SEVEN SEAS CRUISING ASSOCIATION, INC.
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308 USA
Phone: (954) 771-5660 Fax: (954) 771-5662 Website:www.ssca.org Email:email@example.com
Subject Area: A Different Kind of Cruising for the Young at Heart
but Over-the-Hill Crowd and the Nervous Newbies
This letter is not just for the over-the-hill cruiser, but could also be very appropriatefor you newbies who are a little uncomfortable about casting off, or the wannabes who might be hesitating to take the plunge off the end of the dock, especially if you are hesitating because youthink you are too old for something so different. Dave and I are octogenarians, who have been sailing, motoring, and cruising around for over 60 years.
After many, many miles, and about 25 years of racing around lakes in small, fast, tippy, boats, it hit me that I needed a more stable platform that could take us exploring over the horizon, with room for our large family, while still doing our favorite thing in life, sailing. That change in attitude was good for over 21 years, when again I had an epiphany. It was time to make the cruising life easier and move to the dark side: time to move aboard a trawler. We have been aboard the latest Cloverleaf for 13 years, but still follow our old style of living at anchor, and constantly exploring new harbors and even new countries.
This summer we moved into phase three, still on a boat, still cruising, but with a whole different attitude. We are doing a different kind of cruising, something gentler, kinder to one who needs less stress and it’s probably as appropriate to a nervous newbie as it could be to other old-timers.
So what are the differences in this new cruising? Top of the list is more time at marinas. What does this accomplish?
- First and foremost, a chance to get off the boat and walk around. This is really essential to us actually old, old-timers. Endless days of sitting on the boat are simply not good on the body.Where I used to compensate by swimming almost every day, I no longer care to dunk in colder, murkier, often times fast-moving waters (often laden with stinging critters).
- A chance to more easily meet fellow cruisers. Ask any cruiser what is the best thing about the lifestyle and they will always answer, “the people you meet.”
- A chance to explore what the area has to offer, whether it is a unique restaurant, a chance for local entertainment, learning about the history of a place, or visiting its historical places. Have you been to Brookgreen Gardens south of Myrtle Beach, the Spoleto Festival in Charleston or the book fair in Miami? Have you seen the wonders of Washington, DC, the Visionary Art Museum or the Aquarium right on the harbor in Baltimore? Have you experienced the theater in New York City or the great fishing that’s everywhere? There is no end to the possibilities, but you do have to stop and go ashore to smell the roses.
If you are a wannabe, or about to change your boat, I must insert here how having what we used to call a marina boat can simplify what the boat you buy must have. Marina boats, like the majority of sportfishing boats, even the larger ones, do not need the amount of anchoring gear, the size of dinghy and motor, the amount of storage space for food or parts, or even the number of guest cabins that a cruising boat that goes off the beaten path and spends the majority of time at anchor must have.They can carry smaller anchors and smaller windlasses, smaller dinghies and engines, have smaller batteries and don’t need watermakers. Food, parts and mechanical help is always available. Guests can always sleep ashore, so even a smaller boat is fine. We all know smaller translates into less expensive and less fuel costs, which helps cover the extra expense of staying at marinas. This brings me to big difference number two in the cruising life.
Big difference number two:
- Staying longer in one place. If you haven’t learned this yet, you should know that staying longer is really much cheaper. We have been in marinas where the price of five nights covered your costs for the rest of the month, where the whole six months winter rate was half to a third of what one month in Florida in the winter would cost. We aren’t going to take advantage of staying north for a whole winter, but we are doing the month or longer reservations.
- Staying at least a month or more we can really relax and see things at our leisure, since we are really only good for one big thing a day, maybe every other day. We can get involved with the local scene and meet local people. We can afford to ship our car (the first one owned in over ten years) to where we are staying longest in the first place and then move it ourselves to the second or third place nearby, if we choose to visit more places. If our glasses break, or a tooth falls out, all of which has happened in the last two years, we have help nearby. We do not get out of phone contact. We are again dropping the stress levels, enjoying what we can, but practicing the K.I.S.S. principle.
As an example of how this played out, here are some of our highlights for July into October.
While on Long Island we got to spend three afternoons at Brookhaven Labs, for their Science Sunday programs on the Synchrotron, the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider and Functional Nanoparticles. I can’t take the space to explain what phenomenal things these studies are leading to—you will have to Google them yourselves—but only yesterday I read about big advances in finding a cure for Alzheimer’s and it involved just the studies we heard about at Brookhaven on our Nanoparticle visit.
The stand-out star in New York City was Pippin, with Patina Miller in the lead, and I don’t know if I have ever seen such a stellar performance. Was it because we were about 10’ from the stage and we could see every sparkle in her eyes? Don’t know, but it was the best ever. Then there was the James Turrel light exhibit at the Guggenheim, like nothing we have ever seen. This wasn’t just looking at something, it was living and feeling it and being immersed in it. We saw paintings at the Metropolitan I had never seen before, and we went to the 92 Street Y where we heard Martin Amis and Ian McEwan read from their latest books (cleverly introduced by Salman Rushdie). Of course, they all talked about their great friend Christopher Hitchens. Can you imagine the sparks flying from great minds like these? Naturally, around every corner is an amazing restaurant, most at very reasonable prices.
Out on Long Island there is a lot of community theater, but usually with casts from Broadway. We also ran into some film festivals. My best picture award goes to Disobedience, a French-made film about Aristedes Sousa Mendes. I had never heard of the man and most of us haven’t, to our shame, because he was one of the greatest heroes when it came to saving lives during the Nazi era. You would have to find it on Netflix, but it is as good as it gets and so important.
Long Island is also full of gardens and stately mansions open to the public.This year we visited the Phipps Estate at Old Westbury Gardens and the Guggenheim Estate. Last year it was the Vanderbilt Estate. We will never be able to see them all or to take part in all the special happenings that go on at all of them during the summer.
The buildings in NYC never stop amazing me. There is the Battery, at the foot of Manhattan. You have to pay attention to your boat going up or down the East River, but there is always time for some picture-taking of the bridges, the boats or the buildings.
We ended our summer in Maryland, first at Annapolis, in a super marina called Chesapeake Harbour Marina, with all the amenities of a country club. Being on the doorstep of Washington, DC, we got to go to their big Book Fest on the Mall and had a chance to again see an excellent production of Miss Saigon. Next year we want to spend much more time in DC This is another area with so much going on that a whole summer could easily pass away and you would have only scratched the surface. We ended with the SSCA Annapolis Gam on the Rhode River, another winner for Judi Mkam and all those who helped her. Now, after our annual haul-out, the last socializing days are at the Krogen Rendezvous at Solomon’s Island. Then it is back to heavy-duty traveling on our way to Ft. Lauderdale, but I hope I will be able to stick with the plan of stopping at marinas to take a break, take a walk and keep the pressure down. Wish me luck.
COMMODORES BEV AND DAVE FEIGES
The Battery, NYC Balthus Therese Dreaming at the Met