15 Things That Change When You Live on a Catamaran
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So the dream of living on a catamaran is starting to look like a reality. You hit the internet to read as much as you can about life aboard.
I get it. For one, I was going to be ready for this big adventure and all the challenges that come with it. There was no way I was going to be caught unprepared. (Yea… right.)
Preparing for the Live Aboard Lifestyle
When we moved on our sailboat, I quickly learned you have to experience this lifestyle to understand the challenges.
It’s been almost two years living full-time on our catamaran. So I decided to look at the day-to-day things that are different from our habits in land-based life.
Many things we didn’t think twice about have a massive impact on our lives on the boat. Things like water conservation, provisioning, cooking, cleaning, and adjusting to a small space all take time and energy.
Here are some of the big changes to everyday habits that we discovered living on a sailing catamaran.
1. Laundry on a Boat
A few years back, I was one of those people that threw most things in the hamper after one wear. It was just easy.
Unless you have the convenience of a washing machine onboard, it’s not so simple to run a load of laundry.
It costs money, and it can take a lot of time to haul your clothes around. Alternatively, handwashing is time-consuming, labor-intensive, and hard on your water usage.
To minimize laundry, you have to think about what you wear and how you wear it.
In the summer, you can get sweaty just sitting on the boat.
I learned to wear quick-dry items like leggings, swimsuits, and UPF tops I could easily handwash with a small amount of water. If you can stretch the life of your outer clothing, you can clean undergarments and swimsuits in a small collapsible tub.
Re-wearing clothes in the cooler months is much more comfortable than in the summer months. If it’s not dirty, I don’t wash it. If clothes smell or I’ve been doing boat work, I move them to the dirty pile. Just paying attention to these details reduces laundry. And the less you wash your clothes, the longer they’ll last.
2. Cooking Aboard
There are a few aspects of living on a boat that heavily influences your cooking.
Space. Access to ingredients. Water conservation. Ventilation.
If you only have a small area to prep, you learn quickly to do it in stages. Prepping vegetables, putting ingredients away as you work, and washing dishes as you go is also essential.
Access to Ingredients
Before boat life, recipes were iron-clad when I was cooking. But without the convenience of running to the store, they’ve become more of a guideline. You learn how to adjust recipes based on what you have on hand. You get comfortable substituting vegetables, different spices, and acidity for flavor.
When off the dock, fresh water is at a premium. How much water you carry (or make) will dictate how you cook.
We do a few things to conserve water in the kitchen. Wash dishes in saltwater first. Use an Aquabot for pressurized cleaning. Cook pasta with a small amount of water. I’ve also embraced one-pot meals to save water on clean up.
Our catamaran is “galley up,” so it’s easy to open the cockpit window above the stove to release heat and steam. But that’s not always enough.
In the summer, we use the thermal cooker to avoid heating up the boat. You can make beans, rice, broth – even casseroles or banana bread without expelling heat in the boat.
READ NEXT: For more tips to cook on a boat, check out 4 Flexible Meals on a Boat and Sailboat Galley Essentials.
3. Water Usage
When off the dock, water is a high commodity on a boat.
Even with two 80-gallon tanks, water can go fast if you aren’t paying attention.
You can minimize water through small changes to your habits, including:
- cooking pasta with a few cups of water
- swapping soap for hand sanitizer
- rinsing dishes on the sugar scoop
- we even recycle the cat’s stale water in the herb garden
Me, I love hot showers. Just steaming for like 30 minutes, that’s my kind of heaven. So learning to shower with less than a couple of gallons of water was a big hurdle.
Conserving water can be a challenge, but you’ll be surprised what you can save when you use it thoughtfully.
We had days in the winter we used less than 5 gallons. As with most things on a boat, it just takes a little practice.
READ NEXT: For more tips on conserving water, check out How to Save Water on a Boat.
4. Sustainable Practices
When you live in a small space, you realize how many disposable items you are harboring.
When we first moved on the boat, the paper towel storage alone took up half a cabin.
Not only are you losing storage, but those disposable items are just that, future trash for you to deal with.
Ditching paper towels, plastic bags, and other single-use items save space and money. As a bonus, you get to feel optimistic about creating less trash.
Here are a few sustainable options we switched to:
- Reusable “Unpaper” towels
- Cotton napkins
- E-Cloths, microfiber towels
- Beeswax wraps
- Foldable reusable bags
- Glass straws
- A quality set of plastic containers in various sizes
READ NEXT: Zero Waste Swaps for Small Spaces for more eco-friendly options.
5. Fridge Space
The residential fridge. Something I took for granted as a landlubber. A fridge door full of condiments, anyone?
Managing food in a tiny fridge requires strategy and a little education.
Learning what you NEED to keep in the fridge is helpful. Sure it’s nice to have cold ketchup, but necessary? No.
Sriracha, soy sauce, hot sauce, mustard – out you go.
We also switched to almond milk and tofu brands that only need refrigeration after opening. This way, we can still stock up without loss of fridge space.
The Right Storage
Once the condiment bottles are out, having the right storage makes all the difference.
Containers need to be the right size to fit in shelves on the door and inside the fridge. You want various sizes, so if you have a smidgen of something, you don’t need to use a huge container.
