Living Aboard Boats

" Living Free on the H2O"

Let The Search Begin

Written By: Captain Curt - Jul• 11•15

untitled (8)When I first purchased My Second Wind I have always struggled with what to do about a reliable tender. My Second Wind came with a 8 ft. Montgomery sailing dingy. Great little boat but for a single sailor very hard to deploy. In fact because it is so hard to deploy. I have found my self, on more than one occasion, not deploying it at all. Another problem I have with the tender is all the different parts and pieces it comes with. There is a 6 ft. mast, removal center board, and tiller with rudder. I also have a 30 year old, 2.5 Mercury 2 cycle out board, that I have never used. All of these item are so bulky and so heavy to maneuver.
As much as I want a new tender I struggle with the every day traditional look and feel of the sailing dingy. I love the fact that it is so traditional and requires only the wind however after careful consideration I feel it is time to let her go.
“So go to what”, I ask my self. What ever brand I get I have to make sure it is light weight; no longer then 9 ft. long and some thing that has a large capacity. The new tender must be easy to stow down below when not being used. The Tender must also be able to handle up to a 4 hp. engine. The new Tender must have a solid floor of either plywood or aluminum and have at least 4 air compartments. Any suggestions?
I have been looking all over for either a good used tender or a new one. I have researched all brands from Zodiac, Stryker, Achilles, to many others. Thru my research I am finding that most are being made in China. Which is not necessarily a bad thing. I think??? 3144044
Thru all my research I am starting to lean towards a Stryker 8.6 Dingy. These little machines retail for about $1250.00 Canadian and seems to tick all the boxes. Not only is the price some thing I can afford but the features all seem to tick the boxes. It is under a 100 lbs., she can be stowed in less than 15 min. She can handle over 800lbs and is small enough to be stowed on deck. Check her out and let me know your thoughts.

You Only Get So Many Trips Around the Sun

Written By: Captain Curt - Jun• 09•15

IMG_0005Recently I had the pleasure of spending the afternoon with a close friend. What made this afternoon so special is I was asked for my advice. When asked about my thoughts on a certain matter I was both surprised and honored. I mean no one really ever asks for my opinion. The few times that it does happen I really feel honored. I guess one could say I feel like I am living the right way. My life has taken the path of true authenticity. Another thing that made this meeting with my friend so special is that my friend is 70 years old and asking me for advise. Shouldn’t it be the other way around I thought?
I have always lived a life where I have been blessed with having friends from all walks of life and all ages. I have always felt that every one on this planet is equal and the waitress is just an important as the doctor.
In fact as a young child I felt it weird to call some one Mister or Doctor when they didn’t all me Mister. Sure I was 7 years old but to me it didn’t matter than and it doesn’t matter now. images (3)

Getting back to my story about my friend. She had asked me what I would do in her situation? You see in her life she has had struggles financially. As hard as she has tried and as hard as she has worked, life has not been kind to her financially. It has gotten to the point where at 70 years old she still goes to work every day to supplement her meager pension. My friend felt trapped and like time was passing her by. She was right time was passing her by. I told her she was only trapped by her own sense of comfort. I asked her if she could do any thing today what would she do? She mentioned how her dream was to live in a small town in Mexico and live out her years going to the markets , learning the culture and be friending the Mexican people. She was tired of not making the same money as her counterparts because of her age. She felt trapped in her life and thought there is no way she could ever live out her dream. She asked what I would do?
Through our conversation I found out that she could rent out her house and have a positive cash flow. There was enough money between the rent from her home and her small pension. There was really no reason to work the rest of her days for the man.
IMG_0260When I left our dinner she was pumped and phoned the next day to thank me for giving her the push that she needed.
I don’t think I really told her any thing she didn’t already know. What i did do was give her the push to go out there and live her dreams.
Life is so short and one never knows when we are unable to fulfill those dreams due to health, family or a countless amount of other factors.
Get out there people. You only get so many trips around the sun.

They Are Trying To Suck Me Back In

Written By: Captain Curt - May• 04•15

They are trying to suck me back in;
As I drive these endless miles across this great big country I can’t help but let my mind wonder. What in store for the future. I suppose it is not a smart thing, when I am flying down the highway weighing 87,000 lbs., to let my wander but I can’t help my self. I find my self passing the time by listening to pod casts of some of my most inspiring mentors are Glen Beck, Mark Levine and Dave Ramsey. All of these people are free thinkers and believe in living free now, so you can live free for the future. Ok I just confessed. I am a libertarian. Now the purpose of this post is not to get political. This is not the place for it. In fact after my 49 years on this planet I am finally sick and tired of politics. Those who know me personally would be shocked to hear that but it is true. I have finally figured it out. It is not about the left or the right. It is not about Bush, Obama, Clinton or Harper. They are all in it for money, power and control. They re not there to help the poor or make our lives better. Sure they may say that but in reality it is not true. Ask your self this . If they were in it for the “little people” then after 150 years why are there still “little people”?

