We made it! We are back home on the boat in North Carolina. Our 14 hour journey looked like this: car—ferry—tram—plane—bus—car—sailboat. My mom is a SAINT and came along with me, W, and Scout. Don’t worry, I’m flying her back first class on Monday—she’s more than earned it!
It took about a day and a half to get the boat back up and running. It’s like we never left! My mom kept W occupied while I de-winterized everything. Huge props to Conor who cleaned the crap out of everything before he left in January. I was honestly surprised that there were no major issues and we came back to a pristine boat. It helped that our friends Zach and Corri (read their post here) checked in on Story Time for us about once per week. They emptied our dehumidifiers, checked the bilge and batteries, and made sure the heat was running.
These are a few tips we swear by if you have to leave your boat for an extended period of time:
Wash and bag all linens, towels, pillows, etc.
Prop up cushions and mattresses to help with air flow
Leave fans and dehumidifiers running to keep things dry
Bleach water tanks
Put vinegar in the toilet
Get a boat babysitter for peace of mind
Store all breakables in a cabinet in case of strong winds
Put more lines out than you think you’d need
Wipe down all surfaces + inside every cabinet with disinfectant wipes. It’s a pain in the butt but you don’t want to come back to any mold!
Damp Rid bags in every closet
For the love of God, empty your holding tank
As for the marina, we have FOUR new liveaboards that moved in while we were gone! I just love that Gottschalk is growing into such a vibrant and active liveaboard community. We love the sense of family here and sharing the lifestyle with others. It is going to be a great summer.
This is a special blog takeover by our lovely new neighbors on B-dock. We met them last fall when they were just starting their liveaboard journey. We’ve watched them go from planning, to buying their boat, to downsizing, and finally moving aboard! They are the most wonderful couple you’ll ever meet, and we are proud to introduce them on the blog!
First, tell us who you are! We’re Zach and Corri. We’re a married couple in our early 30’s who moved onto a 1975 Whitby 42 Ketch sailboat in January 2019, along with our Labrador Retriever named Hudson.
How did you come up with the idea of living aboard? We remember the exact moment that eventually led to us living on a sailboat. We were sitting in this awesome brew house in Osaka, Japan one evening during one of Zach’s work trips. We were living in Japan at the time and were doing a lot of traveling. We’d just met a couple in Thailand that sold all their stuff, strapped on some backpacks and took off to see the world and we talked about how incredible it would be to do the same. And how impossible it seemed. After a few beers and more “what if’s” we made a pact that after Zach’s work contract was over, we would travel the world for a year. Once we returned home, we started researching the best and most affordable ways to travel and we discovered sailing. We decided we would learn how to sail, buy a sailboat, live on it until the work contract ended, then set off for our year of adventure.
What appealed to you about the lifestyle? What made sailing so attractive at first was the idea that we could venture far away without ever really leaving home. We love the space and atmosphere we create in the homes we live in. When traveling in the past, we always missed our own four walls by the end of a trip, no matter how lovely the hotels were. Being able to tote our home along with us wherever we end up roaming is incredibly comforting. But we discovered something even more appealing once we started looking at sailboats to buy and spending time at marinas. We discovered that, embedded in sailing, there is an incredible community filled with so many interesting people. The community and people are enormous ancillary benefits we hadn’t thought of when we first began this journey. We’ve never met a sailor we didn’t like!
What experience did you have going into this? Zach took a weekend course years ago which qualified him to take a 22ft sailboat out for rental, which he only got to do twice because of work demands. Corri had absolutely no sailing experience (except for the one time she went with Zach on a windy ride in said 22ft sailboat). Both of us took the ASA 101 course before buying our boat, then during the delivery of the boat, we completed ASA 103 and ASA 104 enroute. Our lack of experience made our insurers, friends and family quite uneasy with our life choices at first!
What resources did you find to be the most helpful? Having a great broker who made us feel confident during the entire process (shoutout to Dave Huff at St. Augustine Yacht Sales!) and being lucky enough to have a kind previous owner who eagerly answers all of our questions, even now almost a year after buying the boat. Additionally, YouTube and Google have been invaluable resources. Our greatest on-going resource is our community — whether virtual (we are in an incredible Liveaboard Facebook Group) or in person (our neighbors at the marina are all so knowledgable).
What was the hardest part of this journey? Trying to make so many big decisions and changes while still working full time, going to school and keeping up with our social and family lives. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to find a boat and move aboard as fast as possible because we knew that’s what it took to begin learning more and saving. It would’ve been wonderful to focus solely on just one thing — getting rid of most of our worldly possessions and moving onto a sailboat. But, it wasn’t possible for us and that made it very stressful during the time between buying the boat in March 2018 and finally moving aboard in January 2019.
