Rum Sodomy and the Lash

sailing around the world on our yacht, Ruby Rose

Category: Historical entries

10 Questions with Ruby Rose

There’s an awesome blog called Newly Salted who interview cruisers that have been underway for less than 2 years. Here’s our responses to “10 questions with Ruby Rose” about liveabord cruising. I hope this information might be useful or interesting to our readers and it’s a great way to round up our impressions of a year of cruising on Ruby Rose!

Me and Nick smiling into the camera- the sun is shining and the skies are blue!

This selfie was taken as we left Conyer almost one year ago- wow, Nick’s hair was so short!

  • What (if anything) do you wish someone had told you before you started cruising?
    Well, people did tell us but we didn’t listen- slow down! We looked at a chart and said, “Oh yeah, we can definitely cover that distance in a season, no problem!” But the reality is that after 6 months, we started to feel tired, frustrated and increasingly irritable with our schedule because we had set ourselves a timetable that was unrealistic. Well, perhaps it was realistic, but certainly not enjoyable. I wish I’d listened to people who told us that we shouldn’t rush, but it’s the type of thing you can only learn yourself!
  • As you started cruising, what transitions did you find the most difficult?
    We had undertaken two ‘shakedown’ cruises on Ruby Rose to France the previous two summers before our actual departure. Both sailing trips were about a month long, and although we were in holiday mode, it gave us a real insight into what living onboard would be like when we did it for real. We walso lived onboard for about 6 months before we actually left the UK, so the transition was a slow one and we didn’t find it difficult at all. The main luxuries we miss are regular hot water, air-conditioning and a front loading fridge!
  • What do you find the most exciting about your cruising life?
    Do I have to pick just one!? We love discovering and exploring new places, people and countries, and I suppose that’s the most exciting aspect of cruising. We also find the freedom we have exhilarating- to think we could simply point our bow in any direction and go wherever we like! We also love meeting new people and making new friends- that is one of the best things about cruising.
  • What do you dislike about cruising that surprised you?
    I asked Nick this question and he replied, “Sailing!” It’s true. We thought we’d have ‘champagne’ sailing as soon as we reached the tropics- we couldn’t have been more wrong! Sailing in the Caribbean isn’t always pleasant. In fact, it’s often quite unpleasant. We’ve whinged about this to plenty of people who have just looked at us like we’re a couple of aliens- or, more accurately, like we not ‘real’ sailors.  But we just don’t like 2 metre swell on the beam and beating into 20 knots- sorry! Yes, we’ve had some very quick sails between the islands. No, we haven’t enjoyed the majority of them.
  • Is there something you wish you had bought or installed before starting out?
    We had planned to only use renewable energy- wind generator and solar panels- but we also really love Nespresso coffee and watching DVD’s at night which takes up more power than our renewables produce. We weren’t realistic about what our energy requirements were, and we also didn’t want the expense of a generator set or a suitcase generator. Plus, we wanted to be green! But after a year onboard, we’ve decided to go ahead and buy a generator so that we never have to spend a windless, cloudy day without the convenience of our electronic devices ever again…
    We also wish we had bought a watermaker with a much higher output (ours produces 12 litres/hour)- at the moment we have to run it for several hours to top-up the tanks, and I’ve already mentioned our issues with power at anchor!
    One last thing. We bought a soft-bottomed dinghy with a 3hp outboard for this cruise, but we wish we had a RIB and a more powerful outboard. We’ll be upgrading as soon as we can!
  • Tell me your favourite thing about your boat.
    We adore our Southerly 38, Ruby Rose . Our favourite features are the big cockpit, the big aft cabin and the big saloon. Sensing a theme? Yes, she had a huge amount of living space for the length and other sailors who come onboard are always surprised at how spacious our boat is. We also love her lifting keel, as going aground is one less thing we need to worry about (we hope!) and it means we can get into shallow anchorages. We think our boat is beautiful, comfortable to live on and she is very seaworthy.
  • Tell me your least favourite thing about your boat.
    All that living space comes at a cost- we have very little storage space on Ruby Rose  or room for plant machinery. We’d love a bigger fuel tank, a bigger water tank, and a gen set. We also heartily dislike our top-loading fridge- any time we want something from the baskets down the bottom we have to empty the contents of the fridge completely in order to get to it! Needless to say, we try not to use the baskets if we can help it.
  • What are your plans now? If they do not include cruising, tell us why. 
    We will definitely continue cruising! We’re storing Ruby Rose  in Antigua for hurricane season which has the double benefit of reducing the risk of damage if a hurricane does come through (plus we’re insured if it’s on the hard and tied down) and gives us 6 months to visit our families, travel and enjoy the conveniences of being a ‘land lubber’ for a time. We’re already looking forward to next season where we will (probably) continue north and visit the BVI, Bahamas and then cruise the East Coast of the USA. After that, who knows- but we have no desire to go back to bricks and mortar permanently. If we can continue to fly home periodically, we will likely carry on cruising for many years to come.
  • Is there anywhere you sailed to that was a disappointment? 
    The Tobago Cays! I thought it would be like paradise- but it was so disappointing! It was like a carpark: there were so many boats at anchor, it was like a forest of masts all around us! The boat boys hassled us and yes, we saw turtles which was awesome, but we’ve snorkelled with turtles many times since. The anchorage was also completely open to the wind which was blowing upwards of 20 knots while we were there, so it was generally not particularly pleasant. We left after one night.
  • What are your impressions of the cruising community? 
    One of the best things about cruising on Ruby Rose is meeting such an interesting mix of people. We have met young couples who barely have enough money to eat- but are living their dream anyway!- and retirees who have recently left very lucrative jobs, have bought the multi-million dollar yacht, and expect everyone they come across to drop to their knees in bowing acquiescence. We’ve met families who are cruising with their children and homeschooling, cruisers who have been living in the Caribbean for 15 years, couples on a 6 month sabbatical, and everyone in between. Even though there’s a minority of the sailing community we try and avoid like the plague, in the most part everyone is friendly, interesting, and sociable. Generally sailors are extremely generous with their time and experience, and if you need help or a spare part or another set of hands, there’s always someone nearby willing to help.

