The Reality of Moving Aboard a Sailboat
We’re not very far along in our liveaboard sailing life but there is one thing I am certain of, sailing and boat ownership is not for lazy people. Unless your rich, then you can pay other people to do all the work for you. However, then you wouldn’t really be a sailor anymore, you would be a passenger…but I digress.
I didn’t have any major expectations about what moving aboard a sailboat would be like but I knew the lifestyle in general was going to be more work. Yet, somehow, I didn’t expect the organizing, outfitting and beginning maintenance to be quite this exhausting.
Honestly, it should be a requirement that the boat brochures and cruising magazines have a least one real photo. One where the sailors have bags under their eyes, blisters on their fingers and someone is fixing something broken. Yes, that would be much more accurate than the typical sunset-calm-water sail that’s often depicted.
What’s even more interesting is despite the amount of work, our excitement for the lifestyle continues to build. Sure, we bought a well maintained boat and could have jumped in the boat and taken off. Instead we’re working hard to cross our t’s and dot our i’s. We will have plenty of fun surprises in our future but we would like to be somewhat prepared for as many of them as possible. Which is what we are busy doing now. Getting to know our new home on water, learning what it takes to keep her floating and settling into the realities of being liveaboard sailors.
It’s going to be fun to look back on these videos in a year, two or three from now and poke fun at our newbie selves. There’s just so much learning to do, and we realize we’ll never stop learning!
As we are slowly adjusting to our new lifestyle we can’t help but compare it to our previous one. Apparently, neither can you. We have gotten so many RV vs Sailboat type questions! It really is an interesting contrast yet so many things are related. Each lifestyle presents is own set of appealing ups and downs. We’re not far enough along in our journey to form a lot of opinions yet but here is what we’ve found so far:
RV Travel VS Sailboat Travel
With the RV, we had a wide variety of clothing, supplies and gadgets for a wide variety of environments. Moving at an average speed of 55-65 mph we could cover a lot of ground and be in a completely different climate within a few days. For example in 2015 we started the year out swimming with sea cows in Florida, spent our summer climbing glaciers in Alaska and by fall we were wild camping in the desert of California. We were always prepared for most any adventure no matter where our wheels might take us.
Sailboats on the other hand, travel at an average speed of about 5 to 10 mph but never have to worry about getting stuck in traffic. We’ll be taking our time getting to know the coastal areas, tiny islands and local life. Our travel pace will be much slower and we will have lots of time to prepare for any major changes in climates or weather. For example, we will spend this summer exploring the Florida Keys and spend the fall/winter getting to know the Bahamian islands. We’re most likely not heading to any glaciers anytime soon so, we won’t be needing our space heaters, winter hiking boots or mittens. The sailboat also comes with it’s own waterfront lanai (cockpit) with built in seating so we won’t be needing our outdoor RV furniture either.
RV Storage VS. Catamaran Storage
It’s crazy because the boat seems way larger than RV, yet it seems to have less storage space. The boat is 10 feet longer, over 10 feet wider and has 2 additional bedrooms (cabins) and bathrooms (heads). It’s bright, airy, open and very spacious. If I am completely honest, it feels a little gluttonous and overkill without others occupying the extra cabins (but we’re hoping to have a regular rotation of guests soon). Yet somehow with all this living space, there’s very little closet or cabinet space.
The RV was much more closed off but there were cabinets everywhere and we had a residential refrigerator for Pete’s sake! It may have been a rolling rectangle (RV’s need some serious design help) but it’s rather incredible how comfortable and spoiled we were in our 300 square feet.
The boat has hatches and crash lockers for storage which are somewhat similar to the RV basement storage. In both the RV and the boat, there are lots of awkward shaped compartments which makes organizing a challenge. We’re also being pretty adamant about keeping things simple and slim. We don’t want to cram every nook and cranny with stuff and want to be very conscious of the physical weight of our stuff for optimal sailing performance. I’m so serious about minimizing, I ditched half of my already slim shoe collection. I mean, this is probably the least amount of shoes I’ve had since I was six years old!
Sailboat Maintenance & Upkeep
RV’s are, for the most part, cheaply built toys. Houses are built to last a lifetime while RV’s are built for weekend recreation. It’s amazing at what will hold together while driving 60mph down the highway. Because RV’s are built light things break or jiggle loose often. There is always something that needs to be done and buying a new rig doesn’t exclude you from the RV repair club. RV engines are not always easy to get to and some require a lift, computer access or at least a well equipped shop. Some RV’ers go the DIY route while others just save up the issues for their yearly service appointment. We would tackle small jobs ourselves but saved all our major jobs up for one (or two) yearly service stop. Unless it was a big issue, then we would call up AAA, hitch a ride in a tow truck and live at a service center for a few days. Overall though, we really didn’t have to work hard on our RV and if you only washed it three or four times a year…no big deal.
