Author Topic: Anybody sailing full-time?  (Read 7459 times)

Captain Cactus

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Anybody sailing full-time?
« on: April 17, 2016, 06:23:09 PM »
Anybody sailing full time/living aboard a boat as a primary residence?

I hear it can be much cheaper than living on land, and you can travel to wherever you want to go using wind as fuel.  Just wondering if anybody out there is going this and how it's going for you?

Sailor Sam

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Re: Anybody sailing full-time?
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2016, 07:10:11 PM »
I'm not doing it personally, but I know many people who are. My take away has always been that very resourceful people can live aboard a sea-going sail boat for very little money. The kind that can jury rig a mast after they've had a roll-over dismasting in the middle of the Pacific. If you aren't at that level yet, and you actually want to leave sight of land, work on someone else's boat until you find your sailing fu.

If you are at that level or self-reliance, then yup, it's a very cheap way to live.

Freedom17

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Re: Anybody sailing full-time?
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2016, 10:55:31 PM »
You might like this:

https://youtu.be/CkaH_UUH0Ek

CHF

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Re: Anybody sailing full-time?
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2016, 06:20:55 AM »
It's our intention to start cruising (full time sailing) in about 3 years.
Here's a link http://themonkeysfist.blogspot.com/ to a blog with the actual topic"costs of cruising". There are also links to a lot of blogs from active cruisers.
Best luck!

Cromacster

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Re: Anybody sailing full-time?
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2016, 06:40:27 AM »
I think it can be done cheaply, but so can living on land.  Living on a boat will come with much more maintenance and work.  If you are just doing it for the $ reasons you probably aren't going to enjoy it.

Doubleh

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Re: Anybody sailing full-time?
« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2016, 07:02:32 AM »
I think it can be done cheaply, but so can living on land.  Living on a boat will come with much more maintenance and work.  If you are just doing it for the $ reasons you probably aren't going to enjoy it.

I'd say that's a pretty good summary. If you want to live on a boat you can do it pretty cheaply - but don't decide to live on a boat primarily to save money, its a way of life. That said, I think its a very mustachian thing, lots of tie ins with other areas that get love here like low carbon footprint, self reliance and DIY, slow travel etc.

I currently live on an inland boat in a major city, with a growing family. I have previously lived and sailed on a sailing boat and plan to do so again someday once FI

Captain Cactus

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Re: Anybody sailing full-time?
« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2016, 02:59:56 PM »
Thank you everybody.  I want to move my family onto a cruising catamaran and sail around the world with my family.  Stay tuned.  It's gonna take me a few years to cut the lines but it's gonna happen.

Jack

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Re: Anybody sailing full-time?
« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2016, 03:07:26 PM »
I'm interested in sailing the Great Loop and/or Carribbean after FIRE. (I'd do it now, but my job won't let me telecommute. Maybe if I get a couple years' tenure and then ask again...)

Captain Cactus

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Re: Anybody sailing full-time?
« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2016, 03:15:58 PM »
Jack, sounds great.  I'm fortunate that I have a military pension so after the boat is purchased I should be sustainable long-term as long as I have a large enough kitty for periodic large expenses and emergency fund.  Looking forward to cruising the globe and world schooling my kids.

Captain Cactus

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Re: Anybody sailing full-time?
« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2016, 03:18:12 PM »
I'm interested in sailing the Great Loop and/or Carribbean after FIRE. (I'd do it now, but my job won't let me telecommute. Maybe if I get a couple years' tenure and then ask again...)

PS, the Great Loop looks awesome, and relatively safe compared to Atlantic crossings.  I bet that would be a great place to learn before taking on a large ocean passage.

Bolshevik Artizan

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Re: Anybody sailing full-time?
« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2016, 08:48:35 PM »
I think it can be done cheaply, but so can living on land.  Living on a boat will come with much more maintenance and work.  If you are just doing it for the $ reasons you probably aren't going to enjoy it.

This. I know someone who is living on a boat by force of being 71 and not having an enormous amount of cash. They have just had to sell their car on the land side to raise cash. Apart from anything else my sense is that the person in question is not in love with the cramped quarters of living on the boat and spends a lot of time in the local village's cafes and pubs chatting to people over one coffee or one glass of wine. Yes, he can (and does) sail about a bit, but it gets a bit limiting as a full-on lifestyle after a while...

BA

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Re: Anybody sailing full-time?
« Reply #11 on: February 13, 2018, 06:45:21 PM »
Sorry to resurrect an old topic, but has anyone who posted in this thread gotten any closer to their goals? It's something I've been immersed in over the past few weeks and plan on learning to sail this summer. After a Thru hike of the AT, and a year spent traveling the US by RV, a sailboat seems like the perfect next step to see more of the world cheaply.

