Sunday, November 28, 2010


One of the lessons we have learned in our four seasons on the boat is that things break...all the time. Some of our land-based friends and family have questioned whether we are not more prone than others to mechanical misfortunes. Some have even questioned whether we are ready to give up this cruising life and settle down on land where things don't break as often.

It's hard to convince some people that fixing things on your boat is part of the fun and adventure.

Our dear cruising friend Chris Erickson penned this eloquent explanation. With her permission I share it with you in the hope that the non-believers will begin to understand:

Definition of cruising: "Fixing your boat in exotic ports of call"

Dear Non-cruisers: imagine your house, your lovely house, with fully equipped kitchen, bathrooms, bedrooms, living room, spectacular outdoor patio, and deck.

With your house comes a sewage treatment plant, your own electrical grid, water tanks, and fuel. Now imagine that house being rocked side-to-side, front to back, leaned, pivoted, and quite often dropped (off waves) in varying degrees of severity 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Oh yeah--and it is sitting in sea water whose only job is to seize, rust, oxidize, and eventually eat everything around you.

Now--how long do you think your house can take it before things start to break? Even brand new boats require constant attention. Sailboats even more than motor boats because of so many moving parts.

It's impossible to stay ahead of it all. So--the endeavor of cruising takes a certain personality type. It takes someone who can embrace their inner project junky and find challenge, humor, and a good story in the mishaps and mis-adventures.

When cruisers get together, do you really think they talk about how last night's sunset compared to the one the night before? No! They exchange stories of battles won with a recalcitrant head ("toilet" to landlubbers), struggles with an engine, near-misses in the dark, lines wrapped around props, ant invasions, ripped sails, dead electronics, and on and on.

It's the stuff that goes WRONG that makes good stories! It may not be what you want to deal with at the time, but it is the triumphs over the trials that you remember as much as the beautiful locations, great sails, and new friends. Take heart, Landlubber friends; cruisers aren't complaining. Engine woes et al are just part of a good tale being told.

Keep the tales coming Margaret!

Thanks,Chris. You bet I will.

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