Top Menu

Rebecca and I have always enjoyed camping. We especially enjoyed taking off in our sea kayaks to places where we would be unlikely to run into any other hikers. That said, we have been known to spend some time in public campgrounds too, with family, friends or during retreats with our martial arts students. The last couple of days here in the boatyard have reminded us a lot of the campground experience, almost. The truth is that the boatyard has all of the things that we dislike about camping with none of the good things.

We still have a number of the camping items in this pic onboard ZTC.

What do we dislike?

  • Due to our cleaning schedule, we have displaced ourselves from our berth and are now sleeping in the salon on the bed created by lowering our salon table.
  • The boat’s toilet is out of service so we must travel a good distance to the public restrooms.
  • Our watermaker is obviously also out of service so when we run out of our stock of water, we’ll have to jerry jug it to the boat.
  • Dishwater, which is normally drained directly overboard, now needs to be dealt with in some other fashion so as to not attract pests.
  • Worst of all, we have been plagued by mosquitos and noseeums each night!

What we’re missing is all the cool stuff that goes with camping: swimming in the lake, hiking the trails, campfires… that’s right, no roasting marshmallows! 🙁

Dawn in our camp, with no one around for miles.

I wrote a post the other day about how the crew of More Joy Everywhere are selling their boat. In the post of theirs that I linked, they said that they felt that boating was a lot like camping and that they didn’t enjoy camping. Well, if they thought that cruising was like camping, I’m pretty sure that they would hate the boatyard even more!

Nighttime in the boat yard would be peaceful,
if there weren’t so many mosquitos trying to suck my blood!


  1. wonders if you’ve tried the clip-on self-contained tiny fan and repellent devices? They seem to work well; the very few times we’ve had an issue, even with the fans blowing, they’ve worked for us…

  2. In those old shots, is that Frontenac?

  3. I feel your pain. At least in Trinidad we had — 1. Air conditioning and 2. few mosquitoes. Use a lot of repellant – that’s where two cruising friends got dengue. Living on the hard is the worst of this lifestyle. Hugs!

  4. I guess I missed the blog which explained why you are putting ZTC in storage. Are you taking an extended trip?

  5. Mark Hayes s/v Soaring Eagle - Reply

    Are you planning on a bottom job in the near future? Most paint manufacturers have a maximum time after painting until “splash time”.

  6. Ugh!! This definitely sounds like one of the down sides of cruising.

    “Yard Guard” came to my mind for the Mosquitos, have you tried it?
    How long do you need to stay in the boat yard?
    And finally, will the two of you still be coming to Colorado? I think you’ll be here when we are on vacation in California, but if not it would be nice to get together for dinner and/or drinks.


    You might try some of these mosquito catchers. I haven’t tried it myself yet, but it looks reasonable.

  8. Net with weight:

    Thermacell on deck?

    We velcroed a net to the companion way. A baby carriage net might be useful too.

  9. There was a method for bug control that worked in Africa, though no one seemed to know why. Use a yellow light, NOT a white one. For some reason bugs are drawn to the white light but not the yellow. We used to paint bulbs yellow because we could not buy them.

    If you get clever!? You hang a white light some way away, 30 to 50 yards, and have a yellow for yourselves. This way you get a relatively bug free night. It’s not perfect, but it is good.


  10. We’ve known so many people who bought project boats and spent their lives in the boatyard for years before ever setting off cruising! Hard to imagine huh? You guys got to do it right by going cruising nearly as soon as you bought your boat:) I guess getting that taste of the sweet life makes it really hard to end up in a boatyard! Those who haven’t sailed yet are still dreaming, so willing to endure the misery that comes along with it. Once you’ve had blue water though, it must be hard to leave it!

    • I think it would be entirely different if you had a project boat in a yard near your house. Living on a project boat is only for the truly masochistic.

  11. The modern car-camping mentality is something odd indeed. We’ve been doing it since we were kids but, lately, there’s been a noticeable change in the culture. It’s getting really expensive and you encounter a lot more rude people who don’t like being there (but are paying fifty bucks a night to be there anyway).

    Many campgrounds are too damn crowded, anyway. (If you have to worry about getting dressed on your own site because the neighbours with the 300-watt floodlight are watching, the sites are TOO CLOSE TOGETHER. Seriously, MNR, plant some more shrubs already.)

    In other words, it’s just like a boatyard….

  12. After nearly three years aboard, the single most horrid experience we have had is living on the hard. We agree, nothing works right and it’s depressing!

  13. Word. We DID hate the boatyard even more! We were on the hard for three weeks in Shelter Bay Marina – horrible. One of our cats jumped ship – literally. He lived in the Panamanian jungle for 4-5 days – you talk about camping! I think it says something, that Percy chose the jungle over a boat on the hard. (Although he did eventually get hungry and find his way home.)

  14. I just read your “linked” article about the people changing their lifestyle. After reading a random collection of posts the stark contrast between blogs is overwhelming. You an Rebecca are great examples of how a positive mindset is the most important factor. Thanks so much for sharing especially for those of us trapped in a boatyard in Florida.

  15. Mike & Rebecca
    We too nostalgically recall mixed feelings whilst suspended in “the yard.”

    As one whose personal definition of hell includes freezing, itching, and being forced to watch exceedingly dull PowerPoint slides in 2-point font, I totally appreciate cruising effectively eliminates two out of three. However, sliding to the bottom of the food chain, involuntarily providing dinner for hordes small winged boodsuckers,… sucks! That’s bad enough without having to endure weeks of itching, too. So, we empathize and visualize beaming you tubes of hydrocortisone and anti-itch cream, antihistamines and back scratches.

    Surprisingly, thanks to unlimited electricity in addition to the water, in the yard we were able to foil the flying fiends by closing up the boat and running the window a/c we normally never use, as there’s no power cable on the hook.

    We too remember all too well the long, long, long midnight trips to the loo when they start with emerging from the boat, fumbling down the ladder and wondering how eternally far that relatively short distance seems compared to taking a hike for pleasure. In fact, ironically we’re experiencing that now due to some soon to be corrected issues with our head and holding tank. It’s an interminable 5-minute walk to the bathroom. Arg.

    We do have some good memories, too.

    The sunsets on stilts closely surrounded by a forest of masts were spectacular. And as one of only two boats living aboard in the yard, we might never have befriended fellow yard inhabitants, Lili and Thomas of Heron, who we now consider dear friends.

    Ultimately, life in the yard is like the old rib, “Why do you bang your head against the wall?” “Because it feels so good when you stop.” Yards are the place we feel good about getting the dirty work done, some pride in doing it ourselves. Their very nature provides excellent motivation to work hard and get out, ASAP.

    We agree, haulouts remind us of why we became cruisers in the first place… the call of the wild; crossing great distances slowly, in small part to save money, in large part to enjoy the journey itself.

    Thus, we too consider cruising at its best much like a cushy backpacking trip, though in our case, with worse beds; we’ve been know to occasionally hump along a queen-size airbed backpacking, which, sadly, is far more comfortable than our vberth or settees.

    For us, in the end, it’s worth it; giving up most of our creature comforts including the predictability, to fully immerse ourselves in a watery wilderness. We are forced to rely on our wits to survive, making those effortless times that much sweeter. More than anything, we feel incredibly lucky and grateful. What we do, most folks will never do more than dream of.

    PS The boat looks great! Nice work.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.