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

Monday, 28 April 2014

Getting splashed then down and dirty

Oh how hard it is to get up with an alarm call. We've said it before and think this just proves that we could not go back to proper jobs again... Still, this was an important one - getting to Shamrock Quay to disconnect the umbilical cord (shorepower) and get the boat ready for relaunching. The lift in was very gentle and completed with no drama. Of course, the crew always has a major pulse rate issue when the boat is in the air, hanging from some straps that always look too small to hold 40 tons but could actually manage twice that:

Even worse is when she is both aloft and being moved about:

Leaving Shamrock was fun - backing out between some large boats with the tide and wind really trying to make it hard. A point of honour was to do it without any thruster use so the rubbernecking people on the pontoons could see that single engine Nordhavn boats do handle properly. A nice grey gloomy short trip to the Hamble River and then onto the big events pontoon which will be our home for a few days. The marina is home to the Nordhavn Europe office and the pontoon had 2 resident 47s and a brokerage sales boat, a 43 on it already. We have always called this spot the "Nordhavn orphanage". Hope our boat doesn't think she is being abandoned! Here is the view from our side deck:

Alongside us is another 47, Rose E, owned (spookily) by someone that the crew used to work with in Toys R Us, which berths here. The next boat is a 43 "Wandering Star" that is up for sale. Remember the people we chatted to in Weymouth - this is the boat they were considering. In the distance is another 47 that lives here. Rare to see so many together. If you read our post about Craobh Haven last summer and add in these 3, then you have seen a very high percentage of the UK based Nordhavn boats!

After paying the eye watering MDL berthing fees we started to get things organised. Tea and cake with the Nordhavn guys, recovering the hire car courtesy of Phil Roach who kindly gave the captain a lift to Shamrock Quay and then a  big wash off. When boats have been out of the water, the decks etc get incredibly grubby and usually smothered in grit from the hardstanding area. Of course, we had a double whammy. Not only was she grubby but some of the upper surfaces had black water spot shaped marks on them. Lovely, especially as many were on the areas we had already polished. Some serious elbow grease is needed as they will not wash off. Maybe contamination from the planes that were flying over us heading for Southampton airport? If so, thank you very much Mr Flybe.

That put us off a lift at Shamrock next year - although everyone was very good and helpful if the marina is pollution central and we have more cleaning to do as a result.... Needs investigating!

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Blood, sweat, bruises but no tears

Yes, it is the annual maintenance weekend, when your home gets hoiked out of the water, dumped onto the land and has her bottom pressure washed to remove the detritus deposited by the sea.

Actually, the boatyard team at Shamrock were great. No hoiking or dumping. The whole process was very carefully and professionally handled.

Our role (after delivering the sick PC to the nice Tech-Bods people) was to provide the unskilled labour. The work list varies little from year to year. In essence:

  • Clean up the propellors and rope cutter
  • Clean off the wing engine driveshaft and bracket
  • Clean up the keel coolers and ground plates etc
  • Clean then anti-foul paint the thruster propellers and a few underwater outlets
  • Grease the seacocks (for those of you smiling at this, you have a dirty mind. It isn't at all like that)
  • Replace all the anodes (or Zincs for our American readers)
  • Polish the lower part of the hull topsides
  • Soak for several hours in a warm bath / book Osteopath appointments

Luckily, we had the boat Coppercoated when we bought her, so we don't have to face rolling on gallons of paint each year. That would be a job too far.

Here she is, out of the water - see how the travel hoist looks bigger now (bearing in mind the ladder we use to get on board that you can see at the stern is just over 4  metres long :

Previously, we've posted pictures of the sterngear showing a very bright copper coloured hull - ie just after the Coppercoat was applied and before she went back into the water. Well, this is what she looks like now:

Dark green "Copper oxide" colour, with a cleaned up, greased and coated wing prop sporting new anodes too.

Basically we dodged the many rain showers and got everything on the must do list completed by Sunday evening. We even managed to buy a quick beer for Phil Roach from Nordhavn Europe who popped round,  to wet his new baby's head. Poor Jess (mum) missed out as did Rosie who is too young to drink (1 week).

