The Saga of Pas de Deux, Chapter 22: Shore Life v. Poor Life

Hello, friends, and a belated Happy New Year! Our (very few) regular readers have pointed out that the posts have been spotty of late, and I’m very thankful to them for noticing. It’s nice to know that someone is out there reading! It’s true that 2018 was not a stellar year for the blog, no matter how eventful it may have been for the blog writers. I’d like to be able to promise that 2019 will bring about a marked change in my committment to the blog, but I’m a bit afraid of making promises that I can’t (won’t?) keep. My New Year’s resolution track record is not all that good, I have to say. I would estimate, however, that there is about a 50% chance of an increase in blog posts this year, especially since now that Benn is contributing to the writing! You may have read his last post about some of this summer’s adventures, and there will very probably, hopefully, possibly be lots more to come.

Pyefleet Channel

When we first started the blog, it was meant to be a fun, creative project to document the whole process of buying a boat, learning to sail, and then setting off on exciting and novel adventures. As living on a boat became more of a reality than a dream, however, the adventures started seeming a little less novel and a little more like everyday life. Anyone who’s moved to a foreign country knows this feeling; what starts off as a wildly fantastic journey of exploration and discovery very quickly becomes real life once you realize that, no matter where you live, you still have to wake up and eat breakfast and pay taxes and cut your fingernails. Suddenly, your exotic life abroad doesn’t feel drastically different from your life at home.

The same is true of boat life. Well, sort of. In some respects, it’s a world away from life on land. I would venture to say that there is not a single house dweller who spends time obsessing over leaking seacocks, excessive energy consumption, or which knot would be the most effective in keeping her home from slipping off its mooring and drifting off into the wild unknown. Boat dwellers, on the other hand, have the advantage of either a) travelling around the world from literally the comfort of their own homes; or, b) imagining themselves doing the same with some degree of plausibility.

Warmer Days

We obviously prefer the latter situation, otherwise we’d be snug in our climate-controlled homes, taking baths, and running tap water with abandon, like the rest of you guys. On the other hand, it is an incontrovertible fact of boat life that the advantages of living on a sailboat are far less apparent during bad weather than good, and the chill winter air always seems to bring with it visions of bathtubs, cozy living rooms, and dream homes in the Mediterranean.

Dinghy at Midnight, Oil on linen

Ingrates! We have nothing to complain about. Benn, Fuji, and I have landed in the most picturesque little town, which offers us just about everything we need. I now have a fine job at the local chandlery, and our new boatyard is very quaint compared to the sterile marinas we’ve stayed at. In fact, it’s so nice here that we’ve decided to stay for another year.

Why the break from cruising, you ask? Well, it turns out that even while you’re living at anchor, you need money for things like food and water. We also learned an interesting lesson about ourselves this summer. Although we are definitely the kind of people who love quiet bays and gentle summer sunsets, we are also the kind of people who like museums, cafes, and the prospect of communication with other humans. The fantasy of peace and isolation at anchor only lived up to the hype part of the time; during the other part, we were desperate to escape our watery exile. As we started to ponder further trips aboard, we began to wonder if #poorlife on a sailboat meant going to splendid places and never taking advantage of any of the cultural experiences that make travel a meaningful, life-expanding experience. Would we sail across the Channel, only to end up staring glumly at the French coastline from the cockpit of our boat because we couldn’t afford the harbor fees? Would we finally make it to Italy just to watch Italians enjoying cappuccinos and tiramisu while we ate from a stale tin of beans and dreamt of the high life ashore?

Hence the need for employment and a savings account.

Levington Creek

So, here we are, halfway through winter with a steady income, a sensible budget, and a cozy little life in Maldon, home of luxury salt and the earliest recorded battlefield in the UK. The British Museum is an easy train ride away and yet anytime we’d like (OK, anytime it is not freezing or stormy), we can sail out into the Blackwater Estuary and sink into the pure, unbroken silence. Or, simply anchor off Osea Island and spy on the wealthy rehab patients through our marine binoculars. (We actually have done this.)

Well, that’s that for our update. Here’s to 2019, the year that might see us contributing to the blog with some degree of regularity! As far as content goes, we’d love it if you could help us out. Benn has gained a whole wealth of knowledge about managing the technical aspects of boating, from DC systems to diesel engine repair to managing alternative energy sources, and we’d like to put that to use. So, if any of you have questions about boat repair or maintenance, or would simply like to know more about taking the first steps to living aboard a sailboat, send us a message and we’ll happily write a post and share what we know. Well, we’ll mostly share what Benn knows, but if for some miraculous reason I happen to know something as well, we’ll share that, too.

Until next time!



  1. This article is spot on and exactly what I needed to read! Thank you for following our Instagram page @sv_beautifuldreamer, because without that I would not have found your blog.

    We, especially my husband, have always dreamed about what you are doing, but those things you “give up” for full-time sailing is what keeps us [me] stateside.

    We are compromising.

    We recently bought a second home to downsize into in Florida (which will one day be our only home), and then sail Beautiful Dreamer for months at a time around the Florida coast, and Caribbean.

    We hope to move her from Texas to Tampa, Florida by next year then make our final move into the Florida home. From there the adventures begin.

    Now that I found your blog, I can experience those places and experiences that will never be mine. Keep on writing. I like your honest style. It can seem lonely out there on the blogosphere (I’ve been doing it on-and-off for eight years), but people ARE reading, including me. 🙂


    1. Hello Benn here, not the author so I can’t claim any credit…thank you for your message..we know that we are lucky, we often say we “fell through the cracks” because we didn’t have jobs or a lifestyle we depended on…it must be very hard to change tracks if you do. It is in fact, easy to drop out financially but that’s only part of the picture. We are bluffing it, making it up as we go along and correcting along the way, hopefully that leads to an honest and interesting blog? I really feel that if you only manage one day doing what you love, you are ahead of 99% of the population.

      Thank you for message, it helps a lot knowing someone reads our little blog. Our agenda isn’t to be rich or famous, the blog is a diary that may or may not turn into something else some day. If it ever makes money the husky will snatch it all from us in food, vets and legal fees!

      Liked by 1 person

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