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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: 24 May 2017. On Island Time (Schucker 440 Motorsailor)


A couple years back I met via email a wonderful gal named Cheryl. She and her husband Fred cruise aboard a Schucker 440 motorsailer. Their vessel is named Island Time. She is a comfortable home. There are a lot of personal touches and gear additions that I am considering for Seaweed as a direct result of viewing their boat. It's little things that create a unique live-aboard.

Making a boat your own is one of the joys of boating. Aboard Seaweed I drill holes in bulkheads, attach doodads, hang lights, and more. I'm at an age where "saving things" because they are valuable makes no sense at all. I'm using stuff up because if I don't my heirs will!

Island Time is a gem, and boy oh boy,
there's a lot to like about this boat for certain!

Island Time is anchored on the left.
The catamaran Soggy Paws is to the right.

Cheryl and I are both members of a Schucker yahoo list.  We became friends via email first. Later we met in person. She's fun, funny, talented and best of all, she likes thrift shops. It is such a pleasure to have someone who likes to shop discount stores with me, when she's not sailing that is!

Island Time is a 440 Schucker motorsailer.  This
vessel is one anyone could be happy to call home.

Schucker is a brand of boats built here in Florida. Primarily sailboats, the builder Jim Schucker also made motorsailers and a few trawlers including my Seaweed. I love my miniature Schucker.

Side Note: If you are considering a Schucker for your boat home you may wish to join the Schucker list on yahoo mail. Email: schuckerboats-subsribe@yahoogroups.com

On a tight budget a Thrift Store can be a real benefit. I can find things I could not afford a full retail prices. Plus there is the thrill of the hunt too. Not a lot of folks understand the joy that can be found in discovering a jar to put soup crackers in, or a new nightie for these warm summer evenings at anchor. Cheryl "gets" that.

Plus, we shop at about the same speed. It's great to find a friend too.

Cheryl says
"We have owned our Schucker for 10+ years and lived aboard full time for last 4...our Island Time is just as you described, a good strong boat, comfortable, economical and protects us from the elements! We have looked at many sailboats and trawlers and for the money the Schucker wins every time for us!"

Riding in their go-fast dinghy is a blast for Cheryl and Fred.

Having an outboard that gets up and goes means
 far off diving spots are a short dinghy ride away.

Enjoying the adventure with
someone you love doubles the pleasure.

Of course you may just have an escort as you cruise along.

Arriving in Marathon, dolphin came out
to play in the bow wave of Island Time.

Being on the water is fabulous. Of course coastal cruising means that there will be bridges. Living on a sailboat means that those bridges will have to open. Still, it's mighty pretty out here. I love it.

When underway it is a good idea to check for bridge openings. Sometimes the bridge will only open on the hour and half hour. You will find that in larger metropolises quite often, especially during commuter rush hours.

Sailing is one of the true pleasures in life. A boat such as Island Time is a safe, secure platform to cruise aboard. She won't go fast but then again, boaters are already where we want to be!


At the end of the day anchoring offers a time to relax and enjoy life. Stepping ashore in far off places offers the opportunity to meet locals. Learning about a new culture is a gift most folks do not have the opportunity to enjoy. As a cruiser we are uniquely able to spend time in places others only read about.

Here's Fred in Jamaica:


Geography Snippet




The Cayman Islands are just south of Cuba and northwest of Jamaica. The Caymans are a British Overseas Territory. There are three islands, Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.

Grand Cayman has more tourists, while Cayman Brac is popular with fishermen. Little Cayman is known for prolific wildlife.


Fred on the beach in Cayman earlier this year.


Having a boat capable of taking you anywhere is the dream of many. There is an appeal to island hop down through the Caribbean islands. Crystal clear waters, plentiful fish, beautiful sunsets and more can be yours too.

As for comfort, Island Time has that in spades. She's beautiful inside and out. The personal touches make this boat a gem. What cruiser wouldn't like seeing dolphins greeting them when they arrive?!?

Cheryl and Fred were escorted into Boot Key
Harbor, Marathon by a friendly pod of dolphin.


MARATHON is in the FL Keys.


Coming ashore, Fred surveys
Marathon from the landside.


It's always fun to re-visit familiar places. You might see a boat that you knew way back up the coast. Then it's time to socialize, catch up on old friends, share the newest cruise details, and reminisce.


 Life is truly wonderful afloat.


Cheryl and Fred have a very nice Schucker 440. What makes her so special though is the personal touches that have made the boat even better. A boat is a boat is a boat. It is how we outfit and decorate that differentiates between two identical vessels.

