The truth about living on a Sailboat
Including our sail to Canada in 2005, LeeAnn and I have lived aboard a boat together for over two years. Not so long really. But long enough to answer some simple questions about our lifestyle that we are commonly asked:
1. It's an awfully small space... Don't the two of you get sick of each other?
Sometimes we get mad at each other. But living and traveling on the boat puts us in a constant state of challenge. It's very hard to get things done when we are mad at each other, so we are normally forced to make up quickly.
We get mad at each other and go to bed. A storm comes up in the night and the anchor starts dragging. It's very scary, loud, and annoying to have to get out of bed and go stand in a thunderstorm, wet and cold, in the middle of the night. But it has to be done, and we do it as a team. Our anger becomes secondary to our goal.
It's easy to say living under such conditions has improved our relationship greatly. It's a great pre-marriage test that I would recommend to anyone.
2. How do you take Showers?
We don’t have a shower on our boat.
Three ways to get showers at a marina: 1. Fill up your gas tank and they let you take a shower. 2. Pay for a day dock and take a shower. 3. Somehow acquire the bathroom key code and sneak a shower after the marina staff leave for the night.
Three ways to get showers at a marina:
1. Fill up your gas tank and they let you take a shower.
2. Pay to take a shower.
3. somehow you acquire the combination and you sneak a shower.
Other ways to shower: 1. If the water is clean (like the Northern Great Lakes) you can take showers in the lake 2. If you are somewhere private you can take a shower on deck with a solar shower. 3. The worst option is to take a sponge bath inside the boat. Wash hair in the sink. 3. How do you cook?
We have a toaster oven that runs on electricity, and we have an Origo two burner stove top that burns denatured alcohol. We love to eat, and cook very good food.
Most people have a propane oven. These are very expensive, and you have to find a place to put the propane. Not to mention you have to eventually find a place to fill the propane.
We chose the electric oven because we charge our batteries with a generator. So our evening routine is to run the generator for about 2 -3 hours during which time we cook dinner, charge the batteries, and watch a movie.
This setup works great. although if we could have afforded it we would have probably gone with solar panels, wind generator, and a propane oven.
4. Do you get seasick?
LeeAnn does not get seasick. I do. I find that having a full stomach helps. I eat a lot of saltine crackers, pretzels, tortilla chips. Etc. High carb things seem to help.
I also am starting to think that my queasiness is stress related. I don’t see myself as a “worrier” so, when I am worried I don’t admit it. The worries build up, and I start to get queasy. It helps to sit down and take a deep breath.
5. Are you rich?
As in money? Unfortunately no.
6. How can you afford to do this?
We get this question a lot. Budget, budget, budget is our mantra.
We bought a cheap boat and fixed it up, opposed to buying a new one.
We NEVER take docks. There is ALWAYS somewhere you can anchor for free.
When traveling we never eat out. And generally we don't drink either.
Also keep in mind, we have no car or house payments, or any of the standard bills, such as: cable, internet, or anything like that. 7. So how much does "it" cost?
In 2005 we didn't think about "budgeting" at all and we spent $3,000 in three months… We spent the most in the first few weeks on nice docks and going out to eat.. Then scrapped by for the rest of the summer on hardly anything. We sailed from Canada to home on 500 dollars...
In 2007/08 our budget was $120 a week. $60 on food, $60 on Gas. Some weeks we went way over, and some were way under. Generally it evens out.
For 2009 we plan on spending $140 a week. $70 on food. $100 on gas. Damn inflation.
None of these figures reflect repairs to the boat. When all is said and done, we will spend $1,000 a month total. Something always breaks on the boat. Or we spend a few extra days in an expensive area (like New York) where we splurge.
8. What do you do on the boat?
We have a flatscreen and a DVD player to watch movies. We both like to read, and we have three shelves and a drawer full of books. We enjoy cooking very much. Lunch and dinner are highlights of the day. we sight-see. Watch sunsets and sunrises. Fix the boat, and worry about the engine. Relax, pay guitar, listen to music. Sleep.
9. How do you do laundry / get groceries?
We use cruising guides ("Skipper Bob" is a great, inexpensive resource) to find out which anchorages have grocery stores or laundromats within walking distance. Generally we keep our walks under 1 mile.
10. How far from land do you normally go?Generally not very far.
We are "coastal cruisers." However I have sailed across the Atlantic Ocean
Our goal for 07/08 was to see the east coast. We would never see it if we were sailing off out of site of land.
We made many multi-day passages in 2009
12. Why doesn't LeeAnn ever give write in the blog?
She has tried it a few times. But doesn't enjoy it.