About us and the boat

About us and the boat:

We were lucky enough to retire early at the start of 2013 so we could head off and "live the dream" on board our Nordhavn 47 Trawler Yacht. The idea is to see some of the planet, at a slow 6 - 7 knots pace. There are no fixed goals or timings, we just had a plan to visit Scotland and then probably the Baltic before heading south.

The idea is to visit the nicer areas in these latitudes before heading south for warmer weather. If we like somewhere, we will stay for a while. If not, we will just move on. So, for the people who love forward planning and targets, this might seem a little relaxed!

If anyone else is contemplating a trawler yacht life, maybe our experiences will be enough to make you think again, or maybe do it sooner then you intended!

The boat is called Rockland and she is built for long distance cruising and a comfortable life on board too. If you want to see more about trawler yachts and the Nordhavn 47 in particular, there is a link to the manufacturers website in our "useful stuff" section. For the technically minded, there is a little info and pictures of the boat and equipment in the same section


Richard and June

Thursday, 13 December 2018

That time of the year to get some sun

Yes, creatures of habit indeed. Somehow during a grey and windy and soggy UK winter you feel so much better after getting some sun. Being used to Lanzagrotty, one rather nice hotel and the walks along the promenade from there, we followed the usual routine and enjoyed two weeks of sun and warmth. We also enjoyed two weeks of John and Irene's company and as you can see they had a stressful time:

You will know them better as the owners of Archie the Lakeland terrier, seen here in full bark on the beach back in September:

We've shared plenty of images from the island before so here are a few "alternative" views. Our favourite spot in Marina Rubicon (see John and Irene above) normally involves coffee and a wonderful apple cake. This year it was graced by the restaurant's adopted cat Lily:

who enjoyed sleeping in the sun. So did we to be fair. The locals run a "cat rescue" thing for the wild versions under the name of Freddy's cathouse. They provide shelter and food for the cats. Whilst the cats are away, they also seem to provide food for the braver birds - perhaps the one outside was on lookout duty:

Another visit to Lagomar the place conceptualised by Cesar Manrique and owned by Omar Sharif for one day (apparently he lost it in a game of cards) was needed. Lovely place built into the rock (lava) face with amazing spaces:

Another excuse for John and Irene to chill out there:

In Arrecife, this old wooden ferry has been out of the water for many years - you can see how the boat has hogged - the stern seems to be following gravity downwards a little further each year as it seems very badly propped. Time for a chainsaw burial perhaps:

Talking of boats - some folks have an interesting choice of gelcoat colour:

Actually it looked far too shiny to be the original gelcoat bearing in mind the battering it takes in the sun here. Cannot imagine having a boat sprayed that colour and expecting to sell it afterwards.

One of the strangest things in the entrance of a shop that we've ever seen was this character:

Hardly welcoming and no, it was not a comic book shop - they sold clothes. We resisted.

Although the hire car this time had a better start in life (a VW Polo) than many others, it had been subject to the normal Canary Islands treatment:

Other holidaymakers might have added a few marks whilst it was tightly parked at the hotel. We say might until we get our damage deposit back.  Finally, a trip to El Golfo is always worthwhile, especially on a windier day. The rocks are around 8 metres above the water level to give you an idea of the power of the waves - and the wind was only the top end of a force 4:

Not a place to get caught on a lee-shore. A place to relax in, enjoy the walks and volcanic scenery and excellent hospitality from the hotel staff instead. Why did we return to this?

Not exactly ideal weather to relaunch the boat in.

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

When will the weather improve? When we have a sauna!

So, the plan looked like relaunch on Monday 12th at early o'clock to catch the high tide. The hoist crew were coming in very early so we could be afloat at around 7:30am. Tiring just thinking about it. On the preceding Friday, late evening, a somewhat annoyed captain received a nice email with invoices for the work done, confirmation that the shaft was fitted and the calorifier plumbing was completed. Unfortunately it also said that the new transducer had not been fitted for various reasons but that it could be done during the March lift out. The captain graciously replied telling them (again!) it was needed ready for an electronics refresh and that it should be done on Monday with launching delayed to Tues / Weds. Patience is always needed in dealing with marine businesses...

In preparation, the captain again braved the Blue Islands ATR service in the (old) colours of Flybe. Discovering that Flybe themselves are now up for sale only adds to the frisson of excitement / terror involved in using them to get anywhere ever.

To cheer up Captain Rae, this time it was a different aircraft, G-ISLK, Dating from 2000, this plane has a slightly less exotic history than the normal one on the Southampton service (see prior post) having been rattled around by Air Dolomiti. To try and prevent comments about ugly aircraft pictures, this time you are only getting the tail and the queue of brave passengers:

As you can see we were sent out to the plane before they were ready for us. So glad it wasn't raining.

Arriving into Guernsey we landed and made our way towards the apron. Then we stopped and waited and waited. A full 5 mins with the little turboprop whirring away and burning fossil fuel in a way that makes our Nordhavn look like a Green Party advert. Why were we waiting? No idea. We landed at 10:13 and here are the departing aircraft movements:

Nothing moving there. How about arrivals?

nope, no big queue in front or astern of us. Happily the delay in reaching our stand meant missing the once every two hours on Sunday direct bus to St Sampson. This trip was starting out well.

On Monday the sounder was duly fitted, replacing an older Furuno fishfinder unit. Good job too as it looks like the original fit was a poor one with a chunk of Sikaflex trying to level up the through hull fitting. The rather better M and G man ground away a little GRP on the inside and got it seated very nicely:

The new high capacity bilge pump to back up the temperamental Jabsco diaphragm unit was in place and very neatly plumbed and wired in:

Hard to spot in the bottom of the deep bilge area. The new calorifier was most neatly installed too:

Leaving a day for the sealant around the transducer to set, a Wednesday launch was booked. A weather window overnight on Thursday would allow time for sea trials, adjusting the stuffing box as the new packing wears itself in and generally checking that all was well before making an overnight crossing back to the Solent area.

Then it all went wrong. Excited to use the huge new calorifier to make some hot water for on-board showers, the immersion heater (also new) was switched on. The thermostat on it must have been faulty as it duly overheated the water in the tank, produced lots of pressure and caused one of the nice new pipes in the picture above which are rated to 100C and 6 bar pressure to split. The noise and resulting Turkish bath in the engine room was wonderful.

Luckily, there are no electrical things in that area to worry about so no other damage was done. Since the calorifier had been subject to pressures way above the design specification it means replacing the attached pipework and putting a new replacement calorifier in. This is not a 5 minute job (2 elapsed days) but the new unit had to arrive first.

Time to fly back rather than live in mid air for a while with an ever diminishing holding tank capacity free.  A most irritating problem, not the yard's fault this time but it just extends the out of water period. Good to let the hull dry out a bit we guess although the epoxy used with the Coppercoat probably stops that! Refits / replacements are such fun.