If you missed part one, you can find it in the May issue of Family Motorcoaching . . . in 1984. Then, after 20 years in boat business and six months cruising aboard my 26’ GMC, I was struck by the similarities between sea cruising and land cruising. How campgrounds were like marinas, how sailors doing an extended cruise are like their counterparts in land yachts. How clever design was able to get galleys and kitchens, heads and toilets, bunks and beds into compact spaces.
How both depended on electrical umbilical cords to attach to shore power and how one needed a full set of adapters to fit into the shoreside connection. But the adapters for sea yachts were useless on land yachts.
Large motoryachts carry 15-20 boats for getting around while docked in a crowded anchorage. Smaller yachts carry rowing boats and sailing dinghys. Forty foot motorhomes tow SUV. I am carrying a bicycle.
Cruising folk stroll the docks or the campground loops, making light talk about the crossings, swapping tips about hidden anchorages or secret camp spots. And marvelling that a thousand miles from home, they can stumble upon a complete stranger who lives six blocks from them
Equally I was struck by the contrasts between ships and RVs. The land yachtsman fibs about his fuel mileage. The gas burners get 6 mpg and tell prospective buyers they get 8. The diesel guys get upwards of 10. The cruising trawler yachtsmen get 3-4mpg if they throttle way back. The motoryachts never get up to 2mpg and may have trouble getting one. The sailors, of course get a nearly free ride. I’ve had sailboats that I topped off my 15 gallon tank faithfully every year whether it needed it on not.
Sailors make great lists of every item they might need and take spares for every. Motorhomers stop at Wal-Mart, do all their shopping, and spend the night for free.
Boats, especially sailing yachts, are sleek and handsome, designed to slip through the water. Design theory of motorhomes seems to be based on the shoe box. They rely for esthetics on pychedelic graphics.
The land ship’s ability to escape weather is something only their sea-going cousins can only dream about. At sea if a weather front catches you, you slug it out. In a sailboat you do it from outdoors. Motorhome owners own jackets that are waterproof for 15 minutes. A sailor owns foul weather gear that runs hundreds of dollars. The motorhome has the option to drive for a couple of hours or stop and brew a pot of tea.
Technology has made the lives of both better. The internet, wi-fi, cell phones with tethers, Skype allows us to be in touch – or not. Back in the 80’s it was painful to give up magazine subscriptions. Today we get to cancel print delivery and opt to take our periodicals online. It doesn’t get any greener than that.
I know there is more. I try to limit these blog entries to about 500 words. And with any luck my cruising buddies who read this will post what I’ve failed to.
—Alameda, Sept. 21, 2010 (Yeah, haven’t been able to check off the last couple of important pre-depart project. Next week is looking promising for lift-off)