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, 26 October 2015

A busman's holiday - the Norfolk Broads

Why on earth would people who have an ocean crossing capable comfortable Nordhavn have a holiday in a little battered hire motor cruiser on the Norfolk Broads? No, we don't know why either. However, we did.

Perhaps it was to see John and Tina again (yes, the one with the famous knees, girls). Perhaps it was so we could appreciate just how well built and practical the Nordhavn is in comparison? Perhaps because the Captain was born there and worked on hire fleet boats when he was young and needed a fix? Perhaps because the area is very pretty and off season provides a very tranquil cruising area?

The reality is probably a mix of all of these. Anyway, here are a few holiday snaps to give you a flavour of the Broads. We had a cruiser from Barnes Brinkcraft in Wroxham. Not because they are the best hire fleet but because they offered some very cheap deals in October. The two year old "Brinks Quartet 3" was pretty battle scarred for something so young:

Some of the impacts she has suffered must have been substantial as the internal doors didn't all close properly! (Or was that thanks to the very rough and ready / cheap fitout of an already very cheap and flimsy Alphacraft hull?)

Still, despite the tatty appearance of the "Elite Fleet" boat, the actual scenery is still great. There are plenty of the traditional thatched riverside holiday bungalows that look appealing:

And some tempting waterside residences too:

The area has lots of peaceful little villages, some even have road signs for the wildlife:

There are lovely Broadland views from the top of Ranworth church (nicknamed the "Cathedral of the Broads") across the rivers and marshes:

The weather was kind allowing some roof open cruising in late October:

Again we have to disappoint the red blooded female readers of this blog. It was not knees out weather for John.

One misty morning at Upton was particularly special:

Perhaps because we'd enjoyed an excellent dinner and welcome in the local community owned pub the night before (look at White Horse website). It was the first pub where the local customers looked after us as well as the staff - would you like this table, would you like more fuel on the fire etc etc. Friendly impressive place.

The wildlife was busy too - some were catching fish and enjoying the fruits of their labours. As an example, this Harnser:

Harnser? Yes, the local name for a heron. Somehow you have to feel sorry for the cormorants though. They just get to share a dead tree:

and then after a little fishing have to dry out their wings:

How could nature have been so unkind, equipping a bird that fishes with wing feathers that they need to dry?

All in all a good time, with kind weather too. Lovely to see the area as a tourist rather than a local. Especially lovely to be on a hire boat rather than your own one when surrounded by homicidal maniacs on other hire boats who just want to play bumper cars. So glad the Nordhavn is unsuitable for the rivers here! Mind you, Tina did look a little stressed at the helm in a very cool sort of way:

The windpumps that used to drain the marshes are the classic Broadland landmarks so here is one for you as we cannot offer our usual lighthouse picture:

There are even a few naked windpumps:

A little hire boat discourse

Well, Brinks Quartet 3 needed lots of TLC. Apart from the previously mentioned door issues, there were lots of sticking drawers and a fore cabin shower that was impossible to use in the very confined space. The seat cushions were "nicely stained" too. The grass growing in the sliding roof track was authentic of course.

For the mechanically minded, the drivetrain was interesting. A little Nanni (Kubota base block) diesel that was burdened with horrid hydraulic drive to the shaft. Lots of noise and slip, little go. Add in an enormous large frame alternator to recharge the batteries and power the inverter underway which needed a stupid 1200 rpm idle speed (and caused a drop in rpm and hence speed of half a knot when you put the kettle on). If you want an "electric galley" boat, then fit an electronically controlled engine so it runs at a constant speed please!  Soundproofing around the little lump would have been nice too. Our big Lugger is quieter underway pushing over 40 tons of boat.

All in all, the fitout was rough and cheap. The Captain's father (carpenter and joiner) and his cousin (a boatbuilder at Brooms) would turn in their graves if they saw the fit and finish. The maintenance looked to have been completed (or not) in the same vein. Would still rent from Royalls or Summercraft in Wroxham as a preference. They look after their craft way way better.

None of that detracts from the beauty of the Broads though so go and enjoy them sometime.

Friday, 16 October 2015

Just pottering about the Solent

After enjoying the antics of the Royal Yacht Squadron folks in Yarmouth, we spent a few days just toodling around the Solent area and getting reacquainted with the area that we knew well after many years living in Hythe Marina. Where did we revisit? Well, Lymington (where, shock horror, we discovered that the Dan Bran pontoon was going to be removed for most of the winter to allow dredging to take place. Apparently it happens once every 5 years and we had to pick "the" year to spend in the area). This means that the only realistic spots to stay in Lymington until February time will be the two big marinas. Pity and bad for the bank account too.

We also took some strong spring tides to Gosport and found a nice spot in Haslar Marina as an overwintering berth. En route, we were overtaken (just!) by the Ben Ainslie Americas Cup contender:

Sorry about the fuzzy picture taken through the pilothouse windows on the phone. No time to get a proper camera, that thing does shift! Approaching Portsmouth you have the classic views of the old Solent Forts. As the Swatchway (the short-cut across some shallow banks) was manically busy with fishing markers (mad!) and commercial ships and hovercraft, we went the long way around and had a look at one of the "done up" forts:

Have a look at Solent Forts website for more information and the chance to stay in the "luxury hotel".

Gosport is, of course, a really grim town. It does have a Waitrose (no idea why!) and it also has excellent transport links via the ferry, Portsmouth Harbour station and a regular "escape from Gosport" bus service. So, ideal for the no car types like us.

During the Indian summer, we spent a couple of glorious days heading to and from the Folly on the river Medina (just past Cowes). We managed to sit on the flybridge in the sun all the time, amazing for early October.

A walk around Lee-on-the-Solent revealed that Patrick has started his own business. We admire his entrepreneurial spirit but questionable sense in opening a seaside cafe just as the summer is ending.

Perhaps hot chocolate sales this winter will keep his venture alive. Good to see the little chap being so active for once though.