F.A.Q.

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Cruising

FAQ: Compilation of Answers from Other Women Cruisers

I asked 25 women some of the common cruising questions that I hear (and a few I was curious about myself) and compiled their answers into A Blog Series: The Cruising Life from Women’s Perspectives.

Part 1: What Makes it Worth it?

Part 2: What Would You do Differently?

Part 3: What has been your most surprising experience?

Part 4: Where Would You Revisit?

Part 5: What is Your Favorite Physical Activity Onboard?

Part 6: What were the biggest struggles for you in your first year? How did you deal with them to get through?

Part 7: What Technology is Essential for You?

Part 8: What is your best piece of advice for people who are getting ready to take off on a cruising adventure? 

Part 9: What has been your scariest moment?

Part 10: Budget Friendly Tips?

Part 11: Social Media Tips and Marketing Your Cruising Blog/Page

Part 12: Your Best Life Hacks for the Cruising Life

Part 13: Your Favorite Photos from Your Travels Thus Far

Part 14: How has Cruising Affected Your Relationships?

Part 15: Let’s Talk About Sex & Cruising

Part 16: Your Biggest Struggle

Part 17: Dealing with Menopause Onboard

Part 18: Your Most Embarrassing Story

Part 19: Do You struggle with Loneliness? How Do you Handle it?

Part 20: Mental Health Struggles Onboard

Part 21: What Do You Wish People Knew About Your Cruising Life?

How Much Does it Cost to Live on a Boat?

All of our costs are posted and linked on our Costs of Cruising page.

What is your Cruising Plan? Where are you going first?

We started looking for our boat in July. We signed papers on our boat in early August 2015. We left Oklahoma the day after Thanksgiving with our adult children, on November 27th, 2015.

All of our travel posts thus far are categorized on Our Travels Page

We are currently (November 2016) prepping the boat and waiting for a weather window to head to Puerto Rico. Our plan is to explore around there for a few months (probably) and take advantage of the cheaper airfare from home to fly in our kids for visits and also for Patrick to fly home for a short time to do some (more) much needed repairs on our house that is now a rental.

After that, we hope to explore the Caribbean some more, we would really love to visit the Virgin Islands, St. Thomas, Grenada… eventually Jamaica, Honduras and so on… we don’t really have any set plans or schedule, just really places that we’d kind of like to see. We’re not really on a ‘trip’ so much as we happen to live on a boat and travel when we feel the urge to move on!

 

 

 

What was it like, Being in the eye of Hurricane Matthew???

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How long will you be gone?

We get this question often.

The answer is, So far, we’re going to be gone for at least one year (because one year is December 1, 2016!)

Or the answer is two years or four years or…

Basically, we don’t know. We assume it will be much like living on the bus was. It was awesome and fun and adventurous. Until it wasn’t anymore. Then we moved back to “normal life” and stayed in Oklahoma.

Right now our “plan” is to just get ON the boat and make sure that we can all hack it (ie: that we can get a handle on my motion sickness issues) and then just enjoy it as long as we can.

We’re renting out our house (pretty long term) to our adult son and some of his friends. We don’t plan to come back to Oklahoma on a permanent basis, we’d be much more likely to settle somewhere near the water so that Patrick can continue to have some sort of boat. But even then, we’ve learned to never say never. Oklahoma has been our home for most of the last 15 years. I don’t know if we’ll be able to stay away forever. Especially when three of our adult kids, SpriteKainan and Paris still live back in the US.  We’ll see.

So, that was a very long way of saying, “Who knows?” 🙂

Who ARE you guys?

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Visit our “Get to know the Crew” page.

Youtube-Channels

Visit our YouTube Channel to see our journey on video as we go!

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Also, check out Abyni’s music channel where she does song covers and originals in various locales as we travel throughout the Caribbean!

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Won’t you guys get sick of each other?

This is THE most commonly asked question I’ve heard.

“Won’t you guys get sick of each other?”

Yes.

We will. 

That’s why we have a boat with 5 separate staterooms.  That was my first requirement when I told Patrick he could seriously look at boats for us.  Everyone has to be able to have their own space.  Plus a guest room.  Now that Paris and Jazz moved back to land to try out ‘normal’ life for a while (and to save up funds for their OWN adventures), we have four regulars onboard all the time. This means we have a room for everyone, and if its not a gazillion degrees, Patrick and I will be sharing a cabin, so we’ll have a guest room, too!

