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Date: 18 April 2017. Buying a Big Boat (part 1)



I rambled on at the fingertips. You might wish to pour yourself a cuppa caffeine. "Buying a Big Boat" turned into a three part series. This is the first article in the series:

  1. Buying a Big Boat (part 1) ←this page
  2. Buying a Big Boat (part 2)
  3. Buying a Big Boat (part 3)

For those that prefer to read the entire series on one page, this is the link you want:

Buying a Big Boat Series


Quite 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.

Often I 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 shared "we 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 to form...."

This is what folks imagine:

Ron on Doodle Bug
This is 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 are fascinating.

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 read the Time Stopped article.

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 encouragement.

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.

In this photo Skipper 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 engine.

Side note on this picture: It is 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 configuration
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 one.

I enjoy the challenges most of the time.

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 disorganized.

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 the book.

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.

I purchased
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 of time.

Thanks for reading. Part Two will be uploaded shortly.

I'd love to hear what your wishes are for your Last Boat.
And, have you decided on particular Dream Boat or are you still looking?

Regarding the Comments Section, found at the end of every article:

  • Before you type in each block be sure to hit the backspace key. Coding inserts a space in every box. Your email address will come back as malformed unless you remove that space. (You don't have to include your email address.)

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2017, 2023

Categories: Boats, Books, Characters, Gear, Locations, Recommendations, Relationships,

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