The bottom line is, is that if you listen to these political parties, of all stripes, they will slowly suck you back into the system with out you realizing it.

When I sent upon this journey of minimalism and freedom I shed my life of all items keeping me down and stuck to the system. I threw out most of my connections to the system. First went the bills and debt. That in it self keeps you a slave to the system. Then went most of my material items. Bed, sofa, dishes, knickknacks all gone in the trash heap or to charity. Some I sold to get me out of debt. I got rid of my apartment and countless boxes of useless things I had been hoarding around for years. Then finally my connection to land, my apartment. All of this cleansing was so freeing that I struggle with the words to describe how freeing it truly was. It has gotten to the point that I am still trying to down size. Do I really need 5 pairs of jeans or 4 sweaters. Perhaps 2 of each will do? Do I really need a vehicle? That will be a tough one.

There was one thing that I never did purge. It was my connection to the political system thru different forms of media. It has gotten to the point where the bastards are starting to suck me back into the system. The negativity and constant fighting has really taken a toll on my connection to what matters. The simple things. I made a pledge to my self the other day as I went barreling down that highway. No more!! No more negatively and following of politics!! It is like a cancer on the mind and my inner being. Sure I will keep informed and tune into the news every day just to make sure the planet is still spinning but no endless negativity of those wired in to the system. Try it your self and se what effects it has on you inner being.

Good Bye My Friend

Written By: Captain Curt - Dec• 22•14

For those of you that are looking for a blog about sailing I hate to disappoint you. You might want to stop reading now.

I can remember the first time I saw her. She was all of 4 weeks old and smaller than the palm of my hand. I was living in Alberta and the thought of owning a pet was the furthest thing from my mind. Why was it when I saw this little creature I knew she belonged to me? I looked down at the box full of little fluffy kittens when the smallest one stopped playing and looked up at me. She stretched out her little paw as if to say, ” please come take me from this home I call a box and I will come live with you forever”.

I have always been an animal lover and in most cases I have been closer to animals than humans. Strange I know but it is the truth. It was however a completely other thing when it came to cats. They have never been my favorite pet of choice. You see they are not like a dog. They don’t really come when they are told. They wont go fetch and ball or return your slippers. You can’t really take them for walk and when you have to cuddle them they must decide whether they want to be cuddled. Even when they are up for a cuddle it has to be on their terms because you know that when they have had enough they just get up abruptly and dart away. Claws impaled in your lap and all.
For some reason on this day I felt a little bit taken back by this little creature and said to the owner that I would take her when she was ready to leave her mom.
When the day finally arrived to pick up my new furry friend I held her up to the sky and said to her and the “god of animals”, that “she will be named Savary after the most beautiful island in the world.” I told her “she will be raised like a dog and learn to cuddle me on my terms and walk along side me when I wanted her to go for a walk.” and with that she became my friend.

As the years past we grew closer and closer together. She actually became more like my dog then a cat . She would come when I called. She would walk along side me when I went for walk. She would even let me pet her like a dog and actually seemed to enjoy it.
Thru the years when I was sad she would climb up on my lap , sharp claws leading the way to console me, as if to say I am there for you. When I moved her from house to house then on to the boat she never complained only spent the first 24 hours investigating every cubby hole and noise.

When she went for her first sail and got sick all over my comforter and carpet she just went and laid down until she felt better than lied on her back in the V Birth and enjoyed the smooth seas. She was my first mate and my best friend.
On December 6th and after 18 years with my furry friend it was time to say good-bye.
It was probably one of the hardest things I have ever had to do.

It is strange how these little creatures we call pets can become so close to us. They are with us through the thick and thin and never try to hurt us. They are pure beings that only want a warm place to sleep and a meal. They love a cuddle and a gentle pet.
I will miss you my furry friend.

Let Fall Begin On My Westsail 32

Written By: Captain Curt - Oct• 11•14

Well I think fall is finally here on my Westsail 32. As the leaves are starting to change color. The brilliant blue sky is slowly turning grey and the many birds that used to wake me up have started their trek south to warmer latitudes.

