17 Feb Life on a 32 foot sailboat


This is Charade… This is my home.

Here is what  I don’t miss about living in a house.

20 feet long and about 10 feet wide is the size of the space that I live in. It floats and we can take it with us when we travel. Our sail boat is 32 feet on the water line and if we really want to impress people we say it’s 36 feet which includes the bow sprit at the front and the pulpit at the back of the boat. It’s a tiny floating home… it’s similar to living in a van, but you can’t just open the door step outside and go for a walk. A swim, yes.

We moved on to the boat last May (we are approaching a year)! We had a winter hiatus in Indonesia, a few bouts of house sitting and some good ol’camping in amongst it. Lady C ( that’s our boat’s nickname) is Home.

Prior to living on a boat we were renting a 3 bedroom house. It was a decent sized house. We never really worried about running out of space. We rented out two rooms and were quite comfortable. I was thinking the other day that there are a lot of things I don’t miss about living in a house. Yes there is another list of things I really do miss; hot water, a flushing toilet, a closet and the ease of living are all on that list. The other list is what I like to focus on. Here it is:

Small Space is Easier to Clean

Small spaces get dirty very quickly especially if you don’t put things where they belong religiously! Small spaces are also the quickest to clean. When we do a regular boat clean it takes 30 mins tops. No big areas to sweep and mop and dust. We can really keep things tidy in no time at all.

life on a boat

Less Stuff

I have decluttered and minimised my belongings more times that I can count. I am still doing it. I just went through our storage cupboard and got rid of things we don’t use or need. I am about to do another cull on my wardrobe too. Getting rid of excess, (as much as the process is painful during it) feels amazing  after you do it. I live with less and the things I do have really mean something to me.

We never leave home without it

There are times when you travel that you wish you had something from home. This doesn’t happen to me any more. When we go somewhere for the weekend sailing we have everything we own with us. We bring our home on vacation and it feels pretty awesome to be able to take everything you need with you when you go.

cosy cabin

Boat living requires creativity

Nothing is easy about living on a boat. I have to fill jerry cans for fresh drinking water, I have to move ice blocks from the freezer to keep my fridge cold. I have to watch my power consumption on cloudy days and I have to know how to fix anything and everything that breaks. All of this requires creativity to make things work. Cooking whole foods with a tiny fridge and no counter space means you need to come up with easy ways to make it work.

If I live in a house, this part of figuring out an easier way isn’t as needed. I don’t engage in creative solutions for how to store more water, or how to make fermented foods and where to store them when the boat starts moving and leans on its side. I am kept on my toes when I live on a boat. Everything is about striving for simplicity that works.

I am more in touch with nature without even trying.

The wind makes noise, the stronger it is the louder it gets. The birds wake me up in the morning with their squawking as they fish in the harbor. I know when it’s a Full Moon and New Moon because I need a step to help me get on and off the boat because the tides are so high. I know when there is a storm coming… you can almost smell it. I live partly inside, but mostly outside and it keeps my senses alert. I noticed when I was house sitting around the holidays that being in a house disconnected me the weather and nature.  It cut off those senses. I had to go outside more often so I could feel those senses again.


It is cheap living

We get our power from the sun, we use the wind as transport, we buy less and we are pretty consumed by our sailing lifestyle (which means we go out less and spend less!). So yup we are saving money by living on sailboat rather than getting a rental house before we set sail in April.

Yes I miss a comfortable double bed. I really miss hot water showers. I miss being able to bring the groceries into the house all by myself, on the boat you need two people for loading and unloading. I miss privacy… My husband and I live in close quarters and privacy is few and far between!

Do I miss living in a house? No not really.

I love living on a boat.

I love the possibilities it provides.

I love the freedom,

the excitement,

the challenge,

the adventure.

We set sail North from Fremantle, Western Australia in April and the aim is to get to Indonesia and from there we will see where the wind takes us. Follow our journey over at www.saltytimes.com In the meantime we are running sailing charters and learn to sail programs  in Freo over summer (www.southerncrosssailing.com)

Sailing is one of my passions in life and I get to do it whenever I want. There is something pretty special about that!  And I am grateful.




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  • Emily Ehlers
    Posted at 17:39h, 17 February

    I cannot tell you how much I love this post. I love everything about it, you and what you are doing. So inspiring.

    • Jamie Van Jones
      Posted at 18:03h, 17 February

      Thanks so much Emily! I really appreciate. xx

  • Rhona Low
    Posted at 13:10h, 18 February

    Thank you for the post! We have been Boaties since 1989. It is in our blood and We are thinking of retiring onto a boat in a couple of years. I love sunsets and sunrises over the water, the dolphins and fishes, seals and birds. I love the smell of the sea and seaweed, the freedom of changing my address from one bay to the other, or from Greece to Malta. Treasure the present. Cheers and fair winds.

    • Jamie Van Jones
      Posted at 13:52h, 18 February

      Rhona, There is nothing quite like boat life. I count my blessings every sunset and every time we spot a dolphin! I love this life and I hope to keep it going for quite a while to come! Thanks for your comment and I hope you are back sleeping on a boat soon!