Interview with Jeff – Part One

We have been road tripping around the United States the past couple weeks and are now in Rochester, New York. We will write more about these travels in the coming weeks and have a few videos for you. However, in the meantime, we have been feeling bad that we have neglected the blog a bit. So, while we were driving the other day, we interviewed each other about cruising. We will be posting these interviews over the coming days, as we get a chance to edit them and upload them. Here is the first section of Margaret’s interview with me…

When did you begin sailing?

Probably when I was about 9 or 10. My dad rented a Sunfish, took me out on it on Long Beach Island, NJ. Then we decided to buy a Sunfish and join the local yacht club, which allowed me to get involved in the junior sailing program. I started sailing every summer in the sailing program and made a lot of good friends. I raced Sunfish and got the opportunity to sail on a bunch of different boats: cruising boats, Lightnings, Hobie cats, Bluejays, 420’s. Eventually when I was 14, I started sailing Lasers and raced them for the next 5 or 6 years. I also taught sailing from the time I was 18 until I was 26 or so.

When did you first decide you wanted to go cruising?

I think it started when I was about ten or eleven. I would order books from The Armchair Sailor in Newport and read about the adventures of Joshua Slocum, Tania Aebi, Steve Callahan, and the like. I would dream about doing the things I was reading about myself. I would also page through the back of Cruising World magazine, looking at the price of cruising boats and dreaming about the ability to buy one.

How are you preparing to go cruising?

I am trying to figure out all of the things I need to learn and doing my best to learn those things such as weather forecasting, navigation, systems maintenance, and the like. We are also saving a lot of money which requires us to think about what is more important, cruising or going out to dinner….

What are some books you would recommend for other would be cruisers?

Well, there are a number of different types of cruising books. If somebody was just interested in getting a taste of what the cruising life is like, I would suggest the Pardey’s Seraffyn series, Beth Leonard’s works, Flirting with Mermaids, An Embarrassment of Mangoes, Tania Aebi, Herb Payson, or any number of other cruising stories. But then there are also the books on how to cruise. There is good compendium guides such as Beth Leonard’s Voyaging Handbook and Nigel Calder’s Cruising Handbook. There are also a lot of stuff on weather and storm tactics including Pardey’s Storm Tactics, Adlard Coles’s Heavy Weather Sailing, and others. There are books on buying the right cruising boat, such as Twenty Affordable Sailboats and Twenty Small Sailboats, and those on design like Yacht Design According to Perry. Many of these books are enjoyable to read and then there are a number of more technical books. The list could really go on forever.

Are there any blogs or YouTube Channels you would recommend?

There’s a number of blogs that I continue to look at. Many of them are folks that I have become familiar with on Cruisers Forum or have met at different times. These blogs tend to be more about what their daily life is like. There are probably 100’s of these out there to choose from, I tend to look at people who are younger and more active and often are just starting out cruising, because it is more similar to our situation. But a quick Google search can turn you on to many blogs and people who are more similar in interest and age to your own. In terms of You Tube channels, Margaret and I watch a ton of sailing channels and, as I have outlined in another post, some are better than others. In addition to the many You Tube channels that I listed, we are always finding new stuff. For instance, we are currently working our way through Carsondcat’s videos right now. They are a New Zealand couple who had a long term dream of cruising, built a steel yacht, refitted it on Tortola, and set sail in 2012.

Do you attend boat shows and do you think that they are useful for would be cruisers?

I have been to two boat shows in the last couple of years. I think that walking around a boat show and looking at boats and equipment can be useful in that it is enlightening about selection, price, and potential complexity of all the systems. There are also seminars at boat shows on various cruising topics, which can be very helpful. But I think the most useful thing about boat shows is just the way they can stoke your excitement about cruising by enmeshing you in a community of likeminded folks. However I don’t think that going to more that a boat show a year is very useful, especially to someone who is planning to purchase a used cruising vessel in a few year. Certainly, after we make that purchase and begin the refit, a serious shopping trip to a boat show or two will be extremely important.

What are your biggest fears about cruising?

That Margaret won’t enjoy it and that we will drag anchor.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Currently we seem to be talking a lot about spending some time in the Med at that point. But I could also see us working our way through the Caribbean. Basically I just see myself on a boat and where is far less important.

How do you plan to keep your cruising kitty replenished while traveling?

We have a number of different ideas, from working occasionally in the US and its territories, to doing some work under the radar in different destinations, such as photography. We also have and are already working on a couple academic websites that might provide a small continual influx of cash. We also hope to make some wise, diversified investments that will at least allow our cruising kitty to last a little longer. We were also talking about offering specialized charters a couple of times a year for two or three people focused on photography or history. It might be that during hurricane season we spend time somewhere Margaret can shoot a couple of weddings or other assignments. Basically at this point we have a lot of ideas but very few concrete plans. Money is surprisingly one of the things I am not all that worried about, especially after we get through the initial purchase and refit. I think we are imaginative and flexible enough to figure out ways to make money along the way. I also imagine that working will be a good way to keep the cruising lifestyle fresh; it may give us the opportunity to stay in places for longer, meet locals, or learn new skills. Finally, I also anticipate that we are going to figure out ways and places where we can make our money last longest.
















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