Reading Time: 5 minutes

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena…”

Theodore Roosevelt

In the arena

Recently, Brene Brown popularized this quote from Theodore Roosevelt by featuring it in the opening passages of her book, “Daring Greatly.” I am reminded of this quote now as we are in the midst of our pre-departure adventure.

Over the past few months, friends and family have been eager to follow our adventures after we cast off. Often, their first questions are, “When do you leave?” And after finding out that we aren’t casting off until after hurricane season, they’ll comment, “Can’t wait to follow you!”

I suppose it’s a common misconception that the adventure doesn’t get going until you’re sailing. It can be argued, especially by those who are in the arena, that the adventure has already begun.

Our Chronicles

In large part, we have been documenting this adventure from the beginning on serenadewind.com. From how the germ of the idea to sail full time was planted 2 years ago to now during our pre-departure phase this summer, which is gated from moving forward by the coronavirus pandemic. 

When you’re outside of the arena, you may think this phase is a chore before life happens. However, when you’re in the arena as we are, Andrew and I know that this is the adventure, and in fact this is the hardest part. 

For cruisers who have gone through this before us and subsequently sailed thousands of nautical miles, they have acknowledged the difficulty of this phase. Here are a few examples featured on The O’Kelly’s YouTube channel and in particular their playlist: Cruising Dream vs Cruising Reality.

  1. Before Cruising
  2. Birth of the Dream
  3. Pre-departure Fears
  4. Preparing to Sail Away
  5. Taking Off
  6. Relationships Change While Cruising
  7. Roles Change
  8. On Passage
  9. South Pacific Realities
  10. The Hard Times

As Nick aptly put it, “The reality is that the adventure begins when you decide to go.” 

The adventure before the adventure

I am a huge fan of podcasts since it gives me an opportunity to multitask. Whether cooking, cleaning or knitting, I am able to stay entertained while going through the motions of whatever it is I also need to accomplish. These days, I am listening to quite a few sailing podcasts (Ocean Sailing Podcast, Sail Geeks, Sailing Ruby Rose) and most recently have binge-listened to Under the Sheets .

Their episode 12, which was published August 2019, is particularly poignant to me with its topic, “The adventure before the adventure.” It reinforces and validates what we have been experiencing, so that you do not disregard what is happening to you now.

From time to time, Andrew and I exclaim to each other:

We’re on an adventure!

It doesn’t matter what we’re doing. This motto brings smiles to our faces and puts the activity into perspective. During this pre-departure phase, we’ve been practicing:

It may not seem like a big deal for anyone outside of the arena, but for us we feel it’s great preparation. Additionally, it puts us into a positive mindset to slowly introduce ourselves to a different lifestyle. 

The Critics

One of the most challenging parts of this transition is handling nay-sayers in your life. In virtually every conversation we’ve had, we have found support and enthusiasm.

Virtually all, except one. 

For those of you about to jump in the arena to begin a voyaging life, your critics will come from any (and all) directions. Depending on how much you value that relationship, you will need to come up with ways of dealing with this sticky dynamic.

As I search for advice from other cruisers, I came across these resources and tips. 

In the end, I followed my gut on how to deal with this situation:

  1. Understand that their fear is talking, not them

2. Empathize with their perspective while being firm with your goals

3. Ask the “5 Why’s” to dig into what’s truly bothering them

4. Try to share as much information as you can

5. Give them time to adjust to the idea, but eventually let it go

Ultimately, it’s your life 

If they cannot be supportive of you, then realize that by not respecting your decision, they chose to alienate you even if that is not their intent. Sometimes, they can’t help themselves.

With my mom, I went through all these steps. I have chronicled our years of sailing experience, which she has forgotten. In addition, I remind her of the sailing trips and the fact that we sailed through storms before, which she has conveniently ignored. Finally, when it came to sharing information and educating her about the lifestyle (the good, the bad and the ugly), I shared links to sailing blogs of couples and families who have done this before. She found excuses not to read any of it.

It was then that I realized that my responsibility ended there. She wouldn’t meet me half way. I forgave her and moved on. Perhaps one day she will come around and see things from my perspective.

Stay positive

During this pre-departure phase, it’s important to stay positive. It’s enough to manage your own fears without having to manage the fears of others. And it’s for this reason that this stage is an adventure in itself as we are tested emotionally and have an opportunity to grow through these experiences.

Here is the full quote from Theodore Roosevelt, if you want to draw more inspiration: 

It is not the critic who counts;

not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood;

who strives valiantly;

who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming;

but who does actually strive to do the deeds;

who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions;

who spends himself in a worthy cause;

who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement,

and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly,

so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

 

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Lifecycle of Ingredients

If you’ve followed our Culinary Adventures, you’ll start to see a theme of no waste in this household. We love cooking and riffing off recipes. Sometimes, this will evolve over the lifecycle of ingredients to create some fun, novel adventures in cooking and help us when we live aboard RJ Slocum.

Turkey 5 ways

It all started when I was a kid and the values instilled in me by my parents when it came to economizing and thrift.

Not only were they homesteaders (before it became en vogue) growing avocado, corn, sugarcane and wheatgrass in our backyard, my parents never wasted food once it was cooked. Bulk dishes became leftovers that extended over days (or sometimes weeks) until depleted.

I’ve taken that principle and elevated it to a new art form … because, you see, I like variety.

The lifecycle of ingredients made up of leftovers became a culinary challenge that I learned at Wellesley College, my alma mater. The dining hall weekly menu would feature something like the following: 

  • Monday – roast turkey
  • Tuesday – turkey soup
  • Wednesday – turkey pot pie
  • Thursday – turkey tetrazzini  
  • Friday – turkey ice cream (just kidding)

Journey vs Destination

This was, of course, all very surprising to Andrew because he has a different approach to cooking. He once told me an anecdote of his culinary experiment to master the art of cooking fried rice.

His process would be to cook a batch of fried rice and if there was something off about it, he would throw it out. All of it. Andrew would then repeat the process over and over again. The garbage would have countless pounds of fried rice ready for the dumpster. In his quest for mastery, he valued learning the skill over the end product.

I can understand that principle… in theory.

