Take A Tour of S/V Varekai

We have been living aboard now for six months as of February 4, 2018.  Now that things are somewhat settled and in place, I thought it would be a good time for an inside tour.  I know that some of our readers have been asking what the inside looks like and how we all manage to fit.

From above, you can see where cabins are located.  The dimensions of the boat are 41′ x 25′.  We have never felt cramped by the amount of people on board.  The dogs make it a little tight only because they are under foot…especially Benny.  It’s not so bad in warmer weather as the dogs are mostly outside, but in the winter, they are inside with us all…the…time.

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We have a sliding glass door to enter the boat.  The window on the right slides open as well.  We keep it shut most of the time right now due to the winter weather, but opening the windows that are straight ahead and the doors at the same time makes a nice breeze flow through the boat.  This was very important when we were in the islands and Florida due to the fact that we have no air conditioner.

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Front AND Back Door

As you enter the house, there are stairs going down on your left and right that lead to the cabins.  On the left is the Navigation Table with a GPS, radio, and stereo system.  While docked, we are able to use our printer, TV, Direct TV, and Playstation.  All of these things are useless offshore…until we install solar panels 🙂

I have opted not to have curtains at this point in the main living area.  I purchased a window film, called Rabbit Goo, that can be removed when we are actively sailing.  At the marina it provides privacy, is light filtering, and can be taken down and put back up over and over.

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View to your left as you enter

To the right is the kitchen.  It may look small, but it can hold at least two people while preparing meals.  There is quite a bit of counter space if you plan ahead and use the top of the indoor deep freezer.

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View to your right as you enter

My sweet friend, Jessica Moore, sent my burlap Home Is Where The Anchor Drops sign for my birthday. She said that she found it at a Buc-ee’s in Texas and couldn’t pass it up.  I love it and hung it immediately on the wall that was waiting for some artwork.

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View as you turn to the right

The kitchen sink is equipped with freshwater and saltwater foot pumps.  We tend not to use these too often at the dock, but offshore we use the saltwater pump frequently to reduce the amount of water we have to make with the water maker.  It can be challenging to try and remember to wash your hands with the freshwater pump instead of the faucet water when offshore…especially for the boys.

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Kitchen sink and storage for dishes
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Freshwater foot pump on the left and saltwater foot pump on the right

The refrigerator is about the size of a normal mini-fridge.  The freezer is on top of the counter and goes deep inside the cabinet.  It really doesn’t keep things frozen unless we run the engines for a long time and turn the freezer knob over and over again to cool the freezer plates.  We use it mainly for a colder refrigerator for things like eggs, milk, cheese, and produce.  We purchased little plastic bins with lids to hold freezer items so that we may organize better, however, when you need eggs (and eggs are in the bottom bin), you have to unload all the other bins to get to them.  This is why, when preparing a meal, you have to have a plan.  Otherwise, you may be moving a lot of items to get one crucial piece of your meal.

We purchased the toaster oven not that long ago.  It holds about six pieces of toast at one time.  John was missing the microwave, and I was missing the toaster, so we met in the middle and got a toaster oven.  It is used daily but has to be watched closely as things cook quickly.

Liam didn’t want to move onto the boat without his Keurig.  He uses it for hot cocoa, but it makes a nice cup of coffee on cold days.  I, the non-coffee drinker, have even enjoyed a cup or two or three.  I think our guests have appreciated it as well.

There is only one drawer in the kitchen, and it is reserved for knives, so things like silverware and kitchen towels have to be placed on the countertop.  We have gotten used to it, but it was strange to us in the beginning.

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Kitchen

My stove/oven and I have become friends.  The stove may seem tiny being only a two burner, and the oven only holds a small cookie sheet, but I have learned how to make meals despite it’s small size.  I was able to roast a 10 pound turkey for Thanksgiving and make a Mexican feast for Christmas.  John purchased a smaller muffin tray for me so that I may continue to make the boys the Banana Muffins that they love so much.  The biggest challenge has been learning how to keep things warm while waiting for the rest of the food to finish cooking.