As the rain leaks thru my cabin top I sit here docked at the marina pounding all the projects left to do over the next few months. Some projects have been completed and many others still remain.

Perhaps the largest and most daunting task is replacing my cabin top. You see when I purchased My Second Wind one of the things that was wrong with her was she had serious leaks in a cabin top.
The fittings that support the various items on the deck go through the cabin top and some of those were leaking. There is also a serious leak in the main hatch that is in the main saloon.

The overall project looks something like this; remove the quarter-inch marine grade plywood off interior cabin top; unbolt all fixed items that go through countertop; Re bed said bolts and seal and rebuild the hatch.

So where to begin? My first step is going to be somewhat of an exploratory type procedure. I’m going to remove the first layer of plywood on the cabin top and see what I’m in for. The and only then will I get a handle on what is to be done. Here we go.

Mold & Boats Don’t Mix

Written By: Captain Curt - Aug• 14•14

Recently I was shocked to find mold underneath the cushion of the V Birth. It was a surprise to me because before I moved aboard, 7 months ago, I scrubbed under the V birth with bleach and water. I then primed and painted with mold resistant paint.
As many of you know I also have a video vlog on You tube. I posted a video recently talking about the mold under the V birth and the suggestions on how to combat this started to roll in. It seems that the overall consensus is there is in adequate air flow under the mattress. This makes sense to me because there is also body heat when I sleep. There is also moisture in the air when the boat is closed up at night.
One suggestion that I liked was to put lattice-work under the mattress in between the mattress and the ply wood base it is on. That makes sense to me as it will allow air flow.
I also received a helpful suggestion to install a Froli Sleep system. What is a Froli Sleep system you ask? Check out this video and let me know your thoughts.

Do I have A.D.D.?

Written By: Captain Curt - Aug• 09•14

In todays modern world there seems to be a catch-all phrase or acronym for all of our deficiencies in our personalities. What I mean by this is society has a condition for every thing. If you are over weight you have a gland problem or you blame it on your diabetes. It is never the McDonald’s or all you can eat buffets you partake in 3 times a week. If you are an Alcoholic then you have a disease not an addiction. If you are slow in learning you have dyslexia and only need to be understood. In my case I have A.D.D. You see, I need an excuse in order to justify my lack of focus. If I look back it all started as a boy of 5 years old. I could never keep focused on my finger painting in kindergarten or stick with gluing macaroni on my bleach jug. Even my teachers would comment about this on my report cards. Now a days that would not be aloud because I would have a condition called A.D.D and they would not want to hurt my feelings or development.

In case you haven’t gathered I am being facetious but I do have a tendency to get started on one project and then branch off to another. It is not that I start them I just seem to lose focus for a while. The other day I was feeling over whelmed with the amount of projects on the boat. There is a project for every part of this 40-year-old floating wonder. Even small projects like registering the boat seem to be put to the side. Removing the lettering, fixing the out board or addressing the electrical issues. There is painting to be done, oil to be changed and an engine that needs a new fuel filter.

My routine for procrastinating usually goes some thing like this. The night before I say to my self. “Self get up early and empty the V birth so you can scrub down the mold, flush out the waste tank and start the removal process.” I then get up early make a coffee then a second and start my day. Well no I don’t start with the V Birth. No I need to walk down town as I need to stay in shape and nothing should get in to the way of that. Then I need fresh vegetables because I am staying in shape and can’t pollute my body. I then return to the boat around noon and decide I better make lunch as I have been exercising all morning. After eating, catching up on emails and doing dishes it is now to late to start the V birth.
Even today I decided to start working on that elusive V birth but I can’t because I have this blog to write.

I am just going to have to blame it on my A.D.D.

Make Life Happen

Written By: Captain Curt - Jul• 08•14

A while back I received an email from a fellow Westsail lover and Living aboard boats follower. The person on the other end of the email had a request. A simple request really. They wanted to meet with me to discuss how to live a simple free life style on a boat particularly a Westsail 32.

This request seemed reasonable and my first thought was sure. Why not meet up, have a beer and discuss the life style and how to make it possible.
A short time later I found my self walking thru a local pub in Victoria looking for a couple that I had never meet before. It was easy to spot them sitting on the patio enjoying the beautiful ocean view.

I introduced my self and they did the same. The conversation went easy and like most people in this life style or people who long for this life style the conversation ended up lasting for hours. We discussed every thing from how to live simply, How to stay out of debt and how to obtain an inexpensive boat. Particularly a Westsail 32.

