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Might Enjoy Reading: A Year Living Aboard-gctid350447

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    Might Enjoy Reading: A Year Living Aboard-gctid350447

    So it's almost been a year since we moved aboard our 1991 Bayliner 4387.

    I bought the boat in Tahoe and trucked her down to SF and moved her to Redwood City. I hired a Captain to teach me and my wife how to pilot her. Since then we've put on about 76 hours on the engines and have spent several weekends anchored enjoying sunshine, grilling and cocktails with the sunset.

    It's been a great experience...but not without it's challenges.


    Although I bought a boat from a previous owner who put a LOT of money on her (new engines, new galley, new countertops, new canvas, new carpeting, new mattresses, etc), she's still 20 years old and she still surprises me with new projects all the time. While I budgeted for getting her in the water with new paint and some repairs, I blew past that budget...however, I've also learned that my general maintenance costs haven't been much more than what our house was costing us (house painting, tree cutting, exterminators, etc).

    That said...I came into boating with no knowledge of boat systems. If you don't want to keep paying people to fix things you have to not shy away and do it yourself...and you will make mistakes and learn things the hard way. One thing that's been a great lesson is just talking with your neighbors and other boat people. Odds are, you will find someone whose already dealt with your current dilemma. Luckily my neighbor is a boat wright so I'm always picking his brain and he's happy to help.

    So far I've replaced bad bilge pumps, I've swapped out a bad battery and battery charger, I've done plumbing work, I broke down and repaired a vacuflush toilet, I had the misfortune of having to clear a clog and replace the duckbill valves in my vacuflush system, I've replaced several water fixtures, I can't tell you how many leaks I've discovered and had to repair.

    Then there were the spider cracks I fixed, the shower sump I replaced, the radar system I installed, the light fixtures I replaced (15 of them), and on and on and on...

    All's been a very rewarding experience. I've learned more than I ever imagined and it's taught me to be very self reliant and know where my limits are when it comes to fixing things and when to call someone. So far that's only been for some oil changes and a few engine tune up issues.


    Then there's the stuff I learned about myself (my wife has learned as well). Before we moved to the boat we filled a lot of our lives with acquiring things. Trips to Crate and Barrel...buying knickknacks and crap that you just acquire but don't really need. The number one lesson we learned was that one of the best things in life is just enjoying the time you have...when it's 80┬║ out and the water is calm...nothing is better than taking a bottle of wine out to the front of the boat and sitting and watching the sun go down.

    We do less shopping, we don't but things we don't need, because...where are you going to put it? One of the charms of boats is that just about everything you need is already built in to the boat. Anything else just wastes space.


    So do I have any advice for anyone thinking about moving to a boat?

    If you have a sense of like using your can get your mind around adjusting your expectations and just going with the flow...then a boat can work for you. Make sure you start with a size that will help you adjust to living in a smaller space, but won't make you feel too cramped. You can always get a smaller boat down the line.

    It is interesting how you pare years of stuff down to just what you really need. It doesn't happen all at once but it happens. It is a simpler life, but not totally free of frustrations and challenges. Everything has to be carried some distance to your boat, It's not drive into your garage and in the dryness and warmth you unload your grocery's. It's find the cart or struggle with the bag the several hundred feet to your boat step onto the boat hoping to not lose yet another gift to king Solomon. Your dog needs to piddle. It's not open the screen door at 5am and let him into the back yard , noooo, nooo it;s get on something warm and take him to the doggy run or parking lot. And don't forget to pick up after him. But then there are those days or evenings when the water is just spectacular or the beer can racing is 15' off your stern. Winter in the Delta is pretty slow, there are days that not a boat passes by. In the early morning and late evening the geese are everywhere, swans, and ducks, snow geese, honkers cover the sky. But then there is that cold walk on the slippery dock to anywhere, and I mean anywhere. My marina is a ghost town, just three of use live on our boats, and not many boat in the winter here. Pretty quiet. It's been just over a year and I'm still adjusting.


      Scary wrote:
      .....It is interesting how you pare years of stuff down to just what you really need. It doesn't happen all at once but it happens. It is a simpler life, but not totally free of frustrations and challenges......
      We didn't move onto a boat, but we still had to do what you describe above. We've lived in 6 different houses, raised 2 kids to adulthood, gone through two boats and 4 dinghies, owned several cars, and been together 33 years.

      We accumulated a lot of stuff.

      When the opportunity came to move from Canada to Bermuda, it was obvious that we had to reduce this by about 95%. I am happy to say we did it...our entire life was distilled down to a dozen boxes, which were shipped here later. While we do kick ourselves for a few of our choices, we have made out just fine in our simplified life. Now, every single thing we buy is purchased with the knowledge that we will either have to move it someday, sell it here on the island, or throw it away. It just makes us stop and think.

      If we ever want to live on a boat, I now know that we could do it, and downsizing would not be an issue!
      Mike P
      The Bahamas
      Formerly Vancouver BC, Bermuda and The Grenadine Islands.

      Click here to hear my original music, FREE to download to your computer or iPod.


