Sanding the boat (sometimes called painting)

The only project more scary than installing a new engine in Maine in the middle of winter was painting the topsides. But the poor girl was starting to look a little rough (especially after we rebed the toerails a couple summers ago)…

So, of course, we’re painting the topsides.

Painting the topsides with Alex Seal - Before Pictures

Aside: why do they call it painting?

Painting the topsides - sanding the topsides - so much prep before you can paint Alexseal

It should really be called “sanding” with the understanding that after 60 hours of sanding (we counted) you might get to spend 1 hour applying a coat of paint on top of your immaculately smooth surface.

Painting the topsides - sanding the topsides

At which point you’ll probably realize you a) missed a spot, b) just orange-peeled your baby-butt-smooth-surface and now need to sand down the whole thing, or c) really are more cut out for computer work than this boat business!

Applying Alexseal primer - fully primed before Aristo Blue finish

Because I never like to miss an opportunity to be awkward, I thought I’d share my painting technique (perfected on 3 coats of primer):

Despite my help, we are making progress! We were nearly derailed at the primer stage — the grey looked sooo nice, and we had a serious case of color-indecisiveness.

*Especially* when we peeled the tape (which we had to pre-primer sanding – always more sanding!) and contemplated a silver & gold boat…

Sanding out the "orange peel" from the primer was oddly satisfying though!

Sanding out the “orange peel” from the primer was oddly satisfying though!

But in the end, in our hearts, Brio is a blue boat, so the first coat of “Aristo Blue” went on yesterday.

Painting Aristo Blue Alexseal in an outdoor workyard

And now we get to fully explore the #joysofoutdoorworkyards 🙂


This is why (at the Gosling Islands, Maine)

It’s not for the winter weather.

Or the ample shoe storage.

Not for the convenience.

Or the easy comfort.

Happy Jon

Not for the king-size bed.

Or the thermostat-controlled heat zones and flat screen tv.

It’s not for the “frugality”

(Although I do appreciate how affordable this life can be)

Or the option to “nuke a frozen pizza”

(a bitter joke we invoke when we’re feeling particularly worn down by boat life)

Instead we live this life…


…for days exactly like these.

– LMK 🙂


Blizzards on boats are exciting! (in Portland, Maine)

We’re pretty used to snow. Even lots of snow isn’t a big deal.

But snow + a storm warning? Gusts of 55 in the bay?

More exciting.

It's those dang gusts that'll get you...

The day started out innocently enough…

As it deteriorated, our priority was prepping in case we couldn’t leave the boat (ie diesel for the heater, groceries, etc).

Blizzard - maine liveaboards

Post-diesel run, things were getting real.

Blizzards on boats in Maine - living aboard in winter

High tide brought high seas. Boats were snapping dock lines like spaghetti.

DiMillos Marina in a blizzard

Pictures really don’t do the conditions justice. Watching mother nature pick up boats and smash them against the docks, hoping and praying that the suddenly-measly-looking fenders would do their jobs, we were VERY thankful to be on the downwind side of the finger.

One power boat broke free completely and had to be rescued by a dinghy. While breaking free, it also broke the neighboring sailboat’s port.

We watched as a chock tore out of another sailboat, splintering the wood trim in the process.

Maine liveaboards - in a blizzard

I was trying to work from home, but we ended up spending most of the afternoon walking the docks, checking and re-checking our dock lines and fenders while trying to help others where we could.

Everyone was out, helping where they could and laughing at how crazy it had all become. This was definitely a day where we were thankful for the community aspect of living aboard!

Maine liveaboards - Blizzards on boats in Maine - living aboard in winter 

Maine liveaboards - in a blizzard DiMillos Marina in a blizzard

Brio wasn’t unsafe, just uncomfortable.

We tried to escape to Starbucks but even they had closed for the blizzard!

Blizzards on boats in Maine - living aboard in winter

Someone asked how we could possibly sleep when conditions were so bad. I tried to describe the exhaustion + fatigue that come from awful conditions and mild seasickness.

Sleeping (with lee cloths up!) was not hard.

In case we’d forgotten, mother nature reminded us of her capricious nature by presenting a beautifully flat, calm, sunny post-blizzard morning.

Time to assess the damage (our shrinkwrap — too short to begin with — was not very happy with the extra stress of snow and stormy winds!)

Day after the blizzard - shrinkwrap is a little sad Winter liveaboard - day after the blizzard Blizzards on boats in Maine - living aboard in winter

I think snow actually adds to Portland’s charm… I just don’t always love living through it 😉

Blizzards on boats in Maine - living aboard in winter

And so it goes… there’s adventure all around us, we just have to remember to see it that way 🙂

Calm after the storm


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