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

Regards

Richard and June

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Bangor to Troon

As always, we had a great time in Bangor catching up with the folks that we have got to know in the area. Invites to dinner, a car tour of the Strangford area, shared curry evenings and welcoming people aboard for coffee or something stronger kept us very happy. We also managed a day in Belfast and one of the walking tours that give you a different slant on things. The courtyard murals at the Duke of York bar are a lovely summary of the history and culture of the area. Here are a few examples. The iconic shipyard crane complete with George Best, soldier and paramilitary:




Then a selection of images from the city life:




With a nice forecast, we opted to head north and tuck inside the Mull of Kintyre for a few days. The departure from Bangor to head up to Scotland was another one of those where leaving before daylight would help the overall passage time. Only we didn't. We left just as you could see a little, to avoid any rogue pot markers. It was a 4:15am rude awakening though.

Not a long run ahead to worry about - only 65 miles out to sea. The route is simple enough as you can see from our track:




Heading out from Bangor was a lot like heading off from Dun Laoghaire. Anchored illuminated ships to dodge around:




then some incoming ferries too. We also had the cruise liner Oriana heading in to Belfast. The radio conversations between the Oriana bridge and Belfast Vessel Traffic Service were rather more polished and formal than those we heard between the VTS and the cargo ship "Thun Gemini" guys. Being able to speak English probably helped of course. The cargo ship struggled with the Norn Iron accent from VTS. VTS struggled with the thick Asian accent of the watch-keeper and it was a nightmare ready to happen, as Oriana was trying to overtake him, being forced to take a nice wide turn:




Luckily he finally understood "anchor" and turned towards the anchorage area after Oriana asked VTS what the cargo ship's intentions were.

Oriana happily headed past the cargo ship and us:





Personally we prefer the old all white livery that we used to see going past our house when she visited Southampton.  To make up for that, the sunrise was pretty good:




and the gentle run across to Scotland was most enjoyable. Calmish, no significant waves to bother us and only the odd ferry about that we had to avoid. You can see that from the route above.  Less pleasant was hearing about the search for a missing diver on the radio. Missing since the day beforehand, the search was getting underway again at first light with lifeboats, dive boats and helicopters involved. You kind of expect it to end badly.

Heading over, there are a few very deep spots:





We ran at around 1600rpm to get over to the Scottish side of things and optimise the tides then, as the tide turned at just the right moment up the coast into the Clyde, we eased back a little to our more normal 1475 rpm. Ailsa Craig, the iconic big lump of rock looked welcoming as we passed by:




To add to our lighthouse / light tower library, here is the little one on Lady Isle, just off the Troon  harbour entrance:



As it is a bit shallow we didn't get too close, hence the remote picture! We ended up in Troon harbour on a nice little mooring, just one that is very short of shorepower connections. We have a huge extension lead that was pressed into service.

The trip took just over 10 hours. Nothing to report on the maintenance side, everything ran well (OK, apart from the crew who slept a lot after the early start). We were greeted in Troon by the biggest jellyfish we have ever seen in these waters - the top was over 2 feet in diameter:




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