Our second article in Windword. We're really enjoying writing these together. Asa started this one off with some ideas and points... then we kind of take turns making revisions, passing it back and forth between ourselves.
You can also find a PDF and Print Versions at BCYC.
What do we really want?
We’ve talked to many boat owners and former boat owners since we’ve decided to round the world at a walking pace.
The one thing we found many of them had in common was that they ended up with something quite different from what they originally sought. In our experiences thus far, it comes down to knowledge gained, experiences, and the steady pace from day to day thinking, visualizing, and trying to make that dream a reality.
When we first started looking for our future floating home, we had little idea of what exactly we were looking for; we had a pie in the sky dream of living aboard a beautiful boat and eventually sailing her around the world. We scoured cruiser blogs, forums and Youtube channels.
In the course of plying Youtube cruisers, we stumbled across a younger couple who had sold everything chasing down their dream. They had limited sailing experience, but were ready and willing to traverse the steep learning curve from comfortable landlubbers to full-blown cruisers in a very short amount of time. Like us, they did everything right that turned out to be wrong - copious amounts of research, saved every penny, found the best surveyor, bought their first catamaran and began sailing her with reckless abandon.
They were brave enough to post their experiences online and quickly felt the wrath that is the collective consciousness we all know as the internet.
We guess we didn’t realize it then, having joined in on the chorus of neigh saying, but their experience became part of our own.
We first thought that a small catamaran was what we wanted. We visualized ourselves laying out with sea spray coming through the trampoline along the backdrop of an infinite expanse of blue. We imagined having two separate cabins and a bridge with plenty of room for us to lounge and entertain family and friends. We took mental notes of the errors they made and said we’d know better.
Then the realities set in, and we’re still learning about how difficult it really is to even get started. Every sea worthy catamaran was priced well above our budget. We realized that despite all our research, we knew nothing. Despite all our planning, we would only really repeat the same mistakes - just in our own ways.
We consulted financial planners to avert the risk of financial catastrophe only to essentially be told to give up.
We researched the cost to cruise only to find that it’s expensive beyond our means.
We scoured the internet for boats and found that we had no idea what made a good boat a good boat.
It’s interesting because after we decided to do this, and took our own small steps to somehow getting there, the message gradually started to change.
Every now and again, we’d talk to someone like Paul Terrell, a great friend and mentor who runs a donation-based yoga studio in Portland, who simply said that he had lived on a boat before and they were some of the best years of his life - and left it at that.
While trying to find a place to park our RV in San Francisco, we were invited to camp out at NIMBYspace. Clody, a chance rideshare from Craigslist we had given a year earlier turned out to be running an artist community - and the two weeks we spent there were filled with encouraging messages of, “Cool, my friend fixed up and sailed a boat, let me give you his number.”
That was a year ago, and now we’ve discovered that a small catamaran is inconceivable for our purposes. We’ve had to throw out everything we thought we knew and begin again.
So no to catamarans, on to monohulls.
Throwing out the catamaran version of our dream opened up a whole ‘nuther world from which we had previously unconsciously excluded ourselves.
We started to create a list of necessities and deal-breakers for our future monohulled-home. We gathered that the boat should be at least 32 feet long for our blue water aspirations. Sure, people have completed circumnavigations on smaller vessels- however, just because you can do something doesn’t make it a good idea. We want to feel safe and happy after all.
Being honest with ourselves about why we want to sail quickly removed the land loving luxuries that helped us to decide that the simplicity of less is more - we would like to able to comfortably and competently handle our vessel with just the two of us, and solo should the other be sick or incapacitated in some way.
With some basic guidelines in place, our boat search continues…