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Sweet Bequia

After another enjoyable stay in Rodney Bay- which we’ve spent so much time in, it’s a little bit like being home- we set off to Marigot Bay, a whopping 8 miles south. It was a beautiful sunny day but we didn’t bother putting the sails up for such a short passage, so we simply turned the engine on, set the autopilot and enjoyed the short cruise along the coast.

This is actually a shot sailing down the St Vincent coast, but I forgot to take photos of Marigot Bay! Sorry!

This is actually a shot sailing down the St Vincent coast, but I forgot to take photos of Marigot Bay! Sorry!

Marigot Bay is a tiny inlet which is completely invisible pretty much until you’re upon it- and even then the peaceful and gorgeous inner harbour is hidden around a bend. Legend has it that a British admiral hid his fleet from the French here by tucking themselves in and tying palm fronds to their masts to disguise them.

There’s an anchorage in the entrance, but we decided to pick up a mooring buoy in the inner harbour. The guide warns against those who come and meet you in their dinghy’s, trying to guide you to their unofficial mooring buoys or help with your lines, and so we were a little mistrustful of these offers of help- but the marina moorings are reliable and so we radioed them to ask for assistance. One of the blokes who’d just come up to offer help answered on the radio, and was like, “Yeah, it’s me!” Whoops! Sometimes you can be a little TOO mistrustful…

Anyway, once we were all tied up and had paid the lady at the office, we took stock of our surrounding. Marigot Bay is truly stunning. It’s small, and has a very exclusive feel about it, largely due to the impressive Capella Resort which occupies one entire hillside. At night all their villas light up and it looks like Rivendell or something.

Unfortunately prices reflect the fact that there’s an expensive hotel nearby and we had quite a steeply priced lunch in Chateau Mygo, looking out over the bay. If you ate a meal here, you could use their pontoon to tie your boat up for free- but as we discovered, even their cheapest option was more expensive than what we were paying in the lagoon, and we got use of the hotel’s facilities with our buoy.

So, determined to take full advantage of the cost of the mooring buoy, we changed into our swimwear and spent a very pleasant afternoon by the pool lounging about in this pod thing that had lots of comfy cushions and sofas, marvelling at how ridiculously lucky we actually are…

However, we decided to leave the next morning. As always, the weather was the main dictating factor in our decision making process, and there was high winds forecasted for Wednesday, a few days away. We wanted to be protected in an anchorage that had good holding well before the weather set in, so we made the decision to leave for Bequia first thing. We comforted ourselves by promising to return to Marigot Bay on the way back north.