You can save more space by chopping fresh veggies when you get back from the store. Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and hardy greens can all be prepped ahead. I store any scraps in the freezer for homemade vegetable broth.
It’s crucial to keep track of your grocery store when you live on a boat. You probably won’t be able to run back to the store because you forgot the butter.
One of the nice benefits of living on a catamaran is the space.
We tend to stock up on these when we can.
- Beans (dried and canned)
- Grains, pasta, oats
- Canned and dehydrated vegetables
- Baking goods and almond milk
- Oils, vinegars, spices, nuts, seeds
- Wine and beer
Most of the time, we are hand-carrying our groceries. So when we have the opportunity to have a car, we load up on heavy items.
When we plan to be at a marina, we have a list ready for Amazon and Walmart.com to have shipped.
READ NEXT: Get a detailed overview of stocking your boat in our Practical Guide to Sailboat Provisioning.
Supplementing Fresh Food
We keep a variety of veggies on-hand: dehydrated, canned, a little frozen, and fresh. When cooking, I use a little bit of everything to stretch fresh foods.
We have a nice space in the cockpit where we keep potted fresh herbs. They can really step up a dish!
As a bonus, they add to the coziness of the cockpit living space.
7. Downsizing Your Closet
Before I started to plan for boat life, I had a giant wardrobe. I love clothes. And I had been collecting them most of my life.
Believe me, when I tell you cutting my wardrobe down to less than 100 items was a long, emotional process.
A Minimalist Wardrobe
The less you have, the less you need to care for.
Aim for a wardrobe of pieces you love that work for living on the water. It’ll be easy to get dressed, and you’ll be happy in your clothes. And if you are managing your laundry (see #1), you won’t need many clothes.
The owners’ version of our catamaran has great storage. I can easily see all the clothing in my wardrobe. I only need to store a few off-season items under our berth.
READ NEXT: For what type of clothing to have on your sailboat, see What to Wear Sailing. Or see How to Downsize Your Wardrobe for more on getting rid of clothing.
8. Temperature Control
Spoiler, you don’t have much control of temperature at anchor. And what power you have, isn’t as easy as turning the dial on the thermostat.
On a catamaran, you can pretty much open up the doors and hatches on the bridgedeck and get a cross-breeze on a hot day.
I was surprised that Georgia in August (as miserable as it was during the day) was never unbearable at night. We used Breeze Boosters over our cabin, and it worked wonders moving the air around at anchor.
When it’s cold on a catamaran, you know it. There’s no insulation, and the boat cools down quickly. Below 40 at night is chilly.
Fortunately, if the sun is shining, it can heat the bridgedeck nicely in the morning.
Down blankets, the right clothing, and foul weather gear will keep you from becoming an icicle.
9. Storing Things
On a boat, you can’t just throw your things in a locker and forget them. Nope.
When storing clothing, personal items, and food, you’ll need to plan.
Mold, leaks, and bugs are all things to be concerned with.
Essential oils, bay leaves, vinegar, and plastic bags will be vital to protecting your items.
You’ll also need to think about where you store things and how accessible they are. It becomes a bit of a puzzle to make sure you keep items you often use in an easy to access location.
READ NEXT: For storage tips, check out Helpful Boat Storage Ideas for Liveaboards.
10. Slowing Down
A big part of living happily on a boat is moving at your own pace.
It is being in the mindset of appreciating what you are doing now and not continually looking to the next move.
When we first moved aboard, there was self-imposed pressure we should be moving faster – doing more.
When we finally slowed down and started to embrace the here and now, we enjoyed the boat so much more.
11. Your “House” Breaks (A Lot)
When things go wrong on a boat, they tend to go really wrong.
A pro and con of catamarans is there are a lot of duplicates. It’s great to have a backup, but it also means double the maintenance. Two hulls, two engines, two heads… you get the picture.
On the plus side, when our starboard engine broke, we were trying to maneuver through a bridge. We had to turn 260 degrees to turn toward the bridge, but one engine is better than none!
The hardest thing in these moments is keeping your head when everything is against you.
We try to slow down and take a breath if the situation allows. Once any immediate concern is taken care of, we take a breath before diving into solving the greater issue.
12. You Learn to Live Intentionally
Our decision to move on a sailboat was for the rewards of the lifestyle.
One of the most significant rewards is being intentional with space, time, and money.
Living on a boat offers freedom from your stuff. It allows you to live more simply.
On the boat, we get to spend more time with each other. We only have what we need because space is limited.
Don’t get me wrong. A boat requires time and money. But we are intentional about how we spend those when maintaining our floating home.
READ NEXT: Our article Cost of Living on a Sailboat that breaks down expenses by category.
13. Appreciation for Nature
Living in the Colorado Rockies for over a decade, it was easy to love the outdoors. But living on the water creates a deeper connection.
You wake up to the water lapping on the boat. The sun dances off the waves, throwing reflections across the cabin. Walking outside at anchor and seeing the birds hunting for breakfast is a morning routine. And a sea turtle drifting by for a visit is not uncommon. Even relying on the sun for power and the wind to travel is part of the lifestyle.
All these experiences bring you closer to nature and beg you to slow down, breathe, and take it in.
