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For All the Trouble a Boat Can Be, is it Worth it?

Today marks six months out of the water. We hauled our 40 foot, beautiful steel sailboat out of the water expecting to have to do some fairly serious work, but that work soon turned into a much bigger job that expected, like it always does. This change of plans has had me wondering, is all the trouble worth it?

Papa Rumba is our third boat in as many years. That is also the number of years we have been sailing and living aboard. If that sounds crazy, that’s probably because it kind of is. Our first boat was an easy to handle 32 foot sailboat. She didn’t give us any trouble, but it was also too small for us to live on comfortably. The second one we had big dreams for, but she ended up being a can of worms that wasn’t suitable for our plans, so after spending four months refitting her, pouring our blood sweat and tears into a boat that almost broke us and our dreams, we sold her and bought our current boat.

When we bought this third boat, we knew some work was going to need to be done. She is steel, 25 years old, and had some spots of rust showing up. But she was beautiful with all the potential to take us where we want to go, and farther. We knew that even if the scope of work ended up being larger than we initially thought, it would be worth it because she was exactly what we needed for reaching our goals.

So here we are, deep into boat projects again. A 2-3 month project in a boat yard just turned into a 8-12 month job, us hauling her to a new location at much more expense that expected, and having to pull apart half of our interior. We have even had to move into a house and off the boat in order to complete these projects. So with so many huge changes, so much unexpected work to be done and so many unexpected bills, I have asked myself many times if it is really worth it.

The answer, every single time, has been yes.

Regardless of our struggles, regardless of how hard we have to work, how much money it costs us and how much time we spend in uncomfortable situations because of it, living on a boat is worth it. When we are on the water, the incredible places we visit make the struggle worth it. The peace, tranquility and healing we find when we are in an off- grid anchorage makes it worth it. Knowing that we can move our home somewhere new every day if we want to makes it worth it. Even with all the frustration, I haven’t for a second wanted to give up life on the water. There is nothing like it and nothing more worth suffering for. The good most definitely outweighs the bad. It’s just a matter of remembering that fact, as we suffer though these projects and work towards getting her back in the water.

If you would like to keep up with our projects, check out the playlist below!

This article was originally published in the C-Tow newsletter!

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Sue Peck
Sue Peck
Apr 15, 2022

It will be worth it and you guys are going about it the right way...not cutting any corners! We met a couple in Puerto Penasco that are 2 yrs into a 4 year refit (more like a rebuild) of a steel boat. (Check out SV Liquid on FB).. and again it will be worth it for them too.. you will literally know your boat inside out. Can't wait to share an anchorage with you two again.. and give Max a squeeze from us! Sue & Brian SV Cariba


Wendi Morrison
Wendi Morrison
Apr 13, 2022

In my opinion, it is definitely worth it! I can't see us living on land again. There is nothing that compares to living on the water!

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