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  • Writer's pictureSailing Koinonia

Two months living aboard a boat (and other progress updates)

It’s officially been two months since our family made the transition to live aboard our boat “Koinonia” full time. I think all hands agree, it seems like a lot longer, but everyone has adapted extremely well. We’ve been stuck in a marina longer than we anticipated but, hindsight being what it is, we’ve gotten a lot accomplished and it’s helped make the transition easier on everyone.

As you might imagine, much of our time has been spent settling in and transforming our boat into a home. Working remotely full time, homeschooling, and other normal life stuff make up the bulk of our days, but also we’ve been getting out and exploring too. Much to our own amazement, we’ve managed to knock out nearly all of the major boat projects on our list. It’s been a labor intensive (and expensive) few months, but the end is finally in sight and the morale of the crew is high as we prepare to migrate south.

It’s turned much colder over the last two weeks here on the Chesapeake, making us even more eager to reach the warm temps and blue clear waters of south Florida. We’ve had a few Nor’easters plow through the Mid-Atlantic over the last few weeks, which is pretty common for this time of year, but these haven’t posed any threats to boat or the crew. Just a few rolly nights. We’re in a well protected marina and Koinonia is well secured and stable. Despite the temps, we’re staying toasty and dry thanks to our forced air Chinese diesel heater, which is unbelievably fuel efficient and warm.

As I mentioned, we had an ambitious “to-do” list to knock out before embarking on any long-distance trips. Most were about safety and soundness but a few were to notably improve comfort. As Captain Ron infamously said, “If it’s gonna happen, it’s gonna happen out there...” and sailors know that truer words have never been spoken. Having owned a boat or two over the years, we’ve become acquainted with Murphy’s Law, so we try to avoid tempting fate by being vigilant and proactive in addressing known issues. We hope by doing all of this work now will net fewer surprises, less cost over time, and more time to savor our adventures afloat.

Here is a run-down of the major projects we’ve completed (not exhaustive):


  • Eliminated the old stainless fuel tank under the v-berth

  • New PSS dripless shaft seal installed and carrier bearing rebuilt

  • All new motor mounts

  • New custom aluminum fuel tank install from Atlantic Coastal Welding (aka

  • New bronze fuel selector valve

  • New tachometer

  • New bonding for engine


  • New Hydrovane self steering and auxiliary rudder installed

  • Forced air diesel parking heater

  • All new zincs (6 of them)

  • Prop speed applied to running gear.

  • New bare wire lifelines

  • Re-bedded deck hatches and stanchions with Bed-it butyl tape

  • New twisted 3-strand dock lines in black

  • Rebuild primary winches

  • Repaired starboard side water tank inspection port leak

  • Under sink water filtration system

  • Hardwired stainless fog horn

  • Insulated all three staterooms (bedrooms) with wood veneer high density foam


  • Factory rebuild of our Navtec hydraulic backstay adjuster

  • Newly fabricated and electropolished 316 SS mast brackets to attach our new rigging.

Only a few items remain in process and all of them are DIY projects:

  • New 7/16 SS wire rigging, Hayn turnbuckles and toggles, and all new Hi-Mod mechanical terminals

  • New Dometic refrigerator compressor with XL evaporator plate

As you can see, it’s been a busy time and we’ve tried to do a lot of work ourselves, so our blog posts have been a bit neglected but we hope to share more often as we turn the page to a new chapter. All things considered, we’ve accomplished a lot in a short time. Wormley Creek Marina and the entire staff here have been really great. We are truly thankful for the people God has brought into our lives and for the opportunity to briefly share this earthly life. Now that the marina’s work is complete, and with our remaining DIY projects nearly done, we’ll be preparing to make our way south very soon. The plan is to take the ICW from Norfolk to Beaufort, then outside to Wrightsville Beach, back on the ICW to Cape Fear, then back outside for the overnight trip to Charleston Harbor where we have reservations at St John’s. From there, we will make a series of short daysail passages offshore until we reach Stewart, FL and then ultimately the Keys.

Something we continue to find interesting about life afloat is the perception people have about what living aboard is like. When people hear about our family’s lifestyle for the first time, the most common misconception seems to be that we are confined to our small living space for extended periods. But this is definitely a misconception even in the year 2020; it certainly hasn’t been our experience nor do we intend to let it be. We didn’t make a boat our home to keep confined to a tiny living space or to be stuck in one location. We’re constantly out and about — exploring, meeting new people, visiting local markets, seeing historic sites, trying new restaurants, fishing, hiking and, of course, sailing. So while living on a boat isn’t for everyone, you need not worry about our crew going stir crazy or contracting cabin fever!

We are so thankful for all the prayers and words of encouragement many of you have shared with us via Facebook, Instagram, and private message. We enjoy hearing from all of you! Please know we certainly think of and pray for you all often as well. As we prepare to embark on the next chapter, let us hear from you!

Ben Ward

S/V Koinonia

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