Der Zeitpunkt rückt näher

Nun ist es mal an der Zeit das ich auch mal etwas poste. ;)

Der Zeitpunkt der Reise rückt immer näher, die letzten Vorbereitungen müssen getroffen werden, bzw sind im vollen Gange. 
Zum Glück habe ich die Wichtigsten bereits hinter mir, meine Familie einzuweihen, meinen Arbeitskollegen/Chef von meinen Plänen zu berichten und natürlich das Ticket in die Freiheit gebucht. 
Meine Familie hat es zu meiner großen Erleichterung positiv aufgenommen und freut sich für mich, dass ich die Chance habe, dieses tolle Abenteuer zu erleben und dann auch noch mit so einem Mann an meiner Seite. Ich bin unheimlich stolz auf meine Familie, sie hat mich stets bei allem unterstützt und das tuen sie selbst jetzt, nachdem ich alles in Deutschland abbrechen werde. Ich liebe euch dafür!

Ich werde euch hier in meinem "Schloss" so gut wie möglich auf dem laufenden halten, vllt nicht ganz so professionell wie Brandon ;) aber ich gebe mein bestes.

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    Figure I would touch a little on insurance.  Currently we are searching the insurance for an affordable global package, which sounds like it should be relatively easy in today's modern age of gps technology and world cooperation.  Quite the contrary.  Leaving the "Hurricane" limitations out of it, which are completely understandable.  I was told that I would need three blue water experienced crew on board to do an Atlantic crossing.  I suppose they forgot to consider my boat isn't equipped for such a crew, nor would I be willing to acquire such a crew in order to comply for insurance purposes.

  I have heard mix reviews around the net about different companies.  I have been quoted an original amount, but then once I elaborated into my plans of switching areas it seems most US companies sigh away from anyone doing anything that isn't within a few miles of the US coast, and a bit of the Caribbean.

   From the companies that people have mentioned, I have sent quotes to the following.

Which the last is actually a broker that will search for an insurance company to meet your specific needs.

We will get the quotes back tomorrow and make a further analysis of the insurance game, although the lack of information and global insurance is surprising.  They will give me insurance in yearly increments for area's, but this doesn't support the goal of a cruiser, unless I was moving quite slowly, which I do not plan on doing.

The Route

            I suppose to some people the most important part of a journey is the map, although I've come to the conclusion that in sailing putting set plans and destination will only leave you disappointed in the end.  The best option is to follow the winds, and the current, let the tide bring you out to sea, and enjoy the beauty of the world.  That doesn't fret for a few of us dreamers to draw a line on the map and show you what an ideal voyage would be, however unlikely of the events that would hold you from such a journey, to include a damaged boat, an emptying of your sludge fund(rainy day fund), or some family emergency in order to get home, or just falling in love with a location and just enjoying life.

            Regardless of the stereotypes and dilemmas behind choosing a route, we are hardly reinventing the wheel, although when going on different boat, and different economy then past years we must put these into consideration when making our plans.  The questions come in different forms depending on which part of the world you are in, and alot of the routes can be found in Jimmy Cornell's Book, which has been a great find for us in order to plan routes.  The next thing when planning a route is to have global charts, as well as pilot charts.  Although these pilot charts cover mass times of weather in all locations it will give you an idea of where you want to be and which routes you want to take during what time of the year.  Even though there are freak weather as we all know, it is to play to your favor to follow histories example.

          Now that we have our charts, and we have our boat, we need to take into account.......our budget, yes that's right, people who can afford different places and activities will choose on which route to take in order to accommodate their budget.  For Example,  French Polynesia has you put down a deposit for a plane ticket home and refunds you in another currency, usually leaving you out of 1500 dollars depending on your home country, this may not be acceptable depending on your budgetary constraints.