All that is left to do is book the Osteopath and prepare for the relaunch at about 8am tomorrow.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Yarmouth to Shamrock Quay (River Itchen)

Our lift was booked for Friday afternoon and as we had to collect a hire car that morning (need to transport a ladder, cleaning gear, get to and from the hotel we are using over the weekend etc) we opted to arrive the night before.

It was so strange heading back up the solent through waters we knew so well over the past years. It was also strange passing the entrance to the Hamble river, where we used to berth the Nordhavn. Instead we headed up to the Itchen River and Shamrock Quay.

For people who don't know the Solent area, here is Calshot Spit. The big building is a converted hangar where flying boats used to operate from many moons ago:

The tower houses the National Coastwatch Institution lookout - great views! Stephen (yes, the sailor, trolley shopper expert and clay pigeon murderer) used to be their training officer and occasionally we would get an SMS as we left the Hamble River saying we had been spotted. See, who needs AIS to be a stalker.

Here is how it used to look, when flying boats were still around:

To give us something to look at en route, the refinery had the usual selection of ugly tankers adorning the area and the military were out playing with a hovercraft (yes, they still build them around here!):

Berthed at Shamrock, this picture kind of summed up the "waiting for the lift out" as we looked over to the travelhoist:

It looks small in the picture but it can lift 75 Tons so our 40 or so will hardly stress it.

Maintenance news

Oh yes, we have some more for the strange folk who find this stuff interesting (or the people who revel in others' misfortune?)

En route to Yarmouth we had pumped out our black water holding tank. For the non boaters, this is the nasty one of the two - linked to the heads (OK, for non boaters, toilets). Kind of our mobile septic tank really. It has an electric pump for discharge which for some strange reason did not fully empty the tank. The indicator still flickered on "low" not empty. We did some investigation once at Shamrock Quay and found that the pump was broken. Exactly the same fault as we had a couple of years ago with the identical pump used for our grey water tank.

If you have a Sealand T series pump, then you will know how great it is. Never clogs, happy to run dry if you leave it on by mistake, very quiet etc:
Sadly, the motors have a feeble little worm drive arrangement. The end of the motor drive shaft, which is formed into the worm, simply shears off after x hours of use it seems. Of course, finding this out involves taking the pump apart and you can imagine how much fun that is now you know what it has been pumping through it. Such fun this boating life.

Seems like this will be a semi-regular feature for us. The grey water pump handles far greater volumes of liquid from the sinks, washing machine, dishwasher, tumble drier and showers. So, it gave up earlier on (after about 5 years). Now we live aboard, the equipment gets even more use so the next failure might be sooner. Hence we ordered a new pump for the black water tank and a spare motor assembly to repair the existing one. We will then have a functioning spare unit ready for another failure.

Why do they fit such a feeble drive mechanism in an otherwise very good bellows style pump which is advertised as being suitable for charter use / larger boats? The cost difference for a more robust mechanism would be a rounding error in the total pump cost as the motor itself is a standard 24v unit.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Yarmouth and the knee shortage.....

Let's get the important bit out of the way first. Girls, prepare to be disappointed. The weather was rainy and cold so the heartthrob of this blog (John for new readers) arrived in long trousers. No new knee pictures to set your pulses racing. Next time we see them, we will try to order warmer weather......

OK, having confessed that this will be a normal tedious post, here it comes:

We still love Yarmouth harbour even though it has changed beyond belief as they add more "walk ashore" berths and remove all the old posts that boats had to hang between. The posts caused much fun, watching people trying to get tied up between them with much shouting and stress as the tide runs through the harbour quite rapidly sometimes! Here is an example of how it used to be, showing an impounded fishing boat (they were drug smuggling) hanging between the last remaining posts in Yarmouth:

The other sad bit was seeing the little town centre becoming more "touristy" and less like a centre as some shops change hands. Our berth was right near the ferry terminal which meant we had lots going on nearby but also lots of noise at night from the vehicles embarking and leaving:

The evening entertainment was supplied by the local retained firemen though. Not because they offered knee pictures or "men in uniform" appeal to replace the excitement lost earlier on. No, it was because they seemed to enjoy pumping the harbour water around and having a "my hose is bigger / squirtier than your hose" contest. Boys will be boys:

At least the evening was civilised as Tim and Sheila (the folks who joined us for a brief boat trip whilst we were in Penarth) came to say hi. They were preparing their Yarmouth 23 sailing yacht which had just been relaunched for a trip to her new home in Plymouth.

