Taking a break from the “You Live on a Boat?!” series this week to write about our favorite honorary crew: Cody and Matthew.
I’m large in terms of the average cruising boat. I’m 42 ft long, and a reasonable size for typical cruisers is 36 ft. Of course, many have gone cruising in both smaller and larger boats. Aaron specifically looked for a boat in the 40 ft range, knowing that the majority of time they are sailing, it is just the two of them.
My raised cabin top and wide girth add to the spaciousness below, while the small, fully enclosed cockpit doesn’t invite sloppy waves or confused seas onboard. With only one full stateroom, the aft quarterberth is cozy for visitors but a bit tough for long-term living aboard. (Ask Heidi’s son … he lived part-time with us during his pre- and early teens, but wanted far more privacy when he got older.)
I’ve been told that I’m the perfect boat for double-handed circumnavigating, which we’ll put to the test next year. For now, Heidi and Aaron have found that my overall living space is perfect for dockside life for the two of them and Tiki.
Add two rambunctious boys, ages 3 and 5, and the space diminishes quickly! We adore having our GrandBoys onboard and they have been naturals at learning the boating lifestyle. They know not to go on deck without an adult with them, that they need one hand on me when boarding and de-boarding (although Cody has been known to make a big, heart-stopping leap from my deck to the docksteps!), and to respect the fragility of my custom wooden doors and furniture (with a few repeated reminders).
Heidi cleans out the aft quarterberth before their arrival, shifting extra blankets or items waiting to go to storage, either off me or to the “attic” (aka the sail and anchor locker in my bow). The shelves along my port side hold an assortment of books and toys that were bought specifically for boatlife: coloring books and crayons in zippered, padded lap bags, magnetic “Trouble” and dominoes, Barrels of Monkeys, small nautical-themed Lego sets, kites and, of course, fishing poles. And Hot Wheels. Even boat-boys have to have their cars.
The insert is added to make a queen size bunk, which they share with plenty of space for sprawling little bodies. It’s a sort of “boy cave” with a porthole that opens into the cockpit and curtains that close it off from my galley/navigation station area.
Being active little boys, they love climbing up my companionway stairs and jumping down the three steps, swinging on my handholds and playing ball with Tiki. A favorite game is to climb through the master stateroom hatch, drop down on Heidi and Aaron’sbunk and then race through my salon, up the stairs and across deck to do it all again. They also love helping Papy (Aaron) wash the boat and Nana (Heidi) with cooking. Both love riding in the dinghy and kayaking with Papy and Nana and have swam in the marina when the weather was hot. They are just now learning to sail and Cody likes to take the helm. We’re all looking forward to weekends at Angel Island this summer.
The Boys are comfortable on the dock and enjoy watching the ducks and sealife, throwing just about anything in the water and riding in the dockcart. Neither has ever showed any sign of being seasick or fear of the water. Our hope is that they, and their soon-to-be sister, will spend holidays and summers with us in exotic waters and one day make ocean crossings with us.
For now, Cody and Matthew think it’s perfectly normal that their grandparents live on a boat and have learned to “rough it” watching movies on our 32 inch “big screen” TV, taking showers or a “spit and shine” instead of baths, and enjoy treats like stove-top popcorn since we don’t have a microwave. We love the adorable chaos that they bring with them … and appreciate the quiet and orderliness of our small space when they leave!
Vivo O Sonho … Living the Dream: 344 days and counting until Nana & Papy become vagabonds!