Most bluewater sailboats are built sturdy and are made to last. However, boats have the salty sea to contend with and lets just say Poseidon shows no mercy. A small leak with a seemingly harmless few inches of water turns into a salt cake that requires a chisel within a week. Metal rusts and white decks turn brown and unappealing every few days. We’re still trying to put together our ongoing maintenance calendar. Some things need to be done every few days, some once a month, others once or twice a year. Overall, sailboat maintenance and upkeep is an ongoing task if you want to keep your ship in shape.
Thanks for watching, reading and following along…even when its not all sunsets and cocktails on the deck (but those days are coming too).
If you have any sailboat maintenance tips, a story to share or even a cocktail recipe to ease tired muscles…tell us about it in the comments below!
Given how many comments and how much time and energy is spent on running, repairing and maintaining gasoline engines on boats, coupled with the availability of 220V charging at docks these days, I’m honestly quite surprised that a super reliable and powerful electric motor or 2 and an array of lithium-ion batteries hasn’t already replaced these systems on many boats.
I’ve been following these stories with rapt attention though!
Not sure if you’re referring to the engines aboard Curiosity or the outboard on Minion. If it’s the outboard, Torqeedo has been making reliable electric outboards for years and I’m sure there are other companies out there now too. If you’re referring to the catamaran, first off they are diesels because gas engines make boats blow up (confined engine spaces, fumes, boom). There are several companies who offer electric-powered yachts and catamarans. There are also several hybrids out there with a combo of diesel & electric, and many of them include solar for recharging while underway. There are 2 problems with electric boats though, just as with electric cars. The first is a hefty entry-level price tag. This 40-foot hybrid power cat is nearly half a million at entry level: https://www.boattest.com/review/greenline/3753_40-hybrid and when you start adding options…. The second is range. It’s very energy-intensive to shove a big boat through the water unless you can get it moving fast enough to get up on a plane (which removes most of the hull from the water), and both of those things take a lot of power. So if the boat isn’t a hybrid you’re going to either need a massive battery bank or you’ll have a very short trip range, and it’s going to take a long time to recharge. Not a problem if you take out on the weekend to a spin around the lake but if you’re doing any long-range coastal cruising it’s going to slow down an already slow journey. So they’re out there, but until we get that Back to the Future fusion reactor that runs on garbage, there are limits with them. Hope that helps!
Look at Sailing Uma YouTube. Totally electric, totally self sustaining .
Did either one of you have any apprehension before sailing? My wife and I love cruising on the big ship lines.
Oh, sure they did! Check out this “Thoughts on Sailing” post as they were headed to Florida to begin shopping, and then check out their first Sailing School post (there’s a link in the “Thoughts on Sailing” post). https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/full-time-sailing-expectations
Just discovered you guys on YouTube and can honestly say I love your uploads. You are living the dream life out there on the beautiful ocean with all those beautiful views, not to mention all that wonderful sea life under the waves. Myself and my daughter would love to do exactly what you both are doing as it’ll not only be fun but be a fantastic challenge as it’s so different from living in a house. Keep up the amazing content and safe happy travels to the both of you and your cute kitties.
ocean cat marine
Try not to sail alone. Not only does company often make the sail more enjoyable, it also ensures that you have at least one companion to help address any problems that may arise.
My wife and I enjoy seeing your videos. We’re not friends, but we could be, and you both have a nice way of connecting the dream to reality. Nice post here.
Jody Cheyanne Rose
ThankYou, this was a great read!
Congrats on joining the liveaboard club!!! My wife and I live on a 33′ Carver powerboat in Seattle. We own a 23′ sailboat for fun day/overnight sailing and are working on getting a 36′ sailboat to cruise the Puget Sound islands. Best of luck to you all! Feel free to drop a line anytime 🙂
Love the cats and the big one you sail. I am enjoying your trips and learning from you all. It looks exciting and fun but challenging. We live in Oregon along the Columbia river. Keep the wind in your sails and the sun on your face. God bless you both.
I have really enjoyed your adventure in looking for, buying and learning to sail and operate your boat. There was a time in my life when I would have given almost anything to live on a boat. Anything except, of course, my family and that’s what prevented me from doing it.
I would have sailed the Great Lakes during the summer and headed south for Florida in late Fall. I say late Fall because you don’t want to anywhere along the East coast or in the Gulf of Mexico if we start getting hurricanes again. There is no escape from them if they are headed for you. Dock the boat and head inland. Some very well built ocean cruising monohulls could survive a hurricane but not a cat. If a monohull capsizes it may be self righting but not a cat. If it capsizes, it’s lost.
