Aug 162012

So, have I convinced anyone to give up their dream of boat living yet?  Is there too much here to deal with?  Sort of a complicated lifestyle ain’t it?

Well wait!  There’s more!  Much more.

Over the past week or two I’ve been posting a lot about some of the things I would like/need to do for living comfortably on the Fritter.  Everything from generating electric power to properly disposing waste and all of that in between.  All together, I’m looking at an easy $6000 or more to get the Fritter in the shape I would like.  That will be 3 times what I have spent on the actual boat.   And if I did spend all that money, I would never get much of it back on the resale of the boat.  Not exactly sound financial thinking is it?

Everything I have posted about so far regarding living on a sailboat has been in regards to actually living on a sailboat.  Now it’s time to discuss other aspects of living aboard.  Namely, the boat itself.

While you are sitting there tallying up the costs of putting in a new galley, new toilet, ac, and all, you still have a large floating piece of fiberglass sitting there that is going to demand a lot of attention, and money.  There are all kinds of things that need to be dealt with while living on a boat that concern the boat itself.  Rigging, sails, motors, it’s like owning a house, except this house can sink if you ain’t careful.  So for the next few posts I’m going to cover some of the things that I will need to deal with on the Fritter.  Everything from sails to bottom jobs.  If you think all that stuff for just living on board was expensive, well, it was, and so is all this stuff.  So, let’s grab the ole debit card and move on…

What I have:  I’ll start this part of the series off with a description of the Fritter and what I would like.   The Fritter is a 1979 26 foot long Southeast Seacraft.  She is a sloop which is the most common type of sailboat you will see.  A single mast that holds two sails, a jib (the forward sail) and the main sail.  Here is a picture of the old girl…

I promise I’ll get some more better photos up later on.  I’ve been really busy lately with websites and apps but I’ll get back on it soon.

This boat is 26 feet long, about 8 feet wide and weighs 4200 lbs.  It has a swing keel which means there is a big 1400 lb. slab of lead underneath that you can raise or lower.  The keel does two things on a sailboat.  It acts as a counter weight to the sails so the boat doesn’t tip over in the wind, and it keeps the boat from going sideways when the wind is blowing on the sails.  The swing keel is nice because with it pulled up the boat draws less than 2 feet of depth, meaning you can get in and out of some real shallow spots.  With the keel down it draws about 4 feet.  In the Keys, if you expect to do a lot of sailing inshore, 4 feet of depth is about the max you want.

The mast can be lowered on this boat making the whole thing trailerable as well as livable.  A handy thing if you needed to get it out of the water for repairs or to move someplace not quite so accessible by water.

There is no motor, it was built without one, and as a bonus, this one has wheel steering instead of a tiller.  Something I personally like.  There is great debate amongst sailboaters as to the merits of wheel vs tiller.  Most of it is personal preference.  I prefer the wheel.

The rudder is that piece of wood you see laying along side up forward.  It drops down into a bracket and locks in for steering.

What I want:  Everyone who has toyed with the fantasy of owning a boat has one particular boat in mind that is the be all, end all of boating.

Here is mine…

A Gemini catamaran.  Built in Annapolis, Maryland, these cats are a beautiful smaller sailboat.  About 30 to 34 ft long, depending on the year, and 14 foot wide they can fit into a standard slip.  With the keels up they draw about a foot and half, 4 feet with the keels down.  The cabin is very roomy with a nice galley, forward head and shower, and lots of other goodies.  Small enough to get around the Keys and into the back country, but sea worthy enough to handle the occasional trip to the Bahamas.

I fell in love with catamarans and in particular with the Gemini a few years back when I first started looking at boat living.  They are fun and easy to sail, have more room to move around in, and are just plain pretty to look at.

Reality:  $180,000.  That is what a new Gemini will set one back, depending on extras of course.  Used ones show up all the time on the interwebs and I have seen them as low as $35,000.  Still way out of reach.  If a Gemini is to happen to this little captain it will take some major upturn of events in income.  I can dream for now, and who knows.  At one time I never thought I could ever afford a harley.  That was 17 harley’s ago.  Stranger things have happened.

For now I can be content with the Fritter.  There is nothing wrong with this boat over all.  Yes, it will take some money to get it fixed up the way I want. But I am not on any kind of schedule nor do I need to rush anything.  The Fritter is home at the moment until something more better comes along.  I’ll do what I can to keep her afloat and livable.

Lot’s to talk about coming up so stay tuned.

Capt. Fritter



  2 Responses to “Living Aboard, Not as simple as you thought, is it?…”

  1. i know it has to be an optical illusion because it would be silly not to be able to stand up
    inside. but how tall are you? i’m 5 feet 1 and a half inches and i can’t picture myself standing
    straight up in there!!! and is the pole from the mast always in front of the hatch? or door…
    other than that… i think she’s a cutie!

    • The cabin has a little over 6 feet of head room. I am just shy of 6′, (as I get older I am starting to shrink), and I haven’t bumped my head yet…yet.

      As for the boom, yes, that is a common set up. It is possible to remove the boom or tie it up higher out of the way but that is where it sits. It’s not in the way as you may think though. At least it doesn’t bother me so far.