Oct 252014

It happens with me quite a bit.  I settle in to something and after a while I get bored, disinterested, or fed up with what ever situation I am in, and I take steps to move onto something else more better.  That is where I find myself at the moment and I am not quite sure what to do.

As you well know, as I have been chronicling my journey to a lonely, pitiful death in some forgotten corner of the universe, things have not been going too well for me lately.  Finances have been a constant battle and I am starting to get fed up with things.  When that happens I start looking at alternatives, some good, some, maybe not so good.  It’s been a constant struggle to make rent, feed my fat ass, take proper care of the cats, and keep the Free Spirit afloat.

The boat is doing ok for now, as long as I don’t plan on sailing anywhere.  It’s comfortable enough, except for the cabin leaks in the rain, but it needs stuff.  The forward hatch is in real bad shape and will need major repair or replacement.  The bottom is clean enough, at least according to a neighbor who was diving under it the other day, but it really needs to be hauled out, scraped, sanded, and painted.  If it did come out the center board needs some repairs, along with replacing a winch, repairing some mast stays, replacing some minor wood trim, getting the electrics working, a tiller, fix up the rudder, and so on, and so on.  All this takes money, of which I have none to spare.

Don’t get me wrong.  What is needed on this boat is minor compared to some boats.  And all boats need something.  I’m just not sure if I want to get the funds together and mess with it all.  Of course, if I was able to scrape up the couple of thousand I estimate I would need to fix the boat up that easily, I wouldn’t be so worried about what to do.  It’s all starting to take it’s toll and I am thinking about what to do next.  I have some options to consider:

1.  Just stay on the boat as is.  Do what little repairs I can as time goes on.  Stay here at the marina for as long as I can and hope things improve.  The advantages of this are no increase in expenses.  I still have my own boat to live on.  I’m under no deadline to get the repairs done.  Things can stay as they are.  Downside is the boat is just going to need more work as time goes on.  If I do hit another major snag with finances, it’s not ready for being out on the hook.

B.  Go ahead and do what I can for now to get the boat ready and head out to the mooring field for awhile.  This is not really a viable option as I will need a motor, electrics, and a dinghy.  Way out of my price range right now.

3.  Haul out.  Fix it up.  Go cruising.  Other than not having the cash for the fix up part, this option has some attraction.  After following Journey To Minimalism’s adventures this summer the idea of sailing around the Keys, with the occasional run up the west and east coasts of Florida, stopping here and there, gunk holing, and generally living on the water, untied to land, has some appeal.  The initial cash outlay would be high and there is no guarantee it would be any cheaper out there, but at first glance it sounds like a nice way to spend some time.  But, my adventuresome spirit is kinda down right now.  The boat is a bit small for that sort of thing, and it would be roughing it a little more rougher than I prefer to rough, at my advanced age.  Perhaps later, but not now.

d.  Sell the boat and be done with it.  This option has been rolling through my little brain thingy quite a bit lately.  I could clean up the boat, do some minor bits, and probably get enough cash to last me a couple of months.  The big question of course, where would I live.  Well, as it happens, a neighbor is looking to rent out their sport fisherman by the month.  No lease, all inclusive, cats allowed.  It’s a nice, big, roomy boat with high speed wifi! and right on the same dock.  Downside, my monthly expenses would essentially increase by $150 a month.  Not horrible, but I’m struggling as it is.

This scenario is looking more attractive right now but several things come into play.  I have to sell the sailboat and get what I want out of it.  I cannot afford to let it go at too low a price.  What ever I sell it for has to cover rent for at least two months.  The other worry is that at the end of two months, what if things have not improved?  Then I am homeless, with no asset to fall back on.  Namely the sailboat.  The upside, I would be rid of the bother of taking care of the sailboat and have a more better place for me and the cats to live for awhile.

The bottom line right now is, I guess I am tired of owning a boat.  It sounds silly, but since I got rid of the jeep, and all the other big things in my life, the idea of living with what I can carry, and nothing more, has so much more appeal to me.  I know I have to live someplace, and I do have two dependents, but not having the boat to worry about would really take a load off.  And don’t get me wrong.  I still love boat living and despite all the setbacks this year, it is a decent way to live.

But the year is taking it’s toll.  I’m tired.  I have no energy to go out and do anything because of the constant stresses of finances.  All the shit from last year at the other marina really left a bad taste in mouth and getting away from owning anything that requires a license, registration, title, or uses fossil fuels really sounds appealing at the moment.  If I do sell the boat, it’s not like there are not more out there.  I’m confident that eventually finances will improve where if I decided to do so, I could get another boat.

Just the idea of really downsizing even more, to be able to go somewhere and not worry about what will happen to what you left behind, no worries about maintenance, liability, and stuff like that sounds very much like how I want to live right now.  I love it here in Key West but I want to do more.  Maui beckons in the future but family obligations and a couple of fussy furballs keep that on the back burner for now.  I need to constipate more on building a regular income that doesn’t require actual work.  At least not working for anyone other than myself.  Getting rid of the boat would alleviate a lot of worries I have at the moment.

Whatever I decide, it will have to be soon.  Otherwise I may be backed into a corner without the options I currently have.  That is why I need to be careful.  When I get restless, I don’t always make the good decision, and I could be worse off than before.  So, we will see what happens.  I may just throw an ad out there and see what kind of ridiculous offers I get for the boat.  Or I may just sit tight and stay with things as is.

But as I said, I’m getting restless.

