Surprise! I bought a sailboat


Adreanna on the day she became mine

One year ago today, I became the proud owner of a 1982 Bruce Roberts Cutter/Sloop named Adreanna. At the time I didn’t know much about boats, and I didn’t know the first thing about sailing. But I did know that I now had good reason to learn! And learn I did, by enrolling for sailing certification courses at Club Nautique and joining their sailing club. And by getting my hands dirty figuring out how to fix-up a bunch of stuff that needs fixing (a never-ending list).

It was actually quite a surprise to me that I bought a 30-foot sailboat. Here was the logic:

  • All the places in the world that I like best have sailboats
  • I loved it that time I stayed on a friend’s boat in Emeryville
  • Maybe I’d love staying on my own boat
  • I would love to become more self-reliant and knowledgeable about power, water, & gas systems
  • The independence and zero-emission, renewable fun of propulsion with just the wind is appealing
  • Maybe I could have it as a home base in the SF Bay Area for part of the time
  • I bet I could get a good deal on a sailboat. Hey look, there’s one!
  • If I don’t like something about this crazy sailboat idea, I’m sure could sell it again for about that much.
  • Does my credit union give loans for such things? They probably do, I’ll ask.

They did, and one $6000 personal loan later Adreanna was mine. It was one of the best and fastest decisions I ever made.

In April of this year, with one week left of a 2+ month trip in New Zealand, I simply decided that I was done with CouchSurfing. Not that I’ll never ever sleep on someone else’s couch again, but the identity, the way of life, that is just…done. It felt kind of like that scene in Forrest Gump where he’s been running back and forth across the country for years, and one day he just stops and says…

I figure I have a 4-year degree in CouchSurfing now anyway, so I can graduate myself and move on. Time to put down roots, or at least a rudder.

It is rare that someone moving onto a 30-foot sailboat is actually increasing their living space, but for me coming from 2-3 airline-ready bags, that’s exactly what it was. And it’s not that I live here full-time, I don’t. I’m still traveling all over the place all the time, and housesitting locally for friends & profit.

Before you get any crazy ideas about following in my wake, best to check your local regulations. It turns out it’s actually not legal to live aboard your boat in any of the marinas in the San Francisco Bay Area, not without paying an additional fee to the marina (which they won’t even let you pay most of the time because there’s such a long waiting list of people!). Plenty of folks around the dock are “sneak-aboards”, but I choose to stay inside the bounds of the law and ensure that my nights aboard are consistently shy any limitations. It’s no great stretch for me anyhow. I may bend rules from time to time on this blog and in life (travel hacks and such), but I never recommend breaking the law.

As I write this post on my laptop tethered to my iPad, I am gently rocking back and forth, listening to the windchime-like sound of the lines hitting the masts of the other boats here in the marina. I worked here like this all day, taking my lunch break to troubleshoot the propane and figure out what fittings I need to bypass the malfunctioning solenoid so I can finally get off my campstove and onto the delightful little range/oven in the galley. I had a conference call on my cellphone while sitting in the sun on the deck. It is a strange & beautiful life here on The Cloud and on the waves. I’ll take it.