A couple and their cat have beaten the housing crisis and saved thousands in rent – by living on a boat bought on eBay .
A poky sailboat in Bristol Harbour is what David and Pippa now call home after ditching their £800 a month flat in the West Country city's upmarket Clifton area.
At just under 10 metres long and costing £7,000, David says he could see himself living there forever, despite the close quarters, lack of hot water and the seasickness the couple's pet suffers from.
Speaking to Bristol Live , David – who did not wish to give his surname – says he's happy to put up with the downsides as the couple have more than halved their rent costs.
Desperate to escape the rent trap and housing crisis in Bristol, a city which has some of the highest housing prices and rent costs, and unable to afford the money for a deposit, David explained how the couple looked at 18 boats before settling on the 1986 Mirage in a drastic move in March of this year.
David, a landscape gardener originally from nearby Swindon, said: “We were smashing money into rent. We didn’t have £40,000 or £50,000 for a deposit.
“With everyone being pressured with the lifestyles they want to lead, with gadgets and holidays and eating out, it becomes very, very difficult to buy a property.
“We spend well under half the £800-a-month Clifton rent now, including boat maintenance and mooring fees. It gives us flexibility with what we want to do in our lives.
“With my work, I can be based anywhere, and Pippa works in marketing, so she can use her Wi-Fi to work from the boat.”
The boat is moored near Pero’s Bridge in Bristol Harbour and the couple's inexperience has already led to some embarrassing moments.
“I watched a few Youtube videos on sailing, but we basically started by sailing 150 miles from Neyland without any knowledge,” David laughed.
“One time we planned to go from Swansea to Cardiff. We heard the coastguard on the radio say, ‘You are getting too close to the mud.’
“We got stuck in it and had to wait four hours to high tide. We looked like idiots.
“The boat had only got about 200 metres out of Swansea. If I did it again now, I would have gone out before the lowest point of tide.”
And with it being summer, David admits he does have fears for the future – and how the cat is coping.
He joked: “We’re living at very close quarters but we have not killed each other yet. The cat gets a bit seasick too.
“Winter is going to be difficult. Not having hot water means you have to boil a kettle three times to wash the dishes.
“We use the Marina facilities to have showers. When you have a hot bath for the first time in three months, you really appreciate it.
“We don’t have a TV, but we just watch stuff on our laptop. It makes you think about what you really need.”
The warmth of the boating community makes up for any downsides, David added.
He said: “Everyone is happy. Everyone drinks rum. We help each other out with tips.
“We would chat to people in a canal boat or a powerboat. There’s none of that ‘my car is bigger than your car’ nonsense.”
David and Pippa would like to permanently dock at Bristol Harbour, but there is a two-year waiting list for long-term berthing.
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