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23' mini-trawler
by Schucker

Janice aboard Seaweed,
living the good life afloat...

Trawler cruising on $14 per day is possible.
I'm doing it and you can too.

Janice Marois, nautical journalist.
Accredited member of Boat Writers International.

Here, I share my views on living aboard a small boat with very limited resources. Hopefully my successes will help others achieve the life. And yes, I'll share the things I did wrong too -- though not everything 'cause a girl's got to have her secrets!


Date: 21 June 2018. Tablecloth becomes Screens.


Approximately eight years ago I spotted an army surplus screen tent at the Army-Navy store over on the east coast. The cost was $15 as I recall. I was wavering on the purchase when I spotted the same item at the Salvation Army for $4. Yes, I bought it then. Eight years later the screen most exposed to sunlight has deteriorated. Here's how I solved that problem for $2.

I cannot fault the screen itself. In my view the longevity is more than adequate under normal circumstances. The screen I have for the back door leading into the cockpit is a-okay. The one over the aft window by the dinette is also okay. Neither were in direct sunlight for hours on end day after day.

Two screens covered my pilothouse doors. Those two were sun damaged. They faded and became brittle. Finally the tears began. Touch the screen and a new tear would appear. I spent too much time with needle and thread pulling the holes together.

This is Cheryl aboard her beautiful
Schucker motorsailor Island Time.


Finally I decided this practice of repairing a worn-out screen was a ridiculous waste of time. That's when my friend Cheryl came to the rescue. She offered a trip to the thrift stores. I was hoping to find some fabric with holes that I could use in lieu off a screen.

Screen would be too much to hope for, but I did wish nonetheless. There were some fine meshed curtains that might have sufficed if nothing better came along. Then I spotted the Good Enough solution.

Good Enough turned out to be a
rectangular table cloth, lacy, but not horrid.


The tablecloth was large enough to be cut in half. I did so. Now an ambitious person might have carefully stitched down the cut edge however frankly I'm not thrilled with the flower motif. I wanted Good Enough and for now this will keep the mosquitoes out and be reasonably okay to ignore.

I have been using lace curtains and tablecloths in lieu of screens over my windows for years. This is not an air-tight solution. Instead I light an oil lantern with citronella in it. The looser screens keep out the majority of mosquitoes when combined with the citronella lantern.

Perfectly sealed screens keep
out bugs AND keep in heat.

Note the nifty koi on the bulkhead. That is one end of
 a curtain rod holder from my friend Marsha. I love it.

This oil lantern has an inexpensive burner. Citronella will
gum up "better" lantern burners. Use cheap ones instead!

Marsha lived aboard a 30' Freedom
named Freebird. I met her on the east coast.

Marsha gave me the koi curtain rod holders shown
in the picture of the oil lantern I use for citronella.

Part of boating is moving on... making friends and leaving them behind or being the one staying put. In any event, keeping in contact with old friends is a source of pleasure. Decades ago we all had post office boxes and exchanged letters. Nowadays it's email. Honest to goodness, I miss the tactile pleasure of opening up a stack full of mail one at a time.

Nobody writes any more, and that includes me. I should do better.

Flowers are predominant in the tablecloth that is
now my de facto screen for the pilothouse doorways.

From close up they do not look nautical. At a distance the flowers don't show. For the interim I'm satisfied. The tablecloth, $2 at a local thrift store, is definitely Good Enough. 

That's it from here. Stay cool, and thanks for reading.

Comments welcome and encouraged on the
Tablecloth becomes Screens page.

Categories: Boats, Characters, Comfort, Gear, Money,


Announcement: Folks who want to be notified when I post are welcome to become subscribers. I email readers every time a new article goes up. That's usually once or twice per week. If you'd like to be included via BCC* simply drop me a line to janice@janice142.com and I'll add you. It's free.

*BCC - Blind Carbon Copy. Basically no one but me will have your email address and the list of subscribers is not available.