It is an adventure for sure. We are hoping that we won’t ever have to deal with any hurricanes but we are reading up on lots of info to help prepare us for the worst. As for your comments on monos vs cats that whole debate is riddled… A mono also sinks as to where a Cat does not. There are pros and cons to both and there are people that could argue the stance from both sides. I personally do not believe one is better than the other. They are simply different.
Are you guys worried at all about pirates out there? Are you going to carry a firearm or two for protection? One of our friends was pirated some time ago off the coast of Florida, scary stuff
Off the coast of FL? Wow. Typically the pirates want larger vessels with more “stuff” on board, at least that’s what the pirate reports convey.
Love watching your journey into sailors! My favorite hard day cocktail is mezcal with cucumber, simple syrup and seltzer, so refreshing. Thanks for being honest, so much for interesting 🙂
Hi Nikki & Jason,
I’ve watched your YouTube channel for a while now and was excited when you purchased a catamaran as its been my dream/plan to do also. In 6 years I get to retire and plan on sailing away with my girlfriend. We had started out planning on the full time RV thing but got the sailing bug about six months ago. Anyway was watching your last video and saw the difficulty you were having with small tasks on land and transportation. I live in South Fl just a few miles from the intercostal and Kristine & I would be happy to pick you up and help get you around some time. Of course expect me to ask you a million and one questions about everything associated with the sailing and RV life.
Hey guys! Seems that you have a lot to learn ahead of you, I was wondering if you needed any sailing tips for longer ocean voyages? I’ve watched you guys for a long time as I used to live the RV life! However in my day job I’m a unlimited class officer on ships and yachts, and I’d be happy to help you out when I’m in Florida next if it works out. There’s a lot to learn in transitioning from coastal navigation to ocean and I’d be happy to help you out! Let me know!
Any new videos/blog posts incoming? 😀
Here is a link to a couple’s blog with some invaluable information. I don’t know if you will be able to click the link or not but it’s the “Log of Ithaca” on the BoatUS website. They wrote a “bible” for Carribean cruising without realizing it!
Jana and Jay
Hi Nikki and Jason -Congrats on the purchase of your beautiful catamaran! We are so glad to have recently found your blog. We will begin FT RVing later this year and have also been thinking about sailing the “great loop” in the not too distant future. I am sure we will learn a lot from your experiences on the ocean!
Welcome to the cruising lifestyle ! we’ve been following your travels for awhile and are excited for you to try the boating thing. couple of tips that I do on our boat: (46′ maxum) use plastic grocery bag around the oil filter when you take it off. it’s catches lots more of the oil than a hard container. there is also a great little hand pump from harbor freight that works better than a vacuum unit you might like to try. you might consider keeping one of your heads connected to the black tank long term. when our cruising you’ll be able to either to discharge 3 miles off shore or able to open your Y valve and direct discharge alot easier than finding garbage bins to empty your compost. I concur with Jon on your algae problem. get more fuel filters and maybe have your tanks cleaned. fair winds – Dave M/V Megabyte
T C Spencer
Happy 10th Anniversary Did you go to the same high school or where did you meet each other?
Thanks!!! I met Jason when I moved to Dallas for college and haven’t been able to shake him since. 😉
Kent is right about spare parts. I was a student pilot back in the 1980s. My flight instructor told me that general aviation is all about redundancy: two magnetos, two radios, two fuel tanks, etc. He told me, “One is none, two is one, and three you’re free.” I think the same applies to boats, especially if you’re blue water sailing. Fortunately, a cat is great in that you have two engines (three if you include the dinghy) and two fuel tanks. Carry that idea forward. Have two radios, two forms of navigation, two forms of communication (like a sat phone). If you keep redundancy in mind, you should be OK. And I agree about having two Racors per engine with a switchover. I had a Racor filter on a diesel class A and it had a gauge to let you know if the filter was getting clogged. Very handy.
Happy anniversary!! 🙂 10 years? wow!! Have a great day and congrats 🙂
I have to “rib” one of your comments a little bit. You mentioned that houses were built to last a lifetime in comparison to RV’s with lighter materials. While for the most part that’s true and I certainly understand the point you were trying to make – but on the flip-side – it’s been said that an RV traveling down the road is the approximate equivalent to subjecting your house to a 3-5g earthquake on a regular basis (goodness knows what a sailboat goes through with the stresses from the mast(s) etc.) I’ve always said the ~60 MPH pounding on our speed boat just on calm lakes leads to approximately 3 hours of maintenance and polishing for every hour that you enjoy on the water – things that normally would be tight enough for almost any normal situation manage to get pounded loose it seems. Goodness knows that even if it were practical to put wheels and a suspension on ANY house I’ve ever lived in new or old, that it would have shaken itself to pieces in just a few miles (maybe the newer “built with earthquakes in mind” California houses might do a LITTLE better for a few more miles?)! LOL 😉
As always, good luck, safe voyages, and thanks for the great information and videos!
