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T O P I C R E V I E W
Posted - 11/18/2022 : 17:31:28 As winter 2022-23 is approaching I re-read with great pleasure our '06-07 synopsis and conclusion of, "Planning For Extended Cruising", our 13 month adventure around the continent with truck, boat and trailer. I'm probably not the only one having some blues and longing for an adventure with warm sunny skies and distant harbours . For that reason I take the liberty to publish it again. After all, except the ease of internet, not much has changed... enjoy...
Living on board full time & going South (Part 16) Synopsis and conclusion September 2006 to October 2007 updated Jan'014 & March 2016-2017- 2018
It gave me great pleasure to plan our one year "around the continent", trip/cruise during my last year at work as a measure of coping with stuffy meetings and boring episodes...
Trip's summary: You know when you've been on the road too long is when: 1) You keep putting toilet paper on the seat long after you get home 2) You keep your crocks on in the shower ... 3) Making breakfast, and the eggs run to one side of the pan that the boat was grossly off tilt and... is why your wife kept on snuggling up close 4) Finding a laundromat becomes the day's main attraction 5) You bump you head against the ceiling and think you're wearing a cap because of all the calluses. 6) You automatically take tums (antacid) for dessert after eating out
Trip planning & preparation before you leave Once the big decision to change life styles has been made lots of action is required. Making the decision is one thing, putting it into action is another. The thrill of taking the first steps to execute your plan is exciting and not without some apprehension. To make it easier start with items that need to be up-to-date anyway, such as passports, visa, financial documents, and insurance as required. Think in terms of a broad time framework, details will fall in place during the trip. Consider the seasons... you want to be somewhere where it is warm and pleasant outdoors. The C250 as your home is too cramped and performs poorly in cold, damp weather. Avoid commitments even though they may be a long time off... it will influence your flexibility, side trips and overall plan... Look at all aspects of the needs of basic living, using the boat as your shelter and consider the space available for storage, living, sleeping, recreation, entertainment and hobbies. Make modifications, additions and personalize the boat as much as possible before you leave... it is much easier to obtain materials from your trusted stores than having to locate needed items in an unfamiliar city or marina... Do a few week long trial runs in your immediate area to adjust, fix and correct and to ensure all details are looked after. Prepare explicit instructions for agencies, banks, insurance companies, health plans, house rental, maintenance, etc. Appoint someone to look after emergencies at home and leave instructions. Let your neighbours know of your plans and asks them to keep an eye on things. Inform the kids of how you're going to stay in communication with them. Make sure you have an up-to-date address book or information with all required contact details. Inform friends, family, church and community of your overall plans. Use an up-to-date computer and programs for e-mail, phone and Internet communications. Take your favorite hobby stuff along if at all possible. Take the tools you possibly want or need... including compact electrical tools. Keep an accordion file to organize, accumulate and keep your travel receipts... it is unbelievable how soon you run out of money and want to know where the dickens it all went... Keep a list and details including a quick reference for places and dates where you have been... A detailed log is invaluable... Buy a bunch of easy-to-store gifts to have on hand... it opens doors and people love it... Make sure sufficient funds are available during your trip... Have all your regular billing changed to a pre-authorized payment system and check accounts regularly while on the road. Take your boat insurance and papers along, you need it at some locations and marinas.
Overall time frame, duration and flexibility Allow yourself , if at all possible the luxury of a broad overall time plan with lots of room to change or expand your travel... This in our opinion is KEY... Chances are that you will come this way only once... The thought that we should have stopped, explored and changed plans or whatever it may be afterwards is a sorry thing. Even though we had lots of time, it did happen to us on occasion that we could have sailed or explored the area further... A couple of outstanding things we missed were taking up the invites from some people on the Forum, spending time at the Mississippi, the North Channel and stopping at some inland lakes. Be flexible and allow time for spontaneous side trips... they could be of more interest than the main plan. Take time to make friends wherever you are... meeting people provides a most wonderful dimension. We made many friends and remember them with great fondness in places like California, Arizona, Florida, Ontario, in fact all during the trip. And...ask and listen to advice provided by the locals....
