“Seriously, Mom?!”

“Seriously, Mom?!” This was the response from my 11 year old daughter, as she gazed my way, with almond eyes squinted,  in a low pitched, suspecting tone.  I told my kids that we were “thinking” of selling the house and moving on a boat.  They were,  hmmm…. How should I put it? Shocked, surprised.  One of my twins, wide eyed, said “Really?”, in a jolly, but nervous way.  But his potential enthusiasm was immediately dampened.  “She’s just being sarcastic.  You’ve lived with Mom for 12 years now. Can’t you tell when she’s being sarcastic… YET!?” my daughter sneered in disbelief.


Now, I have to admit, I can be a bit of a sarcast, in a fun and joking way, not taking life too serious.   Couple that with our there’s never a dull moment around here household, and I can see how they were confused and unsure of what to make of my blunt statement.  I’m also not that great with segueing into something.  I am generally a get right to the point, avoid the sugar-coating, and say what I mean, and mean what I say, type.  So, they didn’t get much of a buffer.


It took about 3 minutes to convince them that this was not a joke and that I was serious and wanted their thoughts and feedback.  My daughter continually repeating, “She’s just being sarcastic”, while in complete disbelief.  When they finally realized that this was not, yet another one of Mom’s playful pranks, the questions began to roll and at an alarming rate.  They asked so many all at once that my Mom,  had to jump in and help.  I was being cut off in mid sentence to respond to a different question taking precedence over the first question.  I couldn’t hear myself talk, or think, because everyone was speaking louder than the next person to get a quicker response to his question. It was disorganized, conversational chaos.  I had to pause every few moments just to catch a breath.


When are we selling the house? Where will we go to school? Can we still go to our school? How big will the boat be? What if we sink? Will I have to sleep on the floor? What if it rains? Will we eat fish everyday? What about the cats? Can I bring my bed?…….and so on and so forth…..


During this intense and rapidly flowing conversation, where one answer would quickly prompt another thought, and yet another question, like background music, my oldest son’s deep, yet squeaky puberty voice dominated.  He didn’t ask one single question, yet his simple statements were ALL  heard.  Timed for every 3 seconds, just like clockwork, “Mom, your crazy!…..  I am NOT moving on a boat…..  Mom, your crazy!…..  I am NOT moving on a boat….. Mom, your crazy!….. I am NOT moving on a boat…..”


This conversation was the first attempt at discussing the plan with my kids. It transpired about 8 months ago and at that time, didn’t end well.  I had 1 out of 4 (little guy doesn’t count) onboard.  The rest thought I was nuts and wanted nothing to do with it.  I gave them some food for thought:  s/v Totem, s/v Island Bound,  s/v Endeavor , s/v Third Day and s/v Wondertime.  Told them to check these guys out, think about it a little and that we would revisit the proposition again in a couple of months.

What happened the 2nd time I mentioned the plan?  Read about that here.

Buddies for Cruisers

I was reading today’s post from Zero to Cruising this morning.  They have a great photo with their cruising buddies at their anchorage all sitting together.  It’s simple statements like this that excite me.  Even though I know that there are other cruisers out there to meet and hang with,  I still loved seeing their pic.  It just makes the whole idea more concrete.  Now the crew at  Zero to Cruising aren’t travelling with kids, and there are no kids in the photo.  It makes me wonder how many anchorages we will visit that will have other cruising kids onboard.

How to Choose the Right Boat?

This is a topic that has had some very heated debate over the last few months on the Cruisers forum, of which I am a member. “GalaxyGirl” is my user-name.   This is the thread http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f109/completely-overwhelmed-96033.html  that has been so controversial. It started as a very innocent question in which I was inquiring about how to choose the right boat.  It has since blossomed. It can be intense and at times, emotionally charged both by supporters and naysayers,  having received over 22,000 page views and over 450 replies, and counting.  I sometimes have to ignore the thread and step away for a moment as not to add too much fuel to the fire when defending myself against personal attacks.  For some reason choosing the right boat is a “hot button” topic.

Here is the original post that got everyone going.

