Carina’s capabilities

9 July 2012, Plymouth Yacht Haven

Cooking. Baking. Laundry. Washing dishes. Cleaning. Tidying up after ourselves and the kids. Boat maintenance and repair. Oh…and sailing. These are among the considerations of our family of four living in the confined space of an 11 metre yacht. And all that has to be done while we get on with the business of raising and educating our children, and finding private and quiet time for reading, writing and thinking. Life aboard Carina is full and busy.

Almost everything to do with living on a boat requires consideration and thought, not because it’s more difficult than living in a house, but because we’re not used to it. We’ve grown used to the modern convenience of instant running water – hot or cold, toilets, showers, clothes washing and drying, refrigeration, heating, electric lights. We have all of these, to some degree or other, aboard Carina, but they require a little more work and consideration. Right now we’re in a marina, so we’re plugged into mains electricity, have Wifi internet access, and have access to marina laundry and shower facilities. But once we leave the marina we no longer have these luxuries and have to be more innovative.

But even with marina life, some people might find living in such a small space somewhat difficult. We’re working out our own spaces. The girls have their places for play – the side of the table that doesn’t block the through-way from fore to aft, the cockpit, and their cabin. They like to play ‘Monkeycize’ on deck – swinging on the rigging like monkeys. That game requires supervision, but watching them swing like monkeys is worth it. I suppose just like in any home, we’ve all carved out our spaces. The only difference is that on Carina everyone’s space is very close to everyone else’s. But the boundaries still exist.

I’m slowly learning what the boat is capable of. Take the oven, for example, and what I’ve learned through trial and error in baking. I’ve devised tricks to make things work. For instance, trying to find a warm and accessible place to leave my bread to rise proved difficult. So Julian suggested a hot water bottle. My bread now rises snug and warm inside a sleeping bag with a hot water bottle underneath it! Low tech – but it works! With only two small and closely spaced hob burners, meals I used to cook in three pans are now cooked in two or even one, without compromising on taste, and with the added advantage of having less washing up to do.

2 thoughts on “Carina’s capabilities

  1. Great idea for the water bottle to proof your bread! Pretty sure I’m going to have that issue next summer – we are taking our kiddos (3 girls, 8,6 and 3) and sailing north to greenland and then hopefully through the Northwest Passage to Alaska. I love reading your blog and of course am happy to note your connection to the far North and our future sailing adventure. Not to mention reading your posts on education and your girls aboard your boat – Thank you for a well written and thoughtful blog as we head into our final months of preparations, it is an inspiration and a reminder as to what its all for 🙂

    • Hi Zetty,
      Ooh I’m envious. I love the Arctic more than anywhere else in the world, and one day soon I hope to get back to Nunavut so my children can experience an amazing way of life on the land, seeing caribou, polar bears, geese, musk-ox, beluga whales, foxes, wolves, giant skies, northern lights, great people….oh it makes me homesick for the north just thinking about it!

      What are you sailing? I’m not sure I’d fancy facing ice floes in Carina!

      I’ve just published an article on education on board in Life Learning magazine. I’ll add it to the blog in the next day or two, when I get the time.

      Happy sailing!!

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