   Also we need to take into account the amount of time we are going to spend in the different areas we are going to visit, as mentioned we look at the pilot charts to see the areas affected by storms, as well as reference history.  We know we don't want to be in the Caribbean during April-November, and we don't want to be in the pacific from December-march.  In order to have the best trip through the trade winds we will follow these principles. So Logic tells us there is only a few options to go in order to fully enjoy ourselves during the best seasons for the right places.

         Below you can see a picture of our various thought process as we went through this process.  Always placing safety and season first we have the option to explore the Caribbean or rush through to the canal, or do we go to New Zealand and wait out the cyclone season, or rush past to get out of dodge before the bad weather hits.  Finally we decide as we leave Australia do we want to go north towards the Gulf of Eden, or South Around Cape Hope?

            While these choices may seem in important in certain areas depending on your experience and surrounding could mean the difference between life and death.  In choosing the route there are not only weather hazards, but the even more dangerous human factor.  There have been reported robberies and stabbing across the Caribbean on cruisers, as well as the known pirate attacks off the coast of Somalia.

            In taking these all into account we have chosen to follow the route to drop to New Zealand in order to avoid the cyclones, and then again drop around the south of Africa in order to avoid the pirates.  These are both decisions on our experience and our lack of being able to bring weapons on our route.  This also would give us an extra year to our trip letting us take it slower and enjoy our selves a little more in New Zealand and Australia.  Although, we were tempted to stream by these areas since they are the most expensive cruising areas in the world.

            I seem to have left out an important part of the trip.  The panama canal.  Although we could go around the south south America, that would add an extra six months to our trip, and we don't have a metal hull boat and it would be very dangerous through the icy waters that far south.  The panama canal has been said to be a headache, from it processing delays and its fees.  Also its rules and regulations make it so most people feel that it is a headache they would not want to deal with.  Although I have not been through the panama canal I do not fret this, as we have a decently powerful engine size for our boat, which was built to fight the currents in the English Channel.

          The initial fees at today's time are around 450 dollars standard for small yachts, and as with any operation its the hidden fees that I am told will get you.  You need rope handlers, two on each side, so four total with 200 yards of rope minimum.  You also need to go a minimum of 7 knots with your boat.  If your engine breaks down you will be fined, if you are too slow you will be fined.  I have heard you wait up to a month to even get through and in the meantime you have to hang out in a city, paying fees.

   I hope you all take into account the points before planning your own route, most importantly the weather, crime rates, and your ability to deal with both.  After you find where you would like to go, figure out where you can afford to go.  Although the world is "free", there are better areas for cruisers on a budget to spend their time then the french Polynesia, although it is some of the best cruising areas in the world, its better to cruise longer then to go bust attempting feet's out of your price range.

    As mentioned before I do not agree on making plans on a sailboat or promising when to be where, and when.  All we can do is point our bow in the general direction we want to go and hopefully the wind favors us, if not we'll just have to enjoy where it decides to blow us!

Doing our Part!

   We are due to part in less then two months and it got me thinking about conservation measures and doing our part on the journey. While I will be attending online classes for college while we travel, I also couldn't help, but wanting to do something more some how. To make the trip worth more, by sharing our love and admiration for the world with others.

    While researching this topic I have stumbled by a few websites that peak my interest and will find ourselves becoming some how involved with while we travel.  The first one is a plankton monitoring system, where we would take plankton samples and record the information to be sent to the university to go into the database so we could monitor the earth's levels.  Since 50% of the world's plankton are in the marine environment this seems like a just cause.

   The second site I ran across was a YachtAid Global, which uses the power of the cruisers to move supplies to locations in need. Since most sailors are traveling around from one place to another, and usually have room for extra supplies, hopefully we get the opportunity to help either of these organizations.  While these are two avenues of a way for us to give back to the world while we travel, we will be on the look out for more!  If you have any ideas, please drop us a line!

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Stef's Corner

Here is a section for our German Speaking Friends.

