Cruising resources

If you are planning your own trip, I hope that this page may be of some use to you or at least give you something to think about. I’m sure you will read many things in preparation and then pick out the bits you like or are useful to you. Some things are worth trying then dismissing, other things you read will help you decide what you definitely do not want to do.
If you enjoy adventuring from your armchair, you are still welcome here and hope you find this page interesting.
Everyone is different and people do things differently for many reasons. This stuff is all based on our family of 5 on a catamaran in mainland Europe and may be irrelevant for other places, boats or crews. For the domestic, everyday stuff there is no right or wrong answer. It’s your life, your home, your adventure and your decision. Take advice then set off then do your own thing and have fun.
Here are some useful places to try:
 
http://themonkeysfist.BlogSpot
This site is full of information on a wide range of cruising topics, almost an 'inquire within' it links many blogs together giving a good range of ideas and information. Several blog items are now linked from sarahontarquilla to this cruisers forum
This facebook group is just what it says. A closed and well moderated group run by and for women. No topic is off-limits and bullying or belittling behaviour is not tolerated at all. A safe haven for wide ranging discussion from jewellery storage and healthcare concerns to anchoring techniques and engine maintenance.
Facebook has a lot of good forums and blogs. Check out kids4sail, Totem and Ditching Suburbia for inspiration. Warning: this could lead on to several hours of browsing around the internet!


There are some brilliant blogs out there. Have a look through the blog list on the right side bar to follow links through to some really good ones.
A range of forums and loads of other information on this site
There are a lot of useful books out there, possibly something to suit every taste. This link goes to my Goodreads boating shelf which has several very good starting out books and some real 'whet your appetite' adventure stories.


I also wrote a blog a while ago about our favourite practical books - World book day 2016 resource books

There is a lot of information on the web but don't forget to try magazines, sailing clubs and other places too. Keep looking until you find what works best for you. Don't forget that all forums offere something different and many have very different atmospheres, don't asume they are all the same. 
All sorts of experience and equipment (especially anything camping related) that you already have is likely to be useful. Never think that you know nothing, you will always know something. 
Finally, this is a collection of suggestions from our experience.

Firstly, a few things we have learned whilst cruising:


►The weather is in charge, no matter how loudly you shout at the forecast.
►If you accidently leave a rubbish bag out on the pontoon overnight you will be woken up in the morning by a dawn chorus of squabbling seagulls.
 
►Fishing boats will go fast, slow, left, right and all over the place - stay well away from them
►Rain is wet.

►Hearing of the loss of any boat sends a shiver through every sailor.
►At force 9 blowing through a marina you worry about the noises the boat is making, by force 11 you are just hoping the storm will pass soon.
►When you can’t be with someone, Skype is a good second best.



Looking after the boat – the housework stuff

Provisions


►It is important to close shopping bags fully as glass jars dropped from a back pack at a height of 4 feet onto a hard surface will break. Pasta sauce spreads a long way on a pavement.
►When the tide is out and you are moored on a quay getting shopping on board is a matter of experimentation. A bucket works well, as do ropes through bag handles - as long as the handles are strong enough.
►If going ashore by dinghy take a carrier bag to cover your bread and save it from a soaking on the return journey.
►If the nearest shop or market is more than a half hour walk away, using a trolley or backpack will save you losing the circulation in your fingers and ending up with arms which feel twice as long as when you set out. 

Washing

►After a couple of weeks, hand washing for 5 loses its novelty.
►When doing the washing do not leave the entry code for the laundry door in the bag on top of the washing machine, it makes getting back in to collect the washing quite difficult.
►Washing machines never take the coins you have plenty of, always the ones you don’t have quite enough of.
►When putting the washing onto the guard rails around the side of the boat, keep a hold of the pegs. Some float, some sink, you soon find out which are which and through a peg version of natural selection you end up with a collection of the floating variety. Keep a net handy.
►Before you leave a stop that has a washing machine, do everything in the wash pile - who knows what you will find at the next stop, the pilot book is not always right.

Storage


►Bananas and garlic keep better on a boat when hung from the ceiling, they also show you how much the boat is moving.
►Zip lock bags of various sizes have many uses on a boat whether its for storing food, keeping paper dry or holding a collection of small things which would otherwise roll.

►A cactus has a way of always ending up on the surface you need to grab to steady yourself, leading to the conclusion that cacti really should not live on boats.
►Removing cardboard boxes makes carrying shopping back easier, saves storage space and avoids damp cardboard aboard.

and finally a few more 'helpful' tips:


►When pressure washing the deck, make sure all the hatches are shut to avoid pressure washing the inside of the bedroom and all the bedclothes.
►When an older brother is carefully advising a younger brother in how to cross a stream the younger brother will end up getting wet.
►Leaving the hatch above your bed open overnight will alert you to any unexpected rain showers.
►Fish are surprisingly noisy creatures.
►Meeting a purse seine fishing boat at night in restricted waters is memorable and not fun.
►When throwing a mooring rope to someone on the pontoon, it helps if at least one end is attached to the boat.
►When the kitchen sink becomes blocked, before taking everything apart and trying to unblock the tubes check that the hole is not simply blocked on the outside by a fender.

Further information



For any other information try searching the word cloud on the sidebar of the blog; the big adventure is all tagged under cruising, schooling is all tagged under 'boat school' and there are many other topics listed. Many topics are not listed but I may have blogged about them and they can be found using the search button. Feel free to contact us if you think we can help with any advice, inspiration or moral support for your own adventure  :)



Wishing you fair winds for your adventure, wherever it takes you.



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