The Adventure Continues

TIE Fighter at sail, flying Main and Genoa

Meet ‘TIE Fighter’, my new home.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did so. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” — Mark Twain

So yeah – after hemming and hawing for a few months, I’ve finally decided to go for it. I’ve agreed to purchase the trimaran – I’ve even paid the down payment!

She’s a 39-foot ‘Searunner’ trimaran, built in 1984. She’s fast and stable, and with a lot of work could be brought up to the point where she could undergo serious ocean voyages – yes, she is enough boat to do the trip to Hawaii. The life changes needed to move onboard a sailboat will be harrowing, I’m sure.

My thinking is this: if I can rid myself of my piles of useless crap, perhaps turning much of it into cash in the process, I’ll be better off in the long run. A friend once told me “You can never truly own anything that you can’t carry on your back at a dead run.” – we’ll see, I guess.

tacking amidships

I’ve just returned from an epic ten-day road trip rock climbing in Nevada, and I leave again in three days for a trip to Seattle. My house is a shambles, and it’s only going to get worse as I sort everything into four piles: going on the boat, going on Craigslist, going to friends to store, or going in the garbage.

I hope it’s not asking too much, actually. I’d really, really like to get away without having to pay for self-storage somewhere, but I’m not entirely sure that’ll be possible. The thinking goes like this: if a storage locker is $200/month, and my couch takes up 1/10th of the available space in that locker, then my couch costs me $240/year to keep. Everything I read on ‘live-aboard’ forums says that people returning to their storage lockers after two or three years away take a look at the stuff they’ve stored and are flabbergasted at the amount of junk they somehow thought they’d need! I don’t want to be that person, but I also don’t want to find out in six months that I no longer want to live on a boat, only to discover that I don’t have any stuff anymore…

Fortunately, most of the really great stuff that I have accumulated over the years is very much useful to friends and family – speaker systems, stereos, synthesizers etc will all go to willing “storage” homes, for use by folks who’ll appreciate them.

a lovely afternoon cruise

It’s amazing how much utter junk I have been finding though – going on a suggestion from another friend, I’ve made a change to my clothes sorting algorithm. Previously, I’d look into my closet and pick out a few items that I no longer wanted or needed; in the new method, I’ve removed everything from my closet, laid it all out on the bed, and picked out only things that I knew I wanted to keep. Applying this technique to my closet and dresser, I’ve taken four garbage bags full of clothes to the Salvation Army so far!

Another big one, from a suggestion on the Cruiser’s Forum, was books. I know, it almost sounds like sacrilege, but the theory is sound: pick any book from your bookshelf and consider it. Will you read it again in the next year? Is it a valuable reference? Does the book itself have inherent physical value (antique, sentimental, etc)? If the answer to all three questions is no, then the book is a trophy, a decoration, nothing more. There is no room on a boat for trophies! That being said, when cruising the coastal waters, there’s an entire economy of traded paperbacks…

A really tough one for me, however, is art. I have a decent collection of paintings and sculpture that I’ve collected over the years – none of it has any inherent value, but dammit, I like it. This is tough. Where do I store it?

Lastly, my computers – there is no faster-depreciating asset than a desktop PC. My machines are stable and fast, but they’re powerful machines and they operate on AC electricity, which can be pretty scarce on a boat. What to do? Sell them for a tiny fraction of what I paid? Store them?

Anyhow. No great adventure can come without a lot of discomfort, so that’s apparently what I must do. Expect to see a lot more posts on this forum as I make the transition between basement-dweller to coastal skipper!