A Realization . . . and Conundrum

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2015 • all rights reserved

Our conclusion on part year cruising

It was almost a year ago that we bought Barefoot Gal and four months ago that we began our winter cruising aboard her.

And as the Keys cruising season is winding down, several people have asked how we like the new-to-us boat, how we like part-year cruising and what we’re going to do next year.

In a nutshell, we love the boat. It’s great for what we want to do with it. We’ve discovered some problems that weren’t evident pre-sale or in the survey, but are dealing with them. We expected this winter to be a shakedown where we figured out what we needed to do to make her the boat we wanted.

We’ve found that we have a love/hate relationship with part-year cruising. We simply enjoy being on the boat. It’s a great lifestyle for us. The hate part? We hate the thought of leaving her. We do like our house on a small lake in Illinois, but we’re going to hate putting the boat on the hard and heading north.

So we’ve revised our plan. We’re still going to put the boat in storage for the summer, but we’re going to put our house up for sale. Assuming it sells, we’re going to live aboard full time.

Selling the house, selling most of our “stuff” and packing everything up will keep us pretty busy this summer.

We don’t know exactly when we’ll get back to the boat. If the house sells, we’ll probably take a little time this summer to do some land travel — working on the boat in a storage yard in the middle of summer in southern Florida just isn’t too appealing. And we do have a couple of projects that we want to do before she goes back in the water after hurricane season. So we’re thinking we’ll get there in mid-October (after the Annapolis Sailboat Show) but maybe sooner, depending on the house.

We hope to have the boat back in the water in early November and work our way back down to the Keys then. There’s a lot of the Keys we haven’t explored and the Bahamas are calling, too.

Right now, the conundrum is this: we’re loving being aboard the boat in the Keys and want to stay another month or two. But spring and summer are the best times to sell our house (it’s on a small lake in Illinois) and we need to get up there to get it on the market.

Looks like we’ll be heading north to Fort Myers and then Glades Boat Yard sometime next week . . .

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  1. Exciting to make a plan and move forward. Best of luck!

  2. Your doing the right thing. Been at this cross road before c

  3. As you know, life in a south Florida yard is hard enough in the winter. Brutal in summer. Best of luck selling the house. It looks super cute!

  4. Congratulations! I wish you all the best and happiness!!! Another couple gives up the dirt life!

  5. Congratulations! and hope the house sale proceeds well. My husband and I Have the same discussions about part-time vs full time cruising. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and decision.

    • As I said to someone else, it’s a tough decision. Just because it’s right for Dave and I doesn’t make it right for everyone else. We’re the types that get bored being in one place!

  6. Pat and Barney says:

    Good on ya, mates. If you stop by the Ft Myers Yacht Basin look us up. Love the newsletter…love to meet ya.

  7. Best of wishes Carolyn & Dave. I think you will enjoy your choice to be full time liveaboards. November will be 5 years for us and it’s the best choice we ever made.

  8. Best of luck selling the house! We sold ours 2 years ago and got rid of most of our possessions for the sole purpose that we plan to buy a liveaboard boat. We still have some “land” things we need to accomplish, but plan to relocate to Florida in the next year to year and a half to find our new “home.” Getting rid of most of our possessions and living a somewhat minimalist lifestyle has been very liberating! I hope it goes well for you too!

  9. How exciting!

  10. You’ll have to keep us posted on how it goes. We’re doing the same but not in one summer! Our home in Florida is for sale now!

  11. Mimi Laser says:

    Enjoy the journey, we moved aboard last thanksgiving and couldn’t be happier.Very cathartic to get rid of stuff. There is a young couple in my marina living aboard the same kind of boat as yours. If you’re ever on the east side of Florida, come on in!

  12. Best of luck on both endeavors…..!

  13. We moved aboard almost 3 years and have been cruising for 1 full time. We love this lifestyle and imagine all the new things you could write about? When we first moved aboard I couldn’t wait for your news letters because it’s alway filled with great ideas and useful information. Hope to meet you both out here somewhere and trade ideas with you. Good luck.

