Author: Camilla & Duncan

Living aboard a boat at anchor in the UK

We’ve been living abroad for three years in the UK while we get ready to go further afield (read fix boat and pay off loans) and have generally had positive…

We’ve been living abroad for three years in the UK while we get ready to go further afield (read fix boat and pay off loans) and have generally had positive experiences doing so even during covid.

We don’t have a string of properties and bolt holes so the boat is our one and only home. This is a post about some of the things we’ve learnt along the way.

Kitting boat out

It’s possible to get a boat to a point where you can live mostly off-grid. We have 820W of solar and Rutland 1200 wind generator, a 6kW diesel generator, a small portable freezer, a large normal fridge, x2 laptops + router.

From around April this set-up generates almost enough power to keep the batteries charged so the heating can be on in the evening and the fridge stays cold.

We don’t leave the wind generator on at night while sleeping because it’s too noisy but it’s a decent backup for the inevitable cloudy days/weeks. As well as to heat the water for a hot shower.

A good plan is to get lithium-ion batteries, even if you only get x1 100Ah battery for your house bank.

They might look expensive but if you consider you’d have to change your lead acid ones twice a year (they only do 150 cycles usually) and you can discharge to ±10% without reducing life, charges in 2 hours etc. then they’re actually the same if not cheaper and a lot more convenient.  

It’s one of the things I really wish we had done from day one.

However, even with all this we still need to hit up a marina every ±two weeks to refill water and in winter in the UK we’ve not found it to be really practical to not be in a marina.

Marinas

  • In general, you will never find a marina that actively encourages liveaboards, exceptions include St Katherines which is v.expensive (London), Milford marina (Wales), We live on boats (Medway);
  • Most if not all marinas have clauses that say you can’t live aboard. However, our experience has been with the exception of MDL most marinas will not stringently enforce the rules unless you cause them issues. Issues would be hanging your laundry on deck, construction work and anything you can think of that would annoy regular berth holders;
  • Almost all marinas have a winter berthing offer which from our experience are more often than not taken up by liveaboards and as those are 6 months or less they don’t consider it to be liveaboard, you’re just visiting. Boatfolk also do a decent winter monthly offer so you can move around a bit but not all have space;
  • MDLs for all their expense and to their credit do allow visiting yachts to stop for free during the day if you’re visiting an onsite concession i.e. the pub, chandlery or other services on site. I think we’ve probably done this twice in a dinghy we usually come into marinas for 1-2 nights because it’s more convenient and we get full shops done etc;
  • Most marinas if you call ahead will be happy to have a few packages delivered but you should always call ahead to check, this is pretty normal as boats are always falling apart and their owners are forever ordering new bits to stick on them;

With all of the above in mind. If you’re looking for a marina and trying to figure out if they do/don’t allow liveaboards, the best thing to do is spend a week there as a visitor and then ask the office about what deals they have.

If it’s a swinging mooring you’re looking at there’s almost no way to know if you’re there every day or not so I wouldn’t be worrying about it.

Moorings vs. Anchoring

We generally prefer to anchor if we can. If the weather is crap it’s more stable for us to be on a long anchor than a short mooring chain. Potentially more reliable as well assuming you have a decent anchor e.g. Rocna or similar to stop you from travelling anywhere.

Winter (October/November – March)

  • As a rule in the winter, we’ve been in a marina. It’s just too cold to be not plugged in with radiators and there’s no way we can generate enough power without the generator more or less constantly on to stay warm. If you had a wood burner and many do then you could potentially get around that but it wouldn’t be fun;
  • Laundry is also a lot harder in winter than in warmer months. We usually do our light laundry onboard in a big ±30L bucket and it’ll dry pretty quickly. Fine in summer, less ideal in spring/autumn and not really a goer in winter;
  • We’ve done winter in the Medway, Crouch, Thames and Plymouth. I’d say that they all have their pros and cons. Medway was friendly but the local area wasn’t great, Crouch was lovely but the pontoons in the marina weren’t salted so semi-lethal at times, the Thames was lovely but very pricey.

