The Boatyard Wilderness

Boatyard living. Like fun, only different.

Wilderness Living

Loitering outside the restroom at 7AM, I asked Bill how his generator project was going. Last week he was very worried about adding the thru-hull (no one likes to drill extra holes in their boats!). "Man, that’s the least of my problems. I thought it would take a week, but we’ve been here a month and are no closer. I thought I had it all figured out before we hauled, but then I had to do an extra week of thinking. Then I ordered the parts and they took 10 days instead of 2 days. And you of course have noticed the 12 days of rain we’ve had.” “Yeah, I’m familiar. We just need one more week though, and we'll be done." Every single boatyardee has the same story. We’re all here, in the wilderness, together.

Just like the Israelites who escaped slavery only to wander in the  wilderness for 40 years, we boatyardees escaped our jobs and our land lives to find the promised land. Only now we’re in the wilderness, and instead of 7 or 11 days, we’re grumbling and complaining and looking at 40 years. You bet we’ve got idols: we’re watching Netflix. We’re cursing the weather. We’re breaking tools, and making backwards progress. And we’re sharing our misery at the bathroom block, the boatyard social center.

Soon our old lives are looking better and better. Back in the house, we had Wifi. Yeah, that was pretty cool! And we didn’t have to walk to the bathroom block in the night. There was also a Chick-fil-A nearby. Yep, dreaming about Egypt. 

Boatyard Multiplier Factor

How do you figure out how much time your wilderness experience / haul out will take? I'm here to help with scientifically proven multiplier factors for every situation! 

Simple boatyard multiplier factor. Linda and Mark have owned their fancy pants dark blue hulled sailboat for 4 years. This is their third haul out together and they know what they are doing, and understand bad weather, delays, and waiting for parts. They’ve got their bucket systems and wine provisioning down to a science. They think it will take 2 weeks, so plan on a month. Multiplier factor: x2

Reasonable people, first major haul out. Matt and Lucy knew it would be boaty, but didn’t comprehend just how much rain was possible, how many tools would break, and how much additional thinking would be required. They didn’t know you could spend 4 hours trying to fix a broken zipper or 40 hours peeling off old vinyl stickers :-) They think it will take a week, but spend 6 weeks in the yard. 
Multiplier factor: x6

New boater on a new to them boat factor.
God help him! Sven thinks the boat needs two weeks work, but is willing to see it could take a month or two. He'll start finding out all sorts of fun things about the previous owner’s amazing and peculiar mind. It’ll need 18 months. 
Multiplier factor: x36 

We live here now. Fran hauled out 3 years ago for a summer refit. She bought a car to make getting to Home Depot and West Marine easier. She started working at West Marine (for the employee discount, you know) and enjoys hiking with friends on the weekends. She’s made a little garden by her boat and tells people she won’t stay another winter, but knows she will. She likes to drive her car to the mountains and ski, after all. 
Multiplier factor: x60

Just another week. Emphysema guy bought his classic trawler boat right here, in the boat yard. He’s been working on it for 5 years, but has a house he goes to when things get annoying. Judging by the constant cursing, smoking and death throe coughing, it’s annoying a lot of the time. Don’t worry though, the boat is nearly ready. It could float next week if it had to. He’s just got a few things left to do. 
Multiplier factor: x120

Humorless and complaining. Fred and Nancy dreamed of sailing away to the Caribbean together. They had demanding jobs which caused a lot of stress and made them yell at each other all the time. Boating will be the ticket: so relaxing, fun and romantic! "I’ll be Kiera Knightly and you can be Captain Sparrow!” How terribly disappointing to find out they are still just Fred and Nancy, and yelling at each other over the proper way to measure courtesy light locations is even worse than fighting over what's for dinner. At least in LandLand, there was always a Chik-fil-A to settle the argument. Who knew boating could be such hell? Fred and Nancy will never see the promised land. They’ll sell the boat and head their separate ways. 
Multiplier factor: x365

Have you ever been through a wilderness experience? How long did it take to escape? (We need just one more week!)  

You Might Also Like


  1. Clever! As a fellow wilderness traveller, I feel your pain. We're just sitting here twiddling ou thumbs and watching dollars fly out the window while we wait for parts to arrive (it's been a week and they're still in customs on the east coast). I'm begining to think we'll never escape!

    Stephanie @ SV CAMBRIA

    1. Oh, I doubt you are twiddling your thumbs! I'm sure there's bilge scrubbing or joker valve replacing going on. I like the saying "The only easy day was yesterday". Could also be "The only cheap day was yesterday!"

  2. Boat yards, no fun! But, there is an end on the other side of the tunnel! Unless you yell a lot at each other and frustration kills the dream. Many wildernesses for us on the boat. About one a year, making eight in total. Just know that hauling in the States is one of the easier and more convenient places to do so. Keep strong!

    1. Yes, it is "easy" here with UPS delivering Defender orders and a good hardware store in town. Hopefully next time will involve less thinking since we know more and can have more realistic expectations!

  3. That is hysterical!! I really hope some of those people aren't real folks in the boatyard with you.

    1. The "with it" people don't exist except in my aspirations. Everyone else is here; although I am kind enough to change identifying details like real names!


Flickr Images