This last week we moved to our winter marina. Our marina for the last 9 years has been the Hingham Shipyard Marina. It’s a great location and our dock, formally Land Fall Marina, has decent rates for the area. I won’t go into some of the problems with this marina but I will give it a huge plus for location and amenities. We can walk to 6 restaurants, 3 grocery stores, 2 marine supply shops and a big box home store. The biggest plus for us is that there are 2 off-leash dog parks that we can walk or dinghy to for Summer.
Last April when we began full-time liveaboards, the yard manager and dock manager said they would be open to us being winter liveaboards. But after asking them about what their plan would be for water and waste, they basically didn’t have one and we would be left lugging jugs of water and our only option for waste would be to illegally discharge. We didn’t like those options. Plus, just like during the summer season, we would be the only liveaboards in the whole marina.
We know that Captain’s Cove has winter liveaboards since our friends on Sunshine stayed there a couple of years ago. From their experience we know that the water and waste options would be similar to Hingham Shipyard Marina. They even shut down and winterize their shore facilities so we would have to go to a local gym or the YMCA to shower. But atleast we would be around some other liveaboards.
We did a little research and came up with three option. The most appealing was Constitution Marina in Charlestown, the Boston neighborhood that was the setting of Boston native Ben Affleck’s flick The Town. This marina has a plan:
- Sink water lines about 6 feet below the water so it doesn’t freeze. Just pull up a line, fill your tank and sink the main line again;
- They sell adapters for your deck pump out to bring it outside of the shrink wrap so your boat can be pumped out easily. They come around once a week and pump you out;
- They offer both white and clear shrink wrap. The clear shrink wrap acts like a greenhouse during the day and helps reduce the heating costs and the feeling of claustrophobia. Our regular marina doesn’t even know about the clear option, and;
- They have a small pool that they enclose in a tent and heat to a little over 100 degrees so they can have Friday night pool parties all winter long.
In August we cruised over for a test stay to see if we would like it. The facilities were great. One of the owners is among the 100 full-time liveaboards. We met some of the people that live here and they seemed like great people. They even have a Yahoo group for the liveaboards to communicate and share info on heaters, shrink wrap, parties, etc.
The downsides are limited parking, a longer commute for me and more expensive grocery stores. But you do get one parking space as a winter liveaboard and we only have one car. Also, I can work remotely and reduce the number of days I have to commute the further distance.
We pulled the trigger and submitted our dock license and deposit to stay there for the winter.
Our original plan was to make the move on Saturday, November 1st. But as we watched the weather, it didn’t look favorable for the move. The forecast was for 40 degrees, possible high winds and some snow. However, Wednesday, October 29th looked great with temps in the 70s. So we took some time off of work and made the move on Wednesday.
The weather was good but the wind was light, around 6-8 knots. We were able to sail for a little bit but mostly motor sailed until we turned into Boston Harbor when the wind was dead on our nose. It was still a nice fall trip with some good foliage.
We were welcomed into the marina by some friends we have made online but have never met in person. They are also liveaboards. Including Andrew, a guy who has lived on his Catalina 310 for 13 years. I can’t wait to pick his brain about how he sets his boat up for the winter and any upgrades he has made. It’s really nice to be among other liveaboards. We have found it very easy to quickly bond with people who share this life.
Living in Boston for our last year in the winter will be really nice. We have never lived in the City before. We can walk to the North End in about 15-20 minutes which will make it difficult to resist but we need to focus on building the kitty. The condos close to here are some of the most expensive in the City. It’s really tough to beat this view….