|1||Purchase a boat capable of ocean cruising||Completed|
|2||Upgrade boat for ocean cruising||In Progress|
|3||Research the following topics:|
|Living Aboard||In Progress|
|Ocean Cruising||In Progress|
|Cruising Destinations||In Progress|
|4||The Trial Live-Aboard||Coming This Summer|
|5||Visit Future Cruising Destinations||In Progress|
When shopping for a boat we were looking for a vessel solid enough for ocean cruising. Our second criteria was that the boat be in a size range that would give us sufficient space yet be small enough for a crew of two to handle. Robins Nest met our criteria. We have owned the boat for three seasons and so far she is all that we expected.
Step 2 - Upgrade boat for ocean cruising
Every cruising season we purchase a few pieces of equipment for our future cruising home. This will be an ongoing process even after we finally set sail. Our purchases have been geared for the ocean environment. In the research phase of our plan I will list some of the sources we have used to make purchasing decisions. This is the phase where the old adage, "A boat is a hole in the water into which a person throws money", comes true.
Step 3 - Research
The research phase of our plan addresses three main areas:
The Live-Aboard Lifestyle area covers the day-day concerns about living on a boat. We are accumulating information on provisioning, cooking, storage, and coping in a small floating home. Ocean cruising deals with equiping our boat for safe offshore passages and developing skills for operating our vessel in the ocean environment. Our last area, cruising destinations, provides us with information regarding the ports we will visit, anchorages, and local navigation.
The Internet has proved to be one of our most useful tools. Using the net we have been been able to accumulate a wealth of information. We have included links to some of the more useful Web-Sites. We especially recommend that you check out the "Mid-Life Cruising Sabbatical", this series of articles by Jim & Dianne Barrentine have been very informative. We also suggest that you check out the McRory's Logbook, this is an on-going log of an ocean cruise which is taking place now.
Another invaluable source of information is the REC.BOATS.CRUISING newsgroup. This source deals with both live-aboard and cruising issues. We have included excerpts from a recent thread where liveabords and cruisers listed their "5 Suggestions" to make boat living more comfortable.
Our resource section lists the books that we have found useful for our research.
Step 4 - The Trial Live-Aboard
Since we purchased our first boat we have always lived aboard for the summer. Our normal summer routine was to take a slip in a marina and then cruise for two or three weeks every summer. Many of the articles we have read on cruising full-time mention that almost anyone can put up with living & cruising on a boat for a couple of weeks. When the reality sets in that "you don't have a slip to go back to", then the problems begin.
This summer we will try a "Trial Live-Aboard", although this trial will only last eight weeks it will be a good test of our preparation.
We have taken our "Live-Aboard & Cruising Plan" and applied it on a smaller scale. This season we will not have a slip and will be traveling to Canada's North Channel. Although this is not the same as "leaving forever", it should provide a fair test of our capabilities. Rather than pulling into a marina every night we will be living on the hook. We have applied all of the steps of our plan in preparing for this trip. Our plan has allowed us to equip our boat with the appropriate equipment, research the cruising area, provision for the trip, etc.
In the fall we will update our home-page with information regarding our experiment.
Step 5 - Visit Future Cruising Destinations
I remember reading an article, but I can't remember the source, which suggested that one visit their future destinations. We have taken this to heart! So far we have cruised the Florida Keys from Miami to Key West. We have also chartered in the BVI. This year we would like to head for the Bahama's. This would leave the Windward and Leeward Islands for visits in the near future.