18 September 2017

10 Questions for Blowin Bubbles

Kyle and Shelley Benger left Canada on Canada Day (July 1) 2014 aboard SV Blowin Bubbles a 45' Dufour CT12000 hailing from Hamilton, ON, Canada.

They left Lake Ontario via the Erie Canal and entered the Atlantic Ocean at New York City. They then sailed down the eastern USA to Cuba, and then the Caribbean. They traversed the Panama Canal in February 2016 and are currently in Fiji.

You can read more about their cruise on their blog and about the educational charity they run while they are cruising on this site.

Tell me your favorite thing and your least favorite thing about your boat

Kyle: The best - The sturdiness of it. I believe we would give up long before the boat would. And it is paid for!   The least - 30 year old boat so constantly something to fix.

Shelley: Pilothouse ketch design, can stay dry and helm from inside if needed and the sails are small enough for me to handle on my own. The least - is that the paint and engine are getting old - that means money output.

Is there something you wish you had bought or installed before starting cruising? 

Kyle: A windvane but it was just too expensive and complicated given the design of our boat.

Shelley: We completely refit the boat for two years before leaving so all my wishes were granted. The only thing I can think of is the Toughbook computers we now use. We broke a couple laptops before realizing these were a way better option.

What do you dislike about cruising that surprised you?

Kyle: People anchoring too close. It is like the store parking lots at home, you purposely park way away and walk and come back and someone is right beside you.

Shelley: What I call "Grotty Yachties". Everyone warned about locals in certain places but they did not warn you that a lot of theft comes from sailors who "shop" at your boat.

Finish this sentence. "Generally when I am provisioning..."

Kyle: That is Shelley's job.

Shelley: I feel like I can find everything I need. And am always interested to try local foods.

Share a piece of cruising etiquette

Kyle: Be respectful with your dingy around other boats. They make wakes too. Someone in the boat you are making jump around might be cooking with hot oil or down working in the engine compartment uncomfortably already.

Shelley: Leave a long painter on your dingy at dingy docks and NEVER side tide to the dingy dock.

Both of us: Learn flag etiquette It is really rude to fly a giant pirate, state or country flag of your own above the flag of the host country you are in

In your experience how often do you think cruisers spend sailing vs. motoring, coastally vs. on passage?

Kyle and Shelley: We sail 90 % on passages. If we start going slower than 3 kn we start the engine. But we use those opportunities to make water and/or charge things. We are in the South Pacific and here people seem to wait for wind. Fuel is often hard to get. It we just want to move a hour or two we will use it as a water making run.

Where was your favorite place to visit and why?

Kyle: Palmerston Atoll in the Cook Islands because it was the first time I had felt welcomed by locals as one of their own, not as a tourist. They were the most giving caring souls and made me think that was what I left home for.

Shelley: Tuamotus Atolls in French Polynesia because they were my first real Pacific experience. I am a Newfoundland girl, east coast Canada. These atolls were the stuff dreams were made of and they were full of pearls!

What is something that you read or heard about cruising, that you found particularly accurate?

Kyle:  Fatty Goodlanders books were the best for me. Many of the cruising sources were dated but he is still living this life. Unfortunately countries rules and things change constantly. Noonsite is a great source.

Shelley: Being "girlie" I read about provisioning and such. My best read was The Boat Galley Cookbook. I was very worried about getting enough supplies in remote places but I was reminded by others that people eat everywhere. And a watermaker is essential in the South Pacific.

What (if anything) do you wish someone had told you before you started cruising?

Kyle and Shelley: We researched a lot, read, watched videos. Took weather courses and sailing courses. We sailed a 36 ft sloop on the great lakes for 10 years before we left. So we felt pretty prepared.

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

What kind of cruiser are you? 

We have found there are some very diverse groups of people out here. Some for a set period of time or purpose.  We have met:

  • wealthy retirees
  • single handlers 
  • families
  • younger 20-30 somethings - friends or couples
  • bucket list people on a time line of some kind
  • rally joiners
  • couples age 40+ 

We are full time cruisers with no house to return to and no set timeline. We are totally committed to this life!

Where is your time spent?

Over the past three years. We have spent 70% time moored or anchored. 10% of our time at sea and 20% of our time in a marina at dock.