Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Gulf Cruisers...

I think that the average person who knows next to nothing about cruising believes that the entry cost to this lifestyle must be exorbitant. One look around any marina or anchorage seems to confirm this. There are exceptions however. What about SY Bob pictured below? Bob is an old Pearson hull with a custom wood deck and cabin house. The owner, "Mister Dan", purchased the boat in Louisiana for $4800 U.S.. Mister Dan and his wife whom he met on his first sail to Cartagena 32 years ago are sailing to Providencia to build a house. "I've got over 3000 pounds of ceramic tiles on the boat already and figure I can just start throwing some of it overboard if I get into trouble." For $4800 you don't get a lot of cruising gear. Bob lacks gear that others would consider essential like a depth sounder and VHF radio. Mister Dan considers the lack of an autopilot to be a challenge. "I can't see very well now that I am old and with just a little light for the compass, I've often discovered in the morning that I've spent hours at night sailing in the totally wrong direction!" Bob's sail inventory consists of one hank on head sail, about 90 percent, and a main that Mister Dan figures came off of a 27 or 28 foot boat. "It only reaches about two thirds of the way up." Despite the lack of a complete sail inventory and the challenges in holding course, Mister Dan figures he averages about 50 miles a day in Bob. When I asked how his Colombian wife likes sailing, he explained that most in Colombia are looking for an easier life, not a harder one!

1 comment:

aquaholic said...

Jonas....I found your page on lonely planet and have really enjoyed reading your post ..past and present! I have been involved in Mt. Rescue in the Rocky Mountain region for 19 years and I can't tell you the number of time we've been called out to rescue people, who are ill-equipped, out-of-shape and/or lack the skills or knowledge to be in the back-country.

It is romantic to many people to think about dropping everything, buying a boat, and just taking off. I think the are two prospectives about this. Some would gain sailing experience and buy a well-equipped boat (not necessarily electronics) w/spare parts while others might not be as well-prepared and just hope for the best.

I hope must the sailors you meet are in the first group. The risks of life to rescuers and those sailors should be considered before leaving post.

Take care & good sailing,