Had we known each other back then, however, I would have quietly siphoned off each batch of fried rice into Tupperware containers and place them into the freezer to be repurposed for other dishes, such as

  • a cheesy frittata
  • roll them into balls, cover them in panko breadcrumbs and fry them up
  • place them in a rich flavorful broth with some hand-torn roast chicken 

We would have made a great team back then, as we do now.

Stage 1 Meals

I share this backstory so you get a feel for how we will be approaching our life aboard RJ Slocum.

The kinds of dishes that will be prepared at anchor will primarily be bulk cooking that can be tailored and elevated when we are on passage. Here are some of the ideas that you can take with some basic stage one meals laid out in the following hierarchy:

  • Stage 1
    • Stage 2+

 

  • Braised beef or pork
    • poutine
    • ramen
    • fried rice
  • Grilled salmon
    • salmon cakes
    • chowder
    • pasta salad
  • Steamed rice
    • fried rice
    • congee
    • risotto balls
  • Roasted chicken
    • chicken soup
    • chicken salad/sandwiches
  • Roasted vegetables
    • vegetable soup
    • strata
    • omlette
  • Bread
    • pizza
    • breakfast casserole
    • french toast

The best way to incorporate these ingredients is with eggs, milk, bacon and cheese along with varying up herbs and spices to give them another dimension. Taste the dishes as you prepare them and you’ll be able to adjust along the way so there are no surprises with your final product.

While we’re still observing social distancing and staying at home to prepare our meals, we are using this opportunity to continue to refine our skills for life aboard a sailboat.

We hope you find these ideas useful.

 

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Before delving into today’s blog post which originated mid-April, I wanted to draw attention to world events that seem to collide with this topic.

There’s a tremendous amount of rhetoric around black lives matter following the tragedies of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Collins Khosa, Adama Traore and Belly Mujinga, and as a result, hundreds of thousands have taken to the streets in Brussels, London, Rio de Janeiro, Seoul, Sydney, and across the U.S. 

In light of recent events, I am drawn to the word “privilege” since it is echoed throughout this blogpost. What does privilege mean among race, gender or gender identity, birth order, education, religion, income level, ethnic background, body type and other groupings including yacht clubs? Thanks to Peggy McIntosh, I am reminded of what it means to have privilege and how you can use the privilege you have to fight for equity.

How privileged are you? We all have a combination of unearned advantages and unearned disadvantages in life. And it changes minute by minute, depending on where we are, who we’re seeing, or what we’re required to do. So it is when we travel the world, we’ll introduce ourselves to different cultures and engage in interactions that allow us to see humanity in all of its variations and forms. 

 

 

Membership has its privileges

A few weeks ago, while Bill helped to validate our on-going boat costs, he suggested becoming a member of a yacht club to reduce our cruising expenses.

I don’t know about you but the image that I conjure up in my mind when someone mentions yacht clubs is the America’s Cup or an elitist, pretentious club or a rich guy sipping champagne while motoring on a mega-yacht. 

So when Bill mentioned this idea, it seemed to contradict our initial thoughts.

 

Aboard Pacific as we head to the start line of our race.

Cal Yacht Club

My first direct exposure to a yacht club came about 10 years ago. I sailed in California Yacht Club ‘s Sunset Series Regattas in the summer with Bluewater Sailing, one of the ASA schools in Marina del Rey and where I first learned to sail. 

Later on I joined CSC, a fractional-ownership club sailing a Catalina 36 called “Mystic” twice each month. In an effort to increase my time on the water and gain more experience on different boats, Jan from CSC put me in touch with some Cal Yacht Club members, and I crewed on “Pacific,” a 43′ Jeanneau. We raced in the cruising class and happened to take first place on July 16, 2014. (Thanks for cataloging my life, FB.)

At the time, I remember looking into becoming a member even though I didn’t own a boat, and I found it to be cost prohibitive. Ironically, I didn’t do any further research, which is unlike me. I probably could have found something that would suit my needs, but life got in the way.   

 

Photo courtesy of RYCT

Sailing Community

Despite our initial bias, when Bill give us the pros and cons of becoming a member of a yacht club, we were sold. Chief among the benefits was reciprocity with yacht clubs all over the world, which includes access and guest privileges to moorings and facilities.

Equally important is becoming a part of a large community of sailors, cruisers and racers. Even in the current age of communication made easy through social media and online communities, nothing can quite beat the connections fostered in-person with like-minded individuals.

Let’s take a poll

As a sanity check, I posed the question to some sailors in a Facebook Group (Women Who Sail) on the benefits of joining a yacht club and whether yacht clubs still had relevance in today’s era. The responses were overwhelmingly positive – 35 in favor and 2 against. I grouped the responses into categories and tallied up the benefits. Here are the results:

  1. Friendship/community/2nd family – 27
  2. Good facilities/mooring – 14
  3. Learning new skills – 11
  4. Boat talk/knowledge transfer – 10
  5. Reciprocal benefits with other yacht clubs – 9
  6. Traveling together/rendezvous – 6
  7. Racing / regattas – 6
  8. No bullshit – 4 

What strikes me about these results is how deeply ingrained these friendships can be. There was a sense that they looked out for each other and each other’s boats. A couple sailors were turned off by their experience, and largely it was due to a poor fit. In the matchmaking game of sailor and yacht club, that seems reasonable not to have a good match on the outset every time … to bat a thousand, so to speak.

Case study

So with that backdrop in mind, we were provided a very personal first hand account of a lifelong friendship that came about from being part of a yacht club. Bill put us in touch with one of his best friends, who shared with us his background in boating. 

Hugh did not come from a boating family. He started at the age of 15, by volunteering to launch 12′ dinghies at the local yacht club every Saturday morning. Sailing dinghies led to small keelboats. Eventually, he built his first ocean racer “Glenshiel” and launching her in 1957. The love of his life was Glenshiel v11, an Adams 40′ fast cruising yacht, upon which he has lived his dream of logging over 100,000 miles around the Pacific including a circumnavigation of Australia. 

Hugh tells us how he first met Bill over 30 years ago. 

I first met Bill one fine Monday night whilst having my regular beers with my crew at the Royal Yacht Club Of Tasmania when a beautiful yacht moored in the marina.

