1. What about heat?
This is definitely the #1 question we get asked, and rightly so — it was the number one question I had before this winter, too!!
The short answer is “with electricity”. The longer answer is “we have an oil-filled heater that’s always on, a small ceramic blower that we turn on in the morning, and a diesel heater that we turn on when we want to play ‘tropical paradise‘ and lounge around in t-shirts.”
Funnily enough, heating the boat has been (relatively) easy, for a few reasons:
- Our boat is approximately the size of your bathroom. Maybe your bedroom, if you live in an older house with a super duper small closet-style bathroom. But literally we’re heating about 180 sq. ft of space, so one oil-filled heater goes a long ways.
- We insulated as much of the boat as we possibly could (using 3/4″ foam against the hull, in the backs of our cupboards, etc).
- We have a giant (amazing) shrinkwrap bubble that captures the sun’s heat on any non-snowy days.
- We were so grumpy about paying $300+/month to freeze in our rental house last winter, that being WARM (for an average of $100/month) is just downright amazing.
- We are also big fans of wool socks, silk long underwear, fleece pyjamas, heated sheets, slippers and lots of coffee.
Note that I took the picture above from the very front of the boat looking back… there’s just not that much space that needs to be heated!!
2. Are there other people living aboard?
I guess people are curious if there are others that are as weird as we are, but I swear this is the second most frequently asked question. And the answer is yes! We’re not the only ones down here, and we’re not the only ones with shrinkwrapped bubbles!
My (very professional) guesstimate is that there are about a dozen full-time liveaboards, and maybe another 10-20 boats that are being winter wet-stored (ie they’re still in the water). The nice part about winter is that we actually *know* almost everyone who is living here, so there’s a fun sense of community.
3. Do you have a door?
We do! If you’ve come to visit us in our bubble, you’ve probably exclaimed about how much you like our door. And I don’t blame you 🙂 It’s awesome.
After enduring a hobbit-sized zipper entrance last year (when we weren’t living on the boat), we knew we wanted a FULL SIZE DOOR to our bubble. I told Jon it could be 5’6 tall, but he splurged for the extra 6″ so it’s even man-height 🙂
4. Where do you shower?
We’re super thankful that DiMillo’s marina has two amazing shower/bathroom facilities (as well as laundry). Somehow the idea of showering in the cockpit with a 2L pop bottle is just not as appealing as it used to be… So the only tough part is making the short trek up to the shower facilities.
5. Aren’t you driving each other crazy?
I guess this falls back in the “are you sane” category, but honestly we get along super well and manage to give each other ‘mental’ space even when we can’t give each other physical breathing room!
To be fair, there have been many more conversations along the lines of “Do we need a bigger boat?”, “What will Brio II look like?”, “How long do you think it would take to add 10′ to the middle of Brio?”, “Do you think Chuck Burns wants to design us a Nor’West 43′?”… but these are (mostly) in jest.
And the most asked question onboard Brio? “When can we take the bubble off and go sailing?!?”
…Apparently not today; it currently looks like this inside the bubble:
– – LMK 🙂