Living Aboard a Sailboat Offers Adventure in the High Seas
We live in an overload of information and technology world. While standing in line at the grocery store you might see two teenage girls with their heads bent down looking at their iPhones and giggling or the adolescent boy wearing head phones listening to music rather than paying attention to his mother.
If you consider living aboard a sailboat, you’ll leave behind emails, text messaging, Twitter, and Facebook. Instead of every other person you see carrying one of the “i’s:” iPhone, iPad, iPad 2, iTunes, and iPods, you’ll meet other boaters and have real conversations.
Living Aboard a Sailboat on a Budget
You really want to change your lifestyle and slow down. Living aboard a sailboat might be worth considering.
Now you need to put pen to paper and calculate if your wallet can afford it:
- Sailboats - are you going to purchase or lease the sailboat
- Insurance - for the vessel and yourself
- Supplies – your initial investment and ongoing
- Equipment – what other equipment will you need upfront
- Docking – every time you dock, you will have to pay a marina
- Groceries – staples and ongoing food needs
If you have a significant other joining you on this adventure of living aboard a sailboat, both of you will need to learn the ropes. You want to choose the right type of class and instructor to suit your interest.
There are three broad areas and they all have something different to offer the cruising sailor:
- Keelboat Classes – focus on how to safely and comfortably operate a bigger sailboat. In addition to the basics of sailing, you will learn about navigation, anchoring, docking and the systems that make life comfortable for long voyages.
- Small Boat Sailing – the best way to learn how the wind affects the boat. You have to understand how the sailboat works.
- Racing Sailors – covers the techniques that will increase speed under sail. This covers how fast you can go rather than the mechanics of the sailboat.
Living Aboard a Sailboat Lifestyle
Are you ready to consider living aboard a sailboat, tweaking the sails to make the boat go half a knot faster; watching the stars while under way at 2 in the morning totally surrounded by the ocean.
Envision arriving at a new destination, dropping anchor, meeting new friends, sharing stories and your passion for sailing. As the evening comes to an end, you’ll enjoy the quietness and viewing the sunset. You will be able to jump in the water and catch a couple of lobsters for dinner.
You’ll be more in touch with nature because of the silence of sailing. You’ll have the independence that sailing offers.
What You’ll Sacrifice if Living Aboard a Sailboat
Since living aboard a sailboat isn’t quite as luxurious as a house or apartment, consider what you will be sacrificing:
- Baths and showers – where, how often, and is the water clean
- Electricity – storing food without spoiling and all of the other needs for power
- Entertainment – are you going to miss those reality shows or evening news
- Laundry – fresh linens and clean clothes
- Pets – dogs maybe, but consider the potty breaks
- Healthcare – your prescription refills and access to doctors
- Cuisine – no fresh milk and you have to really like seafood
Although not as convenient and comfortable as living on land, you don’t have to live on beans and rice, but you will probably be eating healthier. There are alternatives for power: solar panels, wind generators, or propane. You may have to consider how to distribute your power, but you can have lighting for reading or pop in a DVD in the evenings, if you’ve allotted your power effectively.
Also consider how long you plan living aboard a sailboat. Assuming you don’t get rid of all of your belongings and home, you’ll have to find someone to look after your house for things like making sure the pipes don’t freeze in the winter and the safety of your belongings you are leaving behind.
The Most Important Question When Considering Living on a Sailboat
You want to know the answer to the most basic need for every human being, where do you go to the bathroom. It isn’t as bad as you might think. There is a holding tank, which has to be emptied periodically, more often in the hot summer months. Some experienced sailors “hold it” until they dock at a marina.
Types of Sailboats
If you are considering living on a sailboat, you need to think about which type of sailboat you can afford and that will provide you with enough comfort 24/7.
A few of your options include:
- The most common type of small to midsize sailboat is the sloop. The rig is one mast and two sails.
- A cat-rigged boat generally has only one sail. The mast is positioned forward, almost at the bow, making room for a very long-footed mainsail.
- A popular rig for midsize cruising boats is the ketch, which is like a sloop with a second, smaller mast set aft, called the mizzenmast.
- A gaff-rigged schooner uses a topsail and several flying jibs. Tacking or gybing a complicated sail plan like this takes a lot of crew and expertise.
You’ve taken your sailing lessons, purchased or leased your sailboat, figured out your budget, the caring of your home and you gave your cats away, now all you’ll need is a comb, bathing suit, shorts, tee shirts and deck shoes.
Living on a sailboat means fishing, snorkeling and swimming while the warm sun glistens on the water. You might see a dolphin or even a whale or two, depending on your destination. You’ll enjoy nature and the gentle gliding along to the power of the wind with no alarm clocks or traffic jams.
Living aboard a sailboat you will be living the essence of a simple life. You’ll quickly learn what the power of less means!
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