Date: 18 April 2017. Buying a Big
Boat (part 1)
frequently folks ask me questions about boating. Now you should know
I am not an expert. I am simply out here living life, making mistakes
and learning all the time. For me understanding new concepts and
applying them aboard Seaweed is a large part of the pleasure. I
cannot imagine a worse nightmare than sitting in an apartment,
isolated from the world at my age. I want to be out here doing
things. If you are like me, boating might be for you too.
wonder why other people chose this life. For self, I was a boat brat
so for me this is coming home so to speak. New friends Pete and Deb
got talking to a couple from the UK who had spent the last 18 years
on a boat, doing winters in the Caribbean and a new thought started
This is what folks imagine:
Ron on Doodle Bug
another aspect of life afloat:
Hiring mechanics is costly.
Nobody likes waiting for a job to be
completed. It is not just the money. Time is important too!
To my new friends Pete and
Deb I offer a hearty congratulations for considering living aboard
a trawler. Boating is a great leveler of sorts. All walks of life
have chosen to experience life afloat. The folks you meet out here
You might be sitting at a table
with the owner of a horse farm, a professional music teacher, a
software developer, a mom, plus a cop. There might even be a thief
at the table. For details about the shrimp acquisition expert please
A sundeck trawler heads south along the Gulf
Intracoastal Waterway in St. Pete.
I love it when folks say nice things about my
website. Words of encouragement are always appreciated. Pete said
"I have just spent a couple of days looking through your wonderful
website which I came across from a post of yours on Trawler Forum."
His note rejuvenated me. April is
a tough month for me. I lost Daddy and then the following year Son
had a heart attack. This is a difficult month. Still in all, I am
living aboard a boat in Florida. There is a lot to be grateful for,
and I am. Truly I am blessed. Seaweed is a wonderful home.
Pete said: "What a great website, you talk
about the stuff most folk gloss over..." Thank you Pete for the boost. I needed the
There is nothing like a full moon rising. Moonlight at
anchor is soothing for the soul.
On this website I do discuss the good, the bad, and the ugly. I am over fifty
and have seen
myself in the mirror first thing in the morning. I am FEARLESS!
(said while laughing)
Suffice it to say, I am not at my most attractive
first thing in the morning. By the same token, my First Mate
is none to spiffy 100% of the time.
just had a
bath and is on my bunk ignoring me.
One of my favorite quotes was made by Caltexflanc on
TrawlerForum. He said:
Even as we sit here
quietly at the dock, enjoying our drinks, things are breaking.
What Caltexflanc said regarding things breaking is true. I took
Seaweed out last week and all was well. When I started her up a
couple days ago the water pump wasn't discharging water. I believe a
fan belt adjustment is needed.
I will tweak the alternator again.
To tighten the fan belt I wedge over the alternator. The first time I tightened the
belt I did not get it tight enough. I will have to get out my pry bar
and try again.
The bolt on that curved slot needs
to be loosened. Then I will move the alternator over a bit farther.
That will tighten up the belt so that water will pump and cool my
Side note on this picture: It
the old/new/no longer used alternator. That is an UGLY tale which I
will post at some point. It was not pretty.
Shown below, the current
with the new/old/original alternator ↓
Such is life afloat. Owning an older home prepares you for this sort
of thing I suspect. Stuff breaks from time to time. It is a given and
it really does not matter if you have a brand new boat or an older
I enjoy the challenges most of the
I also pick
EVERYTHING up at the close of repairs EVERY SINGLE DAY.
For me, living in clutter and chaos is not conducive to
happiness. Being able to Start Fresh makes the repairs less onerous.
I know some can live with disorder. I cannot. The visual stimulus of
an unfinished job would weigh on my mind and fill my thoughts.
Putting everything away solves that, and makes me happy.
I have heard that law enforcement
looks less favorably
on those boats that appear chaotic and
Pete said "if you can't find the right
place to live, live somewhere you can move at will...." He is
correct. I find new vistas wonderful. And I do not have to go far.
Even around the bend of a river gives a whole new perspective.
I will be exploring the area on this chart.
↓ Perhaps the same area may suit
your fancy too.
For a larger copy of the above chart #411, click
HERE (5000x4102) and 7.41MB
I suspect some may wish to immediately start living at anchor as I
have done. I would encourage you to begin boating life at a
marina. Try a series of marinas until you find the one that best
satisfies your happiness quotient.
While you are
learning about this
life having others close by who share the same world will be
helpful in getting acclimated. More experienced boaters are a true
benefit to folks like me. I have gleaned a lot from incredibly smart
and generous yachtsmen.
Sunset at C-Quarters Marina in Carrabelle.
Having women friends is
important to us gals. You will find a lot of menfolk who will help you
trouble shoot everything and anything. Many will even know what they
are talking about. NOT all.
Always check advice against
Calder's tome. As an
independent boater you will want your own copy of
Calder's Boatowners Mechanical and Electrical Manual 4the
Edition aboard your boat. I have used it
to troubleshoot Beast (the gasoline engine) and lots of other times
too. The first repair it allows you to do will pay for the price of
Be sure to buy the fourth edition.
It is the latest. I upgraded thanks to a
Cruising Kitty gift via
PayPal. (Contributions are always appreciated.)
This one I passed along to a neighbor. I am very happy too. The
newest has lots more on solar integration.
As you can see, mine had a lot of hard use before I
gave it away.
Calder's when I first
bought my Seaweed. It is literally the bible for repairs. Even
though the book does not cover gasoline engines (just diesel) it was
clear enough that I could extrapolate what I needed and make my
Beast go again. It is that good.
If you are worried about "learning"
that book, do not bother. Study it when you have a problem. That is
when you will go through the diagrams and checklists to figure it out.
This is not rocket science.
I do not believe it necessary to
"know it all" prior to living on a boat.
Capable of Learning
article tells my philosophy on boat life.
There are way too many old timer sailors out here who say ridiculous
things like "you have to know every system" and "I built it so I can
fix it"... Though in theory that sounds wonderful the reality
is no one can know everything. Technology changes and newer better
products come along.
As long as you're capable of
learning, you will be fine. And
Calder's Boatowners Mechanical and Electrical Manual 4the
Edition is a big part of that. Buy the
book once you have your boat chosen. There is no need to get it ahead
Thanks for reading.
Part Two will be uploaded shortly.
I'd love to hear what your wishes are for your Last
And, have you decided on particular Dream Boat or are you still looking?
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Buying a Big Boat (part 2)