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, 31 May 2014

On your (little) bike

Another lovely sunny day. We are treating this as our summer......

It was interesting to see the huge raft of French yachts scamper out on the morning high tide. Some hung around (including the two rafted to us). Unfortunately the guys moored ahead of us didn't stay put. As the captain was returning from the morning breakfast foraging trip (pain au chocolat treat) he saw the yacht that was alongside the pontoon trying to wriggle past the 4 boats rafted to it, us and the 2 boats alongside us. Kind of an aquatic limbo dance. They were under our bow and the only thing that stopped the nasty metal toe rail of the yacht from taking out big lumps of our gelcoat was a tubby Frenchman who was pushing them off our hull, sort of. We feared that he would be no match for a burst of throttle so felt obliged to shout at them a bit. Somehow, with help from everyone on the other boats they got out. Just a totally stupid attempted manoeuvre. Totally stupid.

As light relief, one yacht clearly had a shortage of sink and drainer space inside:

Using the cockpit seat as a monster draining board is novel but we suppose that we are spoilt with the dishwasher and a dedicated draining sink on board.

We must have a big target painted on the boat somewhere. A little later on, the French motorcruiser who was now moored alongside the pontoon ahead of us, cast off his lines, then didn't do much and so his boat drifted and wrapped itself around our anchor - luckily again, just the anchor had a clout or two. We sincerely hope that it did him some damage. Getting very fed up with people and their lack of common sense / boat handling ability. This helped us to recall why we never bothered to visit France during summer vacations. Just too much stress.

The little folding bikes were pressed into service for a ride around the bay to St Aubin and then along the old railway line towards Corbiere. The idea for this great cycle route was thanks to Stephen (yes, yes the sailing, shooting and trolley shopper guru) and Alison who lent us a guide book.

The route is the blue one - try it if you are in Jersey, well worth the gentle haul up from St Aubins to St Brelade. Apparently it is a 1:40 incline as it had to be suitable for steam trains but it goes on for ages. Of course, for those of us who spent the winter training on the Penarth hills, this was not too serious.

Someone had stolen the water from St Aubins harbour:

but not the sun luckily. We were glad that we had bought our fuel in Guernsey for 59p per litre:

22p per litre more eh?

The bay area is equally lovely:

In the town, you could just as easily be in France with buildings like these:

Of course, when in St Helier, you could equally be in London with street names like these:

Our plan is to head for Falmouth tomorrow now we are less hemmed in! Naturally this plan has excited the weather gods as the forecast for tomorrow am is local fog banks here. Hum. Last time we left Jersey, heading for the Hamble river at the end of a holiday, it was seriously thick. Didn't see anything until mid-channel apart from one little fishing boat who had no AIS, no navigation lights, no radar and little hope of living long as he pottered about in the Little Russel channel where the fast cat ferries are doing 30 knots. It was horrid but not unexpected to read that one had been hit the following year, in fog, by the Condor fast ferry and the skipper was lost.

Of course, no time pressure now so if it is a real "pea-souper" tomorrow at 9am, we might just stay put a little longer.... Watch this space.

Friday, 30 May 2014

Jersey musings

Remember how the worker types in Guernsey seemed to like shortish trouser legs in their suits that showed off copious amounts of inappropriate sock? Well, we are pleased to report that this trend doesn't seem to have arrived in Jersey yet. Perhaps it is a bastion of sartorial conservatism here or perhaps they can still afford made to measure suits. No matter why, it looks a whole bunch better.

One "however" type of comment though. Jersey seems to have way more immensely fat people waddling about than Guernsey. Perhaps that is simply because it has more UK visitors??

We mentioned the French yacht that got stranded on the cill gates recently. Well, here it is, it happened during the last UK bank holiday weekend:

Luckily the harbour team managed to pull it away from one gate so they could raise it and stop all the marina water draining out..... According to the nice lady in the harbour office, it is always the French yachts that get it wrong. Sorry to all our French readers but it seems that you have quite a reputation here.