Sailing past St Vincent

Sailing past St Vincent

It was 60 miles and, after a delayed start thanks to the customs guy turning up an hour late, we got going at about 10am. It was, shall we say, an interesting sail. The winds were anywhere between 25 knots and nothing at all. We spent the entire day not only trimming the sails for various wind strengths and angles, but putting in then shaking out reefs, turning the engine on and off, and periodically dumping the main whenever we caught a sudden gust and the boat heeled over. Once again we had several breakages: a couple of apples and a bottle of beer. At least the basil plant survived (this time!).

Once we got out from the lee of the land and were sailing between the islands it was more consistent, but sailing along the coasts of St Lucia and St Vincent required a quite a bit of concentration. Still, it was fun and although the day started out very cloudy with occasional showers, by the afternoon the sky had started to clear and we quite enjoyed ourselves.

We thought about stopping in St Vincent, but decided against it as we just wanted to get south. However, the island looked absolutely stunning as we sailed past, and there looked to be some gorgeous anchorages, so we hope to have time to stop there as we return north (whenever that might be!).

Sunset as we sailed past St Vincent

Sunset as we sailed past St Vincent

Unfortunately this all meant arriving in Bequia after nightfall. As we approached the wind and swell increased and there was also a strong current we had to contend with. The lights of Admiralty Bay became clear, but as always the dark night wreaked havoc with our senses. We were still a way off when Nick suddenly said, in some panic, “What the hell is that massive ship coming towards us!?”

“What? Where! What?” I look wildly around, climbing all over the cockpit to get a good view around the sails.

“There! A couple of points to port! What the hell is that?”

“Which one!? Where? I CAN’T SEE ANYTHING!”

“There, right here, look in front of you woman! There’s something coming straight for us and it’s huge and I can’t see it on the AIS!”

I look where he’s pointing. “Do you mean the three masted tall ship I pointed out an hour ago?”

“Er… the one with the blue lights?”

“Yes. The one that hasn’t moved for an hour, and is anchored in the bay we’re heading for?”

“That’s the one.”

Sigh.

So we came into Admiralty Bay in the dark and we timed it perfectly so that the full moon disappeared behind a cloud just as we were trying to negotiate our way through a sea of anchored yachts, looking for a space to drop the anchor. Eventually we decided on a spot, and it was fine, but boy, what a nerve wracking experience. I won’t be doing that again in a hurry, not in a busy anchorage we’ve never been to before.

John and Sandra then turned up for drinks as they happened to be anchored nearby, and we had a couple of hours of sleepy conversation before they cleared off and we went straight to bed, exhausted.

Sweet Bequia

Sweet Bequia

The next morning the strong winds had well and truly set in, and we were swinging all over the place. There was quite a bit of roll, and we realised how far away from town we were- our little dinghy really isn’t up to trips longer than a few hundred metres! Especially not in harbour chop! So we moved to a more sheltered spot closer to town and the boat seemed much more comfortable.

The local church. Beautiful!

The local church. Beautiful!

Bequia is a well known favourite amongst yachtspeople. In town there are more yachties than locals and many businesses obviously depend on yachtspeople as there are more dinghy docks that footpaths! The town- actually more like a little village- is very sweet with lots of colourful huts and palm trees. There’s plenty of stalls selling trinkets and jewellery, souvenir and dive shops, and restaurants line the harbour front, each with their own dinghy dock. We’re stuck here until the windy conditions pass through, but I couldn’t think of a better place to be!

Goodbye!

Goodbye!

Lisbon

Portugal continues to woo us with the delightful Lisbon, it’s capital. On Saturday Nick and I caught the train in and had a little explore. Actually, we walked for freaking hours, but it was worth it. Lisbon shows a very different side of Portugal- in a good way. So far, we’ve seen many coastal towns, most not to our liking unfortunately, but Lisbon is definitely worth a visit. It’s a clean, pleasant city, with leafy streets and pedestrianised laneways. The riverfront is spacious and inviting, with a decked boardwalk and lots of little stalls selling iced tea, or cocktails. Several large plazas open up as you walk through the city and, invariably, have some kind of monument or fountain- or both- in the middle of them.