A Yarmouth sunset to close our visit with. Shame they replaced the old posts with a fuel berth, spoils the view a bit:

Maintenance news:

Remember how our built-in navigation PC had started to behave like a 7 year old Windows machine?  Well, it has now gone though that stage and advanced to serious sickness. Probably terminal. It started rebooting itself and now either refuses to start or freezes once going. Looks suspiciously like a hard disk on the way out rather than a power supply issue. Great. Still, as we are heading to Southampton for a lift out, we can take the errant device to see the nice folks at Tech-Bods who are happy to fix elderly strangely configured machines (we hope).

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Weymouth to Yarmouth

On Monday afternoon, we had a mad moment and decided to do some more boat polishing. Of course, the last time we did that some idiot in a yacht ran into the bit that had just been completed and gouged lumps out of the hull so we were not too motivated. Still, the flybridge should be harder to hit and damage, unless there are Kamikaze seagulls around. Just as we were completing this we were hailed by a man who is a potential Nordhavn 43 buyer – Andrew. He wanted to have the chance to chat to some existing owners and as we were the only ones around, he had to make do with us. The world is so unfair to him.

He and his wife Linda joined us for a discussion of boating, life in the slow lane out to sea, life in general and cruising plans. Very civilised start to the evening! We need to apologise to Linda's mother as they left a little later than planned to drive her home....

Tuesday am was a “get up and go” start to the day as we wanted to take the tide towards the Solent area when passing the headland at St Albans Head near Poole and then up the Needles Channel alongside the Isle of Wight.  A lovely calm start to the day, passing two square rigged ships in Weymouth harbour that contrasted strangely with the Condor fast cat ferry. They won in the beauty stakes. Here is Royalist (a stolen picture showing her sailing), so you can judge:

It was very strange to head back into the Solent, our stomping ground for many years whilst week-ending from Hythe Marina. Passing the iconic Needles – sadly in the gloom though:

The Solent, although quiet by Solent standards, still seemed very busy to us. We called Yarmouth on the radio expecting that it would be pretty full (Easter week holiday people) but it was almost empty. No stress in getting a spot for a couple of nights. The harbour master seemed most impressed at how the boat spun around and then backed into a corner to drop onto our allocated mooring the “right side” to.

A trip to Harold Hayles, the Spurs cutter people to get some spare bearings in case we needed them next weekend was the usual hoot. Looking at their internet presence Harold Hayles website you would think it is a serious operation. In fact it is a real “cottage industry” with the office overflowing with paper, a “where on earth is my cash receipt book, the boss must have moved it” few moments when paying but a lovely friendly approach.

For the non-boaters, the rope cutter is a device that looks like this:

which is fitted to the main propeller shaft. The idea is that if a rope got wound around the prop / shaft, it would get sliced up by the cutter rather than potentially disable the engine. The Nordhavn design does all it can to prevent this by having a long full keel that helps push any stray rope etc downwards. It also has a “shoe” running from the keel to the rudder which again protects the propeller:

 So the rope cutter is really the last line of defence:

If all that fails, there is always the little wing engine. The cutters do work – we had them fitted to our previous Broom 415 and they chopped up a discarded fishing net which we caught (no pun intended, it was not at all amusing!) and saved us a potentially messy situation. 

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Weymouth Musings

It is nice to see that there is still a little commercial traffic here – the Condor fast ferries having returned last year (but now threatening to leave again). How the local authority will find / justify the £11 million needed to upgrade the ferry berth for one vessel that only works in the summer will be interesting: 

Somehow it looks out of place in what is mainly a fishing / recreational harbour now:


Weymouth isn’t the cultural capital of the universe or the most upmarket seaside resort. However, over the weekend (on the sunny days) it was very busy with people just enjoying a typical old seaside holiday. Kind of a throwback to the 1960’s and nice to see.

