For the moment, I’ll be closing down this chapter of my life. Not having a boat means I’m just another land lubber with a Captain’s license and nothing but war stories to share. I do miss the boat to a certain extent, there was just something special about owning and living on a sailboat which you have to do to appreciate. Even with all the bad stuff, I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.
I first got serious about boat living in the winter of 2007 when I was living in the north middle part of Florida. I looked at the ads all over the inter webs and made more than a few trips to go look at some potential boats. I remember one boat in particular, a 1984 27 foot ODay for sale over on the west coast. I watched the ad everyday, and finally took a ride over to look at it. I was able to go on board and when I stepped up to the helm, (this one had wheel steering), and put my hands on said wheel, the whole boat felt like it fit me perfectly. I only ever felt something like that once before, when I bought my first Harley, a 1984 softtail. The damn thing felt like it was built just for me, and this boat felt the same way. But, unlike the Harley, I didn’t buy the boat. It was a tad too much money and I would have had to sail it from the port about 400 miles south to Key West. I just wasn’t ready.
I looked at another 27 footer around the holidays at that time. This one was custom built and just happened to be sitting in the very marina where I just left. I came within seconds of pressing the buy button at the end of the auction but I wanted to pay off the rest of my debt first. So I passed. In hindsight, that boat would have been the best deal. But, good deals come and go all the time.
So instead, I went the other route, buying the 27′ Hunter in Key Largo, selling it at a loss, buying and trading the other boat, and then the Free Spirit. Now, my boat is digital, here on the Fritter until such time when I may or may not decide to get another one.
The boats themselves were what they were, old, in need of a lot of work, but liveaboardable and comfy enough. The problem with living aboard was the marinas. All of them, even the last one, despite having a nice staff, were not live aboard friendly. Constantly changing the rules, making it more expensive to stay, and generally being a pain in the ass, the marinas made living on a boat not fun.
Living in a mooring field was the one option I never tried. The Spirit was just too damn small. Living on the hook is becoming less and less doable as more laws are being enacted to prevent anyone from living for free anywhere. It’s a damn shame but it’s getting that way with all alternative lifestyles. It seems the wealthy and those in power want us all in little homes or condos, mortgaged to the hilt, so we have to work all our lives to keep our happy little homes. Those of us who try and stray from the hive are swatted down at every turn.
As for me, I don’t know what the future will hold. As I said, someday that ODay may reappear in another form and I will find myself back on the water again. I know now what I want and don’t want in a boat. I definitely don’t want another junker that I will need to dump tons of money into. It would not be a dock queen neither. If I do get another boat, it will sail. It will have a good running engine and I will not be tied to a pier all the time. Providing I do find another.
For now, I am content to be on land and not have to worry about such things. I don’t need to worry about scraping bottoms, tying off lines, nor swabbing the scuppers. I have no motors to maintain, no registrations to renew, and no required minimum safety gear. But there is one thing I need to think about this summer.
My Captain license will be up for renewal in August. I haven’t looked at all I need to do to renew said license but I am debating if it is worth it to re up for 5 more years. I will probably need another physical, which I hope I can pass, everything else should be no big deal. I did some minor bit of chartering since I got it last time. Made a few dollars, and if I did renew, it’s potentially a small revenue stream if I wish. On the other hand, maybe it’s time to just go back to being the former Captain, although Capt. Fritter will always be. I’m still up in the air over this. Part of what I decide this summer will determine if I go ahead and renew or not. I still got some time to choose.
While I do sit here and say I may find another boat, I have the sneaky suspicion the longer I go without owning any type of vehicle, boat, or whatever, the less I’m going to want to tie myself down to one. I have no desire to own a house of any kind. An rv is always a possibility. I’ve done the rv thing many times in the past and enjoyed it. Perhaps when my wanderlust has been sated or I get too damn old and tired to travel by plane, train, bus, or foot, I may go back to something, motorhome, converted van, jeep and small trailer. But, as I said, the longer I go without, the less I want to go back.
So, for now, I will say goodbye to the live aboard community and lifestyle. I may post something now and then if it pertains to boats and such, and feel free to ask any questions if you are thinking of life on the water. Despite all the pitfalls, it is something you should try, if not even for a short period of time, just to say you did.
Living on a boat was interesting. I laughed, I cried, it became a part of me. I miss it of course. I especially miss my crew, KC and Charley. But it’s time to move on.
Yo Ho Me Hearties Yo Ho.