Come take a peek inside…

By Jennifer

Take a look around the interior of Real Life. This slideshow has pictures from before we made significant changes on the boat. This is the pre-move-aboard Real Life. We will update with new pics once we move aboard in late August.

Getting ready

By Jennifer

Kevin and I were taking our ritual walk around our neighborhood last night when we crossed paths with neighbors also walking. They stopped, said hello and asked, ‘How in the world are you planning for this trip?’

The trip, which is being documented on this blog, which I expect I will not be the sole writer of, is our maiden voyage on Sailing Vessel Real Life down the coast of Florida, through the Keys and on to the Bahamas beginning this August.

When Carol, one of the very first people I met in our neighborhood 11 years ago, posed this question to me, I, in turn, asked myself, “Geez, how are we planning for this??”

How do you pack for a year? Well, we began with a spreadsheet and just kept adding to it and adding to it until we couldn’t think of anything more to list. So the spreadsheet has been quite functional. We’ve read books and experiences of other families who have gone cruising for an extended time and that has helped shaped our checklist.

The checklist, as you can imagine, has found away to keep growing as the days and weeks go by. Included on the list are things such as lining up the kids’ homeschool for the year ahead, repair work on the boat, brushing up on our sailing skills and things to be done around our house.

Mid-June I skippered a daysail with the family on a J22 on Lake Michigan. That served as a nice refresher for my sailing skills that have been mostly dormant since last summer.


Jennifer skippering a refresher sail on a J22 on Lake Michigan along the Chicago skyline eight weeks before leaving for our trip. Click on the image to see the pics from that day.

But, the other way I’ve planned for this trip is by just going with it.

I’ve surrendered to the idea that it’s not all going to come together perfectly. We will forget things. And then we will figure it out. I read not long ago about another sailing family who had a mantra when difficulties arised. Of course, I forgot their mantra, but have adopted one of my own — “We will get there when we get there.”

Also, included on the checklist have been visits to check on Real Life. At the end of June we stopped in Ft. Lauderdale, where Real Life is currently docked, to check on the work being done on the boat. We finally got it out of the shipyard after more than a month and have since moved it to a residential canal. As the mechanical work winds up, we took the cushions from the aft and forward cabins out and are having new ones made. 


Here, Real Life is tied up to a residential dock in Ft. Lauderdale. It’s a nonliveaboard and a more afforable option than keeping it in a marina until we arrive in August.

The next big item on the list is to find a liveaboard slip in Ft. Lauderdale for the weeks we will be there before setting sail Nov. 1.