View Full Version : Partner dragged aboard, needing advice!

23-04-05, 20:12
Hi there,
I need serious help.
My Kiwi boyfriend is about to drag me into a one-year sailing trip from Europe to New Zealand. Although I'm very keen to swap my busy 9 to 5 London job for a relaxed sail along the Equator, I'm not sure I'm fully aware of what I've just signed on to, as my sailing experience sums up to a few weeks in the Med /forums/images/graemlins/crazy.gif
We're looking at buying a 40 footer and obviously I will have a say on what type of boat we will get (bearing in mind I pretty much know nothing about sailing boats!!). Which is why I thought I should post a few questions on this forum before I sign my life away:

- the master cabin. Does anyone have a view on whether a double aft cabin is better than a double forward cabin? My understanding is that aft cabins are more comfortable (less bumping) and a boat with a center cockpit often has a nice big double aft cabin. Is there any valid reason why a centre cockpit boat is not good for ocean cruising?

- the toilets and showers. I've seen boats with a toilet and shower at the very front of the boat (en-suite to the forward master cabin). Can you use a toilet on the front of the boat while you're sailing?

- Does any one have a view on Moodys? Do they make good ocean cruising boats? Can you fit wind steering to them?

Many thanks in advance for taking time to read my silly questions!

23-04-05, 20:24
Welcome to the forum and go for it - cruising is a wonderful lifestyle.

- Double aft cabin is more comfortable at sea and probably at anchor too.
- you can use a toilet up forward while sailing, but you're less likely to be able to remain seated.
- Boats are like homes. You'll come across one and know that it's right for you.


Paw Paw
24-04-05, 14:34
Stingo speaks sense. My 1979 Moody 36 served me well on that voyage - Was big enough for two and the couple who have it now are continuing to make it a party boat.
12 months is a bit fast - but there is a lot of sense in getting to Panama before the Christmas winds come in..

24-04-05, 15:09
People new to voyaging always think in terms of living at sea whereas 80% of your time will be spent at anchor.

At sea you are likely to sleep on the lee saloon seat rather than aft or forward cabin if there are just 2 of you, so make sure they are (a) long enough (b) straight, (c) wide enough and (d) have lee cloths.

For the owner's cabin, pick whatever looks best to you. It doesn't really matter which end it is. Where the heads are in relation to the master cabin depends as much on how uptight you are about hearing your partner on the thunderbox - bulkheads on boats aren't very soundproof!

24-04-05, 18:16
Just come back from two year Caribbean crusie. Setting off again in June in our recently purchased Moody 38. Does all the things we like for Ocean cruising.

25-04-05, 06:55
My girl friend helped choose our boat and she had little exerience of different boats layouts.
She spotted the huge shower/toilet en-suite and it was really worth it, having a shower big enough to stretch out in and turn around in without ending up wrapoped in the shower curtain and sitting on the loo pump was a nice luxury and admired by many.
We also had a large aft cabin which we slept in all the time, it had four opening hatches above it into and at the end of the cockpit so in times of panick and sheer fear encouraging words could be passed through them before I got kitted up to go outside again, very reasssuring to know you can see your partner in their bunk all the time your in the cockpit.
We didn't have wind steering and I dont feel its completely necessary, ..if you have a good electric one with spares and the boats systems are up to scratch, with alternative power sources, it means you can have a nice swim platfrom, dinghy step and locker for rubbish and petrol etc.
Our voat was a Bavaria 390 Lagoon from 1991.
Its a great experience, that you shouldn't miss, more time might be nice though....or you can always do it again.

26-04-05, 11:59
Dragged my kiwi boyfriend on board over 20 years ago, it was his dream to sail around the world but I think he intended it to remain a dream until I took it up and ran with it.
As others have said a year is not long, can't you extend it?. You will be hurrying past some of the most amazing places in the world, presumably youre going through the Panama?, Galapagos are incredible as are the Marquesas.
Don't worry about the "name" of the boat,just ensure you know it inside out and that any work done on it is thoroughly checked.
I personally would recommend an aft cabin, much more comfy. On a 40' you should have both any way also fore and aft heads. Fore heads are a bit of a pain in rough weather especially as a female and esp in wet weather gear. 40' seems a bit large for just 2 of you, do ensure you rig it for ease of handling, go for roller furling, preferably back into the cockpit. Personally would go for centre cockpit every time, safer and more comfy.
On a personal note have you considered that you will never sleep with your boyfriend again!!, when he's in bed youre on watch etc!, on a positive note in the middle of the ocean clothes are not recquired and you can do what you want. /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif.
We made it to NZ and back again and over the pond yet again. Be aware it is addictive, we set sail in 1986 and the boat is still going, we got a daughter in Galapagos and a son in Australia. I split from their father a few years ago, he got the boat I got the kids and am now buying a new boat with my new partner and intend to do it all again.
Good luck and if you need any advice, give me a shout.

