Aug 18, 2017

THANK YOU to our first patrons!

Shout outs to Katie, Mike, and Trey. Our newest, first, most coolest Patrons. 
We cannot thank you enough for your support!







Aug 17, 2017

Cruising Income And Expenses?

I'm toying around with the idea of posting our income, expenses, and the balance of our cruising account. Almost everyone asks how we can afford to go cruising. People often wonder how much it really costs.

So, please forgive me while I experiment with format and presentation. If there is something specific you would like to know or see, if there is a certain way you think I should present this information, please email me at Chad@hobosailor.com

You can view the July Income and Expense report here: https://www.patreon.com/posts/income-and-july-13909942

Here are some notes from the report:

Moving out of the house and getting the boat ready to go has been costly. Not in the sense that we spent a lot of money, but in the sense that I really had to focus on packing, moving, and boat work instead of income generating tasks. As a result, I've lost momentum, and lost out on money I could have earned. 

At this point, I'm starting to think about finances again, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't worried about it. Starting our patreon account is a direct result of that worry. 

We have plenty of money at the moment, but I know we will burn through it quickly without any money coming in and I don't want us to end up in a desperate situation. 

I know it's going to cost about $2,000 to have the mast stepped (taken down) in Chicago, Shipped on a truck, then re-stepped (put back up) when we arrive in Mobile, Alabama.

We have not yet started receiving income from renting out our house. Unfortunately all of that money will have to be saved and put towards:

  • Income tax on rental income
  • Income tax on other income that I know will be taxed but didn't save for
  • House maintenance & repairs
  • Health Insurance

A Bell of a good time!

We went sailing with the Bell family earlier this week. We ended up dropping the sails in the middle of the lake so we could all go swimming. Here's a quick video and a few pictures:



In other news, we are 100% moved out of the house. It feels SO GOOD to have that monumental task completed. A renter has signed a 12-month lease, so if we back out now, we are officially homeless and will need to find somewhere else to live.

Jul 31, 2017

Shakedown Cruise with the Hackers

This weekend my friend Wayne and his three kids, Aiden, Mason, and Nash, joined my boys and me for a weekend adventure aboard Longer Days. Our plan was to head south for the Venetian festival in Saugatuck Michigan. 

I woke up at 6:30 Friday morning, (thanks, Charlie), and started cleaning and organizing the boat so the Hacker’s would have a place for their gear. They arrived at 10:30, tossed bags into rooms, and all the kids proceeded to go berserk with excitement. 

We left the dock around 12:00 with 10-15 knots of wind from the north. Mason (11 years old) helped bring in the fenders, tidy up the dock lines, and then raise the jib. I thought how awesome it would be for my son to someday be old enough to help out like Mason did. 

Jul 25, 2017

Are we living aboard yet?

LeeAnn left for Europe last week Friday, and the boys and I moved onto the boat. So I guess we are officially living aboard, but it doesn't really feel like it.

The house still has a ton of 'stuff' in it. We've been storing, selling, and giving things away for months now. I feel like we should have reached the bottom by now, but we're still digging! It never really felt like we had all that much stuff. But when you start to go through it all... it adds up. 

There are things that are easy to get rid of, the old brown couch we bought for $25 at a yard sale. There are things that are easy to keep, like old photos. 

Then there are things like... cooking spices. I can't bring them all. Half drunk bottles of alcohol. Should I dump them or throw a party?

At what point do I take our shoes off the shoe shelf and sell the shelf? When do I take the magnets off the fridge? 

I guess the answer is 'now', but it's hard because mentally I think I'm still living in the house. Even though the beds are gone.The kitchen table is gone. The decorations are gone from the walls. It's still my house, and in my head, I still live there. 

I've found the best approach to getting things done is to pick a room and clear it out. Within that room, it's helped to take everything off shelves, out of the drawers, out of the closet. Once things are spread out across the floor, no longer in their "place" it's easier to say "ok, now where does this go?"

