'Til the butter melts

Pursuing the cruising dream in 32' of sailing ketch

Thinking of future time


So when are you going back to the boat?”

Simple questions don’t always have simple answers.

Having been such a vocal proponent of the “Go simple, go now” school of cruising thought, it feels a little strange to now have to write about how our “going” is – at this moment – very much in question. We just don’t know.

Which is not to suggest that we’re done with cruising, boating, living aboard, and all that wonderfulness. If you’ve enjoyed the last two years of musings, heavy on the topics of food, sunsets and poverty, have no fear – we’re not done.

But if you were looking to the crew of Sionna to provide a benchmark in time, with a known departure date for sunny climes, you might just want to find another reference.

Last winter aboard was pretty challenging for Nicki and me. Between the eye surgery stuff, the unexpected expenses entailed therein, and the broken-up nature of the season (three months on the boat, two months in Maine, two months back aboard…), both of us found that we just “weren’t having fun”.

And if it’s not fun, why do it?

Sure there were segments of last winter that were great, but there were long periods of not so good, and there were way too many times of saying – or NOT saying – “…this isn’t what I signed on for…” for both of us. After a while that thought becomes a heavy weight indeed, and it drags on your heart.

So once we realized the problem existed, it was time to look for answers, and the answer, as far as we can see, is that Nicki needs a job. More to the point, she needs to be able to see that she’s making a more tangible contribution to our over-all lifestyle than our recent “living-on-a-shoestring” track has allowed.

So we’re back in Maine, and we’re in transition. I’m working as a carpenter, as I have the last few summers, and that steady influx of cash is a welcome and necessary resource. It also gives me that feeling of accomplishment I enjoy, the same one I get from making Sionna move well and smoothly through the water. Meanwhile Nicki is studying to enter the business of real estate investment. To do that, she needs a home base, contacts, relationships with buyers, sellers, and investors, etc.

And so here we are, and here we shall remain, probably deep into the fall, possibly through the winter… we don’t know for sure. It is possible (and I would say likely) that we won’t be launching Sionna at all next season. It is certain that we’ll need to find a place to live this fall, since we can’t stay in the RV past October 15th. Maybe someone will need a house-sitter for a few months, maybe Nicki and her partner will buy a property with a liveable dwelling where we can camp out through the cold months…

We don’t know yet.

On balance, I suppose I’m mostly resigned to where we need to be, but it is not where I WANT to be. I want to go home, back to the boat, back to the water. But as I’ve said many times in these missives, it’s not just about me. It’s about us – and WE need to be here right now.

I think I’d better go find my winter coat.

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!

5 thoughts on “Thinking of future time

  1. Having not been able to get out cruising last season, I can relate to how you’re feeling. Unfortunately, life demands a regular influx of moolah. Sounds like Nicki has a great plan for a way forward and it’s good to hear that you’re busily employed with your carpentry work. Love that picture of you guys – very cute 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. One thing I am sure you have considered is living on the boat. Which is different then cruising. My wife and I lived on our boat for 5 years… 8 months out of the year. We went to work 5 days a week, lived at the marina in town. On the weekends, or for a couple weeks at a time you go out sailing. It is not cruising, but a compromise. The Marina is always full of cruisers coming and going and some liveaboards. The entertainment never stops, and the view was always great. Someone cleans your bathroom for you. There is a bar 100 ft away. I have to say I kind of liked the lifestyle. In the scheme of things, it is also fairly inexpensive. Plus, you can cut the lines whenever it suits you or move to another marina if you get bored. One thing I think important in this particular equation is the livability of the boat. One meant to sail the oceans is not the best for dock living and vice -versa.

    Liked by 1 person

    • In truth, “just” living aboard really doesn’t appeal to us. Partly due to the cost of marina, etc if we did it that way, or the inconvenience of the dinghy commute if we anchored/moored. We’ve done that, and it got old pretty fast for us.
      As we see it, living on a boat is challenging, even at the best of times, so it needs to have sufficient rewards to make those challenges worthwhile. We loved our time transiting the ICW – Living aboard for 8 solid months, and a new view/adventure/experience nearly every day was very satisfying.

      Contrast that with last winter, when we basically bounced around southern Florida and the Keys, much of which we’d already experienced. Not much fun. The new stuff (Dry Tortugas!) was awesome, but the familiar stuff (Manatee River, Sarasota Bay, Boot Key Harbor…) was just, well, familiar. All the disadvantages of living in a very tiny house that could sink, and none of the advantages of freedom that a boat represents. It just didn’t work for us.


  3. I hear the difficult conversations of soul searching and assessing feelings of reality on many levels. I know almost nothing of your sailing world, save what you’ve shared here, but I’m deeply appreciative of the work you are doing and the transparency of your heart. One of these days I’m going to get to Maine as I doubt I’ll see you in the City, but know you two are always welcome.


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