Big smiles in Lisbon

Big smiles in Lisbon

We walked uphill, away from the river, and found ourselves at a lookout, with excellent views over central Lisbon. A couple of happy snaps later, and we headed over to the real reason for our trek: El Corte Ingles, a department store. Yes, we’re sad. I won’t deny it. Why would I spend my time and money going to museums or places of historical interest when I can mooch around looking at shoes and laptops?

Central Lisbon

Central Lisbon

Anyway, we left pretty much empty handed, made our way back to Oeiras, and that night we had a drink with a lovely couple we’ve met who are also doing the ARC, John and Sandra. As we head further south, we’re seeing more and more ARC flags, and it’s exciting to meet people who have the same plans as us.

Sunday was a lazy day, apart from a couple of beers on John and Sandra’s Discovery 55 (we had a little nose around when we went to the loo- separately!- and now have cabin envy, toilet envy, shower envy and fridge envy). The only other thing we had to do that day was make sure every inch of the boat was sparkling because, the next day, my ever so slightly OCD sister arrived at long last!

I met Kelly at the airport, after a long and, in the end, fruitless wait at the station for a bus that never turned up. In a panic, I got a cab, and was delighted when my 20 minute cab ride only cost me €8. Wish I knew that sooner, I would have saved myself about a litre of sweat, waiting in the baking sun. Anyway, one family reunion later, and Kelly and I headed to Mercado do Ribeira, a new gourmet food hall in the building of Lisbon’s old fruit and veg market. It’s awesome. If anyone reading this goes to Lisbon, this is definitely the place to spend all your mealtimes. It’s not, like, sushi and burgers (although, if you feel like it, you do have those options- but they’re posh, you understand, not McDonalds and Itsu). Feel like pan fried scallops on a bed of squid ink risotto? Perhaps a perfectly cooked steak, or freshly grilled fish? Charcuterie? Pad thai? Pretty much whatever you feel like, you can get here. Don’t expect cheap. But expect GOOOOOD.

The next day was a lazy day, just spent chilling on the boat and doing boring stuff like laundry and the shopping. Nick lugged his surfboard all the way down to the surf break, only to find not a single ripple in the water, so turned around and came back to the boat. Alas, it’s the wrong season for surfing. At least a lack of swell means relatively comfortable sailing conditions.

Apparently the best Portuguese tarts in Portugal....?

Apparently the best Portuguese tarts in Portugal….?

Today was again spent in Lisbon, but this time we got off at Belem, a couple of stations out from the centre. Our main reason for stopping was because Nick had heard of a two storey chandlery here, which he wanted to visit. Kelly and I happily wandered around the district, enjoying the gardens and what I think was a palace of some kind… pretty to look at anyway. Then, most importantly, we visited the most celebrated and famous Portuguese tart cafe in all of Portugal. This place was absolutely swamped with tourists, and the line just to get takeaway was unreal. But, although long, it moved quickly, and Kelly and I enjoyed our pastries with a coffee in the park. Verdict? Well, I’m no expert, but I have tasted quite a few of these Portuguese tarts since being in the country. I’ve bought them at service stations, cafes, supermarkets, you name it. I have to say… I’m not sure what the fuss was about. Sure, they were good. But if I’d popped into the cafe just across the road selling the same range of cakes, I’m not sure I could have told the difference.

Belem

Belem

Onward we continued, reaching Lisbon at last, and, on my suggestion, we climbed (okay, walked, but it felt like climbing) uphill to the Castelo de S. Jorge, which looked like it had awesome views over Lisbon. Well, we got there eventually, sweating and ready for a nap, and there was a massive line for the tickets. Entry to the grounds was the only way of accessing the view, which I was pretty miffed about, so we wandered around listlessly for a bit, before making the descent. After another walking tour of central Lisbon, we headed back to Mercado do Ribeira, and enjoyed a meal of bacalhau (salted cod- the Portuguese are obsessed with this stuff) on a bed of puréed chickpeas, a couscous salad with honey roasted carrots and goats cheese, and an octopus and potato salad. We thought we were full, but managed to scoff a double scoop of ice-cream from a stall that claimed to have the best gelati in the whole wide world. “We’ll see about that!” said Nick, and 10 minutes and much discussion and debate later, we’ve decided that, actually, we can’t think of any ice cream that beats it for pure intensity and amazingness of flavour. Nick’s reluctant to remove his cream cheese and fig ice cream he had in Seville from top place, but I think that’s more nostalgia than anything else. This ice cream was the bomb. It makes me incredibly sad to think that I’ll probably never have it again…

Kelly clutching onto her bag of Portuguese tarts!

