When there's a lot otl the line,
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time to start a family, which would probably mean some shore time, but they seem more excited than worried by the uncertainty. "Right now, everything is a blank slate," Mark says. "We don't know where we might settle, what we might do. Anything is possible."
Steve and L aur a had th ough t th e y might want to settle in New Zealand, but after a year they decided they weren't
ready to put down new roots yet. "We've learned that having long-term plans for cruising doesn't make much sense," Laura says. "Until the world sorts itself out, we'll cruise one year at a time." They have a group of cruising friends with whom they crossed the Pacific who are now a year ahead of them. Based on the reports they get from their friends, they'll decide where to go next.
"The current plan is to head back to the warm weather," Jim of Onora says. "We'll cruise Tonga, Fiji, and Vanuatu, then head for Australia for the next cyclone season. But that's all subject to change."
Kevin and Beth of Red had intended to head to Tonga this season, but those plans got derailed by health issues in Beth's family. They spent several months back in the States, then returned to New Zealand and cruised around the top of the South Island for six months.
Now they're getting ready to return to the tropics. They've decided to spend the next 18 months there before heading back to the States via Tasmania, New Zealand, and French Polynesia, planning to arrive in mid-2007.
"We purchased land in Port Townsend, Washington, and intend to sell Red and build a house there in 2008," Kevin says.
Instead of setting feasts, Kim Elliott and Mark Austin decided to partake of the movable feast that is the sailing life after selling their restaurant and business and hopping aboard Vagabond Blues.
They may have held Type A jobs in Washington, D.C., where they got into sailing in the first place, but now Steve and Laura Ahearn of Moonshine, a Jon-meri 40, no longer believe in schedules.
When they get back, he says, they'll be "mostly retired. We'll probably pursue some business ventures—software and woodworking for me, art or jewelry for Beth—but more for fun than as a business venture. It's possible to live a 'cruising lifestyle' on land, you know."
For Jim and Jean, this is a new beginning. After they complete their shakedown cruise, they'll take Onora back to Kelly Archer's yard and have the crew there fix any teething problems. Then they intend to head across the Pacific for Chile, Antarctica, and South Georgia.
What advice do these couples offer to others thinking about walking away for a few years in the middle of their careers?
"It's very hard to sell everything and get ready to leave, very hard to stick to it," says Jean of Onora. "But that's what it takes to leave the kind of business we had. So just do it. Pick a date and commit."
"I have no regrets. It depends upon the career you're leaving and how much you get from it," says Laura of Moonshine.
"But, no matter what, you'll be launching into far more than you're leaving," Kevin of Red says. "Cruising is mostly easier than you'd expect. You don't need all the latest stuff. Think about what world cruisers had available to them 10 or 20 years ago. It's how little you need, not how much. And, probably most important: Don't wait forever."
Take a longer perspective, like Kim of Vagabond Blues did when she says to Mark, "Well, when we're 80, I don't think we'll look back on it and regret it.
"It's a silly little thing," she adds, "but somehow looking at it from that perspective solidified it, and I thought, 'Why not? Let's do it!'"
This spirit of adventure and willingness to try new challenges characterizes this entire group of midlife cruisers. Indeed, it was that same spirit that brought them down to the South Island in the first place, a destination that only a handful of the 600 or so boats that clear into New Zealand annually ever reach. Wherever each of them goes from here, that spirit will also help them to meet whatever challenges lie waiting.
Look for Beth A. Leonard's guide to New Zealand's fun cruising grounds in next month's CW.
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Lets start by identifying what exactly certain boats are. Sometimes the terminology can get lost on beginners, so well look at some of the most common boats and what theyre called. These boats are exactly what the name implies. They are meant to be used for fishing. Most fishing boats are powered by outboard motors, and many also have a trolling motor mounted on the bow. Bass boats can be made of aluminium or fibreglass.