Painting the Nonskid

Built in 1980, the scars and repairs from 38 years of use were scattered all over Trini’s deck.  Old hardware, like snap buttons and common-sense fasteners were broken and rusty.  When we washed the decks, a white milky water would float around the boat.

Trini needed new paint.

We asked a couple of freelance boat painters/maintenance professionals that could do the work on our dock, they quoted us around $5,000.  Cheap compared to local boat yards but still too much for our budget.

After months of putting off this project and debating which paint to use, we started to hear good things about Kiwi Grip.   Its a popular nonskid paint with cruisers and a few boat owners  on our dock had used it.   We heard it was easy to apply and they liked how their decks turned out.



Now that we decided on the paint, we had no more excuses.

The can of paint comes with a stippled roller that creates the texture on the non-skid.  When you open the can you will immediately notice the consistency is like pudding.

To paint we gathered the following items

  • 4″ roller
  • Not shown  but we used a 9″ roller and put two of the small rollers on it for large areas
  • tape – tape around non-skid
  • exacto knife – trim tape
  • wire brush – rough up surface
  • trowel –  spread paint
  • cardboard box –  for the pealed off tape

We used a 2.5 gallon bucket to mix the tint into the paint.  The white was too white, this is why we decided to have it tinted.

Here’s the gist of what we did.

  1. Wash surface area.
  2. Tape off area and hardware, hand rails, etc.
  3. Rough up surface with wire brush (avoid tape).
  4. Wipe area down with acetone.
  5. Scoop paint out with cup & trowel over surface.
  6. Follow up with roller to add texture.
  7. Take off tape within minutes after rolling the texture.

You can find a step-by-step video from PYI Inc and additional painting tips.


Applying the paint was easy but we had to work fast in the warm weather.  The captain would apply the paint and roll on the texture.  I would follow behind and pull the tape.

One tip, don’t leave the tape on too long.  The paint can quickly dry to the tape and you can end up tearing off the paint with the tape.  You end up leaving a jagged edge instead of a smooth line.

We worked on this project over many weekends, painting sections at a time starting at the stern and working our way forward.  The most time consuming task on the project was taping.


Now we have a skid free deck.


Happy Sailing!

From the painting Boat Wife.

World Cruising Budget – How much does it cost?

One question we are asked frequently is, “What kind of budget did you have for your four year voyage?”  We hear this question from other people planning to cruise like we did.

What it cost us will be different from others because the answer depends on the person(s) cruising, the type (length & make) of the boat and the cruising destination(s).  These variables will determine the amount of money spent on a voyage.

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DIY Hair Cuts


Like living on land a cruising lifestyle can be frugal or extravagant. How you choose to live on a boat and cruising to various locations will depend on you.  But here are some things to consider when deciphering your budget by examining each category…

Person(s) – Do you prefer…

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Eating street food has many pleasant surprises & local cuisine
  • Living on the hook (cheap) or dockside at a marina (expensive)
  • Eating out every night (expensive) or dining in (cheaper)
  • Buying trinkets or souvenirs at every location or just enjoying the moment
  • Do you take a taxi (expensive), bus (less expensive) or walk (dirt-cheap) when you reach land
  • When you reach a destination, are you hiring a guide to show you around or trekking about the area to make your own discoveries?

Boat – The type of boat can cost you more…

Boat Maintenance
  • The larger the boat, the more it costs to operate it.  A bigger boat exponentially increases the cost to moor it, store it & possibly clear it into a country
  • A bigger boat can cost more to maintain and outfit.  For example larger sails, winches, line and even requires more equipment  etc..
  • Do you own the boat or are you making payments?
  • Are you required to carry boat insurance?
  • Consider fuel consumption.  Do you sail in light winds or motor just to get to your destination?
  • Is your boat decked out in the latest technology or do you have what you need to get by?  Keep in mind, technology can fail and need replacing.  We had to replace our ham radio.
  • Where do you plan to haul out your boat for hull painting and maintenance?  We found it to be more expensive outside of the States.
  • Regardless of the age of your boat, even if it’s a new boat, you will be spending money on unexpected repairs and replacements.  So be ready for that expense.
  • Can you make the repairs yourself (DIY projects are economical) or do you have to hire someone (your shelling out the big bucks)?

Destinations – Where are you cruising?

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Inexpensive food at markets
  • Check-in fees in third world countries can cost more than in developed countries, but cruising in them can make up for the initial cost.  Groceries, dining, services, fuel, and attractions can cost less.  For example.. When we cruised (2005-2009) the cost of diesel in the Mediterranean was $9/gallon and in Venezuela it was $.11/gallon.
  • If your cruising destination is in  popular tourist locations, you will be paying more for the services provided on shore.
  • Are you leaving your boat for land excursions?
  • Are you required to renew your visa if you stay too long in one country?  You may have to leave the country for the visa renewal.
  • You also might be hit up for a bribe or asked to give a gift to a government official.  Negotiate the price if this happens.

