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23' mini-trawler
by Schucker

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

Trawler cruising on $10 per day is possible.
I'm doing it and you can too.

Janice Marois, accredited member of Boat Writers International.

It's been suggested I share my views on living aboard a 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!


Date: 20 October 2014. Head Hints (and engine update)

When going to the store is a problem and the brands I want are impossible to find, solutions must be considered. Those of us living on boats do a bit of thinking dirt dwellers probably don't consider. For me, that manifests itself when it comes to shopping for and stowing quantities toilet paper.

That's one reason friends with cars are such a treat. I might buy a six pack of I.B.C. diet root beer if I have a way to get it home easily. George (Pat's husband) has brought me back to the boat from stores more than one time. Their beautiful dogs, Asti and Mante (two Australian shepherds) are friends with my Skipper.

Asti is the blue-eyed girl at the front.
Her brother Mante is behind her.

After being dropped off at the boat however I need a place to store the toilet paper. The requirements are twofold:

  1. Easily accessible, and in a place where it cannot get wet. (not in my bilge)

  2. Out of the way too. Basically, I wanted my T.P. put away, and near where it is needed.

Sure, Charmin is light weight, however toilet paper is bulky. Also, I have a compulsion to keep my home neat and tidy. That means things have to be stored properly. [Definition of properly: where it cannot move when the boat rocks.]

But I also had another consideration. Originally the bowl of the head was below the waterline. I feared that a hose leak might allow water to flood Seaweed so wanted to raise the head higher. After much consideration a friend, Tom McArthur, created the neatest wooden box for me.

Built several years ago, it is still working well
and is sturdy. I like it a lot. Thanks Tom!


The wooden box is attached to both the platform it sits upon and the bulkhead on the right. Lots of stainless screws, bolts and nuts are involved. It's secure and stable. The Lavac (brand of head) is through bolted too.

The observant may notice a few
things so here's what you're seeing:


A Raid bait tray for roaches is along the hull at the back. I don't have any and attribute that to the fact that I keep the trays around.

Also I took an old glass spice shaker, filled it with cotton then added some liquid potpourri oil. (It's usually standing up -- oops!) This works like those fancy aroma gizmos they sell at department stores. Those usually have a couple of bamboo sticks in them to diffuse the scent.

Advice: Skewers sold in the dollar stores are made from bamboo and work well. Also, if you're aboard a boat you'll want to make sure your lid is stainless so it won't rust.

I've got a second one in my clothes locker with a cotton aroma. It's not overpowering with the shaker lid and the cotton keeps the liquid well absorbed so even if it tips over (unlikely) nothing will come out.

In the picture above I have a pair of old shoes next to my 12-volt (automobile) vacuum. Those sneakers will be donated to the local thrift store shortly as I found a couple of Sperry's on eBay for cheap and goodness knows two pairs of deck shoes will suffice.

Besides, my daughter objects to me wearing the same brand as her toddler. To my defense, I do wear a size 3.5 and there are not a lot of options in that size that seem appropriate for adults.


This wooden box was a boat project completed many years ago and we used what was on hand to create the locker. I had the long piano hinge in my stash. The stainless latch too came from ship's stores. On a boat things move and making sure they don't is critical for safety -- thus the latch.

The only "problem" I had upon completion was opening it and keeping it so for filling. That's why I added the round eye-bolt to the bottom right corner. I can attach a line to that and tie it open when needed. [I did not want the door to flop down because if it opened unexpectedly the door could be broken and stuff could more easily come out.]


What is best however is what is inside my locker. It's the exact height of toilet paper rolls on edge and, well, take a peek:

Tom knew that the weight of the head would be atop this wooden box so he reinforced it with a support down the middle. It's exactly right. I can take my Charmin and squeeze the rolls, fitting three across on each side. The locker fits a lot of toilet paper and I love it.

The unintended consequence of crushing your rolls is that they won't spin properly. Therefore I took a short piece of white hose that is nearly the diameter of the center and now I've solved that problem. The hose allows dispensing with ease.

Additionally, I took a piece of white oak (a leftover from another project) and drilled holes in each end. A bit of twine, a couple of knots and two eye-bolts attached to the medicine locker later... voila: one rail for both my toilet paper and a towel for drying my hands at the sink in the head.

It's not fancy, but it works.

It's the "little things" like storage and added safety that make my Seaweed special. By raising the head above the waterline I have eliminated one source of flooding. Specifically, with the help of a fellow boater my home is safer.

Tom McArthur was certainly was a gem to make that locker for me. He's got five wonderful kids. You can tell a lot about a man by his family and his are great. Plus Tom owns a Bristol 24 sailboat.

Status of the engine swap,
circa October 2014:

Dennis is a new friend who has made this engine fiasco much less stress-filled than I thought possible. He owns Yanmar Tractor Parts and has shipped me a Kubota 18hp diesel. Originally intended for a tractor, the motor is small, light weight and the perfect horsepower for my Seaweed.

Also required before installing in the boat were both a bell-housing and flex plate for the transmission. These must be manufactured and were not available "on the shelf" so to speak. Approximately six weeks ago the components were ordered. The latest email says in part "We are unable to ship on the date promise 10/16/14 due to inventory being incorrect. Our new ship date is scheduled for 10/28/14."

It's a boat, and stuff always takes longer than anticipated.

Thank goodness that not all businesses are like that. For instance, when Yanmar Tractor Parts said they'd ship out my engine, they did so. Indeed, that occurred on the same date as promised. I appreciate a company that does what it says, when it says it will do so. If you've a Yanmar, check 'em out.

Yanmar Tractor Parts: http://yanmartractorparts.net

Truly, I am blessed. But most of all, I look forward to having the diesel from Yanmar Tractor Parts installed in Seaweed. Let the cruising begin!

Life is wonderful afloat and I intend to enjoy it. Fellow boaters have helped make my experience better and I certainly appreciate the efforts of others on my behalf in that regard.

Comments welcome and encouraged on the Head Hints (and engine update) page.

Categories:  Characters, Locations, Recommendations, Unmentionables


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.

Skipper, First Mate extraordinaire

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


Coming soon ...

Making do without a grocery store...


The Archive holds a running list with synopsis of published articles, and links to same.

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 being repaired in Carrabelle 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, and inside every boater is a story. Well, 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

Life has changed so much on the water since I was born aboard, and personally I'd love to hear your memories of life when you were younger. Boats were smaller, narrower, and much slower, but kids, well, kids were kids. 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

  • Sea captain (old seafarer -- could be a statue)

  • Electric food dehydrator

  • Derelict sloop or ketch

  • War medals

  • A garage where you'd take your car to be fixed

Size: a minimum of 1000 pixels across please. Also, the name you'd like me to use when I add the copyright stuff to your picture. And thanks!


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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