Patrick has caused much interest and comment amongst the kids and their parents as he stares out of the pilothouse window. The visitors are not all towering intelligences though and middle aged couple gawping at the moored boats had a strange conversation which we heard clearly through the open pilothouse door:

Her – see, there is a bear in that boat, with his back to us (pointing)
Him – where, oh yes
Her – and look (squeals) there is a penguin too
Him (looking into the water) – where, I can’t see it
Her – not a real one stupid, in that boat look
Him – what sort is it then?
Her – a stuffed one, look, he is waving at us now
Patrick, assisted by a captain who was struggling to keep a straight face, was waving his little wings at them:

To be fair to them, we have seen dolphins in Weymouth harbour so why not a penguin……

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Dartmouth to Weymouth

The tide timings were not ideal for this trip. To avoid pushing the big tidal streams off Portland Bill, we needed to arrive there at about 8am. That means a late evening departure from Dartmouth for the slog across Lyme Bay. Funny how that is a slog and other trips are “a trip”. Lyme Bay always seems very uninteresting somehow. The only time it was entertaining was when we were joined by a show-off dolphin who loved playing in our bow wave and treated us to 2 spells of great tricks before slapping his tail on the sea as a farewell and heading off.

Most other times, it has been a slog and as the wind had been a strong easterly for a couple of days, this was likely to be the same. Our plan was to get to Weymouth early on Thursday morning and get a mooring spot in the harbour before the hordes of Easter holiday folks from the Solent area descended upon the place. Then we would take a leisurely trip to Southampton ready for the lift out on the following Friday. The tides dictated a 10:30pm departure from Dartmouth.

One benefit of the full(ish) moon was some help in seeing the permanent moorings in the harbour as we nosed our way out in the dark. Sure enough, there was a fair swell from the easterly winds right on the nose so we nodded our way across Lyme Bay, with a couple of big detours for fishing boats en route. Good thing was that there was a little visibility with the moon so you knew when a big wave was coming. Bad news is that when you are trying to sleep in the pilothouse berth, you don’t see them of course.

As we reached Portland Bill, the tide turned nicely to help us. Portland was pretty misty / gloomy at 8am though:

Luckily the sun came out more seriously and the tide pushed us hard towards Weymouth and the harbour entrance which doesn’t look that appealing really:

The tower is one of those rotating observation things which for some reason in Weymouth is linked to the SeaLife centre. If anyone knows why….

Once inside the harbour. it is a lovely, lively spot though. Moored by 9:30am and in need of breakfast we spotted that it was a lot like being in Penarth – with one of the “plastic navy” patrol boat thingies moored ahead of us. If this is one of our 23 ships, we worry that our Nordhavn will be enrolled in times of need:

As the harbour slowly filled up, we inherited a Princess 54 motorcruiser rafted outside of us. The owner was upset with the harbour master as he wanted to be alongside the quay (first come first served here, no bookings possible) and wanted to be “port side to” when moored so the sun was in his aft cockpit in the evening. Of course, we always moor starboard side to (only one walkway on a Nordhavn, as we mentioned before) so he had the double whammy of being rafted out and the wrong way round for the sun. His life was, clearly, over. Actually I don't think he liked his 54 foot boat looking small against our 47 either. So sad.

Funnily enough he had an enormous flybridge to sit on with sun all day so he got little sympathy from the harbour master or us. This behaviour made us remember just how “M25 outside-laneish” the Solent based boaters are.” I want what I want and when I want it”. Looking forward to going back to Scotland soon…

For the interested, the trip was just over 54 miles and took just under 11 hours - lots of pushing the tide. Nothing to report on the maintenance front except it was nice and warm whilst doing the engine checks in the "wee hours" of the morning.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Salcombe to Dartmouth

Now we know how the working readers feel. An alarm call at 6am was unpleasant but necessary so we could get out of the harbour and over the bar before the water vanished. Of course, it meant we could enjoy the sunrise and a lovely quiet departure from the estuary. Out to sea, it was pretty calm and so apart from dodging many pot markers around Prawle Point, it was an uneventful trip for us.

Here is Start Point at silly o’clock in the morning:

The new boating season has started though. Heard our first mayday call – from a boat in Torbay. Eventually the poor Coastguard elicited that the problem was a dead engine. He politely asked them if they could anchor….. They occupied the inshore lifeboat for a while. Then we saw a yacht being towed into Dartmouth by the Torbay all weather lifeboat. Another breakdown. Early season, people using machinery that has been ignored / neglected all winter etc etc. You can imagine the rest.

