Janice aboard Seaweed,
living the good life afloat...
Trawler life on a nickel budget is
I'm doing it and you can too.
Janice Marois, nautical journalist.
Accredited member of
Boat Writers International.
my Schucker mini-trawler home.
click picture to enlarge (all photos on the site work the same
23' Schucker mini-trawler, circa 1983. Algae, the dinghy is a 1972 vintage
Originally the dream was to buy a
sailboat (NorSea27 or ColvicWatson24) and voyage off across the horizon
to the south Pacific. Alas, time, age, a couple bouts of cancer, and
that dream shifted. Physically I'm unable to hoist sails, yet the
thought of spending the rest of my life ashore was untenable; thus I
began looking for a small (the smallest possible) powerboat I considered
adequate for long-term life afloat.
I'm of a mind that you buy once,
something with good bones, and then proceed to make her yours and that's
exactly what I've done. Seaweed was fine when purchased but every
alteration since then (even minor ones on the scale of life) are making
the boat better and more comfortable for my life aboard her.
Schematic from builder showing basic layout
So, as I was saying, when it came
down to boat shopping time, there were just a few brands that interested
me -- and the Schucker mini-trawler was at the top of the list. Just six
were built and as I understand it only three are still around. She's a
mere 23' overall, but because of her beam she's got lots of room for
a life afloat versus a camping existence. After a half century on this
planet, I'm too old for that camp-out nonsense and prefer my comforts.
Seaweed provides such.
My cabin, looking forward: (you can
see the wooden box my windlass solenoid resides in, plus the wired
remote I use when on the bow) Of course I could/can/do occasionally use
the power button by my controls at the helm for the anchor, but, well,
old habits die hard. I like being forward watching things, and also that
gives me an opportunity to wash mud off the chain as it comes in.
Skipper playing on the bunk; note the skinny shelves
for books along the bulkhead.
When I first saw the boat I was
excited to have bookshelves all around the bunk - until I bought the
boat I thought they were a few inches deep so I could line my books up
with spines showing. Alas, they are tapered (1" deep at the aft and
almost 3" forward) so there's a lot less space for books. Maybe one day
I'll afford a Kindle...
Update: In the Autumn of 2013 I was
indeed gifted with a Kindle and it's marvelous. Thanks to He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named
(not Voldemort, although I do have the seven
Harry Potter books
and the extra three J.K. Rowling created (Quidditch Through the Ages,
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,
along with The Tales of Beedle the Bard)
There's an area between the bunk
and the two steps up into the pilothouse. To port is my head, then a
shower area in the middle, with steps to starboard.
The pilothouse surveys my domain -- I like that
there's a big flat surface for charts -- the boat was designed for
actual use by a yachtsman. Far too many seemed to be designed by decorators, not
actual boaters who understand the needs of a captain, such as to spread
out a chart for instance.
All decks in the boat come up so access to the
engine is excellent, and that's a very good thing because very soon I'll
be having the monster gasoline engine and transmission removed and
replace them with a sweet little diesel Volvo. I can't wait!!! The engine
(and in a 23' boat someone must have been heavily into pharmaceuticals
if they thought a 350 Chevy short block was an appropriate choice for
powering a displacement hull trawler) ... anyway, said Beast resides
under the centerline hatch of the pilothouse, at least for the short
One step down and you're in my galley/dinette area.
On the port side, looking aft over my dinette.
Ladies will probably note the lace
curtains. Those aren't just for looks, and serve multiple purposes:
I like them (pretty things make me
happy) and they do have a nautical motif
When pinned to the window frame
they act as screens to keep out mosquitoes yet let thru breeze
And, they do subtly shade the
interior (soften so to speak) though I use fabric over them to shield
from direct sunlight when it's really bright
They offer a degree of privacy yet
I can see out much like the sun shades do for cars.
Then, step out into the cockpit. On
the starboard side I've a seat in the corner which doubles as a propane
locker. Eventually I'd like to build another seat to port for the Stop
anchor and chain, but that's another project.
There are always projects. Still, I could not be
happier with my choice and can foresee many more years aboard Seaweed,
puttering along slowing, down and around the coast, thru the islands
and, well, there really are no limits except fuel and water capacity.
Hmm... maybe a water-maker would be nice too. (smile)
Happy Voyaging and
thanks for stopping by.
Don't forget to sign my
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 extraordinaire