29 August 2011

10 Questions for Blue Sky

bluesky Jim, Emma, Phoebe (13) & Drake (11) began cruising at the end of 2005 and stopped in mid 2011. They cruised a Westward Trade Wind Route aboard Blue Sky a DownEast Ketch 45 hailing from Redondo Beach, California, USA. Readers can learn more about them on their website.

What (if anything) do you wish someone had told you before you started cruising?
Emma: You must stock up on provisions when inexpensive and or available. If you see it buy it.
Phoebe: Knowing what will not be available in the next cruising area.
Drake: Happy that it was all a surprise.
Jim: How much work was involved with Boat/Home schooling.

What is something that you looked forward to about cruising when you were dreaming, that is as good or even better than imagined?
Phoebe: The various shades of blue the ocean can be.
Drake: Seeing animals in their natural habitats.
Emma: The beauty of the people & their countries.
Jim: The pure joy of being on the boat under full sail when all conditions combined to creat the optimum sailing experience. The best was 48 hours in the coral sea covering 348 nm.

How often have you faced bad weather in your cruising? How bad?
Emma: Not often, Because we always checked the weather.
Phoebe: Did not notice as I was usually down below if conditions were not perfect.
Drake: Less than 2% of total 5.5 year voyage. Not bad.
Jim: Downwind passage 95+ % so even squally, rainy 25+ knots of wind was comfortable. Upwind, current & swell on the outside of Baja, California was the most unpleasant.

What piece of gear seems to break the most often?
Emma: Watermaker.
Phoebe: Portable DVD players.
Drake: Headphones.
Jim: Hoseclamps.

What do you think is a common cruising myth.
Emma: Less work than Home/Profession.
Phoebe: Mermaids.
Drake: Sharks are scary.
Jim: It's always sunny & warm.

Across a year, what do you spend the most money on while cruising?
Emma: Provisions.
Phoebe: Ice Cream.
Drake: Toys.
Jim: Preventative or replacement parts for the boat.

How did you recommend securing your vessel while going ashore? And your dinghy?
Phoebe: Closing hatches & windows for rain.
Drake: Removing the engine kill key from the dingy.
Jim: Very rare to lock the vessel, make certain that dingy is above the high tide line ashore and hoisted in the davits EVERY night.
Emma: Only once did we need to keep a watch on the vessel while crew went ashore to perform check in/out procedures. Same watch person also dropped crew ashore via the dingy and returned the tender back to the vessel.

Of the changes, choices and compromises you had to make along the way, which were you happiest and most satisfied about, which do you wish you had chosen otherwise and why?
Phoebe: Simplified our lives but wished for better shower facility. Ours was on deck.
Emma: To see the world through the children's eyes. Amazed at the lack of solitary free time. We were called the floating chandlery, even so we would have purchased more spares at home (because of availability and low cost) to prepare, prevent or protect components from breaking down.
Drake: Our home moved. All the chores like knocking back the slimy anchor chain.
Jim: Breakfast, Lunch & dinner as a family every day. During the re-fit I was talked into re-using equipment rather than purchasing new. These were the items that most often failed.

Was there anywhere you visited that you thought was overrated (not as good as you had heard)?
Emma: Carribean.
Drake: The silty brown water in Singapore/Malaysia.
Jim: The Great Barrier Reef - disappointing after the South Pacific.
Phoebe: Aruba. Expensive tourist trap, overrun, large military presence because of Venezuela & South American drug cartels.

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

What about insurance? Including: vessel, health & emergency evacuation. 

We had vessel insurance the whole way around the world. Now with hind sight we would have self insured ourselves once we left Mexico and would not have reinstated it until we returned to Mexico and the US (the only two countries that asked for it.) Health insurance is unnecessary as health care and dentistry around the world is available and affordable. However, we were fortunate and did not have a major incident. For emergency evacuation, we utilized DAN. All cruisers we met we told them about this service and we think for the cost/benefit this is an absolute must have!