'Til the butter melts

Pursuing the cruising dream in 32' of sailing ketch

Learning to live on land


Since we’ve lived on land our entire lives until recently, one would think that we’d make the transition back to Maine seamlessly. Sadly, no, as I began to describe in the last post.

Certainly part of it is the simple sensory overload of living in a techno-focused consumer society. But an equal measure must be laid at the feet of finance.  It is incredibly expensive to live ashore, and we are, at the moment, at the ebb point of our income season.  Carpenters work outside, and the weather in Maine the last four weeks has been cold and wet in a way that’s unprecedented in living memory.  If we can’t work, we don’t get paid, and in this cold, we can’t work.

But of course the expenses don’t stop. Insurance, medical bills still outstanding, repairs to both cars when we got back, a dental emergency…  They just keep coming.

It’s my desire to guard against this blog becoming a whining lament of all that goes wrong in life, but it occurred to me that many sailing blogs – probably far too many – concentrate on the good times at the expense of an accurate portrayal of “Cruising” as a lifestyle.

Perhaps that’s human nature: We feel a need to justify our choices in life, and the better cruising sounds, the easier it is to answer those for whom the very concept is anathema.  When others think we’re crazy, we get defensive.

But it seems to me that painting a too-rosy picture is a disservice to all those cruisers who successfully forge a life on the water. There ARE challenges. There ARE bad days. There ARE days when you look in the mirror (if your boat has a mirror) and think “Why am I doing this?’

But that’s life, too. Right now we’re in Maine, back “home”, back in the “real world” of running water, automobiles and cheap plastic crap. It’s been miserable and cold for most of the three weeks we’ve been here, propane (for heat) is breaking the budget, and neither of us is working reliably yet.  This morning I looked at the space in my mouth where there was – until yesterday – a molar, and thought: “Why am I doing this?”

Living on the boat was so much easier. Living on the boat, most things make sense. Living on the boat, most of the challenges can be successfully managed by the two of us and some ingenuity.

At least, that’s how it seems when I’m freezing my tush off in New England.  Happy Spring!

Author: s/v sionna

Living the dream in 32'. We left Maine on August 18th, 2016, and have gradually worked our way south until we felt warm enough. After spending the summer in Maine, working to replenish the cruising kitty, and rehabilitating an old house. we’re headed back on the boat, bringing Sionna back home to northern waters. Follow our blog here!

8 thoughts on “Learning to live on land

  1. thanks guys for sharing that….brenda and i are just back from hiking the Camino de Santiago in Portugal and Spain, and we feel the same reluctance to return to complexity….pouring over photos, almost weeping about the lost simplicity and singleness of purpose…..jory

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your thoughts, Jory! You describe it perfectly: “…the lost simplicity and singleness of purpose…”. How to carry that into this world? That’s the question…


  2. Hey you two! Yeah. We’re lucky that our land comes with built in gardens (food) and some small income (dog training). This story took a corner somehow, I thought it was going to be about the difficulty of living aboard and then it veered back to the difficulty of land Life. Maybe that’s the point. Hm. Do you pay to park it? If you want to try Freeport on for size, come on down! In animal training, the eternal question is always, “how can I make this easier(for the animal)? So that’s what I do to help myself too!! Plenty work down here.


    • Thanks Jenny, yes, I added a twist, didn’t I? Like life… Our RV is only moveable f we hire someone to move it, so here it stays. And work is coming. Just a month later than expected! But the cold! Ugh.


  3. Well, not all of us have the same memories. I remember picking Carol up at the dock in Port Clyde—(she had just returned from cruising in the Med.)—on July 4th about 20 years ago. We sailed to Islesboro in the rain with a fine SE wind. And the temperature never got above 42 degrees.

    Seriously, though, I’m sorry it’s been slow for you. Forecast looks better ahead; hang in there.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Port Clyde to Isleboro in the rain and 42 degrees? You’d have had to stick me in an oven to thaw me out! You’re a better man than I, Gordon!


  4. Welcome back to Maine! I just purchased a 1974 Pearson 30 and will be doing a major refit over the next 2 years. I will spend all my spare time in the Winterport Boat Yard, mostly just weekends as I drive a truck during the week, but I look forward to reading your entire blog. If your bored some weekend this summer I would love to meet and scour your brains for good ideas!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sounds like you’ve got yourself a project! Consider attending the Seven Seas Cruising Association gam (gathering) in Rockland Maine on July 28th. There will be 50 or more cruising boats there, and you will never find a more welcoming group ready to help a new cruiser along!
      Nicki and I are the hosts – email to Sionnaketch32@gmail.com for more info!

      Liked by 1 person

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