The boat as your home: basic requirements The C250 sail boat provides "fair weather", shelter only... With tarps and other temporary shelter you can expand your living area but cold and rain soon will put a "damper", on all of it. It takes a creative mind change to think of the boat as an RV but... if you survive on the water for more than a week you're all set for land cruisin'... Make sure your sleeping quarters, either the V berth or aft berth is well padded, (we added 4” (10c/m), foam) and adequately equipped with sleeping gear for all weather conditions. (We use the V berth exclusively since it allows easy set-up, access (when you have to get up during the night) on both sides of the table, and a hatch directly venting to the outside...) A tent type 3x3 ft (1x1 meter) cover protects the hatch from raining/sunshine entering in. The hatch shelter is suspended from the jib halyard. You'll spend a lot of time in the main cabin during evenings, rainy weather and when entertaining. To provide room and functional space we changed the table to partly fold-down and sliding side extensions. We added a collapsible seat to the second step of the companion way ladder. We added storage shelves in the galley above the counter, below in the cupboard, behind the head's bulkhead, a V berth shelf with fiddle and a two tier shelf mounted against the main cabin's bulkhead. Wood used is teak and personalized with carvings. A safety gas sniffer was added to warn against propane in the cabin. We use lots of cushions on the settee (for taking naps and snuggling up with a good book). Extra blankets are stored in two hammock slings suspended from the teak hull strips in the V berth. Baskets are installed below the table and contain books, notepads, and is the collecting point of all kinds of stuff. A compact TV with MP3, CD, DVD complete with a auxiliary connection is situated on the top shelf for easy viewing from the cabin. A TV antenna is located on port side just behind the V berth and a 50 ft removable cable is stored for hook-up to cable TV provided in most RV parks. Food is stored below the starboard settee, in the microwave oven, below the galley counter and in the head. Canned, non perishable staples and packaged food stuff is stored below the settee. Perishable foods, drinks, etc is stored in the cooler below the counter. Extra supply of drinks, water, Tetra packed milk, juice, etc., are stored on the floor of the head. The top of a square waste basket cut in half keeps bottles upright on the floor . The bottom part of the waste basket is used as an additional storage container below the sink and holds soaps, cleaners, sun screen, mosquito repellent, Aloe Vera, etc, and other household liquids. Suction cups are attached to the hull lining in key locations. Wet weather gear including rubber boots are stored in the foul weather locker. To better utilize space we store some wine and other bottles inside the rubber boots. Electricity is provided with extension cords forward next to the table and aft close to the companion way ladder. Cables run between the tank and floor... It would be ideal to have the boat's 12 volt system combined with 110 V shore power. The use of an inverter, battery loader in combination with our small 350 watt generator set and (to be acquired) solar panels needs further development. Although we have proven that we can live comfortably without electricity for periods it would be nice to have it available at least some of the time.
What to take and not to take Taking and making room for some things that give a little zest to life are most essential... things like family photo's, music c.d.'s, your computer, needlework, favorite books, hobby/craft stuff & tools (take it all), puzzles, scrabble, (I won for the second time) sailing books and stories etc. You'll encounter days that sight seeing and sailing just won't do and you need a little down time. Nothing better than to indulge and restore your batteries with your favorite pastime. Oh yeah... forgot to mention that golf umbrella's and parasol can make wonderful shelters over the hatch and next to the boat on the dock... or what I like is playing/sailing with an umbrella in the dinghy.
Clothing and foot wear Carefully consider what to take, then leave half behind and then think again... chances are you still take too much... after being on board for a full year we still had more than we actually needed. We got used to adding layers when the weather got colder over t-shirt and shorts. Whenever possible we find a laundromat every week to 10 days. Do take some semi formal clothing since you may be tempted to take a break or go on a cruise.... we did... twice!! We each took three pair of shoes and found that adequate.
Food: shopping, provisioning, stowing and preparation Shopping for two people living without refrigeration or freezer at first presents a challenge. However before long, foods stuff fall into 3 categories... First will be fresh such as veggies, milk, meats and fruits. Then anything vacuum packed, or sterilized milk in tetra packs and the last category is canned stuff. The volume we buy depends on what we will be doing during the next week. If we travel or sail in a remote area we may buy sufficient for a week or more. Johanna buys things such as coffee, evaporated milk, oats and staples for longer periods. Meals on board are the highlight of the day and taste better than anywhere else and alas... the pounds we were hoping to lose during increased activity came home with us... We love fresh perked coffee with the aroma spreading over the entire dock or RV campsite... Buying quantities for only two people presents a challenge since most packaged stuff comes in larger quantities. A substantial bottled water supply is stored under the V berth and normally one case is stored for daily use on the port side next to the table.
