“Go small, go simple, go now.” This phrase was originally written by Lin and Larry Pardey. The Pardeys have been cruising for about 35 years now, on a boat that doesn’t even have a motor. I’m not ready to go the extreme, but I’ve really been thinking about this a lot lately.
Did I Go Too Big?
I bought the Grouchy Turtle, because as someone with zero sailing experience, I really wanted a catamaran. I liked the idea of having a more stable platform to swim, snorkel, and dive from. Also, with a catamaran you generally get more room than in a same length monuhull.
The problem with catamarans is they’re much more expensive than a monohull. Geminis usually sell for much cheaper than larger cats, but I still spent a lot on my boat. Maybe more than I should have. Even with the grown up job I had at the time, I had to take out a big loan to buy my boat.
Simpler Is Better
I still love my boat. There’s plenty of room, it’s comfortable, and although I don’t have every piece of equipment imaginable, it does have some conveniences that you just don’t see on smaller boats. The large bed in the master cabin and the big fridge to name two.
But is any of that stuff really necessary? After all, the whole point of going cruising is to explore new locations, not to sit around on your boat. Same as if you’re traveling by other means, you don’t just sit around in your hotel room.
There are people out there on much smaller boats, with much less, but at least they’re free. I’m really starting to think I could not just survive with much less, but actually be happier with much less, as long as I was out there cruising, and not stuck in one place.
Mistakes And More Mistakes
Only a few months after moving aboard I lost my job. I was miserable at my job, and at least part of the idea of the boat was to help me escape someday. Although I was working for a horrible company, I do take some responsibility for getting fired.
As much as I didn’t want to be there, I needed that job to pay off the boat.
After a few years of doing nothing in Florida…like most people do when they arrive in Miami, I woke up to reality. That’s when I decided to start charting the Grouchy Turtle. Big Mistake! The details aren’t really important for the purpose of this post, only the outcome.
And Now I’m Stuck
So now I sit here in the Keys with a hole to dig myself out of, and repairs to do on the boat. Stuck here, not able to move anytime soon, short of winning the lottery, or Sparky becoming famous enough that the money just starts rolling in from this website.
Which brings me to what I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. The nice thing about going to big is you can always downsize. The other way around is much harder.
I’ve really been debating the idea of getting the boat fixed up, selling, and then buying a smaller, simpler, and much cheaper boat. Then I can finally start exploring again, and go much further, like I originally set out to do.
What’s the smallest boat you think you could live aboard? How much could live without, if it was the difference between cruising or being tied to the dock for much longer?