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Old 06-28-2013
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Re: Downside of living aboard

I will add my small contribution to this thread. I lived aboard our 31 foot production boat for a little over a year and then intermittently for another year. My situation was a little different from many live-aboards and cruisers, since my wife and I were geographically separated due to our jobs.

Even though my perspective is one from limited cruising with a definite "move back to land" date and frequent flights to live with my wife and kids onshore for a few days at a time, I did notice several common themes among my fellow live-aboards at the few marinas I stayed at for any length of time. 1) I was always ready to drop the lines and go sailing. Many of my less than happy live aboard neighbors had turned their boats into dock ornaments with potted plants, deck furniture, storage boxes, etc. I think I looked forward to getting "home" to the boat because heading out for a night or two was easy because I kept the boat in sailing mode and did not succumb to the temptation to hang tv antennas and the like from it. Several of my more permanent dock neighbors seemed to be stopped by the effort needed to pack up and get the boat ready to go even on a night or two out in the bay. I tried to get off the dock and go somewhere at least 3 nights a week.
2) get a comfortable, ready to sail, simple to maintain, small enough to manage, boat. We bought a 31 foot boat not because it was the top of our budget but rather because I came from a motor boating background and was comfortable single handing a boat of that size. Not being overwhelmed by my boat coming and going from a dock meant that I sailed more often than some of my neighbors. I did not have to rely on anyone other than myself to get in and out of the marina which left me with no excuses for not leaving the dock. Simple systems mean simple repairs with lower cost parts. I wouldn't let a broken fresh water pump under the sink be an excuse for staying at the dock. If I could buy bottled water and go, I went. Even if it was just into the bay to sail and stay on the hook for a night or two.

Nothing that I said is different from those before me in this post. It seems to be that one of the keys to happy living aboard is to actually get out there AND SAIL YOUR BOAT. I look at several of the full timers on this board (CruisingDad, PBZeer, CaptainForce, just to name a few)as examples of the successful ones and they all seem to be the ones DOING rather than sitting at the dock listing excuses why they can't leave and live the adventure. These folks, among others here, are who I credit with making my time living aboard as a truly rewarding, challenging adventure instead of a lonely, sad time living in a wet closet tied to a dock. Getting off the dock I think is the answer. Whatever it takes to make that happen or not happen is likely one of the primary reasons for success or failure as a live aboard. Those that get out and move seem to me to be happier and more content living on their boats. Those that can see even the smallest broken part as a reason to stay put rarely seem to be enjoying their place in life.
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