But What About…

The most common questions we get have something to do with “How do you live in such a small space” and “What do you do about <something> with the dogs?”

This page is to answer related questions! If there’s something you’d like to see, just let us know in a comment!

How do you live in such a small space?

Honestly, the living space on tenalach isn’t much different than our small cabin in Manitou Springs, CO. We have two bedrooms (more than we had in CO), and a bathroom and a half. Our bed is close to king sized. tenalach has a built-in navigation station that I use for a desk, and it’s got more desk, shelf, and drawer space than I had in the last house. The two settees (couches) in the main salon are long enough for my lanky butt to lay down on or for the admiral to share with the stooges, and we are quite comfortable in the salon even with all 4 of us in there. We took the dinette table out, since we didn’t like the design and the space it took up. The mast runs right down between the settees and offers a great place to prop your feet up if needing to share settee space. What is drastically different is the storage space. Right now, basically every nook and cranny is filled with things. Nearly weekly we’re taking more things for donation, though, as we notice that things are redundant or unnecessary. Storage on sailboats is very creative, we just have to learn to use it efficiently. Setting up where we want things in our top-loading refrigerator has been somewhat of a challenge, though!

But it’s just so small…

The Nav Station/Office
Aft Cabin Berth (Master Bedroom)

This is truly a matter of perspective. If you consider our living space ONLY the cabin, then yes, it’s small. The open floor space is only about 100 square feet. That includes the passageway from the main salon back to the aft cabin, which is about 8 feet by 2 feet. All the furniture and fixtures are built in. We each have a hanging locker (closet) that is about 2 feet wide, and has room on the bottom for boots, tools, etc. Another hanging locker has been converted to shelves to hold spare parts, chemicals needed for caring for our engine, drains, etc, and tools. Still another is our coat closet. We each have four 10×10 drawers for our folding clothes and a shoe bin. We do have to rotate some clothes seasonally, and we store the off-season things in space bags or in our luggage, which stays in the trunk of my car.

But our space isn’t just the cabin. We have the cockpit, foredeck, aft deck, the docks. We have not only wonderful dock mates, but our creature friends have been fun to get to know, as well! We have Fred and Wilma the Snowy Egrets, Barney the cranky blue heron, a pair of mallards that like to munch on the algae on neighboring boats. And the best part, the beautiful Chesapeake Bay is our back yard. We can be in the Atlantic in less than 90 minutes if we wanted to. We do not feel confined at all. Quite the opposite, actually!

The Main Salon, from the Companionway

The Galley

To get a good image of the size of our galley (kitchen), stand in one place and stretch one arm out in front of you. Turn 180 degrees. That’s it. That houses a double sink, a 3 burner propane stove and oven, and our fridge. On two sides there are cabinets for storage and on one side a ledge for dry goods. We have a tray installed just above the stove for extra space when needed, but we can’t store a lot there, since it’ll just fall out when we’re sailing. We have a small toaster (which is storage for pyrex) and a small slow cooker. This is stored in the oven with our cutting board when it is not in use.

How do you deal with those big dogs on a “small” boat?!

Companionway Ramp

The short answer here is, the boat isn’t that small. As pictures say a thousand words, the following pictures show how small our dogs can be. They tend to love to cuddle together, and cuddle on us (mostly mom as shes a sucker for cuddles).

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This journey wouldn’t be possible without ramps! We obviously aren’t picking our dogs up so, Chuck built the companion – way ladder ramp out of a defunct section of a port side pilot’s berth. We don’t ever plan to use it, so we used the very nice and solid piece of marine plywood to fashion this companionway ramp for the stooges. It’s nothing pretty, but it works! They’re still learning how to shift their weight going up, but they come down it easily with no problem.

They get on and off the boat via a commercially available extendable dog ramp. This one was donated by the late, great Jake LaRue of Winchester, VA, Chuck’s grandparents’ rescue golden retriever. He was one special soul, and we’re glad to have a piece of him aboard tenalach. Hope you’re up there with Chuck Wilmot wagging away and keeping Jasmine company!

Enzo stepping off the boarding ramp

Chuck’s dad (affectionately self-named “DadofChuck”) came down while tenalach was on the hard to build a “dog door,” which we mounted inside the door of the v-berth, effectively converting that space to a large dog condo. We store the cushions from the v-berth on the sides of the aft-cabin berth, where they don’t take up any needed space and are protected from dog teeth, hair, slobber, and smells. We put the stooges’ beds in there and they are quite happy. We installed the dog door using the piano hinge that was also part of the port side pilot’s berth. The best part about the dog door is, it stows away inside the v-berth and you can’t see it unless it’s closed or you’re inside the door looking at it. Good thing, too, because as you can see, Enzo’s already added his personal touches to it!

 The v-berth is quite easily re-converted to guest quarters, ready for any of you to be comfortable visiting tenalach.

4 thoughts on “But What About…”

  1. I’m glad to see I’m not the only one silly enough to have a Mastiff (Capone) on a boat. He climbs the companion way ladder on his own. I live on a 1972 39 ft Ericson that I purchased may of 2014. Been living aboard since.
    Enjoyed your blog keep up the good work.

    1. Thanks Syd! It is fun to see the difference in the two. Zia jumps around the boat until mom practically has a heart attack including jumping up and down the companionway, and more recently on and off the boat (which we don’t really allow). Then there is Enzo who now stretches on the companion way until you lift his rear up, and has been doing a deck lap before getting off the boat! Silly pups, but we can’t imagine this adventure without them.

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