#73 – Cruising in the Golden Years

Photo: Mary Verlaque.

There’s a lot of gray hair amongst the cruising set. Those who wait to start cruising until retirement bring gray hair with them. Others who began cruising earlier in life wake up one day and look in a mirror (or across the cockpit) and exclaim, “Who’s this OLD person and when did she/he get on board!?”

Gray hair notwithstanding, the cruising community is remarkably age-blind. Children back home would be surprised to see parents and grandparents socializing easily in sundowner get-togethers and potlucks, adventuring in reef exploration and mountain hikes, or partying and dancing at beachfront palapas, generally heedless of generation gaps that might loom large back home.

This age blindness stems from the reality that everyone is coping with the same issues – from weather to breakdowns to the challenges of new horizons. It’s a community where young learn from old and old learn from young, and members stand ready to help one another without discrimination. » Read full column

#72 – The Ties that Bind

Debbie Leisure and her grandchildren on annual family vacation.
That vacation is one of two trips she never misses each year.

Docklines aren’t the only things that hold a cruising boat to shore; emotional ties can snag like poorly-tied knots, resisting release and holding us back.

Ellen Sanpere with her Dad

Ellen Sanpere with her Dad when she left her boat in St. Croix to live with him in Chicago for his final 5 months.

Whether to our kids (Launched at last from the nest… but are they really ready?!?!) or to our aging parents (Can they manage without our being near?), such bonds and the degree to which we can loosen them are something most of us must eventually address.

Where today people hardly think twice about moving from one coast to another, throw an ocean into the mix, leaving becomes complicated. » Read full column

#71 – Sew?

Photo: Marcie Connelly-Lynn, NINE OF CUPS

Cruising boats come in all shapes, sizes and materials, but what distinguishes one from another in the crowded anchorage is the way we dress them. Thus, you might think all the pretty canvas a boat sports is for appearances only, but reality is that UV protection for sails, equipment and crew is the driving force. The farther a boat travels into the tropics, the more UV protection is essential, and, of course, the longer a boat travels, the more need there’s going to be for repairs, often in remote situations. Because every cruising boat afloat is unique, as are its needs, every solution will be unique. So … it’s pretty handy to be able to sew. » Read full column

#70 – Networking

SSCA Women& Cruising’s brown bag lunch! Everyone introduced themselves, shared info about boats, destinations, experience, and passions. Many new connections were made!

Recently, as I stood in the crowd sipping my plastic glass of red wine during the Friday night cocktail party of the annual Seven Seas Cruising Association (SSCA) Gam (gathering of members) in Melbourne (Florida!), a couple I didn’t know, wearing “First-Timer” ribbons on their badge, came up to me and thanked me for “saving their cruise.”

I was already feeling pretty good, even before the red wine, because my day — the first day of the three-day annual event — had gone well. Within moments of donning the giant button identifying me as an SSCA member – pinned to ribbons identifying me as a “Commodore” (member), “Pacific Crosser”, and “Speaker,” – I’d run into dozens of old cruising friends, enjoyed informative morning seminars, plus made the face-to-face acquaintance of cruising’s premier guru Jimmy Cornell, the featured guest of this year’s Gam. » Read full column

#69 – Boredom

The cruising life, towards which M and her husband have worked so hard, is not turning out to be what she expected.

M and her husband got a good deal on the boat of their dreams. It needed work, so their first seven months living aboard were spent at a dock working on projects. With winter nipping at their heels, they came down the Intracoastal Waterway to a mooring in balmy Marathon where they continued boat work in the popular cruising hangout. Finally in March, they crossed to the Bahamas.

M thought she was ready for cruising. She’d read books, attended seminars and taken sailing classes. She had experienced friends and family giving her good advice. What could be wrong?

M is bored.

» Read full column

#68 (Rerun) - Dinghy Driving 101

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.

Driving the dinghy

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.

» Read full column

#67 – Accessorizing the Cruising Dinghy

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

#66 – Choosing the Cruising Dinghy’s Outboard

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

#65 – Choosing the Cruising Dinghy

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

#64 – Provisioning Principles

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