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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Cruising & Liveaboard Forum > Living Aboard
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Old 01-11-2010
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What do you do during repairs?

We're just daysailors/weekenders, but who doesn't entertain the thought of living on a boat full time?

It got me to thinking, if you live on your boat, what do you do when it has to be hauled for larger maintenance items and repairs? Do you stay with friends, a hotel, climb up and down a ladder on the hard?
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Old 01-11-2010
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I always get a motel room. I never want to sleep on my boat while it's torn up, covered with dust, and on my mind while I'm trying to sleep. I've always factored the cost of the room into my expectations of cost for the haul out.
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Old 01-11-2010
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We usually do lots of projects while hauled out, so living aboard (with a ladder) is the most practical because it keeps us near the boat. When I first heard a boat-savvy friend use the phrase “on the hard” I had all these poetic romantic thoughts about how static and unyielding land is compared to the restless ever-changing ocean. Now that we live aboard, when we’re hauled for maintenance, the phrase “fish out of water” seems a lot more apt. I think “on the hard” just describes what life is like when you live on a boat that’s temporarily out of its native element. Life on the hard is, well … hard … as living aboard begins to resemble camping out. First there’s the climbing a ladder to come aboard. It’s interesting to be eye level with the trees, and it’s a new perspective to look down from the cockpit and see the tops of our cars parked just behind the boat. That’s about where the fun ends, though. It seems like just a few posts ago I was smugly pointing out how we conserve water by using seawater to flush. And how seawater also cools our refrigerator system, and air conditioning. Mmmm, right. No seawater up here. So bathroom, refrigerator, and A/C are replaced by older, simpler solutions -- bucket, ice blocks, and wishful thinking. When we had a dog, we even hauled her up and down using a bosun's chair.
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Old 01-11-2010
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During the 38 years that we have lived aboard, "on the hard" for repair or maintenance only accounts for a total of about three months at a common term of four or five days. We've done stays with friends, family, or motels, but more often we stay aboard and climb the ladder.
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Old 01-11-2010
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Once you liveaboard, : "SHE" is your home. Imagine dust boogers, acne, yard dirt and the yard dog coming at you. Multiply this by trying to get groceries aboard while your partner is saying the cost of the "motel/hotel" is cutting into the additional electronics budget.
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Old 01-12-2010
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We have lived aboard during haul-outs but we are going to be hauled out at a place where we won't be able to live this May so we are going to stay at a friend's apartment.

I found climbing up and down the ladder unnerving and I swear I can feel the slight flexing of the hull when it is windy, but obviously if the stilts can keep a 16,000lb boat stable in the wind, then my body weight isn't going to change things.

We also liveaboard during all of our major in-water repairs which are usually more disruptive. We usually haul out to do exterior/hull work and so our cockpit gets full as we empty lazarettes or access the engine but our living space is relatively normal.

However, when we decide to work on interior varnish, or plumbing, or electricity...then we are trying to eat/sleep/shower right in the middle of the project.
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Old 01-12-2010
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Another factor may be (at least in our area) some yards don't allow anyone in the yard outside their business hours, or overnight...
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Old 01-12-2010
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There are specific locations on the US East Coast that are yards where large numbers of liveaboard cruisers haul out and liveaboard during DIY and contracted repairs. Three of these are Deltaville Marine on Jackson Creek in Deltaville, Va; Green Cove Springs Marina on the St. Johns River, Florida; and Westland Marine in the Titusville Yacht Basin, Titusville, Florida. 'take care and joy, Aythya crew
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Old 01-13-2010
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Pull a power cord over the rail and use a ladder in and out !
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Old 01-14-2010
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It is one of the bigger issues so good forethought.

Turns out it is a real problem. The best solution we found was to rent a condo in the area. That was great we had a vacation condo on the Gulf of Mexico, fantastic beach, all the luxuries......and then every morning we would get up and drive to the yard where we spent all day working like dogs! It was also expensive for the two months we had the condo but the days off really were great, loved that part.

OF course that is not really a good option due to expense. We have found a yard in Bellingham that lets us stay aboard. Thats a great idea and good security, the best really if you are just painting the bottom or something like that.

Otherwise staying on board and working on the boat is not good for us. Our boat is small and doing anything results in everything being upset and taking 10x longer, maybe more than 10x longer.

I'm still installing a heater, it has now been months. It would normally take me a weekend, maybe two. If the boat was in my back yard near my garage or shed it would be simple but living on the boat means you can't just rip things apart, particularly when someone else is using the boat for their work or study. Living aboard is also time consuming, particlualry when the marina has no showers, laundry, food or other services that save time. We even have to haul water and that takes more time than it sounds. Buying bits and pieces and tools locally is crazy expensive, easily adding 10% extra to the overall cost but the other option is even more delay.

So best plan is to own the boat for a few years before moving aboard (we couldn't afford that but still recommend it). Get all the big jobs done, all the jobs that need tools or lots of supplies. Spend enough time on the boat to figure out what those jobs are, like maybe a heater for when it is below freezing and fancy electronics for when fog rolls into the shipping lane you are in.

Then when you get the boat pulled once a year or so there is little work to do and you can handle staying on the boat for the night, or afford a motel and the car rental.
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