30-weeks to minimalism launched our 5 part series on how to downsize for the rest of your life. We followed this up with how to tackle sentimental items as well as clothes figuring out a way to pack light. In part 3 of this series, we address the boat head or bathroom.
Why is it called a head?
The head aboard a boat is the bathroom. The term comes from the days of sailing ships when the place for the crew to relieve themselves was all the way forward on either side of the bowsprit, the integral part of the hull to which the figurehead was fastened.
We will do no such thing aboard RJ Slocum.
To the uninitiated, this photo would not trigger a second look. However when Andrew and I first looked at this photo in December and read the specs, we were impressed with the following features:
- Dry shower – It doesn’t seem like a big deal when you’re used to it on land, however when transitioning from shore life to boat life, a wet shower signals camping (in my mind). Wet showers are common on a variety of yachts, depending on what space vs. function trade-offs were being made by the designer. For example, some may want two wet heads for redundancy or additional occupants instead of one dry head. Regardless, having a dry head (shower in a separate compartment) is a necessity for our liveaboard lifestyle.
- Kentigern toilet – The Simpson Lawrence Kentigern toilet is considered the Rolls Royce of marine toilets. If you are considering one for yourself, unfortunately they are no longer being manufactured. However luckily for us, we can still find spares from SL Spares .
- Ventilation – We were pleased to see that there are three hatches in this space. Ventilation is important to dry out the room and to reduce mildew. At the moment, we probably won’t need to modify the ventilation.
- Porthole – From inside the shower, there is a porthole facing the salon (pictured above). Perhaps this is to allow in ambient light at night. Perhaps there is another reason (oh the stories this boat could tell…) Luckily, there is a curtain that can be closed for privacy.
- Stowage – When we saw the boat for ourselves in March, we got to see the stowage available in the medicine cabinet, below the sink, above the toilet, etc. We also discovered there is additional stowage for wine.
Can you guess where the wine storage is? It appears we are running low…
Adapting to voyaging life
After the closet, the next priority for the “pampered” woman is the bathroom. The storage inside the head of s/v Rachel J. Slocum provides for a limited amount of toiletries, first aid and other pharmaceutical items. Few shelves exist in the medicine cabinet, so we’ll probably have to figure out our own solution to compartmentalize and store small items.
Downsizing from our current bathroom to this one will be less problematic since we are both low maintenance.
Last month, I met up with my friend Hasmik to buy her old Nikon camera equipment, and she reminded me just how low maintenance I was. She and I travelled on safari as well as hiked up Machu Picchu together. This was during my single years before meeting Andrew. Using herself as a comparison, where her only requirement is to apply mascara and eyeliner on each morning. she tells me,
“I thought I was low maintenance, but you define low maintenance.”
A large part of the voyaging lifestyle is becoming acutely aware of the impact we make on the environment. Just as we wrote up in going green, we want to live making deliberate choices about what we use on our body and how washing it off will end up in the ocean. It really makes you think twice about the chemicals used in cleaning products.
Gone are most of the items in our current medicine cabinet. What will survive are a few basic items along with first aid supplies (or as Bill’s wife charmingly coins it, “the drugs.”) Out Chasing Stars shares with us what is contained in their offshore medical kit.
We have a fair number of queen and full size bedding in our house. We have flannels for cooler weather and a variety of bamboo as well as high thread count cotton sheets for the rest of the year.
Cruisers recommend darker colors or sheets with patterns to hide stains. We have mostly lighter shades. The Voyager’s Handbook has a guideline as well for us to reference (e.g., 2 sets of sheets for each actively-used berth and 2 light blankets. For cooler climates, fleece blanket, half a dozen wool blankets and a comforter).
As I am taking inventory of what we have, we have more than enough, but rather than make educated guesses, we decided we would ask Bill.
Project Slocum Update
In the process of asking Bill about linens, we found out there is another person interested in buying Rachel J. Slocum.
The other buyer wanted to move quickly, asking Bill to meet her in Florida during the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. Cruisers the world over are in lockdown. So it seems, there’s little point in rushing to get on the water. But the new buyer was selling her house and ready to go.
We had always taken a cautious approach, valuing health and safety over a transaction, even if it involved the rest of our lives. So we replied to Bill that it provided peace of mind to him, we can wire the security deposit and move forward with our deal, rather than have him worry needlessly about being pressured to make a sale, even at the cost of his own health.
So a couple weeks ago, we sent the security deposit to Bill who took the boat off the market.
How did we feel about this next step?
When he received the reply from Bill yesterday evening, Andrew smiled, pretty excited about taking this next step. In the wee hours of the morning, I woke up and read the email Andrew had forwarded from Bill, and I started to research what information we would need to complete the transaction.
The next morning, when Andrew woke up, I told him I read the email. He asked me, “How did you feel?”
I paused, and said, “Pretty good.”
“Aren’t you excited?”
“Sure, I’m excited,” I replied flatly.
Andrew raised an eyebrow.
Why the difference in reaction?
I speculate that my unchanged mood largely stems from the fact that I had mentally accepted that this was our boat. Wiring the money, finalizing the purchase agreement, and any other steps were just that: mechanical steps in a process and nothing more. In my mind, she is already ours. The steps were a mere formality.
Andrew’s happiness over this next step, seems to stem from a subconscious belief that there are a series of go/no-go decisions. In his mind, anything could prevent his dream from becoming a reality at each of these decision points. Rather than get his hopes up about the end goal, he is more cautious. Every step becomes a celebration… or a potential devastation.
Glass half full or half empty
We mentioned this before when we first decided to sail around the world. On our whiteboard, we sketched out a plan. Over the course of a year, that whiteboard was a disappointing reminder to Andrew about the lack of progress we made. It wasn’t a disappointment to me. I looked at the whiteboard with optimism about what steps needed to be taken for us to transform our lives.
The past day is a reminder of how Andrew and I differ in our approach to the same goal. He will celebrate each positive step. I will take each step in stride as a natural course of things.
I like the fact that we are getting better at observing ourselves and our interaction. This wards off any potential for disagreement or tension.
Now, on to the next steps… to work on the purchase agreement.
Linens ‘n things
Back to the topic at hand, Bill replied that we were welcome to any and all linens that are currently aboard RJ Slocum. That throws another curveball into the equation, since we will now need to bring aboard what we think we will need and marry this up with what he already has and then decide which will stay and which will take a trip to the dumpster.
All in all, we decided we’ll need to revisit this when when we fly out for the marine survey and sea trial in the fall.