In February we became the proud owners of a traditional small flat-bottom boat. Kind of a floating tent, which enables us to dabble into living on the water (again). To find out what it is like to live on this floating very tiny home, we decided to give it a shot for a full week. We take you along on how we pack our stuff and sailed away!
The Small Boat
The boat is a small flat-bottom, perfect for cruising shallow waters. It is about 7 meters (22.9 feet) long and 2 meters (6.5 feet) wide, with a fixed bed, with lots of storage underneath, and an outboard engine, canvas sails, a couple of punting poles and a whole lotta stuff we still need to figure out.
This time we brought along, a 30 liter (7.93 gallon) stainless steel water tank, a portable shower, bucket with a toilet lid (by Relience), traditional, very heavy, cast iron stove, a Primus Omnifuel, countless meters of rope, Igloo Sportsman cooler, a coffee grinder and lots of other things. Spoiler alert: We brought way too much!
We sailed out of the harbor on a Monday morning, we chose to leave on a quite moment, because we are still a bit insecure about our sailing skills. Flat bottoms are stubborn little fellows! Besides being stubborn, they are true chameleons too, you can row these little boats, use wind and sails to move forward, or rev up the outboard engine.
Steering is delicate balance between the outboard engine and moving the rudder and helm. And most of all, just being the wind’s bitch. These particular kind of small boats are literally called ‘floating barges’, and that is what they do best, floating – on which ever wind of current is strongest at that time.
We also learned the hard way that water maps and keeping the tides in mind, is crucial for the area we are in. Even with a depth of only 30-40 cm (11.8-15.7 inches), we hit some rocks and got stuck on more sandbanks than we’d like to admit. On bigger water, we almost got ran over by the police. Conclusion: We still need to practice, a lot!
All the struggle aside, we did get the chance to stay at the most amazing, beautiful places. To fall a sleep to the gentle rocking of the boat, on the most comfortable bed ever (seriously!). Waking up surrounded by nature, only the sound of birds, and the sight of swimming beavers and curious foxes. So much stillness, and so much freedom.
Living tiny, is kind of like a intimate dance – were you stand on each others toes all the time. Being chickens a we are, we didn’t dare to leave the boat behind for longer periods of time, so we were on the boat almost 24/7. Which was interesting to say the least.
It was amazing to be able to do so much on so little space; to cook, to be able to shower, go to the toilet, to sleep, read, relax – everything actually. This makes you realize how little you actually need. We both brought a box full of clothes, and we only wore two sets. We had four pots and pans with us, and only used a skillet and a pot. And so on..
Tiny spaces come with challenges too. Almost nothing is easily accessible and mundane tasks take a lot more time. If you get the hang of it, develop some routine, make sure every item has its own spot, it gets easier though!
During the week we were extremely lucky with the weather. The boat has a small tent, and a large tent – which is really nice but takes about half an hour to set up. We got away with the small tent the whole week. The storm we did get, luckily didn’t last too long, and the sun dried everything in the blink of an eye.
Our big Igloo cooler did hold food for a week, but we needed to restock on some ice, to make sure everything stayed cold enough. It is such a privilege to cook with fresh ingredients, we even got some local steak at the farmer’s. Our Ikea strainer bonnet did get some looks though, haha!
One of us grew up near the ocean, the other descend from a bloodline of sea beggars. One actually living on a boat for fourteen years, and both spending way to much time under the shower. Our roots lay shattered all over Europe, with a dash of gypsy blood. So it is no surprise we feel most at home where nature meets the water. Having our belongings near, and being able to spend time outdoors together.
Although we will not be living full time on the water, yet, we will spend quite some time on our small boat. This week was an amazing opportunity to experience this way of life. We look forward to spend more time buoyant as modern water nomads.
This week on the water had made us realize that this is a way of life we want to embark on even more. This small boat is the perfect start to get more experienced, both in sailing as in living tiny. On the boat there is room for improvement, we want to install a kitchen cabinet, to make cooking more comfortable and more safe.
We also learned that we need to do some serious downsizing, if we ever want to live this way more permanently (and not want to sink).. So we are planning on a mayor clean out/sale.
Have you ever spend some time on a boat and what are your thoughts on living tiny? Share them with us in the comments!