|Langport, Somerset. 10 years ago|
You may have seen the current 10 years ago and now pictures that are going around the internet. Ten years ago was when we moved from learning about sailing to actually doing it. Lots of people starting out ask about how long it takes to prepare to be live aboards or cruisers. There is no one answer but this is a quick snap shot of how we did it.
We had a lot of on-water experience between us from
|Brown skin-on-frame kayak with 3 young children on river|
Then Mark managed to win a competition. The prize was an RYA start sailing course being
|Sailing school yacht on floating pontoon, flat water|
|Skipper at the wheel|
|White bow with furled white sail, grey sea and sky|
|Me at wheel, grinning. Wearing winter hat and gloves|
|Beautiful peaceful creek, blue calm water, empty moorings|
|Wave foaming beside boat taken from cockpit|
Once home again we started planning how we were going to do this. We found an off-line theory course and spent evenings learning about rules of the road, navigation and meteorology. The next phase was to get a small boat that we could start learning the practical side on. We ended up travelling the width of the country in order to look at and buy the boat that was to become ours. She was 17 foot and in a bit of a state with green stuff growing all over her. Buying a doer-upper meant that she was affordable. She taught us a lot about boat maintenance inside and out. There was months of tough work that needed to be done to the hull and the bolts and then there was fun stuff decorating the inside.
|Small blue hulled boat on trailer behind car|
|Close up of green growth on portlight|
|Close up of moss growing on trailer|
We found out the best toys to take on a small boat to make the time pass by when all else is somehow not exciting enough (Lego, it is Lego without the shadow of a doubt) and we took her out and we learnt about handling a boat. We put all our theoretical knowledge of weather, tides and sailing to the test. We found out about ourselves and how we could manage a boat. We learned to make sure you have the boat keys with you before you tow her for two hours to the sea, we learned that sleeping 2 adults, 3 children and a dog in a 17 foot boat is not comfortable and we learned that we all loved it. We felt that feeling when you turn off the engine and all you can hear is the creak of timber and the waves passing along the hull. That made any final doubts go away and we knew that this was what we wanted to do. This was probably about 18 months from planning to travel.
|Blue sky, blue sea,|
|Three young children in cockpit of boat|
|Kate floating on a mooring at Weymouth|
The next stage was to find a boat right for us to all live on and travel in and this
but was more complicated and
took a lot of internet searching. What is perfect is very personal and when compromises need to be made you need to be sure what you are prepared to compromise on and what is vital for you. We found a boat down in Cornwall which was quite a trek
from Somerset but it could have been worse. I've heard of people travelling half
way across the world to look at a boat they are interested in. After a couple of trips, lots of talking, some formal document signing and the dog being sick all over the galley (kitchen) carpet she was ours.
Our pre-travelling learning:
2 day RYA Start Sailing course
RYA Day Skipper theory course (off line. Many, many evenings!)
1 day RYA Radio course
1 day RYA Family sea survival course
On the water experience
If you are planning your own adventure I hope this has been useful. We are happy to answer any other questions if we can help, just give us a shout.
* Blogging with Integrity. Edited 28/1/19 to correct spelling mistakes (errors crossed through). Note to self, don't post late at night!