14. Personal Space
It doesn’t matter how much you love your significant other. If you live on a boat together, you will be looking for some “me time.”
When you sleep, eat, shop, travel, and take care of a boat as a team, that’s a lot of togetherness.
How We Find Space
In a small space like a boat, it’s nice to create spaces for personal time.
A big plus of a catamaran is you can create a few separate spaces.
We have four main spaces where we spend time: the cockpit, the trampoline, the salon, and the owners’ berth. Ensuring these areas are comfortable and cozy helps us find our own spaces in a tiny floating home.
Sometimes it’s not about physical space but mental space.
I like to have personal time while I’m cooking. It’s something I enjoy, and I can put on my headphones with a show or playlist and tune in while I cook.
If we are in a nice anchorage, even a quick solo kayak adventure is rejuvenating.
Embracing minimalism was a change we made going into boat life. But it’s not the typical view of minimalism that has become trendy these days.
Minimalist Lifestyle on a Boat
The typical “rules” of minimalism aren’t as clear-cut on a boat.
We have a lot of extras when it comes to spare parts and tools. Some parts can be hard to come by, and with two engines, you need double the spares. Not to mention things never break when there’s a West Marine around the corner.
We also have a lot of non-perishable food and duplicate personal care items. It’s easier to stock up when we have the opportunity. This process keeps our routine shopping to mostly fresh items.
How We Live Minimally
On the flip slide, we don’t have a lot of extra stuff – extra clothes, additional personal items, disposable items.
We don’t have more typical things you would find in a house, such as a dishwasher, microwave, or washer/dryer. When we’re off the dock, we are minimalists with water and power.
We aren’t the typical minimalists, but we use space intentionally. And we continue to evaluate our needs based on this lifestyle.
READ NEXT: Our guide for ways to downsize and live minimally.
Can You Live on a Catamaran?
After a year as liveaboards, many of your daily habits will change. We are still adjusting and finding the best ways to adapt to life on a sailing catamaran.
You lose many conveniences of the modern world, but it’s entirely possible to live without them. It comes down to deciding which comforts are important to you.
How you use space, time and money will shift. You’ll learn to be sustainable, thoughtful, and more self-sufficient.
Living on a boat is a unique experience. No matter how long you do it, it has the power to change the way you live in the future for the better.
Want to learn more about cruising on a boat?
For more on finding the right boat, the cost of cruising, and learning how to live on the water, view our complete guide.
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Best Liveaboard Catamaran Sailboats | Life of Sailing
Catamarans are an excellent choice for living on the water. Modern catamarans are more spacious than monohulls and provide all the comforts of home.
In this article, we’ll cover five of the best liveaboard catamarans available on the new and used market today. We’ll also cover how to choose the best and most comfortable catamaran to live aboard.
The best liveaboard catamarans are the Manta 42, the Nautitech 44, the Voyage 44, the Privilege 435, the Elba 35, and the Lagoon 380. These vessels are seaworthy, comfortable, and ideal for long-term living.
We sourced the technical specifications of these vessels from maritime records and directly from sailboat manufacturers. We also considered the opinions of sailors who live aboard these vessels and others.
Living on a Catamaran
Living on a catamaran has both advantages and disadvantages when compared to living on a monohull sailboat. That said, most of the challenges of living aboard a catamaran are mitigated on larger and higher-quality vessels.
Catamarans feature two hulls placed side-by-side and connected by a deck. As a result, the cabins are split between the two hulls, and you may have to go outside to get to the other cabin. Thankfully, most modern cruising catamarans have a center cockpit that connects the two hulls and often features living spaces.
Some vessels have facilities (such as the galley and table) in one cabin and sleeping areas in the other. However, some catamarans have sleeping and cooking facilities in both hulls. The configuration you choose depends on how many people attended live aboard and what layout you prefer.
Catamarans offer superior stability and motion comfort, which is a big advantage when living aboard. Overall, conditions under sail and in the harbor are likely much better aboard a properly-proportioned catamaran.
How to Choose a Liveaboard Catamaran
What qualities make a catamaran ideal for living aboard, and how do you choose the best boat? Attributes such as size and interior layout are the most important, but others such as fit and finish and seakeeping abilities should also be considered.
The best liveaboard catamarans range in size between 30 and 50 feet, width 40 feet being the comfortable average. In general, vessels smaller than 30 feet simply lack the space to include a practical interior layout.
Interior layout is largely a matter of personal opinion. The most popular liveaboard catamaran features a spacious center cockpit with access to both hulls. Master bedrooms are often found in the stern and the bow of each hull, with heads in between and a galley in the center cockpit. Some catamarans feature one or more additional settees, along with storage in all areas.
Tech and Convenience
The majority of monohull sailboats were produced between the 1960s in the 1980s. This isn’t the case for catamarans, as their popularity is more recent. As a result, you’re likely to find considerably more modern amenities aboard. Everything from autopilot systems to bathtubs are available aboard newer catamarans.
How Much does a Liveaboard Catamaran Cost?
Catamaran prices vary widely based on age, length, and overall quality. Older vessels cost anywhere between $30,000 and $100,000. Newer and more comfortable liveaboard catamarans generally start above the $100,000 mark and extend up to $500,000 or more.
