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What have you done!? We made it one year!

I came across this similar blog called Luv'n the Regal Life which originally was written about a couple's adventures on their weekender Regal 3760 boat.  The blog is now about their life aboard a Carver a bit larger and quite a bit newer than ours.  They have just crossed the two year mark of life aboard and as we are at the one year mark we thought it was interesting that this couple who we don't know is experiencing many of the same things we are at nearly the same times.  They got a one year jump on us, but many of the experiences, frustrations, projects, and joys are the same as we have.  I find these folks interesting because judging only by a couple photos on the blog they seem to be about the same age as us (Kevin just crested the hill and Colette is a ways behind him).  You can find thousands of live aboards with silver (or no) hair but trying to find ones under the age of 50 isn't as easy.  Sure we are around, but it's not like we always run into each other at the local Denny's.

Stole this photo from their website
So here is this other couple, about the same age, in a similar boat, living in a similar climate (Chesapeake Bay we think), and dealing with the same shit.  No matter how unique you think you are, there is always a lifestyle Doppelganger out there.

The reason I mention them is the list that Julie, who seems to be the main author of the blog, came up with.  She chronicled and linked to some of the projects they have done in the last two years to improve or maintain their vessel.  We've done similar things and blogged about many but never put it in an actual list.  We thought it might be a great idea to do a full list, leaving nothing but the most basic and minor jobs out, to give you an idea of what the life is like.  Coming from a fixer upper house to a boat meant we were used to there always being one, two, or ten little projects that need to be done.  With the house they could take 15 minutes (like hanging a handrail on the basement stairs) to days (like raising up and making new stairs for the front porch.)

So to those of you who have been curious about what it takes to live on a boat, or what we've done in total in our year aboard here is a very complete list.  We still have a lot to do, and as we wrote the list out it was a bit dismaying to see it all in one place.  It seems the list of todo is almost as long as the list of done.  Some of the things on the todo list might never be done for various reasons, but some of them are going to get done because of determination or necessity.  If you are one of our readers who is thinking of doing this please understand that the lists below are specific to our boat, lifestyle, and personal tastes.  For example we want to replace some of the wallpaper because we want something more interesting than the beige texture up there now, not because it needs it.  We bought the wallpaper and tools already, we just need to get around to it.  Mostly we've been waiting for the stereo to be completed (really, we swear!)

The mostly complete list of all the great or stupid things we've done to Cygnet in our first year.

Paid to have done:

1) Removed the carpet and installed new teak floors
2) Removed and replaced the couch and salon chairs
3) Replaced the "impossible" poo hose
4) Waxed the hull below the rub rail
5) Installed new double stereo system and home theater w/ super awesome motorized TV mount
6) Made new sun-pad for the bow with articulated back
7) Replaced the swim platform with OEM look module with added solar lights
8) Replaced galvanic corrosion preventing anodes
9) Replaced 2 of the 3 A/C thermostats with digital ones.
10) Checked or replaced all fire extinguishers

We did ourselves:

1) Swapped working toilet from forward head to aft head
2) Replaced forward head with fancy new one including installing new pump and tank sensor
3) Fixed leaking water line behind the non-working washer/dryer
4) Fixed leaking water line above the starboard fuel tank
5) Replaced gross water filter with new 3M whole house filter including running new lines
6) Hung some pictures
7) Insulated the master stateroom bed from the cold
8) Replaced the forward shower drain bilge and pump
9) Replaced spark plugs, wires, distributor cap, and rotor on both engines
10) Changed oil on both engines
11) Cleaned the spark arrestors on both engines
12) Cleaned the escaped poo from the bad head waste hose (needs more cleaning)
13) Added chairs to the breakfast bar
14) Created a bar in the storage cabinet on the aft deck
15) Fixed the toilet previously swapped to the aft head
16) Replaced the waste hose from the aft toilet to the tank
17) Checked and filled the batteries with water, then a month later replaced those batteries.
18) Removed non-working radar
19) Replaced hailer horn
20) Repaired non-working aft navigation light
21) Replaced the shower head hoses and cleaned the shower heads
22) Cleaned pretty much every surface inside and out multiple times
23) Added snap extenders on much of the canvas and taped the splits in the Strataglass
24) Fixed the anchor windlass that wouldn't retract
25) Disconnected the dragging throttle cable from the lower helm
26) Oiled all the teak wood on the interior multiple times
27) Replaced the bad power inlet for the second time
28) Moved the fender holders to outside the railing on the bow
29) Put plastic on the interior of the windows for winter, then took it down for summer
30) Checked and emptied all the seacock strainer baskets
31) Replaced all wired CO sensors
32) Added LED touch lights to the closets and drawers
33) Replaced some interior and helm lights with LEDs
34) Flushed the freshwater system and refilled weekly, dumped the waste tanks weekly
35) Replaced spark plugs on generator
36) Thoroughly cleaned generator valve head (rusted)
37) Put felt pads under the Lay-Z-Boy recliner

