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, 30 October 2014

Pottering around, as you do when you don't work......

It has been very quiet on the blog of late. Mainly because there have been no epic sea voyages to report upon. That doesn't mean no boating of course - no we managed the monster trip across the bay to Cardiff and several runs up and down to give the main and wing engine some exercise last week. Hardly worth switching on the AIS for though....

We rented a truly horrid Vauxhall Corsa 1.2 (nasty little car, ours was in a grim bright yellow colour so a double whammy) and visited the crew's parents, taking a day out to see Cambridge again which gave the crew's mum's hat an outing again:

What else have we been up to? Well, the boat has gone topless again. The bimini cover was removed, this time by us not a big gale force wind. Then all the other covers were given a couple of coats of Boracol. This is the stuff that Stephen (the sailing, shooting and trolley shopper expert) recommended to us. It helps stop all that nice winter green goo from forming on covers and the teak areas too. Hence everything had a couple of coats before the really wet season sets in.

If you are interested / bored with your life, then have a look at Boracol use It is a nice pH neutral biocide and we love the stuff - it really does work.

What other fun and frolics? Well, the big outboard, the Yamaha 20HP on the RIB, had an engine and gearbox oil change for the winter. Not too taxing as it only involves 1.5 litres of engine oil and a filter about the size of two jaffa cakes but rather more expensive.

We also visited Porthcawl, on Welsh Andrew's recommendation. Lovely little town, just a pity that the new marina there has such a narrow entrance gate:

Cannot imagine squeezing the Nordhavn through that little gap on a bumpy day! Too too exciting. The marina itself seemed to have quite a bit of surge inside with the gate open, even though it was very calm out to sea. Think we will give it a miss and stick to visiting by land.

The final bit of fun was an unexpected trip to the theatre to see Al Murray, the comedian. If you don't know him, this might help / jog your memory Wikipedia link.

It was an unexpected trip as Penarth's resident Scousers, Carl and Julie had bought the tickets but then couldn't go along. That wasn't because Liverpudlians are not allowed in although they were the subject of a few jokes.

For any German readers, Al Murray's German language skills are excellent - you have to hear him acting as a Frankfurt stockbroker, talking German in a phone call with London. The Scottish Nationalists in the audience also had a rough time when he talked about their desire to establish the new republic of "Jockistan". A very non politically correct hilarious evening - go and see him on tour if you get the chance

Patrick? Well, he is a little piqued that his sister Poppy hasn't phoned or emailed since she moved in with Andrew and Linda in Weymouth. We think that Poppy is having far too good a time to worry about her brother. So much for penguin family togetherness.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Patrick's family photos

The errant penguin on board gave us quite a surprise. He went and invited his younger sister to stay for a few days! No checking up front that this would be acceptable of course, she (Poppy) just arrived courtesy of DHL one morning.

Patrick was being caring though. He wanted to find her a nice home and he often thought fondly of his time with Linda (the non Welsh speaking Welsh lady). Remember his RIB trip off Skomer earlier this year?

Pretty accurately, he had figured out that she would look after his sister very well with lots of cwtch time.

Firstly, there were a couple of difficult moments with Bronwen, his spaniel friend. She arrived with their "phantom baby" (see the earlier posts on Machiavellian Steve's behaviour):

Then, having spied Poppy, Bronwen was a bit frosty with our penguin hero:

Until she realised that Poppy was Patrick's sister and was no threat to their "special relationship" then normal relations were restored (no comment):

Just so you don't miss out, here are Patrick, Poppy and the phantom baby in what would be quite a nice family photo if they were mum, dad and baby:

For those who struggle to tell Penguins apart, Patrick is the rather handsome one on the left.

Luckily, Linda agreed to adopt Poppy following a pleading letter from Patrick and so we now have a much quieter boat again. Back to one penguin mouth to feed.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Pre winter maintenance time again! Read and you will never buy a boat perhaps?

Yes, there is always something to do on a boat... we've reported on most routine things as they were completed. One frustration is the engine mounts for the main Lugger. After replacement they settled quite slowly requiring readjustment a couple of times (and they need tweaking again now) for smoothness. The mounts seem feeble for the weight and torque of the engine even though they are the standard units for the Lugger 1066T. You cannot easily replace them with beefier offerings as the bolt holes in the bearers are fixed. Pity. Would specify something much chunkier on a  new build boat.