It’s fun to read your perspective as we start our second season on our RV. We spent six weeks getting our boat from New England to Florida, two years on the dock in Fort Pierce, two years with the boat just sitting empty at the dock at our rental house on a canal in Cape Coral (it took too long to get out to the Gulf from there), eight months cruising from Cape Coral to the BVI, six months on the RV and finally five months on the boat from the BVI to Grenada. I can relate to the differences in storage except that our boat had a phenomenal amount of storage for a 40 foot monohull sailboat so I have no complaints there. I admire that you can get rid of “stuff” – that’s the hardest part for me. Looking forward to following your adventure on the water!
Rob & Linda Picchione
So hey, great that you are joining the boating community, welcome! We are glad you are taking your time to “learn the ropes” and gain some real life experience. As sailors for the past 45+ years we have been sliding the other way lately and migrating to the RV Lifestyle (as many boaters do as they age) but still retain our current boat Quantum Leap (a powerboat, after 3 prior sailboats) and live on her during the beautiful New England summers. As you are learning, there are a lot of similarities to RVing, but a lot of significant differences too. If you ever make it up the east coast to the northeast, this is great boating grounds (April-September) with some superb sailing and gunk holing. We currently summer in East Greenwich RI on Narragansett Bay and have a slip as well as a private mooring there. Let us know as our mooring in East Greenwich Cove is potentially available for fellow nomads to hang out at no charge.
Can’t wait to see where this watery adventure goes. I’ve daydreamed a time or two about living on a boat. Have vacationed on a house boat on a couple of lakes – not nearly the same thing, but a tiny taste.
This is the bypass oil filter system I installed on my Leopard 43. http://www.amsoil.com/shop/by-product/filters-and-by-pass-systems/by-pass/filters-and-mounts/universal-dual-remote-bypass-system/?code=BMK23-EA
Nikki and Jason,
My husband and I followed your RV adventures and compliment you for all the entertaining and informative information you’ve shared. I’d like to share some advice for you as you move forth into your cruising lifestyle. I’m speaking from experience since we cruised on our own boats for 15 years and have lived in Florida for longer than you’ve been on the planet. In reading the comments you’ve made since purchasing your boat I feel you do not realize the risk you are taking by remaining in Florida during the “official” hurricane season. We experienced the 2004 terror, first-hand, of the storms Francis, Jeanne, and Wilma and have weathered many serious weather events in our travels aboard. Protecting your vessel from wind is an issue, but more importantly, you have to be protected from rising waters and storm surges. Tying your vessel at a dock and battening down the hatches won’t give you adequate protection from a direct storm or maybe even a close encounter depending on how the storm makes landfall or goes by the area where your vessel is located. As the storm approaches, it literally becomes an “every boater for himself” mentality. Your vessel doesn’t have the capability of moving out of an area quickly, you will be competing for very limited safe harbor ages with untold numbers of other boats, the haul-out queues fill up quickly, and you simply have not gained enough experience to fully understand what to do during your first hurricane season on the water. Even if you are lucky enough to fully secure your vessel, you will have to worry about how other people secured their vessels. I suggest you look at the scene from the Ft. Pierce Municipal Marina after the 2004 hurricanes to fully understand what may be in store. The aftermath of a storm is a chaotic situation in itself, often with boater gridlock because repair services get booked solid, supplies are limited, and people are just drained and unsure of who to turn to for assistance.
We cruised with a number of other savvy boaters. Our policy was that we tried to be back from the Bahamas by the first week of August. If we weren’t traveling up north for the rest of the summer, we hauled our boat out of the water no later than the second week of August. We had our own dock, yet we felt that our investment (in money and heart) was not worth risking keeping the boat at the dock during prime time for storms. Our friends usually traveled up to Brunswick, GA and spent the rest of the summer at a dock there since that area has low probability for storm “problems”. We spent the majority of our boating lives on the hook. Florida, especially the Keys, is not the friendliest place for anchoring out if you want access to land. Marinas are in the business to make money, and many will not permit you to dinghy in and tie up to their docks. Public access for dinghy landing is limited along Florida’s coastline where you may be dropping the hook. A Florida summer is a tough time for novices to learn their boating skills; you may be more comfortable tying up to a dock, but not necessarily any safer, and your pocketbook will get depleted very quickly.
I wish you fair winds, safe travels, and lots of fun!