Previously we showed how cosy some of the berthing was during the French public holiday weekend. Well, at the other end of the marina, there were some equally close anchor moments:

Not sure we would want to be in the boat relying upon that fender to protect his gelcoat if the wind got up at all... The visitors area was, simply put, a raft of boats with very little actual water left. Not exactly a "get away from it all" place right now but fun in a totally different way. We enjoyed watching the endless procession of boats entering the marina for the non-existent remaining space at each high tide:

You could walk between the pontoons across the yachts quite easily.

Cannot imagine what would happen if one of the guys right inside decided to leave before the rest of them, say at 5am? (out = at the far end of the picture).

For the folks who don't know St Helier, here are some impressions of the town. Quite a metropolis compared to little old St Peter Port on Guernsey but they both have lovely old buildings, an M&S franchise and a Waitrose. Such civilisation, all we need now is Aldi and Lidl to move in to make life complete:

The old indoor market (shame about the tacky bunting...):

And the park:

Of course, the one German yacht that we saw here must feel very welcome. Right outside the marina entrance is a memorial to the Jersey people who died in concentration camps during World War II. The square, en route to the town centre, is Liberation square with a suitable statue in it:

Even the buses are called "Liberty Bus". (For the far-flung readers who don't know the history of the islands, they were occupied by German forces during the war and it is a big part of the island's history. Lots of gun emplacements, rangefinding towers etc were built as part of Hitler's Atlantic Wall and an amazing underground hospital too (sadly by slave labour). Have a look at wiki on island fortifications. It is so strange to see a fortress built to defend the islands against invading French ships in the 1800s with a 1940's German gun emplacement added to it. Some examples of what is left here:

Even the dockside cranes seemed to be making a Churchillian V for Victory symbol:

At least they fly the German flag above the marina office together with various others. To all our German readers, sorry. You are still very welcome here, especially if you come with lots of Euros of course.

So, we reckon that this post has probably upset the Brits, French, Germans, Guernsey businessmen and local Jersey folk. Wow, quite a haul for one little update!

Postman Pat and Bank holiday pressures

You might recall the recent email exchange between Patrick and Bron the spaniel from Penarth when Patrick was told that he could not get the job as waterbus skipper. You might also recall the attempts he made to contact his granny for advice and how he has been a bit "off" with us since then.

Well, he had another email from Bron, the less racy section of which we've copied in below for you. Seems like Bron is getting a bit bored with the daily waterbus trips across Cardiff bay:

Not much else to report right now. We just seem to keep going round and round although I did learn some more rude words yesterday. The boat didn't stop and we bashed a wall. He said it was the gear box cable that snapped. I think he was just eying up a French teacher .... Well She was pretty! Anyway he spent ages with his bum in the air changing the cable and says its fine now. 

I wonder if, as you are so small, if they couldn't pop you in the post to me. You'd be here in a day. 

Of course, as soon as Patrick read this he was on a mission. We found him half way up the pontoon clutching a jiffy bag, a roll of parcel tape and book of stamps arm in arm with a French yachtsman who had been persuaded to take him to a post box. Poor Patrick doesn't realise that Jersey have their own stamps and Steve the waterbus man would be very unhappy to pay excess postage at his end just to have a small furry penguin delivered to Wales. However, we are sorely tempted....

He does look a bit sheepish now though (if penguins can look sheepish?):

He has a LOT of making up to do....

As yesterday was a French bank holiday, the marina was well and truly overrun. This morning yet more French boats arrived. A largish motor cruiser picked an empty finger berth near to us but was shooed off by the harbour staff as it was a permanent berth holder's place. Instead they shoehorned him into a very small gap opposite, which a much smaller yacht had vacated earlier on.