The most difficult meal I have made was the spaghetti that was cooking as we were sailing to San Juan, Puerto Rico.  We were rocking and rolling on the waves, and the oven was swinging back and forth.  I had to stand next to the stove and hold the pot while it boiled to make sure it didn’t fly off the stove.  We have decided since then to have ready made or easy to prepare meals for rough seas…sandwiches and fruit are perfect.

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Stove and oven

There is a small ceiling hatch that is right above my head if I am standing at the stove.  It comes in handy when there is a lot of steam/smoke from cooking.

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Window above the kitchen
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View from ceiling hatch/window

An important piece of equipment that we have in our kitchen right now is the dehumidifier.  We didn’t need one until we arrived in New England.  The condensation got to the point where the walls were actually dripping wet.  Running the dehumidifier for two days completely rid the walls of the water.  We now only run it every Wednesday when we take our beds apart and prop our mattresses up for ventilation in preparation for laundry day on Thursday.  It will have to go in a storage locker when we are sailing due to it being on wheels.

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Refrigerator and freezer

I have a love/hate relationship with my sofa.  I had every intention of getting new cushions made for the boat, but after getting a quote of $3,000, I decided that it looked pretty good as is.  I don’t mind the blue so much, although I would prefer it to be tan, but it does do a good job of hiding hot cocoa…or worse.  We use the sofa for everything, and it is where we spend the majority of our time when on the stationary boat.

Behind the sofa, as you walk in, is our pantry.  We have minimal space but do a good job of organizing.  Under each cushion is something of use.  There is a boat school section, a board game section, a fishing section, a life jacket section, a tool section, and extra water jugs and shop vac section.  The freshwater valves to turn on/off the water are located behind the sofa.

We had a problem with the cushions slipping off onto the floor when we moved onto the boat.  The boys ended up replacing the velcro that holds them onto the platform.  It has totally changed our world.  It is so nice being able to sit down and not end up on fiberglass in a matter of minutes.

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Kitchen table/Living room with the cute sea life tray that my mom sent me for my birthday
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Pantry storage

The master bedroom is located down the stairs on the starboard (right) side of the boat at the back.  We have a queen size bed, the smallest bed we have ever had as a married couple, and the starboard engine is under our bed.  Also under our bed is the water heater and indoor freezer mechanisms.  So, every time something breaks, we have to dismantle our bed and prop open the hatch.  It has been frequently lately with the leak in the fridge/freezer.  Now, after three weeks, the fridge/freezer has been fixed and we are hoping that we won’t have to dismantle for awhile.

Every cabin has a top hatch that opens and a small side hatch that opens as well as a fixed window.  We don’t open them much right now, but sleeping in the islands was peaceful with the windows open.  We were frequently awakened by raindrops and got used to jumping up quickly from a deep sleep to close the hatches.

In the last month or so, we noticed that our ceiling was dripping in a few spots when it rained.  On one particularly rainy day, our bedroom was like a rainforest.  We ended up having to take the entire ceiling down and find the problem.  It turns out that a hole, the size of a pinhead, was drilled over our bathroom and positioned in such a way that the rain would come in and drain directly onto our knees at night and then run further towards the back of the boat and down the wall.  John patched the hole and we have been rain free since.  It only took two days to dry the mattresses out :/

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Master cabin

Also in our room is an escape hatch that leads into the water in the middle of the boat.  We have never opened it, but we have seen ocean life go by while in the Caribbean.  The waters aren’t that clear in Connecticut.  Although, I can look over in the mornings and see if we are sitting in ice…yes, it has happened more than once.

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Master cabin and escape hatch

Each room has a wardrobe with a hanging section on one side and shelves on the other side.  We share the hanging side, but there, is only enough shelf space for one person…especially with having to store winter clothes.  Luckily, there is a nice size closet with shelves just outside our bedroom that I use for my folded clothes.

