03 January 2011

10 Questions for Grace

grace Shane, Nicole, Neisha, Jessica and Jackson Collins cruised from June 2007 - October 2010 aboard Grace,  a 49 foot Halberg Rassy hailing from Mooloolaba, Australia. During that time they cruised through Scandinavia, the SW coast England, the Atlantic coast Europe, the Med, and the Canaries, the Caribbean, and the Pacific through to NZ. Readers can find them on their two blogs or by sending them an email (slowtravel@gmail.com). They report that the hardest decision for them to do this, was to make the decision to do this.

What (if anything) do you wish someone had told you before you started cruising?
Go slower then go slower again.

Describe a perfect cruising moment that will make cruisers-to-be drool with anticipation
Sailing the inside passage on the west coast of Scandinavia. To be in 30 meters of water but to nearly be able to touch the rock face's you pass. To pull into magically beautiful towns and tie up ( for free ) in deserted boat marinas. To wander through fantastic forests, picking berries. To view amazing archipelagos from cliff top perches. To walk in the paths that have been walked for hundreds of years. To marvel at the worlds amazing history. To experience strange and new foods. To learn new languages. To laugh out loud with locals when you get it wrong. Then to contrast. In the warm waters of the Caribbean and South Pacific. To take a early morning swim off the back of the boat. To snorkel and dive fantastic coral and to swim with turtles. To find great surf breaks with no one there. To catch Mahi Mahi and cook it immediately. To kayak with humpback whales. To walk secluded beaches. To have sundowners with friends on a beach watching the sun go down and the kids playing along the shore. To share all this and more with the people you love most!

What do you dislike about cruising that surprised you?
What's to dislike?!! I can't say we actually disliked anything that much. Maybe sometimes the lack of space, but that wasn't a major concern. I would say the fridge annoyed me. Its only that to get to the thing you most want you have to pull other things out to get to the said item......Actually that is true for a lot of storage on the boat. It is usually at the back or the bottom.

What piece(s) of gear would you leave on the dock next time? Why?
CQR anchor. Why? Because if you leave it (and change anchors) you won't have to worry so much that you may be dragging.

Have you found "trade goods" to be useful on your cruise? If so, what kinds?
No, but dock sale can be great. A dock sale is like a cruisers garage sale. Usually held in the winter months or coming into spring when everyone starts thinking of sailing again. It is a trade, swap or sale kind of day. Cruisers even bring out their crafts and preserves they have been working on over the winter to sell. Our kids made and sold jewelery. Lots of fun.

Was there anywhere you visited that you thought was underrated (better than you had heard)?
Morocco, specifically Rabat. The city has just opened up to cruisers and was a amazing place to visit. The authorities were friendly the facilities great. We were worried about visiting with children, but we need not have been. The colorful spectacle and smell of the markets attacked the senses. The architecture is spectacular.  It is a wonderful base to leave the boat to travel inland.

What do you think is a common cruising myth?
There are so many! People often ask or presume you have to deal with big seas. While that may happen, if you sail with the seasons and don't have to rush, you quite possibly won't see any. We certainly didn't.

How do you recommend securing your vessel while going ashore? And your dinghy?
For the vessel the most you can do is close and lock hatches and lock the main entrance.We also would sometimes turn off the engine isolation switch and take personal items off the deck i.e. fishing rods, etc. There are more options of course but if someone is serious about gaining entry, they generally will. I would add we had no problem what so ever.

The dingy and outboard is a different matter. Get the heaviest chain/cable and padlocks you can. Lock the outboard, fuel and dingy ALWAYS! When traveling in Sicily we had a attempt to steal our dingy but they couldn't get through our heavy duty locks.

How has cruising affected your personal relationships?
Strengthened them. Prior to leaving we ran a business that required allot of commuting, so to then go to a 24/7 existence was a big change. You see the best and worst of someone living so close. You learn not to sweat the small stuff and appreciate your partners and children's special skills. You depend on one another and the buck stops with you.

Are you attracted more to sailing itself or cruising-as-travel and has that changed over time?
Shane loves the sailing and the cruising to travel, I love the destination but over time have come to enjoy cruising to travel.

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

What has cruising given to you and your family?

Cruising has given us the ability to spend time together as a family and to really get to know each other again. It has enabled us to 'linger a little longer' while traveling as we did not have constraints of time or accommodation costs. It has allowed us to meet some amazing people in amazing locations. Cruising together has made us truly appreciate what we have.