, but folks who are making the same course and weather decisions, pulling the same lines and changing the same oil as the rest of us, just doing so with more comfort and élan…and electric winches! » Read full column
“So? Whaddya think?”
Everybody’s asking us. They want to know what we — 20+ year veterans of monohulls — think about our first eight-week catamaran experience cruising aboard a 50 foot cat? Some anticipate utter conversion, some expect loyalty, others could care less about the boat and want to hear about the trip. » Read full column
Around the cockpit table during a potluck among boats awaiting the start of the Sail Indonesia Rally in Darwin the topic of bedding came up. Robin of the American Voyage 44 cat Endangered Species was explaining to Michelle of the Aussie 53′ cat Thor how she’d solved her preference for a softer mattress when Rick preferred firm. “Ashore we had a waterbed, and when we moved aboard, we dismantled it for the surrounding collar and filled it with two replacement air mattresses that I finagled from the Sleep Number people.”
I was surprised. I had never heard of air mattresses on a boat. I’ve been to enough boat shows to know that there are plenty of entrepreneurs doing their best to market mattress upgrades and customized bedding to sailors, but I also remember when outfitting my first boat that mattress and sheet issues were way down the list of priorities.
But should they be? » Read full column
When we do our Women and Cruising seminars, the most unasked questions in the room are about fears.
Even in the companionable community of other cruising women, few people want to admit that they are afraid. And so concerns remain unasked and unaddressed, lurking behind less threatening topics like communications back home, finances, or provisioning.
A while back, we did our first online Women and Cruising webinar* for SevenSeasU.com the online cruising university organized by Seven Seas Cruising Association. While Kathy Parsons, Pam Wall and I addressed a question list of typical topics submitted by the attendees, over in the attendee chat box, perhaps enabled by the anonymity of the Internet classroom, someone typed, “Is anyone else afraid?” While we continued to talk about…what was it?…doing laundry, perhaps?…we watched as instant chats began flying back and forth — a flood of pent-up anxiety released.
We women have particularly capable imaginations. » Read full column