I've spent so much time dreaming about sailing away, of leaving my house. I never appreciated it much. Now I look at it differently. I'll miss wrestling with my kids on the living room floor. Watching as they launch from the couch and knowing that if they fell, the worst they would get is a hard landing on a carpeted floor.

It's not all bad though. I love the minimalism of living on the boat. it doesn't feel very minimalist with "stuff" pouring out of lockers. but it's the most important stuff. The kid's favorite toys, their favorite books. Many I forgot we even had. Where has "if you give a mouse a cookie" been hiding all this time? We have all our favorite clothes. Our favorite cooking utensils. You get the idea. 

Tomorrow is my third day working on the house. I have the major tasks to accomplish:

1. Get everything packed up, or in the garage to be sold.
2. Organize the garage so people can "shop" through our things. 
3. Organize the storage area in the basement.

Things have been going well at the house, but I hope I can make a bigger dent tomorrow. I still have a lot of work to do on the boat, and a lot of work to get my new company off the ground!










Jul 16, 2017

Books in the bilge!

Getting the boat ready to go has really sucked. So it's a breath of fresh air that packing has been going really smooth. If not better than expected.

We've definitely had to be really picky about what we are bringing. The hardest things to go through were books and toys for the boys. The nice thing though, is we are picking out all the favorite toys, the favorite books.

Jul 12, 2017

Praying for the low point...

The last few days have totally sucked. Everything seems to be going wrong. Everything is difficult. Progress is painfully slow.

Two of the biggest hangups are getting the pressure water and fridge running. Can't really move onto the boat without those two things.

The Battle Of The fridge:

Problem: So I screwed up and left water in the refrigerator cooling line. It cracked the raw water strainer during the winter.

Solution 1: Bought a new strainer. Great. Install it while kids scream and fight... open the seacock (the valve that lets water in from the outside of the boat) and find that the old water hose has stiffened, or just fatigued from multiple strainer replacements and the hose has cracked and is now leaking.

Solution 2: Buy new hose from West Marine, bring it back to the boat to install it while kids beg to go swimming. Forgot my heat gun at home. Can't install. Take kids swimming so LeeAnn can organize the boat.

Solution 3: Bring the heat gun the next day and install the hose. Kids are watching Curious George on the iPad. Add hose clamps... they don't fit because the new hose has thicker walls.

Jul 8, 2017

Moving aboard

The boat is rocking like crazy right now. The marina we are at is exposed to the north, which is the direction the wind is blowing from. We're on the Northernmost dock. The most exposed, so we're taking the brunt of the waves. The dock isn't a breakwall like it probably should be. Just a dock so the waves go right pass it.


We've started moving our things on the boat. We had about 5 boxes and large bins in the basement packed up and ready to go. Everything found its place on the boat fairly quickly. LeeAnn and I kinda looked at each other and thought "well that was easy." We've been struggling to figure out what else we can move aboard before we officially move on.

Jul 2, 2017

Easy to dream, terrifying to do


We're less than five days away from starting our move onto the boat.

I'm full of doubts. I wish I wasn't, but I am. 

We've given away our cats.

Ready for launch!

Finally tied up all the loose ends today. Rudders have 6 coats of Interprotect barrier coat epoxy, 2 solid coats of bottom paint (I might add a third coat) and are back in the boat (thanks Ross!).

The sail drives have been painted with 5 coats of Interprotect, and 3 coats of Trilux 33. I was super freaked out about painting the sail drives. It seems like every article on sail drives shows a picture of one that has been nearly eaten away by galvanic corrosion.

Jun 12, 2017

Rudder Repair

I'm beat. Spent the day working on the boat. I dropped the rudders out of the boat to check the bearing and rudder post. I also had some cracks around the top that I wanted to repair. One of them was really bad.

