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On this page you will find information on how we live aboard a 27 foot sailboat. 
We have seen a LOT of questions on how anyone could live aboard a boat of any size. 
Well, look here for info from both of us! 

Cruising should be entirely for pleasure, and when it ceases to be so it no longer makes sense.  Of course those who want to beat out what little brains they have in a night thrash to windward should have a strong, stiff racing machine, a very expensive contraption, one which has sacrificed the best qualities of a cruiser.  But the little yacht that can snuggle alongside of some river bank for the night and let its crew have their supper in peace while listening to the night calls of the whippoorwills will keep its crew much more contented.  They will be particularly happy and contented when the evening rain patters on the deck and the coal-burning stove becomes the center of attraction. Then if you can lie back in a comfortable place to read, or spend the evening  in pleasant contemplation of the next day's run, well, then you can say "This is really cruising." 

  L Francis Herreshoff
We don't think there is a better way to express our feelings about cruising! 
AND, this describes our boat, Guenevere!

Way Back, Background        Early 1990s Background        A Boat Yard Horror Story!        Life Now 

Way Back, Background 

From Greg: 

As far back as I can remember, I have wanted to sail my own sailboat around the South Pacific Islands. I can't explain it, I just did.  About as close as I can come to an explanation might be, I remember listening to stories my father told me about his travels aboard the U.S.S. Harman (a destroyer Escort ship) in that area during W.W.II.   Then during my time in the U.S. Navy, I did some time on Diego Garcia, British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT), in the middle of the Indian Ocean.  This is not far from some of the places my father visited.  I loved it, even though at the time we were sleeping in tents with roll-up sides and the only facilities were outhouses. 

Then, in about 1990, I was doing some genealogy research on my mothers side of the family.  I ran across two brothers, Bruce and Sherdon Fahnestock, who had sailed to the South Pacific and written a book about it.  This got my interest up!  Jill called a local book dealer and had them do a book search for "Stars to Windward", the best selling book that they had written.  It took almost four months, but we got a copy! and on top of that, it was autographed by both brothers!  What a find!! 

We took a vacation together that next week and as I drove, Jill read to me.  The book came alive, and was captivated by the story!  It is a great read.  And I recommend it.  If you like reading about voyages in small boats, do a book search, find this one, and read it!  In one passage it tells how one of the brothers, who was out of town at the time, finds out at the dinner table, that they got the boat of there dreams.  The name of there boat was "The Director".  We also tracked down and found another GREAT book written by there mother.  The name of it is "I ran Away to Sea at Fifty".  In it you can read a small passage about the same event, told from her perspective!  It almost makes you feel like you were there! 

Although growing up in Wheeling Ill., I was far from any salt water, the sea was calling to me from my families past.  It keeps calling me to "come back to where we were".  Thus begins my adventure....... 

1990s Background  

In 1991, we were transferred from Burbank to the Marietta, Georgia area.  In Georgia, we lived a normal land based life.  We had a three bedroom 2 bath + bonus room, split level home on 3/4 acre.  We had our boat on Lake Sidney Lanier, about an hour and a half drive from our home.  It seemed we never had enough time at the boat, and always felt bad about not doing all that we should do for the house.  Endless lawn mowing and cleaning! 

We visited the Norfork area to see a lecture put on by Lin & larry Pardy.  We fell in love with the area, so because we had purchased the boat as trailerable, we decided to take her for a cruise on the Chesapeake Bay. 

At this point we guess we should say a little about our van and the boat trailer. 

We had purchased it the year before for under $2000.00.  During the year Greg had installed a new radiator, water pump and all new water lines (under $250.00 for all the parts & Greg did all the install work).  we had then taken it to an auto shop that did most of there work on Dodge products and told them that we planned to two a LARGE boat with it.  we told them to do anything and everything they thought it would need, price no object!  we explained in great detail that we did NOT want to break down on the road with the boat.  About a week later, we got the van back.  The total bill came to just under $500.00. They had added another set of leaf springs to the rear suspension and did a tune-up.  When we asked (a number of times to make sure) we were told that no more could be done for it and we were assured we would have no problems. 

The trailer came with the boat and we were never sure of it.  So in Georgia I took it to the local trailer shop.  They carried a lot of trailers like ours, two axle with surge breaks.  I dropped it off with the same instructions, "fix anything you find in less that good working order.  I came back a week later to pick it up with only a $40.00 charge.  They said they had adjusted the breaks.  I asked a number of times and was assured it was in great working order.  The following weekend we made plans to have Guenevere hauled and put on the trailer. 

On the way to the lake (1.5 hour drive) Friday night, with the trailer empty, the aft left rear break started to lock up....  (*^(%$^$#..... 
We took the tire off, pulled the empty trailer on the three remaining tires and found a local trailer shop.   It took them another few days to adjust the breaks.  This time it worked.  We loaded the boat and then brought it home to be prepped for the Chesapeake Bay trip. 

