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Old 08-10-2010, 07:02   #1
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Life Aboard a (Very) Small Sailboat in Scandinavia

Iīve been living on board my Maxi77 since march 2009. Itīs a small boat.. in some eyes too small even to be called Compact Living Nevertheless, itīs worked out fine and Iīve made a number of posts in my regular swedish forum which has grown to be a popular thread, judging from the feedback and views.
Since there is so much to say about it, I thought Iīd make the effort of translating the posts Iīve made in the original forum, with minor adjustments for better "readability". I will do this in chronological order and will keep up the translations if it seems to be of interest for you all.

Iīll start from scratch and work my way through the 3-400 something posts made until you beg me to stop
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Old 08-10-2010, 07:07   #2
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I'm definitely interested in reading your first hand accounts.
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Old 08-10-2010, 07:17   #3
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A year aboard a 26' boat -- I could never do it, but I'd be interested to hear about it.

It would be even more interesting if there's an added twist ... like you also have 9 cats. lol
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Old 08-10-2010, 07:37   #4
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The start

Original post made april 25. 2009

I think it all started as long ago as when I was a little boy, in the summers at our summer house by Lake Vanern in Sweden. (The lake is small in comparison with any sea, but still the 3rd largest in Europe and still today not very dense with boats. You can sail for a day and not geting too close to another boat, if you prefer that)
I was 6 ears old when my dad first trusted me to take out the dinghy all by myself.. a small 370cm boat, powered with 6 year old biceps.. my orange colored beaty. A year or so later, I was trusted to use the outboard engine. A 4hp Johnson that seemed to weigh only a bit less than a ton of bricks as I dragged it on the trail through the forest from the house to the boat. Already then. At that time and place, the DESIRE grew bigger and bigger: I want. I want more. I want it all.
"I wish I could stay on my boat and never have to leave", I remember saying to my dad.
As the years went by the boats were traded in, sometimes at a rate of one per year. From open small boats used for waterskiing, through DCīs and small hard tops where my feet didnt have to peek out of the cockpit cover every nite. At this time, it was water sports and camping that possesed my mind. The priorities were made with speed at the top of the list so comfort meant less than an extra knot.
Then, in my early 20īs I met a girl, we eventually got married and had 4 kids. The boat interest never left, and we had a hard top boat for day trips and later on a wooden boat about 8.50x2.50 for weekend trips when our 4th kid decided to pop out. (Ye I know.. 4 kids, but hey, if youīre good at something, then... ) Anyway, at that time I put the boating aside. Couldnt afford a boat that slept 4+2 and only kept a small boat for fishing and nostalgia. The dream never left me though and being recently divorced I decided itīs now, or it' s never. Said and done. I spent about a year really melting the idea and seriously considering what it would mean. What kind of boat should I get etc. It had to be a good sailer. It should bed at least 4, for the kids to come join me as often as possible and it should be a BOAT. not a miniature ship. Since I had grown up with motor boats I had practically never set foot on a sailing boat, so not only did I want it to perform well, it should also be forgiving against a rookie at sails. I spent a good time searching the ads for a boat both suitable for me and financially possible to overcome. 4 kids, recently divorced, and just laid off from my job... well, you do the maths. It just couldnīt cost a fortune.
I looked at boats from 23ft up to 29ft and finally decided on the Maxi77 (26ft) with a Volvo Penta MD6A diesel. Built 1972, but with only 2 owners of which the later one had just died, I took one look at it, and "fell in love" THIS is what I want. Itīs not in mint condition by any means, but itīs been treated well and taken care of throughout the years. Service books and log books stretching some 20 years back gave me the confidence to buy her, even w/o returning with friends with knowledge of things to watch out for. That, and the fact that I paid just a bit more than half the going price for the model.
So, now I was a sailing boat owner. A boat to be proud of. A boat to call home. And a boat that was still a boat and can be handled by one -totally novice- person.

Boat: Maxi 77 with full wardrobe of sails, except spinnaker (is that what it's called in English too?)
Engine: 2 cyl VP MD6A 7.5 hp/VP100S sail drive
Eqpt: Ardic diesel heater 4.2 KW. Toilet, Origo stove but not much more
Budget: Still under, so I can equip her along the time I see what I need.

