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.
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.
- 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!
- Chocolate: You can never have too much period. Running out is a terrible thing;
Top tip, 1KG of parma vacume packed will keep for 12 months in a cool place.
- 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;
- 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.
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!