How we sold up and sailed away

Questions & Answers: How we sold up and sailed away. What sequence of events happened that caused us to sell all our possessions and buy a yacht to sail around the world in? Looking back, over three years now, you can read exactly what happened and how I felt. Read Negotiations 56 Oyster Yacht have finished but not without massive pain. That article was written back in October 2013!

Since then we’ve sailed over 18,500 miles around the Mediterranean, crossed the Atlantic Ocean, sailed the Caribbean and are currently preparing to head towards the Pacific Ocean.

How we sold up and sailed away – Video

Selling up and sailing away certainly isn’t for someone with a medium interest in sailing

To get out on the sea you might have to move heaven and Earth – your passion for the lifestyle must be huge. The process might be overwhelmingly stressful. But as described in our video, if you really make your mind up and go for it anything can happen – and boy, can it happen fast.

Are you ready to sell up and sail away?

If yes, check out my pre-boat owner collection that will assist you with setting goals, viewing boats to buy and fully understanding how much it costs to buy, own and maintain a boat.

Leaving Boat Checklist – Short Term

When leaving your boat for the short-term, perhaps for a couple days to a couple weeks, there are a variety of tasks to complete. A leaving boat checklist will certainly come in handy as there’s quite a few things you wouldn’t want to miss! Check out what Simon and I do when we leave Britican by watching the video below…

Being full time liveaboard cruisers, we’ve left our boat for a few months in Gibraltar. We also left Britican for a couple weeks in Sicily and five days in a marina in St Lucia (Caribbean). As of late, being based in Charleston we’ve left our boat for several weekends and weeks at a time.

Buy why leave the boat?

The main reason that my family and I leave the boat is to fly or drive ‘home’ to visit friends and family. We’ve also been known to take a few days away from the boat for a road trip or to visit a theme park. Most recently, my husband, daughter and I left the boat for five days and went to Disney World in Florida.

There are quite a few checklists available for wintering a boat or leaving a boat for a season but this checklist is for a quick ‘vacation’ away from your boat. When leaving for the short term a full decommission of the boat is not necessary…but what is?!

The following leaving boat checklist will help to ensure you reduce the likelihood of returning to an untidy, moldy, smelly problematic boat. You might also be interested in information about boat mold removal, check out my article: The Top 14 Mold Removal Techniques. An insurance broker once told me that more claims are made (and denied) for mold destruction than anything else. In most policies insurance providers will not payout for mold damage – probably because it happens all the time.

Take these steps to ensure you come back to your boat in the same state that you left her in! Watch the video and the take a look at the checklist below. Copy it, customize it to your needs and be proactive about making sure you return to a nice smelling, working boat when you return from a short trip.

Leaving Boat Video

Leaving Boat Checklist – Short Term

  • Clean the boat. This is just a general hygiene task. Once the boat is clean it’s easier to determine the extra steps necessary to protect and prepare your boat for a short leave.
  • Empty the bilge. Stale bilge water not only stinks but can attract mosquitos!
  • Empty all gray water tanks. Again, any standing water can start to smell very bad very quickly.
  • Poor vinegar down all drains (toilet, sinks, floor drains). This will help prevent clogging, is less abrasive on the pumps/plumbing and will allow you to come back to good smelling drains 😉 After a few hours the strong smell disappears so when you return to your boat it won’t smell like a British Fish & Chips shop.
  • Temporarily pickle the water maker if leaving for more than 10 days or as per the manufactures recommendation.
  • Pickle the watermaker (if leaving for longer than 10 days). Note that you don’t have to completely shut down the watermaker, you just have to pickle it.
  • Clean out and/or shut down the fridge/freezer (depending on how long you’ll be gone). Get rid of any food that will go off while you’re gone.
  • Have a plan for the batteries to make sure they don’t drain down too low or become dead. Even if you turn everything off on a boat, chances are that something will inevitably drain the battery if gone for too long.
  • Lock all windows and close blinds.
  • Turn beds up to prevent mold/mildew from forming below cushions or use the special material we have on our boat that allows air to circulation under the mattresses.
  • Unplug any electronics and/or appliances.
  • Pack paperwork and important documents, passports, etc.
  • Take the trash out.
  • Offload anything you don’t currently need on the boat to friends and family (if you’re visiting friends/family). I often have a bag of my daughters clothes that go to a younger cousin. In the video, you’ll noticed that we offloaded a sail on my brother. It’s a sail that we won’t be flying so it’s now destine to sit in my brothers attic.
  • Turn everything off or as much off as possible.
  • Check lines and warps to make sure boat is secure.
  • Lock up and give key to marina or trusted boat neighbor.