Kelly clutching onto her bag of Portuguese tarts!

So, that brings you all up to date! Tomorrow we go to Sintra, a UNESCO heritage site about a 30 minute drive away. Friday will probably be a rest/clean/preparation day, and then- south!

And So We Wait….

It’s June on Monday. Apparently. I have tried explaining this to my fingers, feet and most other parts of my body. However even ensconced in fleeces, puffer jackets, socks,boots,gloves, and hats they are freezing.

So it’s Saturday afternoon and I am sat in the cockpit looking out at Slate Grey Falmouth, with a sky that is about to spend the next three days doing something Biblical.

Anyway, whining aside. This morning we left Plymouth for Falmouth.

Plymouth was a nice enough place to visit. Oh to damn with faint praise! Typical of many european cities that had been carpet bombed during the war and rebuilt in the 1960’s. The historic part that remained was charming and we spent a couple of happy afternoons eating and drinking in the sun.
However, the weatherman was becoming more somber by the day as he discussed the impending weather. Storms tomorrow, through next week and so on. We only had our berth until this morning as it belonged to a charter boat and it was due to return today.
So at 5am we rose, made coffee and motored out through the breakwater into a Southwesterly chop.
Now sailing is awesome. Don’t get me wrong. I love it, I love the adventure, the freedom and being on or near water. However there are certain times,when I would rather be doing something else. This morning was definitely one of those days.
It was freezing, really cold. The wind was 20kts on the nose and the previously mentioned chop was bucking the boat about. I think that the proper term for chop is “swell period”. Either way, the swell period was 5 seconds, which meant that every 5 seconds a wave came along and made the boat buck. When its on the nose it is uncomfortable. When its freezing cold and on the nose it is miserable.
So by 6.30am, we are both huddled under the spray hood feeling spewy and sipping ginger tea. “Never mind” we reassured ourselves, “it’s only for 6 hours!”. Jaysus! Anyway,we bore away a bit to try and get some wind in the sails and calm the boats motion. So thats what we did, beat 40 miles in the cold.
I did however manage to break up the journey by running up and testing the water maker to make sure it was still working after nine months asleep.
Anyway, we arrived at Falmouth yacht haven, and moored up with a little help from some nice people on the pontoons.Our yacht has a fat arse, and we have to shoehorn her into most berths. The first we found wouldn’t fit at all, so we patiently waited while a speedboat vacated the only other free berth and motored and hauled Ruby into place. A couple of quick thankyou’s to our new friends and we slumped below in the warm, broke out the emergency tortellini , inhaled them and slept. I don’t ever remember falling asleep.

Falmouth is a beautiful city. The Yacht haven is strange though . It is quite small and poorly equipped, yet the yachts here are serious pieces of kit. As Falmouth is the jump point for travel South, many blue water cruisers wait here for a weather window. There are many foreign ensigns on the yachts from the USA and further afield.

We have at least a week here , while we wait for our crew. The long term weather forecast is ummming and ahhing about the weather forecast for our due jump date about the 7th of June. We may be stuck here for a while longer we wait for three days of settled weather in Biscay. However as my friend Neil says ” nothing you can do about the weather”. So its going to be fleeces and gloves for a while longer. Because even the cold, cold ,wet weather is preferable to getting a kicking crossing the Bay of Biscay.

And we’re off!

It’s a Monday morning and Im sat at the chart table looking out at Cowes. It is not quite what I expected, however we have yet to venture out , so I will report back once i’m full of fudge and pies.

Last Selfie in Conyer

In the interim I will regale you with what we have been up to since the last post.

Well, our planned departure date of April 30th came and went. The weather forecast was average to say the least, so reluctantly we put the boat back on the pontoon and watched the tide ebb,leaving our beautiful clean hull settle back in the mud.
It is fair to say however that we have learnt from many years of sailing up and down Channel. Wait for the weather. And so we did.