The boat sits right on the ground, so the only way to drop the rudders was to dig a hole beneath them. Not a fun task. Top layer of gravel. Below that is some kind of bedrock. The best method was to chip away at rocks and then once enough particles were broken loose, scrape them away with the shovel. So really I did more scraping away than digging. 

May 29, 2017

Turn this way?


I've been going to work on the boat every day. It's been a little hard being away from LeeAnn and the boys. By the time I get home for dinner I can tell that everyone is a little on edge. Hobie craves attention and life just goes better when there are two parents around to give it to him.

So for two days we tried packing everyone up and heading to the boat together. This was not very productive, but it was a lot of fun! We packed a cooler of food, brought some games and toys for the boys. 

Charlie was only 1 last year so he probably didn't remember the boat. He isn't talking much yet, but we could clearly understand him as he walked around saying "like boat, like boat." We walked him around the boat, helping him with the three steps down into the hull where he and Hobie will sleep. 

May 22, 2017

Sailing to the Florida Keys

We've been getting a lot of questions from friends and family about what we are up to. So here's a summary, and answers to some common questions:


Where are we going?
We are moving aboard our boat and setting sail for the Florida Keys where we will spend the winter of 2017. We are tentatively heading for Stock Island, where the plan is to get a dock and hang out for the winter.



Apr 4, 2017

Carry That Weight!

LeeAnn just left for the consignment store with her second van load of stuff!



Carrying a heavy box of books up the basement stairs, I considered the weight. Wondered about the mental weight of these books. How heavy do they weigh on my sub-conscious? And how good will it feel when they are gone? One less thing to take care of. One less worry.

Mar 21, 2017

A Prison of Possessions

Chipping away at our things. We now have four boxes of books sitting out in the garage. We are bringing them to a used book store that will give us a bit of money for each book.

By going through our books, we've found that we actually own duplicate copies of several books, and in some cases series of books. Safe to say, we love books, and it's hard to part with them. I'm saving the books I really love, the ones that dramatically impacted my life. I'm letting go of the rest.

Mar 20, 2017

A Paralyzed Life

I don't want to spend my life going to work.

I don't know why that is such a radical idea.

It's not that I'm lazy. It's that I'm not a hamster. I don't want to spend my life circling the same five square miles that I was born in.

This planet is amazing, and I want to see it.

There are interesting people, and I want to meet them. Different foods that I want to try.

Mar 19, 2017

Renting house, getting rid of stuff, shipping mast

Renting Out The House

We've been going back and forth on how we want to rent out our house. Initially we thought we would rent to a friend or family member. More of a "house sitter" type situation, and just ask for enough money to cover the property taxes and insurance.

Renting to friend/family would take the pressure off getting rid of all our things - which is more challenging than I thought it would be!

Mar 10, 2017

Cruiser Coaching

Cruiser Coaching

Going cruising is a really scary thing. It can be really nice to have someone there to cheer you on, or maybe just tell you that you're not crazy. If you need some help I'm offering coaching. Fill out the following form to get started:


Here are a few things my wife and I can help you with:

Encouragement

Becoming a vagabond is a scary idea. You’re going against the grain of society. Giving up a large portion of your personal possessions. Leaving behind family and friends. There is the fear of the unknown and the “what ifs”. Those around you may be excited for you, but it’s also nice to have someone to talk with who has been there before, and can encourage you through your journey.

Spouse Reassurance

Perhaps your spouse (husband or wife), has concerns, and they just need to hear some reassurance from someone who is not you. Maybe your spouse is tentative about the idea of cruising on a sailbot, and would feel more excited after talking to someone who has actually done it. Maybe your spouse just wants to have a conversation with someone of the same sex.

Budgeting

How much money do you need? How do living expenses on a boat differ from land based living expenses? Will you be spending less or more money? What opportunities are there for making money along the way? My wife and I have lived on a boat as college students with no income, as business owners with steady high income, and as contract employees with moderate income. We’ve lived aboard with kids, and without.