26-04-05, 12:13
Sounds like you've had a wonderful cruising life. Do you have website about your trip - there're plenty of couch-cruisers on here that would probably love to read about some of your experiences?

26-04-05, 15:41
And about to be cruisers.........................................

26-04-05, 16:09
About time you updated yours John, I'm still waiting to read about the Andes crash survivor (and even found you his photo on the web). Been patiently sitting here since October twiddling my thumbs.

27-04-05, 08:21
All the above is good stuff and I would agree that an aft cabin is more comfortable for extended passages. In my opinion however the most important consideration for such a trip is what the boat is made of.....

A few years ago one well informed forum member quoted the figure of 10,000 containers a year lost overboard from container ships. Add to that the fact that far better men than I have managed to hit rocks that shouldn't have been there and in my opinion steel is the only construction material for your trip, interior layout is of secondary importance. Go for a STEEL boat, they are about and may well be cheaper than the plastic variety. /forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif


27-04-05, 09:13
About time you updated yours John, I'm still waiting to read about the Andes crash survivor (and even found you his photo on the web). Been patiently sitting here since October twiddling my thumbs.

[/ QUOTE ]
Sorry mate, you're gonna have to continue twiddling your thumbs because I am suffering from a nasty case of writers block.

27-04-05, 11:56
Haven't got a web site, did once start writing a book about cruising with children. I wanted to use peoples first hand experiences, a fatal flaw, anyone cruising with children doesn't have time to write about it!. Haven't sailed now for 3 years and really miss the life. Am celebrating today as the purchase of my new Amel super maramu has just gone through. So it's Guadeloupe and cruising the Caribbean this summer. The children are not quite old enough to look after themselves yet but when they are all they'll see is our dust trails!!!. I can never quite understand why parents get upset when their kids leave home, mind you with a yacht in the Caribbean it's more than likely they'll want to spend alot of time with us!.

28-04-05, 07:38

Were I in your shoes, I would be thinking "Lifeboat, EPIRB, radar, transponder, satellite phone, watermaker, sextant, drift anchor" and studying Adelard Cole's 'Heavy Weather Sailing' as if it were your personal Bible.

Would recommend the wind steering gear, and maybe even electric as a backup.

Heads and beds are really important, but so is being ready for the inevitable heavy weather you're surely going to have en route.


28-04-05, 10:25
The one doing the dragging should be worrying about the technical stuff and the draggee should be concerned with comfort or there is likely to be a revolt somewhere along the line.

28-04-05, 10:37
Well said Chris..

Times have changed (read progressed) and so have boat designs and the efficiency of weather forecasts, so IMHO comfort aboard has become the priority. Most of the cruisers that I've met spend less than a month a year actually sailing; the other eleven months are spent enjoying the cruising lifestyle. So why be uncomfortable for 11 months for the sake of the discomfort of a 3 day storm?

Ah, can't wait for my new catamaran.

Paw Paw
28-04-05, 10:56
Really envy you - would be back again like a shot if things were different - mind you I am thinking of basing my new (old) catamaran in Trini and using it during the winter.....

I did my web site to promote the sales of my DVDs - both broadcast telly and my Blue Water but in fact it has become a lot of fun and seems to give some interest to others which is rewarding - Just hope some people on the last bit visit the Red Sea notes as I had similar ones on my passage and found them invaluable.

Have fun in Caribbean - lucky you!

28-04-05, 13:16
... You mean I could have spent more time fluffing the mattress in my bunk and less time trying to keep the hatch from being stoved in?

Sheesh. I'll have to get back to mum and tell her this sailing thing isn't as dangerous as she thought.

/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif Randall

28-04-05, 21:13
Many thanks for all your replies, this forum is really great!

Of course, I'm not only interested in the size of the aft cabin, safety is important and I intend to get some training - after all I hope to get to New Zealand in one piece and I can't cook, so I'll have to find another way of helping on the boat. But SnowLeopard is right, I'm not the one with the "technical knowledge", so I can't really decide about the technical stuff.

We are also looking at steel boats, although I haven't agreed to go to Antarctica yet. We're planning on leaving the Med this autumn and go through the Panama Canal around March next year. Some friends will join us along the way. We can't take more than a year off, but we'll see how addictive it gets!

3 days of storm? I don't understand... my boyfriend promised we would not have any bad weather at all and it would be all right...

Thanks again!

