What’s The Best Cruising Advice You Ever Got?

Another question we get frequently is “What’s the best cruising advice you ever got?”

Enjoying Sailing the Flat Water Inside the Reef, Belize

Enjoying Sailing the Flat Water Inside the Reef, Belize

Winterlude was (and is) a 1985 Passport 37, designed by Robert Perry.   Equipped for daysailing by a singlehander, initially we had some newer electronics, including a built in GPS, Furuno radar, an Autohelm 4000 wheel autopilot undersized for the boat, good Adler Barber refrigeration with a well insulated icebox, a Uniden VHF radio, but no shade – a dodger was the only canvas.

Because we’d been reading anything and everything we could get our hands on about the cruising lifestyle, we had a list literally a MILE long on what needed to change on the boat before it would be equipped for cruising.

Haulout for Bottom Paint, Shelter Bay Marina, Colon Panama

Haulout for Bottom Paint, Shelter Bay Marina, Colon Panama

Poor Winterlude was in the yard forever getting so much stuff done and then later in a slip in Back Creek, Annapolis, getting more and more work done.

Fast forward through the summer, fall is fast approaching.  I called the yard – Steve’s Yacht Repair – with yet more stuff we wanted done to the boat.

During the conversation, Steve finally said

“You need to go sailing, stop all the work on the boat and GO SAILING … LEAVE!!!”

The boat was definitely not “done”, no SSB, no watermaker, although at this stage we hadn’t decided we needed one, etc etc etc.

So on a fine crisp September morning, we did.  We untied the lines and sailed just around the corner to anchor for the evening before beginning our big adventure sailing the boat in 10 day increments to Florida, thus launching our commuter cruising lifestyle.

Since those early days, we’ve always taken Steve’s advice to heart.  There’s ALWAYS something more to be done to the boat, always!  But if we hadn’t left, we might have ended up storing the boat in Annapolis for the winter, depriving ourselves of the 50 nights we spent aboard after arriving in SW Florida that winter.    Don’t worry, we had plenty more boat jobs, but at least we went sailing.

As I talk to boaters in our current marina, one of the comments we get is “you actually did it, you went somewhere, unlike most of these boats that never go anywhere”.

David and

So don’t forget to include LEAVING in your cruising dreams!  It seems so simple, but believe me, it is very difficult to do even if you’ve been dreaming about it for years.  Somehow there’s always one more thing ….

The best thing we ever did was untie those dock lines and despite cruising being a cloudy unclear dream, we left.    Take Steve’s advice and GO SAILING!   🙂  You’ll gain confidence and enjoy the transient cruising lifestyle once you realize that your boat is not required to return to the same slip in the same marina every night!

What was the best cruising advice you ever got?   Leave a comment and share with other commuter cruisers or future commuter cruisers!






  1. Close behind “go!” was the advice to always anchor as if you know it’ll blow 50 . . . sometimes it does!


  2. Great advice! We’re not cruising until next year (2013) but only because we have to sell our house first. We’ll add and fix things along the way!

  3. Probably the most important thing!

  4. John Bourne says:

    The only constant in the universe is change. One day it will fine with fair winds, nik minute, rain and high winds. It will always get better and it will always get worse. As soon a I owned this, I found i could really relax and deal with it.

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