While we were sitting on the hard waiting for the prop nut I started a long post which I have since though better to split up into two. Seeing as we are now floating again, I was a bit distracted, but better late than never so here we go. Essentially the theme being people wanting to know what luxuries we were giving up. In other words, are you going to be roughing it big time by living on a boat or just a little. This post should shed some light on that for those that are not cruisers themselves. For the cruisers, stay tuned, soon there will be travel posts!
Compared with a house we have many of the luxuries. We do have to pick and choose as we don’t have space for everything, but we are not really roughing it. We have a furnace for when it is cold or damp and it conveniently runs on diesel fuel so no special fuel tank is required. When it is hot, we have hatches. Very much like skylights. Open them up and feel the breeze. Much better than air conditioning. Just be sure to be upwind of that power boat that would prefer to keep the fresh air out and has his hatches closed so that everyone in the anchorage can listen to his generator power his air conditioning all day and night. A Couple of our ports (windows) also open. The opening port in the galley is a great benefit for moving air.
Cooking is done on a 2 burner propane stove and oven. Simple. Who really uses more than 2 burners in a single meal anyway? If you need more, you can always bbq part of the meal. Coffee is a necessity and a stove pot percolator works just fine. Fridge space comes at a premium though, but luckily you can leave ketchup, jam, eggs and a whole bunch of other stuff actually doesn’t need to be refrigerated. It may say to refrigerate on the jar, but often that is just the lawyers talking. This is good, because beer is best served cold and should not come from a cupboard immediately prior to consumption. I feel sorry for those sailors without a means to chill their own beer.
Plumbing is a bit more complicated than at home, but we have a faucet in the galley and one in the head. A 12V pump and a wee little pressure bladder allows the running water to work more or less like it would at home. We have a high quality filter for drinking water which probably makes it better drinking water than you get in many cities. We have a modest hot water heater that heats water by electricty when plugged in at the dock or off the engine when it is running. The head (or bathroom) has a shower curtain to cover the door and little sump in the floor just incase you need to shower but it makes a mess. We simplified life by adding a shower on the transom swim step so that we could rinse off after swimming. Here is the reality though, in our house we would use 120 gal/day on a busy day. On the boat we have a 66 gal tank, so some sacrifices must be made on water usage. That being said we are fairly wasteful in modern society, so perhaps everyone should be forced to spend a few weeks living on a boat. Our 66 gals can go 2 weeks. Oh yeah, we have a head or marine toilet too. Really folks, they are not that complicated. Maybe one day I’ll find a simple way to explain it.
Storage is also far more efficient on our boat than in our house. Our couches at home were full of dead space under the cushions. On the boat, one settee (or couch) hides the diesel tank that can propel us for a few hundred miles, the other hides part of the pantry. Another section hides the beer and alcohol. Our dining room table is the wine cabinet. Now who can honestly say that isn’t efficient? When you finish the bottle you don’t even have to get up to find which selections are still available. And if you got ahead of yourself and put the bottle opener away, it should be within reach of the person setting on the starboard settee.
Under the bed we hide the water tank, half our clothes, our laundry, our spare life jackets, a genoa sail, many of our spare parts and charts and guide books to desirable places and still have space to spare. I’m sure we have a little dust too like most people have under their beds and probably some dog fur. Under the guest cabin bed we have all the batteries, the main electrical distribution and part of the engine room. The rest of the engine is hidden under the companionway stairs. Hopefully boat designers start to design houses before I return to a land based life. I would much prefer a functional home compared to the McMansions that the media tells me I should aspire to.
We are short a few common household gadgets and conviences, the microwave for one, a dishwasher being another, and we don’t have a television and we don’t miss having one. We may be biased after 7 years of not having cable or satellite though. The sacrifices seem to be worth it. Unless you have a moat around your house, I doubt you can swim laps your residence and we can have a view like this one night
and this the next
and then this