Best Catamarans to Live On
We chose the following six liveaboard catamarans based on size, interior amenities, handling, and price. These vessels are popular amongst liveaboard sailors and make exceptionally comfortable floating homes both in port and at sea.
1. Manta 42
The first vessel on our list is an exceptional cruising catamaran that’s also a comfortable place to live. The Manta 42 can be found on the used market, and it features great handling and a spacious cabin.
Unlike most catamarans, which are built overseas, the Manta 42 was produced entirely in the United States. The Florida-based company produced these vessels in the 1990s and 2000s, and they proved extremely popular with offshore cruisers.
The Manta 42 is known for its stability, hull strength, and speed. However, its cabin layout is also smart and livable. Most Manta 42s feature an asymmetrical cabin layout. The cabin has two heads located in convenient places; one on the port side across from a master berth and one on the starboard side, which is easily accessible from the cockpit. It features three berthing areas and one large sitting area, with seating and storage throughout.
The Manta 42 also has exceptional storage capacity. The vessel stores 125 gallons of fuel and a whopping 100 gallons of freshwater. It also has generous gray and black water tanks to service both heads and the galley sinks.
Overall, the Manta 42 is an excellent choice for cruising liveaboards. It’s a fast, nimble, and safe vessel with ample headroom and space throughout the cabin.
- 42-foot overall length
- Large master cabins
- Built for long-term living and cruising
- High storage capacity for fuel and water
- High hull strength
- Production ceased in the 2000s, so equipment may not be up-to-date
The Nautitech 44 is the obvious choice for the number two spot on our list. This well-known cruising catamaran has a unique Center cockpit design which makes it stylish and functional.
The futuristic cockpit of the Nautitech 44 allows the crew to enjoy ample ventilation even in wet conditions. This makes it ideal for living abroad in tropical climates where rain and heat often accompany each other.
Nautitech, which is a French company, continues to produce this model due to its popularity and excellent seakeeping abilities. Prices almost always exceed $100,000, both new and used, making it one of the costlier models on the list. For the price, you get a fine interior fit and finish along with the latest comforts and conveniences.
The Nautitech 44 is available in several cabin layouts. The most popular configuration features an expansive center cockpit with below-deck living spaces, along with three berthing areas and a galley. Additionally, most of these vessels feature a large master head and several smaller heads in each of the hulls. Access to each hull through the center cockpit is easy, and the headroom is excellent.
The Nautitech 44 is a fast boat, and it’s great for offshore cruising. However, hull width was sacrificed for speed and handling. This means that the hulls are slightly narrower than some of the competition. That said, it doesn’t seem to bother most Nautitech owners.
- 44-foot overall length
- Large center cabin
- All-weather control cockpit
- Great ventilation
- Ample room in the hulls
- Wide hallways
- Spacious heads
- Excellent seakeeping abilities
- Expensive on the used market
- No open cockpit
3. Voyage 44
Here’s a popular and spacious catamaran with some unique characteristics that make it ideal for living aboard. The Voyage 44 is a wide and stable multihull sailboat with a large center cockpit and an attractive interior layout.
The cabin of the Voyage 44 is modern and airy, taking advantage of light colors and thoughtfully designed furniture to make the most out of limited space. This is conducive to a pleasant living environment that’s also easy to clean. The center cockpit also features a large, full galley.
The center cockpit stands out, as the voyage 44s exceptionally wide beam gives it plenty of room for tables, sitting areas, and other amenities. The windows let in plenty of light, in the cabin is completely weatherproof.
Below decks, the Voyage 44 features up to six separate heads and several sleeping areas. The master head, located in the bow, is one of the largest available on sailboats of this size range. The vessel features up to eight individuals sleeping areas, which is remarkable for a 44-foot boat.
The Voyage 44 is an excellent liveaboard catamaran due to its wide beam and extremely spacious living accommodations. Out of all the boats on this list, the Voyage 44 is likely the best value overall as it’s relatively affordable. The Voyage 44 may be the perfect long-term liveaboard catamaran under 50 feet in length.
- 44-foot overall length
- Unusually wide beam
- Full master head with two showers
- Very high speeds
- Sturdy construction
- Very large center cabin
- Eight sleeping areas
- May be too wide for some marina slips
4. Privilege 435
The Alliaura Marine Privilege 435 is a simple and elegant catamaran with a comfortable interior, smart design, ingrate offshore handling characteristics. This speedy vessel is constructed with some of the finest materials available, and the overall fit and finish are excellent. Behind the center cabin, the Privilege 435 features a strong fiberglass canopy to protect the crew from spray and son.
The majority of Privilege 435s on the market were built recently, so you can expect the latest navigation and safety equipment. Additionally, the vessel is efficient and includes amenities such as multiple heads, modern utilities, and easy access to the hulls through the center cabin.
The vessel features four separate bedrooms and enough bathrooms and showers for each person (or couple). The center Cabin is wide and features comfortable seating areas, along with a full galley with a stove and a fridge. Stepping inside the Privilege 435 is like stepping inside of a vacation house, and it feels purpose-built for long-term living.
The vessel is available in relatively high numbers, though its popularity means you’re likely to pay top dollar. On the used market, the vessel sells for between $250,000 to $350,000 on average. This puts it on the upper edge of our price range. But for the price, you got a long-lasting and desirable catamaran that’s ready to live aboard almost immediately.