We always love the Dartmouth entrance with the 2 castles and the town in the background. Some nice views on the way in:

Pushing a strong ebb tide (2 knots) we moored on the mid-river visitors’ pontoon just below the Higher Ferry. For the folks unfamiliar with Dartmouth, this is a chain ferry (OK, cables if you want to be pedantic):

The mooring has stunning views back into town and across to Kingswear where the steam trains run alongside the river and up to Paignton:

We managed a walk to the castle, passing the very old technology Lower Ferry:

The castle / church at the river entrance is a great spot to chill / watch the waterborne traffic  / enjoy the sun:

On the way back you get the iconic view of the Royal Naval College up on the hill:

Having heard on the radio that we only have 23 naval ships now, we wonder when they will turn half that place into a boutique hotel offering river trips and RYA courses. Must be very empty unless the training of other countries’ naval officers is a boom business. Of course, it is a high quality place – don’t forget that Colin the BA 747 Captain graduated from there a couple of years ago. OK, maybe more than a couple.

One highlight – a shopping trip yielded an unexpected bonus. We were happy to have a small M&S and small Co-op after several days in Fowey and Salcombe. We were even happier to find a reduced carrot cake in the Co-op. This was the very one that got a special commendation in the blog recently. We had to buy it, just to check that it was as good as the one we bought in Rothesay (Isle of Bute) last summer:

Well, sitting in the aft cockpit enjoying the sun, tea and cake, we are happy to confirm that despite the Co-op’s  current crisis, they have not compromised on carrot cake quality.  Hope they don’t go into receivership before we need another one. As the cake is enormous, that might just happen.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Salcombe revisited

We’d only come here once by Nordhavn, back in 2009, having been relatively frequent visitors in our earlier boats. The behaviour in the harbour made us think that we were the only Nordhavn visitor they had seen. Lots of boats slowing as they passed, gawping, pointing upwards (maybe that was just to show the green goo growing on the sat domes and sat compass) and shouting positive comments. Of course, any negative ones would probably have been sotto – voce.

The rollup dinghy (better known as the “rubber flubber” having been christened by our ex neighbour as it crawled over waves with him on board) was put into service again as the shore taxi. Salcombe town was busy, the start of the school vacations of course but the moorings were quiet.

Think we mentioned before that anywhere you have to go shopping by dinghy is a good place. Well, in Salcombe you also dispose of refuse in the same way:

The RNLI has installed some lockers for people to put their lifejackets in near the harbour office. Nice idea – encourages you to wear one when coming ashore by dinghy as you don’t have to then carry it around. Apparently most of the incidents in the harbour come from slightly inebriated people going back to their boat by dinghy at night. We took advantage of them and walked down to North Sands to admire the sandcastles being built by the kids.

We had arrived in time for the “Merlin Rocket open tiller” weekend. Lots of Merlin Rocket sailing dinghies racing up and down the harbour with a bit of sun, a bit of wind and sensible temperatures  to enjoy:

A walk to North Sands helped to work off some of that huge lunch from Fowey. A little catching up is still needed though. We avoided trying the cheese straws from the local “Artisan baker” (aren't they all these days??).  Not because we were worried that they would be better than the fabled Baker Tom offerings from Falmouth. Not because we felt guilty from the Fowey food excesses. No, it was just because they wanted to charge £1.50 each.

People news:

For those of you hungering for updates on the guest stars of this blog, here is the latest on our contributors:

John (of the wonderful knees, Falmouth Cheese twist fan and unfortunately a West Ham supporter) is sort of back on the Isle of Wight but escaping frequently for various little jaunts. We hope to see him (and Tina, of course) during our Solent time later this month so more news and potentially revealing pictures then.

Colin (the BA 747 Captain who didn’t crash the plane into the building at Johannesburg airport) has taken his Nordhavn 47 from the Hamble to near Barcelona. The trip as far as Gibraltar was together with a fellow BA captain so we guess that the navigation was spot on. Of course, with no cabin crew or BA First meals, the catering might have been a little lacking.

Patrick, the slightly overweight but rather appealing penguin has not become significantly more animated. However, on the last sea trip, he didn’t try to grab a life-jacket so we think he is more settled now.

