I got an email from a reader with the following questions about living and working aboard. I thought I would post my email response here in Q&A format to help any other readers that may have similar questions:
Question: What’s been your experience trying to work while living about your boat? Have you had significant issues with connectivity or power while cruising nearshore? Do you end up spending most of your workdays docked in marinas or are you able to anchor out and still effectively communicate with the outside world? How about sharing a space, even with separate cabins, with someone else trying to do their thing? Would having to listen to another person’s phone or video calls end up driving your shipmate nuts?
Yesterday we arrived back in Annapolis to close out our 2021 New England cruise, and when I updated my log book I realized I had just passed 15,000 passage making miles! Over a third of those have been aboard Rover and almost half have been aboard Hylas sailboats. Not bad!
I have been moaning for years that “they just don’t make them like they used to” when it comes to modern cruising boats, especially when it comes to comically bad keels they are putting on them these days. While anchored near Shelter Island yesterday, I noticed a late model cruising sailboat trying to beat to weather in the 15-20 knot breeze that had kicked up. The boat was being sailed close hauled with both jib and main well reefed down. Initially, I had a view of the boat’s port side, but when it tacked I had an almost perfect view from astern. I was so astonished at what I saw that I pulled out my cell phone and captured this video:
In disbelief I wondered if this boat wasn’t being swept to leeward by the current. So I pulled out Navionics and checked the chart. The current was running strong FROM RIGHT TO LEFT as seen from the perspective of the video!
Yes folks, they really are building boats that sail this badly. It’s no wonder that production boat I lined up against years ago in my Sabre 42 wound up sliding a mile to leeward of me by the time we cross the Chesapeake near Annapolis. But I guess as long as people do all of their research at the boat shows and choose boats based on interior accommodation instead of sailing characteristics, they’ll keep building boats like this and people will keep buying them.
How about that! We had ideal conditions for a mid-day sail from Nantucket to Edgartown today: Winds starting in the upper teens from beam apparent that built into the low 20s with gusts to 28 or so. We did some really fantastic double-headed beam reaching and then tightened up to a close reach where we had to douse the staysail and reef the genoa well in to stay on our feet. What a ball!
In the past I have written on these pages that there isn’t nearly as much sailing living the cruising lifestyle as one might think. This was true even when I was on my single-handed sabbatical on the Sabre, but it’s even more true on Rover with two of us working full time. We can really only make large passages over the weekends and the odds are usually against us for conditions to be right for sailing without the help of the engine. This season in particular the conditions simply haven’t lined up such that we could stop the main engine and still keep the speeds up enough to make our destinations in a reasonable amount of time. As a result, apart from a brief sail between Block Island and Newport on our original delivery north, we have only motored or motor sailed this entire season.
Yesterday the stars finally aligned and we had perfect conditions to sail in the ocean all the way down the eastern coast of Cape Cod, mostly under spinnaker! For me this was like a glass of water to a man in the desert and it really recharged my batteries. Rather than write about it, I am just going to post a few photos and videos to let you come along for the ride!