The Privilege 435 is ideal for cruising liveaboards with families or sailors who need space for guests. The interior is very comfortable and aesthetically pleasing. It has several great spaces for entertaining multiple people. On short-to-medium voyages, the Privilege 435 should be adequate for up to eight or more adults.
- 43-foot overall length
- Large center cabin
- Full-size berthing areas
- Large center galley and sitting area
- Spacious interior
- Large showers
- Great offshore handling
- High speed
- Expensive, even on the used market
5. Elba 45
The Fountain Pajot Elba 45 is a modern and luxurious cruising catamaran with a high freeboard and all the living amenities you’d expect. It’s a high-caliber vessel that sails as good as it looks, and it’s still produced by the original manufacturer in Europe.
The Elba 45 has one of the largest center cabins of any catamaran in its size range. It features a large settee, a full galley, and access to both hulls. The cabin layout is flexible, and you can order one of several different designs. One of the most popular is the classic ‘mirror’ layout, where each hull has two master berthing areas, a V-berth in the bow, and two separate heads.
However, other versions are available with attached bathing facilities and additional room for storage, cooking, and other activities. One of the unique features of the Elba 45 is the addition of a V-berth bow. This berth connects directly to the master Beds, which makes for a unique but flexible sleeping arrangement.
If purchased new, the Elba 45 will set you back around $430,000 to $450,000. For the price, you get the latest technology and the finest interior and exterior materials. This is important in the long run as the best liveaboard catamarans should be built to last.
The fit and finish of this vessel are ideal for those looking for a luxurious living environment. Its accommodations are closer to that of a luxury yacht than a sailboat. As a result, the Elba 45 is a great place to live long-term and entertain guests.
- 45-foot overall length
- Multiple layouts available
- Luxury fit-and-finish
- Four cabins
- Six full-size berths
- Luxurious amenities
- Additional V-berths in bow
- Highest build quality
- Upper end of the price range
6. Lagoon 380
The majority of suitable liveaboard catamarans are over 40 feet in length. This is because it’s difficult to fit comfortable accommodations in a smaller vessel. However, the Lagoon 380 is a notable exception. This 39-foot catamaran is one of the most comfortable vessels in its class, and it features a spacious interior and excellent design.
The Lagoon 380 is a newer vessel that features modern conveniences and adheres to high safety standards. Modern manufacturing techniques make this vessel stronger and easier to maintain than its older counterparts. Additionally, owners praise its sailing characteristics in both rough and calm weather.
The spacious center cabin features a full galley and sitting area with a notably wide walking room in between. It also boasts excellent visibility, which also increases the amount of natural light in the living areas. Additionally, the center cabin features easy access to the hulls, and the mirror layout provides comfortable accommodations for eight adults.
The interior space aboard the Lagoon 380 is almost indistinguishable from catamarans between 44 and 50 feet in length. The primary difference is that, instead of the traditional two heads per hull, the Lagoon 380 only features one. That said, the heads include a large shower and plenty of room to move around.
The Lagoon 380 is the perfect solution for sailors looking for big boat accommodations in a small package. Due to its shorter length, the Lagoon 380 avoids additional fees for docking and servicing vessels over 40 feet overall.
- 39-foot overall length
- Four beds
- Two baths
- Full galley
- Under 40 feet in length
- High construction quality
- Customizable options
- Great handling
- Fewer bathrooms than some similar vessels
How to move to live on a yacht and not screw up
strength >>> wind
Anna Balagurova, former editor-in-chief of the online newspaper The Village Petersburg, gave up her career and office work a little less than a year ago to go with her husband across the Atlantic. On the website of Snob magazine, she maintains a detailed blog about her adventures, and she told us about how she got used to life on a ship while crossing the ocean.
I was on a sailing boat for the first time a year and a half ago. By some absurd accident, in Helsinki, during the Flow festival. My friend somewhere picked up guys from St. Petersburg who came there to race. Naturally, we were invited to join, but only as detractors – we were not good for anything else. It seems that a friend was then instructed to “mine a spinnaker in a kitty.” It was funny to me, but she was practically buried under sail.
Then, by another chance, I met my future husband, a yachting instructor. We drank a lot, talked about how we want to live and travel. In general, we were extremely romantic and agreed that a sailboat was an ideal option for both of us. This is at the same time a transport that is moved by the forces of nature (that is, free of charge), a house anywhere in the world (also inexpensive), and even an opportunity to earn money by teaching or simply driving people. It sounded like a good plan, and we decided not to give it up.
It remained to choose and buy a boat. There were several requirements – a reliable yacht for the oceans (the so-called blue water cruiser), in the Mediterranean Sea (so that you could reach the Canaries without entering the evil Biscay and the English Channel), costing up to 60,000 euros (to leave a little for an upgrade) and, of course in good condition. Through the Internet, we found several almost perfect options in Sweden for half the price of what we planned. But all these northern seas… in general, we became too lazy, because it was June, and already in November we were going to start in the transatlantic. Own Westerly 1985 years we bought in Greece. A solid English shipyard, pedantic owners, a beer opener on the step, again. I immediately felt sympathy for this neat and solid boat, for its funny chubby owners, who unashamedly declared that they did not like strong winds, and also that they would take away the grill, because without a grill their summer would be ruined.
