Moving onto a boat

We will be moving onto our boat in the next few weeks. Tomorrow some final commissioning work begins but I’m already mentally lining up the tasks required to get aboard efficiently.

After 17 years planted on our ranch, we have moved into, and out of, 10 living arrangements in the past 3 years. Our lives have been in flux for all this time in order to take advantage of opportunities that were presented. Some pack ups were more involved than others but each one is now contributing to the move onto our boat. I am always trying to anticipate what I’ll need next so there has been a lot of storage, discarding and repurposing of our possessions.

All these moves have led to a “Marie Kondo” mountain of items that need to now fit onto a 41′ catamaran.

Not shown are 3 large duffles with clothes and pots/pans and 2 more yellow lidded bins

The good news is that not all of this stuff will end up on board!

So here is my mental list of how this will happen:

    CLEAN everywhere. On this new boat, I’ll mainly be getting all the remnants from the construction but I also did this on the used boats we’ve owned. Pull EVERYTHING out and OFF the boat. I then go top to bottom in each section of the boat and use a mini vac to suction up all the grit/hair/gunk hidden in the corners. Whatever doesn’t come up with the vacuum then gets attacked with rag and spray. Simple Green or LA Awesome cleaners both work well, don’t seem to hurt the fiberglass or leave a film and smell pleasant to me. After this step, I know that if I reach into a corner and find something gross, it’s at least OUR gunk and not some unknown past nastiness. I also know that all those bits won’t end up clogging my bilge pump.
    While cleaning, I also get a feel for each space and imagine its use and how I will store things in it. I now have a fairly extensive collection of variously sized containers, bins, shelves, etc. (from all those moves…). This step involves figuring out what best fills the space, contains the items but keeps them accessible because on a boat every cupboard is usually a different size. If nothing I currently have fits well, and it’s in the budget, I will go to Target or Wal-Mart and buy a bunch of stuff that might work. I keep what does and return the rest.
    Move the BOAT gear on first. Working with Steve, I put on all the safety gear, tools, consumables and equipment r maintenance of the boat. ALL of this finds a home first. I will keep “types” of things together so that if we are doing a boat project, all the items to do that job will be in the same area. For this boat, all the boat gear will be port amidship.
    I next bring the galley aboard. I’ll fit everything into the cupboards but at least the upper cupboards are nearly square. As best we can, we buy minimally packaged goods but just about everything is removed from packaging and put into clear containers. This is very important to avoid bringing aboard insects in the cardboard. This boat has a good sized galley amidships in the starboard hull.
    I make all the beds. I like the finished look in the unused rooms. Also, sheets and blankets can be washed; those boat covers can…but it is very difficult to get them off and back on. By covering them, I hope to keep the salt encrusting to a minimum. We only occasionally store things on the beds and usually only while sailing (the 1160 salon windows were usually laid on the aft starboard bunk but I also have a waterproof table cloth on top of the bedding). I also like the idea that the rooms are ready for guests and I don’t have a cluttered mess on my side while making room for them.
    Last is our personal clothes. I only use our stateroom. The other storage areas in the other staterooms remain empty for guests.
Some of the bin collection

Bottom line is that if it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t go. I’ve seen numerous cruising boats with LOTS of gear, knick knacks and books sitting out. I’ve been there. When we lived aboard with babies, it was at least an hour of stowing toys, books, kitchen knives, etc before we could drop lines to sail. On this boat, I intend to have very little sitting out. In a pitch pole situation, everything not secure becomes a projectile.

That’s the plan. I’ll let you know how I do!

Stepping Onboard for the First Time…

All the trappings of the Miami Boat Show were being disassembled, crated and prepped for removal. I’d arrived too late to be onboard for the demo sail so waited at Whiskey Joe’s for my broker to show me Always. As we maneuver through trucks, forklifts and people, I’m scanning the docks to find MY mast and MY boat and then, there she is, at the end of the dock.

She’s a beautiful boat….but…

She was just a boat. There were dirty rub marks on her side, little bits of construction detritus in cupboards and scattered remnants of bags and boxes left over from installation. She has all her equipment onboard and the mattresses and cushions are in place but she seemed an empty shell…

Then I realized she IS empty. She is waiting to be filled with our life and reflect our personalities, to reflect to others the values we have. She will begin to pick up our style as we bring our life onboard. She is the book binding that is waiting for our story to be written in her. I’m hoping it will be an interesting tale, one I’d like to read if I wasn’t one of the characters.

The next morning Always is being driven north to complete her commissioning. I arrived about an hour before the captain is due just so I can begin our introductions. I ensure there is oil in the engines, check belt tension and fuel levels; on the fore deck, I close and latch all the hatches, tuck the unused outboard fenders into the lazerette then begin wrapping up all the sheets, halyards and other lines correctly. When the Captain is ready, I step ashore and undo the lines. And then I see it! It’s just a quick flash of her name, but that’s when I see a glimpse of the boat she will become with us!

I think it’s going to be quite an adventure!

Always arrives

Steve was able to be nearby when she finally touched the ocean and caught this beautifully timed shot.

I’m still in St Croix and will not able to fly to Florida until Tues. I can barely wait to start making her uniquely ours.

She may not be prominently displayed at the Miami Boat Show but we think she may still be prepped and made available for some demo sails.

In two short (?!?) weeks, Steve and I will be moving onboard and beginning a new chapter in our story. We hope you continue along with us.


Sailing Always

The name…

This is our third sailing vessel named ALWAYS. The name comes from the movie with the same name. We have a special fondness for that movie because we saw it on our first date. It had flying; it was funny, romantic and sad but not so much so as to make a first date more awkward than it already is.

In the movie, the two lead characters make a toast:

Him-“To us!”


And that became our toast too, then a boat name that has described our lives together for the last 29 years.

Just in case you were wondering.