We’re a really close family, sure, but anyone can get tired of humans.  Even awesome humans.

Sometimes one (or all) of us might be pms-ing, or just moody, or bitchy.  And that’s okay.  We learned long ago to recognize when someone needs their space and we give it to them.  Just like in a house. We don’t generally feel the need to “poke the bear” and if needed, a quick, to-the-point reminder will suffice.

When you raise 5 homeschooled kids who like being at home, you learn how to get along or figure out when to take your alone time pretty quickly.  Its never been much of an issue, so I don’t expect it to be an issue on the boat, either.  In general, we all enjoy each others’ sense of humor, hanging out, deep discussions, what have you.  We really do just like each other. There is some extra angst about the fact that Kainan *isn’t* going along for the ride, but other than that, we’re good.

Honestly, I’m a little worried about my OWN self (Byn) more than anyone else.  I’m the one that seems to be hitting hot flashes and mood swings that are out of the park.  I’m more afraid that everyone is going to send me out on the dinghy and not let me come back!

I also wrote about The Challenges of Living in Close Quarters as a Family.

You’re going to LIVE on a Boat??? What?

There are a couple of posts that will sort of answer your question:

Boat Owner??? What?

What is the PLAN?

Patrick’s Backstory (we wouldn’t be here, making this decision, if not for this event)

You can see some Q&A stuff with the kids HERE.

And some reasoning behind it all:

The Life Cleanse

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Pets and Boats/Cruising

Are you taking pets aboard the boat when you go Cruising?

Yes.  Most definitely.

We’re taking a pretty full pet-crew, actually!  There is a full post about our dogs here.

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Tiberius, our part Mini Australian Sheprherd and Border Collie (we think, because she’s a rescue, we can’t be totally sure)

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Cinnamon, our chihuaha (and who knows what else, because she’s a rescue as well.)

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The big one is our son Kainan’s dog. She’ll be staying on land with Kainan.

And… the newest addition is Paris and Jazz’s cat.  As long as she’s up to date on shots and gets fixed before we go, Tempest will be joining us.

 

 

How do you prepare your pets for international travel?

There are some steps that have to be taken before you can take your animals along with you on a boat.

Preparing You Pets for International Travel

A note on pets and microchips

Our dogs already love riding in the car, so that’s a good thing.  Once we get to the boat, we’ll let them take their time getting used to the boat before we take off.  I’ll be adding posts for that topic once we’re on our way!

Preparation

How did you decide to go live on a boat?

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Well, its a long story, I’ll try to summarize as best as I can… Patrick has had the sailing bug since his father announced to the family that they were going to go live on a sailboat.  He’s been trying to convince me that “after the kids are out of the house” we need to go live on a boat.  I’ve always been pretty adamantly against that idea. Mostly because I get horribly motion sick without much motion even needed.  Plus, I’m a little bit terrified of the ocean. Good combination for living on a boat, eh?

Anyway, we inherited some money this year and decided that we would use that money to invest in some property on a tropical island somewhere.  That way we could rent it out most of the year, and then go stay there when life became uncomfortably cold here in Oklahoma. We thought we’d just go on a vacation once or twice a year and check places out until we found the place that felt “right”.

Patrick still had the “live on a boat” bug, because even on our first vacation, he dragged us all to go look at a boat.

I was still in the pretty firm “NO WAY” camp.  I was also in the “I don’t want to live in Jamaica. At. All.” camp.  So no land investment there.

A few months later Patrick and I went to Cozumel, Mexico. I definitely didn’t want to live there, either.  Its been months and I still have scars from the big bites.  There are other reasons that didn’t feel anything like ‘home’, but the bug bites were pretty freaking awful. On the way home, our plane was delayed IN THE AIR for hours.  We hit a lot of turbulence and I thought we were going to fall out of the sky.  It was more than a little terrifying.  On top of that was the cost. We had spent way more on vacations than I was remotely comfortable with. This searching out a new tropical home was getting expensive as hell already, and we’d only been to TWO places!  Ouch.

On top of that, I was starting to feel the need to move on and just… go.  Its hard to explain, but there had just been this disconcerting feeling that we were hitting a wall.  Things just didn’t have that “flow” that they have when you’re doing the right thing.  I don’t know if that even makes sense to anyone else at all.

