Saturday, 31 August 2013

Two years on - some top 10 lists

“There are only two lasting bequests we could hope to give our children. One of these is roots; the other is wings.” Hodding Carter

We’ve now been living on board for two years, with so many experiences it seems a good time to list some top tens.

These are in no particular order just in case you wondered.

Top 10 things that were so useless or impractical they were sent back or binned

  1. Model railway stuff – it was worth a try but turned out to not be practical so it is now in storage waiting for the eldest deckhand to return to land
  2. Wooden and/or cardboard storage boxes of various sizes – ideal for growing mould gardens
  3. Sadly an office chair had to be re-homed as its size and wheels rendered it impractical on board
  4. The dogs bed. A nice soft padded bed with sides kept getting damp underneath and collecting all sorts of things, she now has a flat comfortable water resistant mat which she loves and is much more practical
  5. Our original plans. Yes, we had thought we would travel much further and despite hearing so many people say that they had shortened their journey or increased the cruising time we didn’t believe it until it was obvious that we faced the same choice.
  6. Tangine – such a good idea but too tall for the oven along with several other cooking tins which were too big
  7. Anything made of leather, it just can’t survive in the dampness of a boat
  8. A cactus. Never, never have a cactus on a boat. Unless it is kept in a locked box where it can’t stab anyone.
  9. A windsurfing board with no mast
  10. Various mats, carpets and rugs – between slipping, rucking up, not being able to lift the floor boards to get into the bilges easily and trapping damp, they are just not good on our boat

Top 10 things we really appreciate on board

1.      EPIRB, liferaft, VHF DSC radio, flares – never needed (apart from the radio obviously), don’t want to use them, don’t want to be without them
2.      Support of our family and friends
3.      Advice from other cruisers that we have met or chatted with on forums
4.      Lego – lots of it
5.      Proper crockery/mugs/cutlery etc.
6.      Hot water bottles
7.      Stove top espresso maker
8.      Pressure cooker
9.      Kindles
10.  Pilot books, stuffed full of really useful information, all of ours are now very well thumbed

Top 10 lowpoints

  1. Finding unexpected rot whilst preparing at Topsham
  2. The terrifying and confidence knocking journey round Portland Bill
  3. Family bereavement
  4. Serious illness of the youngest deckhand – a worrying few days in Portsmouth and a trip to the hospital
  5. Finding more rot at L’Aber Wrac’h the hard way and facing the possibility of losing the boat
  6. Long nights spent fending the boat off of quaysides or buoys whilst being tossed around by wind and waves
  7. Frustrating waits for weather windows
  8. Sinking off Laredo – fortunately the cause was found and we stopped sinking quite quickly
  9. News of family health scares
  10. The times when the motion has been so bad that we have all felt ill


Top 10 highlights

  1. Carnival in Asturias
  2. The 3 Kings parade in Asturias
  3. Opening of the trams at Brest
  4. Seeing dolphins playing around the boat
  5. Caves at Ribadesella
  6. Markets and Night markets in France
  7. Successfully crossing the channel and arriving in France, an achievement for newly salted sailors and a big landmark for us
  8. The people and kindness we have met
  9. Coming ashore in the dinghy – anywhere it’s always exciting!
  10. Actually seeing the milky way spread across the sky without light pollution - when offshore the array of stars is breathtaking, even when camping in remote places we have never seen anything like it


The ‘things we appreciate’ and ‘highlights’ lists were almost too easy to write and it was difficult to get them down to just 10 each whilst the other two lists – the negatives -were harder to think of, maybe it is looking back with rose tinted glasses but I would suggest that there are just far more positives than negatives in the cruising life J

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Boat boys on the first passage 2011

Boat boys 2013

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