We walked out, beers in hand to greet the new arrival and were amazed to see the name Rachael J Slocum London on the transom. We hadn’t had a visiting Yacht from the U.K. since just after World War 2!

My hail of “Ahoy” brought a face up from down below and of course it was Bill.

In addition to sharing his time with us and answering our questions, he also sponsored our membership to the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania. 

 

Photo courtesy of RYCT

RYCT

 

The Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, is the largest yacht club in the Australian state of Tasmania. It is best known for its role as the finishing destination for the annual Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. The club sports a range of facilities, from a 120-berth marina to on-site maintenance facilities.

Originally known as the Derwent Sailing Boat Club, for its location on the Derwent River in Hobart, the club was founded in 1880. It was called such for thirty years until, in 1910, King Edward VII granted the organization permission to use the prefix “Royal”.

We’re officially yachties!

Membership Process

Ever since Bill planted the idea in our heads, we have popped onto the RYCT Facebook page to catch up on the weekly updates announced by Commodore Tracy Matthews.

We have also taken to watching footage of the 2019 Sydney to Hobart race, though I do keep falling asleep before they arrive in Hobart. This historic 75th race was particularly slow-going at the end, as the winds dropped to 2 knots, and it took forever before Comanche would cross the finish line. I’m sure it was more agonizing for the sailors!

Meanwhile, the RYCT board met on April 28th and our application was tabled for consideration. In the ensuing month, our application is displayed on the Club’s notice board for member review. Nominations are ratified at the next Board Meeting if there are no objections. That meeting took place May 29th, and we were officially made members!

 

Photo courtesy of RYCT

Future Sailing Plans

The rest of our sailing plans for 2020 will find us in the Caribbean in December and early 2021. Beyond that, we are looking ahead to cross the Panama Canal and head across the Pacific to the Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia,

As intrigued as we are about the stories told by Bill and his wife when they rounded Cape Horn, we will likely attempt that on the next circumnavigation. In the 2021/22 season, we will have our sights on sailing to Tasmania to pour a whiskey cocktail for Hugh… perhaps The Andrew , a cocktail that was named after Serenade Wind’s captain. 

Photo courtesy of RYCT

Lucky seems to be too small a word to describe how we feel about this path. We are incredibly grateful for this initial glimpse into the future life we are embarking on. It is hard to hold back our excitement, but we remain vigilant in following the protocols set forth by the governments in California, Massachusetts and Florida. 

Reading Time: 8 minutes

Time to Level-Up

When it comes to preparing meals at home, the last area I tend to stock up is canned food. Canned ingredients are seldom prioritized because I prefer to cook with the freshest ingredients, farm fresh being the goal. The same comes to cooking, and I realized that I am lacking this skill in my cooking arsenal when it comes to preparing canned food recipes.

This seems like an essential skill while living on a boat. So, it’s high time to level-up.

What’s in your pantry?

In one of the recent episodes from Sailing Project Atticus , Desiree was providing a tour of the galley, including where she stored provisions and her use of combining canned goods with fresh produce to create meals. Behan from Sailing Totem also offers her strategies for cooking pantry meals as the basis for provisioning.

My pantry currently is stocked with the following:

  1. coconut milk
  2. evaporated milk
  3. lychee
  4. grass jelly
  5. pear juice
  6. San Marzano whole tomatoes
  7. Portuguese sardines
  8. Pate

That’s it in the canned food category that I replenish with any frequency. The only reason for their existence is to serve as ingredients for identified recipes making: Denise’s ultimate chocolate mochi (1 & 2), Taiwanese summer dessert (3 & 4), Momofuku braised short rib (5), marinara sauce (6), and snacks (7 & 8). 

Cooking primarily with canned food is not really in my repertoire, so I have an opportunity to hone in this skill before we move aboard RJ Slocum.

Canned Food Recipes

From a simple google query, I discovered some recipes that I would tackle over the next few weeks. These resources include:

  • BBC Good Food – Use up tinned ingredients like tomatoes, beans and tuna with these easy dinners. Or try our simple bakes for a great way to use canned fruit.
  • Bon Appetit – 10 pantry staples you should always have as well as pantry 2.0 recommendations.
  • Cheapism – 30 cheap and easy recipes from canned foods.
  • Epicurious – Cult canned food items and what to do with them. Say hello to canned cheese. Another article features many ways to use whole canned tomatoes
  • Love Canned Food – Find the perfect tinned food recipe using affordable delicious canned food products. Canned food recipes can be made quickly for the family.
  • The Modern Proper – What canned good should be in a well-stocked pantry? Which ones can you actually build a healthy, quick meal out of? Here’s the TMP list of canned food must-haves.
  • Taste of Home – Have canned goods collecting dust in the back of your pantry? Make the most of them with these yummy and straightforward canned food recipes.

Pantry Buster

Since I already have identified specific uses with most of my pantry canned items, I had another look at what else is currently stocked in the pantry. After taking inventory, I discovered we have one can of baked beans, 3 cans of sockeye salmon and 1 can of pineapple chunks.

A few of these items had expiration dates that had long since passed. When I had volunteered at a food bank, I learned not to be too bothered by this since the cans were in good shape.

If you want to evaluate your pantry, feel free to reference this guideline from FoodPrint.  

Sockeye salmon options:

Baked beans options

Pineapple chunks options

So without further ado, here are our top 5 choices from this experiment to seek out the best canned food recipes. 

#5 – Salmon Chowder

Given we continue to observe social distancing and staying safe at home, I had to do a number of substitutions on the salmon chowder since I didn’t have all of the ingredients readily available. 

  • Pantry – canned salmon
  • Fridge – mushrooms, onions, sour cream, bacon drippings 
  • Freezer – peas, homemade beef broth

You’ll be surprised how chunky and warming this dish came out. Yields 8-10 servings and it goes great with some crusty home-made sourdough bread… yet another culinary adventure!

There are many ways to substitute to make this more pantry-friendly, such as:

  • canned mushrooms
  • canned peas
  • spam
  • evaporated milk

Okay, next up….

