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The Frugal Mariner
Saltwater Suzi and Cap'n Larry's "Boating on a Budget"
How to's, Information, Education & Fun Stuff about Boats, Sailboats, and Cruising
Before you go sailing check your local National Weather Service
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Because the authors of this website are cruising sailors and live-aboards, the information we offer is obviously skewed toward this area. However, much of the information will pertain to you whether you are a power boater or sailboater, a weekender or a long term cruiser, a boater ‘wannabe’ or very experienced, an inland lake boater or coastal or ocean sailor.
We welcome input, suggestions, and corrections from viewers of this site. We realize that we aren’t perfect and we will sometimes make errors.
We have done extensive upgrades on our boat including remodeling the interior (see photos on this page), replacing the engine, making all our own canvas and cushions, insulating the interior, installing reverse-cycle heating and air conditioning. (17,000 BTU's purchased used for $125), rewiring (both DC and AC), installing auto-helm (purchased for free), installing refrigeration, new stove, water heater, bilge pumps, hard bimini, dinghy davits, heads, pumps, replaced headsail furler (free), and much more.
The Main Salon - new cushions by Suzi, carpentry by Larry. In this photo, only the fiberglass overhead and part of the bulkhead behind the blue picture are original.
The "Bar" / Freezer Refrigerator when we get around to it we'll put up a page to show how this was built.
The V-berth - all cushions and pillows made by Suzi. The pillow shams (part of our soon to come "stowing ideas" page) hold all the bedding - custom made sheets, blankets, and a mint for the pillow.
More V-berth - here you can see the ceiling Larry built (with varnish applied by son-in-law Will). Behind the ceiling are three layers of insulation, which project you can see in our "Insulating the Boat" page.
Back in 1997, when we made the big commitment - selling the houses, the cars, the furniture, and buying a boat and moving aboard to go cruising, we had no idea how little we knew.
But the boating community and especially the cruising community is a very knowledgeable and helpful group of people. And we learned from them. And we learned a lot the hard way, by making mistakes. We learned by asking questions. We learned by reading books, by doing, by taking courses, by trial and error. We're still learning.
One thing we have learned is that the boating community has a 'pay it forward' philosophy. Boaters will do you favors, give to you, help out, offer advice (some very valuable). And expect nothing in return except that you give what you can to others. The Frugal Mariner is our attempt to give to others what we've learned over the years. We don't pretend to know everything which is why you'll find many links to other sites.
The Frugal Mariner website is about many things. But it didn't start out that way. Originally, all we wanted to do was build a website which offered information on how to cruise on a boat on a budget. But fellow cruisers and boaters would ask questions and offer suggestions. And we have had a couple of ideas on our own - and it just grew. And it will continue to grow. We have many more pages we are currently working on. You can just jump in by clicking on the menu 'portholes' above.
We are Susan and Larry MacDonald, known far and wide as Saltwater Suzi and Captain Larry. We have lived aboard and cruised our 1977 Morgan Out Island 41 since 1997.
Since 1997, we have made 6 extended cruises. Well, to us, they were extended. We're not talking big time 'around the world' cruises. Most of the cruisers we've met have taken more modest cruises such as we have. While we admire (and envy) the around the world cruisers whom we have met, we have been quite happy and satisfied with the cruising we have done. It's more than many have done.
We've managed to make it to the Bahamas and to Florida and the Florida Keys to spend several winters. We have had to stop to get work many times, working in marinas, boat brokerages, West Marine, canvas fabrication shops, insurance agencies (Suzi has a license) and more.
On our Frugal Mariner Website you'll find many photos we have taken over the years. We owned a camera store back in the 1970's and know a little bit about photography. We hope you enjoy our photos and our website. If you do, please click on the "like" section up on top and let others know about us. If you have a nautical website we would greatly appreciate a link. And if you would like to support our website - we don't ask for donations, but would appreciate it if you would take a look at our sites where we sell some products we have created. You'll see the ads outside the upper right blue margin for our Nautical Photography, T-Shirts, Calendars and other stuff. Or check out our "Ship's Store"
If you have read this far, you obviously want to know everything there is to know about us. So here's a little more:
We have three grown children; a son, Scott, a professional photographer, (www.ScottMacDonaldPhotography.com), married to Amber, a social worker,and twin daughters, both married. Colleen is an Architect and her husband is a restauranteur and they are the parents of Ethan, our first grandchild. Tara is a teacher as is her husband and they are the parents of our second grandchild, Piper Rose.
We have, over the years, besides boating and photography, been involved together in amateur theater, skiing, home remodeling, raising kids and cane, traveling and thousands of games of backgammon.
Larry, of less than noble descent, vocationally has been a newspaper delivery boy, a busboy, a bank teller, an Air Force sergeant, a Viet Nam veteran, a computer operator, offset printer operator, a photographer and photo store proprietor, a ski instructor, a Radio Shack Store Manager (not bragging or trying to be fashionable, he really was), a purveyor of office equipment, an electronic repairman, a computer programmer, a graphic arts designer, a carpenter, a stone mason, a teacher, a boat builder, a painter, and a Boat Captain. Avocationally, he has been an actor, singer, guitar player, husband, accordion player, live-aboard cruiser, 2 A.M. baby feeder/burper, skier, sailor, lover, puddinghead, chef, reader, writer, winemaker, wine drinker, inventor, scuba diver, writer of death defying poetry and other rhymes of passion and a gaffer.
Suzi, of unquestionable pedigree, has been, professionally, a baby sitter, store clerk, secretary, photography store proprietor, insurance agent, boat broker, canvas worker / seamstress. Avocationally, she has been a loving wife, phenomenal mother of three, seamstress, reader, knitter, mapist, putter upper of husband, owner of incredible memory, live aboard cruiser, skier, sailor, lover, cutiepie, card shark, killer trivia gamer, chef extraordinaire, traveler, gammer, granny nanny, and much more.
If you're still reading this, and haven't fallen asleep, or taken to drink, you must simply have lost a bet. Click on something below here to get yourself out of this because we're not going to make up any more.
Addendum: After over 15 years of living aboard and cruising, Captain Larry and Saltwater Suzi have sold our much loved Morgan Out Island, Kanau and have moved ashore in Vero Beach, Florida. We intend to keep the Frugal Mariner active - may even have more time available to make long promised additions. We will keep in touch with many of our cruising friends and hope they and other cruisers will help keep the Frugal-Mariner afloat for many years.