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23' mini-trawler
by Schucker

Janice aboard Seaweed,
living the good life afloat...

Trawler cruising on $14 per day is possible.
I'm doing it and you can too.

Janice Marois, nautical journalist.
Accredited member of Boat Writers International.

Here, I share my views on living aboard a small boat with very limited resources. Hopefully my successes will help others achieve the life. And yes, I'll share the things I did wrong too -- though not everything 'cause a girl's got to have her secrets!


Celebrate with me: I have had over 3,000,000 website hits
since I started writing back in August of 2013. Thank you!!!

Date: 7 May 2017. Sheet Trick.


Life afloat is wonderful. I know I'm fortunate to live aboard my own boat. Plus I'm on the gulf coast of Florida which translates to beautiful green waters. It is the stuff of dreams, until summertime. As the temperatures soar tempers shorten. We then have the annual installment of the generator "have" versus "have not" contingents.

The Haves are fortunate. They have generators and are not afraid to use them.

I admire those who create a comfortable off-grid home. Owning a generator makes a world of difference when it comes to the accoutrements of modern life. Roughing it may work in the short-term. For a long happy life afloat, I advocate a bit of decadence.

Suffering is for the birds. Decadence is delightful!

Summertime forecasts here call for three
to four months of 90 degree weather.

You can well imagine how thankful I am to finally have enough solar panels to run my refrigerator 24/7 while at anchor. That made a huge difference in my comfort level, all thanks to Larry and his wife Eva. Having cold beverages is a tremendous improvement in my life style for certain.

Larry and Eva made it possible for me to have a
 refrigerator on 24/7. They are so nice... thank you again!

Of course going to shore for ice is an option. It's not a great one though.

Getting in a dinghy and rowing or motoring to shore for ice when it is miserably hot is something I did not do until desperation hit. It was easier to stay aboard in front of the fan than to get out in the hot sun and journey to shore. Ugh.

Having a parasol helped make the
trips to civilization for ice less onerous.

In Florida long days of hot weather come along to remind cruising folks why birds migrate. This time of the year is when some boaters budget for marina stays. Air-conditioners can be run without worries when docked at a marina. Other cruisers buy generators that power an a/c unit.

Summertime in Florida is also when boat crews with and without generators get into tiffs about noise. I have heard rude comments about ladies who nest inside their vessels. A gal I know on a Hunter sailboat becomes a hermit during the hottest months, and who can blame her? Would you want to climb into a dinghy and ride to shore in oppressive heat when you could stay aboard your air-conditioned home and focus on a hobby?!?


Boaters have a variety of hobbies.


Cheryl on Island Time is a beader.

Edwin on S/V Concord paints.


I made the quilt on my bunk while at anchor one year. I've met several quilting women living aboard boats.


Cheryl is Talented!

My friend Cheryl takes beads and creates beautiful items. One of my favorites is a Spirit Shower she made for me. It says "Seaweed" along the starboard edge in yellow beads.



I admire
creative people.

Cheryl puts a lot of thought and care into her gifts. This is a Spirit Shower she made for Seaweed. It is "me" through and through.

More details can be found in the Personalizing Your Home article.



But I digress. There are always grumpy individuals who mutter about wind generators, clanging halyards, loud music, and most especially this time of the year, gasoline generators. Where people exist there will be conflict. The mature understand that we all have our preferences.

My own sins are much
less annoying than yours!

I would prefer that all people, myself included, could afford a very quiet generator. Since I am not in charge however there will be Harbor Freight or Northern Tools generators on nearby vessels. I know how loud those can be. If you think it is loud across the anchorage, imagine yourself aboard that boat. Ugh.


In this heat having a way to cool off the boat is important. A $100 generator is a good stop-gap until a more expensive, quieter one can be afforded. My Yamaha1000 was $800. That's a lot of money for anyone on a tight budget. As for those years when I could only afford a $100 unit, well, life is much better now.

Being on a budget means making compromises while saving for the future. Having fortitude and an end goal in place is critical for success. Enduring is not fun if the future looks to be more of the same.

Having a mapped out goal is important. I wanted a quiet generator so I could run my 5k BTU Haier air-conditioner at anchor. The solar panels now power everything except the a/c aboard Seaweed. On days when it is 90-plus degrees in the shade without a speck of breeze, I wanted an option.

Now I have it. Though $800 is a lot of money, the Yamaha1000 generator will help me avoid having to pay dockage for a few months each year. Thus it pays for itself the first season. And it is A LOT quieter than the $100 version I had for a few years. That one gave up the ghost back in 2014.

As I grow older I find personal comfort more important
than ever. Staying cool and hydrated is a top priority.


There are few other things that make sleeping better at night. Seaweed has a forward hatch which scoops wind into my cabin. That's a true blessing. I also have a fan that is "too noisy" until it gets hot. Then suddenly the sound is not so bad at all!

Details on the hatch project can be found in the
Screening My Hatch (eBay advice) article.

