I’d been looking forward to “hauling out day” for about a month. It marked the official end of our first sailing season and would be the start of a new chapter in the book that I’m going to write about all of this when I get around to it (although I said that about the ‘Backpacking Around the World with Kids’ book too). I was full of optimism about all the jobs we’d be able to get done, but also slightly fearful about what we’d find lurking below the waterline when the boat was taken out of the water for the winter.  I was also completely naive about the reality of working on a boat over the winter in the UK.  The steep learning curve and the unforeseen boat projects continue! Read More

The learning curve of an inexperienced, new boat owner has been a lot steeper than I expected.  Owning and fixing up an older sailing boat for cruising the world has been much more of an emotional roller coaster ride that I was prepared for.  During the first five months, we have had many boat maintenance wins and fails and I’m sure there are many more to come.  I’m hoping we’ve found most of the broken bits, but I fear we haven’t even scratched the surface.  Read on for a quick summary of our wins and fails so far. Read More

The RYA Diesel Engine Course doesn’t sound like the most exciting way to spend a Sunday, does it?  Well, it isn’t.  But if you’re looking for a quick and easy way to learn all about that diesel engine on your boat and save loads of money in the long term, this is it!  Read on to find out all about it… Read More

I’ve now got just over seven months of early morning train action under my belt, commuting from Portsmouth on the 06:34 to London, it’s high time for a bit of reflective writing.  I’m looking back on the highs and lows of the commute, boat ownership and our first summer of sailing.  Things have definitely moved on since my first ‘Thoughts on a Train’ postRead More

After buying our Oyster 435 sailing boat in Ipswich, absolutely nowhere near our home, we needed to get the boat back to Portsmouth so we could start preparing her for our sailing adventure.  Getting her from Ipswich to Portsmouth involved crossing the terrifying Thames Estuary, riddled with sand banks, wind farms and massive ships, and sailing down the English Channel, the busiest shipping channel in the world ever, probably.  This was going to be an adventure, especially as we barely know the blunt end from the pointy end.  We’d better hire some help then.  Let’s hope we get enough wind to sail and don’t sink, eh?   Read More

Every sailing boat needs cool boat stuff!   People planning to sail the world, sailboat cruisers and liveabord families definitely need cool gadgets and fun stuff on their boat.   There are things you need for your boat and there are things you WANT for your boat.  Most of the lists of cool boating gadgets are actually just things you need.  Like life jackets, EPIRBS, waterproofs jackets and other stuff that you should have anyway.  Or dull stuff like gloves, LED lights and battery monitors.  Yawn.  

So here’s our list of cool boat stuff that we really, really want on our boat before we head off on our world sailing adventure.  Most of the list seems to be made up of fun watersports or diving stuff.  In fact most of it involves being underwater!  We’ll definitely get some of this stuff eventually, and I’m hoping we get all of it on our boat by the time we leave to sail the world.   But right now it seems the fun stuff for our boat will have to wait for us…. we need a new mast!   Read More

I first saw a Water-to-Go filter bottle at the Adventure Travel Show in London a few years ago. A man was filling up a chunky black plastic bottle from a fish tank full of muddy water, and then pouring out clear water into a glass and drinking it. In fact, he was passing it round for us to drink too. Impressive, I thought.  He claimed these Water-to-Go bottles had a unique water filtration system which filtered out 99.9% of the contaminants in water. “We don’t need those”, I thought, but I’d been hypnotised by his cheap selling trick, so I bought two bottles anyway. Our Water-to-Go bottles were tested thoroughly for a year while backpacking across Asia and Australia, Water-to-Go filter bottles are now an essential item for travelling. Read More

This is the story of how we negotiated and renegotiated the price of our boat, after getting a marine survey.  It’s a summary of how we searched for a boat, found a boat, made an offer on a boat, had a boat survey done, haggled, negotiated, whinged, cried and eventually, handed over a huge amount of money.  We are now skint and the proud owners of a 43 foot floating money pit.  Yay!  Read on…. Read More