Budget and expenses Using a Mac Quicken program we categorized our trip expenses in several categories. Although not every last receipt was entered, we feel that all expenses have been fairly accounted for throughout the trip and entered regularly into the program. Since we are “freelance writers”, some of our expenses are tax deductible according to government, as long as we intend to become profitable within a reasonable time frame. The expenses below reflect a reasonable day-to-day travel expense. We did not search for the most expensive RV parks or Marinas and neither did we look for the free-bees or go hungry. You'll will notice that based on one full year of 365 days the average day cost $76.45. Food, the largest amount, averaged $23.39 per day for the two of us. This includes all food provisions on-board as well as a fair number of restaurant meals and entertainment.
Fuel (diesel) $5485.00 $.322 p/mile or $0.219 p/km Truck & boat trailer insurance $1800.00 Truck maintenance $517.00 Educational sites and gifts $240.00 Boat maintenance including out-haul & paint $2000.00 Meals, food and entertainment $8540.00 $23.40 per day Medical & travel insurance $2768.00 Office supplies (including computer programs) $911.00 Miscellaneous “forgot receipt”, expenses $1000.00 RV Parks & marinas including no charge locations $4,645.00 $12.73 per day Total $27,906.00 US funds Exchange 15% $32,092.00 CAN*
*Note : Most of our traveling time took place in the US. The average exchange rate was 20% during that time. To compensate for the time travelled in Canada and things such as insurance purchased in Canada we arbitrarily reduced the exchange rate to 15% to arrive at a Canadian value.
Banking, finances and insurance Before actually departing consider ways to access sufficient finances as you travel... During our preparation we made it a point to discuss our needs with both banks we deal with and implemented their advice. We used cash, credit and debit cards but eventually changed to cash and a debit card only. The change gave us a feeling of being up-to-date and let us “pay-as-you-go”#357;. Since the amount withdrawn comes straight out of your account the need to find a safe and trusted Internet connection to check bank statements is reduced. By the way it is a pleasure to supplement your funds anywhere at any time to a limit of $500.00 per day per institution. When we booked our cruise through the Panama we used a credit card and transferred funds just before the due date to avoid interest. One little annoying item is the service charge anywhere from $1.50 to $3.00 added to each transaction. To avoid this you must deal with a group of banks or credit unions that issued the card. We assumed that banks provide a competitive exchange between Canadian and USA funds... at least as good as any institution. Before we left we both had a physical check-up and although the insurance company did not insist on this we felt better and could provide up-to-date and factual information to the insurance company. Since both of us were found to be healthy at the time of departure we were able to negotiate the best possible one year rate based on... 1) health, 2) length of time outside the country and 3) combined with house and other insurance requirements. The amount for one year coverage was just under $2000.00 with a $1500.00 deductible. Lowering the deductible significantly increases the cost of the policy. Since we wanted to insure high unforeseen expenses we chose a rather large deductible. The policy allowed us to be in the USA for a continuous period of up to 6 months with the balance to be spent anywhere else in the world. There is a wide variety of plans available and can be customized to your need. Knowing what your plans are before you set-out is worthwhile and provides a basis for negotiations with insurance companies. Since the truck was used for pleasure only we were able to obtain a reduction of over $300.00 bringing our truck insurance down to just over $1700 per annum.