Sailing, Navigation, and Seamanship

Are you worried about the skills and experience you need to go on your adventure? Do you have questions about navigating unfamiliar water? Plotting courses? Are you concerned about thunderstorms? Tides? Where to anchor for the night? Are you prepared for heavy weather? We can help you make a plan.

Destinations And Route Planning

Should you sail offshore to the Caribbean or take the Inner Coastal Waterway (ICW)? Are you thinking about the Great Loop? Maybe you're interested in a transatlantic passage to the Mediterranean? How should you travel to avoid burn out?

Boat, Equipment Selection, and Preparation

Power or sail? Monohull or multihull? What is the right size boat? How much holding for freshwater, fuel, and waste? Do you need solar panels? A radar? Autopilot? A spare for every part? You can go broke outfitting a boat, I’ve also seen people get caught in an endless cycle of always preparing and never departing. Don’t be one of them!

Living

Laundry, Grocery shopping, Boat repairs and maintenance, showers, what it's really like... etc!









Mar 9, 2017

3 reasons I'm afraid to sail away

I Worry About The Unkown


My youngest son, Charlie is 1.5 years old, and still wakes up fairly often in the middle of the night. Whenever I'm in his dark room, standing over his crib, shushing him back to sleep, I think about how happy I am that we are not living on a sailboat.

I think about how nice it is that I'm not in a strange place, a thousand miles from home. I think about how comfortable my house is. How it can't sink. I think maybe I don't want to sail away. Maybe we should just stay home. It's SUCH a comfortably tempting thought to think.

But when I really embrace this idea, it falls apart. So we don't go sailing. Then what? Do I go to work and keep up with the Joneses? Two weeks vacation once a year. Is that it? Is that what I want to do with my life? Absolutely not.

Do I want to look back on my life and think "I chose comfort and familiarity over living the life I really wanted." No way.

I Worry About Money

I spend most of my time worrying about money. It's the most pressing issue, and in a lot of ways it's the easiest to solve compared to intangible things like "the fear of the unknown."


My concerns start with health insurance. When we were younger, life didn't cost as much money. We needed food for two and gas money for the boat. That was about it.

Now we are a family of four, and its our responsibility to look out for the well being of our children. I consider health insurance for all of us to be a necessity.

I'm hoping that I'll be able to keep my current job in some form. Just in case that doesn't work out, I've started a web design and management company called Wowie.co (please check it out, and tell your friends). The company has been really successful so far, but it's still a candle in the wind. I'm also experimenting with revenue streams from this blog, which I will share updates on in a later post. We also plan to rent out our house.


While I worry about money, it's not a reason to give up the sailing dream. Cruising has provided me with many skills (self-confidence, problem solving, budgeting) and even opportunities. My current job and income is directly connected to our 2007-2009 sailing trip. So who knows. Maybe this new adventure will result in new income streams I currently can't imagine.

I Worry About Uprooting My Family

I have a lot of wonderful memories of growing up. My parents have lived in the same house for as long as I can remember. Living in a house provides a lot of interior room to run and play. I remember playing catch with my dad in our back yard. Riding skateboards and bikes in our driveway. I have a lot of wonderful (and horrible) memories from going to school, and there are people here in Muskegon that I've known since the first grade.

I'm afraid to pull my kids away from the wonderful childhood I had. I know Hobie in particular is going to miss our house. He is going to miss our cats (which we are going to have to find new homes for).


On the flip side, I don't know how great it can be to grow up on a boat because I didn't experience it the way my kids will. They will make their own special memories. They will see and experience things that other kids don't.

Ultimately, I don't think there is a "right way". I think (hope) that my kids will look back on their childhood and view it as "normal" because it is simply the only one they know. I mean, the idea of growing up in India is totally exotic to me. But to the kids who grow up there, it's just normal.