#4 – Beef and Bean Meatloaf

Using this recipe from Food in a Minute as a jumping off point, I took into account what other items we currently have stocked in the house, substituting where applicable and supplementing based on preferences:

  • Pantry – baked beans, dried portobello mushrooms, panko bread crumbs, sugar, seasonings, BBQ sauce, zacusca and rice (side dish)
  • Fridge – celery, onions, eggs, bacon and homemade pickled carrots
  • Freezer – ground beef, garlic and peas (side dish)

Without over-handling, this came together as a fairly wet mixture and in retrospect, I would add more panko bread crumbs and eggs for binding. I pan-fried a teaspoon of the mix and adjusted the seasoning. Then, I turned the mixture into two loaf pans.

This made two loaves, which is enough for 16 servings.

Even though Andrew doesn’t mind eating the same meals over and over again, I prefer to vary things up. So the meatloaf made various incarnations: as a sandwich, quesadilla, fritter or served with rice, french fries or mashed potatoes.  

 

#3 – Caribbean Salmon Cakes

After scanning the pantry and refrigerator. I was missing some ingredients for the creole salmon cakes and had to substitute. This also makes for a completely different recipe, so here is my modified version, now renamed “Caribbean Salmon Cakes”.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

2 7.5 ounce cans salmon, Alaskan, wild caught
1 cup Japanese mayonnaise (Kewpie)
1 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup spring onion, minced
1 carrot, peeled and minced
2 teaspoons brown mustard
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon Sunny Caribbee Jerk spice seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic powder
extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

Drain salmon and set aside. In a large bowl add minced vegetables, all the spices, mayonnaise and mustard, mix well. Fold in salmon and panko bread crumbs.

Form into 4 patties or you could make appetizer size if desired.

Heat about 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, add patties in brown for about 4-5 minutes per side until nice and golden brown.

Finish in the oven 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

Served hot with cilantro scallion rice

#2 – Spicy Pineapple Linzer Cookies

I really wanted to bake a traditional Taiwanese pineapple cake, especially since I’m Taiwanese. It’s the national symbol of Taiwan and of good fortune, as the word “pineapple” in Chinese means “prosperity arrives.” Unfortunately, I really don’t like it because it’s dense and dry.

Carrot cake was another option, except Andrew is generally not a fan. As for pineapple cocktails, I am over fruity drinks having consumed a few watermelon mojitos each day (and every day) for the past couple weeks.

Note: I will recycle and upcycle ingredients until we’ve extracted every last ounce of nutrition. There’s no waste in this household! 

So, then I came across an interesting recipe from Saveur magazine. The Spicy Pineapple Linzer Cookie is an elevated cookie served at Te Company in New York City that pays homage to the Taiwanese pineapple cake.

The recipe called for the following ingredients:

  • Pantry – pineapple, flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, vanilla, hazelnut flour, lime
  • Fridge – butter, eggs, yuzu kosho (spicy citrus chili and garlic spread)
  • Freezer – rosemary

For this recipe, I made a few modifications, including:

  • halved the recipe
  • switched pistachio for hazelnut
  • modified yuzu kosho paste
  • switched Meyer lemon for lime zest
  • switched pink Himalayan Salt for Maldon Sea Salt

Otherwise, the recipe is identical and delicious! Yields 3 dozen cookies and the perfect accompaniment with a cup of tea, with its buttery, zesty and spicy bite.

 

#1 – Condensed Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies

The beauty of this recipe for condensed milk chocolate chip cookies is the fact that – perhaps with the exception of butter – everything is shelf-stable. It can also be argued that you can source canned butter, in which case the whole recipe is shelf stable.

Andrew has quite the sweet tooth, so I am pretty pleased that we have an option for baking while underway that doesn’t require eggs or milk. This makes about a dozen 3-4″ cookies, that are soft and chewy, with a tender crumb.

  • Pantry – flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, corn starch, salt, light brown sugar, condensed milk, vanilla extract, chocolate chips
  • Fridge – butter
  • Freezer – n/a

Andrew and I work in the same office at home. Most days he is taking conference calls while I quietly type up content for the website or update the bullet journal. The day after these cookies were baked, he brought the Tupperware containing the remaining 8 or 9 of these bad boys and proceeded to eat them one by one.

At one point, I overheard him talking with his mouthful of cookies and I turned and look at him, whispering, “Are you going to eat all of them?”

Deer in headlights.

He nodded and continued his conference call. Suffice it to say, these cookies were a hit. I may add slightly more salt next time to round out the flavor profile. The crumb is certainly tender and stays moist even going into our 3rd day of keeping them at room temperature.   

All-Pantry Meals

We hope you’ll have a chance to try out these canned food recipes. We had a lot of fun experimenting with them and riffing on the ones published. 

Other cruisers have shared their strategies for cooking and provisioning canned food meals. Thanks again to them who have forged a way ahead of us to develop these survival skills while sailing the high seas. These include:

When we consider provisioning when we move aboard, we may tinker with some of the ingredients suggested by Epicurious to create all-pantry meals , much like the condensed cookie recipe. I am also inspired by Behan from Sailing Totem to experiment with canning meat for long passages because our fishing skills have not yet been tested. 

Now that’s a sea foodie challenge. 

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Sea Foodie

In the 4th part of our 30-weeks to minimalism series, we tackle the galley. Once again, we will need to think critically about what items are used daily and can still serve us in the future aboard a sailboat. Being a foodie (and now a “sea foodie”) makes this a greater challenge, as we have accumulated many tools and equipment to make our lives easier when it comes to preparing delicious meals and entertaining guests. For example, I don’t think the sous vide will be coming along nor the German crystal stemware or the Turkish wine flask or the French hand-blown glasses…

The list goes on and on. 

The galley of RJ Slocum

Features

When Bill’s wife took me through the galley, one of her favorite features was the layout. Notice how the cleaning, prep and cooking stations face toward the saloon. This is pretty awesome while on a mooring ball, and we want to entertain guests down below. 

What other features make this a good layout

  1. Can the cook be thrown across the boat?
  2. Plenty of ventilation
  3. Are the “hot” and “cold” areas logical?

I will take each of these points in turn below.

Can the cook be thrown across the boat?

As you can see from the picture above, when the cook is preparing a meal sink, prep area, stove and access to hatches is contained within a U-shaped galley. There is also a strap in the even that there is forward-motion roll. The stove is gimbaled athwartship which means when the cook needs to take something out of the oven, there is less surprise or spillage when removing hot items. 

