Wednesday, November 20, 2013


Vero Beach

I write often about the cruising community as if it was a cohesive whole.  Of course it is a society.  It has cliques and factions just as any other societies.  Here are a few.

  • CLODs  (Cruisers Living on Dirt):  this is a club here in Vero Beach.  It has 115 members.  Many of the members are people who cruised as Libby and I do for 10 years or more before deciding to quit cruising and settle in Vero.   CLODs hold a weekly breakfast.  I asked a CLOD member how many active cruisers come to their breakfast.  He said about 30.  Wow!  I've never tried it, but I think I'll go to the breakfast next week just to see what it's like.
  • CLOWs (Cruisers Living on Water): Not to be confused with LIVEABOARDS.  These are people with extensive cruising histories, who for one reason or another choose to live aboard their boats year round.   There are some in Marathon, but there is a larger bunch here in Vero.  In Vero they love to congregate in front of the sailors lounge to chew the fat.  Some say that they love to complain about NEWBIES.
  • LIVEABOARDS:  These are people who live on their boats full time but who do not have much cruising in their history.   There used to be one in Vero but he left.  In Marathon, there are lots of them.  One told my once that he came to the keys headed for Key West.  In Marathon he stayed for a few night on a friend's boat.  The friend offered to sell him the boat for $1.  He accepted and many years later he still lives on that boat.  He is anchored.  He pays no mooring fee. I don't know if he pays a fee for the dinghy dock.  The State of Florida is at war against LIVEABOARDS.  They want to get rid of them.  The rest of us are cautioned to never refer to ourselves as LIVEABOARDS.  In Florida, that can have legal consequences.   Many LIVABOARDS in Marathon succumb to KEYS DISEASE.  Unknown in medical science, but well known to people in the keys, it is a malady caused by the combination of excessive nice weather and excessive alcohol, the symptom is a pickled brain.
  • CIRCUMNAVIGATORS:  The superstar elites among cruisers.   I don't know of any in Vero, but every year, a half dozen or so pass through Marathon.   At the SSCA Gam meetings they parade CIRCUMNAVIGATORS like royalty.
  • ACTIVECRUISERS: Such as ourselves.  There are two subdivisions, full-time cruisers and part-time cruisers.  The part-timers still have homes on dirt.  Not surprisingly, part time cruisers are more likely to become CLODs some day and full time cruisers are more likely to become CLOWs some day.  There is a predictable progression that we make into a joke.  NEWBIES start with sailboats, then change to trawlers, then change to RVs, then change to nursing homes.   There is a grain of truth in that joke.
  • NEWBIES:  We see very many of these in Vero.  It is fun to talk with them because it reminds us of our first year, when everything was fresh and exciting.  They say that you never forget your first (in sex and in cruising).  NEWBIES are sponges for information and advice.  In Vero, the vast majority of NEWBIES are headed for The Bahamas, because of the exotic appeal of a tropical paradise foreign country.  NEWBIES in Marathon mostly come from the Great Lakes, and in Vero they come from the USA East Coast.   Only a small fraction (I estimate 33%) of NEWBIES graduate to become ACTIVECRUISERS.
  • WANNABEs:  Many people dream of cruising their whole lives.   Some achieve that goal, but many don't.   Everyone should have a dream and cruising is a very worthy one.  Our cruiser friend Sandra used to be an oncology nurse.  She saw that dream cruelly snatched away from too many cancer victims.  Sandra and Bob decided to cruise, and appropriately named their boat Carpe Diem (seize the day).  That is an excellent motto for any wannabe.
p.s. I'm reading a book called NAVAL BLUNDERS.  It is full of contra examples to professional competence that I wrote about recently.

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