We’ve come a long way baby!
One year ago (May 2012), Randy and I bought a 40′ DeFever Passagemaker and brought her home from Longboat Key. It was then that began our experiences in living aboard. We didn’t really know anything about caring for and maintaining a boat this size, but with the help of my parents (who have been wonderful!), we were able to learn at an accelerated rate. In reflecting over the last year, we’ve had many tests and trials with dealing with repairs and upgrades and being a bit overwhelmed by it all (our boat is 35 years old after all!) . We’ve also had many wonderful times out on the water at Cayo Costa, Sanibel Island and Merwin Key as well as getting to meet several wonderful people around our docks at Snook Bight Marina. I think if you were to ask Randy or I if we had any regrets about shedding all of our “stuff” and moving aboard a boat, the answer would be, “we regret that we didn’t do it sooner”.
It takes a different kind of person to live aboard a boat. It’s a simpler kind of life and the act of getting rid of all that stuff that filled every closet and attic in the house (or garage) is actually quite liberating. You learn that you can live without most of that stuff and barely even miss it. While we aren’t able to cruise full-time, there is certainly a wonderful sense of freedom that comes with being able to drop the lines on a Friday and move your house out to a beautiful anchorage on the water. And while it may be a simpler life, we certainly aren’t camping as some would think. We do live comfortably with 2 air conditioning units, tvs, cable, wifi, and all of our electronic devices (think of a small Apple store). There are some modern conveniences that we do live without such as a dishwasher and washer and dryer, but to me these things are small in comparison to the gorgeous view of the water we wake up to in the marina and the quick walk across Estero Blvd. to the beach to watch the sunset.
Over the course of the year, Randy and I had a lot of repairs and upgrade projects. Blue Turtle is in much better condition than she was a year ago and we are slowly tweaking things to make living on her more comfortable for us. Below is a listing of the various repairs and projects from the last year. As you can see, we’ve been busy!
- Installed 40 Gallon holding tank
- Replaced old Norcold marine fridge with a a larger electric RV fridge
- Installed mini blinds and curtain rods for window treatments
- Replaced faucets in both heads
- Galley renovation: removed old propane stove and replaced with 2 burner cooktop, installed new faucet and tiled countertops
- Tiled both bath countertops
- Installed new windlass
- Added larger anchor – 44lb. Delta
- Removed dinghy lift system and installed St. Croix removable davit system
- Kiwi gripped all decks
- Painted the mast and replaced the spreader lights
- Installed IslandTime PC wifi booster antennae
- Installed new VHF radio on bridge
- Replaced all canvas and isinglas
- Added 42″ dock box to the bridge
- Installed smoke and carbon monoxide alarms per Coast Guard regulations
Maintenance and Repairs
- Hauled out in June 2012 and repaired blisters, painted bottom
- Replaced Fixed or replaced all thru hulls
- Replaced throttle cables
- Replaced aft bilge pump
- Replaced return fuel lines
- Had Perkins engine serviced; boiled out heat exchangers
- Had Onan generator serviced and installed new sea strainer
- Repaired cracks in side doors, sanded and revarnished
- Repaired cracks and wood rot in railings, sanded and added 2 maintenance coats of Cetol
- Had both AC units serviced
- Had fuel turned over and cleaned, removed water from fuel
One ongoing project that seems to never end is Randy battling the bilge smell. We seem to get it under control for a few days only to be back to square one when it returns. It actually bothers Randy more than me, I sometimes don’t even notice it, but Randy is hell bent on ending it.
After a year, we finally seem to be getting things under control. The first 6 months were knee jerk reactions to repairing things…for every thing we manage to get repaired, 3 more things would break. It got to the point where we were afraid to get into a new project since we were dreading having 8 other things go wrong. Now that things are under control, we get to start working on cosmetic things. In the next few weeks we will be ripping out the built in bench seating and table in the main salon as well as pulling up the carpeting. We plan to install wood flooring—we are going with vinyl wood plank because of it’s durability in humid environments—and replace the bench seating with a marine leather recliner sofa. I’m excited about this because not only will it look awesome, we will finally be able to sit comfortably and watch movies.
It’s hard to believe it’s been a year already, but after looking at the list above it seems we were quite busy. Thankfully, we did get the chance to get off the dock and have a good time in the process. I can’t wait to see what another year will bring us!