Plenty of ventilation

When it comes to ventilation, note that the galley is located just as you step down from the companionway. There are also 3 hatches/portlights and fans positioned over the stove to direct airflow out of the boat. The “sea foodie” in me appreciates all the attention to detail when it came to this boat’s design.

Are the hot and cold areas logical?

Refrigeration is located on the starboard side, recessed into the countertop and positioned in the outer permitter of the boat, meaning closer to the surrounding water which will naturally cool it. So once the refrigerator is cooled by the Sea-Frost engine refrigeration (hydraulic) to cool the refrigerator in the galley and the cockpit, food stays cold longer.

Port side lazarette contains a Seafrost refrigerator

Does it spark joy?

Despite being a sea foodie, I am not particularly attached to the cookware, place settings or appliances we have. Don’t get me wrong… I invested quite a few pennies on Le Creuset, Riedel, Breville along with the various Crate & Barrel, William Sonoma and other brand name kitchen and dining items.

If it’s gonna break, rust, takes up too much space, we’re gonna ditch it all. Instead, we’ll invest in squared off containers whether plastic or glass for storing provisions, stacking pots/pans such as Magma and unbreakable, multi-use items.

Perhaps the only thing that will survive is the Cuchen, because she talks to us. On second thought, maybe also the cast iron pan, the Bialetti moka espresso pot and the Laguiole flatware. These days, Andrew’s daily afternoon coffee is coming from a French press, so I guess that will come too.

Once we get to Florida, we’ll reassess and buy what we need from a local restaurant supply store , along with whatever items Bill and his wife found useful. 

 

Galley Storage

During our first trip to check out s/v Rachel J Slocum, I couldn’t retain all the information about the galley. Bill’s wife showed me how she had stored and used each of the hatches, but I didn’t bother with measuring out the space. I suppose I was less invested in kitchen and dining products than I am with clothes. 

So once again, I will turn to examples from cruisers who are willing to share their insights such as:

As for provisions aboard RJ Slocum, there are two deep pantry drawers measuring 12″ width x 31″ depth x 12.5″ height, for about 5.3 cubic feet of space. We will tackle this subject in more detail in our upcoming post on Canned Food Recipes where we explore culinary adventures in pantry meals, thus embracing all things sea foodie.

 

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Before jumping into our topic today about packing light, we wanted to highlight news about Patrick and Rebecca Childress of s/v Brick House. Their youtube channel has been an inspiration for both of us, and we were quite literally shocked to find out that they were both diagnosed with coronavirus on May 15th.

 

While Rebecca is slowly recovering aboard their boat in South Africa, Patrick was admitted into the ICU and has been on a ventilator and is experiencing kidney failure. Their insurance claim has been denied since it does not cover pandemic, so we have donated to help them out.

 

Money should be the worst and last thing anyone in this situation would need to worry about. Having Patrick come back home as soon as possible to Rebecca… that’s what is important.

 

If you would also like to help, here is the GoFundMe to support them. Thank you.

 

 

30-weeks to minimalism kicked off the first of a 5 part series on getting prepared to live on a sailboat. This begins by downsizing many of our land-based belongings. We made a yeoman’s effort earlier this year, but in this post, we take a critical eye at clothes and consider packing light.

 

This also gives us an opportunity to give you a boat tour of s/v Rachel J. Slocum. 

 

“He who would travel happily must travel light.”

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Business Globetrotter

In my 30’s, I caught the travel bug after my first business trip to Milan when I was working at Universal Studios. Eventually, this lead to a business development position at Technicolor, where I flew to Asia and Europe with some frequency. During the few hours I could steal way between meetings, I would visit sites profiled in Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code and Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation. Back then, packing light was desirable when I would be in a different city each night while circumnavigating the world.

Now, packing light is an imperative as we embark on our sailing adventure. 

Leisure Packing

When Andrew and I began to travel together, it didn’t take long nor did it take much discussion before we began to pack all our belongings into one bag. Yes ladies, one single bag. Shocking, I know.

Andrew usually took the lead, gathering all that would be needed on a trip.

The first of our trips was camping and hiking to a few of the highest peaks in California (San Gorgonio and San Jacinto). Because he was more familiar with the gear, he selected and packed in Tetris-like fashion everything that we needed into our packs. He would take into consideration balancing the weight in addition to the bulk of hard vs soft items. All-in-all, a thoughtful approach. 

When we went on our honeymoon for two weeks traveling throughout Japan and Taiwan, we each carried a backpack, opting to stay in AirBnB’s to do our laundry every couple of days for the few clothes we carried.

As a result, we discovered the pleasure of staying nimble so we can take impromptu excursions and side-trips. For example, just as when we were headed for Kyoto, we took a detour to hike Poet’s Mountain. There’s no way we would have done that with a roller-bag.

So with this background, we turn to packing for the rest of our life in a 50′ sailboat. 

Packing Light

How do you go about packing for the rest of your life?

We started by taking measurements of some of the interior spaces of s/v Rachel J. Slocum during our visit to Ft. Lauderdale in March. 

While Bill was taking Andrew through some of the topside features of the boat, his wife and I went down below while I recorded the measurements of each of the drawers and hanging lockers, paying attention primarily to the areas for personal items. 

Spaces in the bilge, under the settee, pantry storage, v-berth where the workshop is located – I didn’t bother measuring, since I envisioned all the spares, tools and provisions would be allocated to these spaces. 

So with these few bits of information, we could begin to formulate a plan.  

Clothes

One of the most impactful changes will be downsizing clothes for this lifestyle. In our house, our clothes currently occupy 5 closets, 4 dressers, and a linen closet. This is roughly 510 cubic feet of space.

While I easily have 2-3 times more clothes than Andrew, we both have a lot of decisions to make when it comes to preparing for this lifestyle. 

Storage Options

In the owner’s cabin of s/v Rachel J. Slocum, there is a single dresser (8 drawers), 2 hanging lockers, and 2 hatches above the bookshelves next to the bed.

Additionally, there are two other hanging lockers: one located just outside the v-berth and another next to the companion way to stow foul weather gear.

This is about 65 cubic feet of space compared to 510 cubic feet which we have in our home. This requires that we be ruthless to reduce our possessions by 85% or more.

