So, let’s hear it – what is it actually like living on a sailboat full time?
“Our sailboat is our Tiny Home and our spaceship: in it, we can live minimally and go anywhere! ”
Actually, it might be more like an off-grid cabin in the woods… except floating
There are some interesting changes that I did have to become accustomed to when we moved aboard. The biggest (to me) being our use of electricity.
Unlike a typical house or condo where you can run tons of high-wattage appliances at once and it’s usually never an issue, we have to be a bit more cognizant when we use “household” appliances.
Rule 1: Don’t blow your transformer!
I never used to pay attention to voltage/amps/wattage before, but now I have to. If we run even two standard household appliances simultaneously (which, in our case, might be an electric heater and an espresso machine) we will likely cause our transformer to click off. Basically, it’s like tripping a circuit breaker. No more lattés for us. 🙁
Of course, we only use the transformer when we are connected to shore power. If we’re just boating around, we run off of our battery banks. And these we do try to conserve by NOT using energy-guzzling appliances.
However, if we’re just plugged in at a marina, we can relax a bit more. The good news? At the marina we’re currently staying at, we don’t pay extra for electricity. It’s included in our moorage fee. The less-than-good news? Even with shore power, we only have a 30-Amp connection.
Become an amateur electrician… it’ll help
So, I’m no electrician (probably an obvious statement, but hey), so my piddly understanding of what a 30-Amp connection means is simply this: low amps = less power draw at any given time.
Personally, I don’t think this is necessarily a “bad” thing. I find this kind of makes the boat feel like a cabin in some remote woods somewhere, lending a rustic air to living here. And when we add a couple of luxuries like espresso machines in the mix, it feels all the more special to be able to use these appliances when we DO pull into a marina.
As I said before, we can use our inverter to power our appliances from our batteries. And by understanding our battery setup better – i.e. power draw versus power replenishment versus charge state of the batteries – I would feel more comfortable using these appliances when not on shore power. I’m just not there yet.
It’s all about what you enjoy… and how you enjoy it
I suppose it helps that I’m a minimalist at heart (as is Josh).
We LOVE camping and roughing it and keeping our living conditions as simple and hassle-free as possible. Which is funny, because many people would say that camping and roughing it equate to MORE hassle than the conveniences we enjoy in our on-grid, wifi-ready, modern homes.
It’s true, I won’t deny that the conveniences of dishwashers and washing machines and electric appliances are wonderful things! And I do have more lazy days than I care to admit where I miss those things terribly.
But another part of me is glad for the “inconvenience” of washing my dishes by hand as soon as I’m done using them. Or of going without a microwave or television and – instead – heating food on my propane cooking stove while laughing at one of my hubby’s ridiculous anecdotes. It all seems so earthy and antiquated, I’m sure, but in a weird way these activities allow me to feel more grounded in the present than I can ever remember being. It’s a good vibe. 🙂
Glamping on a sailboat!
I think, in the end, living aboard a sailboat full time is somewhere between condo/cabin-living and camping, depending on whether we are secured and plugged-in at a marina, or anchored somewhere remote in the wilderness.
That said, there’s something very special about the boat that will one-up a condo or cabin or tent-in-the-woods every time… the freedom-factor. Our sailboat is both our tiny home and our spaceship: in it, we can live minimally and go anywhere!
I’ve heard the term “glamping” thrown around before (to mean luxurious camping), and maybe that is the perfect word for this. It is a rustic-yet-luxurious way to live and see the world at the same time.
Thanks for reading! Feel free to comment or ask questions below – would love to get a dialogue going with you.