What else?!

Some other things that you might want to consider doing is to run all your pumps, engines, motors, etc before leaving. If you’re going to be gone for a while it’s good to run the engine, genset, aircon/heat and get internal pieces and parts moving a bit. Things like impellers and pump innards don’t like to sit in one place for too long.

You might also want to close off some seacocks. Just remember to make a note of what you closed so that you can open them upon your return.

What else? Do you have anything to add. If yes, please add a note below in the comments section.

NEW: Sailing Questions Answered – A Video Series

PRESS RELEASE: The owners of Sailing Britican have started a new YouTube video series called, ‘Sailing Questions Answered,’ with the pilot video kicking off with the question, ‘How did we get into Sailing?’

The new series has been designed to provide followers with…

…a more in-depth look at the sailing liveaboard and cruising lifestyle

Previous Sailing Britican YouTube Channel videos have been about sailing destinations, sailing how-to’s and specific journeys including sailing around Minorca, crossing the Atlantic and more.

With an increase in viewers and website newsletter subscriptions Sailing Britican’s owners, Simon and Kim Brown, have been inundated with emails and comments questioning a wide variety of sailing lifestyle related questions – both about the owners and in general. Unable to keep up with the demands of writing individual email responses, Simon and Kim are consolidating the most popular questions and answering them through video.

The first Sailing Questions Answered Video – How did we get into sailing?

Simon and Kim set out in 2014 to discover if they could change lifestyles. Kim was the owner of a large UK based currency exchange company and Simon was a stay-at-home dad.

Feeling burnt out and destined for some sort of illness (and at the top of her game) Kim decided to escape the rat race through a stressful management buyout. Kim should have stayed in the job, boosted her retirement fund and did the responsible thing.

Simon wasn’t fairing very well either. He knew that he should have been enjoying the role of Mr. Mom but found it quite stressful and isolating. Although he attended new parent coffee mornings and various baby classes he was often the only male. Not only did he feel like he didn’t fit in but he didn’t have anyone to talk to about his unexpected situation.

The Brown’s decided that life wasn’t working for them

They should have been happy with what they had but they weren’t. Kim should have been happy spending eight years to build a company that was now very profitable. Simon should have been happy being able to stay home with his baby/toddler daughter.

Instead of following all the ‘shoulds’ – working until retirement and playing it safe and so forth – the couple decided to take a massive risk and start over again.

The Brown’s sold everything, packed up their 3 ½ year old daughter and hit the sea in search for a more fulfilling life

Their goal was to find a different way to live. A way that was healthier, less stressful, allowed for more family time and ultimately provided a way to live and share their love and passion for sailing and the sailing lifestyle.

Three years ago the family left land with a small pot of savings and trust in the Universe that life rewards those that work had and seek fulfillment. Where is this family of three now? What was their first few years like? Was it easy? Was it hard. Would they make the same decision to do what they did again? Is their pot of savings gone and if so how are they surviving?

All these questions and more will be answered within the new Sailing Questions Answered videos.

How to clean a boat water tank

With plans to enter the Pacific Ocean on the horizon, we decided to clean our fresh water tank on the boat. Neither my husband, Simon, nor I knew how to clean a boat water tank but we knew that we’d eventually need fresh clean water coming from it!

The first step we took was to locate access to the tank.

We found a plastic see-through cover below our floorboards in the saloon. Simon tried to twist it open by hand and when that didn’t work, he used our friendly persuader (a hammer) to get the cover to move. After a few failed attempts we decided to call, Oyster, the manufacturer of our boat, to ask for some instructions.

During the phone call Simon was instructed that a tool was required to open the caps. Yes – the Oyster engineer told him about caps and not a cap! Little did we know that there were two access caps to our 1000 litre fresh water tank.

Once the caps were opened, the tanks could be emptied, cleaned by hand, disinfected and then clean water flushed through the system. (Keep reading the full article below and/or watch the video to see how we tackled this cleaning job!)