Traveling by road and float equipment Our 25ft boats are certainly not long distance cruisers, even less so in foul, cold miserable weather or performance in big open waters. No question but with a little ingenuity and careful cruise planning they perform well enough to make life aboard pleasant for longer periods anywhere. The KEY is to match expectation to equipment and respect its limitations. Your boat's trailer-ability versus a larger better equipped boat, etcetera, etcetera We hummed and hawed before finally deciding on buying a diesel truck (more than twice the price of our first house back in '67), a one year old demonstrator. Since that purchase we have not regretted it during our 25,000 plus kilometres (17,000 miles) continental wandering pulling the approx. 6000 lb. C250 WB and trailer wherever we went. The one ton 4x4, 6 cylinder Ram diesel crew-cab truck although stiff in the springs offered a comfortable ride with lots of room, plenty of power and easy pulling with little or no noticeable side sway. To store some of the extra stuff we carried a storage box in the flatbed. If you have a choice consider a vehicle with ample power rather than something that will just do the job. It is easier on you and on the equipment and makes travel a lot more pleasant and worry free. The boat's Trail-rite trailer with its surge brakes, hitch and electrical wiring is certainly up-to-the-job and has not given any trouble whatsoever. The heavy galvanized U frame bolted trailer construction allows sea-water and dirt to be easily cleaned/removed and is open for inspection. A spray can of 95% zinc rich paint is used to cover any scratches and forestall rust on bolts and other parts while keeping the trailer in top condition. A dab of grease keeps the hitch from grinding and an on-board grease gun used occasionally keeps wheel hubs and buddy bearings pressurized. The "Trail-rite", decals on both sides of the trailer have totally faded and should be replaced to keep things looking new. The '95 C250 WB nestles nicely on the trailer's wood bunks covered with rot-proof felt. The staples holding the felt type material in place on the wood did rust away and needed to be replaced. The boat seems to shift about 3 inches to starboard on the trailer crowding the starboard boat guide. This is in spite of the fact that storage weight is about evenly distributed on both sides of the boat. Perhaps road curve and just the way the trailer is built makes it shift. Opinions may differ, but we feel that tying the boat down won't stop it from shifting. Even though the hull is deeply seated on its trailer bunks, the boat should be strapped to the trailer . (Some States may/do require load straps)
Cruising the waters In retrospect we could have/should have cruised further and more often. Entire attractive cruising areas were omitted for several reasons including 1) time of the year; we left B.C. too late in the year and wanted to be in a warm climate, 2) our overall time frame divided in major time blocks, 3) the distance to be covered going South, East, North and West direction home again and lastly 4) sightseeing and doing things on land in the area of the harbors and marinas. Of the total trip we spent about an equal amount on the water and on land. Southern California, Florida, the Trent/Severn Waterway in Ontario and the North Channel were major attractions although other priorities prevented us from sailing the North Channel. Every location had its unique attractions and stand out in our minds. But... had we had more time we would have liked to experience the Mississippi river, (part of the Great Loop), The North Channel (part of Georgian Bay), and sailing with buddies in the San Diego/Florida area. Commitments made prior to departure limited our overall time frame from September to mid August. Depending on what's next we would love to re-track the last portion of the trip back to Manitoulin Island and the North Channel in Ontario for an entire summer sailing exploration. The area is fantastic with unlimited cruising destinations and all in pure fresh water.
Storing & retrieving equipment truck and trailer What appears to be a bit of a puzzle before you set-out on the trip will fall into place as you go along without any hassle. In the locations we sailed the storage of truck and trailer was no big problem. When we took a break from living on board and went on a cruise or flew home to see the new grandchildren we were able to store the boat safely. Thank you Gary and Susan Norgan for offering your driveway for storing our boat, the Zweerinks for an extended time and letting us use the workshop to make modifications, the Jansens for letting us your use their farm and Port Severn Marina for docking while we retrieved the truck and trailer and spending a few days extra with the family in Ontario. And Helga, owner of the Port Severn Marina who was kind enough to drop us at the nearest bus station for our 400 km trip by bus and train via Toronto to Port Hope to pick-up the truck and trailer.
Navigation, safety and other equipment Charts of various areas, Hand held GPS, Depth sounder, Hand held VHF, Compass & separate conning compass, Hand held wind speed indicator, Binoculars, Foghorn, PVC 3 #733; inch round tiller extension with holes drilled for tiller extension , MOB throw bag with line, Misc. flares with gun... expiry 2008, First aid kit in (two locations), 2 fire extinguishers type B, Electrical plug-in's for 20 and 30 amps and 30 amp RV parks, Spare anchor with 25ft chain and 120 ft 5/16 rode, a #317; line 300 ft, 3/8 line nylon 2 bags each 50 ft, Shock cord #317;” 50 ft, battery charger 10 amp 110 volt, inventor 400 watts with cigarette lighter and battery connections, 3 50 ft extension cords, Stern mounted BBQ & 1 lb. propane tank, Standby Gen. set Honda 350 watt stored in starboard coaming (mixed 50:1 fuel tank Â#318; lt. per 3 hrs), Assortment of bun-gee cords, 3 - 10 lt. fuel tanks 1 - 3 gallon main tank plus engine and leg oil, 1995 Honda 4 stroke long shaft 8 hp outboard motor, misc equipments, 2 foldable lawn chairs, 1 large sunbrella canopy, 3 golf umbrellas, #733;” (1.2 c/m)#357; anti fatigue mats in aft berth and V berth insulation to prevent sweating, cockpit and aft berth cushions, mainsail and 110 jib bags, port side cabin storage coaming tool boxes, 3 boxes of spare parts, 2 fishing tackle boxes, one box with glues and misc tape, electrical straps, teak boards two 1”x 8”x12” one 1”x1”x8”x2ft and misc teak pieces for projects and additions, rechargeable air pump and big air hand pump, 2 white coveralls with plastic gloves, boxes with spare parts, washers, nails, electrical straps, rope ends, backwater 7.5 ft dinghy with oars and misc. stuff.
