We guess that "Our
Cruising Life" was born many years ago. Iza's when she sailed from the
Seychelles to South Africa and Geoff's in various sailing experiences in his
earlier life. So in 1995 when we chartered a Moorings sailboat in the
British Virgin Islands and asked the question. "Could we do this full time?"
The answer was undoubtedly "Yes."
Little did we realise then what an incredible life it
would be. We envisaged only the sailing and exploring, We did not envisage
the amount of work, the technical and weather frustrations and the inability
to put a date on anything, but most of all we never imagined the fantastic
places we would see, the amazing people we would meet along the way and the
wonderful experiences we Dreaming On web sitewould enjoy..
This life has tremendous rewards. The work keeps us fit
and offers constant challenges, with that extreme sense of satisfaction when
they are successfully resolved. The people we meet along the way are all "in
the same boat" whether in their past life they were brain surgeons or
garbage collectors. All face the same challenges. We have made so many good
friends through this life, many of whom, we hope, will remain friends for
many years to come.
Cruising is not sailing. Sailors take their boats out at
weekends, sail around the bay and return home. They want the perfect sailing
boat and spend their lives trimming the sails for that extra half knot.
Because it doesn't matter too much which way they head, they can usually
take advantage of the available wind.
Cruisers are always trying to get somewhere and we soon
realised that the old adage that the wind is either too much, too little or
on the nose is absolutely true. So we are always compromising on our routes,
ducking into safe anchorages while fronts come through and waiting for that
perfect weather window that rarely arises. In the end, we do an awful lot of
Our cruising boat is our home. We live on board for 10
months of the year. So, although we make the occasional long open water
passage, we plan on spending most of our time sitting in delightful tropical
anchorages, beach combing, exploring, kayaking, diving, fixing mechanical
glitches and doing general daily maintenance and of course having that drink
of rum as the sun goes down. Therefore our boat must be very capable of
making those open water passages safely but doesn't have to be the fastest
under sail or motor, as long as she's a comfortable home. Cruising is also
not camping. We heartily agree with this sentiment.
There are other challenges. How does a cruiser handle
mail, email and general communication. The whole concept of communication is
for another day, another chapter, but to cruise as we do based out of the US
as British citizens, we've had a great deal of communications help from
Our special thanks to John & Mikki Powers, (no relation), our
friends in Vero Beach Florida, who have provided mail delivery services,
parts resourcing, EPIRB emergency contact and SPOT relay services and
generally keep an eye on us to make sure we don't get into trouble. We first
met John and Mikki when they were cruising on their beautiful Bristol
monohull in the Bahamas in 2005. We teamed up with them to go diving there
and stayed in touch.
And so to our choice of boats. Although we started with a
very capable and comfortable monohull, we came to the conclusion that if you
want to go sailing, for the pure fun of sailing, stick with a monohull. If
you want a very capable live aboard comfortable cruiser, buy a catamaran.
We started with the purchase of Dream On in 2003. She was
a Beneteau Oceanis 430 and had just returned from a 4 year circumnavigation.
She was a great sailing boat and was very well equipped. We had great fun
for two seasons in the Bahamas, the Turks and Caicos and up and down the US
East Coast, but there were issues of lack of living space for a full time
cruising life. Also, when we sailed anywhere, all the items on board that
could move or be broken had to be packed away and unpacked again on arrival.
Along the way, we met many cruisers with catamarans. We
could immediately see the living space benefits, the all round view from the
deck level salon, the ability to entertain on board and very little packing
away for sea passages. We watched their stability at anchor.
When we returned to Dream On and Brunswick from Dubai in
2008, we met friends who were previously confirmed monohull sailors, now on
catamarans. And eventually, we agreed, this was the way to go and plan B
went into effect.
We looked at various designs and decided we wanted
a Robertson & Caine Leopard 47, built in South Africa. We wanted the extra
stability and cockpit space offered by a 47' length. The rare 3 cabin
owner's version was out of our price league, and in any case we could not
justify the whole of one hull just for our use, when we spend most of our
time in the salon or cockpit. So that made us comfortable in looking at an
ex-charter version that we could afford and gave us 4 cabins and heads. This
would allow us to convert one cabin to storage, additional freezer,
ice-maker and washing machine, leaving us with three good cabins and heads.
We bought Dreaming On as a five year old ex-charter boat
from the Moorings charter fleet in Belize in September 2008. Although our
first year has been full of many technical frustrations, we are delighted
with the choice of boat. She is a very capable sailboat, motors extremely
well and economically and is an exceptionally stable home.
See our links above to DREAM ON and
DREAMING ON for more
information on these two great boats.