How to Clean A Boat Water Tank Video

Simon and I started the job at 10am and 10 hours later at 8pm we finally finished.

Who would have thought that cleaning a fresh water tank would take so long?!

After getting direction from Oyster, our next task was to find the special tool that opened the cap. Thinking back to the week I spent in Gran Canaria (pre Atlantic Crossing) doing an inventory, I remembered a round metal ‘thingy’. I couldn’t put it on our inventory list because I didn’t know what it was for!

First I sent Simon to our captain’s cabin to locate the tool. No luck. Eventually, an hour later, he found it below our daughter’s bunk bed.

We then spent another couple hours getting the caps off.

As usual, it was not as simple as putting the tool on and using it. We had to remove a board and unbelievably that took an hour!

Simon unscrewed the board but it wouldn’t budge. We called Oyster again asking if it was okay to use force to get the board up. Fortunately we got our answer quickly – the board that needed to be removed was inserted before the rigging was set up. The rigging therefore was holding quite a bit of pressure on the board. Once Simon knew it was okay to pry the board up, he spent a while doing so.

With the use of the friendly persuader on the tool, the cap began to unscrew.

Once we got the cap off I instantly noticed a putrid smell. Furthermore, I could see little black dots along the side of the walls. Simon took a paper towel and wiped the walls to discover brown gunk.

Throughout the last couple years we’ve always bleached, chlorinated and disinfected our water but never opened the tanks to see what state they were in. To date we’ve only ever used our fresh water for washing dishes, showers and laundry. We also would boil food with the water but that would have killed anything in it anyway.

Clean a boat water tank

Had we known that the tank was so filthy we would have cleaned it sooner.

I suppose it’s one of those things where you just hope that it’s okay. Knowing that we’ll need to depend on good fresh water in the future, the priority increased.

As a side note, whenever we put water in our tank, we use pre-filters before it enters the boat. The water goes through to water filters. It then sits in our tank and we also have another filter before it comes out our drinking tap. So…by the time we drink our water (if we did) it’s been filtered a few times.

That being said, if the tank is slimy no amount of filtering will allow water to be drinkable!

Clean a boat water tank

Simon spent hours cleaning the tank. He used a big huge bristly brush, sponges and washcloths. The first time he washed the tank with vinegar. Simon brought a hose in through the window and washed the walls down. After the vinegar wash, he used bleach and then washed that through. Simon then filled up the tanks, added a Water Tank and System flush solution (purchased at West Marine).

The solution was left to sit in the tank for a set duration. Simon then opened all the taps so the solution would run through the whole system.

The tank was emptied and another spray down and spot check was instigated.

Clean a boat water tank

And then finally, we filled up our tanks, changed our water filter and tried a glass of water!

The result was positive. The water coming from our fresh water tank had no odor and tasted like bottled Checklists for Sailors
Checklists for Sailors

You won’t need a checklist telling you that you need to clean out your water tank. A bad taste or smell will let you know that the job needs to be done. There are however, other sailboat maintenance items that need to be done routinely.

If you’re a new boat owner and haven’t purchased by guide titled, ‘Checklists for Sailors – Passage Planning, Sailboat Maintenance, Cleaning, Medical and more,’ you might want to take a look at it. I offer both a digital and paperback version on my online shop and you can also find the book on your local Amazon website.

When Simon and I started out, we didn’t know how to do much of anything. Over the past three years we’ve learned loads and whatever we do learn we’re working hard to pass it on to you.

Comments & Suggestions on Make Money While Sailing Guide



What did you think about my guide How to make money money while sailing around the world? Hopefully, you’ve had the opportunity to read it. If you haven’t requested the guide yet, click on the link above to request it.

After reading the 10 ways that current cruisers are using to fund their exciting sailing lifestyle did you have any ‘ah-ha’ moments or boosts of inspiration? If you did, please share your comments below! By sharing it helps all of us that have a similar dream and/or yearn to live a different lifestyle.

The methods mentioned in the guide don’t provide instant results but over time the results can grow and become exponential. The reason I say this is because I’m living proof that a ‘normal’ person can sell up, sail away and find a way to keep sailing. (I write ‘normal’ because anyone that decides to live on a boat certainly isn’t normal. And I think that’s a good thing!)