Fred installed temperature gauges for
both the refrigerator and freezer boxes.

Being able to monitor the coolness in the refrigerator and freezer without opening the lids is helpful. If there were a problem, Fred or Cheryl would be able to recognize it because the temperatures would be going up. I have a similar system on my boat too. This  one with the large easy-to-read gauges is mighty spiffy.

Cheryl has an expanse of counter space that I wish was possible aboard Seaweed. Covered in Formica, it is easy to clean and super for fixing those yummy treats from the galley. Having a decent workspace when preparing food is important especially when the gang's coming over for dinner!

The steps into the galley have one addition that I found comfy.

Tucked away and only brought out for visitors, Cheryl
has a cushion that snuggly fits onto the galley step.

Having a place to sit comfortably while chatting was very nice. I've perched on steps before. Trust me when I say Cheryl's solution is the one I wish was aboard all boats! She's a smart lady.


The former crew quarters/second stateroom is now a cabin for stowing gear, parts and more.


When you're off for months at a time, having a place to tuck aside supplies is critical.


A friend of mine is shopping for his Last Boat. Having adequate space to store gear is very important. That is one of the advantages of a larger boat. Longer, beamy (wide) boats have more room to stow safety equipment and spare parts. Those storage areas also can hold important things like chocolate, DVDs and ginger snap cookies by Nabisco.


The head aboard Island Time has a
cool nautical motif that I liked a lot.


Dolphin stickers add a touch of whimsy to the head compartment. The decorative porthole with a mirror insert is nifty too. It reflects light well.


A scarf with palm trees becomes a nifty cover for the
 windows. Light comes in while privacy is ensured.

Cheryl is growing aloe too, all
thanks to my friend Kim in Carrabelle.

Cheryl and Fred have a big bed. Their cabin is
on the starboard side just forward of the galley.

Cheryl's monkey has been many places over the decades.
 It's a treasured reminder from her childhood.



Some things you may have noticed:

  • There are a lot of books and they are easy to access.

  • Mementos including family pictures are on display.

  • One special picture of the grandchildren is in a seashell frame.

  • Lights are conveniently placed for reading in bed.

  • The VHF radio is on the bulkhead, sitting in a powered recharging station.

Photo repeated so you don't have to scroll.

  • A portable fan is tucked into the corner.

  • Lots of pillows including Shamu from SeaWorld make getting comfortable easy.

  • The windows are large and let in a lot of light.

  • A window shade system is in place for when privacy or darkness is desired.

  • Cheryl has a Spirit Shower above her bunk too. She made one for me described in the Personalizing Your Home article.


Cruising means visiting new ports and remote spots too.

Island Time is anchored just behind Jessie's ketch Gypsy. Getting together with friends is always a pleasure.

Visiting is just a dinghy ride away!

Securing a dinghy with a bicycle cable
and lock is a good idea in many areas.

CABBAGE KEY is on the west coast of Florida.

Visiting Cabbage Key requires a boat. There is no land access. I enjoy it because this is the Florida I knew as a child. It's informal and friendly. Cabbage Key is like stepping back in time fifty years. I treasure that sort of experience.


Island Time went to Cabbage Key last year.


Of course life afloat is not all cruising.
 Sometimes there is fishing too.

Guess what's for dinner tonight?!?

Visiting aboard Island Time is always a treat.

Fred is on hand to take a line when I arrived via Algae.

A large fully covered cockpit serves as an additional
 seating area. Fishing poles are stored above.

On misty rainy days you could sit out
 back enjoying the view of the anchorage.

The best place to be is inside on the comfortable couch.

Thanks for the visit Fred and Cheryl.
Island Time is a wonderful and so too are you both.

For those undecided about life afloat I would encourage you to consider all boats. There are a ton of used and new vessels for sale right now. One is perfect for you. Of course it may require some imagination. Cheryl and Fred have spent years making their boat into a true gem.

Seeing beyond the here-and-now is not always easy. Give it a try though. The almost perfect boat could be close by. I just needs your tweaks.

Happy cruising. And thanks again for the visit on Island Time.

Comments welcome and encouraged on the On Island Time (Schucker 440 Motorsailor) page.

Categories: Anchorages, Boat Talk, Boats, Characters, Comfort, Fishing, Galley, Gear, Locations, Relationships, Security, Sojourners Saloon,


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: Mac
aboard S/V Gypsy

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!

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