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

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Brizzle in the drizzle.....

For the non UK folks, "Brizzle" is the name used by the locals for the city of Bristol. Well, perhaps not by the various nationalities that have moved in over the past few years, more by the "traditional" locals. Drizzle - well yes, a gentle form of the normal UK rain.

Translations over, why did we go there? Simply because the crew had a work leaving lunch with the other directors of TICCS. Why now, when she hasn't been doing anything for well over a year? A long story and a good one too but not for here.

So, a little trip to Brizzle was needed. The force 9 winds meant a coach was better then a sea voyage and lower stress too as the top end of the Bristol channel has some truly EVIL tides to contend with. It is listed as having the second highest river tidal range in the world. Enough said.

Not having been around the city for many years, it was good to walk around and enjoy the area, like the Castle Park:

And the floating harbour area:

Richard, Bernie and Nick (NB, the sequencing of their names implies no seniority or favouritism here, it is just random!) had booked an excellent lunch in a very appropriate restaurant - the Glass Boat:

The conversation was very "cars and boats" orientated. Richard has a stable of nice machinery (like a restored Lamborghini Miura which won a concours competition at the Lamborghini owners event last year). Enough said, just drool over a picture of one:

He also races a Cobra, Ferrari and Mustang (Shelby version naturally) in classic races like the Le Mans Legend etc. A proper chap to use a nice old English phrase.

Bernie on the other hand, has a fleet of "restoration needed" cars. Nothing concours here but worthy in other ways (lots of Triumph sports cars, Series 1 Land Rover, a nicely restored VW Camper, Hillman Minx with the original valve radio inside etc etc). He also has a Triumph Tina scooter. Never seen one? Well, have a look at Triumph Tina information first.

They are cute, noisy, smelly and totally impractical. Triumph couldn't sell them despite having Cliff  Richard as the advertising campaign image. It sounded great riding around inside the factory unit where Bernie stores it though!

Bernie also has a collection / flotilla of old wooden boats. Here is the launch, Patience, moored in Bristol's floating harbour area - so pretty!

He also owns a Dunkirk little ship, Mimosa. Built in 1935, she is in great condition and took part in the Queen's diamond jubilee pageant on the Thames in 2012. For the non UK folks, the Dunkirk little ships were typically small private craft that had been requisitioned by the Admiralty during the second world war and were used to rescue soldiers from the beaches of Dunkirk, under heavy fire as France fell. Look at Mimosa history and be happy that there are people with enough time, enthusiasm and cash to keep such lovely old boats alive and seaworthy. Bernie is one of this special (crazy?) breed.

All that timber, paint and varnish makes us think that we should not complain about a bit of polishing on our fibreglass Nordhavn! We probably will though.....

Monday, 17 February 2014

When the Bakers came to stay

You have "met" John and Tina before. Indeed, many of you were rather taken by John's knees when they visited us in Falmouth last year.

Sadly, it was not really shorts weather so we cannot make the ladies happy with another enticing picture. However, you will gather from this one that the Crew still has the urge to squeeze the said knee area, even when covered up. John looks suitably expectant:

Finally we had a sunny day and so ventured out to the pier area and along the Bristol Channel a little way. Penarth pier is just lovely:

One most perplexing issue though - the flats built opposite the pier have a strange half balcony hanging half way up the wall, accessed by a tiny window from the neighbouring balcony. Fire safety - don't think so as it goes nowhere. Access for the cat - hum, 5 floors up? Ability to spy on the neighbours? We would all like to know what these are for please:

Sitting outside in the sun, admiring (?) the mad folks using the White Water Centre was amusing. Some of their facial expressions said it all, for some reason this guy was enjoying the challenge:

The rafters were a little different. Plenty of sheer terror and "oh no I got wet" faces. So, why do it??

Sometimes, it all goes a bit wrong too:

The evening was spent watching the ice hockey - Cardiff Devils vs Sheffield Steelers. Great fun! A few ironic moments though - like having the Welsh National Anthem (in Welsh of course) at the start of the game. Looking through the Cardiff team list, not too many could join in.....

Still, the home team won and everyone bar a little corner full of Sheffield supporters went home happy. An excellent evening.

Finally, something to redress the balance. We recognise that we have been short-changing our male readership. The ladies have been spoilt rotten with images of John and his knees (enough to make a red blooded female weep). So, for the men out there, let us introduce Tina, suitably attired for winter:

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Storm damage....

Guess what - we can now report that the 60 mph+ winds we enjoyed last night did cause us some trouble. In two ways - firstly the noise of creaking ropes and fenders, plus lashing rain managed to deliver one very disturbed night.

Secondly, when we got brave enough to venture for a shower this morning, we noticed that an aft corner of the bimini cover over the flybridge had been pulled loose by the wind. Braving the stlll 55mph gusts (it was not very nice out there!) we found that the zip that holds the cover onto the spreader bars had been broken and didn't want to close again. How the wind opened it in the first place we don't know as we had tried several times to pry it open so we could remove the cover to clean it...

