Living on board of a sailboat as a woman

Before we left our home I did a lot of research online. Basically I read what I could find. But no book, no movie or Youtube video gave me an answer to my question: what would it be like living on board of a sailboat as a woman? Will I have to cut my hair because it will become matted due to saltwater and fewer care products? What about my clothes, will they be patchy with salt and have a lot of holes in them? As we have no shower onboard, how will it be without it on long distance trips? Will I be able to endure it? Some things are just not mentioned in all these sailing blogs and vlogs of the great adventure of blue water sailing. Well, we have a proper toilet on board, including a sink. So, it won’t be the bucket (at least) as I have already seen on other boats, not kidding.

Here I go, answering my own questions. First off: I worried far too much. My desire for hygiene doesn’t stop just because I live in a swimming home now. It does get a bit more tricky here and there. There is still the genetic program of hunting and collecting. Where the man distributes dirty laundry all over the boat for hunting and the woman (in this case: me) collects everything on a big pile to wash it. Unfortunately, we don’t have a washing machine on board I now have to go with my collected „treasures“ and try to hunt a washing machine in the marina or close by. Luckily, that has never been a problem so far. Most of the marinas we have been to had one or more washing machines which usually are often used and not always available. As the weather is good most of the time, the laundry can dry on board. One shouldn’t be too shy here, when everybody in the marina or at the anchorage can ponder at your undies next to the towels. Sometimes this leads to unwilling starring from other boats whose owners just can’t imagine that someone may live onboard and therefore has to dry laundry somewhere. Honestly, I don’t care about it and it is quite funny to see them wondering.

Our longest crossing so far has been across the Bay of Biscay that took us three and a half days. Especially at the beginning we had a lot of high waves and fricking cold temperatures, I would have never taken a single item of clothes off as showering on a constantly shaking boat wasn’t possible. After two days it got slowly better, which was good as I didn’t like myself anymore because I started smelling. When the guys were below sleeping I stood naked on deck with a bucket and tried my best to clean myself. If the people on the container ship that passed us by had binoculars they might have had a reason to be glad. For me, it was wonderful. After showering, new clothes and a hot cup of tea, the world is great again. When we are at anchor showering isn’t a problem at all, as I just jump overboard (after checking for jellyfish, of course).

My hair is still long and I haven’t grown dreadlocks, even with fewer care products. I feel like I have fully arrived in liveaboard life. Hygiene isn’t lacking more than in a solid flat. Even better, less space needs less cleaning. Funnily it feels like there is more dirt, but it’s cleaned fast.

Do I miss Germany and our nice flat? Well, yes and no. It is great to be moving, exploring new places and the limited space on board usually never really bothers me. Things that I miss: Number one (after this comes long time nothing): the dishwasher. Every day we need to clean the dishes, a job that I hated as a little child and none of us like. Fast internet you can only have, if you pay for it, but then nearly every café, bar or restaurant provides free WiFi. And to be honest, some proper German meals, including our sausages. The ones we can buy here are not what we expect. Their consistency reminds us more of old, soaked bread without any taste. Alex suffers from lack of Pretzel, but here I can help making them myself. They may not look as good but taste just fine. Of course, we miss our friends and family. Thanks to internet we can stay in contact with them easily. Even though it is not the same as seeing them it is a lot better than writing letters. What I really don’t miss is the weather. Sometimes it pours down, but after some hours you’ll see the sun again. Still in beginning of November the days are still nice and warm, so we need the little heater only during the night. This is what I was dreaming about, warm weather. Super. Regularly, we forget what day of the week it is, but luckily for us the supermarkets are open every day of the week including on Sundays. So, overall I can say that my expectations has been fulfilled.

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