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Knowing Your Limits

There are no rest stops along the transoceanic highway.
Minor Offshore 28 Explorer Block Island RI.

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

We’re an adventure-oriented species by nature. And as boat people, we’re generally inclined to point a little higher, go a little farther, cruise a little longer.

Spend enough time puttering around close to shore and you might ultimately find yourself yearning to take your cruising to the next level with a long-distance offshore voyage. The seagoing stories you’ll find in our July/August issue are intended to make your mind wander and wonder about pushing your boat—and yourself—to that next tier.

I’m all for it, but with one caveat: Know your limits.

You might feel invincible aboard your 34-foot aft-cabin warhorse, which has handled a decent squall or two without busting apart at the bulkheads. But is she really up to the challenges of the wild blue yonder? Are her systems in good repair? Are you carrying the right spares and tools to address the things that might (will) go bump in the night? In our feature story "Off the Charts," offshore cruising veteran Bob Arrington offers a detailed lesson on what it takes to succeed in such an endeavor.

Heading offshore for the first time can be daunting, and all the book smarts in the world can’t fully prepare someone for the mental and physical demands that await beyond the reef. Lots of people might be thrilled at the idea of a cruise to Bermuda, but I guarantee you, far fewer will be of much use when a gale stirs up sediment in the fuel line and kills an engine halfway there.

We all have our limitations. On any given day, your zest for adventure may be constrained by your knowledge and skill set, and the experience of your crew, their mental acuity and physical ability. You’ll have to be the judge of that. Be honest with yourself and with them. Not all of us are physically or mentally equipped to do an extended passage hundreds of miles from land. There are no rest stops along the transoceanic highway.

Remember that you, your boat and your crew are one. Your limits are the collective limits. The key is to identify those shortcomings and work within them, or take the appropriate action to overcome them before setting out.


Do you have a personal story about a long-range voyage that tested your limits? We want to hear it. Send some words and a few high-resolution pictures to editor@passagemaker.com

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andrewsigfinal

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