Return to Home Page
There are several questions we are asked over and over. We never tire of answering them, but just in case you've thought of
these and wanted to know the answers without having to listen to us go on and on and on...here are the quick responses.
1.  How much experience did you have before you moved aboard and set off sailing?
Not very much at all. Unlike some cruisers we know who have sailed with their families since they were children, we  never sailed until we were adults. We took a week-long sailing
class in San Diego in 1990 and bareboat chartered several times in the Caribbean and southern Florida. When we lived in Denver, we actually bought a sailboat which we kept in the
Keys, but we never got to sail it very much (what a surprise!). When we left the dock in Kemah, Texas to cross the Gulf of Mexico, it was our first overnight passage and our first time
being completely out of sight of land.
2.  If you have limited experience, how did you learn all the things you needed to know?
Living on a sailboat requires a whole new group of skill sets and a different knowledge base. We read a lot...there are a lot of good reference books available...and other cruisers are
also a great source of information. Mostly, you just have to be willing to try things, be adaptable and very innovative.
Return to Home Page
3.  Do you miss your family?
Of course, we do! We e-mail frequently (via radio...we have Winlink and SailMail email aboard)  and send photos when we have internet in port. We try to get home once a year or
so. We´ve found that the time we do spend with family when we are home is concentrated and high quality... sounds trite, but it´s true.
4.  What do you do at night when you´re sailing?
If we´re doing daytrips, we simply find a viable anchorage spot and anchor for the night. When on a longer passage  or when no anchorage is available, we continue to sail during the
night. Someone always has to be on watch, so we take turns...3 hours on watch, 3 hours off watch. After a couple of days, you get used to the routine and it´s really not that bad.
5.  How do you cook when you´re under way? Who does the cooking?
First of all, we do have a galley (kitchen) with a 3-burner propane stove and an oven. The stove is gimbaled so when we´re on a heel, it tilts to compensate for the heel of the boat.
There are retaining arms on the burners which hold pots and plans in place while I´m cooking. Cooking under way when the weather is foul and the waves are big is a challenge. Things
fall out of lockers and sometimes it takes three hands just to retrieve a bowl out of a locker. I usually make big stews and soups (we call it Passage Soup no matter what it is) before
leaving on a passage which we can heat easily and eat while we´re trying to get our sea legs. When the weather is calm, we bake and cook regular meals like you´d eat at home except
no fast or convenience foods.  Marcie does most of the cooking. David's the bread and pizza man.
6.  What about pirates? Have you ever had any problems?
Nope...no pirates. We´ve heard of a couple of instances of pirates off the coasts of Venezuela and Colombia, but we´ve never had any bad experiences ourselves. We have, however,
been approached by fishermen during the middle of the night asking for water or food and it many times startles us, but we´ve never felt threatened or  been accosted. In Charleston,
SC, we were boarded by some very friendly pirates (with advance notice) as part of the Tall Ships Festival.
Recently there have been more and more reported pirate attacks in the Red Sea area...an area we intend to avoid.
7.  What was the biggest storm you´ve ever encountered and were you afraid?
We've encountered a few bad storms in our sailing career. Our first big one was en route from Easter Island to mainland Chile which seemed to last forever (36 hours). We've seen up
to 70 knots wind and big seas in the South Atlantic and Cape Horn area. Most recently, on a trip from NZ's Chatham Islands back to NZ (2011), we suffered a knockdown and 60+
knot winds about 100 miles off East Cape. In the same storm, we blew out our mainsail and bimini. Despite all the deafening noise, relentless howling winds and high seas, we never felt
life-threatened. Cups is a sturdy, blue water boat and she wants to float. We usually experience one bad storm each year...not bad actually. Weather forecasts in advance usually allow
us to avoid big blows.
8. Just the two of you? You must really like each other a lot to spend so much time together.
Well, actually, two is the perfect size crew for our size boat (45´). Though space is tight, we do tend to find our own space when we need "alone time" and we both have our own
interests. However, we really do like each other a lot which is convenient under the circumstances.
9.  How long do you think you´ll continue to sail?
When we left in 2000, we said we´d cruise for 10 years. What year is it now? We´re still saying 10 years. We suppose we`ll  cruise until it´s not fun any more or we're physically
unable.
10. What was your longest passage?
To date, our longest single passage has been from Cape Town, South Africa to Charleston, SC, USA... a total of 7,150 nautical miles (73 days), although we did make stops at both
St. Helena and Ascension Island en route. 43 days is the longest passage without stopping (Ascension Island to Charleston, SC,USA).
11. How much food and water do you carry?
We have two 60-gallon tanks for fresh water, but we have a watermaker aboard which converts sea water to fresh water via a process called reverse osmosis, so water storage isn`t
as critical for us as it might be (as long as the watermaker is working, of course). Depending on length of passage, we usually carry at least 30 days of food for two people. When we
crossed the Pacific, we carried nearly six months worth of food, home-canned chicken and turkey and we fished a lot. See a separate section on
Provisioning if you want more info.
12. What´s your most favorite port of call so far?
That`s a hard question because each place is unique unto itself and  holds it own special allure. For sure, Cartagena, Colombia is near the top of the list as the most beautiful city. Our
inland trip to Macchu  Pichu in Peru was fantastic. The trip to Antarctica was other-worldly. Stopping at Pitcairn Island...the stuff dreams are made of. However, sometimes simply
watching a sunset off a deserted island is awe inspiring and most memorable.
s/y Nine of Cups
? ? ? ? ?    Frequently Asked Questions    ? ? ? ? ?
13. What's your annual budget living on the boat?
This is an interesting question because we read about cruisers all the time who say they can live aboard for $10K per year or less. Wow...God love them, but we spend $30K+ per
year and we don't think of ourselves as extravagant. When comparing budgets, we reckon we figure our annual costs differently to arrive at such a higher figure, this is what we've come
up with.
  • These folks are only cruising for a year or two and have already made their pre-passage investments and will make no major investments, haul-outs, new engines, wind gens,
    refits, etc. during their cruising time which really weigh heavily on the budget.
  • They don't include things like side-trips, souvenirs, trips home, boat insurance, health insurance, etc. For us, it's part of the cost of living aboard and we include everything...every
    expense...from boat maintenance to mailing postcards home.
Do you have a question that you'd like answered
about cruising or living aboard? Feel free to
contact us, but please realize, if we're at sea, it
might take awhile to get an answer. Contact us at
nineofcups1@yahoo.com.
Updated January 2012
14. Why do you cruise?
David's life dream had always been to sail into the sunset. The thought had never even entered Marcie's mind, but she's game for most adventures and this was just one more to
experience. David loves the sailing. Marcie loves the travel. It's a good way to see the world, experience places and cultures we'd never see otherwise.
15. What are the procedures for arriving in a new country?
Each country is different. Some require advance notice of arrival (e.g. Fiji, NZ, Australia). Others require you to notify them as soon as you enter their territorial waters (e.g. Chile).
Some require visas in advance (Australia) while others grant visas upon arrival. We research the requirements in advance and then just follow directions. When approaching a new
country, there's usually instructions to contact the Port Captain or other agency who will arrange all arrival formalities for the crew (Immigration) and the boat (Customs/Quarantine, etc).