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 April 2015

Afloat again at Hamble Point

After the re-launch, we motored down to the Hamble river and into Hamble Point marina. This is, apparently, the priciest place to berth outside of London. It is ludicrously expensive as a visitor but, the folks who know Nordhavn boats are here and so it made sense to smile and pay. Through gritted teeth of course.

On the run down, we tested out the stabilisers and found that they worked fine but that the flybridge control panel didn't activate them properly. Hum. An email to Golden Arrow got an instant call back and information on how to reset the system to tell it that the remote panel was installed. That didn't want to work so the technical support man said he would pop over to sort it out, which he duly did. Great service.

What was on our "to do" list? Well, knowing that it might be a long while before we were back in the area, we had several maintenance items and some upgrades planned.

  • A new vibration damper for the main engine. We mentioned this before and had sourced the part for the John Deere tractor dealer in Bridgend as it was about 40% cheaper than via the UK Lugger parts distributor. Madness as they simply provide the Deere part anyway. Here is the front of the engine stripped down, with lots of nice drive belt dust visible:

The fire extinguisher you can see at the bottom of the picture was a precaution as the old damper has to be heated using an oxy-acetylene torch to free it - lots of nice Loctite special goo is used to hold it in place.

This is the exciting looking old damper, again garnished with belt dust:

And finally the rebuilt front end of the engine. Doesn't look at all different, this job only has a visible impact on your bank balance:

  • Fixing the oil weep that we noticed on the trip to Lymington from Fowey and had temporarily sorted out - new O rings fitted
  • Fixing a diesel weep from the fuel supply valve on the port fuel tank - now that we have burned enough to be able to pump it all into the other tank! A job for some Wurth sealant - for the German readers, yes there should be an Umlaut over the u.
  • Fixing the oil drain hose weep - a new piece of hose and fittings
  • New backup battery for the Satellite compass


A new navigation PC. Although the old one had behaved perfectly since the second Ethernet card (that runs the satellite telephone modem) was disabled, it was time for it to go to PC heaven. The new solid state device is a touch smaller so we are blessed with more locker space now.


New, cuddled up into a corner of the big locker:

Of course, it couldn't work first time. The Maxsea navigation software refused to work with the graphics card that came installed in the new PC so it had to be swapped over. Luckily Paul from Maricom is a patient man......

The boat has a huge isolation transformer which does a great job in protecting us against electrolytic corrosion when plugged in to the shore power in a marina. (For the non boating types, when you plug into shore power, you are in danger of becoming part of an electrical circuit with other boats that simply eats away your anodes and then propeller and anything else metal that the stray current can find. Not good at all. Most boats simply have some form of isolator, we have the big transformer which works much better at protecting us.)

However, when you plug into the marina electric supply, the transformer takes a spike of power to get started and this can trip out the shore power. We had a soft start device fitted to prevent this:

The soft start is a small Mastervolt unit, the white box hanging on the seat frame here. The transformer is the "all American" big ugly box beneath it. No comment, anything about Americans having to have it bigger and better would be a cheap shot.

Roland, the MDS marine man who did all the mechanical work also aligned the main and wing engine drive-trains for us. The wing was clearly in need of it - had probably not been touched since new....

The two tables on the boat had suffered a bit with the first owner and so we had them re-varnished. Happy crew time. Woe-betide anyone who scratches them, bashes rings or watches against them or spills hot drinks now. You have been warned...

A new silencer was fitted to the Webasto diesel heater. For some reason (cost?!) the original installer fitted a truck / coach unit. This isn't gas tight and when installed in the lazarette could let fumes into the boat. The new unit is a proper marine one. The captain then had to adjust the wooden screening around the heater as the new silencer was much bigger.

And finally, some nice custom made steps / handholds to allow the captain to climb up the fibreglass stack and clean / polish it. Oh goodie. The Nordhavn Europe guys had these fabricated and fitted for us - a good job done.

Yann (Nordhavn Europe), Roland (MDS Marine) and Paul (Maricom) are all really good guys if you need any boat maintenance. (And we don't get a  discount for mentioning them, just in case you thought so!)

So, once the work was completed we felt it was time to test everything with a little trip. Of course, as the bank holiday approached, finding a berth in the Solent area was not going to be easy....

