Lessons Learned Living Aboard

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What do you suppose it would be like to live on a 44ft sailboat for the first time? Seven days spent in the British Virgin Islands, sleeping, eating, and relaxing aboard while island hopping  – paradise right?  Yes, and a learning opportunity in every way.  Here are some things I learned:

You have to pay attention to each body movement while climbing around on a moving boat; distraction and multitasking are your enemies!


Sailing challenges new muscles that you forgot you had; this is where the island rum can really be helpful at the end of the day.


Island provisions are limited; you get creative about meal preparation and you can still eat well.


There is always an opportunity to learn something new – in my case a cleat knot and a boat knot; and you can learn things like how to move from the dingy to the boat without falling in the water.  Of course I had to try out the falling part.

Sailing gives you a sense of being small on a huge planet – it takes you away from your everyday existence; you learn to stop taking your IPhone out of your pocket to check your email and Facebook pages, and instead, check out the scenery.


You become very aware of taking care of your physical environment when living in small quarters…and if the bathroom facilities malfunction, well lets just say it isn’t pretty.  This is why you take your business ashore as much as possible.

When you live on a boat with 6 other people who are not your family or friends, it can be challenging to strike a balance between being social and respecting quiet time and privacy. And speaking of privacy, getting a shower is challenging whether you do it in the tiny bathroom or at the stern of the boat in the dark with the deck hose.


Sometimes sailing weather is rough – it can be like riding the roller coaster in the wind with the rain beating against your face.  Once it’s over, getting on land and tossing back some island libation will help you forget that you almost peed your pants.


Living on a sailboat – lessons in every aspect of life – the takeaway is that a sense of humor and a little rum (or maybe a tall glass of iced tea) will always save the day! 


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  1. Annie Caulkins on May 11, 2014 at 11:41 am said:

    What a wonderful experience. The BVIs are so beautiful and still one of my favorite sailing destinations. I got a good chuckle and noticed a my head nodding when I read some of your lessons learned. Congratulations on surviving 6 days on a 44 foot sloop with six other folks!!

  2. Wow, Lisa…wondering if some of the learning was rather unexpected? By the looks of your picture, it appears you had a great time and the learning was well worth it, potential plumbing problems and all!!

    • I find that there is valuable learning in nearly all new experiences And many times what you actually learn is different than what you set out to learn

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