Dinghy DreamsMy biggest problem the past few months has been when my mom bought a new brand of pretzels, but that’s all about to change. It’s raining here today and even though the temperature sits at a nice 50 degrees I refuse to go outside. This weather is a cold reminder that my boat doesn’t have heat.

I plan to live at anchor because I can’t afford to pay the exorbitant cost of a summer slip and there’s quite a long waiting list to even get one. While I’d love to be out cruising and exploring all season the truth is I’ll have to be holed up in a secure place, row to shore everyday, get on my bike and ride to work.Living at anchorThe journey to bring my boat back to salt, which is set to take place in late summer/early fall, has anchorages along the way, but a lot of the time I’ll be forced to pay for a night’s moorage. Add in the fees for going through locks, fuel, stepping and unstepping the mast for bridge and lock clearance, and it’s going to be an expensive adventure. On top of that I need to have enough money tucked away in case I need to hang the boat up next winter, and pay first month’s rent in whatever place I decide to hang my hat and refill the sailing kitty until the following Spring. In order for all of this to come to fruition, I’m going to need a job during the summer, as all of the money I have now will go into outfitting Anam Cara.

The town where I was hoping to live anchored off of might turn out to be a big no go. My research has taught me that somehow the designated anchorage area is governed by the town, as it exists within a breakwater, and you must acquire a permit to anchor there and not exceed your stay longer than three days. A fellow sailor who cruised these waters ten years ago seemed to disagree, because how can the town govern the water, right? But what I read was an official government document.Cruising under sailAs a sailor, flexibility is key, so I moved on to my plan B which is to anchor in a large bay which has varying degrees of protection, 10 miles south. On shore is a large, working shipyard and marina which I hope takes kindly to a liveaboard sailor girl that wants to grab a shower, tie up her dinghy, and lock up her bicycle. I thought about calling them and asking, but thought better of it as not to draw attention to myself. Unfortunately, liveaboards often get a bad reputation as the marine industry has a growing agenda that caters to rich yachters. I’ve yet to come up with a plan C.

Aside from the usual maintenance like washing and waxing the hull and top sides, woodwork, an array of latches and hose clamps that need replacing, I might need to drop the mast right away and assess an issue with the step. Her interior needs a fresh coat of paint, the cabin floor needs a revamp, I need to come up with a plan for cooking in the galley (as there’s no stove), and should probably consider some kind of portable heat system like an alcohol heater for those grey, rainy days. I’m only touching the surface here of what all needs to be done in order to get her ship shape. I certainly have my work cut out for me. On the hookI’ve got navigation squared away, and while I suss out equipment for my anchoring system I’m looking for a dinghy. I want to buy a second hand inflatable like the old Avon I used to row, but craigslist this time of year is a barren, desolate wasteland. My efforts to find a soft bottom inflatable on ebay have also proved fruitless, as it costs as much as the dinghy to have it shipped. I have a backup plan to buy a reasonably affordable Sea Eagle inflatable (not the prettiest or most rugged, but it’ll do for now), until the dinghy of my wallet’s dreams comes rowing my way.


  1. it’s a little out of your way.. but if you have any friends in the Boston area…


  2. It’s probably worth your time to put in a tabernacle. I put one on my FC22 and It’s a small hassle to use but hey, I can put the mast up and down by myself. It cost me a small fortune to have a boatyard do it. If I were to do it again I would do it myself.
    You can buy a tabernacle from http://www.westsailparts.com. It’s about 575 bucks. You will have to cut the bottom of the mast into a curve to allow it to settle into the plate. Also you will have to have the mast welded where the bolts go through. You would weld a tube with two screw in grommet like ends. They are welded so they cannot move. I think they are part of the Westsail kit.
    You can do all of it yourself except for the welding, which shouldn’t cost more than fifty bucks and ten minutes at a welding shop.
    When you do this you need a gin pole. I used an old boom from a small sailboat. I installed the gooseneck for it on the opposite side of the mast where your boom is. I then have a fulcrum to use when lowering and raising the mast. You can get these old aluminum booms dirt cheap from any old boatyard.
    While the mast is down for this you can take all the halyards down and wash them if they are in good shape. I put them in a front-load washer and use a small scoop of charlies soap (no bleach please). This cleans them up nicely.
    Also spreaders would be removed and cleaned etc., mast head examined and wiring checked as well.
    I kept my Dufour at Atlantic Highlands in NJ for five years. The town leased the area outside of the state’s breakwater for 7K. They then leased the 175 moorings for $1500 each, excluding the mooring tackle.
    Some guy figured out he could legally put his own mooring outside the leased field area. The town was having none of it. They illegally removed his mooring a few times. Each time the guy would put another one in The town then prohibited the guy from using the towns beach for landing his kayak. They get nasty when money is at stake.
    Anyway if you take a look at the area behind the breakwater you may find a similar situation. If you put a mooring down (simple mushroom) make sure you are outside of their leased area and you have a place to land your dinghy where they can’t interfere.
    If you are going down the ICW this fall, you motor almost all of the time especially south of the Chesapeake. It may be to your advantage to have the mast down slipping under all those bridges (sooo many). Maybe some might be too low so know what your height is with the mast down.
    Anyway great project nice boat good luck!

  3. I’ve had similar problems trying to live aboard in harbors governed by a township. Every place is a little different, but I’ve always found I could get away with a week or two. The key is to haves two or three places to flip between. The bigger challenge is often finding a place for your dinghy.