Living Aboard Boats

" Living Free on the H2O"

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.

Am I Now A Lazy Man?

Written By: Captain Curt - May• 31•14

Some times I think my life style is too easy. I mean I go to bed when I want, sleep in when I want and do what ever I want in my day. Not many people can say that? It is a really weird concept and one that does not come easy to me. I suppose it is a life time of training that was programmed in to my brain by my society. I was programmed to wake up at certain time and to be at work at this time. I as told when to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner. In return for giving up my freedom I received a reward called money, which was programmed to go into my account every two weeks. This life style seems so distant to me now and one that I would hope I never go back to.

Why is it as humans we rely on security and peace of mind so much? I think it is also programmed into u,s as babies, that we need to be safe and secure in life. Their for risk and fulfilling your dreams should be left just as that, dreams.

When I set out on this journey of freedom I really didn’t know where it was going to take me. This is also a strange concept in that every thing in my life always had a foreseeable ending. You go to school you graduate. You work extra hours you make more money. You want a house or a new car then do this, that and the other thing and those things will be yours in the end. So here I sit on this beautiful sunny day on My Second Wind with out a care in the world. I have no idea where life will take me and where I will end up. Will I fall in love one day? Will I learn to play Cannon on my guitar or will I conquer the seas?

God only knows.

Choose Freedom Not Crap

Written By: Captain Curt - May• 15•14

Choose freedom not crap.
It has been an interesting journey so far and one that is getting better and better each day. It has been over 4 months since I have lived aboard and almost half a year since I sold all my crap.
If there is one question that I am constantly get asked time and time again it is “ do you regret getting rid of all your stuff” ? To be totally honest the answer is no. I can not even think of one item that I sold or gave away that I wish I had back . That says allot about my decision to become a minimalist and to find freedom. I think for once in my life I truly made the right decision or me.

I find it amazing how we as humans have been sold a bill of goods to work ,obtain debt and consume. Now for some people this brings them true joy and satisfactions. For others this feels like a huge noose around our necks. I was one of those humans wearing that noose.

The other day I had a nice relaxing time sitting in the cockpit of My Second Wind with a friend. We shared a bottle of wine and had a nice tray of smoked salmon, Camembert, various nuts and fruit. My friend asked me how I can afford to eat this way seeing as I choose a life of freedom. I said it is easy. I don’t pay for a storage locker to store all my crap. I don’t pay for parking to store my vehicle and I choose not to dress in expensive cloths,so I can be a successful at work in order to obtain more crap, and storage lockers. We both laughed

To me that really sums it up. I have chosen to live a life, that is real.genuine and authentic.

As our afternoon continued they chatted about work and work related problem like co workers, wages or the lack there of. I chatted about cleaning my teak decks and how to apply non skid.
It was at that point they mentioned how they only had 12 years left to work then they will be fine financially. I mentioned how I wanted to start using my dingy to do more rowing for exercise.

I can not stress enough that how you choose to live your life is a choice. It may seem over whelming to change and take that huge step . Once you do I can guarantee you will have no regrets.
Just live your live on your own terms

The following video is an amazing example how this young couple where able to see the light and live a true life of freedom on their terms;

A Daunting Task

Written By: Captain Curt - May• 02•14

It is has been a challenging time for me these days. It has been a chore to finally get out of the storage locker but I did it. I feel so good that I am now saving $140 per month. What proved to be even more challenging is figuring out what to do with all this stuff.

Some times I feel it is so overwhelming that I am not sure where to start. I mean there is just no room to stow all this gear but it is gear that I need. The previous owner of Second Wind spent a life time collecting sailing and boating equipment. There are extra sails; Storm sails, Spinnakers, Tri sails, canvas, tents, awnings, sail covers just to name a few items. There are parts and pieces and stuff I know is important but not sure why.

When I purchased my blue water home in Sept I transported 2 truck loads of sailing gear and a boat load of even more sailing kit. Now I am faced with this daunting task. Over the past 3 days I have been sorting and down sizing, I went from 30 rubber made tubs to 20 then down to 10. Now I am down to 5 tubs of gear that I feel is essential. The tubs are full of cleaners, electrical, parts, pieces, safety gear, ropes, line and sheets.

I still need to find room for sanding gear, paint products, tools, fishing tackle, snorkels, masks, DVD,s, books, oil, fuel additives, and countless over boat gear. Will this stowing and reorganizing ever end. I am the type of person that likes a home for every thing. I don’t like to be searching for things like sugar, which I just spent 15 minutes trying to find this morning.

Life Aboard Is Good

Written By: Captain Curt - Apr• 23•14

As the end of April approaches I find my self reflecting on my new life aboard. It has been almost 4 months now and my live aboard life style is going well. I continued to marvel on how we as humans can learn to adapt to our surroundings. In only a few short years I went from a 2800 sq. ft. home, then to a 700 sq. ft. apartment and now to just under 200 sq. ft. on the H2O.

When I set out on this journey of minimalism I initially found it hard to unplug from society. Selling my precious gatherings over a life time become more of a chore then I had anticipated. It was a daily challenge to find a home for what treasures remained . There is a rule on my boat and that is,” if some thing comes on the boat then some thing has to go”. See you later cat ! That quote has never wrung so true to me as it does now.

Every thing in my home has a space where it belongs. There is a space for every tool, every sock and every piece of sailing kit. Nothing is left to meander around my home. One of the readers of this blog said that “every thing on a boat has to be ship-shape” and that is so true. One can not have a life of disarray aboard and expect to enjoy a home that can heal over 35 degrees without a moments notice. There is also no room for low-end, modern-day crap like cheap plastics, metal hangers or low-end items. I made a pledge to my self that if I am going to live in such small space with few items. then what room I do have has to be filled with good long-lasting quality items. I may not have a lot of “stuff” left in my life but the few items I do have are treasures to me.

I was asked by a close friend the other day “What do I missed about living on land and in my apartment” After I thought for while the only thing I could come up with is having my own shower. There is some thing in having your own space to bathe in without having to share it with others.
To me that’s not too bad. Only missing my own shower. I can live with that.