Carol and Wayne Thomas
gregory & lucie
Hey, you guys are a lot of fun. love your honesty about all the stuff you don’t know, but your willingness to learn. My wife Lucie and I did the same kind of thing a year ago, setting sail from Riviera Beach, FL on our Beneteau 331 for the Bahamas where we spent the last year. Best of luck with everything and hope to see you guys out there some time.
Nothing like getting your hands (and everything else) dirty! By the way, what did you do for your 10th anniversary? You didn’t mention it and it must have been something special to share on board your new home! Congrats!
Our 10th anniversary is on June 16th! I think our evening will be filled with drinking champagne and reading our sailing books. Our class starts this weekend and we have so much studying to do before hand. We may have to celebrate after the class. 😉
Mark of SJC
Curious. I know on Diesel RV’s that it’s common practice to take oil (and transmission samples) and have them analyzed. This practice allows you to diagnose what things may be wearing improperly in the engine – before it becomes critical. I would think it’s even more important to do on both your twin engines on the boat, as your life may depend on them. Just curious if that’s something you are doing.
That was already done during our survey and sea trial: https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/buying-a-sailboat-survey-sea-trial
So Nikki, You mentioned you had to discard half your shoes. My wife and I were wondering — How many pairs of shoes remain, and how did you decide which ones to keep?
That Algae found can be a Big issue, Did you examine the tanks ? also treat it and Maybe have the Fuel Polished ?
Best to have a Bunch of Filters because first Rough Seas you are in algae in the tank breaks lose for the sides and heads for the filters. Usually when you need Power the most……Trust me on this.
You’re not shy about sharing the real facts and that in much appreciated. Hurry up and set sail. I want to see your next video under full sail.
Hi again Wynns!,
One more piece of salty advice… Pick your weather window. Make sure of it, and if in doubt, stay at the dock or on the hook. You aren’t in a hurry, or else you’d be motoring. You already know that, though ;->
Ok, not being able to hold the line with advice, here is another that I saw someone else comment on: WEAR NITRILE GLOVES WHEN HANDLING USED OIL. Also smear liquid soap all over your hands, under your nails etc., before putting on the gloves let the soap dry slightly else it is a struggle. Since you WILL take the gloves off too soon (there is always something you forgot to do that will have you covered in oil), the soap is your second layer of defense. This makes getting the oil off incredibly easy – and your fingernails won’t suffer. But the nitrile gloves are to keep your hands out of used oil. Not sure I trust the negative statements about the harm it can cause, but good to be safe. Eh?
We are just enjoying your videos so much!
Wow, that wore me out just watching it! Hope you two have some more relaxing and fun days ahead. Seeing Jason in that space under the bed cracked me up for some reason! Reminds of a funny story I think we forgot to tell you…..when Deas was out on his friend’s boat, the friend was working on the engine which was accessed via the galley floor. He told Deas to be careful but he forgot….and he stepped right into the hole. All 6′ 5″ of Deas fell on top of his friend, along with a tray full of baked oysters. I still laugh every time I think about that! Hope you 2 are doing well – we miss you!
Janaea Cordier Barnard
I would like to tell you how much I appreciate this blog. We sold our beautiful home and bought a 42′ sailboat and a condo. The condo we are in for now but plan on renting it out soon. I need time to adjust to small living on the sailboat. I am excited for our adventure and have no regrets at all. In fact, I seek out other adventurers who share this same mindset. It has taken me quite some time to get here through the many nay-sayers. So I have learned to tune them out. I am so excited to challenge myself to learn something so new. Keep your thoughts and words coming!!!!
Taking your advice, Nikki (that you will NOT be told you can’t do something – you are amazing by the way!) You can’t do this!!! You CANNOT get the fuel in your tanks polished! (Now go do it.)
If you have crud in your Racors (or onboard engine fuel filters – I don’t know the setup of Yanmars, I have a Westy), then your tanks are going to be a mess. There are several solutions.
1. IF the tanks can be removed (probably not on a boat your size, but maybe – check with the Leopard guys), remove them. Take them to a car wash and wash the daylights out of the inside with a pressure wand. And soap. Rinse, of course. Then let them sit in the sun for a couple of days. They will dry out nicely and you can add your CLEAN fuel back into them. Will your fuel be clean? If you filter it on the way in yes.
2. If you can’t get the tanks out: Find someone that will do fuel polishing. It is important that the person understands that the TANKS ARE DIRTY TOO. Not just the fuel! If they don’t spray down the walls of the tanks you are going to be right back in trouble again. You’ll need some high pressure. Usually the polishing service has a cart that has some humongous racors on it, with a decently sized pump to move fuel quickly – and they should move it from one tank to the other, clean down the walls, then move fuel back – filtering as they go.
