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Perhaps you have wondered why Pirates were always shown with long hair and went by names like Red Beard and Black Beard. And every older sailor that you see has a beard (at least the males anyway). I know now that this is because of what a pain it can be to keep all that hair under control while living on a small boat, which is occasionally pitching back and forth in the waves!


There is a huge thread on herSailnet about shaving on board. Strangely, many of the posts on that thread are from guys (we won’t get into the question of why I was reading this particular thread) but it does point out that many women have issues with this. Taking long hot Hollywood showers on a boat are generally not possible. This leaves shaving with a cup (or bucket) of water, or as Rebecca shows in the photo below, from the transom of the boat. Now, this is fresh water she is using in this photo. Salt water may present another issue altogether.

While on the subject of shaving, I am a “cheap bastard” in training, and one of the things that drives me crazy is how expensive good razors are. We have downgraded to relatively cheap disposable ones, and to using soap instead of fancy skin-smoothing shaving cream. Does it work? Well, we can deal with it.

Hair care:

Getting an acceptable hair cut when away from home can also be a challenge, especially for the ladies. Rebecca and I had decided that she would cut my hair, and I am cool with that, but I thought that I would be one step smarter and just shave it all off. Below is my pirate imitation, sans hair.

My error was assuming that having no hair would be maintenance free. Believe me, with the difficulties of shaving (listed above) staying clean shaven like that was a serious PITA. Let’s just say that that particular style didn’t last too long. I think I’ll next try for the long-haired California Surfer look. 🙂

As for Rebecca’s styling, like all smart men, there is no way that I will be talked into touching her hair. I’ve heard that we could occasionally run into other cruisers who do that kind of thing on the side to replenish their cruising kitty. We’ll have to keep our eyes and ears open for them.


  1. Have you looked into traditional double edge (DE) razors? I use a Merkur HD Classic. The razor itself is around $30, but the blades are around .10 a piece when you buy them in bulk. Saves money in the long run compared to the disposables and gives a significantly better shave. And definitely doesn’t test your pain threshold like some of those cheap disposables!

  2. of course you could always buy scissors, have a short beard (like someone else I know) and save on razors for ever

  3. I cut my husband’s hair, it’s easy. We either use electric clippers with a 2 inch guard. Or I sometimes cut it with scissors. As soon as you come in from getting a hair cut, have Rebecca measure your hair like a hair stylist does with her fingers. Then she’ll be able to remember how many ‘fingers’ long it is when the time comes to cut your hair. Have her go with you to the stylist to watch. Or check on You Tube. There’s bound to be something on there.

    Then there’s the other family member’s methods: My daughter is currently on the Freedom Schooner Amistad, she tries to keep her shoulder length hair twisted in a knot on on the back of her head. She wears lots of caps and bandanas but still ends up very close to having dreadlocks. She has a nice natural wave and has been told by many experts in the USVI “you hair lock up nice girrrl!”

    My son refuses to pay for a hair cut more than once a year. He allows his hair to grow until he can grip it all into a pony tail in his fist, up against his head, while bending over at the waist. He then chops the pony tail off just below his fist. This leaves about 4.5 inches of hair in his fist. When he stands up, volia’ nice shaggy surfer hair. Don’t try this until you have actually seen it done…. my hairdresser is always surprised by how good a cut he can get.

  4. That’s what I plan to do to make some money while sailing – IF I go… which I think I will…

    I will cut hair. I was a hairstylist for years and still have a few clients that I do in their homes. So I will take along the scissors and clippers and hopefully be able to earn enough for my keep along the way.

  5. My wife already has a plan for cruising. I’m supposed to go with the pony tail.
    She just has this thing about guys with grey hair and pony tails….

    I’m all over this one!!

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