When you think about cruising, you probably picture someone sailing on a warm sunny day, arriving at a popular anchorage and enjoying dinner on a beach front bar.
This is what most people aspire towards when they set out cruising. They plan on relaxing and taking it easy in a place where everything comes easily. The problem is, you probably don't live there and are then faced with the reality of getting your yacht to your dreamlike fantasy.
You have two choices when it comes to getting your yacht somewhere nice: 1. Pay someone to get it there, or 2. Get it there yourself.
For the short term cruiser who will work hard at their paying job right up until the beginning of the cruise, paying a delivery captain might be the best use of their time. For someone who has only a week or so to cruise, they want to spend as much time in paradise and not "getting to" paradise! Short term cruising tends to cost much more than longer term cruising simply because you are faced with the option of spending money to make things happen. This involves having the latest gear that will make your life easier, and paying to have everything prepared for you so that you arrive at your yacht in paradise and can unwind quickly before you have to return to your fast-paced, high-stress reality.
Option 2 is the other way, where you are the delivery captain and you don't have to pay anyone to get your yacht to paradise. You will depart your home port and set sail towards paradise. It might be a quick journey, or it might be almost as long as the time you spend in paradise. The truth is, it will take the time that it takes, and you will get there when you arrive. This option is more popular among longer term cruisers who have set sail for over a year. They are on a tighter budget since they are away from their paying jobs.
Since they have more time than they have money, they can afford to take the time to sail to where they want to be. Along the way, they will become very familiar with all the little quirks of their yacht as they have had plenty of time to familiarize themselves with her on the voyage.
Now, if you have a short journey or you leave at a comfortable time of year, the "getting there" might feel like part of cruising through paradise! The times when the sentiment will shift to "delivery job" feeling is when the weather is less than optimal.
We set off cruising July 2017 from Baltimore, MD and planned to be in a distant country in the next few months. Now it is December 2017, and we are in North Carolina, two states away and in the same country! Progress was slow in the beginning as every place we anchored was beautiful and we spent close to 3 months in the Chesapeake Bay. We didn't leave the bay until mid October and slowly made our way through North Carolina.
To put it mildly, winter caught up with us and we are now forced to work hard at making miles instead of relaxing the days away. When we left, Maddie would read books to me while I steered our course. It was sunny and warm and we relaxed the day away. Lately, it has been 40F and raining with a chilling wind.
We got tired of waiting for weather windows and decided to make our way down the ICW, where the weather is never severe and we can always make some miles southbound each day. The problem is finding the motivation to helm the boat and sail when it is cold and wet outside.
While motor sailing down a long straight channel in freezing rain, you begin to realize that you have traded roles from cruiser to delivery skipper and you are not here to enjoy this, you are here to get south. With that mentality, pleasure and fun are stowed and speed and distances covered take priority.
Cruisers wear many different hats, this is what makes us unique. We are able to adapt to the job that is needed, playing to role of plumber, rigger, electrician, carpenter, delivery captain, and anything else that might come up.