I think all of us learned something in that first bit of time, even if we’ve only been cruising for a little while. Those who have been cruising longer will have yet another perspective… here is this week’s question:
What is your best piece of advice for people who are getting ready to take off on a cruising adventure?
Abyni @AbynisYouTube PROVISION. Everybody says “don’t bother stocking up on provisions before the Bahamas, you can buy food there.” DON’T LISTEN. Food is much more expensive here and there are quite often fewer choices. I’m so glad that we bought a LOT of Provisions before we left Florida.
Alexandra @SVBanyan Looking back now, after four years of cruising? I would say, like the Nike ad says, “Just Do It !” Find your Dream (whatever it is), make some plans to move towards the dream, stick to them. In the meantime, understand that your dream will not be the same, or sometimes even understood by others, and that’s ok, don’t allow discouragement to creep through. Plans are flexible and sometimes adjustments will need to happen, but that’s normal, that’s Life. In the End, Go! Live your Dream. Everything else will fall into place!
Barb @HartsatSea Do it. If this is something you both want to do, get the boat safe and go. We have some financial challenges and are back in the US to take care of them. No regrets. Those five years were everything we hoped for and more, and —while often challenging—we never experienced our worst case scenarios. We messed up sometimes, we were brilliant others, we met amazing people, we visited beautiful ports, we fought and made-up, we met more amazing people, we made life-long friends, we found self-expression in music (EW) and writing (me) and we pushed ourselves in ways we’d not experienced before. This is not for everyone, and those who are “talked into it” are not happy, but if you are open and excited about this, figure out how to do it.
Carla @SVMahi You don’t need as much stuff as you think you do. When planning, think simply. We are forever giving non-essentials items away.
Carly @SaltyKisses Don’t over think it, just do it. Spend the time finding the right boat for your situation and go, don’t spend years refitting only to find out all your cruising kitty has been spent. There’s no such thing as the perfect boat, compromises will have to be made.
CJGrabens @SVRagnarok Ease into it slowly, have low expectations. Because with low expectations if something mediocre happens then you’re stoked about it. Be prepared to do a lot of work. Be prepared to do a lot of nothing.
Cheri @SVConsort Two things,one practical and one philosophical: Other than spares, don’t buy things you “might” need. If you don’t need it today, you probably won’t use it later. There are tons of cool gadgets to tempt you, but hold off until you are sure you really need it. Space is at a premium, and no one wants to waste money on gizmos they will actually never use.
Also, delays and unexpected repairs just happen. And there is nothing to be done sometimes but just sigh and change the plan. We lost our mast before leaving Florida due to a marina employee’s moment of inattention Demasted Marathon, and it was really tough to be philosophical about it, but the lesson was that we just aren’t always in control, and clinging to what was expected more than doubles the pain. So, let that stuff go and re-work the plan as quickly and fluidly as possible. I like to say our plans are written in salt water…
Crystal @LetitBreeze Don’t be in such a hurry to get to paradise that you pass through it without noticing. Take the time to truly enjoy every stop. This is an amazing experience, so go slow and soak it up.
Duwann @MakeLikeAnApeMan Study up – but don’t spend too much time studying that you never go. There is so much you can only learn when you are out there on the water. Let the water teach you!
Jenny @SVRocketScience Talk to people who have been there and done it and listen to advice! Smart people learn from other people’s mistakes. Find out about the availability of your favorite things at the location you are going to and stock up if there’s something you can’t live with. But – don’t over provision! People in other countries need to eat, too! (You should have seen my boat the first time we left to sail to Mexico…)
Katy @SVKlickitatII You don’t have to know everything when you start out. Know enough to be safe, then learn as you go – I guarantee you some crazy adventures!
Kerry @YaNevaKnow Best advise – communicate, communicate, communicate……just like location, location, location when it comes to real estate!!! You and your partner will now experience a very different life, talk about everything openly and honestly, solve the problem or issue as soon as it arises, talk calmly and quietly = NEVER SHOUT!!! Develop a routine that works between you, learn and practise your role, know what needs to be done and be ready to do it. Your life may depend on it, especially if you run into trouble e.g. taking down sails in a sudden wind, putting in reefs, picking up anchor. Learn how everything works on the boat, be able to operate it solo if necessary, have a MOB strategy in your head or written down at the helm. Look around you, become familiar with your boat, how it sounds, check lines, sails, provisions, water, pumps……Its amazing what you may stumble across or find by consciously looking, hearing and observing – all the time
Kristie @Sale2Sail Just do it!! You’ll never be mentally prepared, your boat will never be perfect, you’ll never have enough money saved. Just get out here as soon as out can and wing it!! The perfect time is now!!! Our only regret was not doing this sooner. You can not prepare for everything while on land, but you can get out here and compromise and learn along the way. They way I imagined it would be while living on land is much different than it actually is. I stressed way too much beforehand
Liza @TravelPod Just do it! Don’t spend all your time on a dock trying to perfect the boat. Just make sure all safety issues are covered and GO! We left the dock with no lights in the aft interior, projects that either weren’t complete or hadn’t been started, and guess what? Some *still* haven’t been started because our priorities changed! You won’t know what you truly need, or what works for you until you try it!! So just GO!
