Living on a sailboat for the past few years has taught us a lot about the unnecessaries - the stuff we don't need. It turns out that we don't need 15 forks and 3 bathrooms. A yard to mow and weed? Nope. The unnecessaries are really more about time than anything else. Time to wash 15 forks. Time to earn money to buy 15 forks. Time to drive down to Ikea and shop for forks in the first place. Time spent waiting on the plumber to fix the leaky dishwasher which you need…to wash the forks. Time to clean the 3 bathrooms. The time I'm not spending with my family because I'm in a separate wing of the house cleaning the 3rd bathroom. Do I spend more time working in the yard or sitting in it enjoying the work that I've done?
We did pretty well at getting rid of stuff before we moved aboard our boat. After two garage sales we kept a storage unit for awhile as we slowly sold things that didn't really matter anymore. A lot of the things I was happy to get rid of - why do we have so many pens?!?! Basically, if we only used something once or twice a year or had plans to use it but hadn't yet, we got rid of it. Bikes, books (lots of books), some holiday decorations. If stuff was too big it didn't have a place either. My 42 inch TV, blue-ray player, and video game console(s) - bye-bye. Wii-fit doesn't work so well in a 32 foot sailboat! Luckily we have great friends and they agreed to hold on to some important things that we still couldn't let go.
That brings us to the line. The line of what is necessary and what isn't. I know boaters' needs vary - what one boat owner needs another could do without. I also know that as liveaboards it's something we think about often, especially in the first few years, especially when you're cramming your stuff into boat lockers trying to make everything fit! What do I really need aboard? What do I need in my life? To be content?
As far as our boat goes, she has three beds, a head (toilet), 2 sinks, a small fridge & freezer, a two burner stove and oven, a shower, a hot water heater and water pressure (some boats you have to manually pump to get water). That seems like enough right? It's been feeling pretty normal for awhile now...and then our water heater broke. Was it necessary to fix? I mean, do we really need a hot water heater? Is it worth the time?
Well, for whatever reason, you get used to what you have. Some dream of more, some dream of less. We are the same people we were when we lived on land in a big house - just now with less junk, more boat projects, and with a lot more time to spend on the necessary (the water heater was deemed necessary - see below for fix pics).
I once heard a story of a captain on a giant sailboat trying to gain a little advantage from the judges before a race. He claimed that although his boat was rated a certain way he should get a little help because be had extra weight aboard. He had a grand piano…on the boat! Now, we love the sound of a good Steinway, but I'm not sure it would make it aboard! As we move from this adventure to another, these lessons will definitely come with us. What is necessary and how much time does it take to make it so?
Replacing the Hot Water Heater!
Shhhhhh. Can you keep a secret? I know of a secret Seattle beach. Rumors are that many bowsprits of old wooden boats have been sacrificed here. At low tide, on the outside of the Shilshole Marina breakwater, this secret beach appears.
The beach is sandy. It has lots of shells. It's very shallow around the beach and thus only accessible by paddle-craft or dinghy (pull the outboard up as you get close). It was extra big and sandy during the super moon low tides a few weeks ago. That's when we went. We actually go all the time. Here's how to get there (at low tide) by kayak:
directions to the secret beach
1. Paddle out of the marina. We like to head south first.
2. Paddle under this trimaran…even if your wife is screaming something about not doing it.
3. Hang a right at the big cranky that hangs out under one of the south docks.
4. Zip around the neighbors/breakwater and head north. Continue paddling north and look to the right...
There it is. You've made it! When you show friends pictures they'll think you're at nearby Golden Gardens…but they're wrong. You're at the secret Shilshole breakwater beach…let's keep these secret directions between you and…hey wait a minute...
…Ah great. I guess the secret's already out.
~Paul & Amber ETC
Water Tank Roulette
Captain wifey and I like to play a little game aboard our sailboat. It involves the water tank. Maybe you play it too!
As full-time liveaboards, we use freshwater on our boat to do dishes and take occasional showers. Our tank sits under the forward bed, with hoses running back to the galley, head, & cockpit outdoor faucet. At the dock, our 50 gallon water tank lasts us about a week. We're lucky to have water pressure (no foot pumps). The pressure system makes a predictable Chewbacca-like purr every 5 seconds or so when we're running the water.
If you're using the faucet aboard when the water runs out, the water pressure purr gets a little louder and doesn't stop. With no water left in the tank, it is trying to pressurize water that isn't there. A quick flip of the breaker shuts it down and it's time to go outside and fill the tank.
Rewind about a day and this is when water tank roulette begins! It's just the two of us aboard Kingsley (2 1/2 if you count the cat), and neither of us are that fond of filling the water tank back up (especially in the cold, dark, windy, dead of a Northwest winter).
As the tank indicator displays a low water level, the game begins. With every turn of the faucet, every dish rinsed in the galley, every toothbrush rinse before bed, there's a risk. If the water runs out while you're using the faucet, you lose & have to go out and fill the tank! It's husband vs. Captain Wifey in this risky game of water tank roulette!!!
~Paul & Amber ETC
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