Freshly cleaned lines dangle from the railing in our little cabin nestled amongst woods and mountains. Sails are neatly folded and stowed under our beds. The windlass motor has been removed, cleaned, sanded and re-painted. A pesky leak has been fixed. And more projects are underway on a long yet doable list.

Along with the boat stuff, firewood has been split and stacked. Our freezer is stocked with salmon. The cold morning air has become increasingly more crisp, causing us to pull on warmer clothes. Fresh blankets of snow have covered the many surrounding peaks and any day now we’ll get some of the white stuff down here, too.

We’re ready for winter and to keep working on Yahtzee.

Moving Off

With glorious sunshine and warm-ish weather, we moved off of Yahtzee and got her ready for the seasons ahead. It was bittersweet, to be sure. It’s the only home the boys have ever known and Jill and I haven’t lived in a house together in a long time. The adjustment period into a temporary land life has been understandably up and down, but mostly up.

The boys still refer to Yahtzee as home and we keep reminding them that we’ll move back aboard in the spring. It’s a concept that is hard for them to understand. Overall we’re happy with our decision to live in a cabin through the winter instead of on the boat, and are excited to put lots of much needed love into our floating home and adventure mobile.

Porter un-reeves lines on deck while getting Yahtzee ready for winter.
Yahtzee’s home for the winter.

While removing sails and lines, cleaning the deck and taking stuff off, we realized that Yahtzee is a bit more tired than we initially thought. Five years of living-aboard and three years of cruising will do that. And even though we know full well that the boat and crew could have kept going far and wide towards the end of the  summer, we’re more confident than ever that stopping now was the right decision so we can go farther later.

Work and Lists 

Not wanting to overwhelm ourselves, we started the work slowly and deliberately. Before long I found myself with a jigsaw in hand and then had many feet of old, crusty freshwater hose piled in the cockpit. Among other things, new plumbing is on a list that keeps growing with leaps and bounds, as one project seemingly turns into ten.

That’s exactly how boat projects go. Here’s a great example:

When we decided to get rid of all the old freshwater plumbing on the boat — which we hope isn’t from 1984 but probably is — I thought we’d start in the aft head. In this space there is (was) a small sink that pulls out like a drawer above the toilet with cold and hot water plumbed to it and then a drain to a sea cock. In over five years I can count on one hand how many times we’ve actually used it, so, in the moment, we decided that we should cut out the sink and turn it into a large storage drawer. Genius!

Well, the drawer itself was quite difficult to remove and then once it was, we found that the whole space behind it needed a thorough cleaning. From there, I realized that we could run a wire from the aft cabin forward to the electric panel at the nav station — something I’ve wanted to accomplish for a while. When all that was done I could then start on constructing the new drawer. If you’re keeping score at home, that’s one project that morphed from a plumbing hose tear out to a sink and drawer removal, cleaning job, wire install and now I’m working on building the drawer before putting the whole thing back together. All of which nobody will ever actually see. Such is life working on a boat!

The other way that boat projects go is by cost, man hours or both. In other words, some take lots of money, others take lots of time, and many take both. Right now we’re working hard on the man hours part of the list in order to keep cost down so we can single out where we want to put our dollars to best use on things like sails, cushions, a fuel tank and much more.

Stay tuned, though, because at this point your guess is as good as ours as to what we’ll get into next.