Friday, August 1, 2014

Land life and Cruising

I belong to a couple of the sailing groups on Facebook. My favorite by far is Women Who Sail because, since it's a closed group, women feel safe to confide their fears and concerns about sailing and cruising, and they are many. Sometimes someone will become particularly down or frustrated about some aspect of cruising, most of which either involves the space constraints, or their significant other, or their significant other in constrained space.

Today I was working on rebedding two fixed skylights on The Floating Bear, each of which was about 5 x 7 inches and should have taken maybe 2 hours apiece. That would be on any normal boat but, this being The Bear, it of course took all day since there were 4 different sealants involved, stacked on top of each other, the bottom one of which was Liquid Nails. For those of you who do not already realize that you never, ever use Liquid Nails on a sailboat, the reason is because after a few years Liquid Nails becomes highly brittle and crumbles away. Not a good choice for skylight rebedding anywhere, but particularly so in South Florida, the land of the daily thunderstorm. So as I spent hours on end digging out the old sealant, I had a lot of time to think.

I was rehashing in my mind some of the posts I had read the night before on Women Who Sail and it occurred to me that many new cruisers have forgotten that just because you're living on a sailboat doesn't mean that the normal problems associated with living and relationships on land have been left behind. There is still the issue of finances, wet towels still get left on the floor, you still get tired after a day at work (and every day on a boat is a day at work), toilets leak, the dinghy/family car still doesn't run on occasion, and it rains at the most inconvenient times. And don't forget to add to that the stress of being on unfamiliar territory while possibly missing some required skills to cope and missing family.  If you go cruising thinking that these things won't happen because you're living the dream, you will be horribly disappointed.

Early on in our cruising preparations, Brittany from wrote a piece on having realistic expectations. It was a short, simple post, but one that really hit home. I think it's done us a world of good because, in light of our recent cruising derailment, had we not had realistic expectations we might have quit. As it is, we've learned to have a little thicker skin, to take things in stride, and always to find something to laugh about.

My grandson Julian peeking around the corner of my galley. This is his favorite place.

So, if you're in the preparation stage of the cruising dream, remember that you can't run away from your problems. You will be taking them with you, and dealing with them in a much smaller space under much more stressful conditions. Dream your dream large, but temper it with realistic expectations and your cruising time will be much the better for it.


Carolyn said...

Absolutely true! And funny because just yesterday, I'd added "The Dream vs. Reality" to my list of blog post ideas . . .

S/V Island Bound said...

Very well written!

Matt Mc. said...

Wherever you go, there you are.