Tiny Floating Homes: RAG DOLL

Sometime last February Peter and I sailed into a popular destination in the Bahamas called Staniel Cay. We anchored next to a tiny little sailboat in the far corner of the bay and settled in for a strong blow that was forecasted to arrive later that afternoon. As the wind picked up and the waves grew large we kept an eye on the boats around us to ensure no one had begun to drag anchor. Only one or two other boats stuck it out and didn’t move to another anchorage when the winds clocked around from another direction. One of which was a 24′ sailboat named Rag Doll.

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When the storm subsided, we dinghied over to say hello. Chris and Eden delightfully gave us a tour of their boat and we spent the afternoon chatting away. Eden wanted to see some photos I told her about on my website so I pulled it up on her iPad. She had a random technical question about some apps and while troubleshooting, I happened to notice she had an app for Tiny House Magazine!

Now, around this time I had just been introduced to Tiny House Magazine by Andrew Odom. He was publishing a featured story about me and my tiny floating home in the upcoming issue of the magazine and I was working on some info and photos for his deadline. I hadn’t even heard of the tiny house movement before Andrew contacted me just a few weeks prior and here I was inside a tiny floating home much smaller than mine that belonged to an avid reader of Tiny House Magazine and Tiny House Blog! Little did I know I would eventually begin writing for Tiny House Blog on a regular basis and have the opportunity to show you all the truly tiny floating home that transformed my perspective and sparked my enthusiasm for this lifestyle.

Rag Doll is a perfect example of ultimate simplicity in a tiny space. Take a look for yourself!

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Read more as Eden shares the history behind Rag Doll…

 

OUR STORY: Go Small, Go Now

Chris, originally from England, moved to Calgary, Alberta to work as a Professor of Chemistry/Engineering at University of Calgary thirty-some odd years ago to follow his love of rock climbing. He has now published 5 books on rock climbing in the Rockies and has recently retired.

I was born and continue to live in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. My desire for sailing started back in my early 20’s when I lived for 3 years on a 1956 wooden Hinkley 36′ sailboat. I loved the freedom and excitement that living on a sailboat offered. Even my decision to follow a career in nursing in my mid-twenties was a reflection of my desire to sail and travel the world.

Chris and I met 11 years ago on the Broken Islands. (The B.I. is a collection of beautiful islands out in the Pacific Rim National Park, off the west coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia). When we met we were both with our respective children and parents on a week-long ocean kayaking trip. I still remember the first time I saw Chris climbing out of his kayak. He just kept growing…He’s 6’4 and 3/4″ and his slim frame maneuvered out of his teeny kayak with ease. (I must have known instinctively that he would like living on a small sailboat!) We married 5 years later.

Our draw to each other was our adventurous spirit and love of the outdoors and camping. We found that Rag Doll, a Dana 24, offered us the flexibility to continue our adventurous lifestyle. I had a 6-month leave from work and it just made sense to “go small, go now”. What better way to get to Florida than doing 50 knots down I95 almost “flying” with an 8,000 lb sailboat behind you?  We sailed around the Bahamas loving every minute of our days aboard Rag Doll. This past winter Chris was able to sail her solo down in the Bahamas while I was working back up in frigid cold Toronto. Next year, Chris and I will be together again, sailing in warm waters. The flexibility of a trailerable boat allows us to sail her also in the summer months. A trip we have been mulling over is taking her up to The North Shore of Georgian Bay in Northern Ontario. One day I’d like to travel all the way from Toronto via the canals and intra-coastal waterways.

 

LIVING ABOARD RAG DOLL

Living on a small boat has many advantages. First, everything is at your finger tips. Need an extra plate while sitting at the table? Lean over and grab one! There’s less to clean on a small boat. I can zip through vacuuming in a minute. I love the comfortable “cocooning feel” I get on our boat. I can lie in bed and look up at the stars at night. With a small boat we also have a shallow draft which allows us into places only the Catamarans can go. The beautiful sandy beaches are a very short swim away.

Just because she’s small in stature doesn’t mean she can’t carry her load. Rag Doll has an incredible amount of storage space. As a bluewater sailboat, food storage and water storage are necessities. She holds a whopping 80 gallons of fresh water and enough food to go with it.

A bluewater sailboat, to us, means more adventures in the future and safety. Chris and l love the fact that Rag Doll can handle a heavy ocean sea. She is solid, well-built and has a very reputable builder, Pacific Sea Craft. We looked at many other sailboats before purchasing her but none offered the same flexibility as Rag Doll: She’s a trailerable size for a flexible lifestyle and is built for safety in the ocean seas. The amount of head room sealed the deal for us. 6’3″ head clearance on a 24′ boat is almost unheard of. Chris can easily stand in the galley without having to stoop. I have tons of head space and I love the feeling of spaciousness that brings. Everyone who comes onto our boat is surprised when they see how spacious she is.

 

THE BOAT

She is a Dana 24 built by Pacific SeaCraft in 1986. With her bow sprit, her overall length is 27′

Her beam (width) is 8′ 6″ and she has amazing head room of 6’3″

She is a full keel, bluewater boat and she draws 3’8″. Shoal draft is great for the shallow waters of the Bahamas.

She weighs 8,000 lbs, good displacement.

She has a 2 burner propane stove and a propane oven.

Beautiful Teak and Red Cherry wood throughout the interior of the boat.

The head has a sink (which we converted into a cupboard) and has shower capabilities (but we tend to just use our Solar shower hooked to the mast).

Right now only have an ice box but plan to get a real fridge for next winter in the Bahamas…

She has 2- 40 gallon water tanks (a total of 80 gallons of fresh water).

We have owned the boat for 2 winters now.

Chris installed a new Yanmar inboard engine last winter (2014)

 

PHOTO TOUR:

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By Jody Pountain for the [Tiny House Blog]

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MJ - April 25, 2015 Reply

The Dana is probably my favorite sailboat made, and Rag Doll’s owners have beautifully embraced the live aboard life. Great story, thanks.

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