22 March 2010

10 Questions for Sword

B & L cruised aboard their 1978 Valiant Esprit 37 sloop, from 1998 to 2002 through the Pacific Northwest and South Seas. L is both a charter captain and a sailing instructor.

What is your most common sail combination on passage?
In the trades, poled out foresail and no main. Otherwise main and foresail. Before sunset always reefed the main. Once on the "Coconut Milk Run" it's all downwind sailing.

When you are offshore, what keeps you awake at night (that is, what worries you most)?
We worry that we will fall asleep on watch.

What do you miss about living on land?
Drive through Starbucks. It was like seeing a photo in National Geographic when we got back. What a country! When we got to New Zealand I remember how excited I was in the grocery store to see fresh vegetables.

What is your favorite piece of boating related new technology?
When we were out it was the plotter and watermaker. At the 2010 boat show saw the new radars with solid objects detected in clouds.

Describe a negative experience you have had with local people somewhere you have visited?
Tahiti - waiting in a long hot line for customs and seeing them leave for an early extended lunch.

What piece(s) of gear would you leave on the dock next time? Why?
We did not have email readily available at sea and our friends didn't expect to hear from us. Other cruisers were frantic when their email technology failed and it seemed to really take a lot of their time, money and effort in paradise to remedy while all we did was send real postcards.

What piece of gear seems to break the most often?
The refrigerator. Warm beer in paradise, oh well. Thank goodness for Costco canned chicken.

Tell me your favorite thing about your boat.
Good storm handling. She took care of us when we hove to. Second would be the bigger windows.

Do friends visit and how often?
I think it's great to have visitors and be a visitor. We heard of someone getting in an avoidable storm to get to a place to meet visitors. We didn't have many. Perhaps it's because we were inflexible in our rule: A TIME OR A PLACE BUT NOT BOTH. It's tough with vacation schedules and ticket expense. Once we got situated in a country then they bought their ticket. They brought engine parts, zip lock baggies, D batteries. We could have stocked up more batteries and rope as that is what the natives wanted to trade papaya and bananas for the most.

What question do you wish I would have asked you besides the ones I've asked you and how would you answer it?

-- What were some of the best things about cruising?

Thanks for asking.  So many people only ask about the worst.  I realize future cruisers can learn from the answers but it is sad how the landlubber is so conditioned to ask for the negative, not the positive. (enough griping!)

It was wonderful out there!  We were delighted with our fellow cruisers.  Everyone was so helpful and sharing with everyone else: Borrow cars, mark charts with favorite spots, sing Christmas carols. 

Bora Bora was a good anchorage where we could see our anchor dug into white sand 30 feet below.  Dive off the boat and swim over to a coral reef and see so many beautiful fish.  Watch sea rays gracefully somersault by the boat.  Feel so protected inside the barrier reef and hear the roar of the surf on the otherside.  Dinghy in for a cocktail on the beach at Hotel Bora Bora.  Dinghy around the island stopping at world class resorts.  Listen to amazing singing in an historic thick-walled church.

There were many other stops that had several of the above attributes.  After a nice open ocean passage it was fun to look forward to the next island.