What was the easiest? Corri was surprised at how easy it was to get rid of things (in fact, as more things flew out the door, the stress level dropped). Zach, adapting to living in a smaller space was very easy; less to keep track of, less to clean, less to move where the wind blows.
Anything you would have done differently? No, in hindsight, there everything happened the way it needed it to, when it needed to.
What’s the next step for your family? We’ll be working to fill the cruise kitty for about another year, then we’re taking our big trip! We’re hoping to head north along Canada, then eventually pop over to Europe, but we are open for changes!
Share any words of wisdom or inspiration for people who want to take the plunge! We met a new neighbor the other day who said he didn’t want to tell anyone at work that he was moving aboard because he didn’t want them to judge him. Fortunately, he did tell someone and that someone happened to be a good friend of ours and passed on our contact info. We then gave the new neighbor all the inside details of how to navigate to the marina and getting set up. So, tell everyone about your plan to move aboard. Don’t hide it because you’re worried people will think you’re crazy. Only about 5% of the people we told were negative about it. Everyone else was incredibly supportive and encouraging, and we needed those people to continue encouraging us when the process got challenging.
Thanks so much for the great interview, guys! If you want to follow Zach and Corri’s journey, you can find them on Instagram at @microretirement.
Sonder (n) : the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own.
I’m proud to finally announce the details of my second book, Sonder Village! It will be published by The Wild Rose Press with a release date TBD. I’d love to hear what you think about the cover and blurb!
Abandoned for over a hundred years, a small village in northern Spain enchants Remy into purchasing what could be the worst real estate investment of all time. It is located near the Camino de Santiago, a pilgrimage path renowned for miracles, and the disgraced painter waits for her own revelation while rebuilding the ruins of her village and her life. But this property holds dangerous secrets dating back to a Galician military coup in 1846 that refuse to stay buried.
Bieito is a local fisherman married to the sea, but he becomes enamored with the newly-arrived American artist. His decision to pursue Remy—when he can find her—upsets history’s delicate balance and endangers his family.
Engulfed in a past that no one else can see, Remy must find who—or what—is really in control of her fate, and if she can survive being torn between two worlds.
Back row. Middle seat. Packed plane. Baby and dog. By myself. Never again.
I got so many stares as I lugged everything through the airport. TSA actually pulled me out of security to put me in a special line because I didn’t have enough hands to bring both dog and baby through the metal detector. To quote, “We’ve never dealt with this before.” Yes, I am a crazy lady. I understand.
In all seriousness, both W and Scout were absolute CHAMPS and I am so proud of them. Such a longgggg travel day, but the fact that Dad was waiting for us on the other end got us through. W definitely remembered the boat– her eyes got huge when her stroller wheels hit the dock, and then she started cracking up when she saw the boat! We had to deal with a few surprises, though, after being gone for over a month.
The first night back on the boat the shore power kept tripping. At 4am Conor figured out the problem: Our power cord was corroded where it hooked up to our boat and we needed to replace both the fitting and the cord. So the next day Conor drove to New Bern to get the parts while W and I made the best of no AC. Then his car decided to die in the West Marine parking lot.
What could we do but laugh? Broken car, broken boat. Both are fixed now, but it was quite the homecoming. He fixed the power cord hookup by removing the old, burned out hookup (easy) and installing the new one (hard). Aligning all the pieces and screwing everything in correctly was challenging, but mostly he was nervous dealing with such an important power source. Tip: make sure ALL power is off on the boat (even batteries) before attempting to replace. Use a digital multimeter to double check that there is 0 electrical current coming from the hookup. Here’s the old versus new piece:
In fun news, it was one year ago this weekend that we did the survey for our boat! We had no idea what we were doing or what was in store. I compare that experience to Conor diagnosing and fixing an electrical problem all on his own, and I am so proud. Conor especially has become quite the handyman and DIY expert. He even bought a giant textbook about electrical engineering!
Our to-do list for this summer is a mile long: brightwork, canvas cleaning, anchor chain marking, hull scrubbing…sigh. A little TLC after such a harsh winter. At least we have a year’s worth of experience under our belt now, and it isn’t so overwhelming to tackle it all. Our plan is to FINALLY take her out over Memorial Day weekend and get back into the swing of things. It will be W’s first sail, and I can’t wait to see how she does!