You Only Live Once

Whatever my fears, I always come back to two things:

1. My life is going to go by faster than I would like it to.

2. I don't want to spend my life working.

I'm not opposed to work. I'm a straight up workaholic. But I'm always asking myself "when I'm old and looking back on my life, what do I want to see? A life spent working, making money? Or a life spent making memories, experiencing as much as I can of this amazing world where we live?


I think everyone tricks themselves into thinking "there will be time later." But... there won't be. This is it. Life slips by like sand through your fingers. Ask any old person and they will say "each year goes by faster than the one before."

I can't help but feeling life doesn't really want to be lived. It's like the buzz of a refrigerator, the ambient noise that no one notices until it suddenly cuts out. It's easy to take for granted.

You have grab life by the throat. Don't let it slip away. You only get one shot, so make it count.



























Mar 7, 2017

To hell with it. Let's sail away!

We're getting ready to sail away. There is no other way for me to put it. We know when we are leaving (fall, 2017) and we know where we are going (The Florida Keys), and after that... unknown.

I've been dreaming about this for YEARS. So it's weird that I'm not more excited. Don't get me wrong, I'm totally excited. I'm also more terrified than I thought I would be. The fear is a total buzz kill.


First off, we didn't arrive at the decision to sail away under the happiest circumstances. The original plan was to sail off in the fall of 2018, and be back in the Bahamas for our 10 year wedding anniversary. That sounds like a great plan, except I'm losing my god damn mind in Muskegon.

I just can't fathom another year and a half of my life in it's current form. The thought of it makes me boil from the inside out. It makes me slump into depression.


Somewhere along the way, I read, heard, or came to the conclusion that happiness is inside you. And if you are not happy where you are, then you will not be happy where you are going. Happiness is a state of mind. You can't find it with GPS coordinates. Or can you?


My life here is not all that bad. By many standards, it's above average. But that doesn't mean it's right for me. I never wanted a routine life. Commuting to work each day. Having a house with nice things. No thanks. Life should not be about going to work. I get that we all need money and everything, but the meaning of life is not to go to work. At least not for me. I don't want to be laying on my deathbed looking back on my life and thinking "well, I lived in Muskegon and I went to work and made some money and bought some things. That's what I did." To hell with that.


This life I'm living, it's not my real life. My real life is on pause. At least that is what I've been telling myself for the 8 years its been since we stopped living on a sailboat. But how long does it take for this land-based life to become my "real one?"

I worry that the further we get from living on a boat, with every year that passes, it will become all that much harder to go back. I worry that I'll end up stuck in this life forever. I feel stuck already. Trapped. I'm worried my life is going to become an accident. That I will end up living out a suburban life I never wanted.

And so, losing my mind, struggling with depression, I convinced LeeAnn that we should sail away a year early.

Feb 21, 2017

Space Saving Pots and Pans For Boating

Magma Nesting Pots And Pans


Magma Nesting Cookware has a detachable handle so the pots and pans can fit together in a
conveniently small space. This is super handy for boat living where storage space is generally limited.

Magma cookware is really the gold standard when it comes to boat cookware. It's what most people use. I'm not sure if that is because it is the best, or if it is because of Magma's name recognition from it's very popular boat grills. 

  • Designed specifically for RVs and boats
  • 100% 18-10 mirror polish marine grade stainless steel, encapsulated triple-clad bottoms for superb even heat distribution
  • Secures conveniently for storage with the included bungee cord, stores in less than 1/2 cubic foot of space
  • Includes 3 sauce pans (1-1/2 qt., 2 qt., and 3 qt.) with interchangable lid a stock pot (5 qt.) and a saute / fry pan (9-1/2 inch diameter) with interchangeable lids, two removable handles and storage cord
  • Oven and dishwasher safe, not for use with induction cooktops 
 

What I love:

I think the thing I love most about the Magma cookware set is that it comes in both non-stick ceramic and stainless steel. I also like that there are some options on the exterior finish, either polished stainless steel or a really nice blue color. 