After reviewing the above questions examine how you currently spend money on land.  This may help you evaluate your potential cruising budget for the following.  

Adult Beverages
Eating Out

For example, you might plan a food budget of $300 per month.  But this amount may not cover your food expenses if you’re frequently dinning out and have drinks.  Some people say, “I’ll eat rice and beans.”  That’s great if you do eat rice and beans on land.  If you don’t, I can’t imagine this drastic shift in your meals, so be realistic.

Fuel (Diesel, Dinghy Gas, Propane)

While boating in home waters, do you motor-sail or sail?  The more you motor the more you will need fuel.

Now consider the following?

Insurance (boat, health, dental)
Replacement Parts (bilge pumps, fuel filters, toilet kits, for some ideas)
Clearance Cost in the countries you want to visit
Do you have land-based monthly bills?
Budget for some fun like tours, attractions, and trinkets



We cruised on less than many of our fellow-cruisers did.  How?  We had a 35 foot, bare-bones boat.We ate out,but in affordable places.

If you’re interested our voyage and what it cost us, we’ve shared our expenses in our book, Sailing The Waterhouse South Until the Butter Melts. 

Some people don’t like our style of travel, but this lifestyle was not a sacrifice to us.  We are used to it…our lifestyle on shore is fiscally conservative.  We don’t have car payments (we drive old cars), we rarely eat out (I like to cook awesome meals), our entertainment is watching DVDs, hiking, playing disk-golf, reading, basically living inexpensively.  We do this so we can afford to go out on a boat and travel the world again.

So do what you can afford, it will vary from person to person.

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Roti Island-Indonesia- Locals checking out our bikes

If you want more information on how to cruise on a tight budget, read, “Cost Conscious Cruiser” by Lin & Larry Pardey.   They can give you insight on how to do it on the cheap, because it’s easy to spend money if you have it.

Losing the Excess Pounds!

Time to shed some extra weight.  We’re getting rid of the stuff that we’ve accumulated to move onto our boat full time.

The condo we have now is small, less than 960 square feet.  But while living on shore for the past 5 years we’ve accumulated a lot of stuff.

Beds, furniture, nick-naks and other items we hope to sell on Craigslist.  If we don’t the remaining items will be donated.  But its not just furniture we need to get rid of, it’s papers, magazines, books, kitchen gadgets, and the all the odds and ends like White-Elephant gifts we’ve received or all the hair and cleaning products we don’t use  that end up cluttering closets and cabinets.

I have a plastic shower cap from a hotel we stayed at over ten years ago, still in it’s packaging.  I can’t seem to get rid of it.  All of these items with all their volume and weight won’t fit on the boat.

Now we must mentally prepare ourselves to downsize and shed the stuff we don’t need so we can transition back into a cruiser lifestyle.

No More…Couches


Now We’ll have..a Boat Settee to stretch out on (After I update the upholstery)

Boat Couch that needs new upholstery
Gone is the Spacious Refrigerator (I will miss my you!)


My new frig is cooler sized and deep


Forget the Automatic Dishwasher


I’ll hand wash the dishes (good bye my pretty nails)

Kelly girl

No one said this life will be easy, but its the one we want.


We’ll keep you posted on this transition onto Trini!










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Painting a Boot Stripe & the Hull

We pulled Trini out in Galveston, Texas at Pier 77 a local boat yard that allowed us to do our own work.



One of the projects we had on our long list was to paint the fading brown Boot stripe and hull.



We looked for the same shade of dark brown to keep with the 80’s color scheme.  But no one had that color available in their stores and we didn’t have time to have a color matched up.

easypoxySo we purchased 1 quart of EasyPoxy Petit paint in black.  The quart was about $38.




The paint was thin, easy to apply and one coat covered the brown boot stripes .  In the 70+ degree heat, the paint dried quickly.



Next was to complete the hull with red bottom paint.  (The hull was first sanded and then wiped down with paint thinner).  The new coat of paint will help keep barnacles and other sea-creatures from attaching to the hull.



Two coats of red bottom paint were applied using 3 gallons of paint.  Each gallon cost $150.



Helping us was Captain Kelly’s Dad, Rutledge and family friend, Pat.  The guy on the ground is Rutledge.


(It’s hard to keep free labor motivated.)



The tape pulled off and a nice sharp line remains.



As you can see, Trini (a nick name of Captain Kelly’s late mother) still has the name of Enterprise.  Another project to add to our list!