As the cover was the original and very very sad (it also had a lovely green mould growth on the top of it from all the winter rain we have enjoyed) we reckoned that it was time to remove it and get a new one. Doing that in the wind was exciting too. Of course, it involved getting a small bath in green messy water that ran off the top when we pulled the cover back in place. Just after a nice shower too. Lovely. Of course, the wind then dried the green water that was splashed onto the flybridge area so we had to wash off the resulting crusty green goo. Double lovely.

So, we now have a topless boat. Before:

After, the minimalist "stainless steel hoops" look:

The marina folk will be upset when we get a new one though - they look down on us from their elevated office position when we lock in / out and could laugh at the state of the old bimini. Luckily few other boats"looked down" on us as it was pretty disgusting. 

The first non scheduled maintenance spend of 2014. Probably not the last but let us keep hoping! 

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

A maintenance (half) day

Why spend a day locked away in the engine room? Well, firstly because outside was horrid:

For the non boating folks, "very high" sea state means waves 9 to 14 metres high. Not much fun in a 15 metre long boat.

Instead, the captain had one of those virtuous days, doing a few things that have been on "the list" for a while.

For the tekkies / people who want to gloat:

The first job was to replace the genset fuel fittings that the captain had a rant about earlier on - see  Holy Loch maintenance 

We had some new fuel line fittings sent to us in Penarth and of course fitting them also means draining down the fuel system a little - an ideal time to replace both the filters too. Somehow having push on fittings for the hoses in a fuel system with no hose clips as insurance seems wrong but as they have built lots of generators using them, I guess it is OK. The captain still fitted some "insurance" though.

The planned genset valve clearance check got parked when time and interest ran out. Also because Steve (the trip boat man, keep up please!) kindly took the Captain by car, in the rain, to a paint supplier in Barry to get some etch primer. Wild wild life we liveaboards have...

For the tekkie folks again - the winter / spring work list looks like:

  • Normal fuel filter changes
  • Oil change for the wing engine
  • Valve clearance adjustment for the main engine and genset
  • Replace the exhaust elbow on the genset (not leaking but they tend to coke up after several hours use and they can also corrode though over time - hot metal with hot salt water being sprayed inside it....) The plan is to replace it with a stainless steel version that is reported to last a little longer. Very happy that our main engine has a keel cooler and hence no need to suck in vast amounts of corrosive salt water! See below:

There are also a couple of things that we will "get done" for us. The rear engine mounts take a lot of weight and torque and over time they split. One shows signs of this and so rather than wait for it to get worse, we will have them both replaced when we have our annual lift out. We don't have the kit to jack up the back of the engine / gearbox to replace them!

The other thing is a service for the heating boiler - a big Webasto unit that sees a lot of use during the winter and we like to have it working just in case we have a typical UK summer this year..... Why didn't we go south for the winter???

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

A little aeronautical diversion for the interested.....

Some of you might have looked at the rather impressive video of Colin the 747 Captain (yes, Colin. All rumours about his dress code must be scotched now) and his last flight in a Lightning fighter jet that was mentioned in an earlier blog entry. For sad old characters like the captain, the lightning was the star of the RAF Coltishall air displays when they climbed pretty much vertically off the runway with lots of noise and afterburner.

It always looked like an airframe just wrapped around the two engines - twice the speed of sound but a very limited time in the air as it had little room for fuel on board. A real "Cold war warrior" - built to intercept Russian bombers, For younger folks, or the non UK readers, Wikipedia Lightning entry gives you a flavour:

The cockpit is a real 1960's throwback and looks less impressive than a modern big Nordhavn!

So, have another look at the video of Colin having fun http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7S7Mj33jhek , then read his description of the flight below. Most revealing:

Glad you enjoyed my last Lightning flight; I enjoyed it at the time too! It is at Warton, near Preston. I was a civilian at the time having left the Air Force the previous year. I was working in the production test department and got to fly quite a few aeroplanes but obviously chose the Frightning for my last flight. It weighed about 2000lbs less than the knackered ex-RAF ones we had there and had very few hours on the airframe so it wasn’t bent. Also, it was silver, the way God intended Lightnings to be and the apprentices polished it every week so it went like the proverbial off a shovel! The Air Force ones were so knackered that it was difficult to get them above M1.8 but this factory ship got to about M2.2 and was still going when I chickened out! You don’t realise the thrust required to push through the air at that speed until you close the throttles and your eyeballs pop out a bit as you are seemingly thrust forward as the aeroplane decelerates violently.

In the video, we measured the initial pull up at 8 feet which was possibly why the jet blast knocked the camera man over. The push down to achieve that was a bit abrupt but you cannot see the little aerial I had to clear first! Sadly, the climb was without reheat as I was already on minimum landing fuel as I had to hold off for a short time to allow someone to finish some work in the circuit testing a new aeroplane so the climb wasn’t as punchy as it could have been. Was nearly vertical though! The fast run is just subsonic, around 700mph, or just over 600kts. That is about 20-30ft and is quite exhilarating as your brain cannot process the peripheral vision input at that height so you start to get tunnel vision as the brain dumps the side bits.

I do miss it! You can assure everyone that I fly my 747 strictly by the book!

For Louise - I know this isn't going to help your fear of flying much. Sorry. It is probably a bloke thing....