Summer

  • April is kick out time for most winter berthing deals so we just left our winter berth in Plymouth;
  • In general, we anchor rather than book seasonal buoys, this is mainly because we like to move around rather than be stuck in the same place. We work from home so this works out for us;
  • Good anchoring spots so far have included rivers Orwell/Roach/Crouch/Medway/Swale, Hamford nature reserve, Poole harbour (I’ll DM you some spots), by Hurst Castle, Chichester Harbour;
  • Average spots have included Portland bay, quite exposed to the wind but good for kitesurfing, right in front of Margate which is good only if the wind is offshore;
  • Also good are the Folly mid-river pontoons, no power but good in a blow and a lot better value than the surrounding marinas;

Legality

Firstly disclaimer I’m not a lawyer. If you need good legal advice and are not a member of the RYA, I’d join. They’ve been invaluable in helping us with the occasional bump in the road with non-advice advice.

Byelaws may vary but you can generally anchor in most places as long as you’re not blocking traffic especially any port traffic. I’ve not yet found a river authority, but please correct me if there’s one out there, that doesn’t allow liveaboards or more importantly, has the authority to move you on. What they can do is charge harbour dues, these vary with Poole probably near the top in terms of cost.

Sitting at anchor isn’t a crime (yet) google the Benyon review about how this could change almost everywhere you’d want to anchor. It’s something that could impact all sailors and after significant correspondence with the RYA they don’t yet think is that big a deal. I do but hey ho.

What we have seen are places like the Crouch who have rules that marinas on the river shouldn’t have liveaboards. If you’re at anchor, however, we’ve never had an issue.

Last year during the first lockdown we were anchored in the Crouch.

While the river authority harbour person was very unhappy about it, the local marine police unit were very understanding of the fact that paying £1k/month wasn’t really in our budget given employment situations at the time, professional and helpful.

We stuck to the rules like everyone else, went to the shops only when needed and actually managed 21 days onboard at anchor at one point. Top tip, keep a few spare premium boxes of wine to break in case of emergency.

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How to Configure the OutdoorRouter 4G LTE Broadband Router

In this post I’m going to run through the configuration of the OutdoorRouter for a normal boat or home internet 4G internet set-up. If you’ve bought an OutdoorRouter 4G Outdoor…

In this post I’m going to run through the configuration of the OutdoorRouter for a normal boat or home internet 4G internet set-up.

If you’ve bought an OutdoorRouter 4G Outdoor router and are having trouble configuring it then don’t worry you’re not alone.

Security & WiFi

The first thing you should do with any new router is change the default password and WiFi settings. If you don’t do this other people could access your device.

Router password

  • Once your router is plugged in you should be able to see a WiFi called ‘OutdoorRouter…’  
  • Connect to that WiFi and go to 192.168.30.1 in your browser
  • When you see the screen below enter the password: password

Once logged in you’ll see a prompt to change the password. Click it.

 

You should get to this screen where you should:

  • Enter a new password
  • Disable the SSH password access (will make your device more secure)
  • Click save and apply

 

WiFi settings

Next up is to change the WiFi name and set a password. To get to the WiFi settings you need to click Network => Wireless

Then choose ‘Edit’ on the interface with the name you’ve joined it should be ‘SSID: OutdoorRouter…’.

  • You should change the transmit power to something closer to 250mW especially if you’re in a marina or busy bay. Otherwise, it might make it harder for your neighbours to get online
  • Also, set a WiFi ‘SSID’ i.e. name of your WiFi

Before you hit save (or after) click on the Wireless Security:

  • Choose encryption: WPA2-PSK is the strong standard at the moment
  • Select a ‘key’ which will be the WiFi password
  • Then hit save

You will now be disconnected from the WiFi. You need to go to your WiFi settings and find the new name you’ve just set and enter the password you’ve just set.

Ok Phew. We’ve now got:

  • Everything secure
  • A WiFi set up that we’re happy with

Next up is to configure the 4G. You need to have at least one SIM card in your router to do this. If you don’t yet have one in there. Unplug it and pop one in the SIM tray.

4G settings

This bit was probably the most frustrating for me to set-up. I was convinced I had the settings all correct but kept getting connection errors. 