As I write this paragraph, over 5,428 people have downloaded this guide in the short couple months it’s been available. And I’ve received loads of feedback – many people excited by the potential opportunities and several others offering new ideas and other income opportunities. Previously I invited readers to email me with their thoughts but all the great feedback sat in my inbox (and still sits there!) I’m hoping this page can allow readers to comment, question and share ideas.

So…what are your thoughts on the guide? And do you have any other ideas or suggestions on how make money while sailing around the world.

Please share! Put your comments below and I thank you, as I’m sure other readers do, in advance.

How to make or buy the best boat pillows

Boat Pillows

There are three key items to making or buying long-lasting boat pillows!

1. First of all, you’ll want to buy material that is durable. The atmosphere both inside and outside a boat requires strong, long-lasting, UV resistant, mold resistant, easy-to-clean material.

On the easy-to-clean side of things, you’ll want pillow covers rather than full pillows. With covers, you can simply slide them off, clean them and air them out to dry.

With full pillows they’re harder to clean, the filling can become distorted and getting them to dry fully can be an issue.

2. The second key requirement is good pillows for a boat are making or buying pillows with a plastic zipper or an envelope casing. Anything metal will eventually corrode and stop working.

3. And the third requirement is to find pillow covers that you like looking at! It’s amazing how a few new pillow covers can totally enliven a saloon or cockpit area. It’s a small inexpensive touch that not only provides a bit of delight to the eye but comfort too!

We use our indoor/outdoor pillows around the saloon when we’re inside and during trips or when entertaining in the cockpit, you’ll find our pillows up on deck.

Boat Pillows – How to Video

To visit my Etsy shop where I list all my nautical gifts, please visit:

All of the fabric’s I’ve used I’ve found on Amazon.

To give you a idea on what’s available, I’ve provided some options below. I can certainly recommend the indoor/outdoor navy anchors on white background fabric. We’ve had these pillows for over three years and have spilled all sorts on them – even red wine!

After a quick wash they come up white and looking brand new.

Once you have your fabric, you’ll need to cut three squares, depending on how large you want the pillow. Our pillows are made for 18” x 18” pillow inserts but you can make these any size that you want.

Next, you’ll need to hem the two smaller pieces that will make up the envelope opening. The side of the fabric that makes the envelope will need to be hemmed. (See photo below – that back hem is the envelop side of the pillow…)

Boat Pillows

Boat Pillows

Then you put the pillow together – all the right sides together. So, big square face up and two envelop pieces right side down. Pin the fabric together.

Sew a square around the whole square being careful to pivot at the corners rather than running off the edge of the fabric (as shown in the video).

Once the fabric has been sewn, cut a diagonal across the corners.

This will allow the corners to look sharp rather than have a rounded unprofessional look.

If you have a surger, surge the ends. A surger puts thread around the fabric preventing it from fraying or unraveling. If you don’t have a surger, skip this step.

Turn the pillows right-side-right. Poke out the corners using a poker or a utensil that helps them pop out.

Stuff the pillow case with a pillow insert, smooth out and set out to be admired by all!

Or…if you don’t want to make the pillows yourself, you can buy my high-quality indoor / outdoor boat pillows at my nautical gift shop.

Boat Pillows
Boat Pillows

Sailing Britican Update

Previously on…I wrote about how we landed in Charleston, South Carolina after sailing 18,500 miles around the Mediterranean, crossing the Atlantic Ocean and sailing up the Caribbean and up to the States. (Read ‘Living on a boat in Charleston, North Carolina – USA‘ for more background)

Our decision to make a long-term stop during our around the world sailing adventure was brought on by one main factor – my husband and I were struggling with homeschooling our six year old daughter.

We also needed to find a hurricane hole for six months.

And if I have to dig deep, I think that a part of us felt worn out. It may sound hard to believe but looking out at palm tree lined white sandy beaches and amazingly blue turquoise water can get a bit boring. Having to constantly search for new grocery stores and spare parts can also cause one to dream of long lost days of convenience. The convenience of a car or ease of eating fast food.

Sailing Britican Update

As I write, we’ve been at the Charleston Harbor Marina now for six months.

The plan is to stay on the east coast until November 2017 and then we’ll head back to the Caribbean and make our way west eventually going through the Panama Canal.

Our daughter has made great strides at school. Her reading and writing have taken off in leaps and bounds. She’s made many friends and I think the experience has been exactly what we were looking for. In the mean time, I’ve researched more into homeschooling and am narrowing down a plan that will help us all move forward in a stronger position.