The following days were strange. It really was business as normal. We carried on as we have done for the last four months. Driving back to London to stay with my parents, while of course making use of their washing machine. However eventually the lows passed through Kent and even the most sceptical forecast gave a couple of days of high pressure.

Exactly one week later we left.

We stayed in London the night before and it gave me the welcome opportunity to mark the anniversary of the passing of my dear Grandmother with my family.

So Thursday 7th May, we headed back to Conyer and said farewell to my parents.

The boat was already well prepared and stocked, so it was a question of pulling off the sail covers and going.
Saying goodbye to friends had mostly been done, however it was lovely to see John before we left. We will see him again in Gran Canaria, but that is six months away.
My last hour in Conyer passed in a haze. Akin to biting into a sandwich with too much mustard in it. A little choked up and not quite sure what to do about it. However, cometh the hour and we duly dropped lines and motored out of the marina. Lots of people who knew what we were doing waved and wished us farewell . And then we were gone.

The trip to Ramsgate was uneventful. We were a little unsure about the boat as we hadn’t taken her from the marina since August. However a little motor sail with the jib out worked well. Similarly our first proper mooring passed fairly uneventfully.

Even at the best of times Ramsgate is somewhat lacking. However as it was election day and Mr Farrage was being stalked by the worlds media, we opted not to venture into town for fear of meeting either party. Instead we hunkered down, ate and slept.

Goodbye Conyer

Friday saw the trip from Ramsgate to Brighton. For once, the wind was behind us all the way, so up went the Parasailor and we sat back and drank tea and Bovril.
We also tested the Hydrovane and it seemed to work well, in so much as it didn’t fall off the back of the boat. Oh well , there is alway time!

Passing Beachy Head

Brighton was a good day to wait out a gale that swept through. We had eight large fenders pressed flat as 40kts winds pushed us against the pontoon. As always we were happy to be tied up safe in the marina.

We spent Saturday exploring Brighton. Saw The Lanes and enjoyed a breakfast out. However as Sundays weather was looking good we decided to move on.

Brighton Graffiti
A good southerly wind blew us on a reach from Brighton to Cowes. We left as Midday and the journey was uneventful until we entered the Solent. I have never had to dodge so many ferries, cruise liners, and container ships. It was far worse than the shipping lanes at Dover. However we tied up in Cowes last night , ate and slept like babies.

I feel far happier now that we are underway . Now the anticipation of leaving has passed, and I am back on the water, all is good with the world.

We are running out of excuses.

As I sit here on another grey windy afternoon in Kent, it is fast approaching the time where we will leave and move to sunnier climes. Despite a couple of three years of planning and planning, my thoughts and emotions are not what I expected. Nervous anticipation is one I expected, but I have now passed that, dawdled through fear and have arrived firmly in the land of ” I’m not sure I want to go”! I am positive that this is pre-wedding jitters, or the equivalent. However It is with a mounting sense of dread that I tick off the last remaining items on our lists of chores.

Last night we received confirmation that the U.S. embassy had finished with our passports and were returning them. I guess this was our last excuse to not go.

But, come Hell or high water, we are leaving. And that is final!

The last weeks have seen our leaving drinks party , which was lovely. I have no real recollection of the final hours of the evening. However there was a vague memory of some high jinx and a random conversation about shaving feet. I had to make some enquiries two days later when my hangover had abated as to whether i’d done anything stupid. So far nothing has surfaced. 50 or so friends turned up to the pub and we had a very drunken evening.  A fitting last hurrah before the big push.

We have also done work on tidying, stowing and generally getting Ruby Rose ready. The fore cabin is finally habitable, which will please guests and crew. We have managed to fit my surfboard into the cabin which means we can surf breaks all down the Atlantic coast and beyond.  We also had a planning meeting for our Atlantic crew, as we won’t see one of them again until he is dockside in Gran Canaria.

My local GP was very obliging in pronouncing me fit by simply taking my blood pressure and looking at my stomach to see how fat  I was. He did however  write a long prescription for all our emergency drugs. We are almost  a floating pharmacy

So this next eight days is going to be spent saying our goodbyes to friends and family. The hull needs to be cleaned and anti fouled. The anodes changed , and some final checks on all our systems before we leave.

