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 Baltic has been postponed as we didn't manage to see everything we wanted to in Scotland during our first year owing to family issues. 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

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Edinburgh in the rain

Know the phrase "Biblical torrent"? Well, it was forecast.... So, armed with serious yachting waterproof jackets, we headed for Edinburgh in trepidation.

Sometimes, stuff just works out though. The normally tedious M25 was pretty quiet and the Purple Parking people were very organised. Gave us plenty of time to sit in the nice BA First lounge (probably for the last time) and enjoy their hospitality. Will miss that place next year when we are in sitting with the masses and buying our own lunch... See, there are some drawbacks to this retirement lark.

Edinburgh was duly soggy when we arrived but the nice no 35 bus took us all the way to Leith for the huge sum of £1.50 each. About an hour and half ride in the rush hour traffic and rain. Crew complained of numb bum courtesy of the rather thin bus seats. An excuse to put eat wildly in the next few days to increase her level of posterior padding the captain reckons.

This wasn't taken on Wednesday of course. The elderly little camera isn't waterproof......

Thursday saw more rain. Walked into town though in the dry spell and climbed Carlton Hill - part of the UNESCO heritage site so we didn't drop Irn Bru cans or similar litter. (see earlier posts from Dunoon). Despite the gloomy day (yes, the dreich word again) the views are still great from up there:

North Bridge and the Waverley station area:

And finally, Holyrood Palace:

The afternoon, after a good walk around town, was spent getting out of the rain / getting culture in the National Gallery. Lots of Cherubs, naval battles, landed gentry in their finery.

Princes Street gardens view from the gallery:

Friday was spent addressing a major wrong from our past. Despite living in the city we had never visited the castle. It started badly - in the queue to get admission tickets a dopey wasp decided to crawl into the neck of the jacket worn by a German man ahead of us. The crew spotted this, but her fear of wasps meant that instead of warning him, she slunk backwards, squeaked something about his jacket and a wasp to the captain but let our European visitor walk on blissfully unaware. So, to the German man who almost certainly spent Friday in hospital recovering from an anaphylactic reaction to the sting(s) - sorry.

At least the visit was well worthwhile. Amazing place. Why didn't we go before?

Examples of the views from the various vantage points:

and one with castle the dog cemetery in the foreground, used for the regimental mascots / officers dogs:

The prison cell hammocks looked a lot like the forecabin on our boat mind you:

The prisoners' food was probably better than we offer too.

Final thought - if you are visiting the city and want a good Italian meal - go to La Favorita  http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g186525-d951521-Reviews-La_Favorita_Restaurant_Leith_Walk-Edinburgh_Scotland.html

Our last visit there was with Peter and Amanda, the Aussie connection. This time we drank less alcohol. Wonder if there is a connection? Perhaps the crew should have imbibed more as her cold / sore throat developed nicely the following day.

The promised report back -  we couldn't steal any toiletries from the extra hotel room as the stuff was in big dispensers fixed to the wall. Not everything in Edinburgh was perfect....

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Where do they manufacture estate agents?

Well, a non boating sort of post this time. We picked up our hire car, managed to load it up and get ready to leave just before the heavens opened in Cardiff. Amazing timing. The Vauxhall Astra diesel estate isn't terribly amazing as cars go but it is a diesel, has lots of space for stuff inside and so is ideal for what we need whilst sorting out the Norfolk bungalow. It is also very very red and uses more fuel than a BMW 520d. Not impressed.

We headed for Harlow (Crew's parents) and Norfolk via Anne's house - she who came for the weekend and left us her coat as a present. We also excavated some stuff from the marina lock-up in Hythe that we needed, bumping into Stephen and Alison there. (Stephen is the previously mentioned trolley shopper expert, who is also a hunting shooting and fishing expert, BMW car aficionado and general all round good egg. Alison is, of course, a significantly better egg..)

