When it came time to name our sailboat, Tim wanted something that no one else on the Chesapeake Bay might have. Uff-da! If you're not from the midwest, it'll sound awful strange.
But if you're from the Midwest, you'll know it's as familiar as saying "Y'all" to Southerners. There's much debate on what Uff-da really means. Actually, it can mean just about anything you want it to mean, depending upon the tone of voice you put behind it!
For us, it means, "Ah! Phew!"
What's it like Living Aboard?
Tim's job put us in proximity of the Baltimore Inner Harbor. That also made it the perfect time for Sandy to start a new non-profit, called Water's Edge Partnership.
In July, 2010, we finally figured out our "land-lubber" arrangements so that we could move aboard. We carried our trusty dog, got rid of 1/2 of our former house, put the rest in storage (lest we couldn't stand it), and attempted to bring "stuff" aboard. Over the next four weeks, we took more stuff to our storage unit!
Now, some who have never lived aboard a boat will think "living aboard a sailboat" is quite quaint. Others will vomit at the thought! It's neither nostalgic or that we've gone cuckoo! Our 36 foot Catalina sailboat is comfortable for us. Comfortable, not spacious. We love being on the water, enjoying God's creation and people, and love the more simple life (simple in some respects, but just plain weathering the storms in others).
Toughest part? Weather, no doubt. In the summer, it's difficult to keep the cabin cool. There's no insulation on the boat. We've discovered it matters where the fan is located. And, it became a necessity to install marine air conditioning. For the winter, in our climate, our foe is not snow (that shovels into the water) ... but high winds. To keep the cabin warm, we put down rugs, insulating the floors some, and a boat cover to keep heat more trapped within. But we can't do much about the wind and rocking of the boat.
Coolest part about living aboard? The community. We help each other out, share stories and families, and weather the storms together.
During our last Hurricane, most of us chose to remain aboard, prepared to abandon ship if needed. We kept our VHF on an agreed-upon channel so we could communicate if anyone needed help. The hurricane did not hit us dead on (or we would have left the boat). But the high winds broke one boat from it's cleat, and ripped out several cleats.
This is the thing about living aboard. Part of the adventure is enjoying the water, going sailing, being fully involved in creation, and battling the elements to win!
Is it Cheaper to Live Aboard a Sailboat?
There is the freedom to live without a lot of stuff, and this does save ancillary costs! You can only own so many sets of clothes before the cabin drawers are full. You can only own so many dishes or "you name it" before there is 0 space for any people! In that sense, living on a sailboat is cheaper than living on land.
But if you are marina bound (not able to live on the hook), there are fees to pay. Every marina is very different in fees. We've found that maintaining a boat and paying the marina fees is comparable to land living (rent or mortgage). We don't own an 'expensive' boat. However, we needed to add an air conditioner; replace stuff that broke like the toilet, reefer, and other stuff; add a second 30 amp service with some outlets; and maintain the gelcoat. As you know, the more work you can do yourself, the cheaper these kinds of things are. But they're never free! If you are willing to do without air conditioning, parking, or a marina, you may find things significantly cheaper.