We have however decided that we are not going until there is a reasonable high pressure system over Southern England. This assuages my growing separation anxiety as we could be waiting a while in these parts.

Balls, cards, boxes and balls!

This week saw our schedule become tighter as a week that could have been spent preparing for a circumnavigation was spend instead eating various pork products in Germany.
As the blog is meant to reflect sailing,I won’t dwell too much on Leipzig.Suffice to say that it was warm and pretty.
We did however purchase a lovely and totally impractical addition to our yacht:balls.To be more precise 20 cotton balls with Christmas light in.I have seen these in every Thai market I have ever been to, and they cost next to nothing. However,add some fancy packaging,a good choice of neutral colours and the gay man that hides in all of us jumps out and spends 30 Euros on a set.

Cotton lamp balls. A practical addition to any yacht

Cotton lamp balls. A practical addition to any yacht

They are however lovely,and until we get caught in a rough sea where they will be smashed to bits,they’re staying.

Trevor in the marina was kind enough to open up on a Sunday and allow me to retrieve our deliveries. It looked like the dullest version of a Dickensian Christmas as I opened package after package to find ,lovely gifts like burn cream, first aid supplies ,oil and fuel filters.

Spares, emergency supplies and boxes

Spares, emergency supplies and boxe

 

 

We did however finally get our business cards delivered. Now for those of you who may have seen or read American psycho, I have a thing about business cards. I mean, I haven’t as yet come close to murdering anyone for having a superior card. However I wanted ours to look good. Very good. Unfortunately , I will be handing them out over the coming weeks whether you want them or not.

Spangly , spot varnished business cards

Spangly , spot varnished business cards

Now I have a week ahead to tackle another set of tasks on our list, which has ” sort out the forecabin” at the top.
Our forecabin has spent the last six months being filled with sails and all the stuff we have accumulated for our travels. It now looks like a bloody jumble sale.

The Devils work. Our forecabin

The Devils work. Our fore

As you can see, there is all manner of junk to store effectively, including a stand up paddle board, my surf board , which I am going to string up from the roof, and buckets of other things. I have a long week ahead!

[powr-about-us label=”Enter a Label”]

Tick tock, the arse is hanging out of my jeans.

Unlike Joey Tempest of 80’s rock band Europe, I am not sporting a blonde mullet ( yet). However we have entered “the final countdown”. We have a more than vague leave date around the end of April. We have organized a leaving party, a lift out for the hull to be cleaned and antifouled. Then we’re off.

Terrifyingly, we have decided to start video blogging. I am far too entrenched in the early 1990s for this to sit comfortably . However this, along with Twitter and other black arts will need to be mastered. We have a twitter address which is @yachtrubyrose. Erm,tweet me or something…
Actually, I would be grateful if anyone could explain what the hell twitter is about?!! I’ve had some lovely people explain it in the past. I just don’t get it.
So at some point soon we will post links to our video blog, linked to our twitter account or some other jiggery pokery. Apologies in advance!

Aside from that,the lists that we have are expanding faster than we can complete items scribbled on them.

So where are we now…..

How to send mail overseas

How to send mail overseas

Well aside from a good spring clean we have been testing the electronics that will enable us to send mail, and receive weather while offshore. The SSB radio is up and running, the satellite phone now has credit and seems to work. We have also managed to get our awesome mailasail redbox to get all the phones and computers to talk to each other.

Our hydro vane is fitted and needs testing. The large red vane is conspicuous in the marina. However, so long as I haven’t stuffed up the install it should steer us across the oceans.

Hydro vane with vane

One of our head scratchers was which route to take. Even up until last month we were undecided. Now we have a plan!

Kent to Cornwall. Falmouth to Baiona in northwest Spain, then a cruise down the Portuguese coast, before a bit of the med., morroco, and the canaries. That takes us as far as November.

The only issue I have now is the state of my jeans! I vowed that I would not buy any more winter clothes as I was going to run off to the sun. This leaves me with 2 pair of jeans.
However the increased wear from all the maintenance, and washing has led to multiple “louvres” opening up in various places. I have patched them, but as soon as I get one patch on, another hole opens up. It is now a battle of wills between me and my jeans. I am determined to win, however at this rate it is only a matter of time before my arse is hanging out.