Initially, the bowsprit of the yacht was over the motor cruiser's bathing platform and almost poking through the cockpit canopy:

They decided this was a bit cosy and so the solution was not to move - oh no, much more inventive. It was to drop the anchor so they could go a little bit further forward (all of a half metre):

Never seen that before - or are likely to see it again we guess....

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

St Peter Port to St Helier (Jersey)

Firstly, some Patrick news. He has been very quiet since he was unsuccessful in his attempt to become a waterbus skipper. Ignoring all attempts to cheer him up, he has steadfastly gazed out of the pilothouse, playing the hard done by card. Well, we have chosen to ignore him a little too - let's see how long he can keep this up....

Secondly, you folks really MUST GET A LIFE!! over 10,000 reads of this drivel (excluding the internet crawling tool accesses). OK, maybe they were not reads, we should be more accurate and say "page accesses". If I stumbled across this on-line drivel thanks to a search engine, I would click away quickly too. Interestingly, Julie (a Penarth berth holder who has a Sealine motorboat that she is trying to sell if you are interested, hint hint) tried to read this blog at work. Seems like the Bank of Ireland have blocked us. Cannot recall being rude about the Irish but perhaps we should be now?

Lastly, we had a little trip today. Little as the sea was very benign - calm and empty and because the trip is a well worn route between Guernsey and Jersey. The only challenge was that leaving St Peter Port when there was still some water left and it is daylight (today this was about half tide down as half tide up was early am) meant arriving in St Helier at low water, unless you go very slowly. We did that and pitched up an hour after low tide which gave us enough water to sneak into the harbour and onto the waiting pontoon for St Helier marina.

Departing St Peter Port was fun. The aforementioned Swan yacht rally had really taken over the pontoon in St Peter Port harbour. Here is the official info Nautor Swan rally. Sails, spare anchors, chain, dinghies and other detritus littered the pontoon giving us just enough space to untie our lines (until one of the yacht crew decided that she should walk down our little remaining gap just as we were departing). Lots of very affected conversations going on too as the skippers "briefed" their crews for whatever maritime perils were to come. Briefing? More like an excuse for them to try and show off in our view. Still, they are lovely yachts even if the owners can be a little overbearing:

Anyway, we duly escaped from the Swan mob. Shame that the boats were far nicer than the people - what is it about a yacht club rally that makes them think they own wherever they are??

The trip to St Helier was pretty quiet. About four and a half hours for us and this time, no dolphins were spotted. Passing Corbiere lighthouse, this picture gives you an idea of how it was the typical grey leaden sky that we enjoy so much in the UK:

Here is a much better idea of how it looks, taken on a nicer day and borrowed from the internet:

We took the longer route to the south of Jersey, going around the shallow rocky area that lies offshore rather then using the passage between it and the island. This was to take a bit more time and arrive after dead low water. Here are the various "passages" through the rocks you can follow:

Normally we would use the NW Passage shown on the chartlet, but this time we came offshore and followed the "Leading lights 023 degrees" track which the big commercial guys use. Of course, as it was lowish water, they were not out and about.

You can see why we had to wait to enter the visitors marina area - a bit of a jump up for us to make:

So, we waited outside on the holding pontoon for a while until the tide came in and they could drop the cill gates. Apparently a French yacht tried to escape when there was not enough water last week and ended up "beached" on the gates. The yacht had to stay there until the next high tide and damaged one of the two gates that rise up once the water level drops to the height of the cill. Good job they didn't damage both or the marina would have drained down - not something we want to contemplate whilst we are in here....

Berthed inside the marina area with nice 32amp shorepower:

We then had to explore the town and try the local ice-cream for some reason. Perhaps because it was Tuesday?

Monday, 26 May 2014

Climbing hills, and again

Well, we went a bit mad and decided to take the cliff path walk from St Peter Port to Fermain Bay as it was a nice but breezy day. The ferries to Herm looked packed so we thought that there was little chance of "getting away from it all" over there.

