Living Aboard Boats

" Living Free on the H2O"

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.

A Phone Call Can Save $$

Written By: Captain Curt - Apr• 05•14

As the days grow further and further away from my past life of employment and commitments. I find my self budgeting every thing down to the last penny.

I literally look at every expense and contemplate if I really do need this or can I do with out. I also find my self looking months into the future analyzing future financial commitments.
If you sit back and look at how our society is set up it has been designed to rape us of your hard-earned income thru either taxes, fees or life’s necessities A good example would be some thing as simple as a cell phone. I know through my past travels to third world countries that cell phone fees are very very low. Governments have decided to structure plans in a way that the poorest of poor can get a cell phone. It is only a few dollars a month to have a cell phone in these countries. This is done not to assist the people but to take what they can from the people.

In my home country of Canada my government has decided to charge as much as humanly possible for cell phone coverage. They have also forbid most competition by other cell phone carries in to the Canadian market place. This insures that rates remain inflated and Canadians are forced, in a so-called free market, to pay exorbitant rates and high taxes.

Now I don’t want to go on a tangent into the so-called free market place because this is a boating site about living free and away from the grip of society. What I am simply pointing out is it is very important to look at each and every fee that we are subject too each month.
Here are some changes I have made and all it took was a few phone calls and a little bit of a life style change. The rates listed below are what I was paying per annum and what I am paying now. You will be able to see how much money our societies demand from us.

Cell Phone was $1800 now $ 700
Parking was $700 now $ 0
Gasoline for truck was $6800 now $4800
Vehicle insurance was $ 1100 now $800
Gym Membership Was $ 720 now 0
Total savings per year $ 4820.00

All I did was take a close look at my expenses and made a few phone calls.
So how did I do this?
Cell phone. I got rid of my data plan { There are plenty of free Wi Fi zones }
Parking. I now park on the street across from the marina
Fuel. I walk or ride my bike every where humanly possible
Truck Insurance. I no longer need insurance for work use
Gym Membership. I walk and ride and no longer go to the gym
I am not done from stopping the constant bleed of my expenses. The more I look at alternate energy sources, living on the hook and minimizing even more I would hope to cut down my expenses to next to nothing for my survival . I also plan on doing this in style

Dreaming Of The Equator

Written By: Captain Curt - Mar• 29•14

I don’t mind rainy days on the boat. Sure I am a sun lover but there is nothing better than being down below comfy cosy looking at charts and reading pilot guides. I dream about distant shores and crossing the equator some day. I read somewhere that out of all the people who dream of becoming a Shell Back { one who crosses the equator by water} less then one percent actually do it. I really do hope that I can accomplish that dream some day. I know that it is a make-believe line somewhere on this globe but it is some thing I have dreamt about since I was a young man. I also realize that I will more than likely do it alone and there will be no one there to share in the moment. I am ok with that in fact I have always thought of doing it alone and for some reason it would not feel right if I had some else there. I could change my mind but for now this little dream is mine and mine alone.

On My Second Wind the list of projects seems to grow and grow. Just when I tick one thing off the list I add another two things. It will probably never end really. That’s ok because most of these projects are fun to do and I can see the rewards. I am back to painting after taking a hiatus for a while. No real reason why I took a break. I think it is because of the small quarters. I prefer to be out side on most days so the smell of paint and the thought of being jammed into the Head is some times too much to handle. Now I have a new drive in me and I really want to see the beauty of the white bulk heads and lockers. There is some thing so nice when a ship is ship-shape.
Once the head is painted then doors can go back on. Things can be stowed away properly. This will free up space in the V Birth and the main Saloon as I have been juggling things back and forth as I continue to renovate My Second Wind .
It has been 3 months since I moved aboard full-time. I have survived the 3 coldest months of year and did it with a smile on my face.
Life is good aboard.

“Build Your Dream Or Some One Else Will Hire You To Build Their’s”

Written By: Captain Curt - Mar• 14•14

Just think it has been two weeks of detoxing and life is about to kick in. No, not detoxing from booze or drugs. Detoxing from the tread mill of life. So what can I say after choosing to fulfill my dreams rather than those of my employer? To be honest it has felt more like a holiday.

You know it all to well, you book off work for the proverbial two-week vacation, time for rest and relaxation and a chance to rejuvenate your self; so you can go for another year of fulfilling some one else’s dreams.
When I think about the choice I have made in my life a quote seems to resonate with in me.
It goes like this;

“If you don’t build your dream some one else will hire you to build theirs”

Tony Gaskins

That is what my life felt like when I was working for my employer. I felt like I was building some one else’s dreams rather than working on mine.

So now what? The two-week vacation is over and life is about to kick in. The real world is about to kick me right in the ass. No more paychecks, purchasing at will or doing what ever I want, when I want. Those days are over.
It is going to take some getting used to and to be brutally honest it is a little bit scary.