Hello all, I have enjoyed catching up with everyone since our big adventure on the sailing vessel Far Fetched, a Benneteau Oceana 38.5. I have had some wonderful chats with people and I have had many questions about life on a boat in general. I thought I would explain some of my personal experiences living on a sailboat.
Water: What do you do for water?
well water is held in a storage tank for potable water, and this is not always enough for all water needs. We did have a water maker on board but it takes energy(electricity) to make. The water you use in the water maker is sea water not yukky marina water and it runs through a desalinization process and filter. This water does not always taste good for everyone’s taste, but it was ok for me as I bought lemon and lime juice concentrate, and Gatorade powder, and added this to my water. I drank a fair bit of water everyday. Each day I would try to fill and drink at least 2250ml or 72 oz, of water a day , more if out hiking and diving. We only used the water maker twice. Most of the time we had non potable and potable water that we hauled from water sources on shore. We had clear, collapsing water containers for potable and black collapsing for non potable. This seemed to be able to fulfill most of our water needs.
We supplemented this water with rain water we would collect in a bucket, the Crib(dingy), or in zip lock bags from the deck canopy. We also used ocean water while at anchor, to wash our dishes with, then rinse with non ocean water.
Laundry: How did you wash your clothes?
Well some islands and towns actually had laundromats and we used them when available. Everyone was in charge of their own laundry for the most part, but some occasions like when the seas came over the bow of the boat and the hatches leaked and soaked the cushion covers then it would be group laundry and one of us would do those with our own laundry.(Usually Bruce or Myself). So most of the time we would use the bucket method or in my case ziplock bags. That’s right a small plastic bag. I feel compelled to explain why I used the bag vs the bucket. When I say The Bucket, I mean we only had one bucket. This One Bucket was used for the following: holding just caught fish, fish fillets post cleaning, storing fruit, engine parts cleaning and various other uses. (I did use The Bucket also) Enter the Ziplock bag, I would hold it up to the run off from the canopy, and it was enough to launder my bikini, nickers, and tshirts. The trick was to finish the wash before the rain stopped so you could rinse as well.
Showering: How did you shower/bathe?
Far Fetched did have a large shower in the head. I only used it twice. Again it takes electricity to pump the water and it also took energy to heat it. It was HEAVEN on the 2 occasions i used it. If we had just had the motor on then the water was HOT. So for the most part we showered off the stern swim platform with a shower bag suspended from the solar panel platform. You get yourself wet, then shut valve on water bag, lather up, then open valve on bag and rinse. If we were in a harbor or crowded anchorage(more than 3 boats) we would shower in our swim wear, if not crowded then no need for swimwear. I must say having short hair made hair washing quick and easy.
Shaving: How do you shave?
Let’s revisit the ziplock bag. Fill it with water, lather up with Bert’s Bees Baby shampoo, shave with razor, rinse razor in ziplock bag, repeat over and over. Voila!! I tried to make sure I did not swim right after shaving so salt water did not sting, plus one of the most feared of all things while out swimming and sailing, Staph infections. That’s right folks I did not worry or fear things like pirates, drowning, sharks or ship wreck, but I did fear getting a staph infection while out there.
Elimination: How do you go to the bathroom on a boat?
Well if during a passage while the boat is heeled over, hold on or you could fall off the seat. I used the head for both solid and liquid, but the boys used a container like a urinal or just stand off the stern of the boat if not underway(sailing). This was a rigid, well followed, rule: no eliminating from the stern while underway! Statistically you have a 5% chance of rescue at night while underway if you fall overboard….
Sleeping.: How and where did you sleep?
We had a bed but while underway(sailing), I would sleep sideways in the bed because i am short and can do so, but otherwise i had slept in the very center line of the boat under the table, wedged between the table leg and the settee bench. Sometimes we had the bench set up with the sea cloth(straps that are hooked onto the cabinet above to hold you from rolling off) to hold yourself in. The motion of the boat would sometimes be so side to side that you would not be able to sleep because you would just roll around. Sleep was in high demand when you are on 2 -4 hour watches with only 2-3 people. When at anchor sleep was easier and often.
the sleeping place
Food: What did you eat?:
Well we provisioned at stores when we had them. Other times while sailing underway we would have at least one hand line out and we almost always brought in a catch, Wahoo, tuna and others.. So the other way to have fish is through spearfishing. Bruce was very adept at this and he even taught Skyler how to “hunt” under water.. We also were able to shop at the local open air markets on many of the Tongan Islands. Sometimes we would barter for food while on smaller islands. We found many times that our barter power would have increased if we had had an cigarettes and more liquor. We did have canned food items that were sought after. I can not speak for Bruce, or Travis, but while under way on passages I was not very hungry, so I did not eat as much. It was nice to be at anchor because then I felt like eating, and we would sometimes have other folks from other boats join us for dinner or join others on their boats. We even held a music recording session in the cockpit one night, I called it “Behind the Helm Studio”, and ALec sang and played the ukalele for us, while I recorded the session(with his permission).
Recreation/downtime: How do you entertain yourselves on a boat? Well we had solar panels that charged our batteries, so on good solar days(most days), we would finish dinner and clean up then sit in the salon at the table and watch movies on my computer screen. We had a great time watching the Fire FLy series. We also read lots of books. We were not big card players, but it would be a great thing to do in the salon of the boat.
So my experience on a sailing vessel was just amazing, I love to camp and do not mind rations of water or electricity, so it was just easy going. If you can just relax when you are done with chores, and know what tasks need to be done and do them when they need to be done, then it is the best adventure ever.
Well Until I think of other questions people have asked, or more stories that I recall, I will sign off for now.