Wear and tear and maintenance of equipment, boat, trailer, truck After a full year of traveling, covering about 25,000 km (17,000 miles) with our 1995 C250 WB boat and trailer around the perimeter of this continent, we did not experience any significant problems with the boat or trailer. This includes the bearings, tires and the boat itself. The boat should have been tied-down better to the trailer during the entire trip which in some states seems to be a requirement. We have not experienced any leaking from the ballast tank or hull. The '05 Ram one ton 4x4 diesel pulled the boat effortlessly even in mountainous terrain. The heavy springs and stiffness of the one ton kept the trailer from swaying even at higher speeds, truck passing or crosswinds. The trailer hitch was directly connected to the truck and the trailer surge brakes were adequate. Our C250 WB was trailered over 25,000 km or 17,000 miles without any flats or tire problems during the last 11 months. At every stop we did check the boat, the trailer wheel bearings and tires and hitch just in case. Storing the boat for longer periods we make sure that we block the trailer with no load on the tires and covers blocking sun radiation. Our tires are Steel belted radials Custom A/S P215/75R14 M+S Max load 755 kg or 1664 lb. The tread is 4 ply with 2 ply polyester sides. The C250WB and trailer including all equipment (tender, 8hp outboard, food, tools, etc.) weighs 5600 lb. as per a road side truck scale along the way. Total max tire capacity is 4x1664 lb. is 6656 lb. leaving a margin of approx. 1056 lb. or 15% impact safety. The tread, during the trip, is worn to about half of the original. The mast and boom have obtained scratches wherever bun-gee cords were wrapped around. The, new before we left, bottom ablative paint coat has blistered just below the waterline and will need to be sanded down to the gel coat. We suspect that in/out of the fresh/salt water and temperature differences are the main cause.
Communications: Use of libraries, skype, e-mail, postcards, cell phone Everywhere on this continent libraries are available at no charge. Only at 2 or three were we asked to pay a small amount to use the internet. Without exception libraries offer a most pleasant environment and function as information centers... Wireless Internet is available in all but a few libraries. At the beginning of our trip, our son Tom made us aware of a free computer call program called “Skype”#357;, which we used extensively throughout the trip including hours of long work related conference calls... (still doing a little contract work). E-mail today has got to be the best way of keeping track of your communications including financial, bills, family and all other things. We used it frequently and at every opportunity. When not connected we often prepared messages in advance ready for the next connection. Since we have 11 grandchildren Johanna tried to mail as many postcards to the grandchildren as possible. We did spend countless hours running around to find stamps and mailboxes. Kept us busy whenever in a new port or RV park.
Family at home: adjustments, holidays, Christmas etc. The kids at home at first thought it was a little bit far out to have parents travel in an unusual RV Combo around the continent. The kids wanted to be kept up-to-date and so we e-mailed trip reports at regular intervals including pictures after the first couple of reports. They were well received and anxiety levels were reduced. In addition we acquired a computer phone program, as previously mentioned, allowing us to communicate, as long we had an internet connection, without costs. This worked fine throughout the entire trip.
Rhythm of travel and priorities Throughout the trip we seem to have developed a travel “one day and stay put the next several#357;”, program, or we travelled longer distances several days in a row and settled down for a week or so in one location. The same happened on the water where we would stay in one marina for a longer period. One of the reasons of staying in one area is the friends we had made in that particular location. Another was that it provided us a chance to have a good look around in the area. Take San Diego as an example. We were in a slip next to Sea-world, a beach walk, restaurants, the pier and in a very nice and quiet part of the area. Besides, we had miles of bike trails to ride in beautiful summer-like weather. We explored a good part of the city and its attractions plus sailing the area with people on L Dock at Marina Village on Mission Bay in San Diego.