We arrived back in Oklahoma on July 1st.  On July 7th Patrick mentioned just one more time how much more cost effective (he really knows me well) it would be to go live on a boat and sail around to different places. I finally caved and said, “Okay, I will probably consider going to live on a boat with you.”

He said something along the lines of, “AWESOME!  So, we’ll plan for a year and leave before winter 2016!”

I thought that sounded perfect.  A year to get our business up and going before we left.  A year to get myself mentally prepared for living on the terrifying ocean.  A year to learn about boats and sailing.  Yes.  A year sounded perfect.

36 hours later (yep, you read that right.  36 HOURS) he was in Florida looking at a boat and taking a video tour for us to see.  Three weeks later, the 46′ Norman Cross Trimaran was our boat.  Two months later we finally named her.

Now here we are, preparing to leave the day after Thanksgiving (November 27, 2015).  That’s a little bit faster than I’d planned on… but what can you do?  There are a lot of reasons we sped up the process, but one of those is that the kids were pretty excited about the idea, too, so we really needed to jump on things before they were all out on their own!  So now we are frantically reading up on all things sailing, trying to get the house packed up so we can rent it out, selling all of our “extras” and getting things for boat living.  Its crazy, but not the first time we’ve uprooted to go travel.  Its just that last time it was on a bus and on LAND!

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What About Provisioning? What kind of food/galley stuff are you getting for the boat?

My very first recipes and provisioning posts will be listed on my Recipes and Reviews page

I’m using some of the “emergency” type long term storage foods to test out flavor, consistency and all that for some foods as well as posting some of my all time favorite recipes that will transition well to boat living.

You can read about the details of our provisioning trip(s) here. We spent a lot of time (and money) getting provisions for the Bahamas.

What about your house and your stuff?

The house:  We’ll rent it out.  Kainan (our oldest son) and a couple of his friends will be staying at our house and watching over not only the house and yard, but Diva, the bull mastiff.  They may very well end up living here long term (Kainan may end up staying here forever… he hates to move and doesn’t seem to thrive on change like the rest of us).

The stuff:  We’ll sell.

Yeah, there will be some keepsakes and books that we might keep.  If we decide to go long term, we’ll get rid of everything except for the keepsakes (and by this, I mean a couple of trunks of baby books/photos/albums from the pre-digital age.  That’s it.  The rest is getting sold/donated.  We’re just not the sentimental sort.  I used to be, but after losing a house due to toxic mold, I really realized that the stuff just doesn’t matter.

The stuff that we have right now is mostly going to garage sale piles and getting donated.

The antiques, the cars, the valuables… we’re selling it.

When are you leaving Oklahoma?

We’re planning to have Thanksgiving with our adult kids (Kainan, Sprite, her husband Matt and our grandson Lyric) on Thanksgiving (we used to always celebrate the Sunday after Turkey Day, but this year we’re claiming the actual day. Paris will be with Jazz at his family’s celebration, but I wanted one last time to spend with family before we’re gone for a long period of time.

As it stands right now, we’ll leave early Friday morning on the 27th. We’ll have our 12 passenger van with our sailing dinghy on top, pulling a small trailer with all of our belongings and tools for the boat.

We’ll arrive in West Palm at some point (its a 24 hour drive, so we’ll play it by ear) and finally meet our boat!

We’ll finally have the experience of being on board, getting the feel of our ‘space’ and make some serious decorating plans.

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Have I mentioned how much I love lots of color??? Stay tuned…

There is a haul out scheduled for December 1st so we can do a few repairs and redo the bottom paint.  Everything after that is just playing it by ear.

Keep an eye out for the videos and DIY posts that will come from that adventure!

 

The Boat

How did you choose the name?

That’s a little bit of a story.  When we bought the boat, it was named “Southern Cross”. If you know us at all, you’ll know that name doesn’t fit us in any possible way.  The story of our name change is here in this post.

*Stay tuned for our post and video about the rituals we’ll be following for changing the name of boat to avoid the bad luck associated with it!

How was the mizzen mast repaired, and what steps did you take to insure a similar failure doesn’t happen again?

First order of business was extracting the mast from the deck.

You can see the photos of the entire process HERE

We accomplished this by backing the boat up to the mangroves and using a combination of a large tree, many lines and blocks, and our anchor windlass to slowly pull the mast out and lay it on deck.