THIS WILL BE SOOOO FUN!!! Finally, Iīm going to live my dream.

To be continued oc, but as I said, Iīll do it post by post, and in chronological order
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Old 08-10-2010, 07:48   #5
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April 27, 2009

Today, 38 years or so after my boat life began Iīm finally sitting in the boat I will live in for at least a year, depending on the outcomes. Still out of the water having spent the day preparing her for launch and the 1 day sailing trip home. My friend, who knows which cord to yank to make what sheet do this or that had to cancel, so tomorrow itīs all up to me to figure it out. But how hard can it be? Itīs supposed to blow moderate winds and if I have to, Ill fire up the iron genoa.
This morning I woke up after my first night aboard. 5 degrees Celsius outside, but 36 inside.. swet was pouring ddown my body.. Hmm, better fix the thermostat on the heater or I need more beer. Later today, itīs launch time at the crane. Iīm soooo enjoying my life right now.

PS Since english isnīt my main language there will be some strange expressions here and there.. not to mention typoīs, misspelled words etc.. but hey, bare with me please.
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Old 08-10-2010, 08:13   #6
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may 4, 2009

Zero wind most of the time meant that the first 6 hrs home had to be by engine. It only took 3 hours before the first mishap occured.. A strange "poof-ing" sound from the engine compartment and a smell of diesel fumes and exhaust made me quite worried at first. Being so early in the season, I have still not even seen a boat at the horizon and with close to dead calm, it wouldnt have been the best time for a stand still.. The engine ran OK though, so I decided to keep going by engine and hope it wouldnīt give up on me. The last 6-7 hours was better though, with some very gentle winds giving me the opportunity to set the genoa (what a monster sail that is... ) and managed to get the hang of it after a few hours and actually got a pretty nice speed at the end of the trip. The trip itself was fantastic though, even if it was a bit cold. About 3 degrees Celsius which meant I made frequent visits into the heated "salon", to make soup, coffee etc on the stove.
I have now spent 3 night moored at different islands and another 3 at the marina, fixig the shore power installation and looked over the engine. Tricky fault, but easily fixed: One of the injectors had loosened, hence the poof-ing and sucking sounds I heard. Tricky, since I have never laid my hands on a diesel engine before. Iīve made some attempts on sailing in various conditions -with various results to say the least.. I feel like a million dollars.
I was impressed by the stowage facilities on the maxi77 even before I bought her, but now, after having taken aboard almost everyting I didnīt leave to my wife and/or kids with room still to spare Iīm actually pretty amazed. It just keeps swallowing whatever I load so to speak.
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Old 08-10-2010, 08:18   #7
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The last of the mainland, before "open sea" on the virgin trip home:
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Old 08-10-2010, 08:22   #8
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Just a reply to a poster about down scaling

Nothiung needed to be sold or down sized.. I kept my car, wifey and kids got the house and Iīm free as a bird. A bit winged money wise but thats ok If I ever need an apartment, Iīll rent one when the time comes, but right now, I am my own man
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Old 08-10-2010, 08:34   #9
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May 6 2009

In reply to a poster regarding when the winter comes:

Iīm in the process of buying the stuff I need to insulate/isolate (donīt know the correct term, sorry) the hull, "floors" and roof. I+ve decided to go for the type of foam that is used on "camping matresses" (again, dunno the correct word) Dual layers of 1 inch isolation, covered with a boat interior type of wall carpet. Looks and feels like a very short-haired carpet, but mold resistant will do the trick for the hull I hope. Floors will also have dual layers, but a floor carpet on top of the foam. All bunks will get a caravan type of floor heater under the matresses, along with a layer of foam. The roof, I havent figured out yet, possibly just a wall carpet since the boat deck etc is built in sandwich, that should provide some insulation by itself.