If you think you’ve got it set-up correctly, either reboot from System => Reboot or physically unplug and plug in the router. I’ve found that this will usually make your settings stick.

To configure the 4G head to Network => Interfaces

You should see this screen. There’s nothing to change here.

  • Protocol should probably be Mobile Data
  • This is where you can change which SIM is the active SIM

Next click on ‘Primary SIM’, assuming that’s the one you want to use, else secondary.

This is where you set the network settings for your mobile network. Some will work with nothing. Some will require some settings. 

You should Google APN settings for [network name] you’ll usually find details there.

  • Enter whatever you find here
  • Then hit save & apply
  • Then reboot your router

If you don’t do that last step you’ll be left scratching your head / pulling out your hair / questioning life. 

I hope this has been helpful for anyone who’s found it. Ping below if you’ve got stuck and these instructions aren’t working for you and I’ll update them.

 

 

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OutdoorRouter Cat6 Broadband LTE Router Full Review

In this review I’m going to talk briefly about our previous internet set-up, give an overview of the OutdoorRouter Cat6 Broadband router and then go into detail around the set-up,…

In this review I’m going to talk briefly about our previous internet set-up, give an overview of the OutdoorRouter Cat6 Broadband router and then go into detail around the set-up, install and configuration.

If you’d prefer a video review I’ve posted one on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZIGGYNW9zM

We both work in IT so good quality internet is essential for work. Up until last year we used a pretty cheap ‘wingle’ from Huawei (Model 8372).

This was a surprisingly good solution. If we were somewhere with average signal we would plug it into a phone charge block, put it in a dry bag and put it up the mast. Suddenly your 4G is 20 meters higher up!

However, with both of us working FT from the boat, we needed something a bit better for the relentless zoom calls.

We have also been taking advantage of not being in the office and exploring around the UK coast.  Having done a load of research I came across Steve Mitchell’s post on the Peplink router. 

The device looked great but the price was a little more than was in my budget for a small upgrade. I found OutdoorRouter’s outdoor router, it had no reviews, spelling mistakes all over their website and some pretty pictures. 

With no expectations, what could go wrong?

Overview

This is a new device to the market so I had no expectations. In fact, I half thought that we’d have to send it back. 

I was very wrong. 

It has been rock solid for almost 9 months and we’ve managed to get internet up to 12nm offshore. This is a complete game-changer for coastal sailing, allowing downloading of weather while on the move.

Pros:

  • Single unit, genuinely weatherproof tested in F7 gusting F8
  • Dual SIM means you can swap SIMs without fumbling in the unit
  • Range up to 12mn offshore and speed is decent
  • Doubles up as a WiFi extender for marina WiFis
  • Reasonable WiFi range of up to around 300m/500ft, so WiFi on or from the beach if lucky

Cons:

  • Below average installation instructions / documentation
  • User interface on the device could be a lot simpler (set-up instructions here)
  • It didn’t come with a 12v cable / connector included (or an option to choose that instead of mains adaptor at checkout)
  • Casing paint starting to weather with saltwater around screws
  • Poor support for VPNs

I give the device a 4/5. The only reason for it not being higher is the documentation / user interface and lack of support for VPN files (More below).

Connection

Overall the connection has been great. We’ve had very few issues other than a few hair-tearing moments getting it set-up.  Tip: If you think you’ve configured it right and it’s still not working, do a hard reboot. Old skool but should do the trick.

Speed-wise when we are looking for somewhere to anchor we always use OpenSignal. It’s an iOS/Android app that has a speed tester + cell antenna map. 

With this set-up we test every 30 seconds or so until we hit a spot with a solid connection.

Note: You can see above that Vodafone can easily do 20Mbps, but that it settles down to much lower. This is due to their traffic shaping. Even with their Unlimited Max package we still don’t get the ‘Unlimited’ speed promised.

Mounting brackets

The device comes with a pretty decent pole mounting system. This will work with any pole up to XXmm/inches wide. 

