Sunday, September 1, 2013

That one thing

Tim and I have been talking about the recent surge of cruisers who are giving up the cruising life for something else on land. Some of them are success stories, people who set out to cruise for a predetermined time, cruised for that time, and are now heading into another venture on land - families, new jobs, business ventures. Some of them are people who set out to cruise and along the way met with a dream they didn't know they had and changed courses. Some of them are tragedies for sure, illnesses, accidents, and the like, but it's the very few out-and-out failures that we have been examining, turning them over in our discussion to see if there is anything we might learn. After a few days of this off and on between boat work, I think we've decided that in most cruising dream failures, the failure is the result of That.One.Thing.

Anyone who has lived on a boat knows what That One Thing is. It's the one thing that drives you crazy nearly every single day. It's a different thing for every cruiser. For some it's the fact that you have to dig to the bottom of the top-loading fridge every time you need to find something. For some it's the three minute showers due to the water rationing, for some it's an uncomfortable bed, for some it's the lack of communication with friends, for some it's the extended togetherness...the list goes on and is as varied as the individuals who are cruising.

We decided that success in cruising is certainly dependent on a variety of factors: personality, expectations, money, mechanical abilities, etc., but in the end it's That One Thing, the straw that breaks the camel's back that pushes someone over the edge and sends them back to land. It's important to remember that we all experience things like this on land as well, but everything on a boat is intensified because of the constraints of small spaces and the sometimes harsh environment. What to do? We decided that as much as is possible we need to isolate those things and find a way to make them better. While the fridge is not my personal thing, for some it's a big issue and so it would be a great idea to find a way to organize the fridge in a way that it makes it easier to access. Ours happens to be filled with those extra-large blue Ziploc bags with the handles. We have one for cheese, butter and yogurt, one for meat, one for veggies etc.They're exactly the height of our fridge, are easy to lift out and easy to see through to find what you're looking for. If the shower is your thing, determine that you're going to stop at a marina with showers at least once a month so you can luxuriate for a lengthy time. Budget for it, and stick to your guns. If it's an uncomfortable bed, spend some money to customize it. We had a custom mattress made for our V-berth and it was the best money we ever spent. It's actually more comfortable than the bed we had in the condo. We had it done at Verlo Mattress and it wasn't very expensive. A cheap 4" memory foam topper from Wally World finished it out for us.

The hardest thing about all of this is identifying what it is for you, and then communicating it to your cruising partner(s). We have this inherent resistance to being honest with ourselves and an even greater inability of communicating those things to those who love us, but if you can stop the buildup of frustration, then the straw is not likely to break the camel's back.

Do you know what your one thing is?


S/V Veranda said...

Just one?

Latitude 43 said...

I think the deep dive fridge is pretty common. I flung stuff all over the cabin trying to find tomato paste once. Never did find it, but I scored a Sam Adams and some spicy olives I forgot I had. Always a silver lining in there somewhere.

I can't think of any one thing except maybe crab pots. I never expected them to be friggin everywhere, but I'll deal with it.

I'm not sure what Deb's one thing is. I'm afraid to ask. It might have skinny legs and a beard.

TJ said...

That’s why I’m holding out to buy the biggest, fanciest, dingy we can afford when we get to the coast. It will be someplace to stay when she tosses me overboard.

Deb said...

That's why the dingy name will be "The Dog House" LOL

(I do love you honey :)

Capt. Mike said...

We might need to get together when you get moved. I have a 10 foot fiberglass bottom dingy with a 15 yamaha I am thinking about dowsizing. Its a little hard to handle with our canoe stern. We are currently located in Annapolis.
Capt. Mike
S/V Zoe

Unknown said...

Tim, I can see you putting a 150hp on the back of the Dingy. LOL

Deb said...

@Mike - Unfortunately I don't think we have any way to carry a 10ft RIB because of our cutter stay. We can't have davits either because of our narrow stern so I'm not sure what we're going to do yet. Friends of ours have a Port-a-bote that might be a good option for us because we can stow it on the lifelines.

Capt. Mike said...

I had a chance to use a mercury dinghy in Hawaii a few years ago. It was 9.5 feet with an inflatable bottom and inflatable keel. I was very impressed with the performance and it folded up completely and stored in a bag about the size of a large life raft. That is the direction I am thinking about going if I can't come up with an easier way to handle this one. The inflatable bottom would be nice to sleep on too!