Saturday, June 13, 2015

I Love the Dream!

Living on a boat is a unique lifestyle. As with everything, it has its pros and cons and transitioning from land to sea can be challenging. It was/is especially challenging for me for a number of reasons:

  • Annie needs more refitting.
  • A 32 foot boat is not 32 feet of living space.
  • I have an eleven year old dog that has some mobility issues now.
  • Tides and fixed docks.
  • From the car to the boat.
  • South winds.
If you glace at my punch list, you'll see I've come a long way from a "Sunk on the hard" boat with a barn whirley-bird on its forward hatch  to a live-aboard world class cruiser, (not that Annie is ready for a circumnavigation but she is headed in that direction).


There are a number of projects that still need to be completed. Some of these projects are major endeavors that will require more than one day to complete, (i.e. pressure water and DC refrigeration). Because these jobs are multi-day jobs that I have to complete on my days off and in my spare time, it is difficult to live aboard and complete said jobs. I have to clean up every night to make the boat "livable" and that can be a pain.

Also, a 32 foot boat is not 32 feet of living space. The Westsail 32 is a very roomy boat, but it is NOT 32 feet of living space. I don't know the exact length of the engine room and the chain locker but as you can see from the floor-plan below, at least 10 feet of the 32 foot boat is lost to those two compartments. About 22 feet is living space and that's not a lot... but the Westsail 32 is still the biggest little sailboat you'll ever step foot on.

In addition to the two previous points, I have an eleven year old dog named Fuji. He is my best friend and he has been with me for seven or eight of his eleven years, (originally he was my daughter's dog but that's a whole other story). Anyway, moving aboard without Fuji was not an option, but due to his advanced age and the limited mobility, the boat had to be made "Pet-Friendly." The companion way ladder was replaced with removable steps on a much lessor angle and a removable ramp has been placed in the V-Berth.


My Best Friend!

Fuji is adapting well and he appears to be quite happy for the most part... except at low tides... which brings me to my next point.

I live in a marina with fixed docks and at some low tides I have to step up about 18-22 inches. That's not a big problem for me, but for my old 102 lb. friend, it becomes an issue. The City Marina in Ft. Pierce has floating docks and I'll probably move there in November when my slip lease is up here. Floating docks are so much better for both Fuji and me and the City marina has so much more to offer at the same price I'm paying here.

In addition to all these things, the distance from the parking lot to my slip is probably 350-400 feet. No real problem until you're carrying tools, parts, groceries, or many other things frequently need aboard, not to mention Fuji on his leash. Top that off with pouring rain and living on a boat can be a challenge.

Finally, though this list is not exhaustive, there are the South winds. Before moved to this marina, I was casually talking to another sailor at West Marine and I mentioned my upcoming move to this particular marina. He commented as he was walking out the door, "Watch out for those South winds." I smiled as if I knew what he was talking about even though I did not. It wasn't long until I realized that sailor's parting statement was a real warning. This marina is protected from the North, East, and West... BUT NOT FROM THE SOUTH! With almost 5 miles of open bay the waves can build up to three feet or more and that can make for sleepless nights. Annie is a heavy girl, 20,000 lbs. and when she starts dancing in her slip she can do some damage if she hits something.

Having said all that, I LOVE LIVING ABOARD!

I love cooking on my non-pressurized alcohol stove. I love the way I sleep at night with the gentle swaying of the boat, (when there are no South winds). I love how I know every inch of my vessel, because I'm refitting the boat myself. I love the comradery of sailors. I love the smell of the ocean. I love the sense of accomplishment as I expend blood, sweat, and tears to refit her and turn her back into the beautiful lady she was meant to be. I love the minimalist lifestyle living aboard demands, (you can't put but so much stuff on a small boat). AND I LOVE THE DREAM!

The dream that one day, Lord willing, Annie will take me to places most people only dream of going and when I go, my home will go with me. I LOVE THE DREAM! That's why I named her, "Dreamboat Annie."

Fair seas and God bless!


  1. I like your attitude. I am sure your dream will come true, as it did for me. Do not wait too long. Do not wait until you think the boat is ready.
    You will have plenty of opportunities to upgrade and finish other projects. Go out into the open realm of the oceans and in the next port fix what needs to be fixed.

    1. Thanks Wereda,

      I'm looking forward to getting out there. Thank you for your advice. I know a guy who's been refitting for a dozen years and still hasn't left. Not me. Thanks for following.

  2. You've come a long way already. Nice work. Looks like you made yourselves quite at home on board.

    Just get her seaworthy to move to the next port, you should be good.

    I always enjoy a nice episode of Enterprise too. lol

    Take Care

    1. Thanks Dan. I have two more "Live-aboard" projects, (Pressure water from the new tanks and DC Refrigeration), then it's all about the sailing refit stuff... rigging, sails, etc.

      and, yes, I am a

      Thanks for following