We mounted outs on a comms post at the aft of the boat. You really want it to be somewhere the antenna isn’t going to be hit by anything. If I didn’t have a comms post I’d probably mount it somewhere on the aft likely off a rail that wasn’t exposed to any lines or on a stanchion post.

Under the plastic covers they are encased in a resin of some kind, if they had an impact from a sheet or sail they wouldn’t fair well.

Inside the case

What you’d expect really. A well laid out chipboard with all the bits you need at the bottom.

  • Dual sim slot – Similar to a phone, a little fiddly to get in and out
  • WAN/Network/PoE post – If you want to power of a mains connection
  • DC 9-36V – Usual type of DC socket, wide variety of voltages is great for boats

Configuration

When looking around reviews for this post the main complaint was that the device is difficult to configure. I think this is a little unfair as its marketed as a commercial router for festivals and campsites etc.

That said the user manual is minimal and that’s generous. I’ve done a separate post on How to configure the OutdoorRouter 4G LTE Outdoor Router.

Other options

Check out Steves’ article on the Peplink Dome. I also had a separate conversation @mr.martin.jarvis on Instagram who was going to try out the Teltonika RUTX11 an indoor option that looked quite promising.

 

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The 3D Tender 320 Ultimate Rib Full Review

After owning the 3d Tender 320 Ultimate RIB since last summer I thought I’d write up a full review.  We did a lot of research while we were saving up…

3d Tender 320 lifted by halyard

After owning the 3d Tender 320 Ultimate RIB since last summer I thought I’d write up a full review.  We did a lot of research while we were saving up and trying to figure out what we wanted the RIB to be able to do.

Our requirements

  • {Size} Fits onto the foredeck (Max 3.2m)
  • {Lifting points} To hoist it onto the foredeck
  • {Weight} Potentially light enough to hang on our davits (max 90KG ±200lb)
  • {Capacity} Big enough to be able to carry 3-4 people and kite gear
  • {Strength} Hard hull to reduce damage on beaches
  • {Capable} Good for adventures near or far

Ultralight Aluminium RIB options

We’d ruled out pure inflatables i.e. inflatable v-hulls because of {Strength}. That left either fibreglass or aluminium hulls. Our old Zodiac RIB was fibreglass and weighed 95KG and it needed to be a lot lighter to come in under 90KG w/outboard.

There are two basic options in the aluminium v-hull group of ‘ultralight’ RIBs:

  • Minimal: Single skin, no locker
  • Some extras: Single/double skin bottom and a locker / locker + inbuilt fuel tank

We didn’t originally plan on going for the locker option but for 3D tender but I ended up going for and don’t regret it.

If you’re in a RIB in rough weather trying to travel quickly you don’t want your anchor able to shift around!

Here were the options we found:

comparison table ultralight aluminium inflatable tenders

We were very much on the fence as to go for the 300 or 320 but given the small weight difference, we went for the 320. 

If you were sailing on your own, I’d definitely consider going for the lighter locker free option from 3D. It’s 12KG (26lb) less so much easier to handle solo.

First look

Overall this is an attractive dinghy. In fact so much so that quite a few people have commented on it. This worries me because anything that looks ‘cool’ in my experience ends up being stolen if you’re not extremely careful. We always cable lock or more when leaving it.

I’ve covered everything in detail below but here are the high level pros & cons.

Unexpected pros

  • {Handling & stability} Remarkably better than our old Zodiac Cadet
  • {Transom} Low enough that our 3.5HP outboard can make it plane consistently
  • {Weight} It’s quite a big dinghy, but one person can launch/recover and shift it (with a bit of effort) around the deck

Disappointing cons

  • {Dinghy pump tube} Broke almost immediately, cheap and brittle, pump is ok though
  • {Paintwork} Beginning to see blisters, it spends about 30-50% of its time in the water
  • {Bung} Opening of the top skin is a little small to make taking out/putting it in easy
  • {Fuel cap} Too hard to put on, not sturdy enough to last 
  • {Too nice} It might be too nice for someone to resit stealing

Handling, outboards & weight

I hadn’t ever really thought of the handling of a RIB to be possible to change much but this one shows that’s not the case.

