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Life is a journey...why not live it aboard?
Nordhavn owner pens book on the economics of life on a trawler

September 15, 2009

By Jeff Merrill

What do you do when you live in one place but have to commute daily to your job a hundred miles away? The answer: buy a “weekday” house. Sounds like reverse logic, but it was a resolution to the conundrum faced by John and Maria Torelli after John got a job in San Diego, nearly a two-hour commute from their main residence in Riverside, CA. The Torellis didn’t want to move so they compromised and decided to spend weekdays at a townhome in San Diego. Unfortunately, that commuting schedule left no time to pursue and cultivate their cruising hobby...that is until John had the idea to sell the townhome and purchase a boat to use as their second home. They’ve now spent several years enjoying the working/cruising lifestyle (Maria and their Chihuahua, Daisy, hold down the fort while John is working), which they have done on two different Nordhavns, and have found it to be a truly worthwhile (not to mention pretty genius) compromise.

For those who have not quite yet reached retirement age or need to continue to earn a paycheck in order to finance their boating habit, the Torellis have not only worked out the ideal solution, they’ve perfected it to a T. So much so that John has written a book on the topic called Life is a journey...Why not live it aboard?Adjusting to life aboard their seaside weekday getaway was a learning process, but the Torellis want people in the same boat as them (so to speak) to know they, too, can achieve the best of both worlds. In fact, it may actually end up costing you less than you might think. The key is proper planning, being flexible enough to make compromises, and then actually going out and doing it.

John knew he had the liveaboard thing nailed. He started out relaying the details to friends and associates, curious about his situation. Then, at the January 2009 Trawler Fest in San Diego, he learned just how provocative a topic it really was. On a lark, John approached the folks at PassageMaker Magazine and offered to make a presentation that compared the costs of living aboard a trawler vs. living on land in a home. John had all the receipts and had figured out the math and was pretty surprised by the lower cost and healthier lifestyle that living afloat offered.  I was in attendance when John gave his talk to a packed room and his dry, matter-of-fact style had the audience roaring with laughter and at the same time enraptured with his facts: namely that it was cheaper to live aboard a boat than to live in a home. And though it was a little cozier than a sprawling estate, the lifestyle was much more favorable. (This statement notwithstanding, the Torellis have put their Nordhavn 40II, Maria Elena, up for sale in hopes of moving into a larger Nordhavn to serve as their new weekday abode. The boat is located in San Diego. You can check out the full listing at http://www.nordhavn.com/brokerage/listings/brokerage_maria_elena.php .)

The success at TrawlerFest and John’s inability to sit still led to his undertaking a book.  He’d never done anything like this before, but heck, this is a guy whose first boat was a Nordhavn so you can’t tell him what he shouldn’t be able to do.  The result is a brand new book (under 100 pages) that is filled with helpful advice for wannabe trawler owners and includes some real world expense data on the costs of ownership.  I peeked at an earlier draft and the final product is days away from being shipped to the printer. I am certain that, as potential Nordhavn owner – or even just as a Nordhavn fan – you will find the book enjoyable and worthwhile. The target audience for a book like this is measured in the dozens (well hundreds at most), so John will not get rich from his efforts. In fact, he would probably be thrilled to break even on the publishing costs and will get his biggest reward just knowing he had helped some fellow boaters start out on their own adventure.

With the helpful guidance of Nordhavn explorer Ken Williams (who also has also authored two books which you can order from this same publisher) John set up his book printing with Lulu.com.  You can either order the print form or download it electronically.   For more information please click on either of the following links:



I was just reading in USA Today that this is the time of year rock bands and best selling authors release new material so that momentum can build for making a killing during the holiday gift buying season…knowing John and Maria I can only confirm that in their case the timing is just a coincidence, but it does conjure a good excuse for you to order more than one copy. (You might even save on shipping fees!) And after you read your copy, get in touch with your Nordhavn salesperson and let them know you, too,
 are ready to save money by moving aboard because life is a journey!


PS You can go to the Nordhavn website pre-trip guides section or click on http://www.nordhavn.com/community/pretripguides/living_aboard/Living_Aboard_A_Trawler.pdf to review the “Living Aboard A Trawler” seminar presentation.  It consists of a 24 PowerPoint slides each with a different picture of Marie Elena 4061 and previews much of the material discussed in the book.




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