When we come to anchor, one of the first things that often happens is Carmen helps rig her favorite swinging rope off the end of the boom for tarzan-style swinging into the water. Meanwhile, Bruce and I share a cold beer before before launching our kayak and paddling around the quiet bay. Richard often gets to work setting up a hammock to read in or launching the dinghy from which he plans to "dinghy surf."
Here are some of the tell-tale signs of a family cruising sailboat (at least this is what OUR family cruiser looks like):
|Davits on the stern serve as our "garage" for our "car" - the dinghy.|
Notice the stuff stored inside - just like my van at home!
|Dinghy, kayak, paddleboard get everyone ashore.|
|Yes, that is Carmen - she free-climbed using her |
monkey toes up a halyard to sit on the spreader!
2) SHADE-MAKERS: Since it is almost always hot and sunny in the tropics, those who live aboard have to create shade however possible. Until about four months ago, our awnings were blankets and towels hung in strategic locations from the boom and stays. However, in Zihuatanejo I bought a roll of canvas, set up the sewing machine and designed and sewed "proper" awnings. Still a bit home-made looking, they have made life in the hot sun much more bearable. And they keep fragile children's skin from burning to a crisp!
4) CREATIVE REPAIRS: Many cruising sailboats flaunt evidence of home-done repairs, as supplies are often few and far between so we must become creative and adaptable. On our steel boat, chipped paint gets covered with special rust-proofing paint that we call "duct tape paint" because of its silvery grey color. The spigot for our washdown hose, long ago broken off, has been a pair of pliers for the past 9 months. Until we get the fiberglassing materials out, duct tape serves to protect the dinks and holes in our paddleboard.
5) CREATIVE TOWEL AND CLOTHES DRYING RACKS: Winches are large gears with handles attached that help us crank in sails under tension. They also make excellent clothing and bathing suit dryers, and while at anchor our winches are typically covered with such items as hats, bikinis and swim shirts. Towels get draped over booms and along lifelines.
6) COCKPITS FULL OF STUFF: It is a losing battle to get STUFF out of the cockpit. The cockpit is kind of like the kitchen or den in a house - it is where we hang out most of the time we are on board, the place where we bring food and drinks and books and pens and paper and knives and shoes, pillows, blankets, clothing, bathing suits, sunblock. After a day of collecting shells and rocks along a beach, the cockpit table is where the treasures are displayed. It is the heart of our floating home.
7) NOISY: A cruising sailboat with kids is not a quiet, serene place. Especially when more than one kid-cruiser are at anchor, the harbor is filled with splashing, laughing, shouting kids. On board, there are sibling battles being fought and laugh out loud movies being watched. I wonder if the cruisers who arrive at an otherwise pristine anchorage turn around when they see a cruising boat with kids anchored up. So much for a peaceful evening with nature!
All this said, I am sure there are neat and tidy kid cruising sailboats on the sea also. Our boat is just not one of them. As we get ready to return to land, at least for the next year or so, I wonder why we need so much space there, when we can fully entertain ourselves aboard our 51' long, 14' wide (at the center) floating home.