Stepping in and out of the dinghy is significantly more stable that our old RIB. While under power it also feels more in control despite being almost half the weight.

Outboards & Top Speeds

In terms of outboards we have a 3.5HP and a new fancy Tohatsu 20HP EFI both are good at their respective jobs.

With one person the 3.5HP will plane in calm conditions. Unlike our old Zodiac and a friends v-hull inflatable the 3.5HP stays fully in the water when on the plan. This means it is a viable outboard option for light or slow trips.

3d Tender 320 in the water with a 20HP tohatsu outboard

With the 20HP, she cruises happily around 16kts with a top speed of around 20kts at 1/2 power with one person and 3/4 power with two people. With 4-5 people its still planing though I haven’t tried to speed test with a full dinghy of people.

We could get a deeper pitch propellor and probably see a few more KTS but speed wasn’t our ultimate goal. 20kts is plenty.

Weight & Size

I did start to try to pull the dinghy up with the 20HP onto our lightweight davits but they didn’t look happy so I stopped.  We have once pulled the RIB with the big outboard onto the foredeck when we needed to move very quickly and the weather wasn’t favourable.

We generally don’t do this for no other reason than our outboard stows neatly under the back of the dinghy on deck. If the outboard is still on sheets can get caught when we tack.

In theory the 3.5HP 17KG (37.5lb) outboard + 46KG (101lb) dinghy + small anchor 6KG (13lb) = 69KG (152lb) so should be fine to pull up on the davit.

However, I haven’t had a chance to try.  With no outboard on I can, with a bit of effort flip the dinghy on my own. Most of the time I use halyards to lift and manoeuvre it around.

Bow locker

In the bow we have a sizeable bow locker that happily fits a 6KG bruce anchor. Under the bottom of the locker is the hull so it can get bit wet in there.

With this in mind, anything you store here needs to be in a dry bag. You also need to be careful not to put anything too small in there as it can go under the floor never to be recovered.

The catches on the locker are plastic so aren’t going to protect valuables but would probably be ok to stop opportunist theft of a lifejacket or 5L (±1gal) fuel can.

Overall the locker has been a big win. Keeping the anchor from moving around the dinghy while in various conditions has been invaluable.

Fuel tank

Another bonus on the ‘ultimate’ RIBs was the fuel tank. Given our plans to go hopefully go sailing to quite isolated places the ability to easily store an extra 20L (±5 US Gal) was very attractive.

It does however have some pitfalls…

Firstly, when you get the dinghy you have to install your own fuel line. Not the end of the world but given the very lightweight mousing string provided it was a little harrowing.

Secondly, the fuel cap is hard to put on because the gauge stem is too long for the tank, making it hard to thread the cap (the gauge broke in the first year rendering the long stem fairly pointless).

Finally, as the dinghy is already front heavy, if there’s fuel in the tank then it makes it more challenging to lift the dinghy onto the davits or deck.

Lifting points, handles & seat

There are four well placed lifting points, five if you could the one in the locker but I’ve never found a need to use that one.  

Handles are sensibly placed so that your passengers have something to hold onto as you speed into the distance. They’re very well attached and well made. The oarlocks sometimes feel like there in the wrong place when I’m helming but they’ve got to go somewhere.

We damaged one a little by leaving the dinghy rubbing under a pontoon for a week but that’s definitely on us.

The center seat is a little average in construction. Twice the clamps that hold it to the tubes have broken and I’ve had to use larger screws…next time it happens I’ll probably just chuck it as it doesn’t add much value.

Optional wheels

These were pretty expensive, there were no photos of them and I almost cancelled them.

I’m very glad I didn’t.

They’re significantly more industrial and better designed than anything I’ve seen in a chandlery and much better. They can be easily removed and fold down much easier in shallow water than wheels that have arms that are too long.

As a downside, unfortunately even if you order the wheels with the dinghy they arrive separately and you’ll have to fit them yourself. This isn’t too hard but read the very sensible instructions first and make sure the wheel rotates when it’s locked down. 

Oars and pump

The oars are nothing to write home about they’re simple and do the job.

The dinghy pump a little disappointing.

