I know it is hard for most people to imagine what it is like for us living on a boat. After all, we moved from a 2200 square foot house with a two car garage, enclosed workbench area, and 12 x 24 foot storage building into a boat with perhaps 350 square feet of total space. Well, I won’t say that it’s not different. However, we have enough room for the things we need, and certainly enough room for us.
Above is a photo of our berth. It’s hard to get scale, but it is about equal to a queen-sized bed. It takes up over 30 of those 350 square feet I mentioned! We purchased a custom made mattress to fit the space and it is very soft and comfy. Our berth is located near the bow (front) of the boat, and you can see there is some tapering of the berth as you get near the foot. The only access is from the head, so you climb over your pillows to crawl into bed. You can see we have storage lockers on either side of our berth. These are very roomy, and mine is full of clothes while Laura’s contains books and some medical supplies she wants to keep handy. There are two three-speed fans to keep us cool at night, and they are very quiet, especially on low speed. The boat has central air-conditioning and heat, but when at anchor a fan is all you need.
Everyone asks about our galley. For a boat, ours is very spacious, with lots of storage. Orontes II has a central island where the large double sink and trash compactor are located. This photo was taken standing on the other side of the island and leaning over the sink. It shows good detail of the galley, but you don’t see the sink. The open door to the right is the built-in refrigerator. Top-opening is generally seen as an advantage on cruising boats. A front opening door allows a lot of cold air to escape each time it is opened, and when sailing, a lot of the contents may escape as well! The top opening door makes it harder to get to the things on the bottom, but they stay colder and are more secure. We use a variety of baskets to hold condiments and small items to keep the interior organized.
In the center of the picture is the three burner propane stove and oven and the microwave above. The oven is a little cantankerous to light and the oven has no thermostat. It does have a thermometer and you monitor this while baking, turning the heat control up or down as needed to stay sort of close to the temperature you are supposed to bake at. As I write this, somewhere on a delivery truck is a brand new, state of the art, shiny, stainless steel stove and oven speeding in our direction. I expect to receive it next week and it will be a big improvement over the one we have now. The thermostat-controlled oven will be nice!
Out of the photo to the left is the deep freeze, again top opening. Frankly, it is larger than we need, and if I’d been around during the original design it would be half this size. The freezer is over twice as large as the refrigerator and keeps things nice and frozen. This gives us lots of ice, frozen food, and two frosty beer mugs.
This area is called the salon. You may call it a dining room, but I’m going to stay nautical here. You can see the table and settees for eating, and bookshelves behind. In a pinch, one can sleep here. The table does not fold down to make a berth like some production boats, but is fixed in place. Sneaking into the left side of the photo is a brass pole. This is located on the galley island I mentioned, and provides a secure handhold when moving about while the boat is under way.
Finally, here is the berth located in the aft cabin, but without its mattress. I included it because it shows the storage lockers we have under all the berths and the settees. This is where we keep spare parts, tools, sewing supplies, and all the stores required to keep us going for months at a time. Not shown is a very comfortable custom made mattress. It was made by the same man who made the mattress for our berth, and we think is a vast improvement over those that came with the boat. For all of those wishing to visit, this is where you will sleep!
I hope this gives you more of an idea of what our home looks like. We continue to complete projects to improve her and make her safer and more livable. We have lived aboard full time only eight months and we look forward to several more years of boat life.