The walk has some lovely coastal views, as an example looking back towards Castle Cornet with the MSC Opera cruise liner anchored off:

As the weather had been a little wet beforehand, the path was a challenge for people who had foolishly set off in Fit-Flops. We were not the only two foolish people though and much amusement was had by the sensible folks in their walking boots who passed those of us less well shod.

Still, we made Fermain Bay with no mishaps and enjoyed lunch sitting outside near the old gun turret:

the bay was so beautiful just a bit too much wave motion because of the wind direction to make it a good anchorage today:

That evening, we had another "yacht hits Nordhavn" moment. Yet again whilst we were tied up. A new looking Hanse 470 yacht approached the empty pontoon space ahead of us just as we were dishing up dinner. He got closer and closer to our bow as he headed in, the crew started pushing off from our hull, then the helmsman did too. by now, the captain was heading outside ready to get very annoyed. The stern of the yacht missed out bow by the proverbial fag packet but the wooden flagstaff hit our anchor platform, then got wrapped around the anchor which promptly chewed the end off it. They managed to berth with a slightly chewed look to the flagstaff and a very bent fitting that it was mounted in. We got away with bits of timber on our anchor this time.

When the captain went to see what damage they had caused, the other skipper simply said "we hit your anchor, our bow thruster isn't working and they haven't fixed it so mooring up is hard". No apology, no nothing. It took lots of self control to stop telling them that normal people manage boats without bow thrusters and if they cannot, then they should not venture out. Looks like 2014 is going to be a good year for hull damage...

Bank holiday Monday was a Guernsey Hill Climb event, starting from the end of the promenade area and heading up one of the local roads. An interesting mix of vehicles took part, from a pink Fiesta through to some serious single seater race cars. The bikers were very brave / stupid:

and not the only ones to lift a front wheel when setting off:

This guy had a moment on the first bend and ended up pointing the wrong way. There were also some tasty single seat race cars that just flew up the hill:

It was good to stand and sniff  Castrol R oil again. You can take the nice cars away from a petrolhead, but he remains a petrolhead at heart....

We plan to head off tomorrow for either Falmouth or Jersey. How will we pick which one? Well, it depends upon the weather forecast - whichever is supposed to be nicest for a few days wins.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Pottering in St Peter Port

Having "tanked up" we contemplated our next move. Should we trundle over to Falmouth and the head north? The weather there didn't look appealing at all. should we go down to Jersey (the big island) and hole up for the bank holiday weekend when lots of boats will be out and about? Or should we stay here for a while and explore the off lying islands a little (Herm, Sark).

Well, as Stephen (yes, the trolley shopper, shooting and sailing expert) and Alison were heading this way we thought that we would stay around and be sociable. They might not be as positive about our decision but we were happy with it. So, some wandering around the town, Candie gardens (restored Victorian garden, lovely) browsing in the chandlery at Boatworks + etc followed. A reminder of how dangerous the rocks around here can be was on display in the boat hardstanding area. Here is the bow of a large Trader motoryacht:

See how easily rocks grind a hole in fibreglass hulls? From the side:

and yes, there is a nice big hole that would let in water before you ask. Similar stuff was evident at other spots along the keel . Wonder how much water damage there was inside.

Naming boats has always been fun for a few people. We named ours very conservatively (Rockland is one of the Norfolk Broads and a past sailing haunt of the Captain's). when we had a boat on the Thames we particularly liked a Birchwood cruiser called "I'm Fluffy Duck too". Imagine radioing anyone - total embarrassment. There was, of course, the obligatory "The Office". Where are you off to? - I'm going to the office kind of conversations. For some reason there was also a small launch called "Double egg, sausage chips and beans". The name ran most of the length of the hull.

Well, a sense of fun is evident here too in the naming of this dinghy, the tender to a fishing boat moored in the harbour:

The eagle-eyed might spot a Nordhavn 47 in the background too.