Coping within a restricted space The saying goes that living together for one year on board of a sailboat counts for 7 years of marriage... We learned early on that... "ain't the crew happy ain't nobody happy". That holds true for most activities and sailing cruises. Stress, anticipation and apprehension are at different levels especially when setting out on a longer trip and when leaving the harbor to explore new and for us "uncharted", waters. The boat is restrictive at the best of times but feels even more so on large bodies of water. We both are fairly well organized and more often than not can find things where they are supposed to be. Everything must and has a place on board. We both have developed "our", area for eating, sleeping, recreation, hobbies, etc., and will share to do housekeeping, dishwashing, cleaning-up, etc. We were successful in docking somewhere every night and to be able to get off the boat for exercise, walking, shopping etc.
Hobbies and recreation You won't always be on the water sailing or road traveling... there will times that you feel creative or need some time out to do things you want to do... Having tools and hobby materials on board is not only a wonderful thing but it is a must for the both of us. Often during the trip I worked on carving projects and Johanna did needle work or just "hung out", with the tools and wood project close at hand. Making things just gives you a great sense of satisfaction wherever you are. Besides sitting outside in the warm sunshine in the middle of the winter on the dock next to the boat and having something to do that you really like is a little bit of heaven especially when the aroma of coffee brewing permeates from the boat's cabin. Although we debated taking the bikes along (they took a bit of a beating), we did use them a lot in areas and especially in the San Diego. Exercise and fun were combined in riding the bikes sometimes for several hours. While moored next to Sea world we used the bikes to visit the park.
Book exchanges at RV parks and marina's Take a book... leave a book... Exchanging books at RV and Marinas works very well... No use stocking up on all the books you want to read since more are available at the next RV or marina. There is no cost connected to the exchange and the nice thing about is that you are stimulated to read a wider variety.
Dividing the tasks Although we try to cover and learn each other's tasks as much a possible in case one is indisposed it is without question that some chores come more naturally to each of us... for instance I dry the dishes while Johanna washes them. When navigating I tend to glance at the chart globally while Johanna studies it in great detail and makes notes. My task is doing the deck work, hanking on the jib, cleaning the top sides and storing material in the cockpit coamings, providing sun and rain shelter, looking after the engine, maintenance and tools. Johanna takes care of the entire cabin including cleaning and airing, food and beverage storage, head and galley. She's does the washing and cooking and keeps the kids up-to-date with snail mail and Skype phone while I do the e-mail and communications. Making the sailboat ready for a cruise is mostly a shared job. Again I do the deck, sail and motor work while Johanna gets everything ready inside. Once on the water we are equally capable to set and trim the sails, man the rudder and navigate with chart, GPS and depth-sounder. Both of us are comfortable docking although I seem to do a little more of it. Yes.. the boat suffered a few battle scars but nothing serious. In an emergency situation it is good to know that either of us can bring the boat in.
Visiting, commitments and visitors versus time frame. Guest & entertainment on board As mentioned earlier long term commitments, even if it is seems a long way off, will set the overall schedule and like it not, you'll have to work and plan within the given time frame. Since two of our daughters were expecting Johanna insisted to be there when the babies were born. We made two trips home, one all the way from Puerto Rico to Vancouver and then took a one way rented car back to our boat left behind in San Diego, CA Yes it did add a nice dimension to the entire trip and provided us and the kids with several highlights. While meeting old time friends in Ontario we took young people on board several times for a leg of the Trent/Severn Waterway system. Although cramped, it worked out well and provided us with some interesting points of view as expressed by the young visitors. During one leg of the trip we spent more time visiting with friends than sailing. One particular day we entertained 4 couples on and around the boat. Meals other than snacks and drinks are just not possible on the C250 for such a crowd. We could have used the BBQ but fortunately nice restaurants were close by. We did notice though that the minute you make a commitment to be at a place at a certain time or even to meet someone along the way adds to the complexity of going through the system. It is not a problem but perhaps more an inconvenience since you want to be able to explore and take the time to fully enjoy the route.
