S/V Delilah

A Blog to track the wanderings of the S/V Delilah, a 37-foot Tayana sailboat.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


What I am about to say will come as little shock to most of you: we are budget cruisers. We are shoestring budget cruisers.

Now, most of you who know my frugal ways and who have patiently listened and pretended to be sympathetic while I wailed away about how TERRIBLE it would be if we didn't have enough extra money this fall to quit our jobs and sail away to paradise to loaf around for a year, minimum, (boo hoo, right? You feel my pain?) will also probably remember that lovely Delilah was not the most high-tech of boats.

But really, I had thought we had all the standard stuff aboard, on a boat that most people in the cruising magazines consider perfectly suited for crossing oceans. Then we hit Florida, and we slowed our pace, and we started spending a day or two in anchorages, where we started meeting people and comparing notes and seeing the insides of other people's boats.

They are tricked out! Watermakers (which make salt water potable), electronic charts linked up to autopilots (which steer the boat for you), full-size freezers (ours is a 2-cup capacity), separate ice makers, and so on. Their cockpits were fully enclosed, their spotless hulls glistened in the sunlight, and their satellite phones meant no worries about communicating from abroad. And to us, they gave copious advice about what to buy first the next time we had several thousand spare dollars on hand. I heard a lot of "they've come way down in price lately." So has space flight.

Now would be a good time to mention that, after three trips up the mast, we have finally determined that our anchor light is not working due to corrosion somewhere between the battery in the engine room and the top of the mast. A repair sounds complicated and expensive, so Dean has concocted, using a clean peanut butter jar, a spare white light bulb, and a 12-volt plug scavenged from an old appliance, our new anchor light. It casts a festive light in the cockpit at night, and it was free, leaving us more money for groceries this week.

Fifteen years ago, Pam and I spent a whole semester hitchhiking around Ireland. Our living and travelling conditions were appalling, but I was twenty years old then, and there seemed to be a lot of other students getting by in just the same manner. It all seemed perfectly normal at the time.

Dean has a collection of books and sailing magazines that he has read at least twice, and at least a couple of aricles assured us that what we had saved would do nicely for 18 months if we fell into the middle category of "moderate cruisers," meaning, I thought, that there would be cruisers getting by on less. Where are those people?

Once, on my honeymoon, I dallied with luxury hotels. I enjoued every minute I spent in the Ritz Carlton, thought nothing of the expense when we extended our stay, and would be content forever to have some minion tag along to press the elevator button every time I entered the lobby. But until the will of some long lost relative surfaces, leaving millions of after-tax dollars to me or Dean, it seems that I'm destined to be a backpacker and a hosteller of sorts. And I've dragged Dean along with me. We'll drink (boxed wine by oil lamp) to that.

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Anonymous Audrey said...


Whenever I hear the opening glissando of ABBA's Dancing Queen (which is suprisingly often) I immediately picture you dancing to it, alternately in Greensboro or at your wedding.

I hope you are both enjoying a warm and safe Xmas.

Following your journey and posts with vicarious thrill, envy, and actual happiness at the thought of you living your dream, I remain,
Miss Berns

3:59 PM  

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