Since August, 1999, at 3:15 that afternoon, I’ve maintained a Web site dedicated to my experience living aboard a 38′ Hans Christian Traditional sailboat named Candide. According to Alexa (a site that tracks Website statistics), SleepingWithOars.com has received over 3 million hits since its inception!
Over the years, I’ve received thousands of e-mails from people who dream of living aboard. I’ve dispensed information about air conditioning, auto pilots, teak care, selecting a boat, choosing a marina, and slip fees. The site went for several years without an update, and readers spoke their minds. Update the site! More pictures! More stories!
Your voices have been heard. So here’s the brand-new site complete with new text, photographs, and video. I’ve also come into the 21st century, and have created the new site using WordPress. You’ll now be able to post questions directly to a discussion group and have them answered by other readers of this site (I’ll moderate the discussions to help keep them civil). You’ll also be able to view my regularly updated blog so you’ll know about my current projects and adventures on board.
A lot of people have asked how I came up with the name “SleepingWithOars” for the site. During Christmas of 2000, my sister came for a visit and stayed in Candide’s aft cabin. One morning, I went into her berth to retrieve a pair of shoes and realized that I’d forgotten to remove my dinghy’s oars from their normal storage place. They were still on the bed, and my sister had been sleeping on top of them! “Sis!,” I said, “You don’t have to sleep with those oars!” For a few seconds, she had a confused look on her face and then burst out laughing. It took a while for me to realize what she found so funny.
I then realized that I had found the perfect domain name for my Web site: SleepingWithOars. I’ve come to accept that fact that I’m no longer living a normal lifestyle. I don’t have “next door” neighbors, they’re “next hatch” neighbors. I don’t have windows, they’re “portals.” It seems rather silly to call a bath-less lavatory a “bathroom,” so I refer to it as the “head.” There are a thousand other little differences about my sailboat-based lifestyle, and I’m proud to say that I “sleep with oars!”
Maybe you’re thinking about sleeping with oars, too. When I first considered the lifestyle, I was filled with countless questions; How does one purchase a sailboat? What types of things make a boat a comfortable home? How much boat can a guy like me afford? There were also a lot of questions that I didn’t know enough to ask; How much does it cost to maintain a boat? How will my desktop computer get electricity? How will I get a reliable internet connection on board?
Unfortunately, this information just isn’t readily available. Sure, there are a lot of books you can read and classes you can take on boating and sailing…they’ll cover things like docking, tying knots, setting sails, and the nautical Rules of the Road. But they aren’t likely to teach what you need to know to live on a boat. They generally skip details like what happens when you flush the toilet on board (it either goes overboard or into a storage tank), where the water comes from at the faucet in the kitchen sink (fresh water tanks that have to be filled regularly), and how to keep the lights on (big banks of batteries which must be kept charged).
The purpose of this Website is to help you understand the things that make a boat liveable. So sit back and fix yourself a mimosa (if it’s morning), grab a beer (if it’s afternoon), or pour a glass of wine (if it’s evening). If you’re at the office, you may want to stick with coffee for the time being. Once you’ve secured your beverage of choice, find a comfortable reading position and start following the links! Enjoy your visit here, and please share your thoughts and questions (on the discussion forum, or by sending me a private message).
One last point on this introduction. My sister, who by sleeping on top of my oars, was a bit miffed that the old site didn’t include a picture of her. “Hey, I helped you name the site, and you don’t even have a picture of me on it!” she said. So, in loving tribute to my sister (who is alive and well in Philadelphia), I hereby post not one, but a few pictures that truly captures her spirit. Please click here to see them!