April 2014 – Sailors often say with a sigh that, “Cruising is fixing your boat in exotic places.” While this sounds funny and always elicits a laugh, it is unfortunately a very true statement.
When you cast off the dock lines to go cruising, you are signing up to spend long hours working on your boat.
The further afield you go, the more exotic the locale will be where you find yourself doing this work!
During our cruise of Mexico aboard our sailboat Groovy, whenever we got together with other cruisers, either in the cockpit at anchor for sundowners or at the swimming pool of some stunning resort, the conversation would invariably turn to whatever awful repair projects we were each buried in.
As we all slogged through our various maintenance and repair tasks, wherever we were, we would share our horror stories, learn from each other, and commiserate about how much work this cruising life entailed.
We bonded for eternity over our engine failures, our watermaker breakdowns and our fridges that had gone on the fritz and left us with smelly, spoiled food.
So it came as quite a surprise one day to walk down the docks at Paradise Village Marina in Puerto Vallarta Mexico and see a very chipper English fellow slaving away way — much too happily — replacing the teak decks on a spectacular 120′ or so power yacht.
He gave us a cheerful wave as we passed him.
Cruisers don’t usually have that light an air about them when they are replacing their teak decks in the hot sun!
When he joined us at the swimming pool later in the afternoon, we found out why his smile was so big.
He was a traveling warranty service repair man for the luxury yacht builder, Sunseeker.
He was being paid to fly to exotic resorts around the world, hang out on gorgeous motor yachts, and fix whatever ailed them. Wow!!
He worked on the teak decks of three different Sunseekers during a six week period while we were at Paradise Village Marina in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and his smile only got wider as time went on.
While we ordinary cruisers suffered in the blistering heat and soaring humidity of May, tossing and turning every night on sweaty sheets in cramped cabins with no air conditioning, watching our bank accounts dwindle as we tithed all we had to the boat part gods, Derren gleefully lived on a comfortable per diem in an air conditioned condo overlooking the marina.
When the work became a little daunting, he called the home office in England, and Sunseeker put two assistants on a plane to give him a helping hand with the job.
Oh my!! Imagine having a life line you could call and a cheery voice telling you, “Help is on the way!”
For a while, all three of these guys worked methodically on the teak decks of several mammoth Sunseekers at the Paradise Village docks.
These weren’t dinky little cruising sailboats. These were big deluxe motor yachts built for those with only the most discerning tastes and budgets.
They weren’t old boats with rotten parts and stinky bilges.
They were brand new yachts, fresh off the line, that still sported the “new boat” smell.
What kind of grievous mistake had we cruisers made?
What kind of fabulous opportunity had we all missed out on?!
We had poured our life savings into this lifestyle, dreaming of relaxing on the water in our boats, only to find ourselves putting in 40 hour work weeks to make them cruise-worthy.
By the time these three jovial fellows finally dispersed to their next destinations — Monaco, Corfu and Fiji, or some such places — we realized that they were the only people in the entire cruising community who had really figured this cruising thing out.
If you want to go cruising — and want to have a chance to fix beautiful yachts in the most upscale and exotic places in the world — don’t buy a cruising boat.
Get a job as a warranty service repair person with a luxury yacht builder, and get paid to live the cruising dream!!
If you enjoyed this post, you might like these other amusing glimpses of our lives on the road and at sea:
Showering on the Hook – What’s it like to shower on a boat at anchor or underway? Watch out!
To Catch a Hummingbird – Love those hummers at our RV feeder, but how do you capture one?
Surfing the Dinghy – A cruiser’s dink is just like the family car…or is it?
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