I’ve been in the real estate investment business for over 13 years and I’ve
NEVER had as much confusion buying a house
as I am having with choosing a potential boat. I’m very frustrated at this
point. There are so many variables and maybe too many choices. One discovery
leads to more research which
then leads to another discovery and I feel like I could spend another 3 years on
without ever having viewed a damn thing. I wish that I had the luxury of buying small amd
upgrading with experience to learn my real needs, but I just don’t. The reality
is that I need to purchase a
boat as a liveaboard
at a marina for a while and I have 5 kids. I do have a
small condo that we will also use, but neither full time. I don’t want to choose
the wrong boat, but there are just so many variables.
I can’t even figure
out what I should be looking at. I have been at this since the summer. Every
time I narrow it down somewhat, I realize that I have missed something or wrong
about something. I must be doing something wrong here. There has to be a better
way to figure this out. Maybe I need the assistance of a yacht broker. I have
spoken to a few, but it seems that they just push what they are trying to sell,
not necessarily what I need.
I know that I am going to do this come hell or
high water, even if it
means purchasing
the wrong boat, but it sure would be nice to get the right one. We are so
excited about the lifestyle and I am eager to sell my house to achieve it, but I
don’t want to do that until I have found the boat.
The forums bring
both support and naysay, but mostly a bunch of different opinion, which is
great. That’s what I need, but sometimes, that too brings more confusion, when
one person says yes you can, while the other is saying your nuts.
upgrading with time, has anyone been in a similar situation starting with no
experience. How did you decide?

Now, there are many folks who discuss choosing a boat every day on boating forums with no problem.  I’m not sure why my thread was so controversial.  Maybe because I have 5 kids who will be living aboard???

But, the ultimate question is how does one choose the right boat?

To be continued…

Warning: Ninja Cat Aboard

(internet image)

(internet image)

Here is one of the great unknowns.  What to do with Sassy, and “Harley the Ninja Cat”.

We have had both cats for quite some time now.  Harley was first purchased because I found a mouse in the house one day, and that was that.  Now, Sassy on the other hand, is a Siamese cat.  I had always wanted a Siamese cat as a child.  She isn’t good for much of anything except accenting the decor.  But, we love her just the same.


The problem is the two cats do not play nice together.  It’s mostly Harley being way too rough with Sassy, but what can you expect from a Ninja cat?  Harley actually started the first 2 years of his life as an indoor cat in our home.  Keeping him inside was an impossible task.  He was born to be wild.  The live free or die cat.  He would sit by the door just waiting for an unsuspecting kid to open and then pounce with a vengeance,  knocking the startled kid with feet sprawling through the air and straight to the floor.  We spent countless hours up and down the street and under cars, hollering the cats name, like a bunch of lunatics. The neighbors must have thought we had all gone mad.  Then finally, after one long day of cleaning up broken dishes and paperwork scattered all over the floor from Harley racing around like a madcat, fed up with being trapped, I said, “The hell with it, let him out.”  That was the best decision for him I had ever made.  From that point, it was all Ninja.

(internet image)

(internet image)


Harley is our exterminator, silent but deadly, an invisible assassin.





You will have a tough time finding a mouse, chipmunk, squirrel or any other small rodent around the perimeter of our house… alive anyway.  Dead animals in the walkway is a daily event.  He is also amazing an amazing bird sniper.



These are real photos taken from our yard.   bird

Gross, I know.  We have to deal with this

kind of carnage constantly.  But, this is the

life when your cat is a ninja.

There was a chipmunk out there today.

The kids report that it was decapitated.


Despite the fact that we live in the city, last year we had this nasty coyote problem.  The pack was frequenting our backyard nightly.   There were regular coyote sightings of the deadly scavengers trotting down main streets throughout our area and even a coyote captured on video right downtown.  Neighbors were reporting cats being dragged away and all of the usual strays had disappeared.  A small child was even attacked while in his stroller, with the caregiver.  We thought for sure Harley would be a goner.  Had he finally met his match?   At night, you could hear his screeches and snarls as he rustled and battled the carnivorous beasts.  It was a nerve wracking time for our family.  Waking up every morning and calling his name to see if he was still here.

Then one day, he came galloping down the path near our driveway with a coyote head in his mouth.  Just kidding….Ha, Ha, Ha.  Made that part up 🙂  But, seriously, some days I really thought it would end that way.  But, nonetheless, even those coyotes were no match for our Ninja Cat.