We fed Stephen and Alison on Thursday evening. they were berthed inside the Victoria marina - we stay out in the harbour as we are deemed too big for the marina, Hence we had to collect them in our little "rubber flubber" dinghy. That was OK but the wind really picked up during the evening and the harbour got a bit rough. The trip back was interesting in the English sense of the word as was sleeping that evening with the background soundtrack of groaning ropes, fenders, waves slapping against the hull etc etc.

Luckily it cleared through so we could enjoy a lovely sunset over the harbour and town the next day:

This is such a chilled, compact and pretty place to spend time in. Let's see how busy it gets when the UK Bank Holiday boats arrive - we intend to stay for a while longer and visit Herm.

An observation on Guernsey - naturally the town has lots of suited types who work in the now disgraced financial services sort of world. We spotted that many of them seem to have suit trousers that show off lots of sock - often colourful things that are a little out of keeping with the pin-stripe suit above. The question is, are their bonuses now so low that there are forced to buy ill fitting off the peg suits from Asda on a day trip to the UK or, is this fashionable. Alison assured us this was high fashion. We leave the last word to the trendy mens magazine GQ mag website.

No matter what, we still snigger at them. Not just because we think they look silly but also because they still go to work. Strange outmoded concept.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

A very full tummy

We don't just come to St Peter Port because we like Guernsey (sorry local tourist board) - we also come for the nice cheaper diesel. So, after a day spent pottering around the town and walking to the super-duper Waitrose store for critical supplies (free tea and a chocolate tordsade) we had to do stuff on Wednesday. We made the long trip to St Sampsons by sea (just over 2 miles).

We had booked for fuel with the Rubis fuels office and sure enough Kevin the nice fuel truck man called us and arranged a suitably long slot around high water. A little critical as the harbour dries out....  You can see the "friendly" entrance from this chartlet. For the non-boating folks, the green bit means "it dries out" and the nice patterned bits heading for the entrance are rocks and shallow bits.

Once inside, it isn't photogenic either - but then, we just wanted a formula 1 style splash and dash. Of course, we carry a little more fuel than a race car so filling up took about an hour all told. We had pre-dosed the tanks with Stanadyne performance formula before leaving St Peter Port (remember that the Nordhavn has a day tank to supply the engine and genset so it is effectively isolated from the two storage tanks).

We have become great converts to the Stanadyne fuel additive cause. Although the blurb makes it sound like snake oil Stanadyne marketing info it really does work. Think we mentioned before how it stabilises the stored fuel and our filters come out nice and clean after a year, as it stops the nasty black asphaltenes settling out of the fuel. The biggest benefit according to the experts is the increased lubrication it gives to pumps and injectors and hence much less wear. As fuel injection kit is expensive, we like that!

For the people who like numbers, we last filled up 13 months ago almost to the day.

We took on 3874 litres @ 59p/litre (it had just come down from 62p/litre)

This fuel had taken us from Guernsey up to Scotland via Wales and the Channel islands. It then detoured to Cardiff, brought us back to Southampton and then over to Guernsey again. It also ran our generator for 246 hours and lord knows how many hours of heating during the winter. All in all, not bad!

So, for the statisticians:

13 month fuel burn:         3874 litres
Main engine hours:          338
Generator hours:             246
Wing engine hours:          6   (just to keep it working!)
Nautical miles covered:    1950 (actually a few more as the log was reading low for a while)

The likely share of fuel use (likely as there is no monitor on the genset) is:

Main engine: 2710
Wing:           34 (not worth worrying about)
Genset:        700
Heating:       430

We are quite happy with that!! If we owned a planing boat and cruised around at 20 knots, then the fuel burn for propulsion alone would have been about 8,900 litres and we would have spent lots of time worrying about where the next fuel station was. To add insult to injury, the smaller quantities you can hold and the need to buy it in the UK would have meant an average price per litre of around £1.05 (Scotland is expensive!) You can do the maths.

