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, 12 March 2016

Frying pan into the fire (escaping Shamrock Quay and heading back to Gosport)

OK, neither of the locations is truly beautiful but leaving Shamrock Quay is satisfying on two counts. Firstly, it means that the annual out of the water maintenance stuff has been completed. Secondly, it means that we are not giving MDL any more money for hard standing / visitor berthing at their ludicrous rates (and they still expect you to pay for a WIFI connection!)  They really are the worst big marina operator by far. Why do we use Shamrock for the lift - because the yard team there are very careful.

Anyway, escaping was fun as there were some BIG spring tides:

On the evening before, the low water was a 0.0 m tide. Pretty rare in this area.

After a car swap job, Anne and Euan joined us for the run back to Gosport. Euan hadn't been well but wanted to do the boat trip and use his new lifejacket again:

As you can see, it was sunny but chilly - this is the UK after all. He also discovered the whistle on the lifejacket:

and used it to attract attention from a few yachts that were out drifting about in the calm airs.

It was great to have a flybridge trip all the way back with the knowledge that only a mountain of polishing faces us now. Oh, and some valve clearance checks on the main and wing engines. Oh, and cleaning up the exterior teak. Fun stuff this boating - still want to buy one?

Friday, 11 March 2016

That out of the water time of year again

After all the fun we'd been having, reality had to set in again. It did so just as the boat was being lifted out of the water by the very careful hoist crew at Shamrock Quay.  This picture could be a copy of last year's lift except that the hull had a bit more slime and gunge attached to it:

The props show this best:

In the large travelhoist at Shamrock, she looks quite small really:

Why more fouling? Well, a year ago we had spent the winter in fresh(ish) water at Penarth, not salty stuff like in Gosport. The salt water fouling from the summer was pretty much wiped out by Penarth's fresh water. Then the little fresh water fouling that occurred over the winter period was wiped out when we re-entered salt water and headed around to Southampton. This time, it was salt water all the way....

The hoist team had a long job pressure washing the hull for us and once chocked up, the ritual fun began. This year, we had Yann from Nordhavn Europe and Roland (the Engineer from MDS, now known as Proteum for some marketing reason) with us for a while.

They were removing and refitting the hydraulic oil cooler for the stabilisers as one of the mounting bolts had started to leak a little. Nothing dramatic (half a pint a day) but it needed sorting out. Of course, it was impossible to access some of the bolts properly so Yann had to cut and then fit a hatch into the engineroom steps which involved cutting out a chunk of boat. As you can see, even the internal mouldings on a Nordhavn are tank like:

This one had lots of nice sound insulation in it to keep the engine suitably quiet in the accommodation areas. The pound coin gives you an overall idea of the thickness and for the non UK readers, the diameter of a pound coin is about 2cm. For the more precise German readers, it is 22.5mm.

The old sealer finally gave way to their "gentle persuasion" and one grubby cooler was free:

After having the cooler cleaned and pressure tested, Roland gave it a final wash through with brake cleaner - the valves in the stabiliser system do not like dirt particles at all:

By the way, it will never look that clean again so enjoy it whilst it lasts.

Yann showed off his artistic talents with a gun full of 5200. How on earth did we build boats before 5200 was invented? Any boat minded person should have heard of this stuff and/or used it, but for 5200 virgins look at 3m website.

The Welsh connection (Andrew and Linda) came to help with the normal cleaning up of the hull, stern gear etc. They sneakily arranged to be with us for a dry afternoon (very productive) and a day of gales and rain (very productive coffee drinking and shopping).

Still, everything was completed on time and the boat got relaunched as planned. Leak free naturally. The Captain and Crew's aches and pains will take longer to go of course and the miracle stuff known as 5200 doesn't help with age related issues for humans in the way it does for boats. Pity.

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Salty seadog tales (or Gosport to Shamrock Quay)

OK, the title might be a bit overdone but with news thin on the ground at this time of year, you have to make the best of any opportunity you get.

We needed to move the boat from Portsmouth harbour around to Shamrock Quay (Southampton) ready for the annual lift out courtesy of the careful folks there. We also needed to reposition the Defender (known as the mobile shed for the duration of the boat out of the water fun) so we could use it. Here, Anne came to our rescue with a lift. Then, after sorting out a lifejacket for Euan the 3 year old and Izzy the puppy, we braved the Solent with extra crew. Euan enjoyed steering:

Izzy seemed very at home on board but looked a little chilly until she borrowed a hat:

However, she certainly qualified as a salty seadog, happily wandering around the boat and ignoring the movement caused by the wake of the big ships heading from Southampton docks and the 35 knot gusts of wind. Of course, the flybridge was a touch colder than we would have wished so everyone wanted to cuddle Izzy as she was like a mobile hot water bottle:

Arriving in Shamrock Quay is not a pleasure cruise though, the river Itchen really is a tip once you get beyond the docks area. However, we did enjoy a small Nordhavn overload as we passed Ocean Village. "Sweet Hope", a gorgeous 64 that is for sale was visible. Here is a stock picture of her:

She is the one brokerage boat that we have been very tempted by. Very tempted. 

Also in Ocean Village were a 76 (Spirit of Ulysses, saw her in Craobh a couple of years ago, have a look at Craobh blog post) and Owen's new 60 "Annie M" which we looked at on the Hamble whilst she was being commissioned. Kind of a Nordhavn porn thing going on. Our little 47 looked quite insignificant - no doubt we will revisit that thought when she is out of the water and needs cleaning.