Our First Week On the Boat…Challenging, Beautiful and Windy

We have had one busy week!

Every day has been packed, quite the opposite of what most folks think of as the “cruising lifestyle”.  But we are preparing for a trip, buying food, setting things up (and figuring them out) for the first time, everything takes four or five times as long as they should.

Building the Portabote.
Building the Portabote.

Case in point, the Portabote.  On the recommendation of the previous owner, we bought one, and it’s a pretty neat folding boat.  When we’re not using it, it’ll fold up nice and neat on deck, and when we are using it, it’s pretty light and a small engine pushes it well.  I picked it up used from a fellow who bought it in 2006, used it once and kept it folded in his garage for the next 10 years.  Folded for 10 years equals very hard to open, and there’s a bruise on my leg to prove where it snapped shut on me!  The cheap pins that hold the seat on just wouldn’t cut it, so I replaced them with bolts and wingnuts (also recommended from the previous owner).  The transom bolts were missing.  The brand new engine seemed too difficult to start (turned out this was just my weak arms).  After the first night of rain, we installed a drain plug (which leaks, we’re still working on that).

All that to say something I thought would take a few hours to accomplish wound up taking a whole day.

And then there’s the other issues:  so far we’ve found three leaks, the biggest one is from the mast boot which soaked through three towels last night (this is probably what filled the bilge while we were gone).  The engine stop kill switch cable rusted in place, meaning we can’t stop the motor when we want to.  We rebuilt it last night in 30 knot gusts!

The last sunrise before the rain and winds


(Brittany here) Which brings us to the weather! We have experienced a little bit of everything, in only a few days! When we first arrived, it was a very calm, cool and sunny day. The temperature was in the 70’s and it was glorious. The first night of sleep on the boat felt like we were on land, there was no movement whatsoever. In the morning the sun’s rays peeked out from the clouds then quickly disappeared. The rest of the day was overcast and gray but serene. A line of geese skimmed the water as they flew, birds snapped up little fish and I was in heaven. It was so peaceful being on the water and it seemed all was amazingly calm.

The next day, after the clouds moved on, the sun shone bright and we were actually hot in the middle of the day. The girls found the little beach where people put their dinghies in the water and had a blast splashing in the water, playing in the sand and making friends with a sweet dog in the boat yard named Hyatt. Hyatt was their new “best friend” and they eagerly looked for him when we were out in the boat yard.



We had many errands to run, shopping trips and laundry and as I was finally taking our clothes to the nearby laundromat, the rain began. It began and didn’t stop except for a few breaks throughout the day. By the evening, the wind picked up and we could start to feel the boat rocking a bit. Last night as we finished projects and went off to bed, the wind gusts were 25 knots (which is quite a gust!) Our boat is faring very well compared to lighter, smaller boats which are bobbing up and down a lot more than we are. We are really appreciating this very heavy, solid boat!

The rain helped us find the leaks on the boat (as my husband was saying) but they are minor and nearly unavoidable as all boats will have a leak somewhere. But we all felt secure and snug as we heard the wind howl and whistle through the night air, the waves bumping and slapping the hull, and the wind rock the boat.

Haven hanging out in her life jacket!

For now, we are staying put. The wind and rain will hopefully start to move on by tomorrow and we are continuing to prepare to sail south as soon as the weather permits!





4 thoughts on “Our First Week On the Boat…Challenging, Beautiful and Windy”

  1. What a beautiful family and what a grand adventure you will have! I many times wish we had discovered our desire to go cruising back when our kids were young. But we are excited to get going next year, taking an early retirement, throwing caution to the winds and trusting we are doing the right thing. We look forward to watching your adventure unfold and please do not hesitate to let us know if we can share our experience with our own Olympic Adventure 47 to help you in any way.

    1. Thank you so much! And thank you for reaching out! I am especially enjoying the projects you posted on your blog about the mattresses and sewing you did. We sure are loving our boat so far! Hope you enjoy your cruising next year too!

  2. Just stumbled across your blog on my reading. I, too, have a dream of eventually moving my family onto a sailboat and living the lifestyle that encompasses. I’ll definitely continue following your adventures! It continues to fuel my dream.

    Just a few more years until I retire and make that dream a reality. We’ve got a 5 year old son and God-willing, we’ll be adding a daughter next year. So we’ll also be a “family at sea”.

    Looking forward to reading more!


    1. Thank you for following! I hope you get to enjoy the freedom this kind of life offers, sooner rather than later. That’s wonderful to have a growing family, children are a blessing! I hope you will be blessed with that addition to your family. 🙂 Will be checking out your blog as well!

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