Interestingly, knowing that we’ll be leaving the place we currently call home has started to bring up a variety of feelings.

I now know what I’m getting into!

When we left England in 2014, I speculated what our life on a boat would be like, but I had no idea that the highs would be so high…and the lows would be so low. I didn’t know how much I would miss the convenience of having our car or the ease at being able to get anything I wanted at anytime of the day.

My husband and I were naïve. We didn’t realize how bad we’d get ripped off. We didn’t understand what it was like to be filled with real life-and-death fear. Nor did we fully understand the difficulties of having a child with us 24 hours a day, seven days a week (our daughter was 3 ½ years old when we left).

I know the difficulties ahead of me but I’m also a bit wiser now.

Furthermore, and probably more importantly, I also know that many future highs are just around the corner. I don’t know what the high points are going to be but I do know that there will certainly be many of them.

Perhaps we won’t see another volcano erupting hot molten lava 300’ into the air or walk through ancient cities that have been around for thousands of years. Maybe we won’t swim with another Sperm Whale or climb eight hours to see a boiling lake…

But, instead, we’ll come across other sights and other experiences. No matter what we’ll also continue to meet the most interesting, kind and amazing people on the journey. That will never change.

In fact, it’s the people that make the adventure so incredible.

Seeing volcanoes, incredible wildlife and breathtaking natural beauty is fantastic but without being able to share it with old and new friends it’s nowhere near as magical.

Above, I mentioned feeling mixed emotions about leaving America in November.

Sailing Britican Update

I’m surely going to miss Charleston. We have a great group of liveaboard boat friends (the photo above is some of our friends on A and B dock). Our social life is busier than it ever has been. Our daughter is doing great in school and it’s nice to have some daytime ‘me’ time. I will most definitely miss IHOP and PF Changs…and of course, Walmart. I will miss the busyness, the constant stimulation and the interesting political arena.

I will certainly miss the feeling of stability.

My day is laid out. I have a routine. There are no surprises. I will miss that. But…and this is a big ‘BUT…’ But when I’m 80 would I look back and regret staying in Charleston rather than heading back out into the unknown? Would I think, ‘Why didn’t I do it?! Why didn’t I get out and see and experience the world when I had the chance?!’

I hear my 80 year-old version of myself whisper these potential regrets to me. Loud and clear, they run through my body…and I smile to myself and think, ‘although the journey might be difficult the choice is easy  – we’re heading back out to sea’

So, with our future plan set for a November departure, we’ve been working like mad to get ourselves ready.

Most of my attention has been aimed at my business – the promotion of my online nautical gifts store, the creation and sale of my sailing related guides and my latest book launch, ‘Changing Lifestyles: Trading in the Rat Race for a Sail Around The World.’

Every morning I do my coursework – I’ve been taking classes about YouTube, how to make better videos, how to better optimize my website, how to promote my goods on Etsy, how to make money through affiliate marketing and essentially how to keep expanding my income streams so to pay for our adventure. It’s all hard work but it’s all very rewarding.

Just today I uploaded my first YouTube Trailer.

After having the channel now for a few years I’ve finally customized my channel landing page. I’ve worked on how the page is laid out and have created the two minute introduction to the Sailing Britican channel… Please let me know what you think of it!?!

Those two short minutes took around two full days to make. It’s crazy how long it takes to make videos but for some reason I absolutely love making them. I never thought I would. Our first videos were created to show friends and family what we were doing. I didn’t even know that there were other sailing bloggers out there! Now it’s become a sort of obsession…I love making videos. And hopefully I’m getting better at doing so 🙂

Sailing Britican Update Channel Trailer

And what about Simon?!

He has been doing some boat delivery jobs and will potentially be driving the Charleston Water Taxi this summer to earn more income. He’s also been working very hard to get the boat in tip-top shape.

