Rum Sodomy and the Lash

sailing around the world on our yacht, Ruby Rose

Category: Pre-departure

We are running short on time!

I think that our last blog entry was back in the shortening days of last September. January has now rolled around and passed. And we are now sat in front of a coal fire in London contemplating what the next few months are going to involve.

As we set the blog up to chart our sailing progress, I am not going to dwell too much on the interim months since our last entry. Suffice to say that we went to the sun in the Southern Hemisphere for a couple of months.

So where are we now? Well we are off to Spain tomorrow to see Seville and all it holds. We keep telling each other that there is no point in doing work on the boat when it’s this cold. And it does need work! Good friends of ours kept an eye on Ruby while we were away. However, we have returned to find a lovely patina of verdigris covering her decks, lines and woodwork. Through necessity,we have acquired a bountiful collection of heaters to keep warm on these long winter nights . Our eberspacher heating does no quite cut the mustard when it drops below zero, so electric radiators, fan heaters and electric blankets keep the boat at about 24 degrees. However when it snows or falls far below zero, we cut and run back to my parents, which is where I am sat now. An open fire and enough tea and biscuits to sink the Lusitania are constantly on offer. It makes for a very pleasant alternative to life aboard in winter. So as we prepare to leave for warmer climes, our attention is being drawn to the ever increasing list of chores we need to complete before the big push. First on the list is the fitting of our self steering gear. The unit is called a hydrovane and is essentially a set of very , very expensive tubes and cogs which steer the boat mechanically . The fitting manual seems complicated, and I can envisage many a day covered in Conyer mud screaming at it, while I drill holes in the back of a perfectly nice yacht. After that comes the update of our communications kit. Santa was kind enough to bring me a specialised marine router and a wifi booster which picks up wifi signals from about a mile away at present. It is jury rigged at the moment, so running the wired inside the boat still needs to be done. This again is going to involve a lot of swearing and grazed knuckles. We need to get our satellite phone up and running and connect all the relevant bits together to allow us e mail and weather forecasts while at sea. We also splashed out on a very good quality sprung mattress for the boat which we have been promised before the end of March. Then we have (hopefully) minor chores: polishing the hull, rė-repairing the scratch in the hull as my ocd is not quite happy with the colour match, buying charts and memory cards for our route, lifting and antifouling the boat, updating bank accounts….. And so the list drags on. We hope to leave at the end of April or the beginning of May. We have a lot to do and it’s not helped by our regular disappearing acts to find sunshine. However, we hope to leave for Cornwall then pick up crew and jump from falmouth to Gibraltar. A week offshore. Eek!   Hydrovane positioning   Hydrovane bracket

Another Milestone, and a Look to the Future.

So it’s Saturday morning and I find myself surrounded by the remnants of a three bedroomed flat distilled into a 40 ft yacht.

 

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The last two weeks have been a bit of a blur. It’s been packing cases, bin bags full of the possessions that didn’t quite make the cut, and trips to the tip and charity shops.

Our flat has been let, we have a storage unit and a van hired. Hopefully by Tuesday this part will all be complete. All our furniture stacked and locked away, and us left surrounded by cardboard boxes adorned with  hastily scribbled labels.

As for the boat, well we have run around getting last minute bits sorted out and ordered.

The SSB ( long range high frequency radio) has finally been installed. A hugely expensive piece of kit that transports you back to the heady days of early 1990’s internet. It does however enable you to send e mail and receive weather reports from the middle of nowhere, albeit at outrageously slow speeds. The first message I sent last night was akin to Alexander Graham Bells first. It also took as long. The one line message took 5 minutes to send.

chart table

HF e mail and weather reports

The geek in me does however love the complicated nature of the entire process.

 

 

What else? well we upgraded our emergency communications by installing an emergency positioning beacon (EPIRB). This is hopefully a huge investment that I will never use. It does however allow emergency services to locate us ( or our lifeless bodies) if we manage to knacker the boat .

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Emergency positioning beacon

Add this to the satellite phone we have , AIS transponder and the other radios, and we should be visible and reachable all over the globe.

The rest of our last minute preparations are to try and make sure that we don’t sacrifice too many of the home comforts while we are away. I understand fully that sailing purists will scoff at this premise. I also think that we would cope happily without most of our frivolities, however I don’t want to just ” cope”. I like ice cubes in drinks, clean clothes, hot water and the ability to watch a good movie if the weather is bad.

