Cruising Outpost The Magazine For Cruisers and Sailors Mon, 18 Aug 2014 16:21:58 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Drift (51 Pictures) Mon, 18 Aug 2014 16:12:30 +0000 drift-monday-052

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Vintage Attitude – Take Responsibility Sat, 16 Aug 2014 11:57:05 +0000 bob-rescueWithin the past few months there have been a bunch of sea-related stories on the news that have made me want to shrivel up and deny I am a sailor. I guess I’ve just been back in civilization too long.

Why, you ask?

Well, it’s simple.  So many people are getting into this way of life with absolutely no notion of what it means to take the responsibilities for ones own actions.  You know…like when we were young, the good old scouts motto.  Be prepared?

I watched one TV “expose” of the Coast Guard.  Seems someone was suing them for not saving her family when they were involved in a shipwreck during a storm.

Suing them for not saving someone?  What up with that?  When you get on a boat and sail off into the sunset you are taking the responsibility to preserve your own life, and those of the people who have trusted their lives to your care.  That means you have to be ready for emergencies, not be ready to call for help.

Oh, don’t get me wrong.  I am not saying you shouldn’t call for help.  Not at all.  What I am saying is you should be prepared to handle emergencies.

I won’t go into particulars about what happened.  It was a tragedy, as people died.  But to sue the Coast Guard for not rescuing them makes no sense at all.

I have participated in multiple rescues of cruising boats in danger, and seen the Coast Guard go so far beyond their duty description as to render them as heroes in anyone’s book.

I recall in 1994, the Yacht Cinnamon rolled and lost its mast halfway from Hawaii to the mainland,  1,000 miles off-shore.  Yet the Coast Guard, upon hearing of the plight, sent a nearby fuel tanker to give them fuel, monitored them every day, and flew a plane out to drop needed supplies numerous times, escorting them in the last few hundred miles.

In 1995, in a Tehuanapec storm off Central America, a vessel we were about 300 miles away from called a Mayday.  The Coast Guard station in Maine heard the call, passed it to the Navel Air Station in Panama, who sent a plane to help.

In the northwest, three Coasties lost their lives attempting to save the lives of a small crew aboard a sailboat, in seas no one should have been out in.  These stories go on and on.

I have never heard of an event at sea where someone has asked for help from the Coast Guard and not received it.  I am sure I will now hear from people who have.  That’s not my point.  The point is, because of law suites like this, the Coast Guard will now be forced to go more “by the book.”  They will be told to stick to procedure in case someone might want to sue them.  As I see it, this will do nothing but worsen the relationship between sailors and Coasties.

I for one, hate to see that happen.

If you go out on a boat, you are taking your life in your hands.  Yeah, it’s fun.  It’s supposed to be, and I would be the last one to tell anyone it isn’t.  But that doesn’t mean you have to be stupid to have fun.  Once you are sure you have a good rescue plan for emergencies, and that you have the right equipment on board to be prepared in an emergency, have a ball.  But you must be prepared to take the responsibility for your actions.

We have all heard the stories about people taking off without the proper preparation, and if we hear about them and all came through safely, we laugh.  I recall one man who was saved with his three children.  They had left San Diego to sail to Hawaii.  The man thought it was just on the other side of Catalina, some 20-30 miles away, and left with a weeks food aboard, for what would actually have been a 2,500 mile, month-long crossing.  They were on a 22 foot boat and ended up 500 miles off the coast of Northern California, near dead.  His comment when rescued?  He was planning to go back and get the boat (it was left drifting at sea!) as soon as he was better, and try it again.

Folks, the United States Coast Guard is not there for our use.  They are there to guard the coast.  We, as sailors, must take it upon ourselves to prepare our vessels so we do not need assistance.  That’s why it is one of the last vestiges of true freedom.  And if we don’t start taking care of ourselves, our bungling lawmakers, in their infinite wisdom, will do the task for us.

I, for one, do not want the “majority” to make a bunch of laws to protect me from my blunders.  I feel I am capable of taking care of myself.  If you don’t feel the same, you shouldn’t be sailing in water deeper than you can walk back to shore in.

