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



Blizzards on boats are exciting! (in Portland, Maine) — 6 Comments

  1. Hi Leah, I too have been considering winter. And I guess it is not so bad…. In Hawaii, Tahiti, Colombia, Nicaragua…. but in Germany it definitely sucks. Keep posting, and I love the pictures (sitting here in my nice warm office). Actually spring is coming, and the trees are starting to turn green her.

    • “Spring” doesn’t really seem to exist in Maine, it just gets sort of wet and muddy 🙂 BUT that’s a sign that summer WILL eventually show up, so I’m okay with it 🙂 We’re currently resisting taking down the bubble — it makes an excellent rain shield!

  2. Hi Leah. Totally unrelated question. Our Nor’west 33 hull#2 is having a problem with bilge pump and routing of exit lines. How did you two rig up your bilge pump system. Thanks for any help. Jim Marron SV Aria.

    • Hey James! We have to give full credit to the previous owner (or one of them, anyways). Our primary automatic bilge pump runs up over the fuel tank, under the engine, into the lazarette, all the way to the back end of the cockpit, where it exits *into* the cockpit well. Sort of weird at first, but it means that we are *immediately* aware any time the bilge pump runs, so we can figure out what’s leaking and try to solve the problem 🙂

      We also have a manual bilge pump and a large-diameter automatic super-pump that follow similar paths (from the deepest part of the sump, in front of the fuel tank and from a bit higher up, in one of the floor lockers ) but exit on the outside of the hull.

      And finally, we’re just in the middle of installing a backup manual bilge pump that can be operated from inside the boat — the current manual one is installed in the lazarette, which is great as long as you don’t mind being outside while you’re pumping 🙂 This one will discharge to a seacock and will primarily function as a manual shower drain.

      Hope that helps!!! 😛


  3. Thanks so much for your feedback. most helpful. If you could take some pictures of the cockpit well setup, I would appreciate it. I have some pictures of our boat but am unsure how to send them to you.


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