Christmas Gift for the Boat

We decided to give the boat a little Christmas gift–new companionway doors!

The teak boards we had were never ideal. They were heavy, awkward, and cumbersome to move. Usually we just left them in place and stepped up and over them when we had to get in and out of the boat. Scout probably hated them the most, and lifting her over them was uncomfortable for everyone. The boards also let in a fair amount of draft on windy days, and the outside panels were pretty weathered from rain and sun. They were the only amount of teak we had on the outside of the boat, and to be honest, it looked kinda funny. Here they are:


Indulging ourselves, we ordered custom fit fiberglass doors from Zarcor Solutions. Conor sent in the measurements a few weeks ago, and then they made the doors exactly how we wanted! You can specialize with privacy inserts, screens, security bars, etc. The doors were super easy to install and only took about an hour. We were also VERY happy with their customer service (calling with manufacturing and shipping updates) and how communicative Zarcor was with any questions we had. Here’s Conor doing the installation yesterday and what the companionway looks like now:




Such a small change will make such a difference in our day-to-day living, especially hauling laundry and groceries up and down. I just have to push open the doors instead of stacking three heavy wood pieces safely out of the way. Merry Christmas to us!


Taylor and Conor


V-berth for Baby

Though our nursery might not be Pinterest-worthy, I thought you all might like to take a peek at what we have planned for when Baby gets here! Because our space is so limited, our rules for baby gear were that it had to be compact, fold-able, dual-use, or travel-friendly. After a LOT of research, I was able to find the perfect stuff to fit our lifestyle (we hope, I’ll update once Baby gets here). I put brand names in the post so people can find these items if they are interested, but please know that I have no affiliation with any of these companies.

Here it is! So glamorous, right? Let’s start with the basics: the mattress. Any boater will tell you how difficult and frustrating it is to get sheets for a v-berth mattress. Nothing ever fits quite right, and forget about a mattress cover. Luckily, we have an amazing friend at our marina who runs a canvas shop who offered to take on the impossible task of custom bedding as our baby gift. We have an insert that completes the triangle, but we needed the bedding to have a special fit when it is removed in order to have easy access to the drawers underneath (read: lots of velcro). It won’t be used as a bed again for quite some time, but I’m happy that the mattress will be protected from poop/spit up in the coming months.


Turning around from here, to port is the in-room sink (handy for diaper changes) and starboard is the closet. I’ve used a shoe hanger over the back of the door for quick-access items (socks, hats, pacifiers, swaddle blankets).

Inside the closet are diaper supplies, clothes, and pump supplies:


And we can’t forget about the books! The other side of the v-berth wall shelves will be for toys when Baby is old enough.


Now for our gear, starting with the stroller. We chose the Mountain Buggy Nano travel system, which is pretty much the lightest travel system on the market. The stroller is 13 lbs and can be folded up to fit in airplane overhead bins. The car seat is only 8 lbs and can accommodate a child up to 44 lbs.


Baby will sleep in our bedroom for the foreseeable future, and will be in the Summer Infant SwaddleMe bassinet right by our bed. This bassinet can also fold up flat for easy storage/travel. This is the setup:


Once Baby is ready to transition to a crib, she will be in the Lotus travel crib by Guava Family. The crib is very easy to pop open, and stores super easily. It will be strapped down/secured onto one side of the v-berth mattress (how we accomplish this is TBD at the moment). This is it all folded up:


For bath time, we have the Luxx baby folding bathtub which hangs in a small locker inside our shower.

For diapering, we have the Bumbo changing pad, which is easy to wipe down, portable, and heavy enough to stay put. I am already totally in love with our diaper backpack, which is by Bag Nation and has SO many pockets. It is currently our hospital “go bag”, which is why it looks so stuffed.

I can’t WAIT to use our high chair. It is a Phil&Teds lobster high chair that folds up so tiny when not in use. We also have a completely collapsible baby bottle drying rack that will come in handy.


Last but not least, have you ever seen a cuter life jacket?? If you’re looking for a life jacket for your little one, there are very few on the market that are certifiably safe for infants. This one is a Stohlquist Infant PFD for babies 8-30lbs.


That’s all of the major stuff we’ve planned for. If anyone else has suggestions for baby gear in a tiny space, please share! Hopefully this was a fun insight into how we plan on making boat and baby work. Now we wait…


Taylor and Conor

Deck the Halls (or should I say boat?)

I may have been a bit over-eager this year for the holiday season. These decorations were put up right after Thanksgiving:



For all of our talk about minimalism, it seems a bit excessive, but NO RAGRETS.


Plus, when your space is tiny, $30 worth of decorations goes a long way! Conor has been gone for a lot of holidays because of deployments, so I try to make December extra-special when he is home for it. We have a lot to celebrate this year, even though we can’t go home to Washington for Christmas.

I don’t think there is anything cozier than rocking gently on our decorated boat, while it is 40 degrees outside, drinking coffee, and listening to music. It gave me the motivation this week to finish the draft of my book! It’s finally complete at 91,500 words.

Hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving and enjoyed time with loved ones. Sorry for the super quick post this week, but stay tuned for an update about our v-berth soon!


Taylor and Conor

Making New Friends

A couple weeks ago I received an email through the contact page on the blog. It was from a lovely couple on Camp Lejeune who had been following along with our journey and were also looking to make the leap to the liveaboard life. They wanted to meet us and learn more about everything we’d gone through over the past year.