I have a dry toilet on board, but will avoid using it unless theres an "emergency". The marina has all those facilities so those things arenīt really such worry. At least not when I compare it to my biggest issue.. I fish. I fish a lot. And I love winter fishing.. now where do I place all the winter gear.. 4 rods, motor auger, floating averall, etc etc etc.. oh well, comes time comes solutions. I have the biggest yard of all when the ice strikes
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Old 08-10-2010, 08:44   #10
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May 6, 2009 again.

Have had 3 of the kids with me, sailing overnight. The kids are in order 20, 19, 15 and 11 (girl, boy, girl, boy) and it was the 3 youngest that visited me.
The middle girl complained I had no TV yet.. but hey all loved to spend the night on a "deserted island". Fishing, exploring, and of course sailing for the first time. Somehow I donīt think I will have to drag them here just to see them.

Also discovered the backside of not having a garbage dumpster... Crows and sea gulls all over the place when I woke up this morning. I will have to fix this somehow.

(This was fixed by buying a ordinary trash can with a step-open lid. When full, and not in a location to empty it, it keeps the trash from the birds until Iīm up and awake.)
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Old 08-10-2010, 08:48   #11
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May 7, 2009

Galley is looking more and more like a very small kitchen with spice jars secured by rubber bands, glasses etc stowed away on a fool proof shelf and everything has its own place. Bought a "mini-oven" to be used on top of the meth stove and tried it last night making a potato gratin. Yummy Next off will be baking bread.

So far all is good. I have some nights to look back on, and nothing could make me look back and say, No, what a bad choice. I love every minute of it so far. Then again, havent had any rain yet...
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Old 08-10-2010, 08:51   #12
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May 8

Bought a TV.. Justin case the kids wanna watch hehe. And also, cos of the hockey WC.
Just "bought a new yard" and got some new neighbors, and tonight will be spent with Captain morgan/Coke, one of the neighbors and a hockey game on the new TV
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Old 08-10-2010, 09:00   #13
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Awesome!
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Old 08-10-2010, 09:04   #14
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May 17 2009

A little update:

Iīve had lady company for 3 days. Equal parts of sailing and "marina sailing".
It all worked just fine even for 2 adults space wisw, even though the head room in the M77 (1.75 m) wonīt allow for any of the more advanced nightly activities. The V-berth in the bow isnīt exactly built for love if I dare say so.

Since I had a woman with me I had made the effort of cooking decent food, which as we all know takes a lot of pots and pans.. I had to make sure the dishes etc was taken care of in a fast and efficient way, so it all went overboard..
But cant have it like that all the time, porcelain is expensive, so I will get an extra portable sink, for easy rinsing after having made the dishes
Speed boats do have an extra advantage in this matter: A net bag pulled after the boat for 5 minutes in 10 knots for rinsing, 10 minutes in 25 knots for really messy plates etc

Sailing skills is slowly growing, made a new personal speed record together with my girl friend: 6.38 knots GPS in "half wind" with only the 150% genoa up at a nice 7-8 m/s wind. Close to max theoretical speed with this boat I think
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Old 08-10-2010, 09:24   #15
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May 18, 2009

Starting some maintenance

First off is the -to say the least- snake nest thatīs supposed to pass for electrical system. Each and EVERY cable is black or red. But positive and negative is mixed too, so black doesnīt necessarily mean ground for one thing even if its ground on another. Many cables were red in one end, and black in the other, with the connection between them laying in the bilge without any isolation. It took me a day to figure out the wiring on the "consumption bank" (another word I donīt know.. but I mean the batt.bank that is used solely fpr lamps, fridge, computer etc) and another day to do the new wiring alongside of drawing schematics for it. Almost done with this now, and then Iīll move on to the engine/charging part of the system.. Gulp.

Furthermore, I found 15-20 gallons of water inside the boat last time I was out sailing.. had no idea where it came from. I checked the keel bolts, but they wer all dry after wiping it all out. No water came in at the engine either so I was really confused until.... I was making coffee and there was no fresh water Got a new water bag and now itīs ship shape again. I REALLY do enjoy this so far. I fall asleep with a smile, and wake up sstill thinkng itīs a dream. no nagging, no must-doīs of any kind.. just me and my boat
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