Next spring, we will try to arrange a lift-out in Southampton at Shamrock Quay again as the stabilisers are due a service. The TRAC dealer is based next door to Shamrock so....  Have a look at Golden Arrow for information and Stabiliser video for an idea of how well they work. great bits of kit. No matter what the service costs, it is worth every penny when you are travelling in rough sea to make the crew happy / able to cook underway.

The little wing engine had some TLC this week. Firstly fresh oil and filter for the winter, then fuel filters. The primary filter isn't one of the nice Racor turbine series that are fitted everywhere else. It is this horrid little canister thing:


A pain in the bum to take apart and the seals never seem to quite hold all the diesel in properly. We remade one hose connection that was weeping and vowed to replace it with a "proper" turbine filter sometime (ie when there is a deal on the Racor units) via ASAP supplies website. They are not cheap little bits of kit.

The wing engine raw water pump was leaking a bit - they have ceramic seals that don't like inactivity (but love lots of hours service instead). So, it was treated to a nice new pump:

Contrast the need for replacement after 62 hours with the genset that has the original pump after 1002 hours use:

See, equipment behaves just like crew - it hates being ignored....

The final fun job was finishing off a heating boiler service that was done earlier this year whilst we were on the Hamble river. Of course, after the service we didn't need the heating (amazing -a whole summer in Scotland and the heating wasn't needed once!!) Now the nights are a bit chillier, we ran the unit and it was very (I mean very) smoky. It also was burning unevenly. Not best pleased after having it fettled by a professional Webasto trained technician in May on the theory that it wasn't a DIY job.

Of course, we were not close to them for the man to have another look so instructions were duly emailed over and the fun of dismantling the unit and adjusting the fuel pressure was had. Naturally it is simple and accessible. Oh yes - tucked away in the lazarette in one corner so you need long triple jointed arms:

Very very happy about that little task which should not have been needed.

Remember how Bob (the trolley shopper and yachting expert from Barbados) described live aboard cruising as "boat maintenance in exotic places"? Well he was right, except that Penarth isn't exotic. It is very very nice but hardly exotic.

During the winter we will replace the torsional vibration damper on the main engine as that is also due. One of those jobs where nothing looks any different except your bank balance. Important to do it though to protect the gearbox from engine vibrations and possibly big repair costs in future!

Sunday, 5 October 2014

The cruising season looks like it has ended.......

Cuddled up safely in Penarth Marina at the end of September, we heard the ominous "there are warnings of gales in sea area Malin" comment. Yes, that is why we came south for the winter. Mind you, there is some nice stuff forecast for tonight down here:

Storm 10 for the first time this winter and it is only October 5th. Doesn't bode well.....

This kind of sealed the fact that the UK cruising season is over in our minds. We did have a run across Cardiff Bay last week to give the big and baby Luggers a warm up but that hardly counts. So, it is time to report on the numbers for those data rational folks who seem to enjoy such things.

OK, since leaving Penarth at the start of April, we have covered around 2,000 nautical miles. For the landlubbers that is around 2,300 land miles and for the continental readers, 3,700 Km. Not a huge number as we spent plenty of time enjoying the places we visited - part of our mantra. This is not all about clocking up sea miles and ticking off ports visited!

The main engine was busy for just under 350 hours. The genset had 190 hours of use too (a good sign, lots of time away from marina berths!) Andrew (the non Welsh speaking Welshman) helmed for about 25% of this total time but is now engaged in buying his own Nordhavn so we might have less help and a lower Lemon Curd consumption next season.


Well, the engines and genset didn't let us down. A couple of leaks that needed fittings to be tightened but nothing else and certainly nothing that stopped them running happily.

The navigation PC played lots of funny games until the captain figured out a new sequence of starting up all the networked equipment. Since then it has behaved - not worth a gold star yet but getting very close. Don't like tempting fate.

Nothing else significant went wrong apart from one satellite box that feeds the master cabin TV. That packed up and meant no TV or satellite radio in the cabin until a replacement was fitted last week. Hardly a problem though.