In 30-weeks to minimalism , we talked about purging by knocking out each category one at a time. This helped to get rid of two closets worth of clothes, and I was quite proud of that effort. However when I looked at the storage options available on RJ Slocum, I knew I needed to start from zero and only take what I need and could fit aboard.

Technical Gear

Thanks to several years and thousands of dollars spent on Lululemon, we have more than enough athletic and technical clothes to choose to bring with us aboard. By technical clothes, we mean fast drying, sweat wicking, UPF, waterproof, windproof, and insulating yet breathable clothing.

We also have a variety of clothes from Arc’teryx, Ex Officio, Kit and Ace, The North Face, REI among others, If we want to remain comfortable at sea, gone are the cottons, silks, linens, leather, wool and other fabrics that will not hold up well to this lifestyle. A tropical marine environment spawns mold and mildew if you’re not careful. Additionally, salt water and sun will take their toll on everything. 

Storage Solutions

To store these clothes, we’ll use a variety of techniques that many apartment dwellers use to save on space. These include:

  • stackable hangers
  • folding the Marie Kondo way
  • vacuum bags for seasonal items

As for shoes, marine shoes, flip flops, hiking boots, etc. will be stored in plastic milk crates for ventilation at the base of the hanging lockers. Dirty laundry will also be stored in milk crates.

Foul weather gear will go in the locker closest to the companion way.

 

Notice the measurements labeled in both the hanging space as well as the drawers.

Practicum

To put this into practice, I taped off and measured 20″ of hanging locker space for myself, 12″ of foul weather gear locker space (of which I would take up half), and the precise dimensions of the 4 drawers I would take up on RJS for clothes. When I saw the amount of space I had available to me, it was sobering. For many women, it would be a shock.

Then, I referred to Beth Leonard’s The Voyager’s Handbook which detailed the number and type of items considered the minimum to pack for a tropical and temperate cruising destination (e.g., 10 t-shirts, 4 tank tops, etc.)

In other words, these all went into the “Yes” pile. What I had already pre-selected several weeks ago became the new “Maybe” pile. Any category of clothes that had not yet been screened automatically went into the “No” pile. 

All of a sudden, I was done and packing light became a reality. 

Food for Thought

When this experiment was near complete, I showed Andrew the approach and he was excited equally enthusiastic about the results. He then threw in the potential for taking more items if we were to vacuum seal some of the items from the “maybe” pile so that we wouldn’t wont for more. 

This is one of the many examples of the “battle of the givers.” I found a way to become at peace with less and he gave me a way to take more and not feel quite as much sacrifice. Rather than packing light, I would then be packing medium… at least until we arrive and assess what additional storage could really be found.

How to handle rejection

For the clothes that are in the reject pile, they can be gifted, sold or donated. Going Zero Waste provides some ideas for organizations that will take donations of unusual items such as bras, eyeglasses, cosmetics and shoes. Before tossing anything, we will also be taking advantage of TerraCycle to determine what to do with other waste streams.

 

How we selected clothes and linens for our voyaging life. 

Progress to date

as of May 18, 2020

The table details our approach: on the left is the choices we will make for clothes and on the right is for linens. Beginning with a list of all of the items and working from left to right, each item is assigned some relevance (marked in orange) for sailing in high-latitude, temperate or tropic climates. Each item is also given a minimum number or range required as per The Voyager’s Handbook. Additional clothes were itemized if they weren’t listed in the handbook (e.g., pajamas, climbing gear, vest, etc.) 

I filled out the next 2 columns based on a) items that fit in the allotted hanging locker and drawers and b) optional items I would like to take if there is more room aboard the boat. The next 2 columns were filled out by Andrew.

Andrew had a chance to tackle his closet with the same rigorous editing. Going into it, he thought it would be easy, breezy. About 30 minutes into the process, he realized this was going to be a grind. While I sat on the bed happily knitting, I would field his packing-related questions. By lunchtime, he had gone through his wardrobe and he felt good about the progress he made. While he didn’t take the final step as I did, which was to pack all of the items into a suitcase, he now has everything in order, except for shoes.

Linens was also a topic of conversation over the past week. We will provide more details on that when we discuss the Boat Head

 

Reading Time: 4 minutes

While we usually publish twice a week (on Mondays and Thursdays), we thought we would announce a little bit of news. For those curious, here is a Project Slocum update since our last post on April 1st.

Six weeks ago, we came back from our boat purchase trip to Ft Lauderdale and faced a go/no-go decision. Due to coronavirus and many states beginning to lock down, we and Bill mutually agreed to put the sale on hold.

So what has changed?

Last week

As we are packing up our belongings and making decisions about what to bring aboard, we asked Bill for some guidance on bedding and linens. In the process of providing feedback, he mentioned that there is another person interested in buying RJ Slocum.

WTF?

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. So we replied to Bill that we wanted to move forward with our deal. If it provided peace of mind to him, we can wire the security deposit rather than have him worry needlessly about being pressured to make a sale, even at the cost of his own health.

Upon reading our response about our decision and timing, Bill wrote:

 

I agree that that there’s little point in moving quickly at this point in time. I’ve been in communication with my friends overseas and most everywhere is locked down tight. Many cruisers aren’t even allowed ashore. The Caribbean is locked down. Massachusetts still hasn’t re-opened, and if you did anchor off a beach here, there’d be nothing open other than supermarkets and drug stores. So we’ll just have to wait and see how things progress.

 

But congratulations! At least you’re making the first move toward cruising. You can be absolutely sure I’ll do everything I can to make that dream come true for you.

 

Taking the plunge

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, answering, “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 the subconscious belief that there continued to be a series of go/no-go decisions. In his mind, anything could prevent his dream from becoming a reality. So rather than get his hopes up, 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 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

Over the next few days…

On Friday, I drafted revisions to the purchase agreement and turned it over to Andrew for review over the weekend.

We spent Saturday in Malibu Creek State Park hiking and checking out potential routes to climb. On our way back home, we picked up some Godmother sandwiches with the works from Bay Cities Deli in Santa Monica and then had a small picnic at the beach. People seemed to be observing social distancing, so we felt safe. 

On Sunday, Andrew provided his edits and we revised the purchase agreement with his changes. This version was sent to Bill for review and comment. 