A bit of paperwork with registration of the boat and insurance – and already in July we began to slowly move towards Gibraltar with stops in pleasant coastal cities, from mossy Sicilian resorts to magnificent Syracuse and Palma de Mallorca. Thus began my life on the boat.
The first thing you had to get used to was roll and roll. How to live when your world is tilted 30 degrees? How to sleep when you are thrown from side to side? Well, let’s say you’re not in the transition, but at the anchorage, but damn it, you’re still rocking, it’s water! You go to the ground – you sway out of habit. After crossing the ocean, I almost stopped paying attention to it. Firstly, I caught zen from the realization that I would have to hang out in open water for at least three weeks. Secondly, I wanted pancakes and fried potatoes even in a five-meter wave, so I had to get out. Remember – sometimes at anchorages it shakes almost like in the middle of the Atlantic. So if you want to live on a yacht, train your vestibular apparatus. At least on the carousels.
Learn how to save water. If you are not overly rich and cannot afford an extra 400-500 euros per month for comfortable marinas, get used to spending 10 liters of water on a major wash (in the ocean, 2-3 was enough for my body and hair, but this is too spartan ). Washing dishes or washing with fresh water is out of the question – everyone living on a yacht has sea water taps (although we do laundry in laundries and increasingly use paper plates). There is one controversial point here – all waste products are thrown out of the yacht straight into the sea. The so-called gray water (from dishes and showers) can be drained almost anywhere in the world. Black water (from the toilet) in many countries is required to be stored in collector tanks on the boat and pumped out in specially designated places. Taken together, this all sounds terribly crazy. Shit diluted in water is much more harmless than fairies or alkaline shampoos. On a yacht, I try to use eco-friendly household chemicals and cosmetics, but rather for complacency. Because on the scale of the oceans, this is simply ridiculous.
In addition to water, you will have to save electricity. We travel in sunny regions, so for our needs (refrigerator, recharging phones and laptops, light, autopilot), two solar panels are almost always enough. Many people install windmills and water turbines on boats – versatile, but prohibitively expensive. We also have a water maker installed – an incredibly useful thing that gives complete autonomy from the coast. True, distilled water should not be drunk for too long due to the complete absence of useful substances contained in ordinary water. We fill full tanks every time we have the opportunity. 350 liters of water is enough for the two of us for more than 2 weeks.
Those who live on the water need to get out to the shore from time to time – it’s not all about sitting at home. For this purpose, they usually use a small inflatable boat with a motor or oars (although in the Canaries I saw two girls who ignored the oars and rowed with fins). It is almost impossible to leave this enterprise with a dry bottom. So, let’s imagine: early Saturday morning, you fall out of the bar. What’s next? That’s right, you get into a taxi to go home to sleep. And I wander along the beach or the promenade in search of my seedy boat, which turned into an inflatable pool overnight, enter into an unequal battle with a wave, jellyfish, an engine even more sluggish than me. In general, one wrong move and the boat is on your head. We recently forgot to take our oars with us, for the first time in our lives. Of course, on the way back, our engine died, also for the first time in our lives. We were stuck on our inflatable hernia in the middle of the bay in the very center of Bridgetown, where at that time we were celebrating the 50th anniversary of the independence of Barbados. Under the hooting of the crowd from the embankment, they buried them with their hands and after 40 minutes they were on the yacht (the way under the motor was about three minutes). The ridiculous situations in which you find yourself while living at anchor are beyond count.
School of captains
Anyone can become a captain of a sailing ship – all you need is a desire and a good instructor. The Power of the Wind will teach you everything you need to know and be able to, and after passing the exam, you will be issued an international class driver’s license. We conduct theoretical courses in the center of Moscow, and practice in the Mediterranean Sea and the Canary Islands. Come to class!
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Everything else is like at home or rather in the country. A bedroom with a large bed, a living room with a large table, internet (we have an aerial booster to steal wifi from coastal cafes), even an oven (to store frying pans). There is a TV in the cabin – exclusively for watching movies and TV shows. There are speakers in the cockpit so you can dance on deck or just have a feast. As for the feasts – yachtsmen are not fools at all to drink. One of the terms that came into my everyday life after moving to the boat – sundowner – means “a glass of alcohol drunk at sunset.” Another term my husband came up with is “Polish Yachting”. This is when you rent a boat for a week and never leave the marina because you drink all day. From the name it is clear that the Poles do this mainly, not us.
Any racer will spit in my face when they see what my boat turns into at anchorages. A hammock dangles on the spinnaker boom, a bucket is tied to the fur sheet of the staysail (well, so as not to drop it), shorts are dried on the rails. Books and clothes are scattered everywhere, the kitchen is overgrown with a bunch of little things – this happens to everyone who hangs out in one place for more than a few days. After a couple of weeks in the parking lot, it’s hard to force yourself to go out to sea. Too lazy to collect everything, fix it, lay it out in lockers. Reluctance to mess with the anchor, then with the sails. Well, if you have to go for a short time and with a good wind. Transitions for more than a day in our case turn into seizure yachting. Long hours of procrastination on deck, and then – a sudden change in the wind, a gust, a torn sheet, running around to the heart-rending cries of the captain. At first, I was stunned by the fact that the captain is actually my husband. I still don’t understand why he’s yelling like that! They say that almost all skippers behave in a similar way, no matter how nice people they are in ordinary life. In the USA there is a yachting school for women, with women owners and teachers. So, their slogan is “No shout”. I think it’s very cool and right.