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

High, dry and busy

Well, once you are on the hardstanding, it all kicks off. Cleaning up the sterngear, replacing the anodes, putting some antifouling on the thruster props, cleaning the keel cooler and hydraulic oil coolers etc.

This year it was also time to change the engine coolant. The Lugger engine has wet lined cylinders which mean that an in-situ overhaul is perfectly possible (we hope not to need this!!) However, it also means that you need to keep nice fresh coolant in there. Although the anti-freeze properties might be fine, the various additives degrade over time which help prevent local "boiling" of the fluid.

Draining out the stuff from the keel cooler is a great way to get wet and messy.

The Golden Arrow team returned and dropped the stabilisers to check the seals. Here is one with the fin already removed and the huge nut that holds it place being undone (and no, the huge nut is NOT the man on the ground - he was smart and very nice actually):

We say "dropped" - the port stabiliser refused to budge and took some heavy duty attention including help from their parts guy who was brought in as added muscle. The good news was that the seals and anodes were all OK.

Andrew and Linda were in Cowes and, manically, came over on the ferry to help us for a day. That really is above and beyond anything you could expect! Andrew did the antifouling bits and pieces, put on some anodes, freed and greased the wing engine prop etc. Linda helped clean up the hull and the stainless steel rub rail. It really helped us get ahead of our schedule.

What was the end result of all this effort? Not that exciting really:

The funny colour on the props is some stuff that is supposed to help keep them free from fouling once back in the water. We don't think that it works....

However, Andrew's handiwork is more obvious - the bow thruster props:

Of course, we don't have to antifoul the entire hull as we had the boat Coppercoated when we bought her in 2009. A good move. For non boating folks - see Coppercoat website

We were happy to see the Shamrock team preparing for the relaunch. Somehow a boat always feels better in the water:

Friday, 17 April 2015

A stable lifestyle

Well, as planned the Golden Arrow team arrived to perform the necessary surgery on our stabiliser system. It should have an overhaul every 5 years and we knew that some of the bearings / bushes were wearing - you could see some movement in the ram as it was working.

Here is what one stabiliser looks like "topless" - the bearings etc removed for replacement:

And after the new wearing parts were fitted and the top spruced up and bolted back on:

I hope they don't charge for the Golden Arrow Marine sticker that was added!

The system was also treated to some fresh hydraulic oil and a new filter. The seals and anodes will be checked after the boat is lifted out of course. It was a treat to see people working on a boat system who clearly understand the product, how it works, the likely issues and how to overcome them.

We had to spin the boat around and drop onto the opposite pontoon ready for the lift out. Easily said but the lift out pontoon runs at 90 degrees to the river (of course) and the stream is just evil at anything apart from dead high and low water. We had to move with some stream and a strong wind trying to push us away from the mooring spot, which was just long enough and had a "fat" motorcruiser immediately behind it meaning a tight turn onto the pontoon for us. Even better, this survey boat was on the other side and so we had to squeeze through:

The two nice metal brackets sticking out from the hull would have been ideal to hit or scrape.... Luckily we didn't and managed to tie up with no damage, just high blood pressure .

Ready to be lifted out:

As per last year, the team operating the hoist at Shamrock were excellent. Very careful and gentle with the boat. Of course, once chocked up in the yard, the hard work begins......

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Lymington to Shamrock Quay (Southampton)

Not much of an ocean going trip really - just a quiet trip up the Solent and into the river Itchen. Foggy early on and then it cleared.  The first run of the year on the flybridge for the whole time too. Sun out, crew's smile out, all was good.

After a winter in Cardiff looking at the little commercial ships that can lock into the docks there, the Southampton port was a reminder of "proper commerce":

If a touch ugly.... Heading up the Itchen, a lovely old craft was laid alongside the quay in an area usually reserved for dead or decaying craft. We really hoped that this classic old girl isn't going to be allowed to rot away in such dismal surroundings:

However, on arrival at Shamrock we learned that she is in for a major refit - the owner has the deep pockets needed to run such a craft it seems. We have slightly shallower pockets but now approach the horribly expensive part of the year. Lift out, fettling, overhauls that we cannot do ourselves, upgrades then fuel fill up. All to prepare for a year cruising. Why do we do this - can someone remind us please?

