• Gypsy Days Crew

Cruiser Interview: S/V Iteration

Kelly and Ryan of S/V Iteration (photo provided by S/V Iteration)

Name(s): Ryan and Kelly

Boat Name: Iteration

Boat Type: Amel Super Maramu 53'

Home Port: Boston, MA

Current Location: St. Thomas, USVI

How long have you been cruising?: 3.5 months

How did you get started sailing?: Ryan was sick of looking at tiny, overpriced condos and got it in his head that he wanted to live on a boat.  He took a weeklong learn-to-sail charter in the BVI to see if he liked living aboard, having never set foot on a boat before. Turns out, he loves living aboard AND sailing! He then took classes at Community Boating in Boston and bought his first boat, a Gulfstar 37. He lived aboard that boat for 7 years, and that was his home when he met Kelly. Kelly had never sailed before but enjoyed the liveaboard and engineering aspects of sailing. They moved in together on Iteration, and Kelly learned how to sail from Ryan and from classes at Community Boating.

What brought you here (to where you are currently)?: What's the point of living on a boat if you don't go on sailing adventures? Kelly quit her job for various reasons, and Ryan discovered that he was able to take a leave of absence from work. So the timing worked out perfectly to cruise the Caribbean and skip the Boston winter.

How long do you plan to continue cruising?: We aim to return to Boston in late April.

What are your three favorite aspects of cruising?: 1. Traveling without leaving home. 2. Escaping the cold dark winter. 3. Spending lots of time with the person you love.

What are your three least favorite aspects of cruising?: 1. No time to relax, it often seems 2. Lots of time and hassle involved in everyday activities, like grocery shopping and ordering stuff online. 3. Limited connectivity. It has been hard to find WiFi, which has made it hard to work on projects and coordinate/plan travel. 4. Being homesick for Boston and being away from our friends and family!

What are the most useful items on your boat?:  AIS (Automatic Identification System). Autopilots. Tool set (we have a lot of tools, but we constantly find ourselves needing MORE). Clothespins. Sewing machine. Containers (bins and Tupperwares and tubs). Bow thruster. Towels and cloth napkins (easy to sew ourselves and really cuts down on paper use)

What misconceptions do people have about your lifestyle?: People think that cruising is fun and games. It's hard to convey that yes, we have adventures, but we also put in a TON of work to make this lifestyle possible. At times, it's very stressful and emotionally draining. 

What has been your most difficult obstacle?: One goal of our cruise was to get various boat systems serviced in Martinique, for work that we could not do ourselves and that could not be done in the US. When we arrived, the service providers were slammed with a pre-Christmas rush, and everything took a lot longer than expected. We also had to deal with the boat being damaged by contractors, work that required re-doing, and our marina reservation not being honored, etc. etc. We felt stuck and powerless. Since we were at a marina, we couldn't swim (our primary source of exercise), which compounded our frustrations. Luckily we ended up with the boat in (mostly) better shape than before, and we continued on our voyage. We are grateful that the marine service people could finish the work, even when they were busy.

What has been your most empowering moment?: Our longer island hops with just the two of us (no crew) have been really cool. It's really empowering to decide to embark on a 230NM passage, knowing that we are well-prepared and capable.

What is one thing you wish you knew before you started cruising?: How hard it would be to get stuff shipped to us, as transients. I think our pre-departure priorities would have changed, if we knew this. (Would have prioritized a couple of boat projects that required parts shipped to us.)

What advice do you have for people considering this lifestyle?: Sometimes you just have to pull the trigger and start, even if things aren't perfect. Perfection is the enemy of good. At the same time, preparing enough is really important. We try to prepare enough to stay safe and sane, and try to have inner peace with everything else that falls through the cracks.

How can we follow along?: @sv_iteration on Instagram