David Beaupré, author of Quest and Crew writes:
There are as many reasons to buy a sailboat and cruise off to the Caribbean as there are dreams. Quest and Crew is the memoir of one such dream. It is a dream complete with blue water sailing and palm fringed islands. For Wendy and me it was the adventure of a lifetime. Each day in paradise presented us with new challenges which helped to refine our sailing abilities.
Our cruising style varied considerably from most liveaboard cruisers. We sought out the most remote beautiful anchorages, free from the trappings of civilization. We routinely stayed for weeks in hidden coves that only saw two or three boats a year. The key to our enjoyment and independence was having the right boat and the perfect equipment.
Quest and Crew is the story of our adventures. I also hope that it is a testament to a fine classic boat that was lovingly restored. Quest is a Bayfield 36 that was built in Ontario from a Hayden Gozzard design. Her beautiful lines and unquestioned pedigree do not tell the complete story. She possesses one elusive and intangible quality that we all seek. She is a very lucky boat. Her luck was proven in Chapter One when Quest faces down a 150 mph hurricane and survives without a scratch while the marina is destroyed and the fleet of moored boats were holed and sunk.
If I could convey one important thought to the reader, it would be the idea that anybody with the will to succeed and a modest cruising kitty can follow their dream. It doesn’t require great strength or a lifetime of blue water sailing. The ability to captain a boat safely does require complete knowledge of the craft and a great deal of common sense. The most important requirement to make an ocean cruiser successful is the desire to take on the unknown. Out on the ocean, outside of the sight of land you discover the meaning of self reliance.
Apart from a good boat and cruising kitty the would-be cruiser should possess the ability to adapt to an ever changing environment and have a high degree of faith in their ability to make themselves into competent sailors. They will certainly need to adapt to very tight living conditions. Without a doubt the greatest stress on a cruising sailboat is not the raging sea. Many couples choose to live their sailing dream in later life. For the first time in their lives they will be living day after day, shoulder to shoulder in the tightest of quarters. In the end it is the human relationship that is put under the greatest strain. Be prepared. Your relationship will change. It will strengthen or weaken. Under adversity you and your mate will grow closer only if you are willing to compromise.
If I were to offer the simplest advice it would be to purchase the right boat for your chosen cruising grounds. Spend some time discovering the boat’s strengths and weaknesses. But most importantly you must get up every day and make a commitment to get just a little closer to your goal of sailing away. Many want-to-be cruisers take a passive attitude to preparing for their adventure. The preferred alternative is to be a hands-on captain and do the work yourself. This will serve you well in finding the confidence to become a successful cruiser. This intangible quality can only come from deep within you. The desire to go sailing is a classic dream that has stood the test of time. To live even a part of your life on the water requires a mind change and the strength to test your abilities.