Capt. Fritter

  11 Responses to “Living Aboard: Getting Restless…”

  1. Perhaps consider selling the boat and becoming a stealth vandweller. Yes, a van… not an rv. The idea may sound foolish, but I suggest visiting cheaprvliving.com for detailed information regarding the advantages of living in a van. This lifestyle would be cheaper than your current arrangement and you could also do some traveling.

    In many respects, you’re already living a very similar lifestyle on your boat. Why not eliminate your monthly dock rent? Buying a suitable cargo or passenger van should be within your budget, after sale of your boat. Thoroughly research the subject, before thinking it’s a foolish idea. –JG

    • Van or rv living is always a possibility but it really only results in a lateral move for me right now. Essentially I am living in a van, just one that floats. Plus I am still stuck with a vehicle that needs gas, insurance, and maintenance. And down here, vans in town attract the attention of law enforcement rather quickly.
      C. F.

  2. i shouldn’t even comment. i know so little about all the actualities of it all. and it’s not for me to say.
    but i do know one thing. from watching another man i knew who backed himself into a highly stressful corner. he was a great success at what he did. but at what price? i honestly think the stress of it all finally killed him. only they used the C word.

    you seem to be between a hard place and a hard place. and you’re never really happy. not that i can tell! are you?
    i know you love the keys. but as long as I’ve known you on this blog you’ve lived with constant heavy stress and irritations.

    and stress if it hangs around like that long enough can make you very ill. i mean as in life threatening ill.
    for all its romantic “life on the water” image… it seems like nothing more to me than the hindrance and upkeep of a house.
    only this house is on water. which makes the repair and upkeep even more of a hassle.

    you are a man who loves simplicity. the simple life. a minimalist. and it seems your life is anything but minimal. except for the amount of stuff you live with. that’s the real you.

    the letter d. above sounds really good. could he not be talked down from the $150 month extra? maybe it would be worth that much to him to have a long time lessee that is mature and will take great care of his boat? you never know.
    i’d think in today’s world of dock party loud damage prone renters . . . it might just be worth it to him.
    good luck capt.
    you’ll figure it out. you always do. i just wish for awhile… you didn’t have to!

    • So you are saying then, that you will adopt the two cats and I can go ahead and start looking for flights to Maui?
      C. F.

  3. nope! no thank you. and they would miss you.
    you KNOW you love those mates. one made it through a hurricane with you. that’s pretty big stuff right there.
    and i know… i fell into the common trap of blogland… always giving my opinion… but no good help!
    LOLOL. SORRY captain sir!
    i’d be checking to see how i could move my mates with me to hawaii. it might not be maui at first… but you’d be there!
    i’ve read there are some areas that don’t make you put your pets in quarantine. might be worth checking it out.
    oh stop me. i can’t seem to help myself.
    and out.

  4. When under your type of stress I usually make the wrong decision or spend too much money making the right one. So, I’m probably not a good person to advise you here. But, I want you to know I hear you and I care how it all comes out. Somehow we seem to be like the cats–always landing on our feet but sometimes it takes a bit to realize where we are now is OK.

  5. Been reading your blog ( and bought and read your book on moving to the keys) . First your writing style of no filter, no politically correct b.s.,, combined with raw and dry humor is worth paying for! Now I don’t want my Florida keys blog to disappear, so I’ll offer
    My take on what I would possibly do, the way I see it you worked quite some time in traditional jobs through the years. That said
    In just a few years ( 2+ some months) you could start drawing social security( with your frugal ways that would go far. So we need money for slightly more than 2 years…. I know working for somebody isn’t your favorite idea, but how about west marine? If there is a place where some grey hair is an advantage it’s there ! Plus employee discount for boat parts, and you get first hand knowledge of somebody upgrading gear and having good second hand items you might acquire at a deal. Just my thoughts
    Take care, and keep writing!

    • Thanks for following the blog, buying the book, and all the complements. I applied at WM a few years ago figgering that with 30 years of retail I would be a shoo in. In the process there was, along with the application, a bizarre 100 question test with strange psychological questions, nothing of which had anything to with standing behind a counter and selling marine wares. It was obviously some fad interview test that H & R came up with. Seeing as I never heard back, not even the decency of a no, I suspect I failed said test miserably. Perhaps I should not have answered the questions truthfully. In fact, during that time I applied at several dozen similar positions, any one of which I was more than qualified to do. But for whatever reason, over qualified, not pretty enough, a useless hiring manager more interested in protecting their own turf, I never made it past the interview stage.
      I know I rarely make a good first impression with people, and if the hiring manager is female, I am dead in the water. I can no longer pretend to be something that I am not. An obedient worker bee who will do as he is told and not rock the boat.
      As it is, I would much rather take my chances doing what I can on my own. Going back to work as a worker bee will only add to the stress. The whole idea of punching a time clock, obeying orders, and putting up with all the shit from customers as well as management is why I have gray hair in the first place. And if I did get hired, I wouldn’t last through the first day of training.
      Nope, my days of being a worker bee are long gone. I can only stand to work for myself, and that is the way it will be, no matter what.
      C. F.

  6. It pains me to see you are thinking of giving up the live aboard lifestyle…but that’s mainly because it was finding your blog that sparked my interest and passion for living aboard. With that said, I do understand where you’re coming from. Boat living can be stressful, but so can apartment living, house living, van dwelling, rv living, cardboard box living, ……. I think you get my point. Anything can be stressful and complicated. I think your decision all comes down to your passion. Where do you want to live and what makes you happy…then go after it. It won’t be easy and it won’t happen quickly, but I believe if you are determined and driven to make it happen, it will. After all, that’s how you made it to Key West, right?

    Have faith, Capt. Chin up. It will all work out.