In their new book Cruising conversations with a daring duo! Corinne and Chuck Kanter delve through their 30+ years of sailing experience, especially their 15 years as full-time liveaboards. In this memoir, they share their learning experiences, the wonderful people they met, and the joys of the lifestyle outside the proverbial box.
The following excerpts are from the chapter “Woman to Woman”.
My life style
Cruising was a new way of life for us and our family. It bore little relationship to anything we ever did before and totally shook up our three children. Sure, we had plenty of family sailing, racing, fishing and other outdoor activity, experience, but living aboard and cruising? Decisions, decisions, some of the considerations we had were, think about selling the house or renting the house, unloading stuff to kids or relatives or storing goods.
We began as weekend sailors with our three small children and a trailerable sailboat. That boat, a Venture 24 swing keel, didn’t have all the shore side comforts and was simplicity on board but we were self sufficient and willing to depend mostly on wind and sail power. However it was a dramatic improvement over our eighteen-foot cathedral hull Sport Craft power boat in which, a year earlier, the five of us, to stave off perceived hypothermia, had slept in the same sleeping bag while anchored in Rockport, Massachusetts harbor. (In August!)
“If you haven’t got it, it can’t break!” became our watch word.
In 1969 we trailered our 24ft. Venture, swing keel sailboat to Miami Beach and launched it at Haulover Park to begin a three-week cruise. The children were then seven, eight and nine year’s old. On board there were a hand bearing compass, parallel rules and TEXACO marine maps; there was no VHF.
We sailed from Miami Beach to Key West and half way back to Key Vaca, Marathon. Chuck then got on a Greyhound bus back to Miami to get our station wagon with attached boat trailer to come back to get the boat and family. We then headed home to Annapolis, MD and used the boat on the trailer as an RV on the way up north, but that’s another story.
When we decided to go cruising full time, our first cruise lasted six months. I left my travel agent job, untied the dock lines with the words from my boss, “your job won’t be available when you get back” ringing in my ears. Well, came spring, I returned along with the migratory birds, tied up to the dock, and within hours, I was welcomed to my old job. Wow, I thought when you are good at your profession, there’s always a job.
More than anything I learned quite a bit about myself on that sixth month cruise. When autumn rolled around I didn’t hesitate one bit and left for 15 years without any regrets. I learned that consideration, thoughtfulness on what I gave up or exchange was with compromise. At the time I did not realize what sailing would bring, of the new adventures would lead up to. I know now it has given me a lifestyle of adventure along with wonderful memories.
What is the cruising way of life?
The cruising way of life to me is a delicate balance of communication and respect for each other. There will be times when someone must obey an order. It’s nothing personal, just another compromise. Each one of us has disagreed at times and will disagree again. The most important thing for you to do is talk, plan, discuss, even compromise with your partner, you will become a new lifestyle together, if you disagree entirely, you may wind up sailing alone.
Some folks are unable to adjust to reality when it does not match up to their expectations. For example, I remember when we arrived in Georgetown, Bahamas, seeing signs, “Boat for sale.” One of the partners on board was pushing too hard. My advice on that is to listen, respect the other’s position without shouting. Make a list of basic questions and thoughts that come into your mind. Talk it out with your mate. Your new lifestyle is just around the corner. Believe me. It’s really a new beginning for all. I always feel if one has a goal and you reach it, there’s another goal. On the other hand, it has often been said that it is the journey rather than the destination that is important.
Perhaps you’re asking yourself, will your new lifestyle be today here, tomorrow there, or will you have a set plan to be in certain areas during certain times of the year, perhaps circumnavigation, voyaging long overnighters or you can choose to do it gradually along the coastline, anchoring or going into a marina, or once you get to one’s destination you may want to settle in for a while. You may have to fill the kitty along the way, you’ve got talent and there are lots of jobs available even part-time, for any hardworking, honest, reliable person.
Marathon, in the Florida Keys is our home port, and we see many boats anchored in Boot Key Harbor, some of those folks who work onshore are filling their cruising kitty before jumping off to their next destination. Some folks will leave the so-called security of a house, apartment or condo, with no more grass to mow, no more taking care of an automobile, leaving a regular 9-5 job, with ease others can’t.
Research, do some soul searching before you make the final decision for full time cruising, if there is any hesitation on your part, try it for six months, but try it. Then if the lifestyle fits you’ll have had that time to consider how to handle it full time. Ask yourself, will we be on a strict budget, or a high budget so we can eat out when we want, have folks onboard for dinner, take in the side trips on land in the new places, travel by local bus, bikes, etc. This will become a new beginning to your lives by doing it on the water. You may want to do it in the boat you already have. Others may want to trade it in for a larger boat. I bet you’ll have no regrets about casting off the land lines.
Setting virtually unattainable goals and then attaching them to unrealistic expectations is one of the initial mistakes common to some aspiring cruisers. Of the fellow dreamers-turned-doers we have met, many like us set their sights on long-term circumnavigation but downplay it from a goal to a dream thus not setting themselves up for possible failure.
Chuck and I do take time to stop and smell the roses. We had stepped out of a world controlled by daily planners, traffic lights, elevators and phones into a world where there is often no awareness of the date, time, or season. Sometimes it is confusing to us and if it wasn’t for the need of some of that information for navigation, we really would lose all track of time.
Charles and Corinne kanter will be speaking at
- St. Petersburg Sail and Power Show: December 1-4, 2011
- St. Petersburg Forida, MARINAS INTERNATIONAL: January 19-22, 2012
- Strictly Sail Chicago Boat Show: January 26-29, 2012
- Miami International Boatshow: February 16-20, 2012
- Oakland Pacific International Boatshow: April 12-15, 2012
About Corinne Kanter
Corinne C. Kanter, affectionately known as the “Waterway Hostess with the Mostess” for her years of entertaining fellow cruisers aboard her catamaran, La Forza.
She is the author of two cookbooks, first, the Galley K.I.S.S. Cookbook and her latest book, The Cruising K.I.S.S. Cookbook, which is a monumental five books in one. It is in its sixth printing and far and away the most popular cruising cookbook ever published. Corinne is well known for the decades of her bi-monthly cooking column, Corinne’s Culinary Corner in MULTIHULLS Magazine. Her theme is: Delicious, Nutritious and Economical.
She publishes articles in many of the popular sailing magazines and often is a panelist with various sailing organizations including SSCA (Seven Seas Cruising Association), where she is a Rear Commodore.
Read also on this website
More information (external links)
- Visit the Kanters’ website
- Buy Cruising Conversations, with a daring duo! from sailcopress.com or amazon.com
What are your favorite cruising memories?
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