Life Aboard

Camping versus Living

Almost two months ago, we left our land base behind to move onto our sailboat Tomahawk. At first, we thought of it as camping out for the summer, but now we are beginning to understand how you can live comfortably in such a small, isolated space.

If you truly want to make your boat a home, it has to have everything you need. We bought some bins at Home Depot recently, so that we can get our key items out of storage and have everything accessible on the boat. Our goal is to cut down our belongings to what fits onboard (other than Jason’s instruments).

To end the suspense, I’ll tell you now that the breaking glass was our friend Jamie’s French press crashing to the floor. English Bay can get a bit choppy and rocky, especially when the swells hit the boat side on instead of on the bow or stern. We promptly stowed all other items left out by Jamie in his chaotic haste to depart on time with the delivery boat and crew.

When our False Creek permit for Tomahawk expired, we successfully transferred our lives over to Paramour and moved the comparatively massive boat into the Creek. Soon, we will do the same in reverse. It works out well for us right now.

Last time, I mentioned that our brand new engine isn’t working right. When we start it, it stalls out as soon as we put the choke in. We’ve figured out how to keep it going by feeding it more gas than it should need to idle, but now we’ve encountered other issues. Once it’s on, it runs great, but when we shut it off, it refuses to start again for a while. We experienced this under uncomfortable circumstances when we were trying to motor back into the anchorage and ended up having to drop anchor to avoid hitting other boats or drifting too far into the swim area.

Of course, it decided to work perfectly right after we made that decision, so Jason had to pull the anchor right back up again. Lovely times.

(On the same outing, we learned we still have far to go before we can sail comfortably or efficiently… or even in the direction we want to go.)

Everyone says the problem is the carburetor, but we beg to differ, since we’re so knowledgeable and all. The reason for our opinion is that when we took it into the dealer, they charged us a hefty sum and proceeded to tell us that it worked perfectly. So we think the issue lies in the fuel setup. We still have our old tank from the original engine, so we are going to try hooking it up to that to see how it goes. Internet research suggests a vacuum is forming in the tank, which could explain why it won’t start the second time around.


Categories: Friend's Boat, Life Aboard, Misadventures | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Rock and Roll

Our first few nights on Tomahawk were peaceful, despite some bouncing around out in English Bay. We were a bit wary rowing into shore when the waves picked up, but we found a place to lock our Walker Bay onto the beach and all was well. However, I found myself suffering from an inability to get into anything, even reading, while sitting on the boat.

Jason rigged up a tarp for a sun shelter, but it flapped around at night making a ruckus. So that idea was scrapped. Most people have a proper Sunbrella cockpit shelter to keep the sun off. Bits of rigging make noise at night too, and not just on our own boat. We dubbed a neighbouring craft “Noisy Halyard” due to the pinging noise of the line slapping against the mast all day and night.

We soon discovered that English Bay was making us irritable and exhausted. So we moved into False Creek. The silence and lack of motion were a welcome respite from the effort of the bay. We anchored next to the dock, so it takes us much less time to get to shore. Plus we can sleep at night.

Back on July 1st, for our first night as liveaboards, we slept in the V-berth, a small cabin in the bow of the boat. If it was just me, I could probably sleep fine in there, but the two of us were way too cramped. Jason is also not as short as me and the weird angles made it extra confining. The boat cushions need replacing too. Musty smells added to our discomfort, so they had to go. Since then, we’ve converted the dinette to a berth (bed) and have been okay there. It’s a bit short for Jason and there isn’t much wiggle room for either of us. Luckily we like each other a lot and we have been settling in to a routine.

Last night, we stayed on our friend Jamie’s boat Paramour. We are boat-sitting while he’s away delivering another boat to Mexico (poor guy, hehe). It was much more comfortable, albeit a bit musty and rocky. After watching an amazing fireworks display all up close and personal, we woke up to the sound of glass breaking. But that’s a whole story in itself, maybe for the next post. Also a bit about our brand new engine not working right…

Categories: Friend's Boat, Life Aboard | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment


We have been living on Tomahawk for a week now (which is a good excuse for the lack of posting). There are still a lot of things to do to get settled in, so we are busy: buying propane, hooking up a battery/electrical system, scraping and painting the bottom, cleaning inside and out, organizing our stuff into bins and compartments, etc. Lots of ups and downs, sometimes literally, especially on windy days!

Soon I will post further updates about our various adventures before and after moving on board, such as refloating our friend Jamie’s boat Paramour and fitting everything into storage. Also, yesterday we were sort of trapped on the boat because our dinghy is hard to get into on a choppy bay. Today we plan to remedy this by buying a fender step to hang over Tomahawk’s side.

If all goes well, I’ll be updating a bit more frequently again in the near future!

Fender Step

Our new fender will look something like this

Categories: Cleaning, Electricity, Getting Started, Life Aboard, Practical Stuff, Supplies | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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