Adding about 3,300Kg of fuel makes us float a little lower in the water and at our usual 1475 rpm economical cruise speed it knocked about 0.4 knots off our speed and added about 0.2 litres / hour to the fuel burn at that rpm setting. The problems you have when you get porky!

And now, for the non statisticians, a quick Patrick update. He has received a reply to his job application, not from Steve but from Bronwen (his much better looking spaniel) again. Sadly, Steve has ruled Patrick out as unsuitable to captain the waterbus. This led to a morning of serious depression. First of all, he tried calling his grandma using the internal phone system on the boat:

Being an internal system, he only managed to call an empty engineroom though. Then, in desperation, he tried the VHF radio:

The coastguard was not amused. We have to keep him under much closer observation. He is clearly disturbed right now.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Studland Bay to St Peter Port (Guernsey)

Cruel, making retired old people set an alarm clock. So cruel.

Heading off just before 5am, we raced down to St Albans head aided by lots of tide. Similarly, the start of our passage across the English Channel was pretty fast too. The trip heads sort of south west and so we gain a little from the west bound tidal stream but have to push the eastbound one. This trip, the timings meant a little more "pushing" than benefitting. At least it was a lovely day and the channel was in benign mood - just a small residual swell on the beam from the earlier winds.

The shipping separation zone off the Casquets was, as usual, busy but we managed to get through with only one course and one speed change for the Hanjin Greece. Amazing as it was pretty busy. This is the best way to see the big guys:

You know they are unlikely to back up and hit you!

Also out and about in the shipping lanes was Aquarius, a rather large superyacht heading for Helsinki. So glad we have our fuel bills and not his (he was travelling at about 17 knots for info):

The run past the Casquets and towards Guernsey was spoiled by a little rain shower and the crew being in a deep sleep just when the Captain thought it was tea time. Such are the tribulations of the cruising lifestyle.

We had some real rocket assistance heading down the coast of Guernsey (10.9 kn @ 1640rpm!!) and were happy to see lots of space in the outer harbour when we arrived. Of course, it was pretty low water and so we had to pick our way around the moored boats carefully - only about 2 feet to spare in some places. Arriving at low water springs is a no go for us.

The trip took about 12 hours in total with no significant maintenance news. The fuel line from the port storage tank to the manifold (pump) was weeping a little so that got tightened up after we arrived. Apart from that, the big Lugger motor seemed happy to be on her travels again and the re-fettled navigation PC behaved just fine.

Scarily, St Peter Port felt more like Munich than the Channel Islands. Our Cruise liner curse was working again, Mein Schiff 1 was anchored off and the tenders were ferrying lots of German tourists ashore:

For a brief while, the Captain feared that he was back at work, hearing so many conversations in German and a couple of "Genau" comments. It brought back many memories, some of them pleasant ones of course....

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Hamble to Studland Bay

It was another lovely sunny day. Just a bit chilly thanks to the wind which had picked up a bit. The plan was to depart about mid-day, then head to the nice anchorage at Studland Bay (just outside Poole harbour) for the night. This would make the trip to Guernsey a little shorter on the following day.

Somehow, leaving the Solent area always feels good, especially in the summer. It was pretty busy with all the weekend sailors (yes, we used to be in that group) who seem to need the entire width of the Hamble entrance to themselves. We looked forward to getting out between the forts at Hurst, and into quieter waters.

Sure enough, they were. Here is Hurst, the fort on the mainland side of the western entrance to the Solent:

And the view aft as we left the familiar Solent waters again:

The "milk run" down to Studland was unremarkable, apart from the usual dodging of pot markers and anchored fishing boats off Christchurch Ledge that is.

Studland was pretty deserted by the time we made it. Old Harry (the limestone rock pillar) looked good in the sun, as did his wife (the neighbouring lump of rock) and the anchorage was very civilised until a couple of idiot Poole based day-boaters decided to return home at stupid speeds through the anchorage area.