Over the course of the last few months, Simon and I have:

– Replaced our Genset and Engine batteries
– Learned how to replace our Genset starter motor
– Repaired our swim ladder steps
– Affixed a new sheet guide for the staysail
– Got our cushions repaired
– Sourced new saloon blinds for a fraction of what they would normally cost
– Made new curtains for the whole boat!
– Swapped out the aft head blackwater hose (a stinky job!)
– Fixed our furler electrical deck fittings (Pulled out during Hurricane Matthew)
– Replaced our forward hatch in addition to pulling the whole unit out and resealing
– Swapped out an old engine exhaust hose
– Fixed our broken davit motor and replaced the other motor
– Repaired all our Gebo Portlight window latches
– Fixed two major leaks (one in the aft cabin and another in the forward cabin)
– Change our rusting LED ceiling lights for nice chrome recessed lights

Sailing Britican Update

And on the list to come is:

– doing the painful teak deck repairs
– re-caulking the heads
– cleaning out the water tank
– painting the outside black engine vents
– fixing the washing machine – keep getting an error code. Think it’s stuff in the line.
– Replace the screen and blackout blinds in the hatch fixtures
– Replenish our First Aid Kit
– Repair Gelcoat damage to the area near the anchor
– Caulk anchor chain plates
– Windless bolt sheer fix

One of my mentor’s used to tell me that most people are quietly decomposing.

In other words, most people aren’t living…they’re slowing dying. One thing is for sure – we are not in that position! If Simon and I are not working our butts off, we’re enjoying the benefits of sailing the sea. It’s a hard life…and I’m not kidding, it is very hard. But now that I’m living this life there’s no going back ☺

How to use a Stovetop Espresso Maker

What is the best way to get a fantastic tasting coffee while living or sailing on a boat? How can you ensure that when you’re anchored off a beautiful tropical island, your coffee cravings are not left wanting? The answer – learn how to use a stovetop espresso maker! (Video at bottom of the post)

How to use a stovetop espresso maker

How to use a stovetop espresso maker

Without a doubt, having a Stovetop Espresso Maker onboard is an absolute must.

Upon waking, the necessary energy needed for my body to rise has always been provided by the thought of my life-sustaining cup of Joe. Previous to moving aboard our sailboat I faithfully stopped by a café every morning to enjoy my medium-sized café latte.

Out of all my worries about being a full-time sailing live aboard, the question of finding good coffee was high on my list!

Thankfully, when we took over our boat, Britican, we discovered a Stovetop Espresso Maker in the cupboard. Not knowing what to do with it, my husband and I looked at it for weeks. Thankfully, my cousin, Loryn, came aboard and gave us our first stovetop coffee making tutorial (Loryn is pictured above).

Since that day my coffee needs have always been met and the money I’ve saved isn’t just pocket change!

Aside from being able to make a great cup of coffee these handy stovetop coffee makers help coffee lovers save money drinking at home rather than at a high-priced café. And heck, once you’re out sailing the seas, it becomes obvious that getting a proper cup of coffee is rarely possible.

Furthermore, what you think is a good coffee doesn’t necessarily translate in other countries. I remember having a coffee in Cyprus. The coffee looked like a shot of espresso. It was very strong. Milk was not offered but sugar was. Not only was the coffee strong but the coffee grinds were in the bottom! With an already tiny cup of coffee, the drinker was limited to only the available liquid above the grinds. One wrong swig and you’d have a mouth full of inedible shavings.

Anyway, the stovetop espresso maker has benefits over and above making a good cup of inexpensive gourmet coffee:

  • It’s easy to clean.
  • It’s easy to store.
  • If the coffee maker goes hurling off the stove it’s very unlikely to break (no glass). It might, however, dent the boat or someone’s toe, so make sure to secure it if you’re sailing!
  • No electrical cords.
  • Doesn’t take long to brew.
  • Can percolate any type of coffee. It’s not a proprietary machine where you have to buy coffee packages to fit the machine.
  • They’re super inexpensive to buy. These little stovetop jobbers make the same quality espresso as a industrial mega-expensive machine.

So, how do you use the stovetop coffee maker?!

  1. Pour water into the lower base unit ensuring that it does not go above the steam hole.
  2. Put the funnel into the basin and fill with ground coffee. Make sure to press it down quite firm. Note that that you need to use ground coffee and not instant coffee. Furthermore, if you have coffee beans, you’ll need to grind them first.
  3. Screw on the top of the coffee maker.
  4. Put the unit on the stovetop at high heat.
  5. In the meantime, heat a pan of water and/or a pan of milk depending on your coffee tastes. Put the milk on low – otherwise it will boil and curdle. Put the water on high if you like very hot coffee.
  6. Once the coffee maker starts to percolate and/or steam let it go for 10 to 30 seconds and then remove from the heat. Let it finish percolating.
  7. Once the coffee maker stops making noises, pour your desired amount of espresso into a cup and add water and/or milk to taste.

