In the past I have written many times about long-distance drivers and made one or two statements about it. We also count ourselves to it. Why actually? And what distinguishes cross-country skiers or cruising sailors from other sailors? Other sailors are, for example, the regatta sailors, the charter sailors, the weekend sailors or the dock sailors ... This question has arrived a few times in my mailbox and I would like to answer it here with a few pictures.
Here, in the Marina of Lagos, are all types of sailors. That's why I was able to walk through the marina with the camera and take a few photos. However, I stole a photo from the Marina Kornati website in Biograd, where there are over a hundred charter boats. All of them are polished and cleaned, waiting for the next charter customer. He is happy about a flashing, flashing boat and has a great vacation.
Old master Bobby Schenk explained it on his homepage many years ago. The cruising sailors have other priorities. Most of the boats are not sailed, they are inhabited. Occasionally you move them to another place, where you live again. Sailing as such takes a back seat, it is only a means to an end. That's why cruisers usually don't look so shiny, they have other qualities.
In this specimen from Liverpool you can see a wind generator, solar cells and a lot of additional equipment (surfboard, heel porsche, dinghy, fuel canister, life raft, many antennas and and and.
The additional equipment is similar in most respects on most cruising boats. An essential point is the energy supply. Charter boats are usually driven from port to port, rarely overnight and the number of nights in an anchor bay is manageable. Certainly not the charter customer stays in the same place over a longer period of time, the costs are much too high. There is an electrical outlet in the harbor and therefore a charter boat does not need a wind generator or solar cells.
The cruising sailor in turn wants to be independent of the socket. He installed thick batteries in the ship and would like to recharge them whenever possible so that the refrigerator runs and the navigation instruments work. That's why he decorates his boat with everything that can somehow pump electricity into the batteries. Nothing happens without electricity. The charter sailor can fill the water tank from the water hose in the harbor, the cruiser's watermaker needs a lot of electricity. There are no sockets or water connections in the anchor bay.
In addition to the regenerative energy sources, the long-distance driver only has the diesel engine (in addition to a thick alternator) to recharge the batteries. But diesel is only available at the petrol station and it is not in the anchor bay, so most cruisers carry more or fewer reserve canisters with them to be independent for as long as possible. We also.
Charter sailors, regatta sailors and weekend sailors keep coming to gas stations and can refill their diesel there. In my time as a charterer, I always refueled before returning the boat and was happy when I used less than 100 liters of diesel in a week. With 100 liters of this we get hundreds of miles because we rarely start the engine. Unlike charter sailors, we have all the time in the world.
Rotatable solar panels can be seen in the photo on the right. We don't have anything like that on the Sissi, ours are fixed upwards. The current efficiency of the rotating panels is of course better because they can always be optimally adjusted to the sun. But that does work that we save. We solve the problem with the sheer volume, the large number of square meters of our panels. And we could upgrade even further ...
In addition to the wind generator and solar panels, you can also see the wind vane control at the rear of Sissi. You can also see this on the 99% of the other cruisers, because an electric autopilot consumes a lot of electricity, which could also be used to operate the refrigerator. Economical electricity is also a priority when cruising. In conversations on the jetty, barbecues or in the harbor bar, you always talk about power consumption, power generation and power storage. There are wars of faith over the choice of the right batteries (by the way, we drive simple lead-acid batteries).
Different sizes, different ages and certainly different uses. But polished, sparkling clean and currently uninhabited (in November). These boats are most likely not cruising boats. There are no additional power supply facilities that can usually be used to identify long-distance boats.
The boat in the third picture has no anchor. This cannot be a long-distance driver. The owner may have taken the anchor home because he made the boat winter-proof. He probably only left the anchor out because he doesn't use it anyway. The anchor is a super important equipment of a cruising boat, also from Sissi, even if we have mostly been gentle on ours so far. That is still to come. Cross-country skiers spend weeks in anchor bays and must be able to rely on their basic iron. If you stroll through the marina, you will notice that certain anchor shapes have established themselves in the scene.
The currently most popular anchor seems to be the Rocna anchor. It is not exactly cheap, but it is said to be overwhelming holding forces. The bow anchor plays in the same league. You don't see the Delta anchor that often. When I spoke to the owners about anchors, the Delta anchors were rather older. Some of the owners of these anchors would like to exchange them for a bow or a Rocna at some point. However, as long as the anchor works, it is not likely to be replaced. After reading books, watching a lot of videos on Youtube and reading many websites, I also opted for a Rocna to equip Sissi, because we had to drop the CQR anchor that we had at Sissi in the IJsselmeer (this is not an anchor story, this is a diesel engine story that I will tell another time).
We also have two other, smaller and lighter anchors that we can deploy with the dinghy if need be. This is also the case with 100% of the other cruising boats.
With the charter boats, the choice of the anchor is rather secondary. The anchor on the charter boats has to work an afternoon when the crew goes swimming or a night when the crew decides to go outdoors.
The two anchors shown here are photographed on two charter boats from the same charter company in Lagos. If it were important to the owner, he would have at least equipped both boats with the anchor that he considers the best. So he probably took the anchor that was supplied by the shipyard. The choice of anchor is of secondary importance on a charter boat.
The boats are as different as the purpose of the boats. Cross-country drivers value the greatest possible independence and less the cool appearance of their vehicles or the good sailing properties. Regatta sailors want good sailing characteristics, cosiness takes a back seat. Charter sailors want a shiny boat with which they can spend a nice week of vacation. That's the way it is.
So it doesn't matter whether we need four and a half or five and a half days with Sissi from Lagos to the Canary Islands. We spend the time comfortably under sail and once we have arrived we stay in the same place with the fast sailors for a few weeks. Or the neighboring bay.