  14. What made you choose Glades??

  15. Always a new and better plan to make, love that you want to liveaboard again, how exciting, your good with details and it will all come together

  16. Best wishes for a quick sale!

  17. We did the same thing and have been living aboard for almost a year now. Leaving San Francisco in a couple of months to head south. It took a couple of years to get rid of everything that we had collected but it feels great now. Health has improved and have been able to drop medications :-). No bills anymore :-). You will love it.

  18. Danielle Moreau says:

    How exciting Carolyn! I am at that same juncture….I own a house full of stuff but the boat life is calling….So room by room, I have rented out my house to college students…three so far…with one as a caretaker and manager for reduced rent….It is making it easier to make this decision! Best wishes to you…for following your heart 🙂

  19. Sounds like a good plan…living aboard. Enjoy and good luck selling.

  20. Good luck!

  21. Such a crossroad decision! We’re still doing the commuter cruiser lifestyle because it still best fits with our decision to be close to family and our next generation. To give up that real estate (interpret: stuff) and go mobile sounds so refreshing. See you in the harbor and at the Glades, too!

  22. Claire Ford says:

    Glad to hear the decision has been made! Now for the important question–will The Boat Galley continue while y’all are on the hard? I can understand if not, and it will give me a chance to catch up on all the past articles. Love the site, and will continue to be a fan while your big life changes take place.

  23. We can relate. We are working at divesting ourselves, and getting back to the boat full-time. Good luck to you!

  24. Thank you for the post. It helps me with our conundrum… Sell our house, downsize to a much smaller house on a sailboat canal in southern Florida and buy a boat that we can afford with the $$ we have left; or sell the house, sell our stuff, buy a Gemini and go!

  25. So glad your new experience with the boat is tiring out good.

  26. What will you do during future hurricane seasons when you’re on the boat full time?

    • Lots of options:

      We could put it on the hard during the real “heart” of hurricane season while we do some other travel.

      We could live aboard in Florida and have a hurricane haul-out contract in place.

      We could go up to the Chesapeake . . . or somewhere else.

      Or we could come up with some other plan completely!

      Knowing us, each year will be different. As for next year, so much depends on if/when the house sells that it’s hard to make plans now.

  27. Have been reading your posts for quite some time now, great info great insights. good luck on your move from land of water. can’t wait to hear about it whenever you get the time to tell us.

  28. All the best with your new plans, Carolyn and Dave! I’m sure a lot of thought went into this big decision and that everything will work out great! Paul and I are looking forward to meeting up on the water someday and to seeing you at the Annapolis show in October.

  29. Ruth Webster says:

    Carolyn, I’ve been reading The Boat Galley for about a year and have discovered many good ideas/tips for making the “ADL’s” of life aboard more enjoyable (Activities of Daily Living). We’ve sailed for years, including spending months aboard during vacation trips, but this year we’re putting the house up for sale and finally going to move aboard full-time and visit some new destinations we’ve always wanted to see. I will confess that I’ve been experiencing mixed feelings during this process of moving my life from house to boat – happiness at finally doing something we’ve talked about and planned for years, and sadness at leaving the house we raised our son in, and the city we’ve lived in and loved for years. The boat has always been a happy place for me, and all my life I’ve loved traveling and seeing new places. But sometimes I ask myself if I’m really doing the right thing in selling the house and moving away from all of my neighbors and friends. Your posting about the realization and the conundrum you are facing has helped to reassure me that the decision I’ve made is the right one. Thanks, Carolyn!

  30. Hey Carolyn and Dave…..can’t remember, do you still have a Y? I want to try to come to Annapolis this October. If Jim and I do, we’d love to say Hi and chat about life on a cat. Best of luck with the sale.

  31. It must be close to a year that you made your decision to sell your home and live on the boat full-time. Has it been a good year? Any regrets? We are now facing this crossroads and think we will do as you have done, cruise for a while, keep the house and then make the decision. We recently moved in to a 55+ neighborhood and this is just not our thing. We will retire in a few months and want ADVENTURE! We have had many corporate moves over our careers and now finally have the freedom to choose. Any insight would help.

    • We had done it once before, so we had a pretty good idea of what to expect. No regret whatsoever, but I do encourage people to keep their land base for a while until certain that the boat really is it. And it’s a great way to “stay young” with younger friends, physical demands on your body, agility and balance and so on. And we keep on learning new things . . .

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