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Old 20-08-2020, 05:37   #1
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Living aboard and Still sailing Daily

I once read that the surest way to stop sailing your boat is to start living on it. The “stuff” used for living gets in the way of sailing: The toaster, toaster oven, coffee maker, etc. lying loosely about on every flat surface; the several sections of canvas used to keep the sun off the boat, the semi- permanent solar panels if anchored out or the water hose and electric cord(s) if in a slip; the groceries and spices and cooking utensils and whatever else is “required” for daily living quickly clutters up the boat to the point that an afternoon of sailing would require a prior day or more of inconvenient rearranging and removing and securing and packing, followed by a post day of unpacking. Cruisers seem to suffer from this and even though they consider themselves sailors my impression is they almost never go sailing except to relocate, which apparently often takes days of pre and post packing and unpacking.
I live alone (which I am sure helps greatly) on a 30 ft sailboat in a marina slip and manage to sail daily with the only preparation required being to unplug my shore power and cast off my dock lines. But I cheat and currently only half live on my boat as I have a nearby apartment. I enjoy sailing for the sailing and have no desire to be anywhere else or to cruise to distant shores but I am concerned that if I give up my apartment to live fully on my boat my sailing will become more of a chore than a pleasure - so I am looking for ideas, suggestions, hacks, and thoughts on how to live aboard while maintaining the freedom to simply cast off the lines to go for an afternoon sail on a moments impulse.
My own ideas are these: Read and apply “Walden” (Henry David Thoreau) and simplify your living requirements (e.g. I only fix and eat PB&J sandwiches or dehydrated/stove top meals on the boat; I never prepare cooked meals onboard so few groceries/spices/minimal cooking & eating & clean-up utensils & appliances are required, but then I eat out often; I only fix instant coffee - I like Community Coffee with Chicory; I only wear quick-dry cycling/jogging type clothes which I keep rolled-up in storage bins; I make great use of different sizes and shapes of labeled plastic “distribution containers or bins” and Hefty “Clip Fresh” food storage containers secured generally with tie-downs for storage of loose items; since I am not ocean cruising I save a ton of space required for extra sail inventory, anchor equipment, spare parts, etc.; I have a marina supplied boat box at the head of my pier for stuff I use but don’t use while sailing on the boat).
Other ideas (especially about cooking appliances tie-downs and cooking in general and laundry/clothes storage)?
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Old 20-08-2020, 05:56   #2
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Re: Living aboard and Still sailing Daily

Have you thought about getting a second boat?
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Old 20-08-2020, 06:01   #3
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Re: Living aboard and Still sailing Daily

Meaning as in owning two boats, living on one and sailing the other? Yes I have but I am not a rich person, ergo the need to soon give up my apartment.
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Old 20-08-2020, 06:36   #4
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Re: Living aboard and Still sailing Daily

That Thoreau Walden thing was written around 1845.

Drawing pictures of bugs, learning about the local flora and fauna, fishing etc and living alone peacefully out near the pond.

No internet!

I believe he lasted maybe 2 years out there then left and never returned.
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Old 20-08-2020, 06:57   #5
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Re: Living aboard and Still sailing Daily

living on PB&J sandwiches would not help me want to go sailing. i would say that learning to stow or secure EVERYTHING in its place before heading out is the most important thing you can do. as soon as you untie the dock lines and power cable you are on a boat again .. not the place you are living in. simple right?
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Old 20-08-2020, 07:06   #6
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Re: Living aboard and Still sailing Daily

It doesn't have to take hours to get ready to sail if you don't want it to. We cruise full-time and are consistently ready to go within ten minutes, even if we have been sitting in a slip or at anchor for weeks on end. The key is to put things away after you use them.
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Old 20-08-2020, 09:04   #7
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Re: Living aboard and Still sailing Daily

When we lived on our Hans Christian 38 we hardly ever sailed it because it was always disaster city. One bit of healing and things started to fly. Now we are full time cruisers on a catamaran and sail every few days. We have sailed from Sarasota to Washington DC with nothing spilling, crashing or moving from one place to another. And no, we are not weenies hiding on the ICW. We have a 75 foot mast so we sailed the Atlantic the entire way.
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Old 20-08-2020, 09:08   #8
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Re: Living aboard and Still sailing Daily

Get a small dinghy and sail it.


b.
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Old 20-08-2020, 09:08   #9
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Re: Living aboard and Still sailing Daily