Now this is not fancy. Basically I copy off the top three items in my Archive file. That way you can catch up if life gets in the way of your reading fun.

Secret: If you want to know what's what, start in the Archive. It offers you the title, first paragraph and topics (Categories) covered in each article published on my website.

My Cruising Kitty earns money each time you buy on Amazon through my links. It costs you nothing and helps supplement my cruising funds. I appreciate it so much when you click through my site's Amazon links. It really does help keep me afloat.

Thanks for your support, and heck, just for being here. I really do appreciate that more than you can imagine.


Pets of the Week: Don'ke
and S/V Concord

Submit your pet's photo.
Please email pictures of your crew!

More canine, feline and feathered crew members can be found on the The First Mate Gallery page.


The Archive holds a chronological list of every item published on my website. It includes a brief synopsis (not just the title) along with the topics covered in each article.

Click on the title and voila: you're there. Enjoy!

Skipper, First Mate extraordinaire

Of course every boat needs a Deck Swabbie. Mine, born in 2008, is a papillon mix. She weighs in at five pounds.

Coming soon ...


Topics of Interest:
You can achieve a simple satisfying life

Oh, a wondrous bird is the pelican!
His bill holds more than his belican.
He can take in his beak enough food for a week.
But I'm darned if I know how the helican.
(Poem by Dixon Lanier Merritt, 1879-1972.)


For years I've been collecting short pithy statements otherwise known as aphorisms. If you're like me and enjoy the weird, go ahead and CLICK!

These are previously posted at the bottom of each article -- for new, you'll have to come visit again.

Seaweed is in St. Pete right now.

The above chart (#411) can be a wish book of sorts as you look over your domain and wonder where to go next. And yes, I do have the originals (sans red arrow) as jpeg's for download should you desire your own for closer perusal. Enjoy!

The Writer's Block

It's my belief that other folks who boat are some of the most interesting in the world. Inside every boater is a story. Let yours out! I'd love to post short stories, vignettes, or even longer articles that focus on some aspect of our life on or near the water. Suggested topics include:

1. I Remember When...
2. My First Boat
3. Who inspired you to be a boater?
4. Fishing Trips or Tricks
5. Or another subject of your choosing

For the novice, here's how to write: Simply pretend you're sending a letter to a friend. Tell about an event or a memory from years ago that you still recall.

Life has changed so much on the water since I was born aboard. Personally I'd love to hear your memories of life when you were younger. Boats were smaller, narrower, and much slower. Kids were kids and our families often shaped the adult we have become. Here are my two aboard the tow boat my dad ran for a time:

Your pictures would be wonderful too. I posted one of Boot Key Harbor taken in 2001 that has gotten quite a few downloads and really, that's not so terribly long ago... Do you have any photos to share? Email me.

Do you want to help out?

Often an article for the website will be completely written yet lack photographs. I like pictures and am looking for some for up-coming pieces:

  • Pets afloat (include pet and boat name please)

  • Any picture of boats underway or at anchor

  • Photos of people enjoying life in or on the water

Size: a minimum of 1000 pixels across please. If that doesn't make sense think bigger versus resized for emailing. I prefer the full-size version. Also, the name you'd like me to use when I add the copyright stuff to your picture. And thanks bunches!

My email address is janice@janice142.com

23' Schucker mini-trawler, circa 1983.

Thanks for visiting. If you happen to see my boat along the waterways, give a call on Channel 16. I'm always listening.

click picture to enlarge

My home is not fancy by any means, however you cannot imagine how wonderful it is to come back to her after an expedition on shore.

If I can live this life, why not you too?

Skipper, First Mate

Aphorism Alert: Begin doing what you want to now. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand, and melting like a snowflake. Marie Beyon Ray.

Contributions to my Cruising Kitty
are always appreciated.

Every gift helps.

The Cruising Kitty is what boaters refer to as spending money. There's never enough aboard Seaweed!

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