A sailboat and a new way to see nature

Sailboat 1

By Kristin Hanes

We turned the corner of a long, dredged channel in the San Francisco Bay, which is just deep enough to accommodate the six foot keel of our double-masted sailboat. My boyfriend Tom cut the motor, and we hoisted a couple of sails, all ropes and winches, muscle and effort. The 41’ sailboat started to lean, catching the wind, pushing against the lines like a race horse ready for the track. In that moment, with our boat cutting through the water, I felt like I was somewhere far away from the hum of the San Francisco Bay area, the cars, the pollution, the endless torrents of people rushing from here to there. On the bay, our boat whispered through the water, and finally, no one else was around.

 

I had a feeling I’d love sailing from the get-go. I’m a girl who loves nature, who was raised on two acres in Oregon, one a stretch of green lawn fringed with fruit trees, the other dense forest, brush and wetlands to explore. I love backpacking and hiking, being in the quiet solitude of trees or near the roar of waves at the ocean. I thought I’d love sailing, too, and I was right.

 

Sailboat 2

 

When I lost my job as a news reporter in San Francisco in 2016, it just made sense for me to move onboard Tom’s sailboat. I needed to save money on ridiculous rent around here, which averages $3,300 per month for a one-bedroom apartment. Slip fees for the boat are just a few hundred dollars per month, utilities are $5. We get all our movies and shows from the library and shower at the gym.

 

Living on the sailboat hasn’t always been amazing. For two years, the boat has been undergoing a massive restoration so we can sail it around the world, and at first, it had nothing. No stove, no toilet, no running water. I cooked our meals by balancing a frying pan on a one-burner camping stove, and went to the marina bathroom. Slowly but surely, Tom fixed the boat up, and now it has almost everything we need. Things I will never take for granted again, like basic appliances and amenities. Living on the boat has taught me to be truly grateful.

 

sailboat 3

 

What we lacked in amenities though, we gained in adventure. We could take the boat out of the marina whenever we wanted and anchor for the night somewhere beautiful. One hour to the north is a placed called China Camp, a California State Park, where we anchor out in the edge of the vast expanse of the Bay. At sunset, the colors ripple across the water and shade the white masts with orange. The boat rolls gently with the changing tides and the wakes of passing cargo ships, and I think it’s the most relaxing thing in the world. Now that we have a stove, I love cooking enchiladas in the oven, and we enjoy the smell while drinking a glass of wine on the stern.

 

sailboat 4

 

Our plan is to sail around the world, and my outdoor adventures will morph from backpacking to scuba diving. I love nature in any form, whether I’m hiking the John Muir Trail in the Sierra Nevada or swimming amongst tropical fish in the Sea of Cortez. I like witnessing nature at its rawest. The desert of Baja California is just as alive and gorgeous to me as an alpine lake. And if I’m lucky, Baja is where we’ll be this winter. Then the Pacific Northwest and Vancouver Island next summer. We’ll catch fish and dig for clams and learn to identify seaweed. I am itching for this adventure to begin so I can get out of the crush of people for good. After living on a sailboat for the last year-and-a-half, I’ve learned that city life isn’t for me. I like solitude and sunsets, rolling waves and dolphins cutting the water in front of the sailboat’s bow. I like living in a small space with Tom, where we move around each other like a well-oiled machine.

 

sailboat 5

 

At this point in my life, I’m not sure when I’ll be ready to live in a house again. Even when I pet sit and stay in beautiful homes, I start to feel trapped, like a caged animal. I can’t imagine the responsibility, the mortgage, the debt, the endless cleaning. Our sailboat tiny home moves wherever we want, plus is small and easy to maintain. When there isn’t room for stuff in life, clutter stays at a minimum.

 

sailboat 6

 

Sailboat life isn’t for everyone. I would never own one on my own. There’s work and know-how involved, like how to repair diesel engines or fix the rudder. I’m glad Tom is along to be the fix-it guy, and I’m along to keep the crew alive and well through meals and care.

 

Who knows where the sailboat will take us. Adventure and freedom wait. All I know is that wherever I go, I’m home.

 

sailboat 7

 

About the Author:

Kristin Hanes is a journalist and writer who lives on a sailboat in the San Francisco Bay. Besides sailing, she loves anything adventurous and outdoorsy, including hiking, backpacking and traveling. Besides staying active, Kristin also loves cooking, salsa dancing and drinking a good beer. You can follow her adventures on her blog, www.thewaywardhome.com

 

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47 thoughts on “A sailboat and a new way to see nature

  • December 28, 2017 at 5:58 pm
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    What a lovely boat! I always dream to have one! But on the other hand I don’t know how I would feel on the boat

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  • December 19, 2017 at 3:18 am
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    I am all for any way to see nature – although in my case it almost always consists of mountains. But water would be just as exciting. Have a great time!

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  • December 18, 2017 at 6:00 pm
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    Great adventure spirit!! I am an avid swimmer, and love the water, sailboats always hold that mystique of the water… love your post

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  • December 18, 2017 at 3:51 am
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    I can’t believe it costs that much to rent a one bedroom in SF! Our mortgage is only $600 in SC for a 4 bedroom, 2 bath house, with a fenced in backyard, close to downtown!

