Overseas Radio Network – Adventures Cruising on a Yacht, Costs of Cruising
In the Overseas Radio Network Show 2, Segment 2, Stephen and Estelle talk about:
- How much experience is required before cruising?
- Convincing her to take the adventure to cross the Atlantic
- Pets onboard
- What does cruising on your own yacht cost?
GARY FRETZ: I want to welcome you back to “Yachts the Perfect Escape Vehicle”. Today we are talking to our guests, Stephen and Estelle Cockcroft, who have over 50,000 miles, maybe it is even more than that cruising around. Guys, I wanted to ask you how much experience did you both have before you left on your cruise?
For a transcript of this podcast, click “read more” below.
How Much Experience is Required Before Cruising?
STEPHEN COCKCROFT: Well, I have been dabbling in boats most of my young adult life. I owned a few Hobie cats and I have done a few cruises and crewed on a couple of racing keel boats. Not terribly much, but I’d always wanted to sail around the world on a 45ft sail boat. So I decided the best thing to do was to build my own boat and to learn on my own boat. So this is what we did.
We spent about 8 months after the boat was launched sailing up and down the South African seaboard. We took an instructor on board for about four or five days. The truth is, we had very few overnight passages before we actually left on the voyage. But I understood the boat very well because we lived aboard it for a couple of months and really understood it.
So, when we left, quite frankly, the experience was quite very limited. Let Estelle tell you about her experience.
ESTELLE COCKCROFT: I had absolutely no experience. I went on faith on my husband that he would know what to do. In hindsight that was probably a dumb thing to do, but honestly, that gave me the stupid courage to say, “We are doing it. We are getting on. We are sailing.” And I learned on the go. Stephen was obviously a fantastic teacher taught me about how to set the sails you know just generally leaning the boat on the go and that in my experience was the based for how to do it.
STEPHEN: Estelle learned by osmosis. You know just to give you an example of how experienced she was we left Cape Town and we were headed around the Cape of Good Hope which is a well know cape in the southern hemisphere headed towards the Falls Bay. And we’d been sailing for about 12 hours and it started to getting dark and Estelle came up and asked me when we were going to stop so she could have a bath and cook some food.
When I informed her that we weren’t stopping in the foreseeable future and there was nowhere to stop. And the anchor chain wasn’t a few thousand-foot long. She was actually quite horrified.
ESTELLE: An anchor had absolutely no meaning to me whatsoever.
GARY: You probably though it was a plow that you plow the field with right.
GARY: Because you grew up on a farm, didn’t you?
Convincing Her to Take the Yacht Adventure
ESTELLE: I did, yeah, I didn’t even know how to swim when we left.
GARY: Wow, Estelle, what would you say to most women who have a fear about leaving their friends family and comfortable home isn’t that a big issue for most women?
ESTELLE: Gary, yes, at first I was a little, you know, skeptical about going. You know, I loved my friends, my girlfriends. I had a nice big home, wonderful big kitchen, etc., etc., but once I got on the boat and start loving the lifestyle. You could not get me back in an apartment or home you know I feel comfortable about it, I wasn’t scared because I learned pretty quickly about how to sail the boat how to handle the boat myself how to drive the boat so once I understood that I honestly took to it like a duck to water I suppose.
GARY: Now wait a second. You didn’t know how to swim and you are out in the middle of the ocean? How did you get over that?
STEPHEN: It was a pretty good sales job.
ESTELLE: Yeah, indeed, you know Stephen pushed me in the water a few times you know and I just learned to swim. And eventually, actually, in the Red Sea we went diving with what was it, Stephen?
STEPHEN: Poseidon’s Quest, the dive boat.
ESTELLE: They were on an adventure. They were scientists researching sharks and I actually went diving.
GARY: Wow! You were telling me the other day about some swimming cats something, what was that about it had to do with cats on cruiser.
STEPHEN: Lots of people like to cruise with pets and we met an Australian in the Indian Ocean and he had a cat called Octo he brought from Australia. And he trained this cat. He had some big thick ropes hanging from the outside of his stern. If Octo fell overboard he knew he had to swim to the back of the boat grab the rope and climb back up on to the boat, you know. And he was busy teaching a new kitten how to do it and astoundingly this new kitten learnt it in no time how to reboard if it fell overboard.
GARY: Wow! That’s amazing and you ran into a lot of people that had pets what are some of the pets that you saw in your travels.
STEPHEN: Well mostly cats, you know, a lot of dogs. Dogs are a little bit difficult because you have to walk them and give them exercise where as cats just lay around like they always do obviously their ablution are a little bit of a problem but people get over that as well we ended up with a monkey but we will leave that for another segment.
GARY: How can these dogs go to the bathroom? Did you have a place or a poop deck?
STEPHEN: Well, there is a poop deck and once they are identified the place hopefully you got a special mat down that’s where they will always go. Otherwise, you got to take them ashore. Cats are okay because they have a litter box and they are used to that.
GARY: What about parrots? Did you see many of them not really because they carry diseases?
STEPHEN: Parrots, you know, parrots are actually quite there are people that had them. But contrary to popular belief, they are not really good pets on boats maybe just pirates have them.
What Does Cruising on Your Own Yacht Cost?
GARY: Okay let’s talk about how much this cost. You hear so many different numbers. And what do you think is the least you should budget per year? I want you to tell us a little bit about how much people spent when they are cruising.
STEPHEN: Well, it can be very little or it can be a lot. We got away on very little when we start cruising the Indian Ocean. First of all, it is very cheap. You go a long way with your money. But you know we lived off the land. Stephen would go and fish every day. We got fabulous oysters off the rocks. Can you imagine fresh oysters ever day? We got fruits off the trees: mangoes, papayas. It just was a wonderful thing to do.
GARY: So, it was true you don’t have to be dependent on grocery stores? You can catch your food as you go right?
STEPHEN: Absolutely, you know, the Indian Ocean, particularly, we would catch fish at will. We could dive lobsters. Actually we get quite sick of fish. Eventually you start looking for beef, chasing goats and cows around on the land.
ESTELLE: And the only beef in Madagascar at the time was zebu…as tough as nails. Couldn’t eat that.
GARY: What is zebu?
STEPHEN: Zebu is an ox that only, it is the only ox you find in the island of Madagascar. It’s a beast of burden. They eat it a whole lot and really it’s tough. But after eating fish for so long it was a welcome relief. But I just need to tell you that one of the big benefits was the rum factory where you could buy 4 gallons of rum for the equivalent of about $5. So we had a lot of fun in the islands spicing rums and just actually making rum competition without the cruises.
GARY: Nice, well we have to take a short break we will be right back you are listening to “Yachts the Perfect Escape Vehicle” only on Overseas Radio Network.