So, we installed a decent stereo. I don’t like the word ” sound system” as it intimates that we will be blaring out all  sorts of tunes ay high volumes and annoying the hell of out of anyone within 5 miles of our position. This is just a good, high quality, low power ,marine amplifier and the best marine speakers we could get. Its not the same as my beloved Arcam Hi-Fi that is now in my parents loft space. However its’s not bad for Purcell or Pearl Jam ( and I have tried both) .

We have also acquired a set of resistance bands to hopefully keep up with our fitness. They cost the same as a months gym membership, and as we both enjoy  excercising will hopefully get some use. They seem to work well, although they look like a London Tube map on acid.

gym

 

 

I guess that’s it. We set sail for France in a month for a two month shakedown cruise. The rest will start next spring. Fingers crossed!

Freedom, Finally

Let’s get us up to date, shall we?

 

The last post was written on our old blogspot blog exactly 18 months ago, and there’s a reason we abandoned that blog for such a long time. Things weren’t exactly going to plan. The sale fell through not once, but twice and when we finally found a third buyer the length time between receiving an offer and completion was 9 months. That one sentence sounds pretty straightforward, but as anyone who knows either of us can attest, the last 9 months have been the most stressful of our lives so far. Nick always used his medical finals as his benchmark for how stressed he was; that’s now been surpassed by the final weeks leading up to completion. It seemed that the closer we got to completion, the higher our stress levels rose, until we were living off sedatives and whiskey just to get a bit of sleep.

 

However, 4 days ago we fiiiiinally completed and although we keep insisting that it hasn’t sunk in yet (our new catchphrase is, “Oh my God. We don’t have to get up and go to work anymore!” This is repeated at least 5 times a day at the moment), we’ve both been in such an unusually good mood, and more relaxed than we’ve been in months. Years, probably.

 

Last summer we didn’t get to go to the French canals, but we did take a month off work and go sailing to the western coast of France as a consolation prize. We’re going to repeat that experience this summer, and hopefully go at a slightly more leisurely pace.

 

food

This was our first meal arriving into La Rochelle last year after a 3 day passage from Falmouth. Only 6 weeks until we’re back in that marina eating a seafood pot, cheese, baguette and fresh fruit.

 

But first, we have work to do! I’m actually procrastinating at the moment, because I find it rather enjoyable to sit in my pyjamas drinking coffee and play around with this blog especially when the alternative is to get off my arse and start packing things into boxes. That’s no fun at all, although I’ve got it better than Nick at least: he’s in Southampton at the moment sitting a 2 day SSB radio exam. Boring!

 

Our schedule for the next few weeks is pretty hectic. We aim to be living on the boat, with an empty flat ready to be rented out within 3 weeks. Somehow we’ve also managed to be talked into a quick trip to Italy with Nick’s parents (it didn’t take much, to be fair) within that time as well. Our to-do list is on the fridge and includes things like selling stuff on ebay, organising various friends and relatives to come and pick up the items they’re taking, taking out a storage facility and dividing the stuff we’re keeping between Nick’s parents’ loft and the storage unit. We’ve got post to divert, bank accounts to organise, our beloved cats to re-home (dreading this one). There’s a bit of work to do on the boat, although we’ve had such a prolonged preparation time that we’ve got the boat pretty much ready to go. We just need to convert the fore cabin from the massive storage locker it is at the moment to something fit for sleeping in. And Nick probably has some wiring to do. There’s always wiring to do. Whenever I ask him what he has to do to the boat, the inevitable answer is, “Just a bit of wiring.” I think it makes him feel manly.

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And here’s a picture of our cat, Oscar.

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…and one of our other cat, Lollypop.

Unfortunately, we’re not able to do the big push until next spring. We’ve talked about this for hours, days, months. We’d absolutely love to sail away from the UK this summer and know that the next time we return by boat will be via the rest of the world, but I don’t think it’s going to happen. We want to see a bit of the Mediterranean before we cross the Atlantic, and besides the extra sea miles will be good for us, but we won’t have time this year to do it justice- we’d just be rushing, and now that we’re free at last we just want to relax and take our time. But the most important factor is that I’m desperate to go back to Australia this autumn and see my family. And Nick wants to spend one last Christmas in London with his family. So, we’ll be flitting around for the next 10 months until April when we can finally say we’re leaving for our circumnavigation of the world by boat!

2013 and Another Year Rolls Over

Originally written 15th January 2013 by Nick

 

Blimey its January!!

I think that we have started the ball well and truly rolling now, and I am not sure we will, or would be able to stop it.

The business has now been valued, solicitors appointed and a sale agreed in principle to my current business partner.

