A Day in the Life of a Charter Cat Owner

Why are charters so expensive, some people may wonder. Sure, you have the expense of our time, expertise, food & fuel for the days you’re on board. But most of the cost, in my opinion, is the 358 days you’re NOT on board. Those are the days where the REAL work is put in. We deal with ALL of the headaches, maintenance and expenses while you’re not looking so you can have a beautiful sailing catamaran at your disposal to relax and enjoy for the week.

For an example, let me give you a behind the scenes look on this past weekend. We were preparing for an upcoming charter where 6 guests are due to arrive next week. We don’t live on the boat full time, so we had set aside a couple days to do some required maintenance before the guests arrived.

The morning began with the task of replacing the interior hatch covering that had fallen in the starboard forward cabin. Often, we only end up with 4 guests, so this cabin ends up being my storage compartment when not occupied. But now, it must be guest ready. It took us at least an hour to get the tension right on the shade and all fitted together properly, cleaned up and remounted. A task I had not anticipated in the time I had allotted to clean 3 bathrooms and 3 bedrooms. But some tasks just require an extra set of hands, so there I was.

I finally move into the port aft cabin to begin the cleaning process. As I enter, I hear scratching in the ceiling. Immediately I think, damn there’s an iguana on deck I better go run it off before it poops everywhere. I go up on deck to find nothing. Goosebumps went up my spine. There is something living in the ceiling! I yell for Scott who listens intently and confirms my suspicion. Then comes the fun part of tearing the panels off the ceiling to find whatever creature(s) lurk behind. After over an hour of wearily tearing into parts of the boat we’ve never seen before, we no longer heard any noises. In seeing the tight space where we had heard it before, we surmised it must be a mouse or a rat. Figuring we had scared it off into another part of the boat, we set out a rat and a mouse trap and left everything wide open.

Now it’s probably noon and STILL hadn’t started the cleaning process. I reluctantly started with the starboard aft cabin as those would be the first guests to arrive, keeping one eye on the open ceiling of the same cabin, half expecting to see beady eyes staring back at me. I sprayed down the entire bathroom with cleaner and begin scrubbing and rinsing like normal. I then flip the shower drain switch to remove the dirty water, only to discover it is draining ever so slowly. I stop and wait for it to finish then head to the drain line to clean the filter to remove the hair, gunk and conditioner that gets caught in it. As I’m doing it, I remembered when we showered last night our drain was slow too. I better do it now, while I am thinking about it I tell myself. That drain is on the opposite side of the boat, under the floorboards of the starboard forward step. I lift the floorboard up, while on my knees ready to reach my hand to the drain filter and there, sprawled out on the floor, was a 10-inch (not counting the tail) iguana!! Being caught completely off guard, I quickly jumped up and covered the hatch and screamed. Scott came running to the rescue, got some thick gloves and was able to sneak up on him and grab him. He thrashed and twisted, but Scott held him tight and went outside and tossed him in the water. It took quite some time for the adrenaline to leave my body. But we were both glad to have found the culprit and evicted him from the premises before our guests arrived.

As I go back to cleaning bathroom 1 of 3, Scott decides to find a new home for our electric scooters that usually reside in the storage cabin. Let’s put 1 under each aft bed he says. I stop to help him, as it requires 1 person to lift the mattress and hold it while the other can lower the scooter into the cavity. The first one goes down without a hitch. But as I open the hatch under our bed, I notice the diesel diaper we had under the diesel tank from a leak we had thought we previously fixed, was saturated with bright pink diesel fuel. FUCK!!!! Ain’t nobody got time for that. Scott climbed in and began to investigate. The JB Weld we had patched it with was not holding. He asked me to go grab him some blue shop rags so he could clean it up.

I opened the storage compartment to grab the roll of shop rags and it weighed 5 pounds! Holy mother of God, they were soaking wet! In a dry storage compartment, this is never a good sign. But that investigation will have to wait, my husband is still stuck under a bed. I grab some paper towels, more diesel diapers, and some degreaser. Scott makes the executive decision that this is a major project for a different time. It’s a slow leak and the whole tank will have to be removed to fix it. I’m not sure how that’s even possible, but I guess I will learn on another day in the life. For now, a catch basin and absorbent cloths will have to do. We store the scooter away from the leak and move on to crisis number 4 for the day.

Apparently, the way the air conditioner compressors are mounted, they don’t allow for proper drain flow. The drainpipes are going uphill. This causes the drain pan to fill and sometimes overflow. When it does it leaks under the fiberglass divider into my paper towel storage. It had happened before and since the first time, I never let the towels rest on the floor, but this roll of shop towels had made its way to the floorboard and sopped up all the A/C water. The engineer in my husband unbolted the compressor and remounted it on blocks so the drain now goes downhill. This is after a 15-minute search for longer screws.

By this point, I have no idea what time it is. The dream of finishing in time to travel back home that night was fleeting. I crank up some tunes and get back to work. I managed to get 2 bathrooms and 1 bedroom done before dinner. We had planned to go out, but Door Dash to the rescue, as that wasn’t happening.

We ended the night with a couple drinks and some laughs with my dad and Hattie while watching Bert Kreischer on Netflix. We then came home, feeling somewhat defeated, to watch the Bucs win the Super Bowl. Finally, a win!

We will travel back to the boat on Wednesday where I will finish the cleaning process, barring any more catastrophes. We will welcome guests to a clean and functioning boat and enjoy the best and easiest part of the chartering process, the ACTUAL charter!

Owning a boat, requires constant work! Gratefully, I am married to a man who can fix most things AND catch iguanas. I love what we do and wouldn't trade it, but what you see while you're on board is just the tip of the iceberg to what actually happens to make your week an unforgettable experience. I share this, not to complain, but to help understand the unseen costs involved. I always tell our guests who may be looking at buying a boat... Unless you are going to live on it and cruise, just hire us. It's much cheaper and easier!

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