The most important item I have though is the sheet. What I snuggle under actually is not a sheet. It is a soft holey tablecloth. The cut-out spaces allow air to flow through. I prefer to be covered and also want a breeze to cool me. This tablecloth/sheet serves both purposes.

For those with access to a thrift store, you might wish to put on your list tablecloth and keep an eye out for something similar. Lace ones are too scratchy for me though I'm quite attuned to textures. Find something soft and add it to your summer arsenal.

Side Note: When I was a kidlet, we would dampen our sheets at night just before going to our bunks. The wind blowing over the sheets would evaporate and cool us.

To you and yours I wish cool breezes and happy days. Thanks for reading. J.

Comments welcome and encouraged on the Sheet Trick page.

Categories: Boats, Characters, Comfort, Gear,


Announcement: I did start a few months ago emailing notices to readers when new articles go up. If you'd like to be included via BCC* simply drop me a line to janice@janice142.com and I'll add you. It's free.

*BCC - Blind Carbon Copy. Basically no one but me will have your email address and the list of subscribers is not available.

Now this is not fancy. Basically I copy off the top three items in my Archive file. That way you can catch up if life gets in the way of your reading fun.

Secret: If you want to know what's what, start in the Archive. It offers you the title, first paragraph and topics (Categories) covered in each article published on my website.

My Cruising Kitty earns money each time you buy on Amazon through my links. It costs you nothing and helps supplement my cruising funds. I appreciate it so much when you click through my site's Amazon links. It really does help keep me afloat.

Thank you.


Pet of the Week: James
aboard M/V Loafs and Fishes

Submit your pet's photo.
Please email pictures of your crew!

More canine, feline and feathered crew members can be found on the The First Mate Gallery page.


The Archive holds a chronological list of every item published on my website. It includes a brief synopsis (not just the title) along with the topics covered in each article.

Click on the title and voila: you're there. Enjoy!

Skipper, First Mate extraordinaire

Of course every boat needs a Deck Swabbie. Mine, born in 2008, is a papillon mix. She weighs in at 4 pounds 3 ounces.

Coming soon ...

Making a pattern for an Alternator Bracket


Topics of Interest:
You can achieve a simple satisfying life

Oh, a wondrous bird is the pelican!
His bill holds more than his belican.
He can take in his beak enough food for a week.
But I'm darned if I know how the helican.
(Poem by Dixon Lanier Merritt, 1879-1972.)


For years I've been collecting short pithy statements otherwise known as aphorisms. If you're like me and enjoy the weird, go ahead and CLICK!

These are previously posted at the bottom of each article -- for new, you'll have to come visit again.

Seaweed is in St. Pete right now.

The above chart (#411) can be a wish book of sorts as you look over your domain and wonder where to go next. And yes, I do have the originals (sans red arrow) as jpeg's for download should you desire your own for closer perusal. Enjoy!

The Writer's Block

It's my belief that other folks who boat are some of the most interesting in the world. Inside every boater is a story. Let yours out! I'd love to post short stories, vignettes, or even longer articles that focus on some aspect of our life on or near the water. Suggested topics include:

1. I Remember When...
2. My First Boat
3. Who inspired you to be a boater?
4. Fishing Trips or Tricks
5. Or another subject of your choosing

For the novice, here's how to write: Simply pretend you're sending a letter to a friend. Tell about an event or a memory from years ago that you still recall.

Life has changed so much on the water since I was born aboard. Personally I'd love to hear your memories of life when you were younger. Boats were smaller, narrower, and much slower. Kids were kids and our families often shaped the adult we have become. Here are my two aboard the tow boat my dad ran for a time:

Your pictures would be wonderful too. I posted one of Boot Key Harbor taken in 2001 that has gotten quite a few downloads and really, that's not so terribly long ago... Do you have any photos to share? Email me.

Do you want to help out?

Often an article for the website will be completely written yet lack photographs. I like pictures and am looking for some for up-coming pieces:

  • Parrot or a macaw

  • Electric food dehydrator

  • Any picture of boats underway or at anchor

Size: a minimum of 1000 pixels across please. If that doesn't make sense think bigger versus resized for emailing -- I'd prefer the full-size version. Also, the name you'd like me to use when I add the copyright stuff to your picture. And thanks!

My email address is janice@janice142.com

23' Schucker mini-trawler, circa 1983.

Thanks for visiting. If you happen to see my boat along the waterways, give a call on Channel 16. I'm always listening.

click picture to enlarge

My home is not fancy by any means, however you cannot imagine how wonderful it is to come back to her after an expedition on shore.

If I can live this life, why not you too?

Skipper, First Mate

Aphorism Alert: Begin doing what you want to now. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand, and melting like a snowflake. Marie Beyon Ray.

Contributions to my Cruising Kitty
are always appreciated.

Every gift helps.

The Cruising Kitty is what boaters refer to as spending money. There's never enough aboard Seaweed!

I am also an Amazon Affiliate.


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