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, 27 March 2017

Blanketed, polished, walked and ready for (almost) anything

Having stripped off the old exhaust lagging, the new stuff from the T and M guys (see last post) duly arrived for a DIY fit. Not too taxing a job either. Here is the end result:

Much tidier than before and hopefully longer lasting too! Using straps rather than wire to fix it is way way better. The only fun bit in the job is remaking the connections to the exhaust temperature sender (see the wire at the bottom of the picture) and making sure that it is suitably insulated against the heat. The captain had recently acquired a nice butane soldering iron come heat gun thingy. If anyone is in the market for one, the Dremel Versatip is a great bit of kit and works well on heat shrink for cables too!

The air filter got swapped out as well - now it should not have to ingest all the rubbish falling out of the old lagging and so should stay cleaner for longer. Apart from a last minute check of all the  levels, things should be good to go in the engine room. We even finished polishing the hull and transom too. Despite a chilly start one day, we took the RIB for a run, refitted the anchor snubber line to the D ring on the bow and then lashed down the RIB for the first time in several months, ready for some proper out to sea trips.

What else? Well a train ride to Bristol to watch the (rather disappointing) England v Ireland rugby game with Bernie and Jenni started off a great weekend. Their boat club has a 1885 lightship as a clubhouse and a great atmosphere. Look at Cabot cruising club website. Friendly folks and a great evening. You might remember Bernie as the owner of a gorgeous Dunkirk little ship called Mimosa. She is about to feature in the new Dunkirk film being released this summer. You might also remember Bernie for his collection of old Triumph cars. If you don't, then read some earlier posts!

We also continued the dog exercising thing, taking Bronwen the famous spaniel from the waterbus around the bay together with a gorgeous Golden retriever / poodle cross called Huelwen:

Kind of a Welsh thing going on here, Huelwen means sunshine in English and fitted her nature so well.

Finally, we have a carrot cake update for you. We haven't reported on great or even average carrot cakes recently as we have not discovered any. However, a new gem has joined the top 5 on our list. The Blue Pelican cafe at Hamptons serves up a huge slice of excellent cake. Top 5 - yes, we reckon so.

Our carrot cake sampling has prompted Steve the waterbus man to produce another excellent cartoon though featuring the engine room (even if the John Deere engine isn't green), an illicit still making carrot gin and a drunken Patrick:

The detail is phenomenal. Gin and carrot cake. He knows us far too well, must be time to move on.....

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Lagging and polishing - such fun

As the weather started to feel like spring (at least on the days when the sun peeps through and the rain and wind hold off) we figured that it was boat cleaning and polishing time. This is not a joyous task but as it heralds the start of the cruising season, there is some motivation to get active.

One remaining maintenance item from our planned winter list was to renew the exhaust lagging in the engine room. The dry exhaust for the main engine has a nice thermal blanket on it which has started to decompose quite horribly, releasing lots of dust and surface coating as it does so. Not nice stuff for the air cleaner element on the main engine to ingest and filter out.

We saw a really nice blanket replacement that had been completed on Michael and Frances' Nordhavn 40 "Coracle" and so we asked the same folks to do ours. Here are the sad "before" pictures showing how the blanket was deteriorating:

Pretty sad as you can see. This is the interior of a piece of the lagging showing how it is decomposing - looks more like a sea monster:

Stripping the old stuff off was a messy job but luckily it revealed an exhaust system in excellent condition. Here is the expansion area (shown before the mess left from the old lagging was cleaned off):

Adrian from T and M Supplies came over and measured up for a new bespoke blanket. They do work for the RNLI so if it is good enough for a lifeboat, it is probably good enough for us. Should be delivered soon for a DIY fit. The new stuff will have a grey silicone outer layer, not the stuck on silver foil finish that was used in the factory. According to the T and M expert, the silver foil surface always peels off and causes trouble over time.

It has not been all work though, we did manage a little break to go walking and take Bronwen, the waterbus ship's dog with us. When we hitched a lift back across the bay, Bron seemed tired and needed help propping up her head:

We know that feeling well after a few days of hull and boat polishing.

The boat had a little burn around the bay area to warm up the machinery and to let us berth port side to - ready for more hull cleaning on this often neglected side of the boat. One of the challenges is keeping that side clean when you always berth starboard to because of the asymmetric design. However, we love the extra space this layout liberates inside the boat!

Sunday, 5 March 2017

An animal and maintenance update

For those of you with good memories or folks who feel the need to read old posts from here in the middle of a sleepless night, you will remember Colin the 747 captain chap. There were a few rumours about his cross dressing tendencies but they were quickly dispelled.

Well, he has just cast suspicion upon our our on-board boss, Patrick the penguin. Apparently he saw Patrick wearing some rather gay red shoes and hat in Kuala Lumpur airport:

This picture was taken whilst we were away from the boat and so it is perfectly possible that the little penguin was off posing. We will have to check and see if we can find a penguin passport hidden away somewhere with a few suspicious stamps in it.

What other news? Well, we have been running a kind of floating B and B with various visitors. The most important of them were those with 4 paws. You must remember Archie the Lakeland terrier. He has become a proper crew member and he only struggles occasionally with the rather steep Nordhavn steps. Photogenic - oh yes, he did the looking ultra cute thing so well again:

Our next visitor needs little introduction:

Izzy the spoodle has starred in here before and also manages the ultra cute look so well.

We have been out and about a little too. The Defender got treated to a towbar (mainly so the electrical socket can be used for battery maintenance when the poor truck has a summer holiday in Cornwall). It looked at home in the nice rural setting near the dealership:

A wander around Hereford and Castell Coch just outside Cardiff was fun too. For anyone who has seen Mount Stuart on Bute and the interior of Cardiff Castle, you will not be surprised to see what the Marquis of Bute did to this mainly ruined castle when he rebuilt it:

Shame that it was only a very occasional overnight stop for his family.

Maintenance news:

Well, we took the boat for a good burn around the bay to run all the machinery and the electronics. They all seemed to fire up and perform as expected so no big dramas so far. The local yacht rigger has made up some new strops for lifting the dinghy on and off the boat deck. The original webbing straps started to look sad and rather than have a 3.1 metre RIB and a 20HP Yamaha fall onto anyone or anything, we have nice new dyneema strops now.

What else? Well, it was genset oil change time so that got done. We are going to treat it to a new drive belt too as although the one in place looks fine, it is the original fitment and has done a few years and nearly 1600 hours now so probably deserves a quiet retirement somewhere. As the weather slowly improves (??) the polishing season approaches and that fills us with delight.