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Cruising Life through the Eyes of Tom Neale

Essential elements of the perfect cruising boat

Heading out on a Nordic Tug 54, a well-found cruiser.Two features set a cruising boat apart from the rest, and from those two features come many special elements. A cruising boat must be able to keep you comfortable while aboard for long periods of time, and it must be able to safely take you long distances.

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The indescribable allure of the Intracoastal

You'll have to share the water with commercial traffic in some parts of the ICW.“I’d love to take that trip down the ICW. I’d love to see it, if just one time.”

We’ve heard so many people say that. We’ve done the trip, in whole or in part, more times than I can remember. Each has been special in its own way.



A day under way with a liveaboard

Heading out an inlet into the ocean at sunrise offers the promise of an easy run without the hassles of waterway constrictions.People always ask: What’s it like? What do you do on a boat all day? We’ve been cruising thousands of miles a year for many years. We moved aboard full time in 1979. It’s a very different existence. Here is a typical day, if you can call any of them “typical.”



The blinding, paralyzing blanket of dense fog

Boats should move slowly in fog. Navigation Rules require vessels to reduce their speed to as low a level as is prudent under the circumstances.The shrieks and groans of steel crashing and grinding into steel came from all directions out of the impenetrable fog. Huge unseen engines roared like prehistoric beasts as two tugs moved gigantic mud barges. They had to disconnect their tows, rush around to the sterns of the barges and grind into them to push and pull. And nobody could see.

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This kind of bailout doesn't involve politics

Dockside sinkings are often caused by faulty underwater fittings, according to BoatUS, and the flooding can overwhelm the pumps.The closest I ever came to getting arrested was the time the Coast Guard guy came aboard for a “law enforcement check” and said he wanted to see my dewatering device. “Hell no” wasn’t the answer he was expecting.



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