Still need to do:

1) Replace the radar and electronics with modern pieces
2) Replace the aft deck furniture with smaller and more stylish set
3) Replace most of the canvas and Strataglass
4) Fix the side window that is now plexi and replace with a real glass window
5) Polish the plexi side windows and doors on the aft deck
6) Remove the old hailing port name and add Chicago under the boat name
7) Polish and wax the exterior above the rub rail
8) Fit the new rug on the aft deck
9) Make the new bar door
10) Sand and refinish the wood on the aft deck and swim ladder
11) Fill the holes and re-drill the snaps where they've popped out
12) Replace the wallpaper in the salon
13) Replace the broken seacock for the forward head raw water intake
14) Replace some of the engine blower vent hoses
15) Add registration numbers to the sides of the bow for Coast Guard compliance
16) Fix dim and flickering aft shower light
17) Add LED strip lighting to salon
18) Glue the small broken piece of wood back on the galley floor hatch
19) Test the oil from all engines on board
20) Change oil on generator
21) Find where minor coolant leak is on generator
22) Shampoo the carpet in the master stateroom and on the entry stairs
23) Get the washer/dryer working
24) Decommission the lower helm and turn it into a usable space
25) Replace the carpet in the flybridge
26) Replace transmission gear oil on both sides
27) Lower the top navigational light
28) Repair the spot light movement motor or controls so the light moves
29) Repair the rudder position indicator
30) Figure out if the trim tabs work, and if not repair them
31) Paint the black frame for the plexi aft deck windows and door
32) Install power plug in the engine room on A/C circuit
33) Fill the holes left by the old thermostats

Looking at the list you can see there are a lot of things that we've done, but still many more things to do.  For anyone thinking about living aboard and thinks this list is daunting, you are right.  Many of these things (I'm talking mostly about the toilets) are hard and disgusting jobs.  We've spent hours upon hours doing many of these jobs and a significant amount of money.  We got a pretty good deal on the boat so the costs might equal the purchase price of a boat in better condition.  As said before, we replaced and changed things that were simply for our enjoyment and taste.  The floors, furniture, stereo systems and TV setup are things we wanted, not needed.  So water we thinking about our first year living aboard?  We love it.  There are so many reasons why we shouldn't, but many more reasons why we should.  If it's something you are thinking of doing, we highly recommend it.  It's definitely not for everyone, but it is for us.


  1. Love the post! It is daunting to see it all the projects in one place but we also love the lifestyle. I like the "Still need to do" list and may need to add a post like that to my blog.

    By the way -- yes, we are in the Chesapeake Bay. Yes, we are both right around 40. And if you're ever in the area we'd love to run into you at the local Denny's. Thanks for the link.

  2. Well it is something that I have wanted to do my whole life and we have decided to do it. Look for our 56' boat on the river in the next few weeks as we are casting off lines and moving aboard for good. We will be looking to you guys for inspiration and advice, lol!

    1. Great Michael! Will you be at River City?

    2. Kevin,

      We have a slip arranged but like RC. We are currently tied up on the outside wall so if you have a few minutes stop on by, we would love your input. Spoke with Pat from across the way and met the harbor manager so far.

    3. Michael, I just landed in San Francisco. I'll be back for the weekend if you're still around.

  3. Excellent Greg. Good, practical stuff. I just floated your article around my network. Keep up the good work.

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