Whilst still afloat, we had a visit from the Golden Arrow guys who will be doing the stabiliser overhaul for us (they are the UK TRAC dealers and really seem to know their stuff). Then Phil the Nordhavn Europe man, Jess his significantly better half and their 1 year old daughter Rosie popped over. Such a social whirl!

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Visitors and more visitors

Life in Lymington was not quiet. Oh no. Firstly, Andrew (the Welsh one) planned to come and spend a couple of nights with us. Linda (the equally Welsh other half) was away looking after her mum, not ignoring us. So, on Saturday afternoon, this Welsh motorcyclist arrived, complete with a top box that was laden with goodies.

An unplanned visit was also enjoyed from Lars and Birgit (together with their son Jan) who have starred in here before (see Birgit meets Patrick post ). He was out in one of his fleet of boats for a trip and popped in to say hello after a very neat piece of manoeuvring onto the pontoon behind us. (See Lars, your Jedi mind trick does work.)

Jan met Patrick too but was perhaps less enamoured with a stuffed penguin toy than his mum had been. Must be an age / embarrassment factor thing:

The rest of us were delighted that Birgit had, once again, excelled on the baking front. Cherry pie this time - very German and truly excellent:

Unfortunately, this chunk was not all for one person. Or fortunately perhaps, for the Captain's waistline.

We managed some walks to burn this off though. Then trashed it all when Norman (the Bobil man and if you cannot remember what one of those is, look it up!) and Julie popped in. We sat outside the Kings Head in Lymington enjoying the sun and Norm ordered the largest plate of fish (and a few chips) we have ever seen:

Despite a pleading and optimistic face, Milo (the Jack Russell) didn't get any fish:

Norm manfully consumed his lunch without Milo's help and could even walk (slowly of course) afterwards. In case you need proof that one human being could manage the monster plate:

What else? Well, we went wild and polished the transom as it was warm and the sun was out. Next stop will be Shamrock Quay ready for the lift out on Friday when all the fun begins.....

Friday, 10 April 2015

Fowey to Lymington

As mentioned earlier, Thursday / Friday looked like a good weather window to head east again, despite the easterly winds. Saturday and Sunday had some heavy duty blowy stuff in the forecast and although it would have been from a slightly better direction, there seemed no point in being out to sea in a force 7 if we didn't have to.

Of course, since there was no data on the O2 phone or EE tablet, we needed to go for coffee ashore to check the details. There is one pretty interesting place with an eclectic taste in furniture and d├ęcor called Pinky Murphy's:

The good news is that their coffee is excellent with friendly service too.

To optimise the tides, we left mid afternoon in glorious sunshine. Then plodded into the nice head seas. Of course, the forecast said that the wind was going to veer from NE / E (pretty much on the nose) to SW overnight. They didn't get it right of course.....

Rounding Start Point and the headland there were nice 35 knot gusts and with wind over tide that chopped things up a bit. Of course, once clear of the headland it all calmed down a bit again. Amazing how you get accustomed to the Nordhavn's sea keeping ability. We did look out of the pilothouse and realise that there was no way we would have set off in our previous boats with this forecast, and yet we were having a pretty placid trip.

Excitement? During one of the engine room checks, the captain noticed a little smear of oil on the engine block. What?? Perhaps we were turning into the Sea King helicopter after all. Some investigation revealed it to be coming from one of the oil hoses that run to and from the filter mounting. The fitting just needed tightening up a little but of course it was the hose nearest the engine block and so you cannot get a spanner onto it unless you remove the outer hose or the oil filter:

Neither of these are very practical with the engine running! Rather than leave and monitor it, the other hydraulic hoses in the area were released from their clamps and moved (of course, they were nice and hot too!) and the fitting was sweated up a bit using a crude method - gas pliers. That stopped it and warmed the captains hands nicely.....

Overnight crossing Lyme Bay was quiet and as the sun came up, we saw how misty it was too. Under 1/2 mile visibility and some idiots in small fishing boats were out there with no radar or radar reflectors doing 20 knots. Luckily the big Furuno radar can pretty much pick up seagulls on the water so we saw them even if they were "flying blind".