I am deadly serious about this, and see another person mentioned it, so it is not just the ‘crazy dog lady sailor person’ saying it. You will get a clogged filter in the worst possible conditions if you don’t tend to this and soon. You had some nice sailing to Lauderdale, But you are bound to hit some rough weather and it can be fun! But then, approaching an anchorage with a lot of wind and waves and you drop the sails and start the engines and pow! All that stirred up muck will hit the racor and starve your lovely Yanmars! When you need them most… Murphy is vigilant, don’t give him an ‘in’.
Here’s something else to consider (oh, joy! Another project!!! But this is a good one. Really!) Put in dual racors with a valve between them so you can just switch if one becomes clogged and voila! You have a clean filter. Something all boats with the room to do it should have.
We are really enjoying your videos – wonderful! Hope to see you out on the water one of these days, albeit it will be at least a year from now.
Fair Winds, Following Seas and a Safe Harbor at the end of your Voyage,
Hi, I missed hearing from you and all about your adventures. Sure was a lot of messy work. I know
despite all of the work that you will have lots of fun and see ever so much. Thanks for sharing. I do not
have the backbone it takes to go on adventures such as these. It will be fun to enjoy it with you though
from the comforts of my non travelling trailer.
It looks like it wont be much longer before you’re out at sea on your own, well never really alone but what an amazing feeling that will be. Kent is a Godsend to you guys, what a great guy for all he is doing. The well prepared don’t have to plan. I have wondered what people do when you hit an object or spring a leak when you’re out in the ocean and nobody is around to help. i’m sure a bilge pump could handle a small leak but a bigger one i really don’t know. I found Splash Zone Epoxy which would work for a small hole but no clue on a bigger one. It must be a very uncommon problem i suppose. All that work you guys are doing will pay off for sure, there is nothing like being out on the water. Like one comment said, I think this should be a weekly tv show also. Awesome job, thank you guys!
Oup… I’m French… I mean live on your boat. 😉
Look like you guys are having fun! 😉 Question… Is it more expensive to leave on your boat than the rv?
Better you than me I always say. I have met three people that lived aboard a boat and all said they gave it up because it was too much work. All of them said there was something to do or fix all the time. As they said to a man the ocean does not like anything floating on it and tries to sink it every day. One told me a boat is a hole in the water that you throw money in. All of them loved being on the water but the work wore them down after awhile. Enjoy it before it wears you down. As the old saying goes the best days of a boat owner are the day they buy the boat and the day they sell the boat. Good luck fair seas and following winds.
T C Spencer
I agree – I would live in a RV on land rather than living on a sailboat on water any time.
If there was sludge in your fuel filter then it is in the tank. Take the boat out in some rough waves and it will be nice and stirred up then served to your engine. You can add a biocide to kill the bacteria in the fuel. I use it as a regular additive now on my Catalina 36. I also have used an enzyme sludge dissolver in the diesel. This works on the sludge and slime already in your tank and fuel lines. It is supposed to dissolve the sludge so it can be burned out through the engine. I chose to pump out my contaminated diesel when I had a problem, then depend on the enzyme to clean up anything left.
Check you fuel intake caps to make sure they don’t leak rain and try to keep the tanks topped off to reduce condensation that occurs as the night/day temperature swing brings moist air into your tanks.
Good think you’re young!!!!
That was a lot of work! At least all the maintenance will be done for a while?? It’s nice that you have someone sharing their knowledge so you don’t have to Google everything!
Jason, I’d like one of those t-shirts you are wearing.
Everything exposed to the salt air has deteriorated very quickly. I wear only flip flops and boat shoes on land with one pair of nice shoes for dresses. As far as a cocktail snack…take one block of camembert cheese and dump half a bottle of sweet and sour sauce on top. Serve with crackers. Easy and everyone loves it!
To this day, 50 years since I last saw my German Teacher in Junior High School, I still thank him for his best advice about sailing. I had visited him and his wife at their lake cottage numerous times and he taught me how to sail (on a small lake). His summation of sailing: “Sailing is like standing under a cold shower tearing up $100 bills.” I admire your goal, but I’m glad I”m not sharing the journey. Have fun you two.
Working on the motor, use an old beach towel stuffed under where you are working to catch the dropped spanner, nuts and washers.
Bought our first 18′ sailboat our first year of marriage….22 years ago. A fixer upper. Loved it. Loved sunsets on it. Years later traded up for slightly bigger fixer upper. A sleep-aboard. Wow! Did this upgrading in size process a couple times over the years…ending up with 27′(?), .all lake sailing. Adored lake sailing. Tons of great memories. Then final upgrade, 10 years later, was 30′ (or 33′?) on the ocean. We couldn’t wait for the “options” and new experiences. Enjoyed first year ok, then sold. Don’t sail anymore. Still look back on sailing with great fondness, but the salt water sailing life was vastly different than lake, far more expensive repairs/docking/maintanence, etc, and far more constant and regular boat upkeep than lake sailing (which had very little), and far more unpredictable and challenging weather/wind/waves that botched many of our pre-set sailing plans with guests etc. Very rarely experienced that with lake sailing 10 years. Just wasn’t for us, in spite of the great memories while we had it. All our boats hosted guests incessantly, and loved loved that, and miss that side of sailing the most. Our most favorite memories were watching sunsets while anchored while kids or guests swam or fished and we grilled. Was like Jimmy Buffet music on steroids. Maybe someday we’ll get another 18′ Gulfcoast again; loved that first boat the most. Easier, and just pure fun, easy to maintain, and could fit many friends and family, food, and grill off backside. Happy for you both, and know you’ll rack up loads of memories while you do it. You never know…you two might decide this is indeed the ideal life for you. I hope you do… More power to you. Enjoy!
I kept watching your location as the storms rolled through Florida. How did you manage? It looked like you had some difficult days to weather. Stay safe…you are part of my adopted family.
Seems like s lot of work but really exciting times ahead.
Nicki keeps telling Jason “It’s ok, this only has to be done every year” Notice how she didn’t mention the other 364 things that also need to be done yearly. She’s keeping that little surprise for tomorrow… and the next day.. and the next day….
Honestly? Upkeep is continuous, but you learn to like it and take pride in a well maintained boat that wont leave you stranded, or worse. You two are doing great…
Best of voyages to you! We have been life long boaters and RV’ers. Do you have a self inflatable life raft, ditch bag, and EPIRB? We had a 65′ Hatteras that came across from the Bahamas with 2 cracked windows. It takes an enormous blow to crack a Hat window. A friend had a 70′ yacht sink out form under him in a storm in the middle of the night in the Atlantic Ocean. VHF radio skills are a must. Yes, you need personal protection, we have had strange encounters. Weather can change VERY fast on the water! You can’t just duck behind a Walmart. Water is very beautiful but non forgiving.We had a FLIR that was very helpful, I highly recommend the system.
We are now in the FL Keys, BWK, enjoying our 45′ Detroit 60 series (million mile engine) RV that will hold up for many years, with our smaller boat that we are having a ball with. We have been dodging the rain all week, docked the boat into the RV!
Yea, and buy a spare belt or two…. They will be lots cheaper at an auto parts store…
Awesome, simply awesome…. Jason your “Man Card” just got upgraded…The maintenance stuff you are learning will save you loads of cash… >>>annnnd<<<< give you lots of confidence to control situations as they arrive!!! Get Jason a fresh set of tools!! Hand tools and POWER tools!!!
We continue to live vicariously….
Having moved FROM
a sailboat TO an RV, I have some appreciation of what you are going through now…. Good luck! Sometime soon you may also begin to miss having the ability to walk away from things. You may crave shade. You will begin to tire of feeling salty. Then, I think, you are really going to miss your RV. Lol, safe sailing!
..bring on another thousand…!
..repairing your sailboat in exotic places…!
‘there is nothing, absolutely nothing, half so much worth doing as simply messing around in boats.’
-kenneth grahame (author, wind in the willows)
Gloves Jason…wear mechanics gloves when doing engine work.
Looks like you two are doing really fine making the transition.
You asked for maintenance tips so here’s mine: keep a bucket on a rope handy and when the seagulls use the Cat for target practice clean it up right away. It’s a lot easier than waiting till the bombs get so hard you need a scraper.
About the heads – wonder why boats (in general) don’t have very good ventilation in that area.
What is the plan for the smart car and land expeditions?
Hard work makes the reward even sweeter!! Jason looks really good with that stache and facial hair!! Can’t wait to see your future travels!!
When setting up my Pearson 30 (SV Rascal), I came to believe in the power of 3. For every clamp on every hose or line, install another (stainless of course) right behind it, loosely. A third of the same size will go into the “Spares Locker”. When the clamp fails, at the worst time, an appropriate one is already on the hose, ready to move up into the correct position while all hell is breaking loose, shortening the potential exposure to disaster. The spare becomes the next standby on the hose, and the empty category in the “Spares Locker” gets filled at the next opportunity. So on and so forth with every dynamic part, every significant pin, every fuse, every fluid, and of course, every bottle of wine and rum. Stay the course, you’re doing the right things. PS, learn some marlinspike seamanship for the quiet artful pastime that has great benefits to the budget as well. Start with whipping all Bitter Ends ( ! ) Also work on your legitimate nautical vocabulary, as well as salty language !
PS: Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Sponges are GREAT for spot cleaning smudges and scuffs from white fiberglass!
Great Job Guys!! I have enjoyed following you on the road in the RV and mow on the Cat. That is my dream for one day also so I’m learning through you two.
