It isn’t faith we rely on as sailors, its experience. I love crawling into the V-berth at the end of a long day. Everything I posses in the world is being held in place by a half inch string attached to 22lbs of steel somewhere down there in the deep green murk. My bed is a squishy cocoon of warmth, fluffy pillows, snuggly blankets and my stinky dog. The gentle surge reminds me of floating on a cloud. When the wind pipes up not much changes, its dry and safe in the boat and while I’ve had my share of sleepless nights as Poseidon throws a vengeance at me, I’ve never been uncomfortable at anchor.
I sleep better at anchor but I still love living aboard at the marina. Dock dwellers stop by nonstop for a good chat and to marvel at and pity the fool who lives in such a small sailboat. Sookie is a blue water pocket cruiser but it wasn’t blue water I was thinking about when I purchased her, it was the Salish Sea. If you spend enough time sailing this area you will soon learn the real proving ground isn’t the big deep blue but rather the confined rocky shores of this inland sea. Monster currents, rips, eddies and navigation hazards are everywhere. A 6 hour tide cycle and a bit of bad navigation and you will have hell to pay for your carelessness. Wind shifts, inaccurate weather reports, tankers, fog, tiny passes with massive volumes of water surging through 23 hours a day. I love this area but there was a huge learning curve when I moved here from the big wide open Pacific.
Summers here still can present challenges but more often than not they are light winds and sweltering long hot days in the blistering summer sun, over crowded anchorages filled with charter boats and unaware crews. For the prepared sailor its all in a days work and rarely do we get caught off guard. Our reward is living in the most beautiful place on earth with the freedom to explore it to our hearts content.
Like Aladdin’s lamp Sookie may seem small on the outside buts once aboard I would call her cozy. She was the biggest boat under thirty feet I could find. I challenge you to find one single production boat that isn’t absolutely identical to every other production boat on the planet, same layout same wasted space same complex systems same…Sookies layout is small but impossibly perfect.
Pocket cruisers arent for everybody, you have to be neat and organized to keep your living space happy, if you can’t you will simply need a larger boat. Open space is the number one complaint on small boats, we have it in our cockpit on the beaches and everywhere but inside the boat. The reward for choosing a smaller boat is less expense and complication, a boat that is more fun to sail and safer at sea due to her simplicity and managability.
Below is something I swiped off the net, the world isn’t changing, its the humans who inhabit it that are. The Pocket Cruising lifestly isn’t for everybody but if your dreams are stronger than your materialistic desires there is a boat out there waiting for you right now. Remember sunset in paradise looks the same regardless of what boat you share it from.
Back in the 70s when cruising Mexico, and French Polynesia in a 26 foot boat we ran into a number of small boats out cruising. Most were young people with limited funds, and most seemed to be having a good time. One couple in Mexico were in an Islander Bahama (I think 24 foot). The girl had rather severe handicaps, but was having a wonderful time. Much later I heard that they actually got a tow from Cabo back to San Diego. Also met some young folks in a 26 foot converted wooden lifeboat with a ferro cement keel. It had leaked so bad every time they sailed, that he put a long metal strap from one toe rail, clear under the keel to the other toe rail and bolted the keel to it, to keep the boat from opening up. We ran into them again in the Marquesas, and again in Tahiti, and again in Hawaii. I think he scrapped the boat in Hawaii, but they had the adventure of a lifetime. Met a young couple in the Marquesas sailing a San Juan 24. Met 2 almost identical Vancouver 27s in Tahiti each being single handed . They kept within sight of each other all the way across the Pacific, and stood alternate watches with the radio on, so they could wake the other one up if traffic was a problem. Then there was a very young looking French couple on a 25ish converted steel lifeboat, with a few month old baby. I didnt meet them, but they seemed to be doing fine on almost no money. We met other small boat cruisers in Hawaii. It can be done, and it has been done many times, with less money tied up in the boat than most people spend on their electronic,”must have list” in this day and age. I must admit that after 2 years on an engineless 26 footer, with full crouching headroom, I had a bad case of 2footitis. I wanted more room. I went on to several much bigger and more comfortable boats, but the little one is the one that I look back on with great fondness. I am old and grey now, and planning a bucket list cruise back to the South Pacific to see Islands that I missed the last time, but it will be on something around 30 foot, so that the cost and work will not be overwhelming. I will have a little more electronics than I had the first time (only had a depth sounder), but it will still be a simple boat. Dont put off cruising, because life has a habit of getting in the way. Go small, go young, go cheep if you have to, but GO. Just my 2 cents worth. ______Grant.