I read in many yachting blogs that after life on a yacht it is difficult to return to the cities, because the boat gives a feeling of freedom and all that, but the city subjugates itself, leaving only the illusion of choice. It seems to me that in many respects this is slyness. To balance between the inexpensive gypsy life on a yacht and maintaining the boat in a condition suitable for serious transitions, you need money, at the current rate, quite a lot. This means that it is still impossible to exclude oneself from the circle of capitalist relations. To some extent, you become a slave to your own boat. If you want to radically change the situation, you need money not only for yourself, but also for the parking of the yacht. The apartment can be locked up and forgotten, and only a rather careless owner can leave the yacht hanging at anchor and just dump. The most painless, in my opinion, scenario is as follows: for six months, while the weather is good in Europe, travel, stopping at anchor, and put the boat in an inexpensive marina for the winter (if you look, you can meet 600-700 euros for 6 months) and leave home to work. With more exotic places, this will not work – flying away is expensive, leaving the boat is even more expensive. If everything is tired, you are in a hopeless situation.
A big bonus of owning a yacht in Europe is the opportunity to stay abroad almost indefinitely without worrying about a visa. If without unnecessary details – put a stamp on exit in any of the EU countries. This is done either at the local police station or at the passenger port. Both there and there there are more important things than you with your visa, so they put the seals without looking. Upon arrival in the next country, the entry stamp can be “accidentally forgotten” until it is necessary to fly home. Such an unexpected loophole still does not fit in my head, because we are all used to serious control at airports and land borders. The Caribbean, on the other hand, turned out to be quite a bureaucratic place. In almost every Antilles where we spend this winter, you need to draw up documents for entry and exit. In Barbados, among other things, we were sent to the medical office, where we had to fill out a questionnaire with questions like “have you died on board” and “does the crew have diarrhea”. But except on paper, there is no control. For more than half a year, our yacht has never been checked, although we have already crossed half the world. Even bring slaves, even enriched uranium. In that sense, having your own boat does give you a certain amount of freedom. This is probably why same-sex couples and all those who, for ideological or any other reasons, have ceased to be satisfied with life in modern cities quite often travel on yachts.
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Can you live on a yacht all year round
Live on board a sailboat yachts are great! A lot of people aspire to this lifestyle. In short, yes, of course, you can live quite calmly on board a sailing yacht all year round, which, by the way, many have been doing for a very long time.
One can only guess how long a person currently lives on yachts. The account goes to tens, if not hundreds of thousands of people scattered around the world. Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to get exact numbers, since no one keeps such records and this lifestyle is quite independent.
There is something romantic in the very idea of being absolutely free and sailing the seas wherever you please. If you constantly live on a yacht, then right now you can just take it and leave the marina, leave not only the coast, but also the country, and go on a long journey towards new shores.
However, life on board a sailing yacht is specific and not for everyone. In this article, we’ll share some of the reasons why it’s great to live aboard a yacht all year round and why this lifestyle might not be suitable.
Why live on board a yacht all year round?
There are a number of reasons why people choose to live on a yacht. Whether you work on your yacht or just spend time on it, life on board is a little different than in a normal home. Do you like the feeling of unlimited freedom and the ability to be constantly on the journey? Then life on a yacht may be just what you need.
It’s easy to romanticize the great idea of living on your own sailing yacht all year round. However, do not forget that such a way of life in the end is still rather alternative and is not considered the norm.
If you are serious about starting life on a yacht, make a checklist of everything you need to get started. Also, be sure to discuss this important decision with your family members. And start preparing the yacht itself for year-round living on board long before you actually start living on it.
Things to consider before starting life aboard a yacht
Before you start living aboard a sailing yacht, answer a few questions honestly to yourself: way of life for good?
As soon as you start living on board a yacht, you will have to carry bags of linen to the laundry, and groceries from the store, and not always in the marina, there will be a trolley at hand. You will need to make regular trips to the station that handles the removal of sewage from your yacht’s holding tanks. About the same regularity you will go to the post office.
A yacht is usually smaller than a house or apartment, but smaller doesn’t always mean lighter. Therefore, first try to mentally live a typical month of yachting life, write down everything you have to face and it will become clear to you what you can definitely handle and what will require special attention.
Basics: storage, comfort, communication
When you move out of a 100 sq.m. on a 40-foot sailing yacht, the first thing you will notice is that there are far fewer cabinets and they are small, and there is also no two-car garage. You can safely start preparing for life on a yacht by parting with most kitchen gadgets, tools, clothing and all sorts of souvenirs. If possible, take care to store your winter clothes on the shore.
Make sure your yacht is dry, warm and well ventilated. Mold and condensation will become a part of your life and you should always have a set of cleaning products and cleaning tools in your arsenal.
