Browsing Tag

Living aboard

0 In the journal

Making Our Sailing Dreams Reality

We’re all about hustle over here. My husband is especially ambitious and determined. Those character traits were instrumental in making our dreams of living afloat a quick reality. Here is how we went from non-sailing suburb dwellers to boat-owning, liveaboard sailors in under 6 months.

  • ASA Course – In June of 2012, we took ASA 101 on Lake Pleasant in Arizona with Captain Clint. Check out his Facebook page or website. Captain Clint is an awesome sailing instructor. We knew exactly zero about sailing. Clint took the two of us out in crazy Arizona heat and did a great job of not making us feel like idiots (we totally were). He’s knowledgeable, funny, and personable.  If you’re landlocked in Arizona with dreams to set sail, we highly recommend Clint. He even offers coastal cruising courses in San Diego and bareboat charters from Long Beach to Catalina.

  • Boat Shopping – Once we had our ASA under our belt and were pretty sure we liked sailing, the next logical step was to look for a boat to buy. We scoured Yachtworld and Craigslist for boats anywhere on the California coast. We wanted a boat that at least had a good reputation as a coastal cruiser, something big enough to live on, and something that we wouldn’t have to put an excessive amount of work into before we could sail. We did a ton of research but were still pretty naive. Jeff was working remotely, so he began taking trips to look at top contenders around our $20,000 budget.

  • Renting Out Our House – Around the same time that we started boat shopping, we contacted a property management company to manage our house as a rental. After three years in our first home, the rental market was in a good place to be able to keep the house at a little over break-even including the fees from the property management company. We did have a few hiccups with them in the first few months (constant calls for maintenance, a shady pool vendor trying to weasel us out of cash). We got really involved for a couple of weeks, promptly sought out our own trustworthy pool maintenance company, and haven’t heard a peep since.  After a year and a half, we’re still happy with this decision.

  • Selling Our Crap and Moving – Because we were under contract with the property management company, our plans quickly went into overdrive. The faster we got out of the house, the faster they could rent it, and the more money we would save. We said we would vacate in 30 days, making our last day in our little house in Arizona August 1st, 2012. We decided that whether we had purchased a boat or not, we would leave with only what would fit in our cars (we still had two of them). We packed up valuables, wedding gifts, and keepsakes and distributed them among a few kind family members with a little extra storage space. Everything else was Ebay-ed, Craigslisted, yard saled, or given away.

  • Buying Our Boat – We moved out before we had a boat lined up with the intention of possibly getting a short-term lease in Southern California while we shopped. In the interim, Jeff’s (awesome) grandparents let us stay with them for an entire month. They got to hear all of the boat buying dramas first-hand and were so supportive. We ended up finding our boat toward the end of August, skipping the apartment altogether, and moving aboard Labor Day weekend 2012.

  • Sailing Lessons on Our New Boat – We had our ASA, but we thought it would be prudent to have a couple of lessons on our own boat. We’re so glad we did. A few lessons with a sailing instructor who had been referred by a friend gave us that extra boost of confidence for docking, anchoring, and sail trim.

Acclimating to the lifestyle, completing boat projects, meeting new friends, and getting our feet wet in the Santa Barbara Channel (aka Windy Lane) followed over the next year. We have never looked back.

*We have no affiliation with the products/companies mentioned.

0 In the journal

Liveaboard Essential: Good Coffee

Pour Over Coffee


For Jeff and I, coffee is priority numero uno in the morning. I’m not one bit ashamed to say that I’m addicted to coffee; the taste, the smell, the romance of sitting in the cockpit as the sun creeps over the horizon, overlooking a secluded cove with a hot and perfectly brewed cup full.

However, when you live aboard a smallish sailboat, making coffee is not always as simple as turning on the coffee pot. You need consider space, water usage, electrical demands, etc. When we first started this adventure of living on our sailboat, we experimented with a few different coffee methods. We made grumpy early morning runs to Starbucks (very short-lived). We tried instant coffee, and while it’s convenient underway; it’s not great for regular enjoyment. Many cruisers make french press coffee, which is delicious, but requires beans ground to a specific coarseness and too much water to rinse the grounds out of the container.

In our search for a boat-friendly coffee system, we were not willing to sacrifice flavor. It wasn’t until we took a trip home that Jeff’s mom introduced us to the Starbucks pour-over brewing system. This is so simple and makes cup-by-cup delicious coffee. It is mess free, efficient, and takes up as much space as a coffee mug. We’ll probably still use it when (if) we live on land again someday. It’s basically a a cone shaped mug with a hole in the bottom that you put a filter and coffee grounds into. No special grounds are needed, just the brewing variety. Place it over your empty coffee cup and slowly pour boiling water over the grounds. The brew drips right into your mug.  It’s a great solution for efficient and electricity free coffee making.

If you’re really serious about lightweight portability and pack-ability on your boat, you can find a plastic version at Williams- Sonoma and a silicone collapsible version at GSI Outdoors.

How to Make the Perfect Cup of Coffee aboard your Sailboat

1. Begin heating water

2. Place pour-over brewer with a filter inside over coffee mug.

3. Measure desired amount of coffee grounds and place in filter.

4. Pour water over the grounds in slow phases, allowing the water to extract the flavors and caffeine from the coffee grounds.

5. Toss the grounds, rinse the brewer.

*We have no affiliation with the products/companies mentioned.