16 June 2011

10 Questions for Cloverleaf

cloverleaf2 David Feiges, chief mechanic, Beverly Feiges, chief helms-person and Navi-guesser began cruising in 1977 aboard Cloverleaf, a Krogen design built by Treworgy Yachts hailing from Sioux City, Iowa, USA. They traveled the East coast of the USA from Maine to western Florida, most all of the Bahamas, all the eastern Caribbean, Venezuela, Jamaica Caymans and western Caribbean from Honduras through Mexico, the Mediterranean from the Balearics to Turkey, south to Cyprus, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Egypt.  You keep track of them on their blog or via email (cloverleaf@cloverleaf.com).

What (if anything) do you wish someone had told you before you started cruising?
Not to worry about not having our lives wrapped up with the three couples we were so close to in Iowa, and that we could become addicted, and I really mean addicted, to constantly meeting new people with new stories to tell.

What is your most common sail combination on passage?
When we sailed, (for the first 21 years of our cruising life) we used jib, main, and mizzen. Downwind we used spinnaker and mizzen staysail, We consider a pole to wing out either the jib or spinnaker to be an essential. Check my article "If You Really Want To Sail" in an SCA bulletin a few years back.

When have you felt most in danger and what was the source?
I hate to even admit this, but one night anchored in the offshore island of Aves, with no other vessel even in radio hailing distance except what I thought was a suspicious Venezuelan boat. Dave refused to worry and he was right; we later learned from the area ranger, this was a Venezuelan buy boat, which explained all the small boats coming and going.

What is your biggest lesson learned?
Don't be afraid to alter course when conditions warrant. We learned this, and it took twice, on rough passages from Caicos to Dominican Republic, and the Virgins to St. Martin. In both cases there were alternate harbors, and falling off to reach them would have turned an exciting and rough upwind slog, to a pleasant, exciting reach.

cloverleaf Describe a "typical day" at anchor on your boat
I love the long slow breakfast times when we are not rushed, can take our food and a full pot of coffee to the cockpit or what I now call "the back porch," enjoy the scenery, have plenty of time to talk and even read a chapter out loud from our current book. Then we will each go to work, doing chores, housekeeping, whatever, and if the water is warm, a swim, in fact on really hot days, multiple swims. If we are lucky, we will meet some neighbors and share the sundowner hours with them. We end the evening, now since we got the dish, with some evening TV. It doesn't get much better than that.

With the benefit of hindsight, what are the boat selection criteria you would use to purchase a boat for long term cruising?
Get it as big as you can afford to maintain. Bigger is easier, it is more stable, there is room for more goodies and more room to do the maintenance. Life is more pleasant, but only if you can afford the bill. Bigger is for sure more expensive, it is not harder to handle,but don't buy more than what you can comfortably afford. Whatever you buy, if you don't keep it up,it will be dangerous.

What piece of gear seems to break the most often?
We had to think long and hard about that one, since with good maintenance, there is usually nothing repetitive, except when we foolishly try to keep old equipment running long after its used by date, as happened with our old generator and windlass. Otherwise, I would have to say toilets, both electric and hand pump variety, often related to having guests.

How do you fund your cruise?
Dave's quick answer is he calls our boys, who took over the business, and tells them, "Trip costing more than expected, WORK HARDER." In truth, we are retired now, but Dave did not really leave the working world when we first bought the cruising boat. We did it in short chunks, built around school vacations, and did not consider himself fully retired until 65.

What is something about the cruising culture you like and what is something you dislike?
I love the people we meet, the joy in sharing their adventures and ours, the openheartedness of almost all the cruising community. On the negative there are a few, you hear them on the radio, usually someone who has not been humbled by mother nature yet, who can say the most awful things. Fortunately very seldom, but the Jersey Shore seems an area you are most likely to hear this sort of thing.

What question do you wish I would have asked you besides the ones I've asked you and how would you answer it?
Maybe a question about favorite books, especially cruising books, like the Saga of Cimba or Fair Winds and Far Places, or favorite entertainment equipment, like satellite radio, and TV.