Date: 12 February 2014. Dreamer to Boater:
have been asked to help pick a boat for a couple, one they can live
aboard inexpensively. It should be cheap to cruise long distances.
Of course eventually folks want to go "blue water" so they might as
well get that Last Boat first. The vessel should be 40-50 feet,
which in my mind moves from boat into Yacht category. The questions
speak eloquently of a level of learning yet to be. And here's
where I can help! Professor Janice, at your service:
You will note I'm barefoot. Your attire is
entirely optional -- but please, don't send pictures.
nothing wrong with being naive about a subject, and goodness knows
that boating is a topic with ramifications for each choice.
Heck, I'm still learning, and I know of no true boater who knows it
all. We all are capable of learning more about the boating world.
For me, it
was a natural. Conceived, born and raised aboard a 40'er, it's
pretty much a given that this life would be mine again. Why on
earth I married that dirt dweller is beyond me. But I was young,
knew "everything" and he was good looking. What was I
recovered, thank you very much.
guys (and girls) head off fishing to catch the big one, while others find
fun racing around the buoys at yacht club events. And both of
those are a way to test the waters. But for a full time
live-aboard life on a boat, some book learning can be helpful.
Books will save you
a ton of money by helping you avoid costly mistakes.
is, as a dirt dweller you know intuitively something about the life
of those who live in a log cabin built in the woods, in crowded
tenements, luxury condominiums, a trailer or even in one of the
mansions of Palm Beach. You know if you walk into each what to
expect on a visceral level.
So too is
the variety you will find afloat. That's what we are going to learn
about the boating world. Your "job" is to learn the basics. That
way, when the time comes for that first boat you won't be taken to
You will be
smart enough to protect yourself from expensive errors.
You will know what will and more importantly, what will not work for
If you lived aboard, this could be
your back yard. Dinner swims beneath the boat, so catch, clean
and cook it!
Picture taken by Cap'n Glenn on S/V Gypsy off Mallory
Square in Key West, Florida.
it's perfect for me, and lots of other folks too, it is not for
some. Your job is to learn a bit so you can determine if this
will be your life as it is mine, Glenn and Joanne's aboard S/V
Gypsy, Cap'n Daniel and his wife Angela plus many more.
Of course boat life is not all beautiful sunsets. It's fixing stuff
too. Every day aboard I try to make some improvement. That
might be to remove everything from a locker and wipe it down,
or, like yesterday, find a short in the connection for two of
my cigarette lighters.
I managed to break the elbow
that holds my controller to the post that holds the motor. Argh! And here Daniel of S/V Teasa is
Meanwhile, Angela and I are
relaxing aboard Seaweed. I know -- it's a tough life, but
somehow we manage.
put big bucks into a boat, it's a good idea to have some basis of
what the life is like from a live-aboard perspective. You're
going to be a boater, so you might as well start with some practiced
frugality. The library will help you with that.
this point the "how to sail" books are out too. Most of life afloat
is spent in one place, so let's see if that life suits you as it
DO NOT read
any "Survival" or "Shipwreck" books!
the books to Amazon however if you're planning on being a budget cruiser
your first stop will be the library. Read for free, and when
you find some that have particular resonance, then purchase them.
Oh, and please use my links for the buying. (Thanks!)
these books are for higher dollar cruising, but most are for those
of us on a more modest budget:
The Intricate Art of Living Afloat
by Clare Allcard.
All in the Same Boat
by Tom Neale.
Living Off the Sea
by Bonnie O'Boyle.
by Janet Groene.
The Essentials of Living Aboard a Boat
by Mark Nicholas.
The Cruising Life
by Jim Trefethen.
is to discover if you're the type of person who will enjoy this life
-- either for a couple of years or even longer. The above
books are a way to imagine yourself here. If this is where you
want to be, you'll have a better and more realistic view of boating
after reading about others who live the life.
So many picture pulling
into an anchorage, dropping the hook, then kicking back with a cold
one. Or they imagine pulling into a marina, smartly docking with
inches to spare on each end of the vessel, then walking across the street to a
great to me too, but the reality is a bit different. Sometimes there's a
simple glass of wine on the back deck of S/V Oremae and those are
the best of times. Wish you were here!
I'd love to hear what you think of the books I chose.
Are there others you recommend?
in the Morning
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I Did It
A favorite aphorism: Luxury, real luxury, is
spending an entire day reading a good book, or enjoying the
companionship of someone you love, or marveling underwater at the
colors of tropical fish. And knowing you can do the same tomorrow if
you want to, and the day after.