If, and/or when I don’t return from a voyage, it will either be due to old age or stupidity, but in either case, it will be my own.

See what Bob is up to – Follow Bob Bitchin and his antics on his Facebook Page.

Bob’s “Attitude” articles first appeared in Latitude and Attitudes magazine and can also be found in either The Sailing Life or Starboard Attitude books.

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First Time Sailor Thu, 14 Aug 2014 12:47:18 +0000 40174_422390179213_3799870_nBelieve it or not, Before my 20th birthday, I had never been sailing before in my life. Hard to imagine I know, but when you grow up in Northeast Texas you’re lucky if you have a friend with a pool, let alone someone with a boat… and a friend with a sail boat? Very unlikely.

My first time sailing was actually just before I entered my Junior year of college when I joined my grandfather (y’all know him as Bob Bitchin’) at the Pacific Northwest Cruisers Weekend.

I was traveling rather far by myself for the first time. I took a plane to Seattle, from Seattle I took a bus to Anacortes and from Anacortes I took a Ferry to Friday Harbor. What’s funny is, I remember this part so well because I had just gotten a cellphone with a camera on it (technology was really blowing my mind at the time). And, naturally, I documented the whole trip.

We sailed around on a monohull during my time in the San Juan Islands. These islands are so indescribably beautiful. They’re not the tropical islands with palm trees and white sand beaches you might think of, no, they’re much more than that.

44288_423049489213_7916576_nThese islands are full of rich pines trees surrounded by deep green waters. I can say will all honesty that the San Juan Islands to me are the most under rated islands in the world. They look as if the “old world” and the “new world” collided. Simple homes with a small town feel. The kind of place that everyone knows everyone even though you may only be able to visit your neighbor by boat.

The waters were icy and I spent the majority of my time wrapped up in a jacket surrounded by a blanket…. but how could I not get in this beautiful water? Well, The opportunity had presented itself. One of my shipmates, Ms. Tina Cassaday herself wanted to shoot something for her hair product line (which by the way *unintentional plug*.. is AMAZING) “Hair’s First Mate” Shampoo and Conditioner. What does this have to do with the ocean you ask?… of course this isn’t just any shampoo, this is the kind of stuff you can use in saltwater while you’re out at sea. So, we stripped down to our swimsuits and on the count of three jumped into the coldest water I have ever swam in. I could barely breath. It was so cold. But without hesitation, both Tina and I started using the shampoo and doing our best to make a fun video of it— I can’t find that video for the life of me. And the funniest part is, haha I don’t think the video was ever used for anything. But it sure is one hell of a memory.

36791_423050674213_1294708_nMy sailing adventure was about five days long before we arrived at the Cruiser weekend being celebrated in Anacortes, WA. During that time we went hiking, whale watching, and I had my first real experience with sea sickness. Before too long, I remember putting on some pirate gear, a bit of eyeliner, and sneaking a rum and sprite from a man who would become a really good friend, Jeff. That party concluded my first trip sailing- and honestly I never wanted to leave. But you know what they say… “The sooner you leave, the sooner you can come back”, and while I won’t be there this year, my plan is definitely to be there next year.

Actually this weekend (August 15th-17th) is the Pacific Northwest Cruisers weekend in Anacortes, WA! If you can, stop by the party Saturday Night at Cap Sante Marina! Facebook Invite HERE! Even if you can’t make the party, the whole weekend will be a lot of fun for cruisers!

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Things You Will Never Hear A Sailor Say Thu, 14 Aug 2014 12:04:07 +0000 ThingsASailor

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Mid-Week Broadside (47 Pictures) Wed, 13 Aug 2014 13:07:36 +0000

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Max Is In Trouble Tue, 12 Aug 2014 17:48:57 +0000 3 The Drift (49 Pictures) Mon, 11 Aug 2014 11:39:21 +0000



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Vintage Attitude – There You Are Sat, 09 Aug 2014 13:00:11 +0000 there-you-are-bobsI half-felt someone shake me, and for a minute I forgot where I was.  As I opened my eyes, I heard Patrick whisper, “Hey man, 10 minutes and you’re on.”