Yesterday, we scraped all our pennies together and placed our security deposit on RJ Slocum. We are officially in escrow! This marks a pivotal step in becoming a boat owner.

It’s time to celebrate!

 

Reading Time: 5 minutes

“Water water everywhere. Nor any drop to drink.”

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Water water everywhere… spoken by a sailor on a becalmed ship, who is surrounded by salt water that he cannot drink.

Water Conservation

I grew up in southern California and if there is any habit that is drilled into you as a child it would be an acute awareness about conserving water. Angelinos live in a desert and yet we surround ourselves with lush gardens. Water is brought in from the mountains and somehow made incredibly affordable for us to live in this oasis. Because we are so highly dependent on water from other sources, we are careful with how much water is consumed.

This was especially the case in my family. My father was frugal and efficient. All showers can be accomplished in 5 minutes. All meals can be eaten in ten minutes or less. If you have had the opportunity to read “Cheaper by the Dozen” by Frank Gilbreth Jr., you will see a startling resemblance to my father’s ethos. 

So because of this upbringing, I am borderline hostile when I see waste and inefficiency around me. Kids these days who stand under a running shower daydreaming… the horror! Andrew knows well the stink-eye I give him when he leaves the faucet running while he’s brushing his teeth. I can understand that when you have lived in the Pacific Northwest where it rains 90% of the time, there is less diligence to water conservation. But he’s now in California. We don’t have that luxury and the stink-eye reminds him of that.

Closer to Nature

Moving aboard a sailboat will take efficiency and conservation to a whole new level. One of the features of s/v Rachel J. Slocum is a 60 gallon fresh water holding tank and a 30 gal/hour Sea Recovery hydraulic water maker. 

Now while I’ve taken a variety of efficient methods to stay clean (e.g., fast showers at home, cold showers in the Virgin Islands, sponge baths in South America, and baby wiping while camping in the wilderness), I really wanted to get a handle on what a realistic boat shower could be like. 

I decided to take a scientific approach which will require a little physics and geometry. 

Preparation

The essential tools for this experiment will require the following: 

Steps:

  1. Place plastic bag on top of drain and duct tape every side, ensuring a complete seal. 
    • If we had a bath mat, it would be ideal to place over the this seal to prevent slipping, but we’ll just have to make do.
    • If you had a drain stopper, even better and you can skip the first two steps. But we don’t, hence we had to MacGuyver the situation.
  2. Measure the length and width of the shower stall.
    • The measurement of depth will occur after the shower.
    • If you have a rounded shower, you will be doing a lot more geometry in your calculations.
    • We have both a rectangular and an oval shower to choose from, and we are opting for the one that requires less math. 
  3. Undress and step into the shower.
    • Before beginning to run the water, be sure to have someone to operate a stop watch. In this case,
    • Andrew has volunteered for this task.
  4. Turn on the water and start the timer.
  5. Then proceed with all your usual steps in your shower routine.
    • Try not to let one of the principles of quantum theory get in the way (i.e., the act of being observed affect your behavior – speeding up or slowing down – to impact the results). This is serious science, people! 
  6. When your final rinse is complete, turn off the water and stop the timer.  

Analysis

Assuming the seal is intact, you may begin analysis after dressing. If the seal is not and water begins to drain, you will have to work quickly (and nakedly) for the sake of science. 

Measure the depth of the water. Take a few readings if the shower is tapered toward the drain (e.g., at each of the corners of the rectangle and at the drain). If you want to simplify the calculation, use an average or median. If you want to make it complicated, via con Dios.

Unfortunately, the rectangular shower was sloped unevenly toward the center, so the measurement of each of the points of the rectangle and the center yielded different measurements. A simple average simply would not do. We took the complicated approach out of necessity.

Along with the length and width measurement, you can now calculate the volume of water. We had to calculate both the volume of a rectangle and an irregular triangular prism. Convert the volume to gallons (from cubic inches to gallons the multiplier is 0.004329 in/gal) and you have the total water consumed during the shower.

For the 4 minutes and 37 (and a half) seconds I was in the shower, I used up about 10.75 gallons. 

We then calculated the flow rate of gallons per minute emitted from the shower head by dividing 10.75 gallons by 4 min 37 sec. The result is about 2.3 gal/sec. Knowing this will give us some indication of how long we can stay under a running shower while daydreaming (no more than 24 minutes, apparently).

It’s the price of luxury.

Findings 

In the case of the shower in the master bathroom, the flow rate is 2.324 gal/minute. After doing all this math, we also discovered that all shower fixtures in the U.S. are legally mandated to yield a maximum output of 2.5 gal/minute at 60 psi. So we’re in the ballpark, which was nice to validate.

Of course, we don’t have the comparable flow rate for being aboard s/v Rachel J. Slocum. However, we have one more data point in our arsenal to better understand what it would be like living aboard.

Rather than sacrificing on a little bit of luxury or comfort, we are now closer to knowing what are the trade-offs when you spend an extra minute in the shower (but certainly no more than 24 minutes) or the dishes will not get done.

 

Water water everywhere

On the other hand, s/v Rachel J. Slocum also has rain water collection system via valves that can divert all the water that falls on the deck, cabin & sails to the water tank. In a sudden downpour, we could top off her tanks in 10 minutes. 

As we discover each detail about this boat, we get more and more excited about starting this adventure. For now, we are happy dreaming about it and doing our little experiments to approximate what life is like before we cast off the bowlines.

What else is there to do while you’re observing stay-at-home orders until May 15th during this pandemic?

 

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Buying a Boat

Buying a boat can be overwhelming. During the past few months, we have received a lot of questions about the boat buying process. While we are by no means experts, we are happy to be transparent about our process and how we did our research. Part of this was pulling together resources that were helpful to us. Below you’ll see a list of online and offline resources.

As future boat owners, we also asked ourselves some questions. Some of these will be asked by brokers if you choose to go through one. These questions will help you crystalize your sailing plans, just as it had for us. 

Finally, we wanted to provide a centralized place for you to read about our journey of buying a boat. Hope this is helpful to you. 

 

 

Offline Resources

Here are a list of books we found invaluable. All of the links below do not have affiliate marketing. We provide the links merely for your convenience.

