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May 30, 2014 6:55 PM   Subscribe

Twenty-Eight Feet: Life On A Little Wooden Boat

"Lizzy Belle is an H28 class Ketch rigged sailboat designed by L. Francis Herreshoff."
posted by the man of twists and turns (16 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
Herreshoff designed some sweet boats, that sail nice. That's one determined guy to get her restored in month's rather than years!
posted by sammyo at 7:09 PM on May 30


Headin' out for a sail this evening. thanks for the inspiration.
posted by OHenryPacey at 7:09 PM on May 30 [1 favorite]


Very nice! Thanks for sharing.
posted by Bohemian Sailor at 7:50 PM on May 30


My cousin does not have a documentarian, but he's been living this life now for over a decade.
He was a software engineer, living in Manhattan, and in 2004 decided to buy a boat, and sail for "2 or 3 years" around the world. He's been going at it now for just over 10 years, and in the process had become a hero of mine.
posted by growabrain at 8:06 PM on May 30 [1 favorite]


I'm mostly interested in how he learned how to sail and maintain the boat. This sort of thing has been a long term never quite realistic dream of mine, even just to start out as a liveaboard thing... and i never really understood how people get that knowledge. Yea, i know you can take sailing classes but there's quite a lot more involved in what's going on here.
posted by emptythought at 10:27 PM on May 30


and i never really understood how people get that knowledge

The Center For Wooden Boats in South Lake Union, free via your Seattle Public Library Card.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:21 AM on May 31


and i never really understood how people get that knowledge

One little disaster at a time.
posted by Right On Red at 6:21 AM on May 31 [3 favorites]


My cousin does not have a documentarian, but he's been living this life now for over a decade.

That blog is such a tease! Has he been subsisting on previously stored up funds or what?
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 7:03 AM on May 31


That is a gorgeous boat. Hard to believe it's only 28 feet; I dunno if it's the cinematography or the two masts or both, but it sure looked to be a good size compared to mine, which is 33 feet (but single-masted).

This guy has exactly the same attitudes towards living space, and money, that I do, and since this is pretty much what I'm planning to do someday the whole thing feels sort of like a message from the universe (that message being, "get the heck off Metafilter and get back to sanding down and repainting the bottom of your boat").

I do depart from this guy in a couple ways - for one thing, I'll happily stick to fiberglass boats, thanks, even though I've seen a number of gorgeous wooden Herreshoffs besides this one. (There are a few Herreshoff designs that are still in production, but that H28 doesn't seem to be one of them.) I'm also planning on adding refrigeration and some solar panels before I'm actually living on board full-time. And I'm not sure I could go two and a half months without a fresh water shower, so there's that.

I'm mostly interested in how he learned how to sail and maintain the boat. This sort of thing has been a long term never quite realistic dream of mine, even just to start out as a liveaboard thing... and i never really understood how people get that knowledge. Yea, i know you can take sailing classes but there's quite a lot more involved in what's going on here.

The best way to start out, honestly, is to have a good friend or relative who will take you out on their boat pretty frequently. Supplement with sailing classes and reading some books on maintenance, and learn as much as you can until you feel like you're ready to take the plunge and buy your own. Then, keep your experienced boat-owning friend on speed-dial so you can call them up and ask whenever you run into something you don't know on your own boat. Beyond that, trial and error accounts for the rest.
posted by mstokes650 at 7:31 AM on May 31 [1 favorite]


emptythought and the man of twists and turns - I learned to sail at the Center for Wooden Boats. They're great folks.

Gosh, that's a pretty boat.

Buying a boat and taking time off and puttering about in a boat is one of those things that I can't tell if it's actually a dream, or just the idea of it is a dream for me. For now, I occasionally crew for a friend of mine who belongs to one of the local sailing clubs and I learn a bit every time.
posted by rmd1023 at 8:38 AM on May 31


The Center For Wooden Boats

Can attest, amazing place, proposed to my wife in the little park nearby just before we went on their weekly free sail day. Seattle is the richer for having it.
posted by RolandOfEld at 9:45 AM on May 31


My cousin built a tri-hulled, 41-feet 10-inches long sailboat. Here is their story.
posted by semmi at 10:18 PM on May 31


Thanks for this.

Like others, this lifestyle has been a long deferred dream of mine. I'm familiar with both sailing, boats in general and the tropics -- I've just never been able to put them together as a cohesive lifestyle for more than a few weeks. The boat -- a sloop rigged ketch, I think -- is gorgeous. But man, did he take on a maintenance load and sailing it solo to Australia strikes me as sheer insanity.

Growbrain and semmi, your comments made me start to wonder just how many people have made this a reality. I can add a third. My cousin and her husband spent five years living at sea with three children.
posted by cedar at 1:10 PM on June 1


Add me to the list of people who totally fantasize about a tidy little boat to take from place to place and a life with my stuff scaled down enough to do it. I don't really care about the sailing part, more the going from place to place part, although I like being on the water well enough.

But there is that making a living thing. Dammit.

I have a friend who actually did the proverbial thing of taking a year off from life and sailing around the world (I think on a 36'.) with spouse and child. (The friend is a high powered trauma doc, and needed a break from that, as well as having reasonable confidence in their own ability to manage medical emergencies at sea. Said friend is now back to putting your head back together after a wreck.)

Some people really do live that dream. Some people even deserve to do so.
posted by spitbull at 2:44 PM on June 2


And no, an RV is not almost the same thing!
posted by spitbull at 2:44 PM on June 2


I spent three week living on this boat (the article says it's 30' but it's definitely 28') as a teenager, and it was incredible. The Sea School has a free day sail coming up this weekend, if anyone happens to be in the Halifax area.
posted by naoko at 8:33 AM on June 4


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