Bronwyn the spaniel from Penarth who helps with boat painting – no news to report. We need an update from Steve on her latest exploits.

Stephen (the sailing, shooting and trolley shopper expert man) has been cleaning his yacht to within an inch of its life with lots of teak scrubbing and sealing ready for the season.  He is going to the dark side though, selling his wife’s BMW 325d and swapping it for a VW Golf. Grounds for divorce in our view Alison.

For the more normal readers, be glad you skipped the last section as it would not have enlightened your life one jot.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Fowey to Salcombe

You know how the forecast says it will be calm and the sun promises to peek through and you expect a perfect day on the water and then …… IT WAS!!

Leaving Fowey with little wind and a hint of the sun to come was a treat. The town was very quiet and peaceful:

Readymoney beach was deserted:

We took a straight course across to Bolt Head (about 36 nautical miles) and so set the autopilot and just enjoyed the ride. Very calm, just some ripples from the gentle breeze and a little swell from the earlier blowy stuff. Not even enough to upset an electric toothbrush that stood upright very happily for the entire trip, unaided.

The only downside was the fun of spotting yet more strange fishing pot markers. This time, as well as black oil drums and milk bottles, we saw another first:

Either the Plymouth Argyle players are practicing their corner kicks out to sea or the fishermen have started using kids’ footballs in nets as pot markers. We fear the latter of course.

Approaching Salcombe was a reminder of what a great place it is when not over-run by the summer hordes of DFLs. (DFL= Down From London). We crossed the bar about an hour before high water so no depth issues to worry about. For the non-boaters, the bar here (sandbank not alcohol related) had a fearsome reputation in olden days.  A nice strong wind against a spring ebb tide and it all gets interesting, with some rocks nearby to add a little spice to the navigation. Today, it was as rough as the average bathtub:

Heading down towards the town itself after a lovely 6 hours out to sea:

After the time in Fowey, we needed water (fresh, drinking and washing kind) so we popped onto the pontoon off the town and topped up the tank:

This was before heading around to a visitor mooring in “The Bag” – our favourite spot. The harbour staff are way better than of old. Very helpful and friendly.  We really like the off season when people have time to chat and the harbours have space. Of course, Easter is around the corner when the madness starts. We need to go back to Scotland soon where it is always quiet(ish)! Just a little boat maintenance around the lift out at month end first. Oh goodie.

Maintenance news: Not a lot really. The big Lugger has been behaving just fine, enjoying all the hours of exercise since her lazy winter period. The Captain did top up the coolant a little prior to departure today, just in case.  No signs of any leaks or a drop in the level – it just felt good to give her a little attention….

The built in navigation PC threw a wobbly en route to Fowey and rebooted itself. It is starting to behave like 7 year old Windows devices do i.e. erratically. Of course, our new Windows 8 laptop has behaved like that from day 1. It might be a winter 2014 activity to sort it out if these tantrums continue. As the PC runs on 24 volts, has 5 com ports and must run on Windows XP, you cannot just pick a new one up from PC World if it finally fails!

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Fowey paced life

You just have to slow down here. Modern fast paced living isn’t the order of the day. Firstly, the mobile phone signal is so bad that you cannot access the internet and email messages only pop up occasionally. Secondly because the main street is so narrow that you always end up standing waiting for a car, van or pushchair to get out of the way. Finally because we launched the roll-up dinghy with the little 3.3 HP egg whisk outboard and in that, you just have to go slow.

It was the outboard’s first outing of 2014 so we had that usual frisson of excitement that outboard motors generate after winter layup – will it start?? After a quick clean-up of the spark plug to remove the winter storage oil, it was the moment of truth. 4 pulls later, it fired up despite having old fuel in it. We love simple little 2-strokes.  It even pumped some cooling water through just to add to our delight!

The guys on the sailing ship alongside us were still busy doing stuff. Then the harbour tug came out to play, moving the small commercial ship that had been anchored ahead of us upstream to the China Clay wharf:

 Always worth watching as they tow them backwards with the anchor dragging up the harbour. No conservation society is trying to protect this bit of seabed for some animal or other we guess. Studland Bay could learn from them. 