28-04-05, 22:04

I'm a baby sailor with just a small fraction of the experience that I'm sure the others have, so don't let me be the bone of contention here.

I just met a man who singlehanded that stretch of water 2 years ago and did very well except for a few gales and the scary three days he spent lying ahull with a 70-knot blow outside.

Were I your boyfriend, I would want to know that you could handle the boat if I happened to get knocked off it. It would be an added plus if you knew how to manouvre so that you had the best (but still terribly unlikely) chance of pulling me out again.

Not to be negative, but if your boyfriend has promised you fair weather on your month-long trip across the ATLANTIC OCEAN, I'd like to know who he's talking to, and I'll follow you across.

I think safety's important. But I'm a newbie, and maybe I'm just oversensitive and hung up on remembering Eric Tabarly.



28-04-05, 22:25
... Uh, that's not really a scant sense of geography, I was just thinking Panama, then NZ (the 'wrong way'around.) You'll have plenty of heavy weather experience already before you get to the Atlantic.

02-05-05, 21:12
Your problems, if any , won't arise because of the comfiness of your sleeping arrangements or shower, but rather how you will get on, cooped up on a small boat for a year with one other person, even if he is your boyfriend. I am sure you are hopelessly in love etc., but exactly how much time have the two of you spent together without other company? Have you seen how he is under stress,say in a violent storm or even wors, a prolonged calm? You wouldn't want to set out with Jack Aubrey, only to have him turn into Captain Bligh! Your emphasis on what are really petty details of the boat, and your mention of a few months in the Med (gin and tonics on deck, no tide, nice harbours on Greek Islands etc) are somewhat worrying. You need to be considering more serious potential problems. If you have to ask about using a head (toilet to you) at sea, you don't appear to have had much experience. What exactly did you do in the Med? It might be worth getting some sea miles under your belt, with or without boyfriend, before committing yourself. Even a trip across the North Sea as crew (with or without boyfriend), for example, would give you a better feel for it, and at least you'll have to go to the head at least once during that trip!

02-05-05, 22:19
sensible advice, but reading between the lines ...would you do anything a bit daft, half-planned, as the originator of the thread freely admits to doing (or planning to do) ? Life's too short to shorten all the odds, and not many free spirits will hang around long enough to be checked out, and checked again. My wildest guesses say that you work (or worked) for someone else, and haven't ever done such a trip - tell me i'm wrong!

02-05-05, 22:52
Your guess is certainly wild, and I'm puzzled as to your grounds for making it. Do I sound so cautious? In fact I have always worked for myself, if that is relevant to this thread, in an occupation that is at best precarious. I have never sailed to New Zealand, but I have seen several relationships end as a result of expectations not being realised after a sailing trip. Try the Canary Islands, where couples arrive after their first leg of the circumnavigation, only to realise they can't stand the sight of each other. I've seen that a number of times. I find your assumption of my caution amusing, given that I have just begun, at the age of 51, construction of a 40 ft yacht, which hopefully will be finished by the time I am 60. This would argue a certain confidence in the future, don't you think? But perhaps you yourself would, to demonstrate your philosophy of carpe diem, start such a project without buying the plans first, or learning the skills that you need before starting the work? I merely suggest that Dragged Aboard stands more chance of a successful trip if she gets a bit if experience first. Some things, like the use of the sextant, are best left until at least 4 days out from Falmouth, while others, such as whether one can actually stand being cooped up in a small yacht for months, are possibly best determined beforehand. It would be a shame to jeopardise a beautiful love affair for lack of a bot of forethought don't you think?
I look forwrd to hearing concrete examples of your own carefree attitude to life, especially, since you raise the question, what it is that you do for a living.

04-05-05, 10:04
Both of you have worthwhile points - and should surely be able to make them without resorting to personal attacks.

Surely everyone who sails off has chosen their own position on how much planning and experience they wish to do before the big day. But I don't see that what tcm does for a living has anything to do with it - he's just voicing his opinion.

I am very disappointed to see that not only have the Lounge and Scuttlebutt been affected by this but now the Liveaboard forum too - we've had the ship's pussy being personally abusive on another thread. I think if this kind of thing is not moderated the entire set of fora will lose its audience - I know personally of some long-standing forum members who have vowed not to frequent them again because of this behaviour.

We're not talking here about whether someone has the technical expertise to offer guidance - and perhaps therefore needs to prove that they know what they're talking about. So surely you're both entitled to your opinions and readers can draw their own conclusions - or should we all submit a c.v. before post an opinion ?