Each room also has a foot storage locker at the base or side of the bed and a wall storage locker under the windows.  Sometimes these storage lockers are filled with condensation, but we just clean them out and wipe them down occasionally.

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Master wardrobe

All of the bathrooms are the same, and everyone has their own attached to their cabin.  It took patience getting used to the small size and feels strange to use a bathroom that is in reverse.  The faucet extends to shower length, and there is a medicine cabinet behind the mirror.  There is also a small top hatch in each bathroom.  There is a large drain in the floor for shower use that runs on a pump that is controlled by a switch at the sink.  The commode took some getting used to.  Erik sometimes needs help with his, and guests don’t always understand how to flush.  While docked, we use the marina facilities for convenience and to lessen the condensation in the boat.  I found this annoying at first…particularly on windy or snowy days.

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Master bath
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View from master bathroom ceiling hatch

On each side of the boat, the rooms are connected by a skinny ~10 foot hallway.  We are connected to Erik’s room and have multiple storage closets in the hallway.  Liam and Glen are connected and have one storage closet and the breaker panel in the hallway.

John and I have slept in Erik’s room a few times when our bed was dismantled for engine, freezer work, or the horrible leaking ceiling that we dealt with for several weeks.  It was surprisingly comfortable, even with it’s triangular shape.  All cabins have two fans which are great for Wednesdays when we prop mattresses up and air everything out.

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Erik’s cabin

Erik had a really hard time giving up his stuffed animals in preparation to move onto the boat.  Each boy received a large size Home Depot box to fill with personal items for their rooms when we were packing up our home.  Erik’s box was 99% stuffed animals.  We purchased him a plastic chain with clips and suction cups to hang on his wall for Christmas so that he could keep his animals close by.  The rest of them are packaged in plastic bags, under his bed, in the deep storage lockers of which he has two that run the length of his bed.

The hatch at the head of his bed leads to another cabin that I would hope no one would ever sleep in.  We use it strictly for storage.  It contains shelves and deep storage lockers.  There are mattresses, but we just prop them up to ventilate.

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Erik’s cabin
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Erik’s cabin and bath
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Erik’s side hatch

Liam’s room is on the port side (left) of the boat at the back.  It is almost identical to the master cabin, but the ceiling is different due to the captain’s chair being right above his head when he sleeps.  Liam really likes his built-in reading lamps that he uses nightly.  He also finds his side table, where his escape hatch is located, to be useful.  You wouldn’t think so, but he really likes having his guitar right next to him on his bed.

The port side engine is under Liam’s bed.  It is the older engine but has not caused us any problems.  The rumbling of the engine as we travel is actually soothing…like our diesel truck that put Glen right to sleep as a baby.

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Liam’s cabin
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Liam’s cabin and side hatch
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Liam’s escape hatch

Glen’s cabin is Erik’s cabin in reverse.  Right now, Liam and Glen have the better views as they look out over the water and we look at the marina and dock.  Glen originally had the room that Liam is in, but he wanted to switch because the storage under his bed is plentiful for all of his toys and tools.  Liam didn’t mind switching to the bigger bed.

Glen loves making things out of wood, yarn, and what some would call trash, and is always busy carving or crocheting or creating something.  His prized possession is his giant stuffed Mahi-Mahi that he purchased with saved up money from gifts.

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Glen’s cabin
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Glen’s side hatch

I found it incredibly difficult to take photos of the inside of the boat.  There just wasn’t enough space to capture a complete shot.  I hope that it gives our readers somewhat of a feel for what it is like inside.

4 thoughts on “Take A Tour of S/V Varekai

  1. I lived in a 36 ft motor home for 3 years and can appreciate your descriptions and pictures. I am so proud of you and John for giving your boys the experience of a lifetime. You have wonderful writing skills and I love reading about your adventures.

    Like

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