How Does a Sports Addict Go Cruising?

If you’re cruising US waters, you’re probably scratching your head & thinking …  “OK, she’s finally lost her mind … clearly you just stream the game to your IPAD or IPhone or whatever — it’s simple and not complicated”.   And you’re right ….  the Big10 network allows us to watch online or on my IPhone whenever Indiana University or David’s Fighting Illini  play basketball.

But then, “OH CRAP, NO BARS”!   How can we exist outside the land of bars (not wine bars, mind you, bars on your telephone, or IPad or whatever your tablet of choice may be)?

See, we were anchored out for our shakedown cruise when a boat flying a Michigan flag anchors beside us. Which, of course, prompted me to put up my Indiana Hoosiers flag … and then they lost to Wisconsin at home…. bye bye #2 ranking… SEE? You can’t get away from it!

Suffice it to say, when you LEAVE US waters, the land of bars, and the IPad/IPhone cult (yes, I’m one of them, so don’t blame me!), it will be more difficult to follow your favorite team.  Unless, of course, your budget is much larger than ours and you can afford a full blown internet connection or satellite TV.   We keep hoping those guys on those BIG boats will invite us over to watch a critical game, but so far it hasn’t happened despite all our finagling.  One time we even tried to anchor so we could see the huge large screen TV inside a mega-yacht through the back window, but then the wind switched and all was lost.

Yes, I was there for one of these, not telling which one!

I graduated from Indiana University during the Bobby Knight reign and, as controversial as he was, IU still won a National Championship during my junior year … I’ll let you guess which year… 🙂    And David’s always been a Fighting Illini basketball fan.  So we both missed March Madness and the NCAA Tournament dancin’ the Big Dance.  But we cruised on…

Colts vs Bears Superbowl, anchored off Roatan … watching the game at a resort when the electricity goes out on the entire island! Right after the Bears ran back the opening kickoff and my Colts are suffering…. Quick! Back to the dinghy, we’ll listen on Sirius Satellite Radio, halfway back to the boat, the island electricity came back on …. and my COLTS WON!!!

Neither of us follow NFL football as much, still being from Indianapolis during the Peyton Manning reign, I’m a Colts fan and David has always been a Bears fan first and a Colts fan next.

Anyway, we both enjoy watching or at least listening to Big 10 Basketball, particular Indiana and the Illini, Navy Football (our son graduated from the Academy) plus the Colts, Bears and Peyton Manning.

David’s Fighting Illini….

Away from “bars”, cruisers listen for scores on the morning SSB Nets and if we get lucky, sometimes the US Armed Forces Radio will broadcast games on the SSB Armed Forces Radio network (ask local cruisers for times and frequencies).

Some cruisers subscribe to sports scores sent automatically on SailMail (set it up through SailDocs, also a part of SailMail, SSB and computer connection either soundcard or Pactor III modem required), although this isn’t very exciting in that you only get a score, no action.

Catamaran Resort & Marina, THE place for NFL football on the Rio Dulce!

Many anchor in locations that just might have a bar with the big game, although this gets more difficult outside the US.  You’re much more likely to find a group of enthusiastic sports fans gathered around a bar TV watching “football” — or soccer as we know it, than football or basketball.  Often they can’t even get the US networks on their satellite TV for smaller games such as IU or Illini basketball…     🙁    But if you ask around, I bet cruisers know which bars in which locations will have the games you’re looking for!

Underway overnight to Cartagena, Colombia, listening to Navy Football almost upset Notre Dame! What a game!

So it’s up to you to determine how you’re going to follow your team once you leave U.S. waters.  The best solution we found was Sirius Satellite Radio with a special antenna. We even passed a few hours underway from Isla Pinos, San Blas, Panama to Cartagena, Colombia listening to Navy Football almost beat Notre Dame November 15, 2008!

The Pro 500 we used for Sirius Satellite Radio

Supposedly Sirius satellite radio doesn’t work in Panama … or even countries north of Panama, but we were able to get a good signal fairly reliably with the Pro-500 external antenna.  Note that we did NOT use the XM or Sirius “marine” antenna, but took a recommendation from another cruiser that was having good luck with his PRO-500 antenna.

TV outside set up for our Super Bowl Party in the San Blas!

Yes, there were Patriots fans present….

We had NFL playoff parties aboard listening to the Sirius satellite radio anchored in the Eastern Lemmon Cayes in the San Blas Islands, Panama.

Of course, then by planning in advance, we also had a Super Bowl Party in Nargana, San Blas Islands – Fredrico, the local “go to anything you need I can get it” guy set it up for us – found the only satellite dish and TV in the area, talked the guy into moving it outside for the Super Bowl and allowing all the cruisers to bring food and drink and watch the big game.  Of course, the Colts lost to the HATED Patriots, but it was still fun.  And the Kuna enjoyed the experience of attending a Super Bowl Party US style.    🙂

Super Bowl Party in the San Blas Islands, Panama

Bottom line, technology is changing so rapidly that your experience may be different, but do not expect the same level of immediacy for you sports fanatics as you have in US waters.

That’s not necessarily all bad, there are many participation experiences out there for cruisers than just spectator experiences (i.e. watching IU basketball).   But still we missed NCAA March Madness.   For now, it’s nice to be coastal cruising back in the land of sports!




  1. It is even difficult to get games even in the U.S. sometimes. We walked 4 miles to a sports bar once to see a college football game (yes, OSU fans) and went to another only to find out that they couldn’t get the B1G Network. We are now in the Bahamas and missed most of the bowl games. Tough for sports fans like us!

  2. Do you think it’s only us B1G fans that have separation anxiety from our teams? 🙂

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