Phil the Nordhavn man had called in more favours than he had outstanding and managed to get us a lift out for the boat on the 25th. So, we needed some internet connection to book a hotel / hire car etc etc. That forced us to go to the one pub in the town that offered free WIFI. Luckily the tea rooms that had the same facility wasn't opening until next weekend. Result.

The Ship Inn did an excellent lunch with great service too. We rolled out of there impressed and with the necessary arrangements made too. How did people live aboard and cruise around before the internet?? It was certainly a first for us – a pub with a stained glass window:

The history is interesting too – have a look at   Ship Inn website

A good walk to Readymoney beach and then a loop around the town helped work off some of the excesses of lunchtime. It only helped a little though. Still feeling guilty.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Falmouth to Fowey

When the wind and rain subsided, we went into Falmouth to get water / shopping etc. Port Pendennis, where we normally end up, was full!! So much for the “off-season”. For the first time in ages, we managed to get a slot in the visitors yacht haven though.  Very friendly welcome, even when we plugged in and popped the power which then would not reset  if we were attached to it. Frustrating – never had that fun before.

The boat does pop the breakers on some shorepower supplies as it has an isolation transformer that keeps the boat systems electrically isolated from the shore cables. It is great for avoiding electrolytic corrosion issues from dodgy shorepower installations (and there are loads of those about!) However, the transformer doesn’t have a “soft start” function and so even with the boat supply turned off, it takes quite a spike of power to get it running.  This was too much for the ultra –sensitive 16 amp breakers in Falmouth so we just had to use the genset for power.

As we prepared for a sea trip, Patrick got more and more nervous. We guess that the ramming incident from earlier on when the idiot yottie ran into us has scared him. first of all, he tried on a lifejacket:

Why would a penguin need a lifejacket??

Then he got very nervous and clutched the handheld VHF ready to call for help from the coastguard:

The trip to Fowey was lovely. Sun was out, the sea had calmed down from 3 days of force 7 winds and it was quiet out to sea too. Apart from the horrid pot markers just outside the harbour entrance that is. Think we ranted about this before – the local fisherman seem to use the cheapest and least visible markers possible – old white plastic milk bottles are a favourite. NOT HELPFUL GUYS!!

These are the kind of days you have a boat for:

Fowey was very quiet. One of our favourite spots too (the boat is registered there) and when we arrived, we found ourselves next to a lovely old sailing craft undergoing pre-season "fettling":

Rather him than me as the saying goes....

Friday, 4 April 2014

Bumps and walks around the Fal River

After the long trip, we didn’t rush to get up. Having finally managed this herculean feat, we were sitting in the pilothouse, on the phone to Phil Roach the Nordhavn man talking about arranging some things when the mast and rigging of the scruffy old wooden yacht that was moored ahead of us appeared right alongside our bow. It should not be there. Never ever.

Much shouting and rushing outside found the idiot skipper had headed off with the tide carrying him onto us, having ignored the advice of other people on the pontoon to “pull his boat back to get some clearance before trying to motor out”. The folks on the pontoon were dragging him back off us and the bemused / hopeless skipper of the yacht (singlehanded of course) was rushing about trying to fend off.

He had given the anchor a good clunk, but also managed to nicely scratch and gouge the port topsides our boat with his rigging / stanchions / whatever – yes, our newly cleaned and sealed hull that caused so much muscle ache recently:

 Details swapped, the idiot departed. Why idiot? Well, boats will run into each other from time to time, sadly. Mechanical things can go wrong like gear cables breaking or jamming, steering systems failing etc. Skippers can misjudge big gusts of wind. However, what this guy did was just plain old stupid. There was no way that he could ever clear our bow with the tide pushing him onto us if he just cast off and tried to motor away. But he tried; hence idiot. 

The frustration for us is that the marks will not simply polish out, they will need properly repairing and getting a good long lasting colour match for the gelcoat colour is never easy. Grr again. Also, as it is high up, the repair might need the boat to be out of the water for access.

The biggest worry is his insurer – he told us it was “Basic boat insurance Ltd”. Does not bode well.

After lunch, to calm down, we took the RIB to Trelissick and went for a walk around the woodlands, with a cream tea stop half way:

The two woodland walks are just lovely with great views at this time of year before the trees develop more leaves.

That helped us calm down as did G&T / wine in the evening!