If you asked me five years ago what my plan was for the next decade, I most certainly wouldn’t have answered with “sailing around the world.” But life’s funny like that.
In 2018, my partner Chris and I took our (very) minimal college-graduate-and-newly-wed savings and bought our 1979 Cheoy Lee 41’ sailing yacht, “Avocet”; we moved aboard in pursuit of a life more adventurous. For the past three years, we have been restoring Avocet in preparation to sail the world together and escape the rat race of our 9-to-5 lives.
Although our apartment was already tiny, moving into such a relatively small space together was a challenge, but a challenge made easy with a few tips and tricks that I learned along the way. Now, I’m eager to pass on to fellow future liveaboard ladies (and people in general)!
Leave your expectations at the dock.
A lot of people buy a boat with the idea that they will sail into the sunset with their honey snuggled next to them as a gentle breeze pushes them along. Although it is a charming fantasy, boat life isn’t always sunshine and mai-tais. There is a lot of maintenance, planning, and less-than-ideal weather that comes into play more often than not, which can ultimately make or break the allure of living on a boat. Those who roll with the punches and leave their expectations behind them will be undoubtedly met with memories worth their weight in (pirate) gold.
Bring what you need, add what you “want” later.
This goes for any tiny living situation. Narrow down your must-have-cannot-live-without items, and then (and only then) add the “luxury” items that may not be necessary, but make life a little more comfortable. For example, I may not need 10 pairs of shoes when living on a boat. I’m barefoot the majority of the time, but because we have the extra space aboard, my shoe collection remains. You can turn this activity into a fun game to play with a partner; deciding what stays and what goes, which leads into my next point.
Aunt Flow will be crew.
This is for my people with uteruses: you may be sailing away, but Aunt Flow will still find you. Considering we spend weeks away from land, it isn’t always ideal to stock up on tampons, pads, and sanitary items. They take up space and create “snowballs” in the trash that we will have to hold onto until we can dispose of it all properly. Because of this, I highly recommend the Diva Cup, which is not only a space saver but also environmentally friendly — it decreases the amount of waste that ultimately ends up in the sea (aka our backyard!).
Bring ocean-safe sunscreen.
Living on a boat is great because you are able to immerse yourself in the great outdoors, all while staying home — perfect for these pandemic times! To prevent sun damage while still enjoying the sun’s gentle kisses, we have found a lot of great, small-batch, women-owned sunscreen brands such as Channel Islands Native Sunscreen. These keep our skin and the sea safe from harsh chemicals. This is just the starting point to better keep the ocean free from unnecessary waste. Consider switching your dish soap, hand soap, and hair products to ocean-safe products to keep the sea safe for future generations to enjoy.
Must-Haves For Living Aboard
Living on a boat can be made easier with these products — we use them on Avocet!
Collapsible Galley Pot
Nope, you don’t have to sacrifice cooking on a boat! But the galley is small, so we can’t have a bunch of big posts. This collapsible silicone pot is oven and freezer safe, and when you don’t need it, you just fold it up and stash it.
Waterproof Phone Case
Accidents happen, and the last thing you want is for your phone to go overboard and die a slow death. These pouches hold your phone and can survive sinking up to 100 feet. Get the shot without worrying about a drop.
Sunglasses are important when you’re sailing into the sun, so it’s always a bummer when they accidentally fall off. These croakies keep your glasses along your neck, and they’re made of nylon, so they dry off quickly.
A Flop Stopper
When you’re anchored, you still feel a rocking motion, which can make it hard to sleep. A Flop Stopper helps stop the flop (get it?), giving you a sound night’s rest. You can use the code “Avocet” at check out for a discount!
Living on a sailboat is a humbling experience that has taught me many lessons in self growth, as well as physical skills helping me to be the best version of myself. This lifestyle may be rough sometimes, but it sure is rewarding.
As we continue to push on and prepare for our grand, world-wide journey, we invite you to follow our adventures on YouTube (Sailing Avocet) and keep an eye on our boat — coming to a port near you!
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