After so much time in quiet cruising areas, the radar picture as we approached the Solent was busy:

The big lump of land on the top right is the Needles rocks / lighthouse on the Isle of Wight. On the left is Christchurch Bay and behind us, Poole. You can see how many "blobs" were out and about for us to avoid and that was outside the Solent! Welcome back to the wildly busy boating centre of the UK.

We decided to go into Lymington and spend a couple of days on the nice Harbour Commissioner's pontoon there, near the harbour entrance.  You get to see all the activity and the ferries are a bit bigger than the ones we had been watching for several months crossing Cardiff Bay. Steve, fancy painting this one?

Overall the trip took about 22 hours with little drama to report.

Maintenance news:

Well, nothing apart from the oil hose that got tightened up. One of them had come loose before (about 4 years ago though) but perhaps it is time to remove them and refit with some nice Loctite thread locker. Might be a (slightly messy) job for next week.

It is funny how most of the recent work has been down to fittings that have decided to weep a bit. Perhaps all the original sealants used in the factory have reached end of life. Or perhaps some inappropriate sealants were used on high temperature / pressure  joints? Knowing how automotive folks tended to  keep one bottle of thread sealant / locker in their tool boxes and use it on absolutely everything, we fear the latter!

Either way, we've had a few joints to remake in the last few months.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

"Doing" Fowey again

After the couple of trips, we decided that the forecast was fine enough for us to spend a day relaxing (?) and enjoying the Fowey area before we headed up to the Solent. What does enjoying the Fowey area mean? Well, you just have to do the Hall Walk:

Have a look at National Trust website for more information. 4 miles of lovely woodland and waterside walk that involves using the two ferries across the harbour too. We took the Bodinnick ferry across to the eastern side, another antique ferry that must be a complete pig to handle in windy, high current conditions:

Walking high up alongside the water, you get some lovely views of the harbour area:

You can work out how steep the climb up to the viewpoint is - we, naturally, started at sea level. Not for the faint hearted or people trained to walk in Holland......  You get to see Polruan (on the left of this picture, the east side of the water) and Fowey itself in all their glory. Well, not really as it was a bit misty but you get the idea:

As you approach the end of Pont Pill (see the map above), there is one of those quintessentially English spots. Old stone cottages, a little wooden bridge across the water and people just chilling there:

As we wandered into Polruan, we found the ideal house for Patrick:

Having hoped that we could finally palm him off on someone, we were most disappointed to find no one in. Life is so unfair....There was no time to pop back later on and so the errant penguin is still on board. For now.

Polruan is now very touristy with lots of houses in the holiday rental market. The little beach and ferry pier is still quaint though:

Right next to it is the old established Toms boatyard, and it looks like some poor people have a rusty old trawler in their front gardens:

What was our reward for all this activity (the walk including 673 feet up and then down again)? Lunch at the Ship pub which we frequented last year and enjoyed once more - and took advantage of the WiFi as there was a totally feeble O2 and EE data connection.

The result was two full and happy tummies and a weather forecast that suggested moving towards the Solent tomorrow afternoon / overnight made sense. So we might just do that.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Falmouth to Fowey

As the nice easterly winds were continuing, we thought that we would have a short trip up to Fowey, one of our favourite spots. To minimise the size of the waves on our nose for the trip, we headed off with the tide against us, living with the longer passage time for slightly calmer conditions.

As we exited Falmouth harbour, half the NATO warship fleet were leaving too.  UK, Danish, German, US warships and a dinky little Dutch minehunter that looked like a bath-tub toy compared to the rest.  A suitably splashy trip was undertaken, watching / avoiding a small yacht that was struggling in the conditions. The crew were all attired in identical wet gear and arranged on the side-deck. Perhaps the Russians had chartered it as a spy ship and were regretting the size?

Around Dodman point it calmed down a lot, with the waves on the starboard bow and the stabilisers switched on.  Approaching Fowey, the daymark on Gribben head really works:

Entering Fowey isn’t as dramatic as, say, Dartmouth but it has two castles and some lovely houses to admire too:

Always fancied living in this one on the Polruan side, probably would not fancy the price much though:

We dropped onto the pontoon near the lifeboat for a water top up. Apparently on Marinetraffic.com, it looked like we were alongside the lifeboat and perhaps had been towed in. Nope, happy to report that we didn't bother them at all! After a chat with the kids who were fishing / crabbing we went over to a mid-river pontoon that was almost empty and settled in. Here is the view from the port pilothouse door.

