Living on a boat is the dream that all those who go at sea have made at least once in a lifetime. The idea (or better, the ideal) is a simple life, essential, slow, far from stress, traffic, parkings, commitments. In short words, far from the frenzy of the city life.
Surely I’m not here to wright about how possible this dream is to realize. It’s a complex and delicate argument: children, families, budget, routes, safety, there would be many topics to be treated. What I can tell you tho, is about a lot and various characters which I meet around for seas and ports that live on boats in several ways. The typologies are the most desperate, and for fun, in this peaceful day in port, I’ll describe them.
The most immediate way to subdivide these types would be the presumed economic availability of the subject at issue, that’s not so difficult to deduct looking at the boats facilities, the seas where they choose to stop and the rank of frequenting restaurants. But it’s a very italian cliche: in most part of the world, fortunately, the equation boat = money is obsolete if not unknown. Let’s try seeing these sea people according to the way they live on their own boat.
The cottage – either sailing or motor boat, is the floating transposition of the beach house or along the masted alleyway of a residential district. Perfectly clean mooring lines, hydraulic gang-planks with remote control, television, air conditioning and often a washing machine onboard. Seldom I see them releasing the mooring lines to take a ride at sea. Mostly they are Nordic people retired, they preferably live in Southern Europe seas where the climate is mild all year and often they have a (very educated) dog onboard.
The camping – definitely a sailing boat, it’s better than a house because it can move. And it moves by making the most of the wind, that, at least for now, is free. The lines are a bit worn, the sails could need an adjustment, and in the lockers there is enough material to equil the ware of two hardware stores, so in case it’s ready for any kind of repair. They are often French, but the nationality for this category is nearly meaningless. Usually they start navigating towards West, they swear that they’ll be away for a couple of years maximum, but it’s not difficult to find them ten years later on an island of the Pacific Ocean. Often they have children, that at the age of five already know 3 languages and can walk on the lifelines in balance.
The hotel – the boat isn’t just a house, but also a job. This is a very extensive category: there’s who always does the same routes, who changes every year, who stays in the Mediterranean, who chooses the Caribbeans or Polynesia. For them it’s a sailboat without any discussion. At most it can be a catamaran, but with caution, it depends on who you have in front. They’re characterized from a nearly human vision about their own boat, that absorbs all the cares and time which they can give to it. Usually they’re in two, commander and hostess, with a subdivision of indisputable roles which guarantees the peace onboard.
Not categorized – the boat, or any kind of floating medium which has been adapted to be livable, it’s the means to achieve each owns fantasy. Like the one of the Canadian family which lives on the floating garden in the photo, full of sculptures which they realize and sell. Like the catamarans inspired by the Polynesian boats, homebuilt by a diverse community which live in each corner of the world. Or like who equips an any type of boat among the many which are found semi-abandoned in ports, and travel through the oceans recounting stories and the beauty about it.