The pump itself is good however the attached tube and clamp to hold it closed both failed. The tube has a split that I’ve had to duck tape and the clamp quickly broke so the pump won’t stay closed.

Conclusion

While this dinghy is quite expensive, relative to its competitors the hypalon one is not the most or least expensive out there.

The build quality of the dinghy is high despite some of the pitfalls so I’d still recommend it against the other options. It’s provided us with a platform to get to places we wouldn’t have otherwise with an inflatable only dinghy and has been great moving the full crew on and off the boat.

 

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Remote beach clean up Plymouth #1

While exploring this week, I found a beach on Rame Head near Plymouth which is absolutely covered in ocean rubbish. Over two days and 3-4 hours I was able to…

While exploring this week, I found a beach on Rame Head near Plymouth which is absolutely covered in ocean rubbish. Over two days and 3-4 hours I was able to pick up 60KG of waste and bring it back to a bin by RIB.

Day two made me realise that there’s way more than I can do on my own. I now need some extra help (volunteers) to help me run a small private beach clean up.

How much rubbish is on the beach

Over two days I was able to collect around 60KG off one of the two beaches in the cove but there’s still so much more there.

Plan

The beach is only accessible by boat/kayak in good conditions. We have a 42ft sailboat that we’re planning on anchoring off and using our RIB to ferry rubbish back to the boat and hoist onto the foredeck.

Date: Currently the weather is looking good this Sunday 6th December;
Time: Departing around 12:30pm and back around 5:30pm;
Location: Plymouth Yacht Haven Mt. Batten about 5 mins from the ferry;
Contact via WhatsApp group: https://chat.whatsapp.com/CdFnXgAbuIB8dgZFKbHZHH

We will provide:
We have lifejackets, tea, coffee and snacks etc for anyone who can join.

You should bring:
Required equipment would be wellies, gloves and warm clothes. We’ve got two large rubble bags but could do with 2-4 more.

Help & contact

If you know anyone who might be able to help, please put them in touch. WhatsApp group here: https://chat.whatsapp.com/CdFnXgAbuIB8dgZFKbHZHH

Full video of the two days this week

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Boat photos on the Crouch today

We’re taking photos on the river crouch between Fambridge and Burnham today because why not. If you pass by give us a wave, we’ll snap some photos and post them…

We’re taking photos on the river crouch between Fambridge and Burnham today because why not. If you pass by give us a wave, we’ll snap some photos and post them here later.

Update: Yesterday’s photos below. Resolutions should be pretty high. If you’d like original full-size images to print posters let me know and I’ll send them over to you.

Free for non-commercial and non-profit use. The license is under the gallery.

If you like the photo(s) of your boat, say hi next time you pass by, subscribe or even better buy us a beer (right) and we’ll give you a socially distanced cheers 🙂

Gallery Saturday 16/05/2020
(Sunday 17/05/2020 is below)

Gallery Sunday 17/05/2020

Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial – CC BY-NC

Free for use to: Burnham-on-Crouch sailing clubs, Crouch valley festival any Burnham-on-Crouch charities or non-profit orgs.

Photos

If power please keep your distance if moving at speed, don’t worry we’ve got a pretty good zoom lens 🙂

Feel free to pass relatively closely if you’re in a sailing boat and we’ll try to get close-ups.

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Working for 20 Days at Anchor

Anyone who has been self-isolating will probably be beginning to feel like they know how astronauts on the ISS feel. From the 18th April until the 8th May, bar one…

Anyone who has been self-isolating will probably be beginning to feel like they know how astronauts on the ISS feel.

From the 18th April until the 8th May, bar one day, we sat at anchor on the river roach. That’s almost a full 20 days at anchor without going anywhere.

As full-time liveaboards on our boat, we’re no stranger to sitting at anchor and getting on with our lives but this was a little different.

Why we’re sitting at anchor in Essex

The main reason is probably cost. While the views are nice, I don’t think anyone would choose to spend weeks at a time without going ashore.

Staying in marinas out of contract is quite expensive and while we had previously been staying in London, that only made sense when we were both working FT.

