A year and eight days ago I moved onto SWALLOW from my 17′ Montgomery 17 SWEET PEA. In the past year I’ve started to learn about what works and doesn’t living aboard a 25’on-deck wooden sailboat (SWALLOW’S overall length is 29′ including bowsprit and boomkin).

SWALLOW and SWEET PEA meet each as I move from one home to another.

My bed is aft port quarterberth. After some fiddling with the cushions, installing dri-deck to reduce condensation and adding my old Thermarest camping air mattress the berth is comfortable. I do need to move the hardwired reading light to better illuminate books and magazines. I have clipped a portable reading light to a deck knee that is working fine.

SWALLOW has no fixed head. I purchased a Thetford 550 that fits well in the forepeak. It has served well and in many ways worked better than having a holding tank that requires plumbing and pumping. It is most definitely mechanically more simple than a marine head with pumps and hoses and thru-hulls.

The woodstove has been a joy. It will quickly dry the cabin of the damp. The only hassle is finding wood and storing it aboard.

The Max Burton butane stove is reliable, but isn’t gimbled nor has pot holders to secure pots in place. The gas cartridges are expensive, though I don’t have any exact comparison to the cost of using an alcohol stove. I like being able to recycle the used gas cans – but finding a location in the Gulf Islands that will take tin (I also have quite a collection of used tin food cans!) Is a challenge. I’d like to convert the galley to a Origo non-pressurized alcohol stove.

The galley has a fixed water tank holding about 10 gallons. I have a secondary portable tank that holds five gallons (fits just great at the aft end of the cockpit footwell). With 15 gallons aboard I can go about 9 days.

The fixed gasoline tank for the outboard holds about 10 gallons. I have a 2.5 gallon portable tank, stores like it was made to fit by the portable water jug at the aft end of the cockpit footwell, giving SWALLOW about 25 hours of motoring range at ~4.9-ish knots over water.

The far aft portions of the quarter-berths do collect condensation late-fall through the spring. Every few days I need to remove stored items and dry the area. I’d like to install some small circulation fans I can run a few hours each day to keep things dry.

This spring I upgraded SWALLOW’S two house batteries from group 24s to group 27s. This increased storage capacity by 30%. I am stringent on power use and I can go about six days on each battery. Currently I don’t have solar panels and installing them is high on the wish list. The outboard has a high-output alternator that can fully charge a battery at 50% discharge in 4-5 hours when pushing SWALLOW at cruising speed.

So there are some of my thoughts after a year abound SWALLOW. Looking forward to many more!

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