Laura @FortunesAfloat Get some bluewater experience to see if you really enjoy cruising, then get a sturdy offshore boat that’s comfortable for living aboard (because that’s what you are doing 80% of the time), outfit your boat for living off the grid, and go! You can always fix or change things along the way. In fact, you will be fixing things along the way, so bring lots of good tools.
Melinda @BurnettsAhoy 1. Have at least one experienced sailor/cruiser you can CALL for advice wherever you are in the world. 2. Start a blog, or at minimum an email newsletter, for your family and friends, especially if you have kids. It really helps those at home who care about you.
Melinda Taylor Go! Just drop the lines and go. You’ll never feel really ready, but you are. You were from the moment the dream first appeared. OK, so maybe if you bought the boat yesterday you should practice a bit first, especially anchoring.
Melissa @SVSlowDancing Put on your big people pants and GO!
Sarah Gayle Trust your gut – if it feels wrong, take a moment to think about why. You are smarter than you may realize.
Sarah @YoginiSailor Prepare yourself for hard times and challenges. The cruising life is amazing but not as romantic as most people think.
Stacey @SVSmitty The advise that I would give to anyone getting ready to cruise is to keep an open mind and open heart in order to fully appreciate this experience. Also, have a date picked and just go. You and the boat will never be totally ready and neither of you are getting any younger.
Susie @Wanderings Go for it, don’t wait for the right boat or having enough funds in the bank – if you keep on planning you’ll never get out there.
Tammy @ThingsWeDidToday No matter where you go… you’re in SOMEBODY’s familiar cruising grounds. When we were in the planning stages I prepared for the end of times. I don’t know why, but I thought we were falling off the edge of the planet. I was afraid there wouldn’t be food, or water, or fuel. I was afraid that we would be taking our boat into unknown waters fraught with shallow rocks and tight spaces just waiting to crunch our boat to bits. But it’s nothing like that. There are people living in almost all of the places we’ve been and even though the guide books and other resources post dire warnings about the dangers of tide and current and shallow waters… with a little common sense and a bit of experience, you will be surprised at how your comfort zone expands and grows within a short time. You will feel a sense of accomplishment that you just can’t get from any paycheck!
Byn @OhSailYes My best piece of advice is take ALL advice with a grain of salt.
You know yourself better than most (at the very least). If you say you want to provision ahead, because you know that you hate to go grocery shopping, don’t let anyone tell you that “the shopping is part of the experience and its FUN” or whatever. In my own experience, I dislike errands and grocery shopping just as much in the Bahamas as I do in Oklahoma, maybe even MORE, since the prices were three times as high for a lot of things I tried to buy!
Do whatever you need to do to feel as comfortable as you can (especially when you’re just starting out… the transitions are PLENTY without adding extra, unnecessary discomfort).
If nice clothes are important to you and ironing sheets, don’t let anyone tell you that you “can’t” live on a boat like that. (I personally dress like a hobo, switching out between the only three pairs of black shorts with three identical black tank tops for the last eight months and I haven’t ironed in YEARS, but YOU do you. Take what you need to make your boat comfortable to you. You might decide after a while that its not necessary, but you might decide that it saved your sanity!)
Basically, don’t let anyone tell you that you CAN’T do something because THEY wouldn’t do it. Of course I wouldn’t recommend practicing free diving in high seas during a storm, but I am hoping that most people have enough common sense to get the gist of what I’m saying. If you feel that there is only One Right Way to be a Cruiser, then you are going to be really stressed out trying to make yourself fit into someone else’s mold.
Enjoy it, be yourself and do what you need to do to feel educated enough, comfortable enough and at home enough to get through the rough times when they come. And really REALLY take the time to appreciate and soak up the good times when you have them!
A lot of cruising women were awesome enough to contribute to this blog series about women who are living/lived the cruising life. Whether they’ve been cruising for 6 months or 30 years, these are the perspectives of various women from different parts of the world. I know I’m already learning from their stories, I hope you can learn something new as well! I’ll be posting a question from this series every Wednesday and Friday for the 10 week series, so keep an eye out for our posts! The topics range in topic from typical cruising questions, to more personal anonymous stories that might make you feel like you’ve met a kindred spirit.
If you are a current or former cruising woman and would like to contribute to future posts, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Cruising Questions from Byn” and I’ll send you the list of questions. Answer as many as you like and return with a few photos and I’ll add your contribution as we go
See the other posts in this series:
Part 1: What Makes it Worth it?
Part 2: What Would You do Differently?
Part 4: Where Would You Revisit?
Part 10: Budget Friendly Tips?
Part 11: Best Social Media Tips?
Part 12: Your Best Life Hacks for the Boat
Part 13: Your Favorite Photo
Part 15: Let’s Talk About Sex