They informed me that they had followed my journey and had taken similar steps to work towards their dream of Westsail ownership. They felt that they were not there yet but had started to put all the pieces in order. They had down sized in vehicles, paid off most debt and were focused on saving money for their future boat purchase. After getting to know each other we said our good byes with the hopes that we would meet again. Who knows maybe in a tropical anchorage some day?

When I left our get together I could not help but think that these people are so close to fulfilling their dream there has to be a way that we can somehow make it possible. I contacted them and we decided to meet up again but this time on my Westsail. I really wanted them to see My Second Wind close up and get a feel for the space and the living in the marina life style. A short while later we where all in the cock pit enjoying various cheeses, nuts, crackers and my home-made salsa.
They brought an amazing bottle of wine and cheese and a good time was had by all. We actually meet in the early afternoon and it was late into the evening when they had left.

The time seemed to fly by as we focused on how we could get them in to a Westsail now and not years down the road. How could this be done with little money and is it ever a good idea to get a bank loan? Now as many of you know I don’t believe in living on credit. God knows I have had my fair share of it. I do however believe in a mortgage or a loan for your primary residence. Most people on this planet don’t have $200,000 or more in the bank to purchase a home out right. We go to the bank and obtain a mortgage. Our basic thinking on getting them into a Westsail was why pay rent for an expensive apartment in one of the most expensive areas to live in the world ( Vancouver) when you can get a small loan for under $30,000 and get your Westsail today? Then take those expensive, waste full landlord rent payments and put those towards your dream.
After our time together this couple left focused and steadfast on obtaining their dream.

I am a firm believer that when things are meant to be they just fall into place with out to many restrictions or obstacles in the way.
I am happy to report that only a few short weeks later this couple where able to find a live aboard marina, secure financing for their Westsail 32 and sublet out their apartment.

It brings me great joy to see another dream fulfilled.

To all of you that believe the road is to steep or you are to far in debt to ever realize your dreams there is a way out. Stay focused and do what it takes to make it possible. Some times it takes sacrifice and doing things that are not always easy to do. Some times it takes a complete readjustment in our life styles to make it possible. It can be done. Just make it happen.

To Do Lists

Written By: Captain Curt - Jul• 02•14

I have been floating in this little marina now for over 180 days. To date I can honestly say I have really accomplished nothing. The first 30 days I blamed in on a life style change and detoxing.

The next 30 days I blamed in on the cold weather and lack of heat. After that the excuses where varied from I am working on it to it is some thing I am going to tackle in the summer.

So here I am still floating in this marina and I still have dozens of excuses to throw out there when needed.

Today as in most days I woke up with my “to do list” in one hand and a coffee in the other. Two cups later the “to do list” is my new coaster and my coffee needs another refill.

Oh well there is always tomorrow.

Turn Off The Switch

Written By: Captain Curt - Jun• 27•14

I can’t remember the first time I fell in love that with the idea that one can generate power from the sun and wind. When ever it was I still find it amazing how there is free energy out there for the taking. All you have to do it harness it.

Now I live in a northern latitude, 49 degrees north to be exact. That being said my available sun hours in this region is only 3.5 hours per day on average. This is going to pose a problem with collecting this free energy.

One thing I have decided to do is go back to the ways of the past. A lantern, candles and lots and lots of rechargeable batteries will do the trick.

There is one thing that I love about this life style. It is the simplicity of it all. Things just feel better, work better and seem more meaning full when you provide for your self.

Some times it is nice not to be able to just turn on a switch.

The Solar panels on My Second Wind are old but do work however. They only provide 5 amps of power. This is enough to run chart plotter a couple of lights and perhaps a radio or two. After testing my batteries I see they go down from 13.4 to 12 .3 in a matter of an hour. The two solar panels have the ability to recharge those batteries in relatively little sun. They do not however offer enough power to run a computer, watch a movie and recharge additional cell phones and other devises. My Second wind will have to acquire a whole new solar system and batteries.

My plan is purchase 2, 140 watt panels each producing 7.5 amps for a total of 15 amps of power. I will still have my 2 older panels for an additional 5 amps. This is a total of 20 amps in ideal conditions. I will purchase a 30 amp charge controller from Morning Star and an additional gel set battery. In the future I will also add wind generation but this is some thing I am still researching. I like the fact that I can maximise all sources of energy when my sun hours are so limited.

This should satisfy all my electrical needs.