Category Archives: Preparations

New Years Resolutions

So another decade has passed and I guess it’s time for some Resolutions for the new year. I’m sure that I’m not the only one who has trouble keeping up with them and usually by the end of January I’ve failed miserably at the being more active/eating healthily etc. This year I have figured that I will choose more positive goals instead of trying to break negative habits; who knows, maybe by doing so, the negative habits will follow.

So here’s my list of things to do in 2011:

  • Finish RYA day skippers course
  • Complete the radio licence
  • Foam the interior of Pinafore (for insulation)
  • Investigate installing a wood/coal-burning heater (for warmth!)
  • Read more about Atlantic Crossings
  • Long term (within the decade): Cross the Atlantic

I’m sure there’s many other bits to do but I think this is a start and all necessary for our trip to the Caribbean in a few years time and to make us more self-sufficient. In the mean time here’s a picture of the New Years dragons that appeared to take over Pinafore in my absence.

The Dragons came to stay whilst I was away...


Christmas on a boat!

The title of this post is somewhat misleading as we abandoned our floating home in favour of Christmas with my parents in their


snug house in Dartmouth (complete with roaring log fire). However, as we weren’t leaving until Christmas Eve I did find some time to put up some Christmas decorations in the boat to get us in the festive spirit…though I suspect it worked better for me than Dan as he merely noticed the varnish stripped away by selotape and kept banging his head on my hanging wooden ‘Christmas’. However, Sophia seemed to enjoy the preparations and so did I; that’s the main thing!

Sophia Decs

During our landlubber Christmas we visited my parents newly acquired yacht, ‘Lucy M’, and did much brainstorming on how to improve Pinafore and prepare her for our Atlantic plans. On this note, looking back over the blog, Dan seems to have neglected to explain our long-term boat plans so I will correct that now!
We bought Pinafore in September excited about living aboard but with only vague plans of where we would actually sail her. Our adventure was in living afloat and that was sufficient at first. However, as we realised the potential of Pinafore, we started to formulate plans. Now, we wish to stay in Brighton for 5/6 years in order to pay off the loan which we took out to buy Pinafore and save up some money and then we will be off! We plan to sail down to the Canary Islands, across the Atlantic and then spend 6 months to a year exploring the Caribbean before we head back to the UK where we hope to reside on the River Dart for a while.

Although much more needs to be said on this, I must beg baby brain (is that still an excuse when she’s a year old?!) and cut this short.

But stay tuned for another guest post on crossing the Atlantic and my perspective of living aboard with a toddler!

Beating Condensation – Keeping the water outside the boat.

The biggest problem we have encountered with our experience, so far, has been the dread build up of moisture known as condensation. Everywhere I have lived (in houses) has had some degree of condensation but now we are in a smaller space it’s that much more noticeable. But how do we beat mouldy shoes, drips on heads, damp bedding and (my worst enemy) clogged up salt shakers? Well let’s see….

Air Flow

Condensation has a habit of forming where the air is static, this is because surface has been allowed to cool to the outside temperature and the gaseous water is able to transfer it’s kinetic energy to said surface and become a lower state molecule. In laymans terms; if the water molecule hold more energy (heat) than the surface it was cease becoming a gas and will revert to a liquid.

By increasing air flow around the boat the surfaces (e.g. windows etc) will be more likely to retain the ambient temperature. Air flow also reduces the effects of moisture in enclosed spaces (such as lockers).

In order to do this I am looking at installing low amp computer fans (costing as little as 11p) around in strategic positions around Pinafore, anywhere there

Small low amp CPU fans can increase airflow and cost as little as 11p

could be an enclosed space fans will be installed. This includes cabins, lockers and vents to the outside.

Reduce the number of surfaces

The second approach to reducing condensation is to reduce the number of surfaces on which it can fall. This is where carpeting comes in. Not on the floor but on the walls and ceilings.

This will be done in the cabins, where people frequently sleep. It’ll be sad to lose the nice white headlining in these areas but it will provide a warmer drier area to sleep in, and that is the goal.

We also plan to introduce some kind of covering to the windows either by shutters or by using suction cups attached to some foam (removable). This should create an airspace between the window and the interior hopefully keeping the boat a little more insulated at night.