Keep the videos coming and can’t wait for you to sail some “seas” in the near future.
Apparently, disposable diapers are great to have on hand when changing oil and other fluids as they absorb a ton of whatever you spill. You can also buy absorbent pads to lay underneath the area you’re working on. Good luck with all your maintenance. Not sure what system you are using to log your spare part inventory and maintenance schedule. Someone recommended the log this guy uses for maintenance on his boat http://mvdirona.com/2015/03/maintenance-log/ . He offers links to the full spreadheets so you can set up your own versions.
Singa sure is a talker, but Jason you got a few words in there too lol. You’re learning lots one step at a time. Great job, until next to time be safe.
Mike Shea III
As always I appreciate your candor! For so many it’s all old hat, but I truly enjoy ever detail you share…
Just have to say….. I hope you really take your time and really learn about every inch of your boat, thoroughly understand all of the equipment and make sure your back-up systems have back- up systems, and take the time to become excellent sailors. This is a lifelong learning process. Not for the faint of heart. I’d recommend latching on to some very wise sailors with a lot of experience.
That is what the post is about. We have a wise sailor who is also a service tech (Kent) who has been helping us out and we’re learning and will continue to learn.
I need to ask… How ? or do you empty your black tanks at sea ? Just dump them in the sea ?
Yes, that is the standard and isn’t that disturbing!
In Canadian waters it is permitted under certain conditions – so many nautical miles away from land, etc – but in US waters discharge of sewage is prohibited. So you would need to be in international waters I imagine.
Not really disturbing at all. It is all just the “stuff” that all animals on the planet put into the environment. The algae and other critters in the water break it down pretty fast. Running those water cooled diesels for a couple of hours puts more long-term contaminants into the water than dumping the black tanks should.
I would prefer to be on a boat, than on land. While we operate a Class B Airstream Interstate, and have time in a 25′ Airstream trailer….a Cat is where I’m happiest.
The parge challenges and exhaustive learning experiences will all seem like small “dots” in your rear view mirror soon.
Please let us know when you’re planning on visiting the Exuma Islands Bahamas. We have two years of cruising the Exumas on our 65′ Marlowe. Simply heaven from Highborn Cay to Staniel Cay. Swimming pigs were just a bonus for me.
Jason you remind me of my self thirty years ago. I bought my oldest daughter a used car and soon discovered it needed a new transmission. The cost was more than the cost of the car, so…phone calls to locate a new transmission and borrowed a book from the library on transmissions…pulled a suitable transmission from a junk yard (using my socket set that I got for opening a savings account), and Installed it. This was the first time I did any work on a car. Over the years, I became fleet manager for my three daughter’s cars, transmissions, both manual and automatic, head gaskets, pistons, rebuild brakes, replace hubs, front and rear, change out axels and on and on. Then I got to fiberglass two older sail boats, a Lightning and a “C” Scow (20ft ‘er with 238 Square feet of sail)…all with never having worked on cars or boats before; I just did it! You have accepted and completed many challenges in the RV and now the boat. I commend you for forging ahead and just do it!
I was also asked many times along in my life, “how’d you get such a hot girl as your wife?” Your response was perfect (Come on Guys, where’s the love?) My response is “I know the secret.” Good fortune to you both.
Have you thought of putting a webcam on your ship and just let us watch the comings and goings around you? I give you both lots of credit for learning your boat and repairs/maintenance from top to bottom. I know this is a lot of work but you both always make it look fun too. Maybe it is the beaming smiles on your faces.
Once you get everything taken care of, schedule it’s next time and plan it out. Don’t clean the bilges and then change the engine oil. Once you get everything on a schedule it will spread out nicely. If you need to fix something plan that also. If you have 2 bilge pumps on each side make sure all 4 are the same, then you can carry one as spare. Change out to composting heads, and then your black water tank is really a grey water tank and you can reduce its size (maybe to carry more water or fuel). Have fun, enjoy the sunsets.
Is your other cat still with you?
Don’t spill the beer!! Ha ha ha!!!
I’m curious. How you dispose of the waste oil and diesel at the marina?
They have a special area where we dispose of it and then it is taken care of responsibly by them (so we are told).
Great post! Loved it, & so glad you two are rising to the challenge. I’d like to share five things that I found myself reaching for daily…bleach, isopropyl alcohol, white vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, & and distilled water. I think of them as the five universal solvents/disinfectants, and you can find them pretty much everywhere. If you ever find you need an aggregate of some kind, the ocean is full of them (amazing what things you can collect off your anchor when you bring it up).
Love this! We are wanting to get a sailboat in the next year, but we are unsure of how our dogs will like it. For now, we are going to continue RVing and following your adventures 🙂