Before the lockdown, Camilla finished the project she was working on and before she had a chance to find something new, lockdown kicked in.

In that interim period, we decided to move the boat out of London partly because it was getting hard to get supplies but also because we had no need to be there, I had been working at home for ±3 weeks.

We headed down to Burnham to pick up some supplies for the boat, notably a new chain, but also some solar panels, a small freezer and a few other things that we had on a list of fixes.

Lockdown

About 1-2 todays after we arrived, the lockdown was announced. This was a bit of a challenge as we were a little concerned about being stuck paying monthly marina fees.

We weren’t sure where we were planning on going after our first resupply but the original plan probably wasn’t to stay here. We considered sailing over to the Netherlands or elsewhere however, the general advice wasn’t to go too far if you didn’t need to.

After a chat with the RYA and our the local marine police unit as our boat is our primary and only residence they said we couldn’t be compelled to stay in the marina and that there was no issue with us coming back every couple of weeks to resupply.

What we learnt

We’ve done extended trips on the boat but not usually where we can’t head anywhere else.

General

  • Small stern anchor: While we have a great primary Rocna anchor and a secondary spade, we need something that’s smaller and easier to deploy aft to deal with wind over tide;
  • Exercise: Do some. We built a small gym on the foredeck using some spare blocks. We have a compound row/bicep curl and a lat pull down using a bucket;

Food and water

  • Water: We have more than enough water to last a month even if we have showers ever 2-3 days, about mid-way though we fixed out main tank meter which was very handy;
  • Fridge: We were lucky to be able to find someone who could regas our fridge, it hadn’t been done for 2+ years and they didn’t use a pump to drain it. Newly regassed it’s a dream! We also added a cheap ±£10 digital thermostat that has changed our lives;
  • Freezer: Probably not essential if you can catch fresh fish but it makes a huge difference, get one if you can fit it in;
  • Slow cooker: These things are awesome, they draw around 140W so easily run off the solar with an invertor on a good day, Camilla successfuly made bread several times!

  • Top tip, 1KG of parma vacume packed will keep for 12 months in a cool place.

  • Chocolate: You can never have too much period. Running out is a terrible thing;

Power

    • Solar: 600W of solar is probably more than enough for us most of the time, we also don’t really have anywhere else to add more;

    • Batteries: A monitor is essential, this 500A one was quite cheap and we’re going to ditch the lead-acid batteries in favour of LiPoe4 asap as we want more capacity;

    • Generator: Useful so keep it well serviced, when you need it you’ll really want it to start first time, add labels to remind service intervals, always carry spare filters and oil;

 

Working

    • Connectivity: We carry data sims for three networks, test the connection before you drop the hook, we’re also going to add a 4G antenna for our usb router;


Also these anker USB-C 12V adaptors are great!

    • Calm = good: We had one or two days where without a stern anchor and with wind over time the boat wasn’t very settled. This made working a bit harder.
    • Tech: Laptop stands, K380 keyboards and mice have been a lifesaver as having the laptops running on USB-C, much easier than always need invertors etc.

What’s next

Living aboard a boat you sometimes feel like you’re on your own little spaceship. No more than now!

We’re waiting for the lockdown to end. While that happens we’re going to keep up our regime of ±2 weeks at anchor and ±2 days at marina resupplying.

In the meantime, I’ve been working away on my current project and Camilla has been feverishly building MissionKontrol v1.1 and v1.2 getting it ready for prod.

It’s looking awesome!

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Update: Going Dutch, Christmas & What’s next

It has been a busy, tiring and expensive year but we can finally announce that Seraphina’s refit is complete. She has new sails, rigging, pumps, electronics and everything that moves…

It has been a busy, tiring and expensive year but we can finally announce that Seraphina’s refit is complete.

She has new sails, rigging, pumps, electronics and everything that moves or is mechanical has been serviced or repaired. It has been a pretty massive undertaking but we’re glad she’s finally ready to leave the UK.

Going dutch

It’s official, we’re going dutch. Seraphina should be reflagged this month to the Netherlands. We decided that we wanted to keep the boat within the EU for various reasons and as Camilla is Dutch the Netherlands was the most obvious option.

