The Official Magazine of the Bluewater Cruising Association

What Type of Cruiser Are You Going to Be?

Valerie and Laurent Devin

Lagoon 380, Catamaran
February 9th, 2016

Nothing like the beginning of the year to make you think about such important questions…

In a past edition of Currents, we looked at the cruiser’s frame of mind before leaving and spoke about equipment choices. To complete our point, we feel it would be a great add-on to define what type of cruiser you aspire to be… with a humorous twist, evidently! As we wander through the South Pacific, we reviewed the main categories “zig-zagging” the ocean. These are based on real sightings and anecdotes, and truly, they are not to be taken with extreme seriousness. Please note that none of these categories is better than the other. In other words, there is no right or wrong; only a personal choice and truly everybody is having a good time and enjoying life. The budget needed is widely different from one boat to another and in the end, sunsets and blue water, along with authentic villages, is what we all dream about and enjoy.

Please sit back and enjoy these lines and know that we have a bit of dry/sarcastic sense of humour. We are not trying to be judgmental in any way, and after all, as our mothers are not reading this publication, we are safe from reprobation… or so we think?

The “I need nothing to live with” or “the less I have the less I need to repair!”

Good news, you barely have any systems to worry about on your brand new, 45 year old boat. The camping gas burner, the petrol light and the handheld GPS with no charts, are not linked to anything. Your only worry is your Rum reserve, which enables you to survive the cyclone, or a bad cut and everything in between. The “I will run the engine; fridge, have a hot shower before watching TV” are words that have been deleted from your vocabulary since Cook passed through the same anchorage. Unfortunately, you seem to be predominantly alone; after a while, your partner preferring to retreat to land life. We anchor next to you, only when we can’t find another spot, because we can’t tell if you are a derelict or a hoarder from the amount of junk on deck.


But man, do you have great stories from your sailing experiences; a white beard and a leathery skin and we sit whilst listening to you, captivated. The smells of mildew and diesel mixed together, replace any body odor; a clear sign you have achieved that level of expertise.

The West Marine/Boat Show Cruiser

You are easy to spot: you have a 50+ foot boat; the Raymarine CEO calls you when he has a new product available, and you mainly stay in luxurious marinas. The marine trade loves you, as you have a GDP higher than some of the countries you intend on visiting. We spot you quietly when you arrive, and follow you discreetly, because you make the trash bin a wonderful source of perfectly good spares. Your boat is always closed up and we wonder why? Until we realize that you have the air conditioning unit running all day.

The entire fleet in the anchorage watches you in amazement when you water pressurize your rigging with soft water; or go ashore in your console dinghy, with the three dogs and Madame neatly sitting upfront, with an impeccable hairdo. Your local marine store manager can’t explain to his hierarchy why his revenue is down, until you sailed away and it is too late.  But did we enjoy that delicious cup of Cappuccino you offered us!

The Young and Reckless

The sounds of laughter or live music reach us before we discern you. Your savings are lasting longer than you thought and you are having a great time, before you make it back to real life. We are asked to anchor not too far by our ladies, until we realize that they only want to spy the young, tanned Adonis on deck.  Maintenance will be done only after the boat starts sinking, as a new sea-cock costs more than what you paid for the vessel. Thanks to you, we finally realize that maybe we are over-thinking everything and life should be just lived for what it is. Lastly, with nothing much to offer, you still invite us onboard to share a few bites of your dinner, while live music is playing in the background and we all have a great time!

The local authorities and the category above watch you closely, in fear for their assets, as your’s is not insured and it stopped depreciating before they made their first million.

The La Paz Lizards

You come down the Coast with good intentions, but got trapped by the atmosphere of La Paz. The pony tail grew whiter and longer, as did the algae on the bottom of your boat, which hasn’t moved for a decade or more by now. The weather is always terrible around the corner from where you are; fortunately by now, you own a little condo in town and a car to do the grocery run and can be of great help for us cruisers.


You organized a VHF net in the morning, with more codes and protocols than the biggest corporation could stuff down the throat of their employees. Your social calendar requires you to keep an agenda, well-updated at all times; your local phone number rings constantly. But what a treat when we need a counter-sink metric-reversed thread screw; you know where to find it, blind folded in the shadiest of the neighbourhoods.

The Mexican Cruiser

Claudio! Please write down those few lines for me, once all the water toys are out for one of our 5 kids onboard, just in case they would like to play for 30 seconds with one of them. Claudio! Please drop me to the beach; I would like to walk around the village without getting my feet wet. This is a brand new boat you own; and so is your wife, with magnificent plastic modeling in both. Claudio is your captain. You drop in every second week and your crew will be happy to climb onboard a clean and well stocked-up boat, with goodies for you and ready to enjoy. Thanks to Claudio.

Every North American cruiser looks at you and the boat in amazement with a feeling of: “why didn’t we think of this lifestyle before?” Until we realize most of us can’t speak Spanish, and it would be a nightmare to manage staff in such a warm country.

Ok! Back to scrubbing the deck; on our knees we go.

The French

Ah the French, but of course!

Your boat is made of aluminum or steel, and you actually built it in your own backyard with your bare hands, some years ago. You think that 60 feet of chain is over-doing it in 20 feet of water; and we complain when you come out in your speedo/underwear, or naked, with a bit of luck? Your radio is never on, and why should it be anyways, because you don’t understand what they are talking about in that foreign language. And actually, this is your third or fourth trip around the world!

Holding tanks are like space technology, and offering assistance should only be rendered when asked, in no uncertain terms, or we make a generation of no-goods, as you proclaim.  You smoke more than most diesel engines, and can cook up a storm with nothing else than flour, water and butter. You give something to everybody in the anchorage to talk about, and we all love your food. Thank you for that.

The True PNW sailor

Easy to spot, you have a double-ended canoe-designed boat; Bob Perry or nothing. The pilot house you added on for rain, is really hot in the sun; the concept of eating in the cockpit is unknown and you didn’t organize for it. You are the only boat that is not dying of cold when the temperature drops under 10 degrees, as you have rebuilt that furnace more times than you know.


The sun burns you in minutes, so you wear a hat with a brim larger than the ring of Saturn, only to realize later in life that sunscreen comes in a higher factor than SPF 30. Any latitude below 40 degree South is a relief; finally you can live outside again. But you are in great shape, as you only kayak to shore!

The Crazy Multi-huller

You take all the space in the anchorage and you are never oriented like anybody else when the wind dies. The world is against you as the mono-huller laughs at the concept; that’s until their wife comes onboard and realizes that you don’t have to sleep in a bed smaller than their last couch; and no, you don’t need to stash away those dishes while underway. And, worse of all, when they observe with teeth grinding, that seating on the toilet is not mandatory when you take a shower, as you have been telling them for years.


But boy, such great parties are to be had on your large cockpit late in the night! Fortunately we don’t meet too many of you until the tropics, because by then they have taken the water over…

So, into which category do you fit?

All images used in this article are CC by SA licensed or are in the public domain


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