In mid 1996, as we were preparing Guenevere for our Bay adventure, we were asked if we would like to be transferred to the San Francisco area. With Guenevere on her trailer, sitting in the street in front of our house all ready to go. We had to make up our minds which way to head, East or West!  We were VERY much looking forward to that trip as we had made a lot of plans and gotten a LOT of GREAT advice from the super people on the Compuserve "On Line Yacht Club"! 

When it came down to the last few days, my boss told us we could take the Chesapeake Bay cruise and stay there in Georgia, or move to the Bay Area.  Turns out it was not a hard decision on our part. 

Soooo  With Guenevere on her trailer, hitched to our 1979 Dodge (360 V8) van, and off we went! 

Now to be honest, we were assured of no problems to and from the Chesapeake Bay, but we were going a lot farther than that.  We did however have some problems. 

Just before a small place called "Desert Center" the van started overheating. We pulled off into a large dirt lot, and decided to sleep in the cockpit till morning.  ALL NIGHT LONG people stopped by and talked about what this big boat with "Miami" on the side was doing in the middle of the desert!  Not much sleep for us. 

As it turned out, two of the eight spark plug wires had gone bad.  I guess I can understand the van overheating trying to haul the boat on six cylinders and dragging along the other two! 

At any rate, we made it to the Bay area. 

When we purchased Guenevere, it was the boat we planned to cruise in.  We did not plan to live aboard her and work at the same time.  But, with the move, it seemed a GREAT time to try living aboard.  Soooo  A lot of "STUFF" went into storage, we called ahead and found a marina that would allow us to live aboard and was close to where Greg had to work. 


A Boat Yard Horror Story! 

We had also called a short time before we departed Georgia and made arrangements with a boat yard to do the bottom and drop us in the water.  We were very careful to let them know we were coming by trailer.  That we had a 27 foot Nor'Sea that had a lapstrake fiberglas hull.  That we wanted to have "CopperPoxy" applied to the bottom and that meant that ALL the old bottom paint would have to be removed. We would apply the CopperPoxy.  That we had only about two weeks to have the work done as we needed to move onboard as soon as we could! 

When we got to the yard they asked us to park the boat & trailer on the street, just down the street from the yard.  They said they would move it in to the yard in the morning.  We did, they did not! 

On the second day nothing went on.  On the third day I asked if they were going to start work soon,  They said "Oh, yes, very soon".  The next day when I went into the office in the morning the owner (the guy I had been dealing with) was sitting there, he leaned back and said he would not be able to complete the job on time.  I was a bit taken aback by this.  He then said he would also have to requote the job.  I said what???  Here, I will be very honest, the original quote (that I agreed to pay) was $1,500.00 to strip the old bottom paint off, only.  He now was asking for $3,500.00!  FOR JUST REMOVING THE OLD BOTTOM PAINT!!  He then said that as a matter of fact, he did not want to do the job at all, and it would take about a month to do, if he chose to do it.  He said he would pull the boat in to the yard and I could do the work myself if I wanted to. 
I was a little upset at this point, but felt my back was up to the wall.  We would have to do it ourselves. 

We had the boat moved in, and we started removing the old bottom paint.  We worked very hard that Friday. 

On Saturday mooring, one of the boat yard workers who lived aboard his small boat at the yard walked by.  I asked if he would like to make some extra money over the weekend helping with our project.  He told me "You couldn't pay me enough to help with that!", so I gave up on him.  A short time later, I met another guy working on a very old woodie that looked like he was in no hurry, and could use a few extra dollars.  I offered him the job of helping and he accepted and said he would start on Sunday morning.  He also said that he did not have a regular job, so could work till the job was finished. 

We got done a LOT of  work on Sunday, and we expected it would take us about 3 more days to finish removing old paint. 

On Monday, I got to the yard and went in to talk to the owner about having my cutlass bearing replaced.  The first thing he said was that he would have his guy cut the prop shaft to get it out.  When I asked about just removing it, he said, "that never works".  He also said he had a bone to pick with me.  I asked what the problem was.  He asked how I thought it was OK to hire outside workers to work in HIS yard?  I asked what he was talking about, I thought we had agreed on everything that was to be done.  He said I was taking work away from his workers by hiring a guy to help me remove my old bottom paint!  When I reminded him he was not able to do the job in the required time, had more than doubled the cost to me, AND still, said he would rather not do the job at all, he backed off a bit.  I also told him not to bother with the cutlass as I might be able to come up with a better way than cutting my shaft. 

About an hour later, the guy who was helping me showed up.  He apologized, and said he could no longer help me.  He was told by the yard that if he was going to work in this yard he would have to pay the yard 20% of anything I paid him, AND, would also be required to move his boat out of the yard.  I paid him for the days work he had done and we finished the boat as best we could with the help of a few close friends. 

It took us a week longer than planned and we had to stay in a motel for an extra week that cost us more than we had, but it did get done. 

This is the worst time I have ever had in a yard!  If you would like the name of this boatworks located in the southbay. 

That yard has now gone out of business, and we have moved on. So far, we have NEVER found another yard that even comes close to how bad they were! 

In 2004, we departed the San Francisco Bay area for the cruising Life.....

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