Its been a few months since Ben and I have lived aboard our own boat and I’m starting to feel very disconnected. While we are working on boats, and living aboard while we work, it just isn’t the same. I’m eager to find our new home. I know many people have been asking what we are looking for, so here are some reflections on the boat-shopping process so far:
In the last week Ben and I have looked at 5 different boats from 32ft to 42ft long, and I still haven’t found a favorite, but I am honing in on the features I like and don’t like.
The 42ft boat felt like a beast! In the years before sailing Daphne and Elizabeth, I hadn’t done much sailing on boats smaller than thirty feet. But in the past four years, I’ve come to love the pocket-cruiser and the ease and comfort with which I can sail it all on my own. Putting aside the extra maintenance and owner costs of a boat that large, I still think it just wouldn’t feel as cozy.
The 32ft boat was more my size and many sacrifices in comforts I’m willing to accept. For instance, having a shower still isn’t on my priority list. I’ll manage just fine without. Instead, a shower remains on the “luxury” list where we would feel lucky to find a boat with a shower, but its certainly not a priority.
So, what is a priority? Well, since Ben and I are both planning to work and live full time aboard the boat, in all seasons, I have to consider the next boat with winter in mind.
Summer, or southern climates, make living aboard easy. The space expands from a tiny cabin cave to the entire deck with walls as confining as the distant horizon. But in the winter not only were we confined to the cabin, but even Elizabeth’s cabin shrunk. We packed the quarterberth with sails and sealed off the focs’l so there was less space to heat. That left us with the galley and saloon, which is where we ate our meals, worked, slept, cooked, watched movies, relaxed, did pull-ups, and even sometimes danced.
Ben works late into the night and I’m ready to crash at 10pm. Unfortunately, we both have to pack up together and put the computers away to pull the bed out and unroll the the sleeping bags. Getting ready for bed is a group effort. And when Ben has to use the bathroom, since we had to stow the table to get to the head, well, look out world! Our next boat will make use of the space in a way that meets our needs and our variety of liveaboard life better.
Of course, she will also be seaworthy. We’re planning on sailing into northern latitudes again and want a boat that will be comfortable in rough seas, is well insulated, and prepared to handle the icy cold and yet still feel like home.
So, are we on the right track? What important things would you look for in a boat?
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