A chilled evening:

Of course, we needed an early departure to Guernsey so the alarm had to be set. Naturally, the phone based anchor alarm that we complained about last year when anchored up in Scotland worked perfectly. Until we went to bed of course and then it woke us up with false warnings every 30 mins or so. Nice. Will rely on the proper Furuno kit in future unless we have guests on board. The requirement for us to have an open cabin door to hear the alarm would just be too scary for them.

Firing up the genset for the first time since it got treated to a new exhaust elbow (the preventative maintenance job) showed it only making 2 volts. Hum. Luckily it was just a breaker on the genset that had been knocked into the "off" position by the MDS man who fitted the elbow for us. Now it churns out 240v and 52 amps quite happily again.

The wind turned easterly overnight of course - the one direction where you get little shelter in Studland. As it was a nice gentle F3 to F4 that wasn't an issue though - only small waves had built by morning (well, 4.15 am is very early morning in our view) when the alarm went.....

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Landlubbing - why do people do that??

We actually had a couple of days ashore, getting the crew's gnashers fixed (for the non-native speakers, she went to the dentist for a filling) and generally preparing to head off after the completion of the various bits of work that we have already reported on. This meant a hire car and trip to Essex too.

We have just got to complete the claim form for the flood damaged furniture now. Do you recall how much your stuff cost and exactly when you bought it??| And how on earth can you work out a current market value for it? We had no kids so our stuff is in pretty good condition no matter what the age. the only worn out things are the two human beings. At least the flood brought some amusement. To get the Captain's childhood stamp collection valued, we found a "stamp collectors shop" in Enfield, sort of on the way back from the dentist:

The interior and staff / customers were a caricature of everything you would expect in a stamp shop. Hence, we can leave the rest to your fertile imaginations!

In case you think owning a cruising boat is one long round of maintenance interspersed by a couple of days at sea, well, it isn't that bad. Often you get 3 days underway.....

More seriously, most of the work we did / had done was standard stuff. Some annual activities like new anodes etc, expected tasks like a a main engine mount swap, heating boiler service etc. The captain also did the last diesel filter swap needed this year, replacing the main engine primary and secondary filters. The only real repairs were the aforementioned messy holding tank pump job and surgery for the aged built in navigation PC.

So, all ready to go exploring a little, just later than expected as it was so hard to get an earlier lift out this year and then we had some unexpected dental delays (NB it is normally the Captain who needs fillings....)

Dropping the hire car back to Southampton airport involved two little train trips. Out of 4 trains, two were delayed of course....  Hamble station isn't really in the village at all but is quite cute for a bit of countryside with 2 platforms. Here is the train that brought the Captain back:

The surroundings are suitably rural too, foal and all:

The day finished with another unexpected discovery. We still get the weekly update emails from Penarth Marina and it looks like Patrick has been sneakily reading them when we are not about. We reckon that we have upset him somehow because he saw that Steve, the waterbus man, was looking for a skipper to train up who could work on the boat during the busy summer months.

Patrick sat looking very guilty at the PC:

and we found this in sent items:

Dear Steve

I read in the marina weekly email that you are looking for a new skipper for the waterbus and that you wanted a mature type who you could train.

Well, I think that I am an excellent candidate. Although relatively young (1.5 years) I already have extensive boating experience and have covered about 3,400 sea miles on powered craft during my short life. So far there have been no incidents, close shaves or sinkings that I have been implicated in.

I am an excellent swimmer, fast too when needed,  so could be useful should there be any passengers who get lost overboard. I would not need a uniform as I already have a natty black and white little number. Finally, I seem to have an excellent relationship with Bron and would be happy to take her with me on the days that I would be skippering the Princess.

Please let me know when you would like to interview me. As I am currently en route to the Channel Islands (more sea miles) I suggest we use Skype for the initial contact.

Thanks for your time and I look forward to working for you


Patrick is pretty unhappy right now - firstly because he was found out and secondly because he hasn't received a reply from Steve. This boat isn't big enough to share with an unhappy penguin...