susys running away to sea

"The rigors (sic) of an expeditionary lifestyle"

Monday, April 03, 2006

My first email:

Personal questions, I know, but …For example: I'm straight, and though now single, not looking to change this situation. What I'd be looking for from a trip like this is lighthearted adventure and fun, sailing, living on board, meeting new people, going to new places. What I don't want is "crewing" with a silent "S" taken for granted! I'm not that kind of woman. However, I'm extremely comfortable with friendship and companionship, at many levels, have always enjoyed men's company and (generally) their way of living. I've always thought boys got the better deal and played better games. Saying that, on returning to Singapore, the first thing I did (after 2 showers), was to put on make up and a dress!

Jack’s reply: (now, how would you respond to this from a complete stranger you were contemplating spending several months with?)


(I treated it at face value – a jokey blokey – time will tell ….)

Hi, Susy--good & welcome questions, which I will answer in the order posed:

Are you serious about this trip?

Absolutely! I have had all the charts (about 50) for 4 years trying to get there, but lack of crew, & other issues, etc. has prohibited.

Is your boat well found, as you describe (photos would be excellent)?

Absolutely! She's a moderate displacement (17,500 lbs.) blue water ketch that has crossed the Pond with a previous owner. I have installed RADAR, LORAN (more accurate around Nflnd), GPS, VHF, & auto pilot. Also, 6 person Avon life raft,
135% roller furling jenny & 90% storm jib.

What is your sailing experience in bad weather?

Forty-fifty knot winds 80 miles offshore. Somewhat minimal, because I listen to weather forecasts and do not venture out in (or put into port) gales, which is possible in cruising within 100 miles of the coast.

Off rocky coastlines?

Extensive. I have cruised Maine for 30 years, and the Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia (they don't get rockier--many offshore rocks & ledges) several times, plus the southern coast of Newfoundland. I have sailed the entire east coast of the US & Canada, mostly single handed.

Have you had other replies to your posting?

A half dozen--but don't worry, no one else has anywhere near your qualifications, and I have already dismissed most. Right now you would be my #1 choice. If that changes, I would let you know immediately. (Of course I have the same question--are you considering any other cruise options?)

Have you a family?

Divorced 30 years, several close relationships, none now, three adult kids, mother (95 yrs. young), four siblings and countless nieces & nephews.

Would they be happy for a stranger to come on board?

Not an issue. At this point our Nflnd. cruise crew consists of you and me. Most of the trip will be port to port, only a couple of overnights (max. 300 miles)--would you feel more comfortable with another crew member? People with the necessary experience who want to cruise this remote island are few & far between.

Are you taking any other crew members or guests?

I might get a good friend to join us for the three day trip from Boston to Halifax Nova Scotia and Cape Breton to Nflnd. (One possible mate for a week is a displaced Brit who has lived in Nova Scotia for many years.)

Are there any personal troubles you are escaping from?

Only the boredom that comes from sailing familiar waters.
I agree whole heartedly with (your message) --except the part about putting on a dress....

Further Q&As:

Me: I'm no freeloader, and would expect to pay my food and other agreed expenses. As I said earlier, though, my life is currently changing, and the job (University Lecturer, IT) is being cut from beneath me (funding cut), so I don't have a bottomless purse. Actually, I'm glad about that (apart from the loss of salary!). Late last year my partner of 5 years and I split up, my choice. My children are also independent, though I love them, and see as much of them as I can. This means my life can now be mine, even if on a tighter scale. This is why I answered your message.

Jack: I usually handle finances by setting up a 'kitty' from which we pay food, fuel & dockage costs (in Nflnd. the latter are practically non-existent). All repair, maintenance & gear replacement costs are mine.Me: I have sailed with lots of people in lots of boats over the years, and have found most of them very normal and likeable. Some have expected slave labour. I work pretty hard on boats, always do at least, usually more, than my fair share, because I like to. But I really don't appreciate being exploited. As a good example of sailing trips with friends, we have a watch system for overnight/longer trips, and stick to it. On shorter cross-channel trips (12-18 hours or so), we have watches at night, but daytime we just informally agree on who steers, watches, cooks, washes up etc. Navigation is initially set out by the skipper, but everyone is expected to mark the course on the chart at agreed times. Sail changes are done by those on deck, who call for others as necessary - all very laid-back, relaxed and good humoured and we pitch in where and when required.

Jack: The above are very similar to my sailing procedures. I try to treat crew as partners, sharing decisions and tasks. Although you'd have to trust me with ultimate sailing/safety decisions, we would discuss all options including ports visited, length of stay, weather conditions, sail or remain at anchor, etc. Crew are full participants in the cruise, not mute working passengers.Me: I don't smoke or take drugs, but sometimes have a drink after a trip - it was a bottle of wine after the somewhat exciting delivery to Copenhagen - skipper threatening heart attack no. 2, dead engine, summer gale, large shipping advancing, no electrics, radio, etc! Normally one glass will do.

Jack: I don't smoke, drink, or drug. You are more than welcome to your glass (or several) of wine when at anchor.

Me: BTW I googled your name. Is the photograph you?

Jack: YES.

Me: Please google "Susy Worzencraft", and you will see a few things about me there, mainly sailing/boaty and one of my dive articles.

Jack: Whew! You certainly put me through the paces! And given me good insight into your sailing experience.


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