The Pros and Cons of living on a boat

It’s impossible for me to write this newsletter without acknowledging the awful shooting event which took place at the Route 91 Music Festival in Las Vegas this week. 

My heart goes out to everyone who has been affected and I truly hope that neither you, nor your friends or family are one of those.

Music is supposed to be a place of sanctuary – a place we can retreat to, to forget our troubles and the world’s troubles. It is supposed to be a place which brings people together – a place of joy.  For it to have been targeted in this way is truly abhorrent and totally incomprehensible. 

It almost seems trivial for me to tell you my news in relation to that, but life and music-life must go on.

So, my news. 

Well, this week has been quiet for me on the recording front as myself and Mike Raine have been unable to get together.  Having said that, Mike has been working hard behind-the-scenes on instrumentation for the new tracks we’re working on,  e-mailing me his ideas as he goes along, whilst I’ve been working on my vocals for them. 

Everything is progressing nicely, but as per usual it is going to be a long, slow process before this project is complete.   I’ll keep you updated with progress as we go along though.

This week I was asked a very interesting question – do you find it hard living on a boat ? 

I’m so used to it now, that I really had to stop and think of my answer, which was “yes” and “no”.

During the 10 years we were traveling, then the rewards and hardships were very different from now, being based in one place, tied up to a jetty, with just the odd weekend away sailing in sheltered waters (when we can pick our weather before we head out) so, I’ll cover what it was like during our travelling years in another newsletter (otherwise you’ll be reading a novel!).

For now though, I’m going to create a list of the Pros and Cons for me of living on the boat now that we are tied to the shore, with just the odd short trip away , as I think that’s probably the easiest way to explain it to you (and I like lists!). Some will probably make you smile.

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PROS AND CONS OF LIVING ON A BOAT WHEN SHORE BASED / LOCAL SAILING

PROs

We can move our house if we don’t like the scenery or our neighbours.

We can go away for the weekend without having to pack the car.

There is nothing more beautiful than sailing along on a sunny day under full sail with a 15 knot breeze coming across the beam in sheltered waters.

There is nothing more beautiful than sitting in a secluded anchorage in the cockpit with a glass of wine in my hand watching the sun go down.

We have a constant sea view (whether tied to the shore or in a bay at anchor)

A gentle rock at night can help send me to sleep.

Living on a boat has a lovely, ambient feel to it.

There’s no garden to maintain (which I know for some of you wouldn’t be a pro, but it is for me – I love being in a nice garden, but don’t enjoy gardening).

Housework (aka boatwork) is minimal.  Mmmmm, you’ll be beginning to think I’m lazy.

We can’t collect much junk as there’s nowhere to put it – although we do frequently try to test this statement.

We’re forced to tidy and make everything ship-shape before we go sailing, otherwise things will fly around!

The cost of living is very low.

CONs

When we’re in a marina or tied to a jetty we can’t use the boat toilet, so we have to traips 150m (in all weathers) ashore to use the facilities – although on the side of a pro, it helps us keep fit.

When we’re out sailing we can use the toilet, but there’s no automatic push button – everything has to be pumped out or into the holding tank.  Again, on the pro side, keeps our arms strong.

We have to re-fill the water tanks from a hose on the jetty whenever the water runs out (normally once every 2 weeks).  We do own a water maker which we can use when we’re out sailing which converts salt water to drinking water, but we haven’t fitted it on our new boat yet.

We don’t have a washing machine so can only hand-wash clothes aboard – otherwise I have to do the laundry ashore.

No dishwasher (now I do miss that!)

Presently we have to go ashore for a shower (as the hot water system on the boat only currently works when the engine is running to heat it up – something we’re planning to change)

Also, as there is no hot water to the taps, we have to boil up the kettle to wash the dishes and/or have a wash ourselves.  We had to do this all the time on our previous boat as it didn’t have a hot water system at all.

There’s only a small galley and a one-shelf oven which makes cooking and entertaining more of a challenge, although the galley on Dream Catcher is much bigger than the one on Pied Piper – that one truly tested my patience at times.

Making cups of tea/coffee/ lunch when sailing can be a challenge as the boat is moving.  This is generally manageable when just doing day/local sailing as we have a gimbled stove that I can use as a work top (and we wouldn’t head out sailing if it was too rough) but I’ll fill you in on the challenges of this (and our strategies for managing it) during an overnight and/or long ocean passage under rough conditions, when I cover the pros and cons of living aboard when traveling.

The small space can test our relationship (we have to have strategies for that which I’ll cover in the pros and cons of living aboard when long-distance traveling) and, it means we have to compromise a lot more on the use of the space, which can be frustrating at times (although, this is not so much of an issue now as on our previous boat which was a lot smaller).  For example, it’s impossible for me to play the keyboard if Peter wants to watch the TV – I’d be blocking his view (see photo)

There’s not much room for clothes storage – I guess that could be pro though.

If the wind is howling and the water is choppy, the sound of the water slapping the hull, creaking lines, loose clanging rigging and the rocking boat can make it hard to sleep. We sometimes have to get up in the middle of the night and go onto the deck to try to tighten up the rigging if it’s loose and clanging.

Vocal recording is a challenge unless it’s a calm day, because of all the boat noises – creaks, clangs etc

It’s very easy for the boat to become untidy as a little bit of untidiness fills up the space (and neither of us are naturally tidy people!)

We feel seasick if we haven’t been out for a while and don’t have our sea legs  – thank goodness for Stugeron though (sadly, can’t buy it here so have to buy up whenever I go to England.

The cost of maintaining a boat can be high (but then, I guess,  so is the cost of maintaining a house)

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I’m sure I’ve missed loads of Pros and Cons but I hope this will give you an idea of life aboard at the moment.  I’d love to hear from you if you have any questions about this or anything else.

Until next time, take care

Laini xx

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