We started the dinghy clean up and varnishing job - some of the bits, like the rudder and tiller, got varnished indoors as the weather changed and it got a bit rainy. There is nothing quite as beautiful as varnished 65 year old mahogany. Well, you would also think so if you'd done all the work to get it to this stage:

The captain now is ready for a little house breaking / safe cracking as he has no fingerprints left. Sandpaper is wonderful stuff - who needs hand cream to soften the skin, just wear it away...

We also went flat hunting in Norwich. Idea is to buy something we would want to use as a second pad when we have to come ashore but to rent it out in the meanwhile - cash in the bank isn't terribly useful right now of course.... Where do estate agents get manufactured? It must be a very strange factory. They all come out with the ability to say lots of words with minimal meaning or content. They also have the same deathly pallor of the face and total inability to relate to normal human beings or follow basic instructions like "it needs 2 bedrooms and an en-suite". We found one lady who is in the wrong job though - she works for House Revolution (pretty grim name) in Norwich and was sensible and helpful to talk to. We reckon she will find a real job soon to escape from the army of clones that she must be working with.

Some OK places:

With lovely views across Norwich to the cathedral from the penthouse balcony:

We will rent the flat out initially so the fact that there are sitting tenants in this particular flat - two female Chinese students who clearly don't use the cupboards - should be enticing. Walking around the place and finding their underwear hanging in most unexpected paces was a surprise. Not a nice one, just a surprise. Got to decide if we like it enough to empty the bank account now....

About to head for Harlow and the dentist - the retired life doesn't mean you can't avoid such fun sadly. Then off to Edinburgh for a couple of days. This trip was booked as a late 80th birthday celebration for the crew's dad but owing to tablet changes he cannot travel now. Means we now have two rooms in a cheapo hotel in Edinburgh booked . We will check in to both and see which one we prefer / steal the toiletries from both.... More news anon.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Maintenance news & a radicalised Patrick

Well, as the longer distance trips are over for 2013 and we will be spending some time away from the boat, the time had come to do some pre-winter routine maintenance stuff.

Firstly, the main engine was treated to an oil change. About 250 hours running since the February oil and filter swap (lower than expected thanks to the various unplanned trips down south this summer). The official oil change time is after 500 hours for our engine but we like to leave her with some nice fresh oil for the winter period when she is going to be lightly used. There is an oil change pump built in:

and the filter is easily accessible (most unlike the average boat engine):

So, even the ham fisted Captain can complete the change in about 15 minutes. That is to pump out 20 litres or so of oil and then replace it together with the fresh filter. Simple job. We carry a drum of oil on board in case we need to change the oil in an emergency (eg split oil filter or hose) so we had all the necessary stuff to do the work too. (We've always used John Deere branded oil as it is sensibly priced from the agricultural dealers.)

We also gave the RIB engine a service. The irritation with the Warsash Marine gorilla that was previously reported was still fresh in the captain's mind but we cheated and pumped out the outboard oil rather than attack the immoveable drain plug. A winter job is to get a suitable socket..... Also changed the gearbox oil, lubed / greased the engine as necessary and gave it a good check over. That was a couple of hours work - again, not too stressful.

Patrick seems to have really settled in to the Welsh lifestyle. A regular son of Glyndwr now:

(For the non UK readers, have a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sons_of_Glyndwr)

He will be the guard penguin again whilst we are away sorting out the bungalow in Norfolk. No idea how bad he will be when unsupervised bearing in mind his new radical pro-Wales stance. Hopefully he isn't silly enough to torch his own home? Perhaps we should change the port of registration from Fowey to Cardiff just in case? We are thinking of setting up a webcam to keep an electronic eye on him.

A last thought - one of the swans that lives in the marina keeps flapping past us trying to take off. He/she runs out of water every time and has to abort before crashing into the quay wall nearby. We thought swans were smart enough to realise that if they have failed to get airborne every day for ages, they ought to find a longer runway or give up? Or perhaps the marina is the swan equivalent of a Gym? All answers to this conundrum happily received.....