Dusty Dog Ranch

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Re: Anybody sailing full-time?
« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2018, 08:42:05 PM »
Check out Sailing Totem and some of their friends' blogs for a clear-eyed look at the world of cruising on a sailboat, including the financial aspects.

Bateaux

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Re: Anybody sailing full-time?
« Reply #13 on: February 14, 2018, 07:45:34 AM »
Sorry to resurrect an old topic, but has anyone who posted in this thread gotten any closer to their goals? It's something I've been immersed in over the past few weeks and plan on learning to sail this summer. After a Thru hike of the AT, and a year spent traveling the US by RV, a sailboat seems like the perfect next step to see more of the world cheaply.
Still dreaming of an AT thru,  maybe RV year or so and greater maybe sailing.  Last hurricane season watching all those boats get destroyed really made me question the sailboat thing though.

Cromacster

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Re: Anybody sailing full-time?
« Reply #14 on: February 14, 2018, 08:15:16 AM »
We're still working and still saving, but sailing is still a prospect the wife and I.  As stated above, the last hurricane season was eye opening.

In 2016 we learned how to sail on a local lake.  Then we did a 3 day sailing trip on Lake Superior.  In the spring of 2017 we went to the Caribbean to do the ASA bareboat certifications and sailed for 7 days with an instructor.  We're going to continue to sail locally, but aren't really sure what are next steps are.  If I can find the time I would like to crew on a crossing or ocean race.

spokey doke

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Re: Anybody sailing full-time?
« Reply #15 on: February 14, 2018, 09:12:17 AM »
I'm dreaming of doing this...as DW and I both love sailing.  But the timing and logistics are pretty substantial hurdles right now.  We'd both have to leave what we are doing now, possibly sell the house, and I can't imagine doing it with the dogs we have now (I know it can be done, but it is as much about the particular dogs we have, as it is just having dogs on a boat).

So I vacillate between cruising on a boat (likely Maine north...), and doing a camper van with all our terrestrial toys (skiing, biking, backpacking).  The latter is much less of a leap, and I could get the ball rolling without moving to the coast.

In the meantime, I want to get a sailing dinghy to just get on the water and in the wind...

ol1970

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Re: Anybody sailing full-time?
« Reply #16 on: February 14, 2018, 01:05:31 PM »
This is our plan too.  I took local sailing classes here on the great lakes to get ASA certified, then went to Caribbean to get my bareboat captains certification on both monohull's and catamarans.  It was freaking awesome and only got me more excited for that to be the plan.  Subsequently I've chartered boats in various locations to make certain this is a life choice I'd really like to give a shot at.  Please do not think it is all margaritas and sun filled days on beautiful beaches, yes there is a lot of that but it is also a ton of work.  Very rewarding work, but still I suggest spending a bunch of time on the water before plopping down $400k on a cruising catamaran and taking off...there are a bunch of used ones out there to be had cheap because others have thought the same as you.  If you go into it with no expectations, no timeline, and expect nothing other than an adventure and a bunch of amazing (and a handful of not so amazing/oh shit moments) then you'll be fine. 

You will spend as much on water as you do on land, in all my travels that is the once common truth from people who have been doing it, so don't enter into it thinking it is a cost savings...it is a cost burn owning a depreciating asset.  The best I can describe it is it's like a fancier version of camping in really cool spots.  My GF and I are planning to do this as well, but waiting a couple of years before she can retire from the airline industry with free flight benefits for life.  Since that equates to about $30~$50k a year of after tax dollar benefits for a couple that loves to travel and explore the world, it is kind of a no-brainer!  Plus in the mean time we fly around first class to go charter somebody else's boat in exotic locations.  This year will be Sweden, Greece, and The Grenadines.

Oh the other thing that every single person/couple/family has told me that has done it or is currently doing it is...don't hesitate, go now, you never know what life is going to throw at you down the road.

2Birds1Stone

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Re: Anybody sailing full-time?
« Reply #17 on: February 14, 2018, 03:40:19 PM »
Sorry to resurrect an old topic, but has anyone who posted in this thread gotten any closer to their goals? It's something I've been immersed in over the past few weeks and plan on learning to sail this summer. After a Thru hike of the AT, and a year spent traveling the US by RV, a sailboat seems like the perfect next step to see more of the world cheaply.
Still dreaming of an AT thru,  maybe RV year or so and greater maybe sailing.  Last hurricane season watching all those boats get destroyed really made me question the sailboat thing though.