Where can you buy a stovetop coffee maker?

My answer to any question about purchasing items is almost always, ‘Amazon’. Below I’ve showcased a few coffee makers that will do the job. Ideally, you want to find one that is sturdy with a solid handle. We’ve had to superglue a handle on a few times, but ultimately these coffee makers stand the test of time. Also keep in mind how much coffee you’ll want to make (routinely).

I suggest getting one that isn’t painted (although I did highlight one above to show you various options). We have a black large stovetop coffee maker, as shown in the video, and it has scratches in it displaying the aluminum. I just doesn’t look very nice.

Regarding the size of the coffee maker. Consider how many people will regularly being using it. For our boat, we have a 2-person size and a 4-person size when we have guests. It’s not difficult, however, to brew our 2-person pot twice!

How can I see a live demonstration of using a stovetop coffee maker? (watch the video below)

If you want to know about other ‘MUST-HAVES’ on a boat, read: Top 10 Essentials for Living on a Sailboat And if you’re looking to buy a boat, maintain a boat or anything to do with being a boat owner, please visit my Sailing Britican Shop to check out our handy guides and books.

Finally…if you have any questions, comments or want to add a tip or suggestion, please leave a note in the comments below.

New Book: Changing Lifestyles – it’s been Published!

Changing Lifestyles

Changing Lifestyles

The book, Changing Lifestyles: Trading the Rat Race For a Sail Around the World reveals what it was like for me to transition from a land based control-freak work-a-holic to a sea loving, fly by the seat of my pants full-time live aboard sailor. Click here to buy the paperback version or here to buy the digital version. (Also available at

Prior to my lifestyle transition, my days were filled with an excessive drive to succeed as a business owner, wife, mother, friend, and on. I set out to have the handsome husband, 2.4 kids, nice house, fast car, exuberant vacations and all the so-called benefits of financial success.

Once I achieved what society deems successful, I thought, ‘If this is success, why don’t I feel successful?’

In a search for a more meaningful life, I convinced my husband, Simon, to sell everything we owned and use the funds to buy the largest boat we could afford (Simon didn’t need much convincing!). The ultimate plan being a world circumnavigation.

Throughout the book you’ll read about how I busted out of my comfort zones, gave up the need to control future outcomes and started to identify less with my old life. The new lifestyle allowed me to transform into a freer, more spontaneous and far more fulfilled person.

Reader review – 5 Stars: This is the story of a woman who was on multiple journeys; looking for a change in her life’s course, learning the ropes of a new boat, and navigating what it is to parent a child as she and her husband embark on this journey. Great as an adventure story, but also got me excited to read it as a travel guide! Cherie Shutz

Changing Lifestyles: Trading the Rat Race For a Sail Around the World is…

…a great book for anyone interested in making a lifestyle transition; or anyone looking for more meaning.

Additionally, I emphasize the pros and cons of being a full time live aboard. I’ve often been praised for my tell-it-how-it-is approach, so I do not gloss over the difficulties. Also, issues encountered with having a young child on board in addition to areas like homeschooling, system breakdowns, seasickness, being caught in horrific storms and more are described.

I also highlight the benefits of sailing around the world – and there are many! I detail the extremely close bond that live aboards share, the amazing sights and cultures my family and I have embraced, the magic of sailing at night, our 18 day journey across the Atlantic Ocean and on.

The book features our experiences of over 18,500 miles, 15 countries, numerous cities and sights around the Mediterranean Sea, Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean. This book is a must-have for anyone with a wanderlust spirit!

So…what will you gain by reading this book?

After reading Changing Lifestyles: Trading the Rat Race For a Sail Around the World, you may not feel compelled to sell everything you own and sail around the world, but you will most certainly feel inspired. The book will entertain, enlighten and potentially challenge you to ask yourself, ‘how can I make my life more meaningful?’

Buy the book now! Here are your options (click one):

  • Paperback from my online store (click here to purchase)
  • Digital version (PDF) (click here) or I can send it to your Kindle (email me for instructions).
  • Paperback or Kindle (supplied by

Still want a wee bit more information?

