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The above is our boat logo.  We will have this on our boat cards, boat stamp, T-shirts, etc. 

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Captain Husband monkeying with the new sail.  The performance enhancement was most noticable compared to the very flat rag that was the behind-the-mast mess.

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We considered having the sail logo put on our mainsail but, thankfully, we rethought and decided on the more traditional graphics of the Tayana logo and sail number.  In our case, the sail number is 52030.  So, anyone looking at the boat underway would logically say to themselves that our boat was a 52′ Tayana, hull number 30.

OK…enough about our boat graphics.

I’ve been accused more than once, on more than one blog, of being snarky, aggressive, and even hateful. At times, when I read a comment or post I’ve made back to myself I have to agree with the detractor who feels it’s time to bring me down a notch or two. I suppose there are times when being a bubble buster is an accurate description; I’d like to think that hateful never is. What I’m at least trying to do is offer an objective point of view.

The sailing community is not unlike other groups. They try to be different…but so do the others. It seems that if you put any given group of people together, joined only by an interest in a common hobby, there is always going to be that certain segment who set themselves up as the guardians of acceptability. That might even be a good thing. I value people who may know more than me. The rub, so to speak, is that so many offer themselves up as authorities that everyone is a self promoted expert. And, to me, that is a big rub.

Most sailing blogs are huge on self-promotion. Most I come across seem to be written by the ladies who appear to be tripping over themselves to be one of these authorities. They actively encourage their readers to continue to read and refer to their site. They sometimes have huge blog rolls. They are polite. Lots and lots of pictures. The stated motive for their blog is often sprinkled somewhere with the phrase inspire others.

Well, as George Carlin used to say, “It’s all bullshit, folks, and it’s bad for ya.”

I’m all for those who want to set themselves up as Neptune under the guise of inspiring others…but, hell, learn to swim before you start sharpening the points of your scepter. The other day, on a blog was a blurb: “Help us grow…LIKE us on Facebook.” I asked myself what they wanted to grow into. The couple had only been sailing for five months. And, then I read this:

“The waves got bigger and the fetch got shorter.”

OK, maybe it was a typo and instead of fetch, they actually meant period. Fetch is the distance over water that a given wind has blown. Period is the time it takes for a wave to move one cycle. They are not the same.  But, who cares? The point is that this sentence simply makes no sense, composed by someone who hasn’t a clue…attempting to inspire someone.  They continued:

“We spent Friday night and Saturday night on a ball [mooring ball] and did not drop the dinghy to go to shore. We flew the Q flag and took our chances. Supposedly, moorings are $10/night on the honor system. You go pay on shore. Maybe it was because of the weekend, but no one came out to greet us so we didn’t pay. We were too tired to launch the dinghy when we didn’t plan on staying here more than a day.”

Now, that’s just great, isn’t it? I just love this. These two “sailors” pull into an anchorage in which the fee is a measly ten bucks to be paid on the “honor system”…and they were “too tired” after an humongous “passage” of 40-50 miles or so in 3’-5’ seas. Give me a frigging break. From the write up one would have thought these two had fought Cape Horn for three days in gale force winds.

Not hardly.

I’m probably being too harsh. This couple seems to be having fun and doing their thing and I can appreciate that. They need to be forgiven for not realizing that stealing is stealing and a thief is a thief. Anyway, I’m pretty sure we’ll never extend a social invitation their way.

One of the monumental memes is “just go.” In its simplest form is says don’t worry about whether you can sail or not…just go. Don’t worry if your boat is perfect…just go. Don’t worry about having kids on the boat…just go. Don’t worry about money or your future…just go. And, so on. Essentially, it boils down to don’t worry about being responsible…just go. Don’t worry…be happy.

The old liberal hippy in me appreciates this approach a little bit. I can admire that kind of bravado from afar because I’m older and will never be crew on their boats. The reality of this mindset is that by and large this group actually fairs pretty well. The old adage that “the crew will give up long before the boat does” is probably, in most situations, pretty accurate. Face it, for the most part, long after the crew is scared shitless and is praying to never even so much as taste salt water again, their boat is still just bobbing along. So, many get by with it and, well, just go.

Others, not so much. Rebel Heart comes to mind. Assuming everything that was written about that disaster put that situation in the best possible light it still doesn’t negate the fact that the boat the couple chose was said to be coming apart in seas it should have handled easily. And, try as I may, I still can’t shake the post that was made on their blog where the Captain went out and cut a piece of bamboo to use as a whisker pole. (We have a whisker pole and have yet to use it, it’s very heavy aluminum, of course, and designed for our yacht. I don’t mention the bamboo whisker pole to throw darts so much as to illustrate the “just go” mentality of some. Unless absolutely necessary, with absolutely necessary being the operative phrase, why would someone want to take on the Pacific with, metaphorically, bailing wire and duct tape?)