All in all I will be happy to leave. My heart hasn’t been in it for well over a year .

Plus it feels right.

So at 41 I will retire. I have to keep telling myself that this is real as it feels very,very strange.

Now on to the interesting stuff……

The boat.

Well in keeping with the Blog run by Distant Shores, we are kitting and fitting based on their recommendations.
We have a battery monitor, We have a wind gen that has now been wired three times over to get the correct gauge of wire in place.

We have blinds now to keep the sun out, interior fans above our bunks.

A lovely feathering prop, a bimini, and we have solar on order.

We also are more than likely to fit a watermaker soon.

Hopefully if this all pans out, we will spend two to three months this summer on a shake down cruise of France.

It will allow us to see which bits we use, which we need and allow us to log power/ water fuel consumptions in time for the big push.


So hopefully the French canals next spring.

Watch this space. :)

The Never Ending List

Blog entry originally written 11th September 2012 by Nick

 

One year has now passed. One year since we placed our deposit into the sweaty hands of a  sweaty salesman, who took the cheque and offered us a glass of champagne.

I like to think of this another small milestone. One third of the way to our goal. A goal that for evermore will be heralded by our visit to the Southampton Boat Show.

And so this year we will get the train from London on Saturday morning with bleary eyes and the traditional McDonalds breakfast. I will also have the list of things we need to look for and buy in my head. This list will undoubtedly grow at a rate that is faster than it will diminish. It is a list of must haves and  maybes that we need to add to the boat before we set off.

So the ubiquitous list:

The first item on the list is a folding propeller. I have talked about this so much that even Terysa knows about  the advantages of having one. A huge expense but over the course of an atlantic passage could save us 3 days. It will also mean that the boat travels faster in light winds.

We then have to add whisker poles and a track, again for light wind sailing downwind.

Our on board energy requirements are going to be high so solar and wind energy will need to be looked into.  Wind generators are noisy and ugly, but necessary. The air breeze comes out on top of the research although will also look into the duogen.

A dedicated battery monitor to see exactly how much charge we are losing and gaining. For once this is a cheap item.

Bimini. We will need shade.But this is an item that can wait until next year as European summer does not lend itself to sun shades.

Dedicated 12v fans for the galley and cabin. Easy to install, energy efficient and relatively cheap.

Folding bikes. A week of research has led me to the conclusion that the bikes we need are not on the market yet, but should be next year. They need to be small 16″ wheeled and sturdy. Bromptons are hugely expensive and Dahon should have a similar model out soon.

I will also puchase a load of books and odds and sods that I can read and add to our box of bits to leave with.

This list will expand and expand, and although I do intend to tick of as many items as possible, it will do little to stem the tide of additions.

As as note, I have also started the process of shedding the possessions that we have little or no use for and thinking twice before spending on uneccessary things.

My E bay account has seen more action than ever before and the piano and my beautiful bike will shortly be going to new homes. I will use these proceeds to kit out Ruby and it will be good to see the recycling of our goods going to towards our future plans.

Our First Post

 

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Originally written Monday, 20 August 2012 by Nick

 

So I guess I need to start somewhere and today is yet another small milestone in my/our plans.
The intention is or rather was to start a blog for no other reason except to document where we are, where we are going and to give us a little more impetus should our goals seem more difficult to reach

We are going to go sailing. That is it. Our mission statement, our goal, whatever we choose to call it. Superstition and tempting providence stop me short of making a more grandiose statement. We hope some day soon (ish) to drop our lines, push the boat out of the marina and head away. We intend to travel as both of us have done since young. We want to see the world by sea and deal with the adventure that it will entail.

I suppose that I was the driving force initially. To cut a very long story short, I met an Australian girl in India, she moved to the UK and we live in London with two cats and time to daydream and plan our adventures. I had a 30ft boat and have sailed for about six years.

 

Ruby Rose in production

Ruby Rose in production

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We had Ruby Rose built this year after spending the time and energy researching a boat that we could live on and that would keep up safe. For those of you who know about these things, she is a Southerly 38. 40ft of bomb proof sailing yacht that has a large comfortable bed that we can get out of on either side and a lift keel. The rest of the detail is immaterial .

We also have a leaving date. early 2015 is chalked on my soul and both of us hope that the date doesn’t slip or slide too far from that. I will give up my job as a dentist, Terysa as a paramedic and we will go and try to realise our dreams.

So to recap, we now have the plan, the boat, the date and the blog. There are many more steps to take but these four pillars will provide a good base for the next two and a bit years.