Category Archives: Journeys and Bits

Bad Blogger Extrodanaire!

Over four months have passed since our last post, an eternity in this medium where people update their online profiles, personalities and blogs daily. I suppose it was partly due to us being busy and party due to there not being a whole lot to report and partly because we were just hibernating and watching far too much ‘Chuck’ and ‘House’ while we waited for the sun! But excuses aside, the sun has now most definitely reappeared and we have been busy on board.

I’ll leave Dan to report a bit more on the DIY (he’s been sanding wood like a mad thing!) and our plans to make Pinafore even more liveable and just update you a bit with our sailing and thoughts on life afloat.

So far in 2011 we’ve taken Pinafore out a handful of times, at first with experienced sailors in case we froze and forgot what to do once outside the Marina walls but recently braving to take friends out for a trip to Brighton Pier and back.

We are starting to feel more comfortable about doing the latter but have yet to take her out with no extra people on board as Sophia has developed a fear of the engines and as we need one to steer and one to do the lines as we come in, we’ve no one to reassure her that they aren’t going to jump up out of the hulls and eat her and genuinely are just getting us safely to our destination! We’re hoping to take her out for longer than just a few hours this weekend (weather permitting) and are looking to pop to Eastbourne Marina for the night at some point before our first big ‘trip’ in July.

In July we’ll be joined my by Dad and will coast hop down the South Coast making the most of our free visitor nights in the other Premier Marina’s to hopefully pick up my Mum and sister’s in Dartmouth and then follow through to Falmouth. We’re looking forward to getting away for a few weeks and finally getting a taste of the real reason why we’re living aboard!

The sun has definitely improved our quality of life afloat, there is little to no condensation in the night and things are so dry! We can have the door, hatches and cockpit cover up and generally just enjoy spreading onto the deck a bit. Sophia is already learning to look into the water for fishes and can be found splashing around with a bucket of water on deck quite regularly!

But there’s no point in having a blog if you’re not gonna tell it how it is, frills, spills and all so I won’t lie to you dear readers. We’ve been on board 6 months and during that time have had a rollercoaster of emotions regarding whether we made the right decision and whether we should stay on Pinafore, buy a different boat with a better layout for living aboard with a family or just give in and move onto land.

However, we’ve chatted and ummed and ah-ed and prayed and done all sorts and have decided to stay put at least for now! Living with few possessions is still a really refreshing way to be and we love the idea that we will own some floating ‘property’ in just 4 and a half years. After being launched into the deep, cold, frozen end over the winter we know what adjustments we need to make to get through the next winter more comfortably and without losing too much more to mould.

I’m reading ‘Chasing the Dragon’ by Jackie Pullinger at the moment and when you read about some of the squalid living conditions of people on the other side of the world it makes me realise how incredibly blessed and privileged we are to have the space we have, the luxury of food every day, clean water, clothes, a warm bed and toys and books for Sophia. It seems insulting to gripe about what we have when there are so many with nothing at all.

So we continue to thank God for guiding us into this adventure, providing us with what we have and look to him for the future!

The first voyage

Last week the time came for our first journey away from the mooring where we initially found and purchased Pinafore. I had taken the week off work to do some last minute work and prep with the help of my father-in-law and we were ready to set sail for our new destination; Brighton.

It was to be a two stage trip; on Thursday, at high tide, we cast off and motored our way down the channel in search of a mooring from which we would be able to leave early the next day.

We were sad to be leaving such a beautiful place but the excitement of the journey ahead was greater and we had fun practising mooring up at buoys and manoeuvring with the twin diesels. Phil made it all look very easily, gently motoring up to the buoy and holding her steady, my turn was far

Out for a sail in the calm before the storm...

more haphazard but still resulted in a successful mooring. For the the first time I didn’t feel overwhelmed by the idea of skippering our modest craft. We even got the sails up, catching the southerly wind, as we head up towards Itchenor to look for our resting place for the night. Confidence came over Hannah and I and we had taking turns at helming before settling down for the evening.

That night I could not sleep for the excitement of the next day. We were going to be taking her out to sea and testing her against the waves. Unfortunately in the early hours the wind picked up, thinking nothing of it I finally got some shut eye and awaited the favourable forecasts that had been published.

That morning, around the breakfast table, the only topic of discussion was the weather. The forecast had changed to Southerly winds between force 5-7, after almost calling it off and waiting it out in the channel for one more day we decided to set sail and take on the weather. Time was pushing us on and commitments could not wait, we had to go.

Phil had warned that it would be uncomfortable, and so right he was. As we motored out of the channel the waves were getting bigger – we had to

get to deeper water to lose the most violent of them. It was quickly becoming apparent that this wasn’t weather you choose to go out in. We motored on, pushing Pinafore somewhere she didn”t want to go, all the while letting us know in her creaking and smashing against the water. One by one we all fell prey to seasickness and Phil and I took on a half hour watch schedule; one steering course and holding course the other curling up in the corner of the cockpit trying to stay warm and dry and to get a little bit of rest. Roll on Brighton….

I could tell the whole story about how we all managed to ‘paint the decks’ and how Sophia slept for two thirds of the journey but I fear this is getting boring. Suffice to say – we arrived safely in Brighton ready to start the next chapter of our adventure.