What I don't love:

I don't like the weird lid. It's a smart design to reduce the number of lids required, which I do appreciate. I hate having a million lids. However, I don't like that the Magma lid is either going to overhang on smaller cookware, and dip down into larger cookware. I think the Neoflam Midas set does a better job having "normal" lids.

 

What users are saying:

I spoke with a number of people using Magma cookware, and everyone basically raves about them. Several people mentioned that these are heavy duty pots and pans, able to stand up to daily use and abuse for years.

Overall:

I think you really can't go wrong with Magma cookware. It's a safe bet that is comparable in price and quality to a "normal" set of household cookware. I also think it's awesome that they give you two handles with the 10-peice cookware set instead of just one.



Neoflam Midas Nesting Pots And Pans


Neoflam Midas is a nesting cookware set with detachable handles. This comes in super handy on boats where space is limited. 

What I love:


The Neoflam Midas cookware comes in a fun colors: Emerald Green, Sunrise Red, or multicolor. I really like the handle style, which can be attached at any location on the cookware. Compare this to the popular magma cookware which has a specific attach point that could be challenging if you have to detach/reattach on a hot pan. If using a pot or pan in the oven, the grab and grip handle style of Neoflam looks quick and easy compared to trying to fit a handle into a keyhole on a hot pan while on a rocking boat as you lean into a hot oven. A Neoflam replacement handle is also about half the cost of the Magma set.
I also really like that these nesting pots and pans come with a plastic lid, so the cookware can double as food storage containers.
The tempered glass lids are rimmed with silicon which is handy for reducing vibration noise when motoring.

What I don't love:


There's not much to not like about the Neoflam Midas cookware. I don't like the ceramic non-stick coating. I'm probably alone in this. Everyone seems to love non-stick, but I love taking a metal scrubby to polish up stainless steel pots and pans. I have used a metal scrubber on a ceramic pan and it didn't seem to damage the ceramic coating, however I'd be concerned about doing this regularly.

One thing I think Neoflam really got right is their "Ecolon" nonstick coating is made from all-natural materials. It's PFOA and PTFE free. Honestly, I have no idea what the hell that means, but my hippie wife has warned me on more than one occasion about the chemical dangers of non-stick coatings. I think it's safe to assume boaters lean toward the "natural" side of things, so this Ecolon coating is a good call.

I also don't like the bowl like shape of the pots and pans. Honestly the bowl shape of the 10" frying pan is probably my main dislike of the Neoflam cookware. 


Overall:

This nesting cookware set looks pretty great. In my quest to find the perfect compact cookware for boating, I'm seriously considering buying this set. If you have purchased Neoflam Midas pots and pans, please let me know how you liked them!












Feb 19, 2017

Black and Decker Dust Buster Review

On our first boat, we didn't have a vacuum. On our second boat we had a small shop vac. We had a cat who would get litter all over our small floor space, and because we didn't want to sweep kitty litter into the cracks between the floor boards, we ended up using the shop vac all the time. On our third boat, we bought a Black and Decker Dust Buster.

There are two versions of this dust buster. The less expensive, and more expensive version. We have the less expensive model. From what I can tell... there is no difference. Perhaps the more expensive version has a better battery.

The main benefit to the dust buster over the shop vac is that the dust buster runs on battery, so we don't have to use the generator, inverter, or be plugged into shore power to run it. It's also nice not having to worry about the distance from the wall outlet. Whether outside, or inside, near or far, the dustbuster works. The dustbuster is also easier to grab really quick.

The dust buster has a clear "dirt trap" that is super easy to empty. There is also a filter. You can buy replacement filters, but the filter is also washable. We've washed ours several times.

With as dirty as boats get, on top of the mess that kids make at every meal time, we end up using our little dust buster several times a day.

I'd recommend staying away from the BDH9600 pictured below. We had one of these at work and it stopped working within a few months.