“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

Moved To Our Winter Home

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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.

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Passing Peddocks Island

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Boston dead ahead!

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Castle Island in South Boston

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Approaching Constitution Marina

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….

IMG_2468That’s Boston Garden and the Lenny Zakim Bridge in the background.  You can see Smitty’s bow in the middle of the photo.  And yes, that is snow.  Lovely Sunday morning storm we are having.

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7 thoughts on “Moved To Our Winter Home

  1. Totally cool that you moved to Boston! I really miss it (and am getting totally envious). Without wanting to sound prejudice though, look out for them Charlestown Townies. I got beat up once (by the ss Constitution) and living in Charlestown was a bit weird. But that was over 25 years ago! But it sounds like it’s gonna be a blast living in a live board community!
    Cheers and good luck with the snow!

  2. Awesome! I can’t say I envy a winter aboard in New England, but that’s a nice place to do it. We are visiting some friends who live in the condos there on the 21st. I will keep an eye out for you.

  3. Hi, I saw your extremely informative posts on Cruisers Forum about living aboard in the south Boston area, and came to your post here–my partner and I are looking for a liveaboard boatyard or marina for this winter, but we are south of the canal in Buzzards Bay and are looking more in this area or Providence/Rhode Island/New Bedford. Our boat still has work to be done and we’re not sure about traveling all the way up to Boston at this point. I was wondering if you could post a little bit more about the other options you considered? You mentioned three, and I was wondering if any of them are farther south.

    If not, have you heard of marinas where there are winter liveaboards anywhere from Providence to the canal? We’re considering Onset Bay Marina in Wareham, which seems reasonably priced and would allow us to stay there, but we’d have the problems you mention with water and waste, and they also don’t keep the dock shoveled in the winter. Thanks a lot for any ideas.

  4. Hi Marzipanj,

    Thanks for reading.

    When we purchased our boat it was at the Brewer Greenwich Bay North Yard (http://www.byy.com/RIMarinas/WarwickGreenwichBay/Welcome.aspx). The people who ran it, Dave and Kelly, were really nice. We actually thought of trying to leave the boat there we liked them so much compared to our home marina. They had a pretty good size liveaboard community, maybe 25 boats. They had all of the things worked out like Constitution and did fun things like had a contest for the best decorated boat for Christmas, a chilli cook off, etc. That would be my first choice if I was looking to liveaboard in that area.

    Another liveaboard couple we are friends with (www.tidallife.com) spent some time living at the Warren Town Dock in Warren RI and at the Acushnet Safe Boating Club Marina in Fairhaven, MA. Both seemed to be good and I think had decent setups for liveaboards. They also met the guy who runs a different Brewers in RI (can’t remember which one) while living in RI. He was great and set them up with free dockage or good contacts for cheap dockage all the way down Long Island Sound when they left to head south.

    Hope this helps.

    Good luck and fair winds,

    Jesse

  5. Thanks so much, Jesse! I didn’t have any of those three on my list, and I’m excited to find out there may be a marina with a real liveaboard community in this area. We also heard back from Kingman Marine yesterday, and they allow liveaboards, but there may be the same deal with no water at the dock and no real community. Nevertheless, I was surprised that a marina on the Cape would allow winter residents and for a relatively cheap price, too. Thanks again!

    I’ve been fascinated by what seems like a super fun setup at Constitution Marine in Boston (I’ve always wanted to live in the city, and it seems like a great way to experience what Boston has to offer) for a long time, so I’ll look forward to reading your future posts.

    All the best,
    Marzipan

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