But, back to the problem at hand.   How could one take a born to be wild, ninja cat and confine him to the encapsulating constraints of life aboard.  Trapping him within the interior of the boat would be a but a mere impossibility.  Then, there is the risk that he could wander onto someone else’s boat, and unknowingly  be sailed away.  There is also the risk of him wandering astray at a port.

Our family would be heartbroken to have to find a home for our beloved Ninja Cat.  There must be some good solution to this problem.  I will really have to put my thinking cap on for this one.



The “Perfect” Boat




“Perfect” can mean so many different things to so many different people.  If you ask a retired cruising couple what their idea is of a “perfect” boat, some might say a trawler, 35-40′, shallow draft, 2 cabins etc.   If you asked a family of 4, they might say a sailboat for world cruising economy, 3 cabins, 40-45′.

If you ask me what my idea of the “perfect” boat is for my family of 5 kids, you will get a much different answer.  I have to stress this my idea of the perfect boat, because we have no real boating experience.  They say that after living on a boat what is important is different than what you initially thought would be.

Now, we have to keep in mind that my oldest kid (13) will probably not be a full-time cruiser, but rather a frequent visitor to the boat, let’s say a part-time liveaboard (more on this later).  But, nonetheless, he will still need a bed for when he is with us.

As nothing is ever set in stone, until it is set in stone, there is always going to be a plan A and a plan B, and sometimes even a plan C.  This is mostly because the goal (liveaboard cruiser) can be accomplished in a number of different ways.  The plan is fluid and we won’t know the best way until it’s done.  So, yes, we have a plan A boat, which, of course would be the preferable choice.  Our “perfect” boat or at least our idea of the perfect boat… now.  We also have a plan B boat.  If we can’t find the plan A boat, when the house is sold, then we can always purchase a less expensive boat to learn on and then trade up to a more suitable choice later.  There are pros and cons to both plans.

Plan A boat:


  • We can upgrade and refit knowing we will have the boat for a long while
  • We can learn to operate the boat knowing that we will soon travel far with that particular boat
  • The boat will be fuel efficient for vacationing trips before we cruise
  • Ideal space



  • More expensive
  • Difficult to find
  • We may decide after owning the “perfect” boat that it is actually the wrong boat
  • May have to rent temporarily until we locate the boat


Plan B boat


  • Easy to find (these boats are a dime a dozen)
  • We can learn on this boat without worrying as much about mistakes
  • Less expensive
  • We won’t have to temporarily rent
  • We will have the opportunity to learn what is really important in the “perfect” boat



  • Probably won’t be fuel efficient
  • We may have a long wait when selling later
  • Money lost when selling the boat later
  • Most likely won’t have the ideal space


I have been searching boats that meet the following criteria for a Plan A boat:

(listed in order of importance)

  1. Trawler- Must be very economical to operate as we plan to travel great distances
  2. 55-65′
  3. At least 4 staterooms including crew
  4. Large fuel capacity
  5. Clean engine room
  6. Overall good condition
  7. Not too “boaty”
  8. Windows in cabins and baths
  9. 2 salon type areas
  10. Dining or eating area
  11. Enclosed pilothouse as 3rd level


The criteria for a plan B boat are much less:

  1. Less expensive
  2. At least 4 staterooms including crew
  3. Updated
  4. Clean engine room
  5. General good condition
  6. Flybridge


Dreams are for dreamers, and plans are for doers.

While the ultimate goal is to become liveaboard cruisers, we have come to realize that there may be 2 paths that will take us there.

Plan A

1.  Sell the house

2. Buy the boat

3. Move aboard at marina

4. Increase income over 1-2 years while learning how to operate boat

5. Go cruising


Plan B

1. Sell the house

2. Buy the boat

3. Move aboard at marina

4. Increase income over 5 years while oldest kid finishes high school

5. Go cruising

Now, there has been a lot of discussion in regards to plan A or B in this household.  I must say that for quite some time I was about 80/20 leaning toward plan B, but now after giving this whole thing a lot of thought and talking to the kids I have taken a turn to 90/10 leaning towards plan A.  I would be at 100% leaning towards plan A, but nothing worthwhile could ever be that easy.  With 5 kids, of course, there are definitely some serious considerations to figure out.  I’ll talk about those in the next post….