        The best part from all of this is learning that what you value in life has very little to do with what you possess or accumulate. I think we've created a society that values stuff because we've been bombarded with commercials and messages about it every moment of our waking lives. In the past year we've slowly seen more of our stuff that's in our 10x10 storage unit go onto Craigslist, and more and more boat stuff (winter/summer storage) replace it.

        We both have just decided that we're done with the typical pursuit of happiness and set a goal to buy a 40'+ Catamaran in 3 years. In that time we'll be getting rid of everything in storage, selling both cars, and just taking off. It's amazing how cheap life gets when you aren't pursuing the typical rewards. No mortgage, no water bill, no power bill, no property taxes...just a boat and a dream to slow everything down to where each day is simply an appreciation for what's all around you.

        When we were thinking of doing this move I saw a lot of posts from people who talked about living the dream of being on a boat...but most of them never make the move. For us it was a huge leap of faith because a boat can be something that in the wrong hands or the wrong a complete disaster. If I hadn't done all the research and taken my time to find the right boat for us at this point in our would have been simply awful.

        As I type this it is raining and the wind is blowing fiercely. The boat is rocking slightly back and forth in it's slip. I can hear the rain tapping on the windows above me in the galley, and while it is gray and cold, the heater is keeping me nice and toasty. Even in bad weather there's a certain poetry to being on a boat and the experience has made me a better person.


          As I write this I am aboard my 3988, which is my third full time liveaboard boat and the one that I have no desire to change as it suits me to a "T". April 3 will mark ten years as a liveaboard and I have no regrets nor any plans to return to the dirt.

          As long as I am healthy this is my lifestyle.

          Ten years ago I had a locker full of "stuff", today I do not even have a locker.

          The things I thought I needed were just things.

          I no longer have 10 sweaters, just three good ones and one ratty one.

          I have two good suits and my business clothes, half are at the cleaners at any given time.

          I have three pairs of shoes and my winter boots.

          Everything I own fits aboard and is out of sight, even my christmas tree.

          It is amazing how much stuff was just window dressing and how much is necessary.

          The lifestyle promotes health as well.

          I am now 64, take no pills for anything, have no stress and fresh air every day.

          I also own my dock, own my boat and own my truck

          I still work 6 days a week and have no plans to quit real soon.

          My condo fee for the dock is $106/ mo and the property taxes are $400/ year, cable, internet and Cel add another $90/mo, insurance is $200 for Boat / truck

          Where else can you own a waterfront home, live very well and bank over 50% of your income?

          It's just all good.
          "Adios Dinero"
          1997 3988 with new 330 Cummins
          Photo Credit: Whiskywizard


            [QUOTE=My condo fee for the dock is $106/ mo and the property taxes are $400/ year, cable, internet and Cel add another $90/mo, insurance is $200 for Boat / truck

            Where else can you own a waterfront home, live very well and bank over 50% of your income?[/QUOTE]



              Apple shut down your old link. I would like to read your story.




                I just moved onto mine in august. I moved up from a 26ft cuddy with one engine. So I've learned to pilot the twins. I just had Earl the Hino guru here yesterday and he taught me to change all the filters including trany,fuel and oil. I changed my impellers and zincs also. Until I met Earl I had never worked on or even had a diesel. I now feel ready to head out from Va. to Fl.

                I haven't had the experience of working on the head. To be honest I took my first shower on the boat yesterday and have yet to poop here. I had the same tolet on my other boat but never did anything but pee. I gotta admitt I'm a little nervous about pooping on board.

                As far as the stuff I'm having a hard time finding places for my clothes it seems the drawers are so small and it's a pain to get under the bed. I hopping to meet other bayliner owners who have made some adjustments in this area as far as shelfs or custom drawers. I don't have a washer dryer onboard and was thinking of getting a carpenter to make me some nice long dawers there for can goods. I found a nice hidding spot above the stove no one would ever no it was there.

                Well I just thought I'd throw in my two cents. I'm going to put another post on as I need to get some ideas on TV internet and phone. I want to get a program for my laptop with the charts and I want something for reliable weather also. Right now I have an iphone with verizon. I'm using my laptop for TV programs at the marina but I plan on leaving in about two weeks as soon as I get my new canvas put on. I'm trying to find some one to fabricate a spray guard or little windshield for the bridge.
                2001 4788
                1991 4387
                Twin Hino 250
                Don't let anyone steal your happy
                Capt. Dave


                  Here is a link to our liveaboard site. We are back living as dirt-dwellers with a 4788 in the local Marina, but a few years ago we were on the hook in the Med living as carefree as the breeze!




                  1994 4788

                  Gig Harbor



                  2006 Hylas 49'

                  Reg BVI. Of no fixed abode.
                  Alan Teed
                  1996 Wendon Sky Lounge 72'
                  Gig Harbor, WA
                  1994 Bayliner 4788
                  2006 Hylas 49' SY
                  Bayliner 2855
                  1977 Cal 34' SY
                  1981 Hunter 33' SY