Sunday, November 09, 2014

Who is a Cruiser?

Cocoa, Florida
28 21.156 N 080 43.147 W
The rule is simple, anyone who wants to call him/herself a cruiser can do so. Chances of contradiction (other than in a bar fight) are slim.
Full time cruisers (lIke us). We live on board and cruise all year long. Despite that we tend to spend 8 months of the year of the year in fixed locations and only 4 months per year cruising to a different spot every night.. Perhaps 25% of the cruisers we know are full time cruisers.
Part time cruisers. Most of our cruising friends do so part time. They still have houses. They own cars. Typically, they leave their boats for the summer and live elsewhere.
One time cruisers. People who sail at home on home waters but who want to experience a year of sailing as a once in a lifetime experience.
Trial cruisers. These are the people who want to try cruising for a year or three before making a decision. I have a tip for them. Two years seems to be the magic number. After two years you will know confidently what you do or don't want to do in your future. If you are not happy after two years, prolonging it to three years is unnecessary.
Opportunistic cruisers. I really admire the people who cruise until they run out of money. Then they go find work for long enough to build up the kitty and star cruising again. I greatly admire the courage of those people; especially the younger ones. One couple we adored started that life at age 19.
Family cruisers. Another admirable group. These people want to give their children the life experience of growing up on the boat while cruising. In our experience, such children are likely to become highly successful in life. They gain enormous self confidence.
Live aboards. These are people who live on a boat, but they don't go anywhere in the boat. This group is the subject of much discrimination. On our first year, we were warned to never refer to ourselves as live aboards. Municipalities think of them as bums or squatters. They try to pass laws to forbid them. The truth is that some live aboards live up to that bad reputation but many don't. A live aboard's focus may be on the water (making them more like cruisers) or on land (making them more like land-based residents).
Circumnavigstors are the elite. Everyone admires them.
Circumnavigators with children are the elite among circumnavigators.
If you see well tanned people walking along the road, near the water, wearing t-shirts! baseball cap and Crocs, and carrying four bags full of groceries, they may be cruisers.
Unwilling cruisers. I heard of more than one case where the man wants to cruise whole the wife follows under protest. In extreme cases, the wife stays on board the boat all day with air conditioning and TV. We think it very unfair to force a partner to cruise unwillingly. But often an unwilling cruiser situation can be transformed into a much happier part-time cruising compromise. A second solution is that of the bachelor cruiser; the man cruises alone part time while the wife stays home. We can't think of a single case where the man-woman roles are reversed.

Single man bachelor cruisers. These men cruise single-handed and pick up girlfriends in each new port and invite them to spend the night on the "luxury yacht." We met several such cruisers over the years. What can one say to that other than wow?

Mission cruisers. For example a man who paddled his kayak 8000 miles. The teen who rowed a 23 foot sailboat (minus mast and sails) from Cleveland to Key West. A man with an 18 foot aluminum canoe with 15 hp outboard on a trip from Rochester to Key West. Those are the kind of people who walk the Appalacisn Trail when not cruising.
Armchair cruisers. I suspect that there is a huge army of armchair cruisers who dream of cruising in the future. Some of them read this blog. Many of them succeed eventually. But a warning: our friend Sandra on Carpe Diem, was an oncology nurse. She saw numerous patients who had their life's dream snatched away by unexpected illness. Carpe Diem is a very appropriate motto.

See also CLODs, (Cruisers Living on Dirt)

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