I laid back in the cockpit with the sun on my face and a piping hot cup of coffee in hand. In the calm warm of the morning my mind drifted, life was is good as it gets, that was back in July. Today a cold wind blows, its pouring rain and everything is wet with condensation. In the midst of the Pacific Northwest summers winter is nothing but a distant dream, or perhaps I should say nightmare. Unfortunately in the midst of our long dark winters summer is always too far off to remember anything other than its worth waiting for and will end the day after it begins.
I never planned on living aboard. When you are voyaging you are not a live-aboard you are traveling from port to port on a beautiful yacht, sunsets are all same same regardless of what size boat you are on. When voyaging, even on my 20′ Flicka my boats have never seemed to small. At the dock no size boat is large enough, in fact bigger is worse in the winter. Its almost impossible to heat a 40′ boat in the winter unless you have a something like a diesel forced air furnace but that can cost upwards of $20.00 a day. The only way I can describe living aboard during the winter is that its like living in a terrarium with a frozen floor.
The` isn’t small, she’s fun size. Her main cabin is about 40″ wide and if I stretch my arms I can touch both ends front to back. Her cabin sole is 18″ at it’s widest and 5′ long. We have a beautifully laid out galley and if I ever add a stove, water tanks, and an ice box she will be complete. For now we use a camp stove but cant cook more than five minutes at a time for fear of blowing the boat up. Our 2 gallon gravity feed water tank is great but they tend to fall and break as have more than one of my past stoves. The` is one of the most comfortable boats I have owned, our quarter berths are 6’6″ long and 36″ wide. The v-berth is huge and a fun place to play but more importantly its a very private place to find alone time. The truth is, about five minutes after Serena leaves I miss her, after 24 hours locked in a tiny boat, not so much. When the boat starts to get a bit crowded one of us can crawl up to the v-berth to pout, or nap, or read a book, and again the boat becomes the perfect size.
This winter has had no snow and very little ice. Last year when we had 3 solid inches of ice on the docks and another three in the water it could be quite scary, one slip and you are literally dead. Every night when I locked myself in the boat surviving another midnight dog walk through 40 knots of wind and ice I would breath a sigh of relief for surviving one more night. On the flip side life is always real and every day is literally dictated by the weather. There is no way to describe how wonderful it is to be rocked to sleep every night tucked in my little cocoon. Six months ago when Serena found me in the park sunning myself like a turtle on a log my life took a big turn. She has a beautiful loft surrounded by cow pastures and her living room window has the most unobstructed view of Mt Baker in all of Washington. as much as I love having a flush toilet, endless hot water, and a shower I have spent less than a dozen nights there in half a year.
When I committed to sailing away and living a cleaner life I sold my car, now a quick trip to get dog food now consists of a 45 minute walk in pouring rain, then I throw the 40lb bag over my shoulder and walk home. Any time I need anything for the boat it turns into an expedition, I have ridden my bike an hour to get a single screw. This may sound a like a pain in the ass but its the lifestyle I have chosen. My slow simple life is a healthy one with almost zero stress. On our limited budget it may take another 10 years to finish the boat but we always seem to have a project to work on and its fun creating something together.
This week found mold living in our v-berth cushions which we have been meaning to replace since the day I closed on the boat. Mold even founds its way into my aromatic Cedar locker so the forward cabin is our latest project area, cleaning drying and soon enough we will have big cushy brand spanking new cushions to snuggle into. I could almost smell spring last night, the grass is starting to turn green and little buds are forming on the naked branches that will soon fill with life. If you want a real adventure move aboard, sail off, and taste the difference, Id invite you over but I never know where we will be from this day to the next.
Cruising let’s you share a back porch with a billionaire. In Turkey we anchored next to a diamond merchant’s 200 foot megayacht for two days. He spent 50 million dollars to visit the same destination as us. Some people buy floating condominiums and some people buy the sailing equivalent of a cargo crate, but we all meet at the same barbecue pit on the beach. ~Unknown blog I read way back when…