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  • December 17, 2017 at 9:59 pm
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    While it was not easy in the beginning, I am glad to see that you are enjoying living on your sailboat now. These pictures are proof that you are having a great time.

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  • December 17, 2017 at 9:00 pm
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    This looks like an awesome trip. Did you get seasick at all on the boat?

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    • December 18, 2017 at 5:11 pm
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      I haven’t gotten badly seasick yet! Just a little nauseated. I chew on fresh ginger to help it pass! We’ll see what happens on a long voyage 🙂

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  • December 17, 2017 at 8:25 pm
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    Oh what an adventure! It sounds like soo much fun. I do love being out on the water.

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  • December 17, 2017 at 4:10 pm
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    Your sailing experience looks absolutely amazing! Your pictures speak for itself how much fun you’re having!

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  • December 17, 2017 at 2:45 pm
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    Wow, I envy you the freedom to see new sights daily by living on the sailboat. I can’t imagine just sitting and watching dolphins play for hours on end or pelicans enjoying seafood. The boat looks amazingly like a house. I didn’t realize they had so many comforts of home like the kitchen.

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    • December 18, 2017 at 5:12 pm
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      Totally! It’s our comfy tiny home. I love when its cold outside and we turn on our kerosene furnace. It rumbles and splashes light around the room light a fireplace.

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  • December 17, 2017 at 2:02 pm
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    That sailboat looks like an excellent way to explore and see new places. You have put some gorgeous photographs!

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  • December 17, 2017 at 10:19 am
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    Oh I just love being on the water! I think a sailboat is always going to be the best way to see a place, especially nature!

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  • December 17, 2017 at 6:00 am
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    I’ve always wanted to go sailing. Definitely a bucket list item.

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  • December 17, 2017 at 5:29 am
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    I love being on the water. I have never been on a Sailboat before though. This is one thing I’d love to do.

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  • December 17, 2017 at 4:11 am
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    That sounds like a real adventure! I admit I don’t know if I could go without the conveniences of a traditional home (I enjoy my shower 😉 ). But I enjoy reading about your experiences! Thank you for sharing!

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    • December 18, 2017 at 5:14 pm
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      You’re welcome! Someday we will have a shower on there 🙂 For now we can plug a hose into the sink and shower outside, haha!

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  • December 17, 2017 at 2:52 am
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    That is a beautiful boat! And water everywhere! LOVE IT!
    I would love to have a boat/house boat, even if only for a little while.

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    • December 18, 2017 at 5:19 pm
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      Thank you!! I love it, too. It’s amazing seeing this different side of nature. When we went out last week dolphins were leaping all around the boat!

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  • December 17, 2017 at 2:19 am
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    This sailboat looks absolutely awesome!!! You will have such amazing adventures!!!

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  • December 17, 2017 at 1:46 am
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    Thats a nice boat. I would love to do a boat trip, it seems so relaxing and beautiful.

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  • December 17, 2017 at 12:22 am
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    That sounds like an absolute blast. A ton of freedom that’s worth all those little sacrifices.

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  • December 17, 2017 at 12:08 am
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    Wow! I can’t believe how amazing your restoration job is looking! That stove is incredible and the wood work is just stunning!

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  • December 16, 2017 at 11:58 pm
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    Sailing looks like a great way to get out and see more. It must be nice being able to travel from port to port and never have to unpack.

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  • December 16, 2017 at 10:59 pm
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    This looks amazing. I know that everything has sacrifices and it looks like you made some but the end results were great! What an amazing experience.

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  • December 16, 2017 at 1:08 pm
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    Wow!! So amazing!! Looks like your hard work is paying off. It is awefully courageous of you to sail around the world. Thank you for inspiring and uplifting me today. Enjoy!💗

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  • December 16, 2017 at 12:28 pm
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    The sailboat looks simply amazing, I never imagined that you could actually use one as a home. It does make sense, especially that the fees are so small compared with a flat in the city!

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  • December 16, 2017 at 12:26 pm
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    Wow! It must be so fun to live on a sailboat. I hope I’ll be able to experience it, even just for a couple of weeks 🙂

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  • December 16, 2017 at 3:09 am
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    Being on a sailboat for a trip is I bet a different kind of adventure it’s on my travel bucket list.

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  • December 16, 2017 at 3:06 am
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    How fun!!! I always wanted to travel with sail boat. One of my favorite blogger lives full time sailing.

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  • December 15, 2017 at 8:29 pm
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    This seems like a great way to enjoy a holiday and get a different perspective of nature! I’ve never been on a sailboat before but would love to.

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    • December 15, 2017 at 10:07 pm
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      It’s really very humbling! I just got back from my first ocean sailing trip and was really mesmerized by the power of the ocean.

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  • December 15, 2017 at 8:14 pm
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    Wow what an adventure! Not sure I could do it, but it sounds awesome!

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    • December 15, 2017 at 10:08 pm
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      It’s definitely not for everyone! When I was on a trip on the boat recently I couldn’t wait to get back into a forest 🙂 But I hope to be able to experience the best of both worlds.

      Reply

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