Jul 142013

I’ve been getting this question a lot lately. Mostly from people who have 30+ foot long vessels, packed full of crap, along with overstuffed dock boxes, and vehicles with barely enough room for the driver, because of all the other crap they have. They cannot wrap their heads around the fact that everything I truly need fits into one-single-backpack. The boat has it’s own stuff, stuff to keep it legal, floating, and moveable. Anything above and beyond that is useless junk to me. Trying to ‘splain the merits and upsides of a minimalist lifestyle to anyone who has yet to step away from the clutches of consumerism is about as easy as baptizing a cat. People who have not adopted the mindset of minimalism simply cannot fathom how a person can get by with so few possessions. And that is a very sad state of affairs.

The 26 foot boat I currently reside on has storage everywhere. Under the v-berth, under the quarter berths, and under the cockpit is room enough for a person to sleep if one wanted to. All of it nearly empty. I have two sails in two of the compartments, and one of the ice chests I found in the big one. Other than that, empty. So why keep all that space? The Spirit, which comes in at 23’ will have some similar storage, but again, other than necessities for the boat, all that will probably remain empty. My 25 piece wardrobe will remain out where I can get to it, the backpack gets used everyday, as does the computer and iPhone. I don’t need anything for winter. No dress up clothes. (I just tuck my shirt tail in). Nothing else is needed. So why not go to a smaller boat?

Yet people don’t understand. “What about headroom?”, they ask. It has a pop top, otherwise I can go out on deck. It’s just me and the cats and all they do is sleep anyways. The whole idea of going smaller, of downsizing to such drastic proportions, is completely alien to the average consumer. I have no television, no stereo, at present no kitchen ware, no coffee maker, no microwave, no hot water heater, no do-dads, no geegaws, just the stuff I want and need. I have no maintenance issues, save for whatever the boat needs, and that will be reduced when I go to the smaller boat. Another electric bill came in at just under $6.00 for the month. (Finding out the electric bill runs a month behind so I haven’t gotten a full bill since I started running the air at night). A solar panel on the Spirit will get me off the grid, I hope. Living aboard such a small boat has been very simple and easy. No sense in complicating things with too much boat at this time.

A smaller boat will be easier to sail single handed too. I have no plans for any blue water expeditions to the ends of the world. Up and down along the Keys will probably be all I ever do with this boat. It can be pushed with a smaller motor, so no using vast amounts of gas. And with the shallow draft it will fit into tighter spots.

But of course, when I tell anyone this stuff, they just roll their eyes and shake their heads. It’s impossible for them to understand. What I don’t understand is watching these same people who question the wisdom of getting a smaller boat, open up their dock box and remove half the contents just to get to one little thing. I say, “Why don’t you get rid of some of that stuff?”, and I always get the same answer, “I need that!”. That being some possession that looks like it has not been used since it was acquired. It may even still be in the original box. We are of two different worlds, the only difference is, I was of their world at one time, and saw the light.

Living this simply has exceeded my expectations. I knew things would be better, I just didn’t realize how much more better. I have very little to worry about compared to my life just a few years ago. No property to worry about. The costs of living are at manageable levels. Very manageable levels. Concepts that seem unreachable not long ago, are now happening or will happen in the foreseeable future. Living on a sailboat in Key West. Forming my own online business. Writing and publishing my first book. Possibly doing all this from an island in Hawaii down the road. All possible because I no longer have debt or a truckload of possessions and property to hold me down nor distract me. A smaller boat just makes things that much more simpler.

So yeah, go ahead and ask. Why a smaller boat? You may not understand the answer, but you can still learn. Trust me, less is more.

Capt. Fritter

  6 Responses to “Why A Smaller Boat?…”

  1. You have “seen the light” I saw it once too…now 3 + years later I look at the junk I have accumulated and am miserable. I need to “find my one particular harbor” actually I have found 1 or 2 in the Bahamas…just need to get up the nerve and GO Like Mark Twain said….Twenty year from now you will be more disappointed by the things you did not do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor…etc
    Thanks for reminding me what is important!

    • It’s never too late to start over again. The harbor ain’t going away. (Well maybe if the seas rise like they say).
      If you could do anything you wanted, without the fear of failure, would you do it?
      So what’s stopping you?
      C. F.

      • If I could, I’d sail away today and live in the Bahamas going anchorage to anchorage….
        What’s stopping me?? good question….I am my own worst enemy…i always listen to opinions of landlubbers..you should do this…do that…etc…
        I need to stand up on my own 2 feet and just DO IT! I have a 3 year plan, toss everything and go…it may happen sooner!

        • Nobody can tell you what to do except you. There are no mistakes in life. Just lessons learned. Remember this one Fritterism:
          You are where you are today due to the combined effect of all the decisions you have made in your life.
          Where you are today is because of what you have done, or not done. You cannot blame anyone else. Once you understand that, life becomes much more better.
          You have a plan, stick to it. Refine it when necessary. And go enjoy yerself some livvin’.
          C. F.

  2. you know i am not shaking my head or rolling my eyes.
    another great post on the important things of life.

  3. Yeah, I get that from living in a van all winter. Everyone needs to have a few clothes, some basic food, a place to care for your body, and a safe place to sleep. I also need my electronics to keep me in touch with my world. Anything beyond that is bonus.