I read somewhere after the Kaufman’s rescue where the Captain said something to the effect that “obviously I wished we’d never left the dock.” I’m sure he does. They lost everything in the fiasco and my heart really does go out to them…they are a beautiful family. No matter how objectively I try to look at their circumstance – because I’ve read their entire blog – it always comes down to me that the Rebel Heart fiasco was doomed before it ever started. It just seems they got caught up in the just go syndrome. Now, just as they approach middle age this beautiful family has to start completely over.

As they say, it’s all fun and games until… Well, you know.

But, as unfortunate as the Kaufman’s situation turned out, an ill prepared trip resulting in losing one’s boat is not the only way reality slaps someone around.

A couple of years ago, I stumbled upon a typical sailing blog. From the comments and blog rolls of others I was expecting something unique for the blog seemed to have high traffic…lots of folks/blogs seemed to follow the site. I was disappointed.

This couple had the boat, they were both fairly attractive, had a gorgeous toddler and by all accounts were living the cruiser’s dream. But, looking closer it appears they had a bit of white privilege and affluence as well. I always got the vibe from their posts that if everything went severely South in any way they’d have a safety net of sorts…very much not like the Rebel Hearts. (I feel the same way about the Bumfuzzles…who cares, right?)

The author of the blog seems nice enough, but with a smug slant. For this site, it was all about the traffic. Top 10 lists. Sponsor write-ups. Sailing media contributors. Invitations to Follow them on most of the social media sites. The obligatory self-published book. Lots about kids. And, most amusingly, a solicitation to Donate to their cause. When I started reading their blog the only thing I could think of was “Damn, how do they do all of this…I’m tired just reading their home page.”

I read until I had enough. The wife became pregnant again, and both of them moved off the boat until the infants would be older, 12-18 months old, or something like that. I really didn’t pay much attention. The rah-rah-rah of insane motherhood lost it attraction for me a long time ago.

So, the other day I stopped by to see what was up with them. It seemed the air had kinda sorta been let out of their balloon. From their blog:

“Every day I get emails from people asking questions on how to make their dreams of living on a boat come true. They want to know the secret to breaking out of the rat race and find a way to fill the cruising kitty and fund their dreams. “How do you do it?” they want to know.

The truth is: we don’t know. We have no answers. We have no magic to share. We’re not living our dream. We’re not making it happen. Sure, it worked for a while. But now? Not so much”

Aside from perfectly illustrating the whole point of this blog post, I found this to be a brutally honest assessment, for she goes on to say:

“And herein lies the downside of choosing an alternative lifestyle at relatively young ages: [We have] no real fallback plan.

We sold our cars, left our jobs, and all our money went into our boat and our dream. We have no home. We have no significant savings. We are living with my parents for crying out loud (which we are incredibly grateful for because we’d be living in a van by the river otherwise). We have no idea where to go from here and it feels like we’re starting from square one, except we’re not in our twenties, but in our mid to late thirties with three small children. You can praise our lifestyle all you want, but right now we are hardly “living the dream”. In fact from our vantage point (and I’m sure the vantage point of others) – we feel like utter failures.”

Well, I actually like the Internet persona of those I reference above and have no desire to beat up on them here. However, their post goes on and on with them essentially second guessing themselves. Platonically running scenarios of which none of the outcomes is palatable. They actually lay out a situation that has often perplexed me when I read about something similar.  How can twenty/thirty somethings, even very successful twenty/thirty somethings, buy fairly expensive to very expensive boats, sell everything they own, pack up the kids, and sail off into the sunset hell bent on living the dream until they are broke and destitute?  They’ve more guts than I ever had, and that, in itself, is admirable.

The sailing net is filled with people who have sold everything, want to live off the grid, have no air conditioning and spend days and nights smothering in the heat, watching every single penny, have no back-up plan, etc. And on and on and on …blah…blah…BLAH. These people, admirably, give up a huge amount of time, money, and effort to live the dream of being on a boat…miserably. Who wants to camp out in a hot, stinky, damp, rancid boat with none of the luxuries of even decent living for the sake of a dream? I’m sure there are some who do, but I’m not one of them.

Yes, I’ve been accused of being snarky before.

A while back when our yacht was out of the water, one of the hands at Seabrook Marina pointed out a beautiful, pristine 48’ Tayana. It was a gorgeous yacht.  He went on about how they had to do just a bit of minor work on the boat, something simple. I said to him how nice the boat looked. He said that yes it did, but it smelled so bad below decks that they could hardly stay inside of it.

Sooooo…

While I’m on a rant here, and entirely off the subject, if anyone reading this plans on taking their big dogs with them to live 24/7 on their boat I say more power to you. But, please don’t forget that no matter what you do, no matter how careful you are, no matter how hard you try to keep it clean…if your dog takes a dump on your poop deck a couple of times everyday, sooner or later your boat is going to smell like dog shit…inside and out…whether you think so or not.

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