How To Live Off-Grid On A Sailing Boat

Smaller Living Space

Moving from a two-bed flat in Manchester, to living off-grid on the considerably smaller 34ft-long Caladh was always going to involve a profound cutback in ‘stuff’. Not to mention a complete abandonment of convenience. ‘Nipping to the shops’, or ‘putting the bins out’ now require logistical finesse.

Renewable Energy

So when it comes to vital resources such as water and power, we always knew it was going to be important for us to cut these umbilical tethers to the shore as quickly as we possibly could.

solar panel installation on a sailboat steel arch
Introducing our new 245 watt solar panel ‘Bertha’

Getting a reliable source of renewable power was key and for the first two years of our adventure, it became an obsession – how much power do we need, what battery chemistry, what will actually FIT, solar, wind, hydro or a combination? We were keen to avoid gadgets, as these just seem to become boat jobs of the future, but we did need to work from the boat and we were confident that living off-grid does not necessarily mean a resignation of comfort.

Sustainable Living

two girls doing beach clean with bin bags
Beach clean-up on Amorgos, Greece. Sadly, we probably could’ve filled 50 bin bags.

The more of the world we see, the more we want to preserve it. We are much closer to the elements now. They are a huge presence in our day-to-day lives – like having an extra person on board to think about. So sustainable living has become even more important to us. Carbon footprint, plastics, food waste, biodegradables, chemicals, renewables and landfill… the list goes on. These are all brought into stark reality when your sink is connected directly to the ocean and you witness plastics fraternising with sea-life on a daily basis.

So we still have a way to go yet, but this is the story of our journey, on the road to sustainable living. Below is a collection of what we have learnt so far.

Adjusting to life afloat
Installation of 245 Watt solar panel

girl cleaning the bilges on a sailing boat
two girls in sailing jackets in a storm with uncomfortable facial expressions
victoria 34 sailing yacht sailing at sea
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