Tools equipments and spare parts Take along all the tools you possibly need and then take a few more... we did and did not regret the space it took in the cabins coaming where most were stored. Make sure they are in good condition and have been coated with a sheen of oil to prevent rusting. We took some wood and carving tools along and enjoyed working with them. It's great to have the right tool you brought along when someone wants to borrow it. It happened several times that we lost or misplaced the keys to the boat and a hacksaw stored in the coaming came as a welcome solution. Spare parts for the boat , motor and rigging include a miscellaneous supply of fittings, wire, line and things that give the secure feeling that in any emergency you can at least jerry rig and get to safety. It happened to us when our rudder snapped in half close to a nearby rock formation. It took some time while keeping the boat off the rocks with the 8 hp outboard to replace the rudder with a spare rudder. For the Trent/Severn leg of the trip I made two spare rudders, one from a solid old pine board and one from a one piece seasoned tapered oak board 12”wide and 5' long.
Back-up plans and systems Back-up plans are in our opinion essential regardless of traveling by road or water. Our equipment while towing the boat is just over 50 ft in length. Parking limitations, although no problem in most areas, will prevent you from turning around in tight spots or parking in a shopping mall with restricted access or exits. Look, make sure, before entering. While looking for a RV park we had one situation where we missed the turn-off and ended up on a road we thought would get us there. The road continually narrowed and became hilly until we reached a spot where a leaning tree overhung the road letting the truck through but not the boat. Since we were on the downside we could, with our surge breaks, not back-up anymore... Out came the handsaw and soon the obstacle was cut down. On the boat while sailing or motoring your mind continually makes adjustments to the situation and prepares back-up plans in case anything changes, goes wrong or breaks down. Some things are not practical to replace but having "just-in-case", tools wire, lines, fittings, etc., eases the mind.
Weak & strong points of the trip Weak points can be divided in two groups. The first one is kids and grandkids; the second public toilets, showers and laundry facilities. Let me deal with the first one just very briefly... when the kids are having babies there is no way that Johanna would have stayed on board or... if any one would have needed mom because of illness. We are a close knit family and depend on each other when the need is there. Bathrooms in the USA and Canada range anywhere on a scale of 1 to 10 from 3 all the way to a 9.5 Most locations are quite acceptable but every once in a while you'd rather skip morning routine whereas a little further down the road you don't want to go on just because the facilities are wonderful . Yes... instead of using showers, we dipped overboard with great pleasure whenever the weather and water temperature permitted or used our custom made cockpit "sun-shower". A strong point of the trip was the unbelievable fact that every day you wake up you have all kinds of exciting things to do at your leisure. Whenever funds get low you have the convenience of an ATM. Above all is the fact that this kind of freedom of traveling by boat and road is nearly without limits. What a way to go... But one thing must be acknowledged and that is the importance of good health. If your body gives trouble, you're limited in your freedom.
When is old too old... Each situation and with every person this is a little different. However, IMHO there are a couple of common denominators... those are... 1)Health dictates and will set limits 2)Financial provision 3)Kids and family to empower you to be free Both Johanna and myself age 61 & 64 have lived full time, on board of our '95 C250 WB for 13 months, traveling and sailing 25,000 km (17,000 miles) around our continent and loving it. (see our trip reports posted on this forum: Living on board full time and going South 1-16) What's next?? There are so many options available... we may just eye#357; a 32-36 footer and live on board full time. Selling our C250 WB is the last thing we would want to consider since it provides the flexibility we want to go sailing anywhere & anytime where the weather is warm. Or another idea is to ship our C250 WB to Holland and canal motor/sail to Paris and beyond. Once in Paris then to contact this forum and see if anyone would be interested to share the boat and motor/ sail it back from Paris to Holland Another idea is explore Thailand by rice boat from Bangkok to the interior or visa versa... or finish sailing the North Channel in Northern Ontario... we dream on... To illustrate that age is relative we met on our trip people of all ages with the majority being mature people with ages ranging anywhere from 50 to mid 80. People that seemingly met the above requirements were free to travel and live their dream. In fact we met Bill a 75 year plus person on the trip sailing a well cared for 35 footer sailboat single handedly through the 400 km (260 miles) Trent/Seven waterway system doing the "Great Loop", from northern Ontario to the Gulf of Mexico and back through inner and coastal waterways. We were amazed how he single handedly "locked through", 44 locks without incidents. Not only did the boat work keep him physically fit but also mentally in what he loved to do... And he was not the only one... The trip was an eye opener and inspiration to both of us. The sky's the limit!!
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