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How we Fished While Sailing

Sailing 5 knots while trying to reel in a 20 pound fish is impossible.  Well at least the way we were doing it.  Our heavy duty fishing pole was in effective.  Usually the line would snap under the weight of the fish.  If we managed to keep a fish on long enough, it would then be hard to reel it in.


We didn’t have our boat decked out with deep-sea fishing equipment and didn’t want to invest on getting one rigged up.  So the decision was not to fish when on passage.

But then we met, Victor.     He made his living fishing for Tuna and Mahi Mahi in French Polynesia.


His equipment was simple.  

  • A thick plastic filament line, rolled up on a spool (similar what you role up a garden hose with)
  • A squid lure.

One day he took a Kelly (man) and a few of our cruising buddies out to show them how he fished.  Victor didn’t speak English.  Kelly and his friends didn’t speak french or Polynesian.  But Victor was able to get his message across.

He pointed to the birds flying above which indicated that fish were eating below.  He would motor around that area, with the lines out and tuna started to bit.

Convinced of this technique, Kelly purchased similar equipment in Tahiti.  Our first offshore passage we were successful.  


We discovered the best time to fish was 1-2 days before making land fall.  Kelly would drop the line in the water and tie it off on a cleat.If a fish were on, we would use the winch to reel it in. We also purchased a gaff-hook to spear it and bring it up the side of the boat.

I had to kill the fish.  I had two options  either

  1. Take a mouthful of liquor and blow it into the gills of the fish or
  2. Beat it on the head with a club.

Though a mouthful of  cheap vodka is nasty, I preferred killing them with the alcohol, it was quick and humane.


After Kelly’s fishing lesson in French Polynesia, throughout our voyage we would catch Mahi Mahi and Tuna.  It would take days to finish eating it and we would share with other cruisers when we got to an anchorage and even locals.

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Society Islands – Three Things Not to Miss

1. Shop in Papeete, Tahiti at the early morning market

Tahiti Market

Get up early (about 5:30 am) to get the ripest fruit, freshest fish and
the  best selection….you are late if you arrive at 7 am.

Tahiti Market 6

Fresh BBQ Sliced Pork

 2. Swim with the Sting Rays on Moorea Island


The Rays come right up to you, seeking food.  If you don’t have any, they won’t hang out with you.  But watching them swim around your legs is amazing.  Check out Tahiti Travel Mate for details.

Moorea Stingray 3


3. Visit the Black Pearl Farms in Bora Bora or just hang out and enjoy the view.

Bora Borea 4

Black pearls B

Black Pearls…Love them!

Bora Bora cannon 2

Hang out, literally, at the WWII canons
that used to protect the entrance of Bora Bora

The Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary

A good cause in the Grenadines…Make sure to go to Bequia Island and visit-

The Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary


Riding our bikes through the tropical countryside of Bequia, we had one goal in mind.  To visit a sea-side shelter that houses Hawksbill turtles.  An effort to keep the endangered species alive, Orton King, a retired skin diving fisherman takes care of these creatures until the age of five.


He gathers hatch-lings and provides pools, sheltering them from predators.  He has about 200 turtles to care for and charges a small fee to visit his sanctuary.  He also will accept donations and sells t-shirts to help support his efforts.


Normally we see turtles floating by as we sail past them or watch them swim while snorkeling.  Having the chance to see at them up close, to touch them and look into their large glasslike eyes makes us appreciate the creatures more.


Turtle Photo Gallery


To arrange a visit or make donations, go to

Land Reality Check – Car vs Boat Maintenance

This week we are taking our van in for an alignment and to fix our A/C.    A necessary and expensive task and one I wish we could put off.  I think of how different our lives are now that we live on land.

Just a couple of years ago, we didn’t have a car.  We relied soley on our 35 foot sailboat and 5 foot dinghy to get us around. Once we were on shore, our legs did most of the work.

But no one really told us how much maintenance was needed to keep a boat shipshape.  During our four year voyage, I thought there would be more time  spent drinking margaritas at sunset and taking naps during the heat of the day.  I couldn’t be more wrong.

Around noon, you would find us decked out in our scuba gear.  Once a week the task of scraping the bottom of the hull was mandatory.  Seagrass, barnacles and thumbnail-sized shrimp would attach to our boat’s bottom.  Get a breath of air, dive, scrape and go up for air.  The two of us would repeat this for an hour until the hull was clean.

Once the job was done we would itch all over.  The shrimp would wiggle in our swimsuits and our knuckles bled.  They would be cut up from the sharp barnacle edges.

This wasn’t an easy part of cruising.  Nor is the bi-annual boat painting.

Every two years, we would haul out, Moorea onto land.  She would need a new paint job.  It was expensive and to save money we would do the labor.  This dirty and hard work.

So knowing what I know about the cruising life, would I do it again?  Without hesitation!







Kelly Girl