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Top 5 reasons why I love living on a sailboat full-time

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Living on a sailboat full-time sure sounds romantic, with sunsets, wine, and platters full of grapes and cheese on the gently rolling stern. In reality, it’s often windy and cold, with spray from waves settling in a light mist over clothes and hair. Sailboats also take a lot of work, and it sure is good to have someone handy on board.


I thank my lucky stars that Tom knows how to fix everything and anything, and I’m in charge of the meals. I call myself the “support staff” for this boat, and that’s just fine with me. There are some amazing reasons to live on a sailboat, and here are a few.

1. We can change our backyard…very easily.

Even on a Wednesday night, we can take our sailboat out of the slip and go somewhere beautiful. I love sailing our way up to China Camp, an anchorage in the north part of the  San Francisco Bay, as the sun sets in bright oranges and yellows over the horizon.

It’s a great time of day to sail, and I love sitting on the stern sharing Tom’s beer as we head up to where we’ll sleep. I love going below-decks and frying up some turkey burgers, watching the blue of the bay and the sky go past.

When we get to our anchorage, it’s so peaceful, with just a few boats bobbing fifty yards away.

Even though we live in a big city, it’s a place to find a little quiet, and we feel like we could be a world away.

The sailboat anchored in China Camp with orange sunset on the horizon

2. I love living in a small space

It may seem strange, but I really like the intimacy of a small space. I can be whipping up one of my meals while Tom is working on the self-steering system on the sailboat, or researching rigging on the couch, or figuring out how to put in a new roller furling.

Anywhere on the boat, we can chat with each other, and it’s always nice to have the other person close by.

I also love working in the kitchen and smelling the fresh breeze through the companionway. I always feel so connected to nature when living on a sailboat full-time.

Check out this post about a woman living on a trawler. 

Me cooking in the kitchen on our liveaboard sailboat

3. Sailing is exciting

I love living on a sailboat full-time because it means I can go sailing, a lot. Sailing is something I love so much. The boat moves slow, at tops ten miles per hour, but it feels like a speeding racehorse as it heels over under the power of the wind, cutting through the waves.

When I’m steering the boat, I feel like I’m at the helm of a powerful beast. I love being out in nature and really experiencing what the wind can do to the boat.

Sailing wing on wing in the San Francisco Bay while living on a sailboat

4. The potential for travel is endless when living on a sailboat full-time

I like having options when it comes to life, and with sailboat living, I know that we could just pick up and decide to go anywhere. Mexico this winter? What about Hawaii?

Or maybe this summer, we could tool around the Channel Islands in Southern California for a few days. Maybe southeast Alaska next summer.

It’s fun thinking about the places we could go. The only thing that stops us is hurricane season, which we watch like a hawk.

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Top 5 reasons why I love living on a sailboat full-time

5. Living on a sailboat means no more hotels and Airbnbs

One big drag about traveling is the constant need to stop and search on your phone or computer for your next hotel or Airbnb. And who knows if the place will even be safe and clean?

With boat living, we can take our tiny apartment anywhere, and always have our stuff, our books, our cookware, our stove.

the inside of our liveaboard sailboat with two couches and a bedroom

While living on a sailboat full-time is often great, it also doesn’t come without struggles. A lot of things break on a boat, so somebody on board better be handy. Repairs can be costly, and you always have to keep a very close eye on the weather! Sailing can be cold and miserable, so if you don’t like wind and spray in your face, dress warmly!

But those things seem small compared with the beauty and joy of being on a boat.

What are your favorite things about living aboard a sailboat?

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19 thoughts on “Top 5 reasons why I love living on a sailboat full-time”

  1. OMG! I’m kinda jealous. LOL~ This is so cool. I’m happy that you’re blogging about this. I’m going to follow to stay updated on your adventures. 🙂

    Reply
    • Thanks Tracy! It’s fun, but also challenging. I’m going to write a post about it that may make you a little less jealous 🙂

      Reply
    • Hello! Nice to meet you Ana from Lanzarote! I would love to go there someday! Thanks for reading my blog 🙂

      Reply
  2. There’s nothing more exciting than free sailing like you are. Please keep pics coming and if you ever need a little help, feel free to give me a shout. Stay safe, fair winds and enjoy 😄

    Reply
  3. I just came across your site and love reading the stories you’ve shared. I just purchased my first sailboat here in the bay last month. It’s been fun and interesting in more ways than 1 since the new year. I look forward to reading more about your life aboard.

    Reply
    • Hi Lauren! So nice hearing from you. What are your sailboat plans? Are you living on it alone or with someone else? Our sailboat has been under restoration for SO LONG I think I’ve forgotten how to sail, haa. But soon, we will be back at it again and I can’t wait!

      Reply
  4. Hi Kristin. I am very, happy to see that you are able to fulfill your dreams. 🙂 How long do you intend to live under sail? Are you planning a retirement ashore?
    My mother also loves sailing, but I’m afraid of her when she is far from home. What are your most important safeguards, guaranteeing a happy return from the cruise? What should a woman in the sea fear the most?
    Forgive me for asking so many questions, but I think that your lifestyle is a role model and I would like to give others some good tips from you.
    Finally, I have one more question, can I advertise your article on my blog using one of your photos?

    Reply
  5. When you guys bed down for the night do you do it out in the open ocean or do you pull in somewhere for the night like a small bay? Very curious, I spent 20 years in the Navy and I love boats and have been considering getting one to do some traveling.

    Reply
    • Hi Kayla! We are in a marina right now, so we typically sleep there. Sometimes we go anchor out for the night. When we are traveling between destinations, we will have to trade watches, so one person stays awake and monitors the sailing while the other sleeps. Keep me posting on your boating adventures!

      Reply

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