I hear you, but I think it's a risk I'm willing to take =)

Check out Sailing Totem and some of their friends' blogs for a clear-eyed look at the world of cruising on a sailboat, including the financial aspects.

I have. There are dozens of great cruising youtube channels and blogs right now.

We're still working and still saving, but sailing is still a prospect the wife and I.  As stated above, the last hurricane season was eye opening.

In 2016 we learned how to sail on a local lake.  Then we did a 3 day sailing trip on Lake Superior.  In the spring of 2017 we went to the Caribbean to do the ASA bareboat certifications and sailed for 7 days with an instructor.  We're going to continue to sail locally, but aren't really sure what are next steps are.  If I can find the time I would like to crew on a crossing or ocean race.

Yea, this would be something we do in like 5 years, I would like to get ASA 101, and see if my local yacht club needs crew for any of the boats. I would like to get some experience under my belt to make sure it's enjoyable and I can get the hang of it.

I'm dreaming of doing this...as DW and I both love sailing.  But the timing and logistics are pretty substantial hurdles right now.  We'd both have to leave what we are doing now, possibly sell the house, and I can't imagine doing it with the dogs we have now (I know it can be done, but it is as much about the particular dogs we have, as it is just having dogs on a boat).

So I vacillate between cruising on a boat (likely Maine north...), and doing a camper van with all our terrestrial toys (skiing, biking, backpacking).  The latter is much less of a leap, and I could get the ball rolling without moving to the coast.

In the meantime, I want to get a sailing dinghy to just get on the water and in the wind...

We are doing the Van/Camper thing first for a year around the US, as well as a year in Europe/SE Asia backpacking and slow traveling. Once we finish our travels by land, the plan is to go back to work for a few years, and then the next "mini retirement" would be the sailing adventure for a few years.

This is our plan too.  I took local sailing classes here on the great lakes to get ASA certified, then went to Caribbean to get my bareboat captains certification on both monohull's and catamarans.  It was freaking awesome and only got me more excited for that to be the plan.  Subsequently I've chartered boats in various locations to make certain this is a life choice I'd really like to give a shot at.  Please do not think it is all margaritas and sun filled days on beautiful beaches, yes there is a lot of that but it is also a ton of work.  Very rewarding work, but still I suggest spending a bunch of time on the water before plopping down $400k on a cruising catamaran and taking off...there are a bunch of used ones out there to be had cheap because others have thought the same as you.  If you go into it with no expectations, no timeline, and expect nothing other than an adventure and a bunch of amazing (and a handful of not so amazing/oh shit moments) then you'll be fine. 

You will spend as much on water as you do on land, in all my travels that is the once common truth from people who have been doing it, so don't enter into it thinking it is a cost savings...it is a cost burn owning a depreciating asset.  The best I can describe it is it's like a fancier version of camping in really cool spots.  My GF and I are planning to do this as well, but waiting a couple of years before she can retire from the airline industry with free flight benefits for life.  Since that equates to about $30~$50k a year of after tax dollar benefits for a couple that loves to travel and explore the world, it is kind of a no-brainer!  Plus in the mean time we fly around first class to go charter somebody else's boat in exotic locations.  This year will be Sweden, Greece, and The Grenadines.

Oh the other thing that every single person/couple/family has told me that has done it or is currently doing it is...don't hesitate, go now, you never know what life is going to throw at you down the road.

Wow, free flights for life sounds AMAZING!

Is it an airline that flies international? You are a lucky man.

I don't think it will be a cost savings per say, just spending on different things than living on land. The money that would normally go to cars/housing gets spent on boat maintenance and upgrades + mooring and dockage.

As far as your last comment, We are 31/27 years old, and have a few things to take care of before we can ditch our jobs. But soon enough, the land expedition will start in 2020 for us (April) and last 12 months or so, then back to work for another 2-3 years (during which time we will likely start looking at boats more seriously and savings for a multi year cruising adventure).

I posted the plan in my journal in a bit more detail, but we would make sure we had the funds for Boat + maintenance + 2 years of cruising in liquid funds (outside of retirement accounts) to feel comfortable to do it. And by then we will be ~35/31 years old, with significantly more in retirement savings (10-15X expenses)

spokey doke

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Re: Anybody sailing full-time?
« Reply #18 on: February 15, 2018, 08:40:07 AM »
This is our plan too.  I took local sailing classes here on the great lakes to get ASA certified, then went to Caribbean to get my bareboat captains certification on both monohull's and catamarans.  It was freaking awesome and only got me more excited for that to be the plan.  Subsequently I've chartered boats in various locations to make certain this is a life choice I'd really like to give a shot at.