Look familiar? Caravan carpet lining should reduce the area condensation can form

Whilst we on the subject of surfaces it may be worth mentioning that dry matt bedding will help solve the problem of mattresses going mouldy. It is essentially a honeycomb structure that allows air to flow below the mattress and carry away excess moisture.


It seems to me that one of the most common misconceptions is that heat reduces humidity and therefore condensation. Unfortunately it’s not that easy (I wish it were!); heat will remove water from windows and the like. but all it is doing is increasing the amount of water that can be held in the air and therefore humidity. Don’t get me wrong, heat will help, but as soon as the temperature falls it will return just as before. The secret here is to pump in warm dry air whilst removing the damp air. We will be installing a diesel powered warm air system, providing Pinafore with much dry, heated air.


There are two schools of thought on dehumidifiers that I have encountered. Those who will sing their praises to the ends of the Earth, and those who will

You needn't spend much on a dehumidifer. This 10L model from B&Q was relatively cheap but came top in Yachting Monthly

insist that they just don’t work on a boat and that it’s a pointless waste of electricity. We decided to go with the former school of thought since we figured it could do no harm. After all; the ways of actually removing the moisture are very limited (air flow to the outside being another way) that we’ll take all the chances we can get.

Any comments you may have would be very gratefully received; I will keep you updated with the progress and the success (or not) or the work over the coming months.

Southampton Boat Show

It’s strange to think that this time next week everything that we currently know will be different. Everything that we do now will be reorganised in different ways, from the way we cook to the way we sleep; and even the way we go about going to the toilet.

Yesterday we headed off to Southampton Boat Show, not just for a bit of a nose around other boats that we could never afford (a major appeal of the show to myself), but to buy those last few items for our preparations to the boat. Amongst the bits and bobs we bought was the glamorous Portaloo for on board use (cheaper than installing a holding tank) and a brand new hatch for the coach roof.
It’s hard not to sometimes feel a bit of ‘stinginess’ towards buying these things as we’ve had to sell nearly all our Worldly possessions in order to afford them.

This weekend I finally say goodbye to the XBox, and we will put my gorgeous Les Paul guitar and amp up for sale. These things I have found so hard to part from and I will be sad to see them go but I reminded of the passage in the Gospel of Matthew (6:19-21)

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

So when I feel sad about the loss of my possessions and grumpy over the thought that the money from these things goes to buy mundane equipment like hatches, I will keep in mind that we are following God’s plan for us and that these things will only wither, rust, die and, in time, be gone.

Anyway, time to head off to Pinafore for some more handiwork and preparations.. this time next week we’ll be living aboard!!! I’ll leave you with a picture of lil’ S enjoying her berth…

20 days and counting – the begining of our new adventure…

Well as we were always taught at school; ‘ the first is the worst,’ and I’m sure this post will not differ from the theme.

I thought I’d start this blog with a retrospective look at how we got here, to this point in time, where we are now facing a daunting but exciting task. It’s at this point in most young couples lives where they are looking to settle down, get a mortgage, furnish their house and perhaps even add to their family count.

Well we’ve managed the last one, but H & myself are far from the average couple and very rarely base our decisions on rhyme or reason, although I must say I am a fan of both.

Just over three months ago we felt something in our lives needed to change, we weren’t unhappy but we felt a pulling towards a different life, it was at this point we reminded ourselves of that month we spent aboard the 38ft Catamaran, Pumpkin, whilst sailing around the Philippines. We recalled how we were happy living with the simplest of comforts and the lack of baggage. Granted, it was only a month (well just shy of a month actually),  but we just could not shake that feeling of change.

We set about planning a similar lifestyle. Mission: To live aboard a sea faring boat. Time-scale: 1 – 2 years. Enough time to leisurely scout boats, do some sail training, get funds together and, of course, get used to the idea!

Sorry? Did I say 1 – 2 years? God had a different plan, the mission remained however, and he provided a boat and the means to accomplish the feat within no time at all. Before we knew it we were to be preparing for the move.

The boat which had been provided was Pinafore, a 1983 Prout Quest 31, set out with 2 cabins, a spacious saloon, toilet/washroom, galley, chart table and a spare cabin for storage.

So here we are – 20 days left until we move onto her and begin the next chapter of our life as liveaboards. It’s a daunting time as we still have much stuff to sell, give away and throw out but we are reminded that we are not the only ones to come up against such challenges:

Mark 10:21-22
’21 And Jesus looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.’