I met a mendicant…

The sea vagrant.

Is there such a thing as a sea vagrant?

It wasn’t too long ago that I wrote a blog entry on the myriad nature of sailors out there cruising, but I feel compeled to return to the subject after meeting what can only be described as the ultimate thrifty adventurer.

Many a frugal sailor lives on a very small budget, but it is at least their budget. What I have discovered is that there are cruisers out there living for years in “Fat City” on other peoples budgets.

But how, I hear you ask? Where do I subscribe? This sounds too good to be true…

Simple… You beg, or to put it in a more favourable light, constantly beseech handouts.

It goes something like this…

Show up in a boat that looks like it’s just weathered a hurricane. Rather than make your own way to port, call out the coast guard for help to tow you in. It saves on fuel and you immediately have a ready audience for your fictional tales of hardship and misfortune.

Failing that, flag down other yachtsmen for aid getting ashore.

Place plenty of emphasis on the loss of cash and vital equipment such as anchors, dinghy’s, laptop etc, through theft by unscrupulous third parties. No you don’t have the money for paying the fees for immigration or customs, but what are they going to do about it? Send you back out to sea in a boat that looks like a death trap?

Besides, the yacht is damaged, I need money and materials for repairs. By the way, could you give me some food? I haven’t eaten in days.

Now perhaps some readers at this point feel I am being unkind. What if you really do fall unexpectedly upon hard times. Is it not appropriate that the cruising community band together to help a fellow sailor in dire need?

By all means. But not when the need is deceitful. When you are young and fit. When offers of work are refused because it is easier to play mendicant and the whole business is just that, a business.

The generous donations gradually peter out when it becomes blatantly clear it’s all a scam, but no matter, there are dozens more islands burgeoning with good will to move on to next…

Go figure!