My answer? “HELL YES!” I couldn’t wait to help out somebody else out. This was the entire reason I started the blog—to connect with people, encourage them, and be there to answer any questions. Transitioning to an unconventional lifestyle is an overwhelming and difficult process, and the blogs of my sailing role models were instrumental in getting us to where we are today. During the most difficult times, when we questioned if we were making the right decisions, I remember thinking, “If they can do it, we can do it, too.” Following in their footsteps helped us navigate an unfamiliar trail. Without them, we would have been lost. So, I decided that if I could help out at least one other person realize their liveaboard dream, then my blog would have served its purpose.

I excitedly showed the email to Conor and said, “Look! We have friends!” It was inevitable that we would click—Military family? Stationed on base? Interested in sailing? Wanting to live aboard while in the military? Have a cute dog? They were us, only the us from 6 months ago!

We met up this past weekend and it went great! Hopefully we were a good resource for them as we laid out our own experience and what to look out for. I can’t wait to see what boat they end up with and have my fingers crossed that they will be our neighbors soon. In the meantime, we’ve invited them to come check out our boat and sail with us anytime.

So if anyone is reading this blog and wants to hang out, please reach out! We don’t bite. We love nothing more than to make new friends, and want to meet you just as much as you want to meet us!


Taylor and Conor

Winter Challenges

As I sat at my computer earlier this week, all of the sudden I felt a drop of water fall on my head. Skies were clear (but cold), and the hatches definitely weren’t leaking rainwater. I realized it wasn’t coming from outside the boat, but inside! Condensation had accumulated on all the windows, including the ones on the ceiling. Tis the season for the great battle that all boaters must face: excess moisture inside the cabin.

That condensation is inside the boat!

Temperatures have dropped significantly this past week, and instead of running the AC 24/7, we have *gasp* turned on the heat! What we didn’t realize during the summer was how much our AC helped keep the moisture level down in the boat. Add in two full grown adults, a dog, daily cooking, and bathroom usage–a lot of water vapor gets released into a very confined space.

My biggest fear is mold. I’ve taken to wiping down the walls and ceiling inside the boat with antibacterial wipes every few days just in case. Other areas I need to stay on top of are underneath cushions and mattresses, and all those nifty hidey-hole storage spaces that share a wall with the hull. These areas are the most subject to consequences of temperature fluctuations and can accumulate a lot of condensation.

I ordered a dehumidifier from Amazon and we got to use it in our bedroom for the first time last night. I think it made a difference, but I’m excited to see how much water it pulls once it has been running for 24 hours. The good news about living in such a small space is that it doesn’t take much time/power to dehumidify or heat. I’m sure we will find the right balance to get us through the winter. At least we won’t be paying an outrageous heating bill this season! One of the perks of living at our marina–they don’t charge for power usage. So while the temperature drops into the 30s outside, I’ll be toasty warm and cozy in 70 degrees on the boat!

If any other boaters have advice for our moisture problem through the winter, please give us all your tips!


Taylor and Conor

Aren’t I Supposed to Relax on Vacation?

I can’t pinpoint when it happened—the moment the boat stopped being just a boat and became a member of the family. Maybe it was all my fretting during hurricane season, and the thought of how devastated I would be if we lost her. Maybe it was during our first solo expedition, and how she helped guide us safely across the water as we learned together. Instead of a mode of transportation or the vessel for our minimalist lifestyle, the boat has somehow evolved to become an equal partner on this adventure. We take care of her, and she takes care of us.

Leaving the boat for an extended period of time gives me anxiety. I think about her all the time when we’re away, even though I double-triple checked everything. Conor laughs and says I’m being paranoid. “It’s a boat, it will be fine for just a week without you!” I know he’s right. Our marina is protected, the dock lines are secure, anything electric (that is unnecessary) is off. But temperature and wind speeds are always on my mind as I check the weather back home for the latest updates.

I used to roll my eyes at blogs that would refer to their boats as ‘she’ and ‘her’. I feel the same way about people naming their cars. But a boat somehow becomes more over time. A boat has quirks and a personality that you get to know intimately while living aboard. You have to be in tune with her, and the consequences of not listening to what she’s saying could be disastrous and dangerous. I think that’s why I get so nervous leaving our boat alone—she could be yelling that something is wrong, but nobody is there to hear! Thankfully, we have some awesome liveaboard neighbors that I know will step in if there is an emergency while we are away. I just need to relax!

You’d think I would have seen this obsessiveness about the boat coming—just ask Scout, who has never been away from my side for more than three nights total since we adopted her over two years ago.

dog mom
Scout insists on being held like a toddler at every opportunity.

I am a self-professed crazy dog lady. She travels everywhere with us (hotels, planes, cars, boats, restaurants) and it never even occurs to us to leave her with a sitter. If my boat could shrink to 15lbs, you bet I’d pack her up and take her with us, too!


Taylor and Conor


Dirty Jobs

This post is a shout out to my amazing husband, who takes on all of the really dirty jobs that come with living on a boat. He puts on a brave face and does it all with hardly any complaining (and trust me, some of the jobs deserve A LOT of complaint, they are GROSS!)

One of the nastier things is pumping out the holding tank on a twice-monthly basis. You can see how thrilled he is about it:


Another dreaded chore is cleaning out the bilge. All sorts of gunk accumulates down there, especially because we are in fresh water, and it needs to be scrubbed every few months so we don’t get a weird sulfuric smell that permeates the boat. Some biodegradable dish soap, a little elbow grease with a scrubby, and a LOT of rinsing will get it done. Tip: WEAR GLOVES.


The AC filter from our raw water intake can get pretty disgusting too (ah, river water). We run our air pretty much 24/7, so that one gets cleaned every month. Tons of weird stuff grows in there. I try not to get too close.

Needless to say, Conor is quite the trooper, and Scout and I appreciate that he keeps our little home both sanitary and running smoothly. I always make sure to have a cold beer ready for him when he’s done!

So thanks, Mister, you’re the best.