Frequent readers of this blog know we have become very dependent upon satellite communications. In fact, we have three different satellite technologies on board Dirona, as described in Communications at Sea. Here, we complete a quick survey of the satellite systems on Dirona, our experience with them, and why we upgraded to the KVH V7-HTS system four months ago. Our…
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We crossed 9,500 hours our John Deere 6068AFM75 main engine on the 243nm run from Dublin, Ireland to Falmouth, UK. This run would take us past the strong and sometimes dangerous currents off the most western tip of the UK at Land’s End, so we we left just before midnight to catch favourable tides. Conditions…
How long will you be away each year– the vast majority of cruisers (power and sail) see little point in sitting out the whole of their cruising region’s winter in a marina, particularly after doing it once, so they mostly return home to see their families and friends.An exception to this is that many European cruisers prefer the kinder winter weather in a location like the Med to that in their own country.
It’s great fun to be in a harbour or marina but we choose not to spend the whole winter there
How many years will you cruise for– the short answer is as long as you are enjoying it and health, funds and other circumstances permit. About five years would be typical and we’ve rarely met cruisers who’ve lived aboard for more than ten.
Dependent family – most of the cruising community are in the age group mid-50s to mid-70s without school-age children and cruisers living aboard with children are rare. When we started cruising we each had an elderly parent who accepted we were living our lives to the full, appreciated our weekly phone call and enjoyed our home visits.
Family and Friends – ofcourse you miss your family and close friends, but some may be able to visit you and share in your cruising experience. Otherwise being able to see them for at least one period of a few months during the year keeps these relationships intact.
Your family and friends can visit to share your adventures
Work – most cruisers we meet are semi or completely retired. Some do consulting work remotely or are able to find some casual work if they choose to. A fewer number of younger cruisers take time out from the work force intending to rejoin it later.
Your home – some cruisers elect to sell their house to provide funds for cruising while most others rent it out, get house sitters or leave it vacant.
Compatibility and confidence – some people may speculate you won’t get on well together as a couple spending so much time in the confines of a boat. Only you will know if this is correct or not and we probably all know people where this lifestyle would be doomed to failure. Allied to this issue is one partner having a lack of confidence in the other’s ability. If you’re passionate you’re half way there and your confidence will grow through sharing experiences together.
Health – a reasonable but not perfect standard of general health and fitness is required for the live-aboard life reinforcing the case for starting the cruising life sooner than later. Travel insurance is essential as medical treatment can be extremely expensive overseas.
Pets – Overseas regulations concerning transportation and quarantine of pets are less strict than in New Zealand or Australia and some cruisers take their pets along. Similarly there are fewer restrictions on pets on beaches and in restaurants and cafes. Diane and I always had a dog or cat at home and loved them dearly, but prefer to avoid the hassles of having a pet aboard a boat.
Comfort aboard – this will of course vary by vessel. When yachtsmen come aboard Envoy they are amazed at the living space available compared to sailing vessels of the same length. We don’t get wet, cold or wind-blown and with our stabilisers Envoy’s motion is rarely lively enough to spill a coffee.
Two massive piers, built in the early 1800s, create a huge 250-acre (101-hectare) sheltered harbour at Dun Laoghaire (pronounced Dun Leary) near Dublin. Dun Laoghaire Marina is a large, 820-boat marina behind a second set of breakwaters within that protected harbour. Although the marina is outside Dublin proper, it has convenient train access to the…
While in Dublin, we made a short return trip the US to attend the Amazon Web Services re:Invent conference, held annually in Las Vegas. We arrived into San Francisco, where we spent two nights and attended an NHL (ice hockey) and an NFL (football) game, before continuing on to Las Vegas. Most of the week…
The cliff walk along Howth Head Peninsula gives sweeping views south into Dublin Bay and the town of Howth. We could see Baily Lighthouse, on Howth Head Peninsula, from Dun Laoghaire and were eager to take in the view the other way. An easy direct train ride from Dun Laoghaire brought us to Howth, where…
Trinity College, in the middle of downtown Dublin, was founded in 1592 by Elizabeth I. In 1661 it became home to The Book of Kells, a lavishly illustrated Gospel manuscript and one of the oldest books in the world. The book was produced in the 9th century at the Iona Abbey in southwest Scotland, that…
We’d been monitoring our fuel levels with the hopes of waiting until we return to Ireland in November to refuel since the prices are better there. We succeeded, and arrived at Dun Laoghaire with only 310 total gallons (1,178L) of fuel on board and needing 1,438 gallons (5,443L). Dun Laoghaire Marina has an easy-to-use fuel…
Unfortunately circumstances prevent us returning to cruise in the Med this year.
Plan your dreams now – Envoy moored by Bodrum’s castle, Turkey
When I turned 50 I expected to have about 20 good summers left, meaning that barring major illnesses or accidents I expected to enjoy our cruising passion until I was about 70 years old.
The main issue which could prevent this is health. Whatever the upper age limit may be one thing’s for sure – you certainly don’t meet many cruisers in their 80s.
Envoy on the hard stand at Maramaris, Turkey
Something you wouldn’t see while boating in New Zealand
Experience levels – everyone starts somewhere so take small steps first and learn from your mistakes. Coastguard and the Royal Yachting Association run excellent courses to gain practical and theoretical skills and as most countries require some evidence of proficiency when clearing-in it’s a good idea to gain some certifications.
Mechanical ability – it isn’t the big things that fail and you will learn to deal with handling the smaller problems. Most countries have competent mechanical assistance available. Carry a comprehensive range of tools, spare parts, equipment manuals and chandlery aboard.
Most technical issues can be easily resolved – in Marmaris we had the stabiliser through-hull seals replaced
Handling rough seas – becomes easier with practice and although this is a concern for many one study reports 80 per cent of the time wave heights are less than 3.7m explaining how many cruisers travel thousands of ocean miles over many years rarely if ever encountering dangerous seas.
Navigation – is not difficult with today’s electronic equipment. Sextants are long gone and this is an area where courses will greatly assist.
Seasickness – many cruisers start off getting seasick but wean themselves out of it and medications can assist.
Weather and tides – there is ample reliable information for coastal cruising while offshore cruisers often pay for professional forecasting. The internet hugely improves forecast availability. There is negligible tide in the Med.
Manoeuvring and docking – practice makes perfect, but don’t worry about minor scratches on your gelcoat – they won’t ruin a great experience. A bow thruster will greatly assist docking.
Another concern is piracy off the north-east coast of Africa making it dangerous to traverse these waters. Circumnavigators who include the Med in their route mostly ship their boats across the Indian Ocean. Piracy is not a major issue in other waters and the website www.noonsite.comprovides regular updates.
We spent our first couple of days in Dun Laoghaire exploring the area, including a visit to the nearby National Maritime Museum of Ireland and a late-afternoon walk around downtown Dublin. We strolled along statue-filled O’Connell Street, Dublin’s main thoroughfare, and along the River Liffey that runs through town, where the many bridges are beautifully…