“You live on a boat?! How is that? Does it move all the time? How does the weather affect you? Where do you keep your stuff? Do you have electricity and water? How about cable and WiFi? How do you shower? What’s your kitchen like? Does your dog like living on a boat? What happens when you go sailing?”
Where do you keep your stuff? Heidi and Aaron had just came out of long marriages in houses filled with lots of material possessions when they moved aboard in 2009. They left their furniture with the exes, so there really wasn’t any big purge to move onboard. They do have a storage loft with stuff that doesn’t belong or fit on me … Breakable items, photo albums, cherished childhood mementos and a bunch of accumulated crap in general. They are slowly going through the lot to pass on to family, donate or trash. Their goal is to have perhaps four boxes of items that will be stored with Aaron’s dad when we go cruising. That’s it. Everything else will fit in or on me.
Considering I have about 300 square feet of real living space belowdecks, I have an incredible amount of storage onboard. Unlike modern houses, I have storage built in just about everywhere.
There are drawers under the master stateroom bunk and the salon furniture and cabinets along the hull, which also serve as insulation. There is also deep storage areas under the bunk mattresses and in my galley and head that are not quickly accessible but great for keeping infrequently used items such as holiday decorations and back-up sails.
Most of my storage areas have holes or slats, allowing for air flow to help stave off issues with mold (which is prevalent on boats). All drawers and cabinet doors have latches so when we heel (tip), they don’t open and spill the contents. The drawers are opened by lifting up on the drawer and then pulling out; when closed the drawer settles into a groove, keeping it shut tight. My head (bathroom) cabinets are opened by inserting a finger in the hole and tripping a hidden latch. Other cabinet doors have wooden toggles that are simply turned to open and secure.
I have four hanging lockers that serve as closets and Heidi has more than enough space to hold office-wear, dresses and 40+ pairs of shoes. Aaron’s closet is half the size of Heidi’s as his construction uniform doesn’t take up much space and his shoe collection consists of flip-flops and boat shoes. One small hanging locker near the companionway holds coats. While we are at the dock, the storage loft allows them to rotate their clothes by season, which also gives them the opportunity to thin out their wardrobe a few times a year.
Our intention is to cruise in warm climates so the majority of the winter clothes needed in Alameda will be given away, with the exception of sets of good foul weather gear, long underwear and Under Armour for cold, wet overnight sailing … and when we cruise into Northern Ireland and England. When cruising, the social horror of wearing the same outfit twice in a week or, God forbid, several days in a row, doesn’t exist. All clothing will be made of natural, breathable material that can be hand-washed, dries quickly and doesn’t stain easily.
Heidi and Aaron have learned to capitalize on the space I have in little ways: finding collapsible mixing bowls and replacing pot and pan lids with silicone covers, a magnetic knife holder and stacking things creatively, for instance.
But what it really comes down to is this: What is necessary for quality of life? Is it a walk-in closet filled with clothes that are rarely worn? A gourmet kitchen with appliances for every possible use? The ability to buy and store 100 rolls of toilet paper? Material possessions are important to some … For Heidi and Aaron, life is all about the journey, not the stuff. And I’m grateful to be the vessel to hold the minimal stuff they need to live a simple and most wonderful life, whether at the marina or in exotic, foreign ports.
Vivo O Sonho … 330 days until we are Living the Dream!
Part 5 next week: Do you have electricity and water?