Arriving back at Yahtzee in Sitka Harbor after an amazing trip to visit family in Michigan, I climb aboard and instantly start sorting through projects and things that need to get done. Fix the fridge drain. Replace hoses under the sink in the forward head. Work on the rusty stern platform with the stainless steel that isn’t so “stainless” after all. Walk to the marine supply store, the hardware store, the post office, and the grocery store. Edit a couple articles. Write a blog.

Shiny new hoses and a fixed drain—plumbing projects are so rewarding.

While doing all this, I slow down and remind myself once again that cruising full-time on a sailboat is not a vacation. Though it may seem that way at times, and many well-wishers sent us off with sentiments of, “Have a good trip!” It’s certainly not a trip. Yes, we do have some vacation-esq days mixed in here and there, and I enjoy sharing those on this blog, but this lifestyle is definitely not a holiday. It’s not even a week or two or three trip out on the boat before heading back to a cozy slip in a home harbor. Actually, quite the opposite.

There is no home slip. Things on cruising sailboats break and need to be repaired, replaced or fabricated on the fly with what materials are available to us at the time or at the next port…wherever that may be. My writing and editing work, and the boys’ schoolwork needs to fit into the mix. Finding the next place to get mail, do laundry, drop garbage and shop for food has to be planned in advance. The weather and tides always need to be accounted for and can change our plans in an instant. That definitely does not sound like the trip we just returned from, or any vacation I’ve ever been on for that matter. There’s no parking the boat near home and figuring issues out later. No tossing the keys back and walking away or packing our bags and checking out.

Yahtzee is home and sailing is the life we live and love. It’s not a trip, a holiday or vacation. With no complaints or reservations, I’ve been reminded of that now more than ever. Here we are in Sitka, patiently waiting for our bow stem and anchor roller to be rebuilt so we can take off again. Ours was cracked on the way across the Gulf of Alaska when a gust of wind massively shock-loaded our code zero. Turns out, the 36-year-old cast aluminum roller has seen some fatigue over the years and the welder politely suggested it was only a matter of time. Either way, getting the fix right means having a new one fabricated, which isn’t a cheap nor timely task.

Cracked bow stem = Not good
Yahtzee’s bow looks naked.

Hindsight is always 20/20, and I wish we’d gone this route in Seward when we had the bow sprit welded. But that’s not helpful now, and I’m a move forward type of guy anyway. Such is the cruising life. Onward we roll!