It’s the breakdowns, stupid!
Here in Cartagena we all hang out on the dock/bar of Club Nautico in the evenings. The other night, after a few cold Costenas, the talk turned to why some cruisers stop cruising. You know, the ones who seemingly have it all: beautiful boat, beautiful relationship, plenty of money, good health, etc. Then suddenly one day you hear the boat is sold, theyâ€™ve moved to Montana or New Mexico and none of us boat bums know what theyâ€™re doing anymore. We lose touch, they disappear, theyâ€™ve retreated to the â€œreal world.â€
The yacht club bar wisdom, for what itâ€™s worth, is that the number one reason for this is the breakdowns. We can see it in some cruisersâ€™ eyes as they recount the latest horror show at the boatyard. â€œThen they launched the boat before the gel coat was dry!â€ â€œThey didnâ€™t finish the job on time and then they charged me overtime in the yard!â€ â€œI hauled out for a bottom job and now I need the whole topsides done!â€ For others itâ€™s the nagging little repairs and mystery problems. â€œFirst I checked the fuses, then I traced all the wiring, then I replaced the antenna, then I replaced the tuner, then I replaced the entire unit, and it still doesnâ€™t work!â€ â€œIt only leaks when weâ€™re under power and heavy load, but never when Iâ€™m checking it.â€ â€œThe manufacturer says Iâ€™ve got to reinstall the operating system and reformat my hard drive first.â€ Unfortunately, this is a huge part of cruising. We not only have to be plumbers, riggers, mechanics, electricians, programmers, and painters, but we have to like those jobs too. When things go wrong we have to laugh, or at least laugh at ourselves after weâ€™ve solved the problem. Weâ€™ve got to let all of this roll off our backs and not weigh us down.
In some ways itâ€™s a good thing that life out here has its miserable moments. If it was all wonderful, all the time, it would be too crowded.