The harbour man came to take our mooring fees and his posh tablet device and credit card reader failed. So,we went across to the office and the nice lady said that “it was 4:50 and she’d already done her day end computer run so could we pay tomorrow?” You can tell the council run operations – MDL would hold you upside down and pump money from your pocket at any opportunity!

Maintenance news:

None at all. A 4.5 hour trip with about 22 nautical miles out to sea and the rest in the harbours.  Actually there is some maintenance but it isn't too savoury. The captain finished a serious descaling job on the heads (OK toilets for the non-nautical types) pipework . Good to do from time to time to keep the hoses and the diverter valves clear.

Monday, 6 April 2015

Penarth to Falmouth, first proper trip of the season

This is a tale of about 200 nautical miles and 31.5 hours toodling along. No deaths or maiming or life threatening situations to report (or seasickness). So, for the pure thrill and gore seekers, go and read something else.

The weather window for Land’s End looked best over Easter Sunday / Monday so we prepared for the 9am lock out on Sunday to optimise the various conflicting tidal streams you encounter on this trip. Early on Sunday, Lisa the marina administration guru popped over and kindly presented us with a few mementos of Wales.  Some daffodils, a very Welsh tea towel, some little chocolate eggs and most importantly, Desmond the bear.  He came complete with £2 for board and lodgings – such a thoughtful new member of the menagerie on board.  He met Patrick, who seemed quite fatherly in his approach and they got on well – kind of critical when Patrick considers himself top penguin. As the only penguin on board, that isn't hard of course:

We have no idea how their relationship will develop. Again, watch this space…

It was with mixed feelings that we left Penarth and locked out into the muddy but very calm and pretty sunny Bristol Channel, being waved off by Lorna (with Poppy and Pip) more local residents. Here is the view back to Penarth cliffs and those with good vision or the ability to zoom in can see the Cardiff Millennium stadium in the background too:

You can see how calm it was so the initial run was very restful. Just regular engine checks as the big Lugger hadn't run for more than an hour at any one go since our arrival in Penarth.  It had also suffered at the hands of the captain and his maintenance regime.  Luckily neither of these challenges had upset it.

Just when we thought it was all quiet, a search and rescue helicopter flew past us and practised hovering.  Then, they came for a good look and called us on the radio asking if we would help with their practice by having someone winched on board.  Of course!  We’d enjoyed this noisy spectacle a couple of times before and are happy to help –one day we might need their expertise after all.

The “are you happy with our current course and speed?” question we asked was greeted with a request to turn to 020 degrees.  Almost back on ourselves….  Having checked us out, the pilot called and asked if we could increase speed by 5 knots to give him more windspeed over our deck.  He clearly doesn't know anything about full displacement boats – even with a gas turbine engine on board we wouldn't be able to do that!

However, we wound on a few more rpm, burned obscene amounts of fuel and gave them the best speed we could muster.  Totally impressed with the transfer – they hovered close enough despite our satellite domes, aerials etc to drop a man onto the small bathing platform.  Wow:

Then a second winchman joined him via a high-line.

Of course, the noise and spray were quite something.  From the picture below you can see how elderly the chopper is – an old Sea King that must have been in service only a decade or so less than the Triumph 2000 we left behind in Cardiff.  The oily streaks on the fuselage don’t inspire confidence – if our Lugger looked like that we would be very worried: 


After they recovered their crew, we got a thanks and bye and could resume our course.  For anyone who stalked us using Marinetraffic.com or other AIS websites, you must have thought we were drunk.  The big zigzag on the plotter screen shows our diversion to play with the helicopter:

Graham and Pat (the Reading and Greek island home folks) had come down to the coast to enjoy the weather and maybe see us pass – sadly they were just too late to see the chopper fun and only got a little boat bobbing along a few miles out to sea through binoculars. Sorry G and P.
We were then called on the radio by Falmouth coastguard. What had we done wrong? Were we in a military practice zone?  Had we transgressed one of the “rules of the road”?  Did they want us to help locate a stricken vessel?  Nope, much more prosaic – the helicopter crew wanted us to email the pictures we took of them!