I've been working a bit on this too, as I think it is an important (and fun!) step toward living on a boat.

What was your experience with boat chartering...in particular, the sailing resume/qualifications for chartering ("or is it more like: if you have the money, are willing to sign the papers, and know the basics...we're good").  I've asked over on Sailing Anarchy, and just got a few, mixed responses.

I'm particularly interested in chartering in the San Juans, as that is fairly close, although Maine-downeast is a more likely ultimate destination.

Thanks...

Cromacster

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Re: Anybody sailing full-time?
« Reply #19 on: February 15, 2018, 09:11:09 AM »
This is our plan too.  I took local sailing classes here on the great lakes to get ASA certified, then went to Caribbean to get my bareboat captains certification on both monohull's and catamarans.  It was freaking awesome and only got me more excited for that to be the plan.  Subsequently I've chartered boats in various locations to make certain this is a life choice I'd really like to give a shot at.

I've been working a bit on this too, as I think it is an important (and fun!) step toward living on a boat.

What was your experience with boat chartering...in particular, the sailing resume/qualifications for chartering ("or is it more like: if you have the money, are willing to sign the papers, and know the basics...we're good").  I've asked over on Sailing Anarchy, and just got a few, mixed responses.

I'm particularly interested in chartering in the San Juans, as that is fairly close, although Maine-downeast is a more likely ultimate destination.

Thanks...

I've always been told to keep a resume.  Keep track of some basic details of boats and trips.  They are usually concerned about the sizes of boats you've sailed, docking experience, and anchoring experience.

To your other point, they don't call us Credit Card Captains for nothing :)

SailormanDan

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Re: Anybody sailing full-time?
« Reply #20 on: February 15, 2018, 09:28:21 AM »
Anybody sailing full time/living aboard a boat as a primary residence?

Yes, I am!  FIRE’d a few years ago, sold everything (except my boxers) and purchased a small, inexpensive sailboat in Florida to get my sea legs starting Phase I.  Did that for a year getting comfortable with boat, ocean, living in a drastically reduced space, no car, etc.  I figured if I hated anything I’d just sell the boat for a minimal loss and try an RV or something else.  Well, I loved it so much that I upgraded to a larger, more expensive boat (catamaran) and have been sailing the Caribbean for the last 2 years.  Loving Phase II so much not sure I want to move on to the next Phase and go around the world.  Having too much fun now but we’ll see.

The learning curve is pretty steep if you’re not familiar with sailing but once you learn the foundation (I did an ASA course) then it is just a matter of trial and error.  Mostly error to start but everyone has to go thru the same process anyway.  I could probably teach someone to sail a boat in a day.  It will take me an entire lifetime to learn proper sail trim in various weather conditions as well as boat plumbing, electrical and engine mechanics and a host of various other items that need to be learned over time.

As far as costs are concerned living at a marina's was a bit expensive (around $900/month for a berth in Florida Keys) but other than food that is my main expense.  Bicycle or walk everywhere.  Paid cash for the boat so was living with expenses near $20k per year for a single person.  Could have done much less but I didn’t want camp on a sailboat.  Sailing is definitely the best way to travel to new destinations - airfare and hotel are already covered.  The suggested cost of annual maintenance is 10% of the price of the boat.  I haven’t gotten anywhere near that but I’ve purchased newer boats that don’t need a bunch of maintenance…at least not yet.

Downsides?  Yep, quite a few actually and previous posts have mentioned.  Awesome life for me and girlfriend but different strokes...

ol1970

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Re: Anybody sailing full-time?
« Reply #21 on: February 15, 2018, 09:43:57 AM »
"Wow, free flights for life sounds AMAZING!

Is it an airline that flies international? You are a lucky man."

Yes, it's one of the airlines that has flights pretty much everywhere.  We spent the equivalent of $40k worth of flights last year alone...granted business class to Europe isn't cheap (but its free for us lol!).  The best part is that we can off-line on any airline at about an 80%-90% discount to the listed fair...so If we are in China having fun and want to roll over to the Maldives it probably would cost us $100 each to fly whatever local carrier goes there.  The only real rub is that we fly standby...but if you are retired and have a flexible schedule it is no big deal at all. 