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Final Preperations

   Two months may seem like a long time in between steps, but we are coming on the final stretches of our preparation stage.  I just arrived back home from Porto, after visiting the boat and taking over 240 lbs of supplies and equipment.  Most of the things I have mentioned before, to include bilge pumps, wires, solar controller, wind turbine and tower, etc...  Over all the trip went better then expected. I was also worried about the bilges being filled with water, but was pleasantly surprised when they were bone dry, and I felt a bit silly for having any worry at all.

    Although we have been having a lot more issues then I like to make public. To include getting an email from Boat Registration USCG four months after the submitted paperwork, informing us that we failed to submit one document that was only introduced the same month we submitted the forums. Now we must be put at the end of the Que and hopefully get a proper registration before leaving in December.

   On top of dealing with registration we have to get flags for each of the countries we are to visit, as we are suppose to by law display the flag of the waters we are within in order show compliance with local laws and regulations.  This is a bit humorous as each patch of soil in the Caribbean seems to be a different island, so we'll have to check in and out of customs and regulations every other day it seems like.  Oh the turmoil!

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   Now the next step is saving our last pennies, doing nothing for two months, and preping.  I have purchased a Go Pro, so hopefully on this next set of pictures and videos are better quality and maybe get some underwater footage!  Than we'll basically be professionals and start sending in our products to magazines and TV Companies!


   As I am looking around the cruising community it is inherent that I am of a younger class and social status then many cruisers.  My moderately sized 26' boat gets dwarfed by the quad cabin, twin shower, 50' catamaran that is more common in the "online" presence that I usually find myself looking for advice from these days, since I am still maintaining a presence at work and have yet set sail.  While I'm looking towards these boats and their adventures I am beginning to realize how differently not only our expectations of day to day living are, but on life.

   This brought me to the conclusion that my boat necessities and budget would in no way reflect a 67 yr old retired doctor's boat and budget, or even a retired vet with a pension.  Since I will be cruising with basically no income and using the lent out of my pockets to line my way, I needed to approach how I was entering this endeavour differently then the initial excitement lead me to react. 

    I've concluded the unnecessarily electronics were the first to get crossed off the list, shopping for 6000 dollar radar detectors and multi screen chart plotters was unrealistic and out of my price range.  All of these things that others were saying they couldn't leave the dock without, I simply find to be unneeded burdens that will eventually brake, and need repairing in the long run.  The only other purchases for the boat will be in the means of life saving, or boat saving equipment. ie (Sails, Rigging, Rations, etc...)

    There is a consensus that cruising around with 500 dollars a month is an unreasonable low amount of money to cruise with, but this will be our initial goal.  Two people 500 dollars broken down between food, fuel, water, and entertainment.  The idea is to stay away from tourist areas, always eat on board, and never or rarely during extreme weather conditions use a marina.

    This all sounds too easy right? We'll just stay on deserted areas, only provision when needed, and use entertainment and wifi from easily accessed hot spots. Simple.  Then I read more into what certain areas, and countries require for each of there cruising waters.  If you stay 12 NM off shore technically in most areas you end up in International waters and are free to do as you please, but when you need to check in and stay in certain areas, or want to enjoy their luxurious secluded beaches there are tariffs, and fees they like to include to make their island prosperous, even if you choose not to join in on the "fun".

    You can find more detailed information about individual destinations at this great site I stumbled across.

   I'm not sure if the readers are aware, but I am bringing also my 6 month old Puppy Xena along for the travels as well.  Although she does have a passport, is micro chipped, and is up to date on all her shots, I have heard horror stories of areas quarantine pets for up to 120 days paying 10 dollars a day.  Now we are way over budget.  Only time will tell, since we do have a microchip, I have heard good things on the electronics doing justice and alot of these transits may be waved if we conclude we will not bring the dog on the island.

   In the end we are looking ahead on our initial budget limit and hope that we will stay below the mark of 500 dollars a day.  The key will be eating on the boat 99% of the time, provisioning in cheap areas and buying what the locals buy, entertainment is from nature or enjoying local activities, and rarely over indulging in anything.  Less is more as they say.  Obviously there will be emergencies and we will deal with them along the way.

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