Subtitled “How to Become a Modern Sea Gypsy and Sail Away Forever,” this is a great primer for would-be seafarers, and a fun discourse on the vagabond life. Rick and Jasna have been liveaboards for just eight years and five years, respectively. But they’ve packed a lifetime of sailing and problem solving into those years, and it shows.
To live the life of a sea gypsy, they write, you’ve got to get real: forget about fancy boats with landlubber comforts; be ready to rough it and love it; brush up your handyman skills; live within your means (seriously); and as the Boy Scout motto reminds us, be prepared for whatever happens out there on the briny blue.
The book offers a blueprint, explaining how even people of modest means can make this dream life a reality. One way: move to a great port city and develop your chops from the ground up. Rick, for example, started out by moving to the eastern coast of Australia, with its multiple anchorages and helpful sailors who were willing to share their know-how. Later, he and Jasna moved to the Bay of Cortez near Baja California, where they continued to hone their skills.
The most important tip, of course, is to get the right boat. Rick serves up hardheaded, unsentimental, and occasionally hilarious advice about how to choose your new home, equip it so it can manage all kinds of seas, and turn it into a home afloat. That means sidestepping the seductions of boat salesmen, resisting marketers, and forgoing fancy gadgets, doohickeys, and other assorted non-essentials.
Rick argues that anyone who is serious about the sea-gypsy life will eschew extreme fin-keels, spade rudders, multihulls, teak decks, supersized masts, electric refrigeration, and so on. Even adding windows is a no-no; they may flood your cabin with light, but are more liable to leak, which could flood your cabin with seawater. In hot weather, banks of windows also can turn your little sailboat into the equivalent of an Easy-Bake Oven. Mostly, the couple advises, avoid big boats. Add twice the waterline and you could be buying 20 times the expense and maintenance!
More than a how-to manual for the would-be world traveler, Get Real, Get Gone also tells how to live life to the fullest, and make every day an adventure. That’s worth all the comforts you may lose on the way. You’ll learn a lot, and laugh a lot, reading this book.