After sailing across the North Sea with Hurricane Lorenzo chasing us we made it to Rotterdam.

Probably one of the toughest crossings yet due to the ‘confused’ seas we managed to make it after around 36 hours non-stop sailing.

Winter in London

Assuming we find a break in the weather we’ll be bringing the boat back over to the UK and she’ll spend the Christmas months in UK.

As with previous years, we’ll be getting friends, family and some people from the London tech community down for whiskey and mince pies.

What’s next

The plan is to leave the UK at some point next year around April and August. That depends on a couple of factors around work, projects, and finances but we’re pretty excited to get moving.

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First weekend days racing at Burnham week

While speaking to a nice chap in the Royal Corinthians sailing club he reliably informed me that East coast sailors are some of the best in the UK. I now…

While speaking to a nice chap in the Royal Corinthians sailing club he reliably informed me that East coast sailors are some of the best in the UK.

I now know why..

We moved the boat to Burnham-on-Crouch a couple of weeks ago and were looking for a good way to get involved with the local sailing clubs.

Burnham week looked like an great opportunity to meet some new people as well as race Seraphina for the first time. So we got signed up and cracked on!

Prep

There was quite a bit of prep…we don’t race very often and given Seraphina didn’t even have a sail number we’re assuming she has never been raced in her life.

We had to…
– Sail number application (RYA)
– New insurance
– Repair foresail
– Repair forward hatch
– Get and put on sail numbers
– Crew kit (failed to materialise)
– Event sign-up

All in each piece wasn’t too hard, other than the hatch, but altogether quite a lot of work for a couple of weeks. Luckily a friend (Steve) who’s got quite a bit of experience racing onshore/offshore joined us.

Saturday 25th Aug, Day 1 – Relative calm

Perfect first day for everyone. We had good winds on the start and a patch of wind so light that we had to anchor to stop going backwards. We came 3rd out of 4 boats in our class, one retired.

We were a long way behind the pos 1 & 2 from a time perspective but to be honest were happy that we completed before the time limit!

Luckily some clouds came in and pushed us forwards…we managed to avoid the rains… good escape!

Sunday 26th Aug, Day 2 – Serious racing

From talking to other sailors we know that some clubs cancelled racing if the forecast was over 20kts. The east coast sailors don’t give up that easily.

With a forecast of 16-20kts gusting 20kts and building through the afternoon with a good dose of rain, the race was started an hour early to reduce race time in the worse conditions.


The clip above is a quick sample of the return let beating up wind. In retrospect it looks quite calm but it didn’t feel it at the time!

Update – 27/8

Day 3 of racing had so much promise…a lovely full breakfast onboard, a nice lie in.

However, it didn’t last.

Just off the start we noticed that there were a few stitches coming out on the foresail. We tried to repair while sailing but taking the sail down led to more rips.

So we retired and spent the afternoon servicing the sail and reinforcing seams.

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What does Chasing Mermaids even mean?

The idea of chasing mermaids has been around for a long time. Mermaids have origins in many cultures some as dangerous femme fatales who seduce you, steal your treasure and…

The idea of chasing mermaids has been around for a long time. Mermaids have origins in many cultures some as dangerous femme fatales who seduce you, steal your treasure and take you to the bottom of the sea. Others who will aid passing sailors assuming they have the right passphrase.

Whichever you choose to believe in they are rare and elusive.

For us the idea of sailing the world and doing what we love is a dream that we’ve had for some time. So to us chasing mermaids is the search for the elusive, the dreams the joys and rarities of life.

We’re planning on doing this on our sailing yacht Seraphina of London. The name of the boat was not given by us but rather by the previous owner. From our (light) research, a seraphin is one of the highest ranking angels. The Italian philosopher Pico della Mirandola had this to say in his book  Oration on the Dignity of Man”  (1487).

Pico took the fiery Seraphim—”they burn with the fire of charity”—as the highest models of human aspiration…

For us that aspiration is move a few steps away from convention and into a cadence of life that’s a little more in tune with how we want to live our lives.

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