Thursday, May 3, 2007


The title to this post was going to be “so how do you pack for 6 months to one year?” All we can think about is getting ready to leave the comforts of the dock and the ease of driving to town for supplies; Doug is working on projects on the boat and I am trying to figure out what to pack and how to organize our household affairs. My mood as I write this is definitely not on lists and accumulating stores.

Doug moved the dinghy from the marina’s dinghy rack to the superstructure over the aft deck so that he can decide where to put the chocks to support it on the fiberglass cover that he is building; I am helping when needed and writing this post between minor assists, requests for opinions about where the dinghy should ultimately rest, and visits as friends stop by to check our progress. It is early evening; the marina is quiet, the heat from the day (85 degrees) has dissipated, and I am writing at the dinette table in the pilothouse. Both pilothouse doors are open and there is a lovely cool breeze. I am thinking that this may well be how we spend our early evenings on the trip: the sounds of projects ongoing and quiet activities in other areas of the boat.

Cruising has been described as “in your face togetherness” and having cruised for a week or so at a time on our trailorable Hunter 19 “Rest Assured,” I can tell you that this is true. We had many excellent trips on the Hunter and since then have made trips on the Winnie W, the longest being three weeks; do we get extra credit because 1/3 of our three week trip was during Hurricane Isabel, in Deep Creek, Virginia, in the Dismal Swamp Canal? Anyway, there will be many differences between our life on land and our experiences approaching towns from the water, and in how our daily life plays out. We are confident that we will enjoy our time together, both alone (with Hank) on Winnie and off the boat sightseeing and meeting people.

To give you an idea of the Winnie W, it is 36 feet long and 12 feet wide, which translates into about 400 square feet of living space, with corners! I say that because sailboats are more rounded and when our friends with a 45 foot catamaran sailboat came aboard, they said: “it’s like a little apartment!” And it is; I will describe our living areas so you will have an idea of what it might be like to spend months to years living on this boat.

There are essentially three living spaces inside the boat (four counting the head), and more outside. Moving from front to back, as you look at the photo of the boat, there are three major areas: the V-berth, the pilothouse, and the aft cabin. The V-berth has a bunk on each side with storage areas underneath; this can double as lodging for guests and with the mattresses stacked on each other on the same side, as a workshop for Doug so he doesn’t have to dismantle projects because we need the space for another function. The head is off the V-berth, and is unusually spacious for a boat: it even has a bathtub! The pilothouse and its features are really why we chose this boat: it has the helm station, and behind the helm station, a galley on the port side with a dinette on the starboard side, so when we are moving, it is easy for us both to be in the same area with plenty of room for different projects and tasks, as well as room to relax. The aft cabin is essentially a salon (nautical term for “very small living room”), with an L-shaped settee and other features that facilitate easy visiting. The aft cabin also has a dual function: we have constructed a pull-out double bed, which is extremely comfortable with our new cushions with memory foam!

Outside, people can sit up front on the V-berth roof as we motor along, enjoy the aft deck with folding chairs, or if you are more adventurous, sit or stand on the roof of the aft cabin or even on the roof of the pilothouse! We have taken friends to the July 4 fireworks for several years and with all these spaces, can host quite a crowd. The evening before Hurricane Isabel when we had taken refuge in the Dismal Swamp Canal (at least the water level was controlled even if we had 80 mph winds), Doug set up a folding chair on the pilothouse roof and brought me an adult beverage as we motored through the Dismal Swamp: quite a sight from above!

So, that’s the news from here: still getting ready, but making progress each day. We will answer questions from your “comments” in subsequent posts; we can’t reply to comments directly.

We hope that you are well,

Kathie and Doug


dlaurie said...

Nice touch with the french months. Hope all continues to move quickly so you can meet that departure date.


Anonymous said...

Kathie and Doug, Thanks for letting the rest of us share your journey. It will be a great adventure! We do not dream of sailing off as you both have, but we do have thoughts of hiking off into the sunset...must be some of the same urge. I am so glad you are able to live out this fantasy. For many it truly would be a fantasy, just something to think of-not a real goal. Good for you!I was reading your notes just after getting down to begin planning details of our summer hikes. Figuring out the food, needs etc for backcountry travels is part of the fun. I'll bet we could trade some good tips. May you have safe and fun times.
Jeana Harrison