We’re Taking On Water!

Fog in Rosario Strait

The day dawned glorious and bright, with the densely wooded hillside of Cypress Island for a backdrop, and good friends rafted to either side of Solace. But as so often happens this time of year, Rosario Strait, a mere quarter mile away, was completely socked in with fog. My friends and I had met up the night before for an impromptu rendezvous at Cypress Island. I planned to head back to the mainland this morning to get some work done on Solace in preparation for…

My Off-Grid Power System

US Yacht at anchor

This article describes the off-grid power system that I have implemented on the boat. I believe it’s a good template for those wanting to build their own simple off-grid power system for a cabin, tiny-house, van, RV, or boat. I used to work as an electrical engineer planning out twelve volt electrical systems for semi-trucks, so I’ve spent a great deal of time thinking about how to build a robust, but simple, electrical system. I participate regularly on the Van-Dweller and Low-Cost-Voyaging mailing lists, and…

Crabbing with Family

Bayliner 288

After years of cheerleading and encouragement directed at my parents to get a four-season boat so that they could join me on adventures, they finally got one. No-one in my family but me has any sailing experience, despite three generations of avid boating, so it was no surprise when they purchased a Bayliner 288. The four-day trip we took last weekend was months in the planning, yet only considered a ‘trial run’ for the three-week trip we’ll be taking in September. If it wasn’t for…

Summer Sailstice

I’m pointed north with two sheets to the wind. The breeze this morning is coming from the southeast and I’m on a downwind run heading northeast from Watmough Bay on Lopez Island, to Eagle Harbor on Cypress Island. It’s Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year. As I write this I’ve got my Genoa jib up trying to grab as much of this 10 mph wind as possible. I’m averaging 4-5 mph and haven’t had to tack once in the last 10 miles. I’m…

Boat Curtains

DIY Boat Curtains

The best time to buy a stock is when the price is low, the best time to buy fruit is when it’s in season, and the best time to prepare for winter is in the summer. That last tip is the focus of this post. I plan to continue to live aboard Solace this winter. In addition to insulating the hull, I have also had the plan to create curtains for all the windows and hatches. When it was cold out, I would routinely hold…

Making It Mine

Making_It_Mine

A boat is just a boat. It only becomes your boat when you put your energy into it; when you take it apart, inspect it’s components and put it back together. Until that point it’s just so much fiberglass, wood, and steel. I find that I harbor a trepidation against all new components that I add to the boat until I’ve taken them apart and rebuilt them. Until that time, I always half-expect it to blow up and misbehave when I turn my back or…

Boat Insulation – Part 3

Boat Insulation

This is part three of a three part series. Be sure to check out part one and part two. I finally finished fiberglassing in the hemlock ‘studs’ that will be used as scaffolding to support the upholstery and insulation. The final step was to mount the insulation and upholstery. Unlike a house, almost nothing on a boat is ‘square’ as the concept of ‘level’ doesn’t really exist on a boat. When trying to retrofit anything in tight quarters, construction become even more difficult. My friend…

Insulating a Boat Hull – Part 2

Insulating a Boat Hull Part 2

This is part two of a three part series. Be sure to check out part one and part three. After identifying the materials that I had at my disposal, the real work began in earnest. The first step was to remove the old vinyl covering that had been glued to the inside of the hull. I’m sure that when the boat was new, this stuff was great, but 20 years later large swaths of it had turned black from mold growth. It felt very healthy…

Who Needs Radar?!

Rosario Strait Fog

Living on a boat requires a significant downsizing of possessions. Before Christmas I warned my family that I can no longer accept physical gifts, but gift cards will be gladly accepted. I was delighted to receive a gift certificate from my parents for the Rosario Resort on Orcas Island. I set out on an early Saturday morning and the conditions appeared perfect: glassy water, a flood tide, not a breath of wind, and warm sunlight glancing off the nearby islands. No sooner did I poke…

How To Insulate a Sailboat – Part 1

This is part one of a three part series. Check out part two and part three when you’re done with this one. This article presents the research I’ve done in anticipation of insulating the hull of my sailboat. I’ll cover the actual work in a future article. One task I’ve had stored in my winter arsenal of rainy-day to-do projects is insulating the hull of my boat. Despite a lack of rainy days this winter, I’ve managed to plow through the lion’s share of my…

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