Next came repair of the deck itself and fabrication of a proper mast step.
I used two staggered layers of 3/4″ marine plywood to repair the hole, utilizing stainless screws and plenty of epoxy to insure a solid bond.
I then covered the entire area (about six square feet) with many layers of fiberglass and built up the mast step itself with even more layers.
The structure under the mast is now considerably stronger than it was before.
The area under the mast and above the compression post is now approximately four inches thick, representing almost 2″ of marine plywood and another 2″ of fiberglass laid with West System epoxy.


With the help of a local welder, I designed and had made a proper steel cup to serve as the mounting plate on the mast step. It’s made out of 3/8″ steel and has 2″ tall ears on every side of the base of the mast. This cup is bolted through the deck to a solid 3/4″ backing plate. In addition, I put a stainless steel cup with a 1 3/8″ stainless through bolt on the base of the mast. This cup fits inside the cup mounted to the deck, and the large stainless pin through the base of the mast sits inside cutouts in the mast step to further impede sideways movement.

The resulting piece of engineering is robust enough to withstand just about anything. If this mast step ever fails, then the captain will have much bigger problems to worry about than a downed mizzen mast. The conditions it would take to make the new design fail would surely break many more things.

Seriously, though, how big is this boat?

Seriously?  Its big. You can see the “floor plans” aka Interior Arrangement in my post HERE.

We used to live in a 40 foot long converted Greyhound bus.  The boat is three times that size.  (Of course the kids are a lot bigger than they were back then, too!)

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Here is a photo of a boat that is the same size as ours.  This one is a slightly different design, but the same size.  I almost flipped out when I saw how TINY the people looked on this thing.

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^ This is the same boat we have, but ours is a little older. Also, our cabins are built in now, but they used to be open like the ones in the photos here:

Other posts with photos of the boat are here:

Meet Our Galley By the Numbers

Organizing Provisions and Long Term Storage (Ie: See the ins and outs of the storage on our boat!)

Land Life vs. Boat Life:

Laundry Room vs. Hand Washing

Bedrooms vs. Cabins

The Kitchen vs. the Galley

The Living Room vs. the Salon

You can see the boat ‘in action’ on our YouTube Episodes and the Video Tour of the Boat.

I also want to sketch out a very basic floor plan idea as well.  This is all I could get from the original plans that came with the boat.  Its pretty impossible to see much of anything.  I’m hoping that maybe with a lightbox I can trace it onto something more legible.

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What Kind of Boat is it?

Its a 1975 Norman Cross Trimaran. All of our posts specifically about the boat are here:

Trimaran

She has 5 staterooms (4 double, one single), two heads (bathrooms) a galley (kitchen), navigation station and nice size salon.  Up top is the deck, swim platform and pilot house.

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The Galley
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Other side of the galley
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Salon
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View from the salon to the galley
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The Pilot House
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This is the starboard staterom (with a big closet that you can’t see in this pic) There is an identical one on the port side.
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One of the aft staterooms (there is a head between these two)

Want more? You can get the FULL tour here!

You can also keep up with our upcoming journey (and a LOT more boat projects)!

Just sign up for our weekly newsletter here:

 

Why did the mizzen mast fail during the crossing from Turks and Caicos to Dominican Republic?
In the end, the loss of the mizzen mast was due to a design flaw that neither I or the surveyor noticed when we bought it.
The usual way of supporting the base of a mast is to have a ‘cup’ bolted through the deck that encloses the base of the mast and keeps it from moving sideways. In our case, the base of the mast was simply sitting on a flat surface. I always assumed that there was a large steel pin in the center of the base that kept it in place.
Alas, that was not the case. We were sailing in 15-20 knot winds and 6-10 ft seas, when we were suddenly struck by a wave much larger than the rest (call it a rogue wave). This thing was easily 20 ft or more, though since it was night and I could not see it coming your guess is as good as mine. Our trimaran sits VERY level, even in boisterous seas. The most she’d ever tilted was maybe five or ten degrees. When this large wave struck us, we were lifted 20 feet or more into the air and tilted at about 35-40 degrees, first to starboard as we rode up the wave and then to port as we came down the back side.
The lack of a proper mast step revealed itself on the downward side of the wave, and the base of the mast came off the reinforced step, penetrating the deck instantly and becoming lodged in between the deck and two bulkheads (which it also penetrated on the way down). Note that neither the standing rigging nor the mast itself failed. It simply came off the step and penetrated the deck. 

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