As per last year, Lundy Island was a grey bit of land against a grey sea.  However, the sunset just after we passed Hartland Point was truly stunning.  This picture has not been photoshopped or enhanced – straight from the camera:

The crew was having a snooze and missed this and the first dolphins of the year, which trundled past and had a brief play in our bow wave. First of the year as long as we don’t count those in captivity at Loro Parque of course.

Overnight, there was a long slog, mainly against the tide, down the north coast of Cornwall. Some fishing boats to irritate the crew when she was helming but a lovely cloudless sky meant the moon reflected in the water and gave the distant land an eerie quality.  It got light as we rounded Cape Cornwall and headed for Land’s End.  It also got bumpy of course with nice 2m waves on the nose. Ideal just as you want breakfast. The wavelength was very short too, so they were steep and irritating. 

The boat was happy of course, it just meant that fine cuisine for breakfast was limited to a banana.  Our now traditional cream tea as we round Land’s End wasn't on the agenda – owing to the time of day and the danger of throwing jam and cream everywhere.  As we headed into the English Channel, so the waves till managed to be on the nose despite an almost 90 degree course alteration.  Don’t you love how the wind often runs parallel to the coastline.

Following another tradition, here is the Lizard lighthouse:

Cannot image building those wonderfully swooping walls around the place using a straight edge or spirit level.

The “run home” up to Falmouth passes the Manacles rocks where we had our first monster collection of horrid little pot markers being dragged underwater by the tide.  You know how we feel about those so no need for a 2015 rant. It was all made better when a few dolphins came to say welcome to Cornwall and played with us for a few minutes just off the Helford River. Standing on the foredeck watching them is just such a privileged thing.

Entering Falmouth, you get to see the old castle and the new Coastguard centre (the ones who radioed us earlier):

We headed through the estuary and up to the mid-river pontoon above Turnaware bar where we happily moored and put the kettle on.  Showers to feel more human, food, TV and sleep were needed.

Maintenance news:

Well, not much. The big Lugger was fine and that pesky navigation PC ran flawlessly. Almost getting to like it and Microsoft again – well, maybe it, certainly not Microsoft.

During one engine check, the captain found a dribble of clean oil under the engine.  Horror! Were we turning into the Sea King helicopter?  It wasn't leaking from the engine or the gearbox but from the pipe that links the sump to the oil change pump.  One of the couplings looks like it has started leaking and the residual oil in the line left from the last oil change was weeping out.  Not an issue as the engine and gearbox are isolated and so all OK.  Will check it out and maybe get a new short piece of pipe made up.

Fuel burn for the serious boating types:

Our cruise was at 1490 rpm for most of the time. In the calm waters of the Bristol channel, with light fuel load but lots of winter fouling on the hull we were burning 8.2 litres an hour to make about 6.4 knots.  In the choppy stuff off Land’s End, the stabilisers and wave pattern on the nose increased the fuel burn at the same rpm to 8.8lph for about 5 knots. (Out of interest, putting on the electric kettle for tea increases the burn by about 0.3 l per hour as the big domestic alternator works hard to generate the 24v power the inverters need.)

See how hard it is to estimate total fuel burn on a trip?

Friday, 3 April 2015

A gin and lust sodden penguin

We were wrong, yet again. Having said that our next post ought to be from Falmouth, Patrick managed to intervene.

Bronwen the spaniel (photo reminder below) dragged her owner around to the boat whilst we were away to deliver a bottle of "thank you" gin for us. Apparently she appreciated the walks that she was given during the winter whilst Steve was maintaining his waterbus (see, boat maintenance is a big theme amongst boat owners):

Well, as soon as Patrick heard that the bottle was from Bron, he attached himself to it with the proverbial "Scotsman holding a £5 note" grip and a lovestruck but determined look came into his eyes. His romance with Bron seems to have cooled off and perhaps he was wistfully wishing for the old, more intimate times.

When he then heard that we planned to leave Penarth on Easter Sunday, he became even more upset, attempting to open the bottle which had been delivered with a clear message about consumption - open and enjoy in a lovely anchorage, sitting in the aft cockpit one evening. Separating him from the "Bron bottle" was difficult and we had to hide it away. We worry that he is looking for solace in a bottle again:

The trials and tribulations of parenthood..... Again we ask, anyone want to adopt a wilful penguin?