Disgusted, Tunbridge Wells

04-05-05, 10:41
I agree with you, so perhaps you can explain TCM's remark about me working for someone else? After much thought, I can only assume he is suggesting I am somehow over-cautious, or incapable of independent thought. I am genuinely puzzled by what seems an inconsquential remark, and I hope he comes back to expand and explain it. I think you over -react by saying we are engaging in personal attacks - perhaps you could quote that part of my reply which you think combative? Since the question of one's occupation had been introduced, I did the contributor the courtesy of addressing it. Anyway we are all grown-ups here, and there is a saying which goes "you add as much to the suffering of the world when you take offense, as when you give offense" .
To get back to the original question, I am surprised that I appear to be the only one to express a note of caution about the projected voyage. Amid all the "how I envy you" and the "go for it!" type remarks, I would have expected a little more practical advice, which after all is not meant to dissuade, but rather to help the trip go successfully.

04-05-05, 16:23
I agree that pragamatist is being a bit ott in refering to eitgher of our remarks as being "personal attacks", and thanks for taking the remark in the (light) spirit in the which it was intended.

I suppose i enjoyed the origional poster's hidden glee at being "dragged aboard" even the extent that she (i think?!) used that handle on the forum. Make no mistake, she's smitten in more senses than one - so i think the idea of advising caution, altho well meaning and undoubtedly well founded is praps too late. And i spose its not actually the end of the world if people get off the boat at gran canaria - at least they tried, and KNOW they can't stand each other? Or can't stand boating?

I am sorry for sidewaysly (is this a word?) accusing you of being an old stick in the mud, and on refelection your more cautious voice gave probably about the right balance. I dare say that if everyone else had said ooh, careful - that you'd have argued the other way, to live life to the full etc etc? oops - there i go again - I will be a bit more careful about the amateur pschology in future!

BTW, i think the occassional disagreement or spat-ette is fine for the forums, and no problem at all! Provide it stays largely to the subject as we did - in this case the wisdom or otherwise of chucking it in and sailing off. It wd be dull indeed if everyone agreed all the time.

Oh, and er i am well known for fairly wild if not utterly carefree (marrid, 2 kids, see) attitude to life incl buying ridiculous daft boat, going on lunatic trips in said boat, and lots of other stuff. And of course i don't work for anyone else as i am far too rude to get past any interview, qv...

Thanks again. And sorry again.

04-05-05, 16:26
Rightyho, so you haven't been on a boat, you can't cook, and aren't much kop with technical stuff. No offence, but ...I wonder why ON EARTH he is taking you along eh? I just can't understand it!

04-05-05, 18:05
Maybe she has other talents!

04-05-05, 18:51
of course. Astral navigation, yes?

05-05-05, 17:46
In the sense of being taken to heaven?

06-05-05, 12:57
You two never heard of love then?

Men do do it sometimes you know (and mean it as opposed to just say it to get laid!) I once heard of a bloke, who knew this guy, who said his brother's friends uncle had fallen in love..... with a girl would you believe!

06-05-05, 13:14
Hi Dragged Aboard, go for it! Think ahead, get the advice, prepare well and keep safe but just GO!

You have two very special opportunities, a world cruise and a new love - grab them both with both hands. Live it to the full. Its an old line but it's true 'you only get one life'. As you already know some of life is fantastic, some awsome, some tedious and some absolute hell - your cruise, and your love affair, will be just the same, it's just the proportions of each that will be different and how you manage them is up to you.

I have such a clear memory of standing on the deck of a 50ft, gleaming white, teak decked yacht in Fort Lauderdale when I was a mere slip of a girl (23). The sun was setting and the air was warm and it was the most perfect evening. The skipper asked me to join the crew on a 4year circ nav. I was scared, I said no. never saw yacht or skipper again. And how I regret it. What a different person I would have been? A much better person I think. I never realised how much I had lost until I learned to sail last year (44) and now I can't wait for the chance to leave. If you can do that and have someone special with you whilst you do it. Wow!

Of course you are not me and visa versa but to just take a year out and try, well you have nothing to loose and everything to gain.

Good sailing and good luck.

06-05-05, 13:32
Couldn't agree (with Olly) more!

Doing something new with someone you love is the best experience in the world, even if it doesn't work out permenently, you'll have some wonderful memories.

Rely on your own instincts to tell you when you are over-reaching yourself - if nothing else that will teach you where your limitations are.

Have a wonderful time - and tell us how it goes.

06-05-05, 14:32
Anyway lets skate around all this romantic nonsense - soon goes out the window when there's no fresh water in the tank and SOMEONE blocks the Lavak.
What's all this nonsense about centre cockpit boats. Decent boats have large rear cockpits and so are safe for Atlantic crossings.
(Hides in large rear cockpit and waits for howls of protest)

06-05-05, 14:33
passionate arguments every single flippin night!....