Calder’s Mechanical and Electrical Manual Link to Amazon 

Chapman Piloting & Seamanship Link to Amazon

Cornell’s World Voyager Planner Link to Amazon

Leonard’s Voyagers Handbook Link to Amazon

Spurr’s Guide to Upgrading Your Cruising Sailboat Link to Amazon

 

 

8-Step Game Plan

We know that buying a boat can be overwhelming. Follow these 8 steps and come up with a game plan that answers as much as you can before you make an offer on a boat. This will be an iterative process as you narrow down your preferences, especially if it involves your significant other. 

  1. What kind of sailing do you want to do?
    • racing vs cruising
    • coastal vs offshore
    • tropical zones vs high latitude
  2. How often do you want to sail?
    • every weekend & 2-week vacations per season
    • 6-months on / 6-months off
    • year-round
  3. Establish a budget. Think of total boat ownership that would include:
    • Initial purchase plus upgrades/refitting for your needs
    • On-going cost of repairs and maintenance
  4. How do you want to fund your sailing adventure?
    • Work as you go
    • Rental income or dividend stream from investments
    • Savings, 401K, Pension
  5. How long do you want to sail?
    • Most cruisers sail for 2 years or less
    • Consider your current and likely future health status
    • Reference your budget and sources of funding 
  6. What stage of life are you in?
    • Pre-career – limited resources
    • Mid-career / Hiatus – 2-5 years before returning back to shore life
    • Retirement – comfortably funded (note: can age-out due to health reasons)
  7. Figure out what’s important to you
    • Speed vs comfort
    • Size of your crew
    • Accommodations for visitors (family & friends)
  8. Know what you’re getting into
    • Charter similar boats
    • Crew on offshore passages
    • Learn boat systems
    • Consider impact on your relationships
    • Sailing ability (both strength and confidence)

 

Our Answers and Stories

As mentioned above, we derived these answers for ourselves through an iterative process. A bit of trial and error. Wandering down some goat-paths based on an initial assumption. In the end, you’ll find your way to what feels right for you… just as we did. 

  1. The type of sailing we want to do was offshore cruising, both in the tropics (horse latitudes) and high latitude (40-50 degrees north and south of the equator). Refer to John Neal’s online resource for the implication of this choice.
  2. We wanted to sail year-round, which meant finding a large enough live-aboard cruiser. The range we considered is 40 to 50 feet LOA.
  3. Our budget is roughly USD $300K. Our on-going boat repair & maintenance costs is budgeted at USD $25K per year. This excludes costs for provisioning, travel to/from home to visit family, entertainment/sightseeing, health insurance, etc.
  4. We are largely funding this sailing adventure with our savings while we look for opportunities to generate additional income streams. Our hope is to find jobs that we are passionate about rather than rely on our first mountain skillsets.  
  5. The current timeline is to sail around the world for the next 5-10 years, and to be able to immerse ourselves in each destination for 2-3 months.
  6. Some may argue we are mid-career. We like to think we are in early retirement and looking for encore careers. Potato, po-tah-to.
  7. First and foremost is safety, comfort and then speed. We think we found the perfect vessel that balances these requirements.
  8. We have done some legwork already, but we know we have a long ways to go, especially as it relates to learning to sail a 2-masted schooner.

 

Reading Time: 6 minutes

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Margaret Mead

Cleaning Products

The second major category we considered are the daily chemicals that we flush down drains, whether it is something used to clean ourselves (soap, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, etc.) or clean stuff (kitchen, laundry, etc.) In a boat environment, naturally the same lack of treatment process means whatever we use will directly impact the marine life.

Coupled with that consideration is also wanting to reduce waste and our use of plastic. Because space is at a premium, we don’t want to be hauling hundreds of pounds of single-use plastic items across the high seas. Thus, we are acutely aware of wanting to find solutions that are plastic free, zero waste and eco-friendly.

After spending an hour or so browsing through options on Amazon.com for these products, I came to a startling conclusion.

Going green is expensive!

Plastic free, zero waste and eco-friendly products are not cheap. But rather than let that deter us, we want to take a marginal cost comparison approach rather than react to the stated retail price. Here’s what we came up with:

 

Category

Current

Here is a sampling of brands that we currently use without consideration to its impact on the environment. Many of these products have ingredients that we cannot pronounce. These choices are primarily driven based on effectiveness, scent and cost.

 

Future

Here is a sampling of new brands we are exploring because we want to consider what impact these choices are making on the environment. Many of these choices are vegan and the packaging reduces use of plastic and waste.

 

Soap

 

The Yellow Bird Soap Bar (Peppermint & Tea Tree) 

Reef Safe Soap (Minty Green)

 

Shampoo

L’Oreal Paris EverPure Sulfate Free Moisture Shampoo 

Ethique Eco-friendly Solid Shampoo Bar (Heali Kiwi) 

 

Toothpaste

 

Colgate Cavity Protection with Fluoride 

Power Mint Tooth Powder

 

Laundry Detergent

 

Tide Original HE Laundry Detergent 

Charlie’s Soap Laundry Powder (Fragrance Free) 

 

Dish Soap

 

Dawn Ultra Dishwashing Soap (Original Scent) 

No Tox Life Dish Washing Block Soap 

Payoff of going green

If we were to total the full replacement cost per unit in a straight up comparison, the current products we buy are indeed cheaper. Even on a cost per use basis, the future products we buy are less economical although they give us the peace of mind that we are doing our part to help the environment. 

However, what if we took the eco-friendly, zero waste, plastic free approach one step further? 

Similar to a previous post on Make vs Buy, there is nothing to prevent us from deciding to make our own soap. Doing so provides not only with cost efficiencies, but we also get to determine what ingredients go into the soap. We also get to determine what is being used on our bodies. Thanks to youtube, we can learn how to make our own Simple Homemade Cold Process Soap.

Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, however, Andrew and I ordered a couple products from Amazon.com to see how they hold up over the next few months versus our usual brands.

If all goes well, we might bulk order coconut oil and go nuts, much like Tyler Durden one of my favorite movie characters and fellow soap-maker. 

Waste not, want not

One of my go-to youtube channels is Exploring Alternatives. In this video, they explore approaching your life with Zero Waste in mind as well as other tips, should Zero Waste prove to be too extreme on the outset.