10 Reasons Why Lockdown is Like Living On a Boat - Sail+Leisure
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10 Reasons Why Lockdown is Like Living On a Boat

by Ingrid Hale

Being boating people, we suddenly realised that living in a lockdown state is similar to that of living on a boat for a long period of time. Whether you’re racing across the ocean, cruising the seven seas or doing your long-planned around the world trip, the similarities are really quite obvious.

These are our top 10 reasons, do you have any other’s you’d like to add?

1. Sticking to a Routine

Just like being on a boat, in lockdown, you have to stick to a routine. It can take a bit of getting used to at first as we are all independent and free-spirited people. But after the first few days, things start flowing into an easy rhythm, You have to set up a strict routine for everyone from the start. There’s a sense of security in knowing what each day brings. Whether this includes exercise, cleaning, cooking or work tasks, a routine that everyone can follow will help a lot in the long run.

2. Keeping it Clean

When many people share a small space (made smaller by not being able to leave the house) cleanliness is vital. There’s nothing worse than feeling like your space and life is ‘cluttered’ by mess and dirt in a small space. We’ve set strict cleaning sessions for everyone so that we clean the whole place together as a team, and there can be no running away from this one. In addition, each person needs to take responsibility for their own space too, but this also has to be to a schedule otherwise it may not get done. The cleaning of common areas is a team effort.

3. Set up a Task List

Just as you need this list on a boat to maintain the important systems and parts, a house/apartment has maintenance requirements too. This is a good time to get cracking on the items on this list, which in the long run will help keep your home in prime condition and it will help to hold its value. Just like a boat!

4. Ration your Supplies

Just like on a boat you need to go slow on your supplies. When your regular favourites are not readily available, and your access to the grocery stores is limited, you need to be creative to make things go further. Just like on a boat you won’t be sure of what the next port will have to offer. So, to make things last, stretch your supplies out and plan your meals. Remember, you can preserve everything, it’s so delicious and avoids having to throw away slightly turned veggies. We have jars and jars of veggies, preserves and kimchi in our pantry. It’s also fun to do. A surprising commodity that we are rationing is salt. It’s like gold, it runs out quickly in our home so we are being strict about its uses.

A fun thing to do is to create a digital recipe book. Our daughters have created the most spectacular cookbook using plant-based recipes, which is shared to friends and family. New recipes are sent every few days. It’s beautifully designed, with little quotes to keep you motivated. This has been a fun project for them to do while in lockdown.

5. Grow a Veggie Garden

We have also found that the fresh items run out the quickest and they are the hardest to find under lockdown. So, it makes sense to grow your own! We are grouped with “those” people who have started a veggie garden. Albeit too late to benefit fully by the time our veggies have grown and the lockdown would have ended, it has still been a fun project.  We keep the seeds from all fruit and veg, which are then planted in egg containers. We’ve also set aside a small patch of earth where we transplant our seedlings into. We are starting to see large shoots and there is progress. We will carry on with our garden after lockdown – there’s nothing more satisfying than growing your fruit and veg. We also have our “greens” sprouting in glass jars on the window sill, waiting for the roots to come through.

And guess what? You can grow a veggie garden on boats too. See the ideas here on how to do this on Multihulls and Superyachts.

6. Dressing Down

Being on a boat you don’t need much other than a few sarongs, a few bathers or board shorts, a warm jacket, some comfy longs, a pair of slip slops, a hat, and a set of follies for the wetter crossings. Confined to your home you don’t need to dress up much either. Your power suits will be relegated to the cupboard and you will find that comfort is the most important thing. You will find yourself wearing the same outfit for a few days in a row or versions of it. No one besides your family/roommate will see you, so that should be ok, right? We have found that we need to be strict about this. Get up every day and get dressed properly – it doesn’t need to be in your power suit, but at least take care of your appearance. It’s not a good idea to be floating around in your PJ’s all day.

7. Get Tech Savvy

Just as a boat is ultra-reliant on tech for navigation, safety and running the boats essential power needs, people are having to rely on tech being stuck at home. On lockdown they will look for new apps, games, exercise, cooking ideas and video conferencing apps to make sure we can keep in touch with our friends and family. We’ve been having sundowner drinks with our friends on Zoom, we’ve had dinner parties and pool parties on Zoom and even shared a birthday celebration on Zoom. And of course, there is Houseparty. The youngsters are raving about this one – jump on and off to join a party and “meet” up with friends.

As a family we have decided to use this time to up-skill too, adding another skill or learnings to our portfolio. We’ve also been making use of apps like Blinkist and Mentorbox to get our daily fix of intelligent business reads. And where would be without podcasts – whether a spiritual fix, interviews with sports stars, upskilling or even creative lessons. You can get your fix of podcasts from some of our sailing and surfing greats here at S+L.

But we would be lying if we didn’t say we were enjoying the series binging on Netflix too, although it can be a challenge trying to find something that we all want to watch.

8. Get Physical

While you may have the ocean to swim in and dive into every day while sailing, being at home confined to a small space can be challenging when it comes to getting your regular exercise.

The exercise junkies who ride a bike and run for kilometres daily will find it the most difficult. But, there are loads of apps and youtube videos offering everything from yoga to cardio sets to Bootcamp. Get active! It’s been a saving grace for us to have our daily workouts to look forward too. And the benefit, of course, is that we are getting leaner and fitter.

9. Making Time for Each Other

As important as it is to respect each other’s personal space when you are in close confinement, it is good practice to check-in with your co-habitants daily. A story comes to mind of the team on Lion of Africa Vulcan in the 2017 Cape to Rio Yacht Race. Every evening all the crew (whether they were on a watch or not) would gather for a debrief of the day’s events and progress, look at the night’s sail ahead and look at the forecast for the next day. Once business was out of the way, pitman Carl Richter would read a single page from The History of the World, which was sneaked on board by bowman Sarah Niedzwiecki-Mecoy. It provided much entertainment, debate, conversation, history lessons and a few good laughs too.

A simple act of reconnecting and enjoying each other’s company can help to alleviate stress and foster a stronger connection.

10. Focus on the Destination 

Even though while we are in lockdown our ‘destination’ keeps changing, as lockdown periods are extended, there is a light on the horizon. Although no one knows what the true ‘destination’ is – defined as a time when this will all be over and life will resume to a state of ‘normalcy’ – there will be a lighthouse, we will see lights on the land, and we will know we have arrived. We will weather this storm.

It’s important to keep this in mind.

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