Plan ahead how you are going to interact with the outside world. You definitely need a good and reliable internet connection. It can be some kind of own solution, a satellite dish or Wi-Fi in the marina. In any case, in the modern world without the Internet, nowhere. This is both communication and entertainment on board the yacht.
Useful skills for life on a yacht all year round
You will need yacht maintenance and it can be a little more complicated than in an ordinary home in terms of the frequency of breakdowns and the specifics of the yacht. It will be very useful to have basic plumbing skills and understand electrical appliances. The equipment on the yacht is less reliable than home counterparts. Of course, an alternative to all this can be to call a wizard to solve such problems.
Cost of living on a yacht
Do not think that you will save a lot by moving to live on a yacht. Here are some of the expenses that you will start immediately:
- Yacht moorage
- Regular cleaning and painting of the yacht’s underwater part
- Yacht launching and launching payment
- Maintenance of electricity for sewage tanks
- Gas and
The best way to manage your expenses is to make a budget and try to stick to it. Depending on the size and value of the yacht, yacht insurance can be as expensive as real estate insurance. But the electricity bill will be less since you won’t be heating, cooling and lighting large areas. You can also save on waste disposal, gas and water.
Where the costs will rise is the maintenance of the yacht. Marine specificity makes such work more expensive by about 20% than in ordinary life on the coast. In addition, if you decide to do the maintenance yourself, which is not forbidden, remember that every hour you spend repairing a yacht is an hour when you could earn money.
Security and Safety
You will need to decide whether to invite strangers on board and consider whether your children and pets will be safe in the marina. You will need to install smoke and gas detectors on the yacht, periodically check fire extinguishers and monitor the condition of the holds and battery levels. In addition, you can reflect on these questions:
- Will it be safe to walk around the marina at night?
- Where will you leave your car if you are going to sea? And if you decide to leave the marina completely?
- Who will look after your yacht in your absence?
In general, marinas are very safe and secure places to live on a yacht all year round. Many of them have modern access control and video surveillance systems, as well as trained security personnel, your home in the marina is well protected. Peace of mind and a sense of security is worth a lot. Living on a yacht in a marina is much safer than many people think.
It is easier to communicate with neighbors in the marina than with housemates on the shore. Yacht dwellers are usually willing to help each other, but this is a two-way street. Be ready to lend a helping hand when needed.
If you prefer to live as a hermit, you should ask to put your yacht in the farthest corner of the marina. Such a life on board a sailing yacht may seem difficult and full of worries, but it can still be ideal and bring joy.
The marina is full of social life. Parties and meetings of yachtsmen often take place here on a variety of occasions. Sea travelers know many exciting stories and are happy to share them with like-minded people.
If you are looking for a place where you can feel surrounded by a friendly community, then the sailing community is what you need. Even if you often move from marina to marina, you will find that you always feel at home.
Life on board a sailing yacht offers almost limitless freedom. It is impossible to constantly move your home from place to place, from country to country in any other way of life. And on a sailing yacht you can. After all, it is your home. An absolutely amazing feeling of freedom of movement in any direction is always present with you, regardless of your occupation.
Walking around the nearby town, doing minor repairs on the forecastle, or just sitting in the cabin in the evening with a cup of hot tea, you will feel this opportunity, this spirit of adventurism. And you know, that alone is more than enough for most yachtsmen to take the plunge and start living on a yacht.
Escape from the cold
One of the main factors in deciding to live on board is the opportunity to escape from the cold climate. If you live, for example, in Moscow, the winter months are not the best time of the year, and the sunny beaches of Spain and Italy look more and more attractive even in winter. If you live in your own home, you can turn up the heating. And if you live on a yacht, you can go to the warm waters of Turkey tomorrow.
We all want to be different, be interesting and learn something new. And in fact, not much is needed to expand the boundaries of generally accepted norms. Living aboard your own sailing yacht is not the norm, and that alone makes this lifestyle appealing to everyone.
Living on a yacht is cool, there is no other word for it. When your friends hear that you live on a sailing yacht, they are keenly interested and want to know everything about your adventures. Agree, this is a pleasant feeling.
Is it possible to live on a sailing yacht in winter?
Curiously, one of the main reasons why people prefer to live on a yacht all year round rather than seasonally is the opportunity to weigh anchor and move to warmer waters in winter.
Yachts are usually not as well protected from the cold as a house or apartment. If in Moscow at the height of winter the temperature outside drops to -20 degrees, the house will still be warm and cozy, but it will be a disaster for the yacht.
The yacht does not have the best thermal insulation, the heating systems are rather weak and you literally come into contact with water, it is very close, a few centimeters of the side thickness.
The best thing to do to escape the cold is to get into warm waters before winter sets in. Or take care of the appropriate equipment for heating the yacht in advance.
I have a yacht in the marina. Can I come and start living on it right away?
In most marinas you can easily live on your own yacht. But in some of them it is prohibited completely, or is allowed only for a limited time. For example, you can stay in the marina strictly 3 certain days a week. And these days are negotiated separately.
It happens that there is a long queue for permission to permanently reside in the marina. In such cases, marina fees are higher and this should be taken into account when planning your budget if you decide to make your yacht a permanent place of residence.
Life on a yacht with pets
Dogs, cats and other pets must adapt to their new environment.