Watch my video about ‘Changing Lifestyles’ below

Buy the book now!

  • Paperback from my online store (click here to purchase)
  • Digital version (PDF) (click here) or I can send it to your Kindle (email me for instructions).
  • Paperback or Kindle (supplied by

Or if you have any questions about the book, please email me at

IMPORTANT: please note that the book consists of previous blog entries, all edited to read as in book format, found throughout this website.

Marine Diesel Engine Starting Problem

If you’ve never worked on engines before it’s quite a steep learning curve when it comes to troubleshooting. For over two years, and after a major refit, our trusted Westerbeke Generator has never failed us. That is, until recently! Unfortunately, we experienced a marine diesel engine starting problem.

After pre-heating the starter and then turning the engine on, all we could hear was tick-tick-tick-tick-tick (check out the video below to hear the sound – it’s below the following picture). It sounded as if the starter motor was trying to start the engine, but it just wouldn’t kick over.

Marine Diesel Engine Starting Problem

In hindsight, and knowing what we didn’t know before the issue, we could have saved ourselves loads of time and hundreds of dollars.

My hope is that you’re able to learn from our mistakes.

Whether you’re experiencing a starting problem now or you’re preparing yourself for life on a boat, this video will help you to potentially save yourself from a misdiagnosis. The video will demonstrate the issue we had in addition to using two potential solutions. One potential problem is the battery. The second is the diesel engine starter motor. The video covers a solution to both problems.

Marine Diesel Engine Starting Problem Video

Marine Diesel Engine Starting Problem Troubleshooting Checklist

  • Check the battery terminals – are they loose or dirty? If yes, tight and/or clean them.
  • Check the status of the battery. If it’s not charged and can be charged, charge it. Otherwise, check to see if it needs to be replaced. Do not rely on a green indicator as we did. If there’s another battery you can use, move the terminals and see if that works.
  • Check the ground connections. Check the starter circuit, particularly the starter ground.
  • Finally, check the actual starter motor for stuck or worn brushes. Also check the solenoid.

In the video you’ll notice that we started with the starter motor and worked backwards! Well, that’s not true. We did check the battery that powers the generator and the indicator had a green light. We assumed that if the indicator was green it meant that the batter was NOT dead.

Either the green indicator is faulty or the indicator stays green until the battery is completely dead. Our battery still had a charge in it however the charge was not sufficient enough to start the starter motor.

If we had known that our battery was the issue we would have saved time, money and effort.

Instead, we removed the starter motor, researched the Internet to find a replacement and then waited a few days for the replacement. Once we had the new starter motor we had to research how to swap the old for the new. We (or I should say Simon) then had to swap out the starter and all for a disappointing result.

To keep my PMA (Positive Mental Attitude) alive, I’m telling myself that at least we now know how to replace a starter motor. Not all has been lost – we have gained wisdom and experience 🙂

Back to the issue at hand…

While feeling dejected that our generator did not start with the new starter motor, and by odd coincidence, a friend paid us a visit. Our friend, having a background in the marine industry, questioned, ‘have you checked your battery?’

One thing led to another and our friend left us and returned with a proper battery checker. As shown during the video, you’ll notice that the charge in our generator battery was 63 cold cranking amps out of 1000. Although our battery light showed a green light it was close to dead.

We used one of our engine batteries to try and start the generator and it started right up!

The Marine Diesel Engine Starting Problem was our battery.

We got there in the end – eh?!

Let me leave you with a very helpful resource that we keep on board. The book below, titled Marina Diesel Engines – Maintenance and Repair Manual is super handy to have on board.

Unfortunately I looked at this book after we fixed our problem!

I used this book to get the information above for the checklist. What I suggest is if you’re new to Marine Diesel Engines, get this book. The first part of the book explains how Diesel engines work and it’s full of pictures and diagrams. The second part is all about maintenance. And the final parts contain repairs, breakdowns and winterizing.

When we took a Diesel Marine Engine course our teacher recommended these books to us.

Unfortunately, I’m not sure if this book is in print anymore. I think you might have to get a used copy. Regardless, if you can get a copy of it, grab it. Every page is full of pictures and easy step-by-step processes. We also have a book by the same author about outboard motors. I consider both the books as ‘must-have’s’ for our onboard library.