It was 5:50 in the morning and the sun was about to come up.  I walked through the creaking main salon in the twilight of dawn with the kerosene lights casting a warm glow through the room, and felt the boat heel to port with a little gust of wind.  The smell of coffee blended with the aroma of the kerosene, an alcohol stove, and the mildew of a thousand days at sea.  As I poured the coffee into my favorite mug, I looked through the porthole and was transfixed.  The horizon was a brilliant orange and gold.  We were 150 miles off the coast of Guatemala, and that day was the most unreal sunup I can ever recall.

Today, over 20 years later, I can still recall that feeling.  The way it felt to walk on deck of the 74’ square- rigged tops’l schooner Stone Witch and take the large tiller.  The breeze over my shoulder, the telltales whipping, letting me know when to adjust the sails.  The feeling of accomplishment, and even more so, pride, as we moved 50 tons of canvas, wood, and steel through the water with just the wind and our sweat.

It’s true that a person does not change when they go to sea.  You are still the same person you always were.  The only difference is, for many, it brings out a part of you that you never knew.  I have never known anyone whose life was not improved by going to sea.

For some reason unbeknownst to me, many people treat the planning of going cruising as if they were planning to die.

It’s true, just check it out.  They sell their homes, say goodbye to their friends, cancel their magazine subscriptions (aagh! That hurts!) and do everything but buy a plot.

Why?  They’re just going cruising, right?  Your life doesn’t end when you cut the lines and say “adios” to friends and neighbors.  Wherever you are heading, someone calls home.  That’s why cruising is such a great way of life.  You get to go out and experience what it’s like to live in all types of environments.  In Polynesia, you learn to find the ripe fruits for your lunch on trees.  In Greece, you can live as people have lived for many millennia.  In Antarctica, you can live like a penguin if you want.  But the fact still stands, no matter where you go, you are still there.  With yourself.

Have you ever met anyone out cruising who is a real grump?  You know, the kind of person who walks into a room looking like he smells something bad?  Well, you can bet your backup bilge pump he was the same back “home.”  You can’t run away from yourself.  If anything, cruising introduces you to yourself.  There’s nothing like a few hundred days jammed together in a vessel the size of a large storage shed, with nothing but water surrounding you, to get to know the real you.

We have all heard the tales of a married couple of 25 years or so  taking off to “cruise the world” only to end up in divorce court six months later.  After living together all those years, they can’t figure out what happened.  For twenty-five years they saw each other four hours a day and on the occasional weekend.  All of a sudden, they were forced to spend 24 hours a day together, in sometimes stressful situations.  You get to know your crewmates very well, very fast.

Fortunately, the majority of people who opt for the cruising way of life do so because they are pretty mellow to begin with.  In most cases, people who drop the dock lines and sail off into the sunset find that they actually like each other better once they are away from the battle of trying to exist, and start to really live.

Life is just like a cruise.  It doesn’t matter how or where it ends, it’s the journey to reach the end that counts.    You have to take every day for what it is.  And you will notice that each day you awaken, as you cruise through the world, and through your life, you always wake up with the same person.  Yourself.  You don’t change once you leave.  The little things that annoyed you when you were at home will still annoy you.  The little thrills you get are the same underway, only better. The big difference is the joy you get from the small things you never had time to notice.  For every cruiser, it’s something else.  For me, it will always be that feeling I first encountered at 5:50 a.m., March 27, 1978, aboard the Stone Witch. Remember, no matter where you go, there you are.

See what Bob is up to – Follow Bob Bitchin and his antics on his Facebook Page.

Bob’s “Attitude” articles first appeared in Latitude and Attitudes magazine and can also be found in either The Sailing Life or Starboard Attitude books.


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Awesome Outposters (30 Pictures) Fri, 08 Aug 2014 14:09:00 +0000

awesome-outposters-Friday-031We’re Crazy For Outposter Pics!

Send us what you got – they put the wind in our sails!
SUBMIT HERE or email to
Thanks to all that submitted photos this week - our inbox was very excited. Keep an eye out for your images in the print magazine Lifestyle section – Thanks again!

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I Don’t Look Good Naked Anymore Wed, 06 Aug 2014 22:15:42 +0000 0