Living on a 43-foot cruising sailboat is much different than living on land. I thought I would share some of the little differences.
Washing Dishes by Hand– Yes, everything must be washed by hand. Plus, you do not have a garbage disposal, so no dumping food scraps down the drain. If you plan to sail, you must also dry and stow the dishes so they don’t fly around and hurt someone.
I use a collapsible dish drainer, which stows easily. As you can see in the image, space is tight.
Cooking by Propane Stove– This is much different than using my propane stove at home.
To cook, you first have to turn on the main propane valve inside the starboard stern lazarette, then turn on the gas at the main circuit panel inside the boat, then a switch next to the stove, and finally, you light the burner or oven using a lighter. There are no gauges, so you have to get a feel for cooking temperatures by trial and error.
Our Force 10 stove also gimbals so when the boat is heeled over the stove stays level. Our boat also has a set of pot restraints, called “pot holders,” so that the pots do not go flying.
Using the Facility– Called “Heads,” the boat toilet is much different than one that landlubbers use. Ours is slightly smaller, uses sea water to operate, and when you flush you press a variety of electric switches. One switch empties the bowl, another fills it, and a third will flush and fill.
You also have to use less toilet paper than at home. Rule #1 is do not clog the boat head. That is a messy job that- knock on wood- Joe has not yet had to do. We have to monitor Ethan’s use of paper as a 4 year old would happily empty a roll and clog the toilet. It is what 4 year olds do.
In addition, you want to use a type of toilet paper which will easily dissolve because they are less likely to clog the pipes or holding tank. There is actually a test you can do- place the toilet paper in a clear glass, and if it dissolves rapidly, you can use it with a marine head. Costco toilet paper does not pass this test, but Scott’s Single Ply toilet tissue does.
It is hard to see in the photo, but when you swirl the contents of the glass, the single ply is well dissolved while the Costco brand of double ply is not.
Sleeping– Sleeping quarters are tighter than at home. Make that a lot tighter. We have a centerline queen bed on Mahi, but you have to take care and not bump your head while in bed. You also have to climb up into bed, which is always good exercise.
Sleeping is very cosy, comfortable, and I especially love the portholes and fans so you always feel cool in the tropics. I did bring one quilt along for the journey, one I created about 10 years ago called Tropical Poppy. Before sailing, I enjoyed a career as a machine quilter and instructor. Off topic, but here is a detail shot in case you want a closer look of the machine quilting:
Back on topic again, these are just a few ways that living on a boat is different from living on land. Oh yes, the boat is moving, too. You get used to it, and after awhile, just adjust. In fact, it is a great way to lose weight without even trying as your body burns calories adjusting to the motion.
Take care, Carla