I agree with CTHoops; put things away after you use them. The saying "Everything has a place and everything in its place" (I hope I didn't butcher that saying) is something I live by on the boat so that I can leave the dock quickly. I also was concerned that just moving from a mooring ball to a slip would turn the sailboat into a "condo on the water"; however, I surprised myself by keeping just want I needed on the boat and keeping the boat "ready to sail". And we cook on the boat, store food, etc. I did add some netting to help keep things secured when underway which helped a lot. It's very do-able and I don't think you need to simplify so much as to not enjoy the "living" part.
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Old 20-08-2020, 09:32   #10
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Re: Living aboard and Still sailing Daily

This may not be helpful to you, but having a boat with adequate storage space makes the boat much more suitable for extended cruising. This is one area where having a larger boat pays off. Most smaller boats necessarily sacrifice conveniently accessible storage space. On a different tack, catamarans require much less battening down because of limited heeling under sail.
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Old 20-08-2020, 09:41   #11
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Re: Living aboard and Still sailing Daily

There is a book, written years ago by Don Casey, named Simple Cruising - the Thoreau Approach. I always found it helpful. With regard to sailing and living aboard, for 19 years I lived aboard a 33 foot mono, not much bigger than the OP's. The smaller the boat, the less complicated it is, so that helped. But so did my underlining philosophy, which was that living aboard paid for the boat ( no apartment rental fees), but that it was only worthwhile if I sailed. My job was very time consuming, but I had two ironclad rules: 1) I took the boat out EVERY week, no matter how busy, and often a lot more. 2) The boat was always ready to leave the dock in fifteen minutes. That mean no flower pots, bicycles on deck, loose stuff lying around. I kept a shelf that was about two square feet and had walls around it like a box, and whatever I was working on, playing with, whatever, would just get dumped in there when I went sailing. When I got back, it didn't take much to resume what i had been doing. In the six years I lived in my first marina, I saw many boats that never went out, and almost no one that went out as often as I did.


When I eventually went cruising, the rules remained the same, but I sailed much more often and further, because work was not beckoning. Sometimes, in an anchorage, I would take other cruisers, whose boats were immobile, out on daysails. lt never made any sense to me to make the sacrifices entailed in living aboard, and not have the boat ready to go sailing!


By the way, this was all full time living aboard, using the facilities onboard, cooking like I was ashore....everything. It was NOT camping. Just living on a small but comfortable and well equipped boat. Never had more fun.



For the last sixteen years I have lived on a 46 foot cat. I try to maintain the same rule. In this case. It takes more sheer effort to get the boat moving (more things to unplug, etc), but less time to getting things ready inside, since they don't go fyling and can more or less be left as they are. But, same principle....it's not worth living aboard if you aren't able to sail. Don't fall into the trap of letting it become camping, or a boatyard.
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Old 20-08-2020, 09:56   #12
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Re: Living aboard and Still sailing Daily

How quickly we can get underway does depend on how long we've been in one place. If we're in traveling mode it takes us about an hour if we're being relaxed. If we gotta go now!, then we can get underway in minutes.

Everything has a secure location, but over time our boat can get a bit ... disheveled . If we've been anchored for weeks, or even months, it takes us longer to get ready.

I should say, sailing is not an activity or a sport for us. It's a way of moving our home. If I want to sail for fun I rig my dinghy. We almost never go out for "a sail."


P.S. I guess we could be more disciplined and move faster, but why would we want to? Why go fast, when you can go slow?
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Old 20-08-2020, 09:57   #13
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Re: Living aboard and Still sailing Daily

I lived aboard a 32' sloop for 5 years and commuted 14 miles each way daily via said boat. You can easily get the boat set up to be ready to sail in under 10 minutes. Keep things where they belong. The stuff on the counter like soap, sponge, brush, coffee pot all goes in the sink. Add a lee cloth to one of the settees and use that or a quarter berth for quick storing clothes etc. Get some net hangers/hammocks for food stuffs. Spices live in a rack that keeps them in place. Toaster and pots/pans can live in the oven. YMMV but if you keep stuff where it belongs you can get out and sail in no time.
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Old 20-08-2020, 11:30   #14
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Re: Living aboard and Still sailing Daily

We sail regularly and live aboard. It is faster to pull the the anchor or slip a mooring than it is to get off the dock. Ten minutes spent closing hatches taking things off the galley counter and putting them in the sink is all it takes.

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Old 20-08-2020, 11:39   #15
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pirate Re: Living aboard and Still sailing Daily

Clean and stow as you go.. if your not using it put it away, makes life much easier.
As for things like a toaster or microwave if you have a decent fixed counter Stick n Stick Velcro is a wonderful thing.. works well if you use a laptop for navigation as well.. holds it in place whatever.
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