After starting out with a 24' pocket cruiser
in the '70s, my late wife and I decided to take the plunge and buy a 45' bluewater cruising boat to live aboard, with the intent of long range cruising later in life.
Well, we lived aboard for 9 years, raced the boat to Bermuda
once, did one coastwise passage
, but spent most of the first 20 years we owned her cruising within the confines of the Chesapeake Bay
. Quite honestly, we never could afford to maintain a boat that size to the standard that I would have liked to (despite doing most work myself), and the small business my wife started never afforded her the time to do much serious cruising. Eventually, she developed a progressive form of MS which kept her paraplegic for 12 years until she passed. I should have sold that boat as soon as Pat got sick, but I stupidly held onto it -- trying not to let the dream die -- and it got little use while I cared for her. Owned that albatross for 32 years.
Now in my late '60s, retired and remarried, I've been overjoyed to downsize drastically. Sold the big, old cutter
a year ago and bought a wonderful little 19' Menger catboat with an inboard diesel
. Trailerable, but heavy... we kept the boat in the water
all season and just use the trailer for the winter haul-out. Weekend cruising on the Chesapeake last summer brought back the joy of simple sailing for me. Just wish I had downsized sooner.
As a retired engineer
, however, I'm cursed with a drive to be continually improving things. The Menger 19 was equipped with rudimentary accommodations designed for overnighting, but I'd like to cruise
her a bit more seriously. So... the PortaPotty (I hate those things with a passion) is getting the deep six for a marine head
, and I'm already building a more practical galley
. Pretty soon it will be a neat pocket cruiser
a la Coop's.
Really need to walk a fine line, though, to avoid over-complicating things, as simplicity is the key to enjoying a successful downsizing.