I have to admit this amazing benefit has really changed the way I look at our upcoming sailing adventure.  It is nice that we don't have to worry about a flight to a home base on land every few months to recharge the batteries and take a break from the ocean. 

ol1970

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Re: Anybody sailing full-time?
« Reply #22 on: February 15, 2018, 09:50:08 AM »
This is our plan too.  I took local sailing classes here on the great lakes to get ASA certified, then went to Caribbean to get my bareboat captains certification on both monohull's and catamarans.  It was freaking awesome and only got me more excited for that to be the plan.  Subsequently I've chartered boats in various locations to make certain this is a life choice I'd really like to give a shot at.

I've been working a bit on this too, as I think it is an important (and fun!) step toward living on a boat.

What was your experience with boat chartering...in particular, the sailing resume/qualifications for chartering ("or is it more like: if you have the money, are willing to sign the papers, and know the basics...we're good").  I've asked over on Sailing Anarchy, and just got a few, mixed responses.

I'm particularly interested in chartering in the San Juans, as that is fairly close, although Maine-downeast is a more likely ultimate destination.

Thanks...

Well your ability to charter depends on the company that you are chartering with.  Sunsail and Moorings require you to submit a resume of experience and with ASA certs you are pretty much guaranteed to be able to charter anywhere in the world you want.  Places like Dream Yacht don't require ASA, but you do have to submit a resume that they would have to verify...unless you've recently sunk a boat and it was plastered all over the web you most likely won't have a problem.  I'd highly recommend going through ASA or RSA its very informative and a ton of fun...more knowledge cannot hurt!  I do agree though you can learn to "sail" a boat in an afternoon, you'll spend the rest of your life trying to figure out all the details though, which in my opinion is what makes it so great!

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Re: Anybody sailing full-time?
« Reply #23 on: August 08, 2018, 02:03:08 PM »
Looking for a mustachian way to test this out. Or at least as mustachian as possible. 
 
I have this day dream of doing the cruising lifestyle when we hit 40-45 (10-15 years), wife isn't as sure. Our idea was to test it out on a vacation and if either of us really hate it we'll drop the idea. The trouble is, I don't want to spend a vacation working crew on a larger ship, which is obviously different than cruising full time on a 40 ft cat. On the other hand, I also don't want to spend $8k on a vacation that comes with jet-skis and a 5* chef. Instead, I'd love to basically like to do as accurate of a test run as possible. So while it'd include fun things like snorkeling and reading out in the sun and fishing, it'd also include me shadowing someone as the captain the boat.
 
Have any of you heard of anything like this?

SunshineAZ

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Re: Anybody sailing full-time?
« Reply #24 on: August 08, 2018, 03:32:28 PM »
I used to date a guy whose family like to take sailing vacations.  The company they used was "Moorings" and they did bare boat charters.  We did 2 separate trips while we were dating, one from St. Lucia to Grenada and another around the British Virgin Islands.  It was great, we were the crew and cooks and went where we wanted.  It was many years ago, but I thought the price was reasonable, but it was in the late 1990s so I don't know what it would cost now. 

Cromacster

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Re: Anybody sailing full-time?
« Reply #25 on: August 09, 2018, 08:27:22 AM »
I used to date a guy whose family like to take sailing vacations.  The company they used was "Moorings" and they did bare boat charters.  We did 2 separate trips while we were dating, one from St. Lucia to Grenada and another around the British Virgin Islands.  It was great, we were the crew and cooks and went where we wanted.  It was many years ago, but I thought the price was reasonable, but it was in the late 1990s so I don't know what it would cost now.

It depends on the boat.  If you get an older 38' mono you can probably get the boat for 4-5k/week.  If you are getting a 40' cat it's probably more like 12k for a week.

Might be some better deals right now after the hurricanes the BVI's are trying hard to get tourists back.

tljohnsn

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Re: Anybody sailing full-time?
« Reply #26 on: August 17, 2018, 02:45:24 PM »
Looking for a mustachian way to test this out. Or at least as mustachian as possible. 
 
I have this day dream of doing the cruising lifestyle when we hit 40-45 (10-15 years), wife isn't as sure. Our idea was to test it out on a vacation and if either of us really hate it we'll drop the idea. The trouble is, I don't want to spend a vacation working crew on a larger ship, which is obviously different than cruising full time on a 40 ft cat. On the other hand, I also don't want to spend $8k on a vacation that comes with jet-skis and a 5* chef. Instead, I'd love to basically like to do as accurate of a test run as possible. So while it'd include fun things like snorkeling and reading out in the sun and fishing, it'd also include me shadowing someone as the captain the boat.
 
Have any of you heard of anything like this?

You could try an ASA sailing school.  I did one in the BVI where you live aboard for a week and share duties with the other students.  There was time in the day for snorkeling and relaxing on shore for a bit each night.