Sailing Nakamal

Moving onto a boat

“I just want to rid of all my stuff, quit my job, and live on a boat.”

If you’ve been following along, you know that at this point in our story we had sold our house, bought a boat and moved in with friends for a few weeks while we transitioned away from our land-based lifestyle. But before you can actually live on a boat, and after actually buying a boat, you need to, well, stuff all your stuff into the boat.

While you were stuffing turkeys, we were stuffing the boat.

While you were stuffing turkeys, we were stuffing the boat.

Appropriately enough, we started this phase during the biggest stuff-fest of the year – Thanksgiving weekend of 2014. First steps included hooking the U-Haul trailer up to John’s truck, moving things out of Tucson storage into the trailer (the 2nd of four moves for much of it), driving to California, unloading it all and putting it someplace.

Bear in mind we had the stuff from the house that we wanted to keep (or thought we wanted to keep, or thought we might want to keep but weren’t sure and were too wary to do anything else with it). Plus the stuff from the Capri 26 that we sold. All that needed to be added to the stuff that was already on Nakamal.

We knew we had a big challenge on our hands because Nakamal was loaded from bilge to decks with spares, backup spares, multiples of cleaning and maintenance gear, even an extra set of sails – all the cumulative equipment of three former owners (such as three bottles of Windex). The last owner was an adventurer preparing for a solo, non-stop circumnavigation hence all the spares and backup spares – before his plans had to change. The end result was more stuff than we would ever use for our type of cruising.

Eventually - empty boxes!

Eventually – empty boxes!

It all needed to be sorted through and the downsizing decision tree applied. Some things we knew would go into a Chula Vista storage unit (interpretation: we’ll deal with it later). Some things we knew would come off the boat and go to charity (interpretation: I’ll never percolate coffee on the stovetop. Ever.). Some things….well we just didn’t know yet.

So let the games begin.

After arriving in California, and having an afternoon Thanksgiving meal at the marina’s restaurant/bar, we started the process of moving things off the boat to storage (the extra set of sails) and bringing onto the boat what we knew we wanted (kitchen equipment, bedding, tools).

Mostly it all got laid out someplace so we could see what we had and run through the keep-keepsake-sell-donate-toss decision tree. For example, we had five wine openers! Well, knowing us I guess that wasn’t really a surprise. We kept two – because one of the boat rules is you should always have a backup for critical systems.

High tide - when we should have hauled stuff up and down the ramp.

High tide – when we should have hauled stuff up and down the ramp.

Our reward was we got to spend one-half of our round trips to the U-Haul moving EMPTY boxes! And not being savvy to the way of tides, it seems we were always pulling a wagon load of heavy stuff up or down the marina’s ramp when it was the steepest.

Not high tide, not low tide, our usual moving time.

Not high tide, not low tide, our usual moving time.

Finally, after three days of what felt like non-stop chaos, we had some semblance of a home-to-be. And Nakamal was again filled from bilge to decks but now it was with our own stuff. Plus we had a pretty full storage bin. Plus – we still had more stuff back in Tucson at our friends’ house.


After a few short weeks back in Tucson, on Christmas Eve we packed up all the rest of the stuff from our interim home into John’s truck and my car, and drove out of Arizona for the last time as residents.

How could we have THIS much stuff left to bring over?

How could we have THIS much stuff left to bring over?

After arrival my first order of business was to find provisions before the stores closed for the holiday. Except…where where they? With the help of Google and Yelp we manage to gather a the basics plus a Christmas feast of fattened goose. OK, it was a grocery store roasted chicken, but hey, we were in total downsizing mode.

After a few more days of hauling, unpacking, sorting, etc. we were on the boat for good. Now for the settling in part which included:

  1. Trying to find spaces for the rest of the stuff.
  2. Moving stuff around to places where we thought it made more sense for them to be.
  3. Buying nearly every plastic bin in the greater San Diego area (after the first couple weeks on the boat I dubbed myself the Plastic Bin Queen), filling them with stuff, then trying to fit the plastic bin into a place that made sense. And then moving it a few days later.
  4. Trying to find the stuff we wanted when we wanted it after we (a) asked each other if we had brought it and (b) looked in the first place we put it and didn’t find it (see #2 and #3).
  5. Buying new stuff to replace the stuff we couldn’t find (see #4) and then finding the old version of it (anyone need olive oil?).
  6. Finding all our favorite stores (high on the list: BevMo and Bed, Bath and Beyond).
  7. Working full-time jobs.

At least living on a boat in a marina makes some things easier – water and electric are included at the dock, cooking is with propane tanks, we chose to have only cell phones and no TV. The only utility hook-up we needed was the cable for internet.

Regarding plastic bins, every time I came back from a store with another stack of bins and lids, John said “What, more plastic bins?” Then he decided to move tools out of the tool boxes he thought would work well but were sorta in the way into guess what. Yep….

….he was now officially the Plastic Bin King.

I love my new kitchen. I'm so fickle.

Yeah, I’m fickle.

After nearly eight months of living on the boat, we are still using the keep-keepsake-sell-donate-toss decision tree and finding places for things before we throw off the dock lines in October. But we have moved onto the big-ticket items – like the life raft, sewing machine and spinnaker sail. Little things like dish towels long ago sorted themselves out. And while I still miss my kitchen, I have fallen in love all over again.

And much to my amusement, just this morning I heard John say

“Tomorrow I will go to Costco and get some more plastic bins”.

Typical Costco haul.

Typical Costco haul.

This entry was published on August 8, 2015 at 5:49 pm and is filed under Tucson and San Diego. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: