Ten months of living on our sailboat full time – Do I have tears of joy or tears of sadness?

It feels like ages since I’ve written about my thoughts and feelings regarding our ‘new’ lifestyle of living on a boat rather than in a house. This time last year, my husband, Simon, and I were living in a temporary apartment taking courses on diesel engines, motors, water pumps, water makers, refrigeration, air conditioning/heating, First Aid and Medical Care for boaters.

First Aid for Boaters
First Aid for Boaters

Learning CPR in Southampton before moving onto our sailboat full time

I remember feeling so anxious, stressed, scared and overwhelmed. Sure, there was a part of me that was excited too, but overall I wanted time to pass quickly so that we could just get on our new boat and start living our new life.

We moved aboard our sailboat last March so we haven’t hit a full year of living on the boat yet

Currently, we’re tied up in a marina and have been since October (three months). We’ll stay in Marina diRagusa, Sicily until April (another three months) when we can get back out in the Mediterranean and start sailing again.

Living on our sailboat

Originally, our plan was to sail across the Atlantic in November, following the warm weather, however we just weren’t ready for the crossing. The boat needs more repairs and I need more time to get my head ready for two to three weeks of no land.

That being noted, wintering in the Med wasn’t our intention so having a six month stay in Italy was unexpected

Ideally, we would have been able to carry on sailing, but the Med becomes quite a dangerous place during the winter months. Almost all sailboats find a marina to wait out the cold, raining, stormy season.

That being noted, I can’t help but feel a bit ‘stuck’

I envisioned us sailing and enjoying warm winds. And now we’re sitting and waiting for an often cold and rainy season to cycle through.

On the flip side, however, we couldn’t have found a more amazing marina to stay in

The other live-aboards (around 50 boats) are all incredibly kind, helpful, generous and fun. The social life amongst us boaties is amazing. Every week there are a wide range of activities to join that are organized by live-aboards.

Living on our sailboat
Living on our sailboat

Our dear friend, Angelina from Cygnus3, taking my daughter’s spot on the back of hubby’s bike!

This week I enjoyed a session of yoga, went to one of the two ‘happy hours,’ checked out the ‘Happy Hookers’ group (crochet), met with several sets of friends for coffee in the town or marina bar and had a couple dinner parties. And on Sunday, I’m heading to the meeting room to learn how to play Italian card games.

If I had the time, I’d also take up guitar lessons, photography, cooking, exercise classes, hiking, Tai Chi, arts & crafts and more!

Living on a sailboat

Living on a sailboat

In a couple weeks time we’re having our second ‘Open Mic’ night and considering I’m tone deaf and have white-girl rhythm I’m opting out from performing. However, my daughter, Sienna (age 4), has signed up to sing, ‘Let it go,’ from the movie Frozen. She’s going to have two back-up singers so rehearsals are how under way (rehearsals with Samantha pictured above).

Speaking of my four year old daughter…

Sienna would have never had the confidence to sing in front of a crowd before we left our land-based life. Over this past year I’ve seen her confidence soar. Aside from signing up to sing, she did karaoke with my husband on New Years Eve (I’m a believer, by the Monkeys) and is eager to preform for our dinner guests!

Sienna says ‘hi’ to almost everyone in the marina and she often gives great big hugs to those close to us in our marina family. Rather than having a few neighbors to connect with, like we did when we lived in a house, we seem to connect with all our neighbors now. No matter who we walk by, someone yells out, ‘Hi Sienna!’

Living on our sailboat

And our neighbors all send love and support her way

They’re always commenting on how well she speaks, sings, rides her scooter, cooks and so forth. Sienna is growing up around people that are positive, inspiring and eager to take the time to send positive words her way. She’s growing up, at least for these six months, in such a beautiful environment. Yes, we’re ‘stuck’ in a marina but I couldn’t imagine a better place for my daughter (and hubby and I)!

Living on our sailboat

Sienna has a range of friends aged 2 years to 80 years old. And her friends come from Italy, Poland, New Zealand, Britain, America, Canada, Holland, France, Spain, South Africa, Germany and on and on. She doesn’t see color, language or nationality as a separator but a connector! One evening we’ll visit a boat of Brits and the next evening we’ll have a French couple over.

And Sienna attends a pre-school Monday through Friday from 8:30 to 1:30 where she mixes with mostly Italian teachers and students. Her grasp of the Italian language is coming on in leaps in bounds. Interestingly, however, she keeps trying to teach me new Italian words only for me to find out they don’t exist! Yes, Sienna is also developing a great sense of humour.

To think that I was worried about Sienna gaining positive social skills?

Social skills are definitely low on my ‘worry’ list now. And as far as education goes, that’s quite a low worry too. Every day Sienna is learning in her pre-school and then we use an online homeschooling website called ABC Mouse (www.ABCMouse.com) to ensure she’s doing letters, numbers, math, music, reading and more. We spend time every day writing letters, creating pictures or doing a craft session. Often, other kids from the marina or the town come over to the boat and we paint pictures, play with stickers or create props for a play.

Living on our sailboat

Before we left I was terrified about teaching and even entertaining a four year old but I often find myself more involved in craft time and colouring than the children!

From what I can make out, Sienna seems to be on par with other children her age. If and when I discover she should be doing something, I make more of an effort. For example, I noticed that another four year old was really good at writing his name, so my hubby, Simon, and I spent a couple days with Sienna helping her to get better at writing her name.

In a way we’re still ‘winging-it’ but it’s working right now

Living on our sailboat

I don’t think I’ll be so easy-going when Sienna gets a bit older

I’ve been thinking of ordering a ‘homeschooling pack’ that contains all the materials for a curriculum but perhaps I’ll do that next year or the year after. As it stands now, I’m letting Sienna tell me what she’s interested in and then we learn about it.

Last week some of the things she wanted to know included: how are clouds are formed, how do you make chocolate, where do beans grow, where do you go after you die and when you have a baby, do you poop it out?

If I know the answer to her question I give an explanation and then I’ll follow it up with more information that I can find on the internet. We also have some amazing apps on the iPad that help with everything from the human body, outer space and some great science games, math, reading, art and music.

So…Sienna seems like a normal kid – yes, we live on a boat but she’s currently going to school, has a range of good friends and is really sociable.

Do I feel there are any issues or weaknesses?

Sometimes I worry that she doesn’t spend enough time playing alone, however saying that, she’s been in the bathroom playing with her buckets and water (in the shower) for the past 1/2 hour. I suppose when you’re a mom you always worry about your child. You always want the best for them.

Saying that, I truly believe that she’s growing up in the most supportive, loving, engaging environment possible

And as for Simon and I, although we’re ‘stuck’ we’re probably in the very best place that we could be right now. We’ve made some amazing friends that will be friends for life. We’ve learned to slow down a bit more. We’ve started to find the funnier side of life rather than take things so serious. When something breaks on the boat we laugh instead of doing what we use to do – cry!

Living on a sailboat

I’m actually enjoying finding out what exists in the galley – In fact, I’ve made muffins two days in a row and tomorrow I’m making pancakes! I’ve cooked for guests and they’ve actually asked me for my recipe! And…I’m enjoying taking the time to cook with Sienna. It might take an hour longer and be very messy but I now seem to have the time to enjoy these small, but priceless, moments.

Living on our sailboat

On a sad note, however…

I can’t help but think of April when we have to leave and that makes me feel sad. I’ve made some really amazing friends and my heart already hurts to think that I’ll be leaving them. Yes, I know that we’ll find each other again and that when one door closes another opens.

But even now I get a bit teary-eyed because I suppose, for the first time in my life, I finally get it

I get what it means to be a true friend. In my workaholic past I had good friends but I didn’t value them as much as I should have. I was too busy climbing a ladder of success and trying to make my millions.

It’s funny actually. I now feel as if I had to do all the ‘wrong’ things to realise just how great the ‘right’ things are

I could never understand why women liked to cook when you could just buy ready meals. I didn’t understand why those maternal moms wanted to spend all day with their children. And for the life of me I couldn’t grasp the concept of having a coffee for a few hours talking about random stuff.

For me, time was money and I didn’t want to spend any time doing anything that wasn’t deemed ‘productive.’ Looking back I feel like I was Scrooge (but not that bad!) and now I’ve been visited by all the ghosts and I’m ready to live a new life.

living on our sailboat

So…it’s been 10 months living full time on our sailboat and any tears that I have are actually based on joy. I never know what’s next and around each corner we keep finding new treasures, amazing friends and a life that truly is a dream come true.

Sailing around the Greek Ionian Islands for a month

After a month in Sicily and mainland Italy, we sailed across to the Greek Ionian Islands for a month long visit. Laid out below are the ports we visited, some of the amazing views we enjoyed and the sailing passages that we took. If you’re planning Sailing around the Greek Ionian Islands, perhaps our experiences might help to guide you towards or away from certain places?!

With such a huge area to cover, a sailor could spend years exploring the Greek Ionian Islands!

We were fortunate to spend the month of June in Greek Ionian islands and then at the end of the season, we spent most of September in Preveza, Greece – a spot on mainland Greece near the island of Levkas (in the Ionian). Our knowledge of the area is not extensive but a two month stay provided us with a great insight to the area.

Living aboard a boat in the Mediterranean
Living aboard a boat in the Mediterranean

My daughter, Sienna, at Marina diRagusa, Sicily

As I write this, it’s winter and we’re moored up for the season in Marina diRagusa, Sicily

We’ll be here until April when the sailing season starts back up in the Mediterranean. To read what it’s like to ‘winter’ in the Mediteranian, read the article entitled (note: all my links off of this article will open in a new window so you won’t lose your spot on this page): Living aboard a boat in the Mediterranean during the winter – what’s the scoop?

Fortunate for us, we’re amongst 60 other live-aboards allowing us the ability to meet new friends, share stories and discuss where we’ve been and where we want to go. Several boats are headed east, to Greece and Turkey in the Spring and many others are going West to visit the Balearics, France, Spain and so forth.

That being noted, I’ve realised that while speaking with other boaters, there’s quite a demand for destination knowledge and route planning. Several people have asked to ‘pick our brains,’ to determine good anchorages, fun places to stop and recommendations on everything from good restaurants, fast internet connection areas, through to favourable diesel prices.

For the benefit of my new friends at the marina and perhaps for you…

…I’ve gone through our logbook and have written out the passages we took, over the course of one month, through the Greek Ionian Islands. We started the season in Gibraltar, sailed to Malta, then Sicily and then enjoyed the Greek Ionian Islands for a month before going through the Corinth Canal, hitting several Greek Islands in the Aegean, stopping off in Turkey, enjoying a few weeks in Crete and then heading back to Sicily via the Greek Ionian Islands before winter hit.

The aim of this article is to point to any previous posts I’ve written regarding our time in the Greek Ionian in addition to walking you through our passages. In other words, this post will act as a hub for our time in the Greek Ionian. If you’re starting off in Sicily, please read, Sailing from Sicily to Corfu hitting mainland Italy on the way as I describe the route we took to get to the Greek Ionian Islands, where we stopped and descriptions of each mooring.

Greek Ionian Islands Map

Greek Ionian Islands Map

Here’s a chronological list of the places we stopped while sailing around the Greek Ionian Islands

1. Palaiokastrit, Corfu – anchored (free)

2. Gouvia Marina, Corfu (to clear customs) – stern-to (around €80/night for 56′ yacht plus water and electricity)

3. Corfu Town, Corfu – anchored (free)

4. Petriti, Corfu – anchored (free)

5. Ormos Lakka, Paxos – anchored (free)

6. Port Gaios, Paxos – anchored (free)

7. Random Bay, Cefalonia – anchored (free)

8. Fiscardo, Cefalonia – stern-to (free – amazingly!!! Can pay the taverna for water)

9. Nidri, Levkas – stern-to (€12 for our 3 night stay – no water or electricity)

10. Levkas Town Marina, Levkas – stern-to (€80 plus water and electricity)

11. Port Atheni, Meganisi – anchored with line to shore (free)

12. Vathi, Ithaca – stern-to (free)

13. Sami, Cephalonia – side-to (€8/day – no electricity/no drinkable water)

14. Ay Nikolaos, Zakinthos – side-to (free)

Sailing around the Greek Ionian Islands

Greek Ionian Islands
Greek Ionian Islands

Once in the Greek Ionian Islands, we first hit Corfu visiting Palaiokastrita pictured above (west side), Gouvia Marina (east side), Corfu Town (Ormos Garitsas) and Petriti.

I wrote quite a comprehensive article about our stay in Palaiokastrita and Gouvia Marina here: Sailing around the Greek Ionian Islands – Corfu. Gouvia Marina was a necessary stop to clear customs. The article includes tips about both destinations.

After we left Gouvia Marina, we sailed a very short distance to Corfu Town and anchored in the amazingly lovely bay of Ormos Garitsas (bay pictured below to the right of us). I wrote about the town and the bay in my article entitled: Corfu Town is not ‘nice’ and this is why – More about sailing around the Greek Ionian Islands.

Corfu Town
Corfu Town

After several days in Corfu Town, we sailed down the east coast of Corfu and anchored outside the fishing village of Petriti. A few people suggested the town to us and I was in the mood for some local, fresh fish. We anchored outside the tiny port and took our tender to one of the free jetties outside a taverna. Moorings were available to sailboats, space permitting however we liked to anchor whenever possible.

We ate at a restaurant with a wooden patio leading up that sea and octopus hanging on a clothes line!

While eating we could watch the tiny fish swim by and enjoy the lovely sounds of the waves lapping upon the shore. Everything we ate was great, my daughter enjoyed playing at the waters edge and the town was very quiet and tranquil.

Sailing Around The Greek Ionian Islands
Sailing Around The Greek Ionian Islands

sailing-around-the-Greek-Ionian-Islands02

sailing-around-the-Greek-Ionian-Islands02

Next we sailed to the island of Paxos and stayed at Ormos Lakka and Port Gaios

Ormos Lakka is an absolutely brilliant bay with some lovely tavernas, shops and stores. We stayed in the bay two nights. On our first night we anchored as far out as possible. The bay was very busy and we didn’t want to get too close to other boats. Also, it’s hard to enter a busy bay and try to anchor when you’re new. Everyone watches and it can often be stressful.

Unfortunately, however, the swell at our anchorage was very annoying. The boat rocked back and forth all day and all night. Furthermore, we felt very far from the amenities.

During our second evening at Ormos Lakka, we moved our boat closer to the shore despite the bay being packed with boats. Unfortunately, we learned a massive lesson about anchoring that day. The full story is under the heading “And here comes my disastrous anchoring story…” within my article entitled: How to anchor a sailboat – what I’ve learned about anchoring thus far

In the article, you’ll hear about what happens when a 60 mph gust of wind hits a bay full of too many boats

How to anchor a sailboat
How to anchor a sailboat

Needless to say, Ormos Lakka is a lovely bay but it does get too busy. If any bad weather is forecasted I’d suggest that you think twice about saying in this harbour. (Picture above is the bay when seated at one of the tavernas)

Port Gaios was a lovely mooring to enjoy a stroll, get an ice cream and take your pick of several excellent restaurants

Sailing Around the Greek Ionian Islands

Sailing Around the Greek Ionian Islands

It’s not often that hubby and I are able to enjoy an evening alone. My cousin offered to watch our daughter and stay on the boat (you can see our boat anchored in the picture above), while hubby and I took the dingy to the shore. We enjoyed a cocktail and then passed some sailors whom owned the same boat as ours – a 56′ Oyster. The owners invited us on their boat and we discussed a whole range of things – as you do. We learned some great tips on how to better handle our boat so hubby and I were pleased with the chance meeting.

One thing led to another and they invited us to join them for dinner. Knowing that it was an ‘alone’ night for hubby and I, we declined and spent our last moments in Port Gaios enjoying another lovely fish meal. In fact, I’d say it was my favorite fish meal in the Ionian.

Sailing around the Greek Ionian Islands

Sailing around the Greek Ionian Islands

With sore heads from the wine the night before, we then attempted to get into Ormos Vasiliki on the island of Levkas. The wind, however, was blowing from the wrong direction and we didn’t feel safe – especially after our anchoring scare in Ormos Lakka. We then sailed to the island below, and tried to get into Fiscardo, Cefalonia but the port was jam-packed. In the end, we found a small bay, not mentioned in the pilot book, south of Fiscardo and we anchored. All we could hear were sheep’s bah’s and bells.

I can’t say I felt safe

The anchorage was too deep for me (I wasn’t happy with the scope for our anchor) to feel comfortable and I felt so isolated.

The following day we found a spot in Fiscardo, Cefalonia and stayed for several days. Fiscardo is mine and my hubby’s most favorite sailing destination. Read, The magic of Fiscardo Cephalonia, to get a taste for this amazing destination. There are some tips in the article so make sure to read them before you go. For us, this spot is a MUST to visit.

Fiscardo Cephalonia

Fiscardo Cephalonia

While in Fiscardo (entrance of the bay pictured above), we hired a car and explored a variety of places on Cephalonia. We enjoyed a underground fresh water cavern, did some sightseeing around various villages and took in the beauty of the island.

Next, we sailed to Nidri on the island of Levkas. Our intention was to anchor in the bay but it looked packed. As we looked over at the town quay we noticed several open spots and went stern-to. Later we realised that the ferries and tourist boats cause quite a bit a movement along the wall, but overall the mooring was fine for a couple nights.

While my hubby, my father-in-law and my daughter were cleaning up the boat, my cousin and I took a little stroll to the restaurant that had the best wifi rating (from the boat). Our usual plan was to get a beverage, find out the wifi code, pay the bill and then go back to the boat so we could use the wifi from the luxury of our own abode.

Our wifi hunt, however, took a different turn on this particular occasion

My cousin, Loryn, and I ordered a 1/2 carafe of wine, poured a bit into our glasses and then started to download emails. As we were hooking ourselves up to the Internet, our server started chatting with us. We mentioned the boat we were on, pointed to my hubby cleaning the decks and explained our adventures.

To our amazement, our server, took two glasses from our table, poured two more glasses of wine, jumped on his scooter (parked outside) and took the wine to my husband and his father. We were both amazed at he servers actions! Loryn and I were also happy when our server brought us another 1/2 carafe of wine for free.

Greek Ionian Islands

Greek Ionian Islands

Nidri is an interesting place – it’s lined with restaurants and tavernas all along the waterfront. There are various pirate tourist boats and entertainment. Behind the line of restaurants there’s a main street that has stores, boutiques and the standard things you’d expect. There’s a bar on the main street called Road House – it plays rock-n-roll so my cousin and I enjoyed a few beverages while listening to some good tunes.

After Nidri, we ducked into Levkas Town Marina to ride out a storm

To get to the marina you have to motor up a very long channel and it takes quite a long time. Furthermore, it’s very narrow. As we went in one sailboat was grounded. And of course, there’s always motor boats wanting to go fast so they speed along trying to pass other boats.

We motored up the long channel and when we asked the marina for a berth they said that they didn’t have any available. I was deflated. A storm was coming and we wasted all that time going up the channel. I then yelled at hubby saying, ‘why didn’t you call before we entered the channel?’ As luck would have it, we called the marina again and said, ‘Are you sure you can’t fit us in somewhere?’ The marina kindly found us a spot.

I never wrote a review for the marina. There was a fee for the showers so we showered on the boat. The bathrooms were very nice. The whole marina was very well kept, had couple places to eat and a supermarket. And the town surrounded the marina so you could get anything and everything you’d expect in a town.

Overall, our stay in Levkas Town Marina was fine – nothing exceptional

But then again, I’d rather be anchored in a quiet bay or stern-to a free village quay. Sailing in Greece is so inexpensive so it hurts when you have to duck into a marina and pay a high price.

Leaving the busy waters around Levkas, our next port of call was the quite bay of Port Atheni, on the island of Meganisi. This was another one of our favorite spots – we anchored and then ran a line to shore to keep us from swinging (see picture below). The trees are all green, the waters are clear and it’s relatively quiet. We could easily take our tender to the inlet next to us and enjoy one of two lovely tavernas.

Sailing around the Greek Ionian Islands

Sailing around the Greek Ionian Islands

The owners of the taverna on the right have children so my daughter played with the kids the whole time we were on shore. It was funny to see her running around the back area playing with the children and their toys while we enjoyed a beverage and ate some lovely food.

A short walk away is a little town with a couple grocery stores, and some restaurants and bars. We found some good wifi and I enjoyed making a few Skype calls back home to the family.

We filmed our ‘Greek Burgers’ video in this particular bay (they have a Feta cheese surprise in the middle!). If you’d like to see a panoramic view, watch the Greek Burgers video about how to make the burgers and at the end my cousin presents the views.

Greek Burgers

Greek Burgers

After the quietness of Meganisi, we received word that friends we met in a Sicilian marina would be in the area. To read about how we met our friends in Marzamemi, Sicily read: Visiting Sicily – it’s one door before you get to heaven

We arranged to meet our friends at Vathi on the island of Ithaca

Sailing around the Greek Ionian Islands

Sailing around the Greek Ionian Islands

What a visit! After our initial hugs and greetings it didn’t take long for the Italians to feed us a plate full of pasta – of course! We had some drinks, caught up and eventually arranged for taxi’s to take us to a lovely traditional Greek restaurant at the top of Ithaca.

We enjoyed great food, amazing service and in the end some of us had a go at dancing on the tables. It was so wonderfully amazing to hook up with friends we met earlier in the season. We ate, drank, laughed and all had a great time together.

Sailing around the Greek Ionian Islands

Sailing around the Greek Ionian Islands

The following day, we had to push onto the town of Sami on Cephalonia

The Daily Mail (UK Tabloid Newspaper) was having a journalist fly down to interview us on the boat so we arranged to meet in Sami. Previous to the journalist coming we also wanted time to clean the boat, relax for a few days and have some down time.

The town if Sami has the usual things – grocery stores, butcher, bakery and several restaurants, bars and coffee shops. We enjoyed eating at several of the tavernas and my daughter sampled as many ice cream flavours as she could. We moored up along the wall and it was an easy stroll over to the restaurants. The one thing we did miss was a nice beach nearby.

After a week in Sami we knew it was time to start heading towards the Corinth Canal – the waterway that cut mainland Greece in two. We finished our stay in the Ionian Greek Islands on the island of Zakinthos at Ormos Ay Nikolaos and what an enjoyable stay it was.

When entering the harbour we first attempted to anchor however we were told that we’d be obstruct a ferry

Fortunately, a very tall Greek man on the jetty waved us over and helped us tie Britican side-to the wall (pictured below). The gentleman gave us his card and explained that his family owned the taverna on the beach and that they’d love to see us there. We later discovered that the mans family seemed to own the whole town!

Sailing around the Greek Ionian

Sailing around the Greek Ionian

After settling in, a older gentleman came down on his tractor to sell us olive oil and wine. My cousin managed to get a ride on the tractor!

Sailing around the Greek Ionian

Sailing around the Greek Ionian

Later during the week the whole family went out for a ‘Greek Night’ at the taverna on the beach

We enjoyed traditional Greek music, dancing and clapping. Everyone one of us got up and danced around the dance floor (below you can see the back of my husband and daughter). My daughter had a great time and I couldn’t help but have perm-a-grin the whole evening. The food was great, the entertainment was wonderful and the local and visiting guests were all in great spirits.

Sailing around the Greek Ionian

Sailing around the Greek Ionian

The following morning I woke early and went for a run

I run three times per year, if that…but on this particularly beautiful morning I just wanted to get up on higher ground to see the sun and the sea. I ran/walked for three or four miles and enjoyed the most wonderful sights – seaside and countryside. Below are some of the photo’s I took – I wish I could also offer you smell-o-vision as the smell of wild sage was so strong! As I walked around the area I just kept feeling so grateful to be alive.

After our amazing trip through the Greek Ionian Islands for the month of June, we then turned towards the Corinth Canal. Read: Travelling through the Corinth Canal during a Gale Force 8.

Overall, the Greek Ionian Islands provide loads of anchorages, harbors, eateries, scenery and like-minded people. We found the other tourists, sailors, local people and anyone else to be kind, friendly, helpful and grateful to enjoy the delights of the area. I highly recommend a sailing vacation or an extended cruising stint in these islands!

Boat brokers – how to find a good one!


Boat Brokers

After a professional survey and a personal look-over of the boat, we purchased a 35′ Moody. The whole thing took a matter of weeks and everything was organised between us and the seller.

That being noted, the purchase price of the boat was low

When we decided to buy the home that would carry us around the world, our first port of call, however, was a broker. When you’re spending a chunk of your life’s savings you want all the help you can get. Our broker at Oyster UK was brilliant. He really worked hard for us when it came to finding the right boat, negotiating the price and making the deal happen.

Unfortunately, however, the Oyster that we purchased was outside of the UK and we were handed over to another Oyster broker during the survey and sea trials…

The second broker unfortunately did not meet expectations, but that’s another story

Needless to say, I can definitely say that I’ve experienced the good and not-so-good side of boat brokers.

But this article isn’t about my experiences – let’s hear from a professional boat broker!

Over the past year I’ve been in touch with a wonderful person named Matt Howard. He stumbled upon this website and has been very helpful with support, tips and feedback for me and my family.

Matt has been a boat broker at United Yacht Sales, in America, since 2009. He lives just outside of Washington DC and serves the Mid-Atlantic region. Matt’s background includes yacht design, he is a USCG licensed Captain (50 ton Master) and a graduate of the Yacht Broker Institute. Previous to his life in the boating world Matt was a U.S. Marine Corps helicopter pilot.

Many readers of this blog are in the process of looking to buy a boat therefore I thought an article about boat brokers could prove useful.

I sent Matt the following list of questions and he filled in the answers.

So – here’s everything you need to know about boat brokers

1. Can you buy or sell a boat without a boat broker?

The short answer is yes. In some cases ‘selling by owner’ is perfectly fine. However, both buyers and sellers should carefully consider the risks involved and proceed accordingly (see number 3).

2. Is there a certain price threshold where a broker is necessary? For example, if you’re going to buy or sell a $10,000 used boat should you use a broker? What about a $100,000 boat?

There’s no pat answer to this question, because it really comes down to the comfort level of buyer and seller and the nature of the deal. That said, we commonly broker the sale of boats valued anywhere from $10,000 on up.

3. Why use a boat broker? What service do they perform for buyers? What service do they preform for seller? Do brokers help boat owners to trade-up (sell and buy another boat)?

Brokered transactions are more secure than informal proceedings between buyers and sellers. If you want to buy a used canoe or a small skiff you can go eyeball the thing, ask a few questions of the seller, haggle the price, strike a deal and off you go. But if you’re after something bigger, there’s going to be more money involved. Maybe lots more.

If you’re a buyer, you need a way to check things out thoroughly with at least a qualified mechanic but better yet a professional surveyor. You need to arrange financing, insurance, registration/documentation and dockage or storage. Maybe you need some training to refresh your skills especially if you’re moving up.

You need to trial run the boat out on the water and put her through her paces. And after all that you need to be able to walk away before you accept the vessel if you’re not satisfied with any aspect of the deal. A good broker will see that all this and more is accomplished in order to protect your interests.

If you’re a seller, you want to make sure your boat gets seen, and better yet, stands out in a crowded market. You need to know what the fair market value is for your boat. Note that this figure does not equate to what others are asking for similar boats. Fair market value represents what the current market in your geographical area will likely bear. This ‘sold boat’ data is not available to the general public. Brokers have access to it, and good brokers will put together a detailed comparative market analysis on your boat so you know exactly where you stand.

Then, as you get prospective buyers, you don’t want to waste time with tire kickers. You’re not in the business of giving free boat rides. You want some assurance that a potential buyer is serious. You want some type of deposit held in escrow as ‘earnest money’ as an instrument of that buyer’s commitment. To best protect your interests, you need a legal, professional, iterative and documented process to which both buyer and seller agree. A good broker will take care of these details and help ensure the process runs smoothly, keeping you fully informed every step of the way.

(Matt wrote quite a bit on this topic. If you’re interested start with this article and follow on to his others: Selling or buying a boat? Here’s what a good broker will do for you)

4. Do boat brokers work only with the stock they hold or do they work with other boat sales companies/individuals?

Brokers should, and will usually be happy to co-broker deals with any other brokerage. Some will attempt to limit co-brokerage (in other words discourage outside brokers bringing a buyer to the deal) in order to prevent having to split the resulting commission by keeping the sale in house. This does a disservice to both buyers and sellers.

5. How do boat brokers make their money? Is it negotiable?

Brokers earn a commission when they sell a boat. The usual figure is 10% of the selling price, which is split between the listing broker (representing the seller) and the selling broker (representing the buyer). This figure will vary and may be negotiable depending on the circumstances of the deal.

6. Are there ‘good’ and ‘bad’ brokers? Can you describe the difference?

I’d love to say there are only good brokers out there… but this not the case. I think the best way to differentiate the two would be to focus on the positive and infer the rest. Put simply, a good broker is one who is always looking after his clients’ best interests. This means listening to the client, understanding his or her needs and desires, placing that resulting objective front and center, and then delivering on it.

If representing a seller, it means doing your homework and establishing accurate market value for the vessel and pricing it accordingly. In some cases this means a little ‘tough love’ is required for the client who because of emotional attachment or other factors believes the boat is worth more than the market will bear. It means producing a first rate listing complete with numerous, high quality photos, and a detailed vessel summary to match.

It means using all available sources to aggressively market and advertise the boat. It means being intimately familiar with the vessel so that when a prospect calls or emails the broker is able to provide accurate information and answer all the questions the prospect may have. When an offer comes, it means tracking and shepherding the process to closing with a near fanatical attention to detail, communicating constantly and ensuring the client’s fiduciary interests are well represented.

If representing a buyer, it means casting a wide but specific net, globally, if necessary, to capture available vessels that may suit the buyer’s needs. When a buyer isn’t quite sure what he or she is looking for, it means having detailed discussions, asking questions, listening, and providing options and alternatives so that over time, the details are teased out that ultimately describe the ‘perfect ‘ boat for that buyer. It means travelling far and wide, if necessary, with that client (and spouse!) to view as many vessels as possible to help narrow the field.

It means doing the homework that arrives at a fair market value for that vessel and making offers accordingly. Once on contract, just like in the above example, a fanatical attention to detail through survey, trial run, vessel acceptance and closing is necessary. Once the deal is done, it means providing either directly or indirectly whatever additional services the buyer may need, be it delivery services, crew sourcing, training, and dockage.

I think it’s fair to say that if a broker does all of the above, we can call him or her one of the good ones!

7. Once a boat sale is complete does the broker offer any other service?

Absolutely, but let’s back up a step. Brokers can help buyers well before closing with other matters; maybe they need recommendations on marine lenders if they’re financing or help finding insurance providers. Once the deal closes, in the short term buyers may need help arranging dockage, vessel documentation or getting recommended service providers. In the longer term, being there after the sale and staying in touch is one of the most rewarding aspects of being a broker.

8. If your mom, wife or loved family member was going to buy a boat and they couldn’t but it from you, what suggestions or tips would you recommending for finding a good broker?

Ask around. Ask your boat owning friends who they worked with and what they thought of their broker(s). Referrals and testimonials are the coin of the realm in this business, so don’t hesitate to ask candidate brokers for a list of their client testimonials.  Take time to meet candidate brokers in person, because let’s face it, chemistry is important.

9. Are there any well-known tricks that brokers perform that can be considered disingenuous? What should new buyers keep an eye out for?

First, ensure your broker is listening to you. If you’re a buyer, be wary if you’re being shown listings above your desired price point. Good brokers are not looking to maximize commission: good brokers are looking to satisfy their clients’ desires. And the truth is, buying the smallest boat that will do the job is always good advice. Don’t allow yourself to be rushed. Brokers should be patient, not pushy.

If you are selling, before you sign a listing agreement with a broker ask to see examples of listings he or she currently has active or sold previously. Those listings should reflect high quality photography and detailed, complete write-ups. Ask that candidate broker where your listing will be advertised. You should expect to be told it will be online with multiple listing services, not just locally or only in local print resources. You should also be shown comparative market data, in writing, that shows what the market will likely bear for your vessel.

10. Do you always recommend a marine survey on a boat prior to purchase?

Yes, absolutely, and without exception!

11. Do you recommend that a buyer brings an independent person skilled in boats (engines, hulls, rigging, steering, etc.) to have a look at the boat in addition to getting a marine survey from a professional surveyor?

A qualified and proficient surveyor should be able to critically evaluate and assess all aspects of a vessel and be able to provide a general overview of installed engine(s)/generators. Additionally, in many cases buyers will elect to obtain the services of a dedicated engine surveyor who will be able to evaluate the installed propulsive and auxiliary machinery in a more in-depth fashion than the hull surveyor.

Good brokers will nearly always recommend a survey, and in many cases will also recommend a dedicated engine survey, but this is solely at the buyer’s discretion. There are valuable resources available to help buyers select a surveyor. Two of these are the Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors (S.A.M.S.) and The National Association of Marine Surveyors (N.A.M.S.). These organizations’ websites allow users to search for surveyors worldwide.

12. Before a boat buyer contacts a boat broker what should they think about? What information will the boat broker want to know?

I mentioned a few suggestions above to find a good broker. In turn, your broker will need a few things from you to help find the right boat to suit your needs. What type of boat you are looking for, desired price point, maximum or minimum size, whether you plan to finance or not; the more details you can provide, the better.

A good broker will also ask you how you intend to use the boat, where it will be used, who will typically be aboard with you, and what activities you like to do while aboard. I like to ask prospective buyers “describe your ideal day on the water”. All these details will help shape the search, and also help the broker think of options you may not have considered that might be a good fit.

13. Is there a governing body for boat brokers or an association that brokers belong to so that potential clients can look them up?

There are multiple regional associations that brokers can join that help keep members up to speed on current issues dealing with the recreational boating market, help provide a uniform voice, and also prescribe a set of ethical guidelines that all members are required to practice. Membership in these organizations demonstrates a broker’s commitment to his profession.

Matt Howard Biography

Matt

Matt

Matt Howard has been an avid boater since his dad first put him behind the wheel of the family’s classic Chris Craft runabout when he was four years of age. Throughout his lifelong love affair with boating, he has owned, operated, and maintained a broad range of boats both power and sail, running the gamut from Hobie Cats to cabin cruisers to offshore performance powerboats.

After graduating from the Virginia Military Institute with a degree in Civil Engineering, Matt began his career as an active duty U.S. Marine Corps helicopter pilot; a career that took him around the country and around the globe. During his many tours of duty, including a stint flying the President as a Marine One pilot, Matt owned and operated a variety of boats in lakes, rivers, and the coastal waters of Hawaii, San Diego, CA, and Norfolk, VA. Before leaving active duty, he enrolled with the Westlawn Institute of Marine Technology’s Yacht Design course, a rigorous program designed to give students the ability to design, from the ground up, sail and power boats up to 100 feet in length. Matt is also a USCG licensed Captain (50 ton Master) and a graduate of the Yacht Broker Institute.

Since leaving active duty, Matt has used his infectious passion for boating and his comprehensive knowledge of power and sailboat design, construction, and operating characteristics to help friends and colleagues find the right boat to suit their lifestyle. His enthusiasm and innate talent for doing so led him to the next step – becoming a yacht broker. He has been with United Yacht Sales since 2009, lives just outside of Washington, DC and serves the mid-Atlantic region.

“The best thing about this business is the relationships you build along the way. Staying in touch with clients and hearing about their adventures aboard vessels I helped them acquire is tremendously rewarding. I can’t imagine a field of work that I would enjoy more.” Matt Howard

Briticans Captain Simon Brown – A Video Interview

Although I work hard to express the thoughts and feelings of my husband, Simon, the SailingBritican.com website is mainly based on my perspective. That being said, I’ve had various readers write me, send tweets and messages through Facebook asking if they could hear more from Simon.

After asking several times I finally got Simon to sit down and answer some questions. I asked him how his first year living aboard full time has gone, what is most memorable moment is thus far, what he wished he knew before that he knows now, what it’ like to live full time with his lovely wife and daughter, how his social life has been impacted, his worst experience and much more. So…without further ado, here’s Briticans Captain Simon Brown offering his thoughts on a lovely day in January from Marina diRagusa, Sicily.

Destination Travel Reviews on the Island of Crete in Greece…and more!

This article is a consolidation article – it will point you in various directions depending on your interests in the Island of Crete in Greece. We sailed around the island and explored it’s many nooks and crannies by boat and car over the course of a few weeks. We couldn’t see everything, but what we did see was nothing short of amazing.

Make sure to scroll down to the bottom to see the full Crete picture gallery!

Over the course of our stay on the Island of Crete in Greece I wrote 10 articles

So…whether you’re considering on sailing to the amazing island or want to travel to Crete by plane, you’ll benefit from reading the articles listed below. I outlined the various spots we enjoyed, offer loads of pictures (within each article) and tell a few interesting stories. Furthermore I’ve included a couple marina reviews. For example, you’ll definitely want to know about Rethymno Marina before you decide to stop there – it really is the worst marina ever.

Each link below will automatically pop up another window so you don’t lose your spot on this page. If you have any thoughts on Crete or would like to share your travel review on the island, please leave a comment below the post for others to benefit from.

Destination Travel Reviews on the Island of Crete in Greece

Sailing around Crete – Chania

Sailing around Crete – Agia Galini, Gortys and the Amari Valley

Sailing around Crete – Rethymno

Sailing around Crete – Anchored off of Spinalonga Island Crete

Sailing around Crete – Knosos, Aqua Park and Elounda

Sailing around Crete – Agios Nikolaos, Gournia, Mochlos and Vai Beach 

Sailing around Crete – Anchoring off the town of Bali 

Create Marina Reviews

Rethymno Marina – Crete: The worst marina I’ve ever experienced – but it’s cheap!

Agios Nikolaos Marina – Crete: A review

Britican Galley

Shrimp Saganaki – Britican’s way

Living Aboard (Experiences of a sailor!)

Comradeship amongst sailors – the day our 56’ yacht was almost smashed to pieces


Special note: Please keep in mind that I write often about all sorts of things related to our circumnavigation of the world by sailboat. If you’re interested in travel, food, live-aboard lifestyle, how-to’s or what it’s like to homeschool make sure to sign up to my newsletter so you catch all my publications. The newsletter is very short offering you just a quick synopsis of what I’ve recently written. If anything takes your interest all you need to do is click on the link provided and ‘read more.’ After every three articles I publish, I’ll send you an email letting you know there’s new stuff. Subscribe to my free newsletter here.


A few select pictures from the Island of Crete in Greece

Live-aboard boat communities – when you return home for the holidays you’ll realize just how special the live-aboard lifestyle really is

Live-aboard boat communities

Live-aboard boat communities

A warning for live-aboard boaties – returning ‘home’ for the holidays can be bittersweet and this is why…

Before I recount the experiences that my husband, daughter and I recently encountered during our return ‘home’ for the holidays, let me first start off with my top seven tips.

My advice for those living in live-aboard boat communities planning a trip home for the holidays

1. Be prepared to experience a lifestyle conflict. After living on a boat for quite a bit of time it might be hard to adjust to life on land.

2. If possible, arrange a gathering in a central location where you can invite everyone to come to you rather than trying to make the rounds to all of your family and friends.

3. If you’re going to buy presents, buy them online before you arrive and have them shipped to a friend/family member so you don’t have to fall prey to the pre-Christmas shopping rush. (I gave everyone one of my sexy sailing t-shirts that I sell at my online shop!)

4. Schedule in time for yourself – every few days make sure you have a rest day or a few hours to just read a book or veg out. If you don’t schedule it in, the time will be taken up. Hubby and I booked a spa day/night at a hotel to make sure we took time out for ourselves.

5. Don’t feel bad if friends and family can’t relate to you and your lifestyle – that’s normal.

6. Realize that each visit might be more about simply spending time with friends/family rather than gaining a close connecting. It’s a time of stress, deadlines and endless preparations.  Many people that you meet with will be more anxious and stressed than usual.

7. Be easy on yourself. Don’t get upset if you can’t see everyone and/or make everyone happy. Do the best you can and give yourself credit for making the massive effort to get home in the first place.

Let me tell you our story about leaving our live aboard boat community to go home to England for the holidays…

Should we stay on the boat or go home for the holidays?

During the lead up to December, hubby and I couldn’t decide whether we wanted to fly ‘home’** to England for Christmas or not. Initially, we wanted to fly my father-in-law down to Marina di Ragusa so that he could join us on the boat, or at a nearby holiday apartment, for the festive period.

**We sold our house in England to buy our boat so when I write about ‘home’ I’m talking more about the country/family/friends rather than a physical house.

We wouldn’t allow my father-in-law to be alone on Christmas

Unfortunately my father-in-law’s health restricted him from flying. Furthermore, I was invited to attend a party with some of my best business friends. And, of course, several of our friends wanted to see us and I was missing them.

Needless to say, the idea of leaving our sailboat, Britican, felt uncomfortable

We didn’t want to leave the sunny, moderate weather. Nor did we want to leave our friends or the amazing planned festivities at the marina. We felt so comfortable and the thought of flying felt as if we were leaving a vacation rather than leaving our now ‘normal’ live-aboard life.

In the end, we decided to fly to England for three weeks over the Christmas period. Hubby and I couldn’t bare to think of my father-in-law being home alone.

Originally coming from America you’d think that I’d remember the impact of returning ‘home’ after an extended duration

Heck, for the past 16 years, I’ve been flying from London to New York to visit my friends and family experiencing a variety of feelings.

Returning home often presents a bombardment to the senses, an awareness of nostalgia, and memories of why you left mixed with the love for those you left. It usually takes me a few days to balance out as I go a bit crazy eating foods I’ve missed and mixing with loved one’s in familiar places.

While taking notes about how I felt, I realized that there’s yet another interesting benefit to selling up and sailing away…

When you come ‘home’ you appreciate it so much more than ever before (at least for the first few days)

Travelling isn’t for everyone but those of us that venture away from home have a massive opportunity to not only see new things and experience new experiences but we also discover just how amazing our home was to begin with. As I always say, you don’t know what you don’t know. If you never get out of where you are, you’ll never realize how good you have it.

Let me name some of the things I’ve missed about living in England:

  • Toilets have seats on them (In Italy it’s rare to find a café, bar or restaurant with a toilet seat!)
  • You can flush your toilet paper down the toilet (on the boat and most places in the Med, you need to put your toilet paper in a wastepaper basket)
  • You can shower without turning the water on and off to conserve water.
  • There is a massive variety of FOOD! Curry, Chinese, Thai, Sushi, roast dinners, parsnips, and big coffees.
  • It’s great to go into a shop and have the ability to read packages in English – it doesn’t take all day to figure out what I’m buying!
  • Being able to use my phone and not worrying how expensive the call is going to be is so relaxing.
  • Unlimited Internet that is actually unlimited and works is a breathe of fresh air.
  • Being able to find things that you want easily allows me to walk around chilled out rather than always having my radar on. In the Med I always have a list of things I need in my head and I’m always looking out for a shop that might have them!
  • Not having to figure out what language you need to speak for pleasantries (please, thank you, hello, good bye) makes going out that much more relaxing.
  • Seeing the British countryside – there’s nothing as beautiful as England when the sun comes out!

On the flip side, however, after the bombardment to the senses is over, there is for some of us, a recognition of why we left in the first place. And interestingly, all the things I listed above become ‘normal’ very quickly. At first it feels amazing to flush toilet paper down the toilet buy by day three it’s as if you’ve never had it any other way.

After the three-day normalization period is over, something else happens…

If you’ve ever moved from one location to another you’ll know what I’m talking about. It’s as if your circle of awareness expands and the thought of going back to where you were before sends a chill up your spine. The same can happen while thinking back on a previous job or perhaps a previous partner. You’ve moved on. The thought of going back means going backwards.

My circle of awareness started in Rochester, New York. It then expanded to San Francisco, California. Thereafter, it expanded to Aylesbury, England and now it’s grown to not only include several countries around the Mediterranean but it also encompasses an alternative lifestyle of living on a sailboat.

Our new lifestyle is so different now…going home felt a bit painful

I left England ‘to live my dream,’ because I was fed up with a lack of meaningful connection with others, unhealthy food, negative media, and broken systems (health service, banking, education, etc). To me, the world seemed broken and I wanted to find a new world – one that is less filled with fear, negativity and systems that didn’t make any sense.

Within the sailing community, I’ve certainly found a different world

I’ve discovered people that are similar to me and perhaps running away from the modern world of commercialism, fear, stress, broken systems. I’m not sure that ‘running away’ is the right wording? Let me rephrase that and say that perhaps we’re all running towards something more authentic and fulfilling.

For the most part, sailors aren’t living in a world based on fear and broken systems; they’re instead living in flow. They naturally generate a community of kindness, friendship, support and authenticity.

Most sailors I’ve met don’t watch the news and aren’t influenced by the barrage of negativity emitting from the TV, radio or Internet media outlets. Conversations amongst sailors tend to reflect on the weather, sailing stories, interesting things to do in the area, tips on future locations, food, our past lives (on land) and anything troubling us.

When you’re living on a boat, there’s always an issue – how do you get stains off the hull? What’s the best way to clean the curtains? Where can you get gas for the oven tank? And so on. The issues are not emotional or heavy – often they’re the next thing to do and learn so they’re treated in a positive manner.

In contrast…

While in the UK, I caught the flu and watched a bit of TV to try and take my mind off feeling like crap. In the course of four hours, I cried six times – every charity commercial made my heart break and the news made me feel unwell. After nine months of not watching TV I felt as if I wasn’t prepared for the overwhelmingly strong messages used to get viewers attention.

The sad thing is that if I lived on land and saw the charity commercials often I probably wouldn’t bat an eye at them – I would just ‘turn off’ my ability to feel as it’s the only way to protect oneself from all the negative messaging out there.

Having a break from TV made me realize just how hard the modern world has to work at getting our attention now days.

Going nowhere fast – are we?

Most cruising sailors don’t try to get anywhere fast and it’s reflected on land just as much as on sea. We all know that our best-laid plans often won’t pan out – either the weather or the wind will hamper our efforts. Furthermore, getting anywhere by sailboat takes quite a long time. Over the nine months, I’ve slowed way down. I move slower. I walk slower. And I even talk slower. I’m truly going with the flow rather than trying to force anything.

Live-aboard boat communities

Live-aboard boat communities

I didn’t realize how much I slowed down until I spent a couple days in London

Contrast my slow pace with my workaholic city girl past and you’d see a massive change in me! I use to speed walk everywhere I went. In London, I’d race up and down the escalators in The Tube. I was always rushing and it wasn’t because I was late. It was simply because I always felt as if there wasn’t enough time in the day. Even when I forced myself to slow down I could feel my blood race through my veins yelling, ‘hurry up’!

Now… I’ve realized that rushing (or slowing down) is a lifestyle choice

You can choose to rush or you can choose to go a speed that says, ‘I have all the time in the world.’ In the end you get the same results but the slower journey is much more relaxing and far more beneficial to one’s health.

During our stay in London, hubby and I enjoyed the sights of London with our daughter. Watching all the people speed by made my head spin. Everyone was on super drive whereas we were all dawdling around absorbing the views. As our time in London progressed I felt myself start to speed up.

When you’re in an environment where everyone is racing around it seems impossible not to join the race too. I don’t want to race. I could feel the blood in my veins start to yell, ‘hurry up Kim, you don’t have time to waste!’ By the time we left London I thought, ‘I can’t wait to get back to the boat…I can feel my whole mind and body start to speed up and I don’t want that anymore!’

Being in England has caused me to also miss the sense of community in the boating world

On a boat whether you’re at a marina, in a bay or passing another boat you almost always exchange pleasantries, start up a chat and more often than not make a new friend.

At the marina we’re at currently, I must say ‘hi’ to at least 20 people during the day while coming and going to and from the boat. Everyone I see, I smile and at the very least exchange a ‘good morning’ or a ‘how’s it going?’

In England, my sense of community consists of my friends spread throughout the country. I feel very close to my friends and it’s lovely to see them but in between, when I’m walking along the High Street or doing some shopping I feel a lack of connection.

I’m not sure if it’s possible to feel ‘connected’ when there are so many people around?

Perhaps connection only happens in small villages and little communities? Or, perhaps it’s a mindset similar to rushing versus going your own pace? All I can report on is how I feel. It’s absolutely wonderful to see all my friends but I dearly miss the community feeling while living on our boat.

Seeing my friends and feeling ‘community’ happens only when I’m with my friends however when living on the boat I feel a sense of community all the time – I hope that makes sense?

And the broken systems that we left…

Fortunately for us, a three-week stay in the UK allowed for very casual conversation so we didn’t get into discussions with friends over what’s working and what’s not working.

How about my daughter…how did she get on?

Live-aboard boat communities

Live-aboard boat communities

What about my daughters, Sienna’s (almost 5 years old), transition back to England? How did she handle our ‘vacation’?

When we landed in England we spent the first weekend visiting Sienna’s friends. Upon seeing her various groups of friends she’d immediately went up and hugged them. There was no shyness or an uncomfortable first few minutes.

She met up with her boyfriends, Ethan and Mason (My Godsons pictured above), her pre-school friends, Harry and Sophie, and her girlfriends, Annalisa and Kayleigh. She also enjoyed seeing her ‘big-sister’ friends Megan and Morgan – both age 12. Each reunion was a great one filled with hugs, kisses and lots of playing.

All the children acted just as they did before we left as if no time passed

As a whole, Sienna seemed to just go with the flow and she was happy when she was with her friends, happy when it was just her and Granddad watching, ‘Antique Roadshow,’ and even happy helping my dear friend, Ene, rake the leaves in the back garden. She didn’t seem any happier than when she’s with her friends in the sailing community. I was pleased to see how stable she seemed.

Not once did she freak out when we had to leave a friend either

Live aboard boaties returning home

Live aboard boaties returning home

The one remarkable difference I noticed, however, was her ambivalence to Christmas – especially in regards to presents. When I asked her what she wanted from Santa she couldn’t really give me an answer. After a couple days she told me that she wanted a toy truck.

Contrast that to last year where she gave me a list of every toy she wanted and the list was not short!

Due to the fact that she hasn’t seen a commercial in over nine months she didn’t know what she wanted. I really don’t think she cared too much about the presents she recieved. Sienna seemed grateful and she wasn’t focused solely on ‘what presents am I going to get’!

And hopefully my constant repetition about family and friends being ‘all I want for Christmas’ will reinforce the values I want her to hold.

Two days before we returned to the marina from our three-week holiday, granddad asked Sienna, ‘Would you rather live in England or on the boat?’ Sienna responded with, ‘I want to live on the boat.’

I was very surprised to hear her answer

She’s been playing with all her good friends, getting presents from everyone and basically getting anything she wants for three weeks yet she’s perhaps eager to get back to the boat too?

It’s difficult to understand how Sienna might feel

Every day she’s up for whatever we present her with yet maybe she’s feeling a bit tired or overwhelmed like I am? Or perhaps she knows where her bread is buttered?!

Live aboard boaties returning home for the holidays

Live aboard boaties returning home for the holidays

Hubby, uncharacteristically became a bit stressed and anxious

The second we left the boat, my husband, Simon, admitted that he didn’t want to leave. He said he had a knot in his stomach. Throughout our time in England he was ‘okay.’ Looking at him I could see that he enjoyed his time with friends and family but overall the trip was very stressful.

Simone was definitely happy to see his friends and spend time with them but otherwise; I think he wanted time to go fast. Aside from getting roast parsnips and enjoying a curry I don’t think he misses much of England.

I asked Simon if he could ever live in England again now that we’ve left and changed our lifestyle. His answer was a ‘yes’ but definitely not in the close future.

Our circle of awareness has expanded and for now our home is on our boat and the lifestyle that comes with it. Perhaps we can just become better at convincing our friends and family to come out and visit us?!

So, I think that next year we’ll stay on the boat for the holidays

Our plan is to be in St Lucia as we’re crossing the ocean with the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers in November. I have a year to convince some family and friends to meet up with us in the Caribbean…I’m sure I’ll get some takers.

Overall, our journey home for the holidays was bittersweet

The stress of getting things done, seeing everyone and travelling took its toll. On the flip side it was so wonderful to enjoy time with all those that we love.

Sexy sailing t-shirts for women – Finally!

Sexy sailing t-shirt for women

Sexy sailing t-shirt for women

Over the past few years I’ve been wearing clothes from various sailing brands (I won’t name names!) and have been left feeling like a tom-boy. I have polo shirts with a little sailboat emblem, blue and white striped tshirts with the name of a sail company embossed over the top and several ’normal’ t-shirts with nautical imagery.

When I wear my sailing themed shirts I feel like a boy. The neck lines are high, the waste is straight-lined and there’s ultimately no shape to the average sailing t-shirt.

Most women’s sailing t-shirts are not sexy!

I’ve have therefore taken it upon myself to have some designs created and t-shirts made so to add a bit of femininity to the nautical world. Most women, whether there’re a sailor or not, like to feel beautiful, sexy and appealing.

Of course, when I’m doing a night watch or caught in a Force 10 storm I want durable, warm, protective clothing. HOWEVER, when I’m washing the deck down under the hot sun, meeting other sailors for happy-hour on land or chilling with friends and family in the cockpit I prefer to feel like a woman.

So…here I am introducing a sexy line of 5 different t-shirts

(I’ve seen enough – I want one…How can I skip the reading and go straight to the Sailing Britican Etsy Shop <—- click the link!)

Sexy Sailing T-Shirts for Women

Sexy Sailing T-Shirts for Women

And just in case this is the first visit to my website, let me give you a wee bit of background on SailingBritican.com

Britican stands for BRITish and amerICAN put together. Hubby, a Brit, and I, an American sold all of our possessions, purchased a sailboat and are currently sailing around the world with our 4 year old daughter. As of today we’ve been living full time on our boat for just over 9 months and we’ve travelled 3300 miles (Mallorca, Gibraltar, North Africa, Malta, Sicily, Greece, and Turkey)

Our boat name, logo, ‘branding’ (if that’s what you call it?) is all about ‘choosing life’s course’

We got fed up with what society deems normal and traded in the job, house, car, politics, bureaucracy, processed food, stress and life on land so to create a life that made more sense – a life with more fulfilment. Read more on how our change in lifestyle happened here: Screw it to my life – I’m trading it it for a new one

Enough about me – let’s talk about you and how sexy you, or a woman friend, will look in a Sailing Britican t-shirt!

Sexy Sailing T-Shirts Front and Back

Sexy Sailing T-Shirts Front and Back

(Oh my gosh, I want to feel like a sexy sailor. Where’s the shop? Here it is ——> Sailing Britican Etsy Shop)

Here are the obvious benefits and features to buying one of my t-shirts:

– The scoop neck is very wide and every so often slips below the shoulder showcasing a beautiful part of a woman. Shoulders are super sexy!

– The shirt is flowing rather than fitted offering a nice touch of elegance.

– The bottom is very slightly tapered allowing room for any rolls or muffin tops that need to be kept away from the naked eye.

– The arm cuffs are turned over and stitched so they stay rolled even after a wash.

– The fabric is very light an airy – these tshirts would look great with a bikini top tied behind the neck, a strapless bra or no bra at all.

– There’s a beautiful range of colors – Pink, Pacific Grey, Navy and White

– These t-shirts are not sold or distributed at national or international outlets. There are very view places to get these sexy sailing t-shirts so chances are that you, or your woman friend, will be wearing something very unique from others in the crowd.

Sexy Sailing T-Shirt Features

Sexy Sailing T-Shirt Features

A not so obvious benefit to buying one of my t-shirts is that, by doing so, you’ll be supporting our cause and all the educational, inspirational and, at times, (hopefully) entertaining information that we’re providing on the website

Not only are these t-shirts sexy but any woman wearing a Sailing Britican t-shirt shows that she appreciates some or all of the Sailing Britican values:
• having the ability to consciously choosing life’s course
• spending quality family time enjoying the fantastic world of sailing
• eating fresh local produce (reduced carbon footprint) with family and friends
• creating deeper and more genuine connections with others
• finding success doing what you love

(YES PLEASE – I want 50 of these bad boys… Click here to visit the shop —->  Sailing Britican Etsy Shop)

Sexy Sailing T-Shirt for Women

Sexy Sailing T-Shirt for Women

Let’s talk about the cost…

Every t-shirt ordered is printed on demand.

Once you place an order, I contact either my UK or USA printer, tell them the design and size and they then go to work. The printers print the tshirt, package it and then post it out. This process is great for people like me that don’t live on land however it’s not the cheapest way to go about things. Ideally, I’d like to order in bulk but that’s something to consider later on down the line…

That being noted, the cost of one of my t-shirts is far less than any of the well-known sailing brands. It’s less expensive than a lunch out with friends or couple boring DVD’s!

There’s no shipping fee in the USA or the UK and all the proceeds go to making this website the best it can possibly be

Sexy Sailing T-Shirts for Women

Sexy Sailing T-Shirts for Women

(Skip the reading and go straight to my Sailing Britican Etsy Shop)

And I haven’t even mentioned the future value of an original Sailing Britican t-shirt

Who knows what might happen? These t-shirts might the very first prototypes for a Sailing Britican line that will one day rival Nautica, Musto, Quba, Crew or any other nautically themed brand. A few years from now you might be able to say:

“I purchased one of the very first Sailing Britican t-shirts back when no one knew that Sailing Britican even existed! I then flogged it on eBay for thousands! What a great investment!”

Who knows – right?!?!?!

T-shirt supplies are limited and if you act right now, you’ll also get a set of 12 kitchen knives

Just joking. There are no knives.

However, supplies are limited. Who knows when I’ll replace these amazing designs with different designs? Who knows when Ralph Lauren Polo might give me a ring and ask to buy me out? Hehehehe.

Sexy Sailing T-shirts for Women

Sexy Sailing T-shirts for Women

Okay, I’ll stop joking around

Anyway, thanks for reading about my new sexy sailing t-shirts! If you have any questions, email me on Kim@SailingBritican.com

And please visit the Sailing Britican Etsy Shop – remember to pick up a Britican Galley Herb & Spice Blend gift set too! Finally, a big thank you to my daughter, pictured above, for telling how to pose for the pictures, my friends for supporting me and my hubby for taking the photos!

Top 10 essentials for living on a sailboat – A woman’s perspective!

Owning, living and traveling on a sailboat requires several essentials – the obvious one’s that come to mind are a working engine, tip-top rigging, good sails, a strong hull and crew that know what they’re doing.

Aside from the core basics, however, I have a list of my top 10 essentials for making life on a sailboat easier and more fulfilling

Is your list similar? Please add a comment at the bottom to highlight your top essentials!

Top 10 essentials for living on a sailboat

Top 10 essentials for living on a sailboat

Top 10 essentials for living on a sailboat

Living on a sailboat essential item #1: Dyson DC34 (powerful hand-held vacuum)

Before setting off on our around the world sailing adventure I assumed my cleaning schedule would be much more relaxed on our boat in comparison to the house we left. That being noted, I was wrong! Very wrong. Sand, salt, dust and crumbs seem to waft through the boat and sprinkle tiny messes everywhere every day.

Therefore, my number one ‘must-have’ is our Dyson handheld vacuum cleaner

I use it to vacuum up the layer of particles that settle on the shelves, over the seating area and the floor. Furthermore, the Dyson is very handy when cleaning up the crumbs that all through the floorboards into the bilge. Life would not be worth living without the Dyson.

Top 10 essentials for living on a sailboat

Top 10 essentials for living on a sailboat

Living on a sailboat essential item #2: Stove-top coffee maker

I’ve always been first to admit that I’m a coffee snob. Previous to becoming a live-aboard, I frequented a coffee shop every day requesting my usual ‘Large Flat Latte.’ ‘Flat’ means that there’s no foam – it’s essentially a shot or two of express with warm milk. Nothing prevented me from getting my daily fix of quality coffee – not even the flu as I’d have hubby go out and collect my latte for me.

When we moved onto the boat I knew that finding quality coffee was going to be an issue

Instant coffee was not an option. I contemplated getting one of those espresso machines but countertop and cupboard space is very limited. Fortunately for me, my cousin introduced me to the above styled coffee maker – It’s called a stovetop espresso maker. Read and watch my video: How to use a Stovetop Espresso Maker

As long as I can source quality coffee grounds, using this handy coffee maker produces excellent lattes. Every day I prepare the coffee maker and a pan of warm milk so to feed my latte addiction. Without this little contraption life would be incomplete.

Top 10 essentials for living on a sailboat

Top 10 essentials for living on a sailboat

Living on a sailboat essential item #3: Washing Machine

When we lived in England and had a sailboat on the south coast our longest trip would be around two weeks. We never concerned ourselves with laundry. I would just put all the dirty clothes into a bag and bring them home to wash. Now that we live aboard a boat full time, laundry is a serious issue. Even though we extend the normal wear time of our clothes as long as possible, dirty laundry piles up in an unexpectedly quick fashion.

Fortunate for us, we don’t have to fill backpacks and load up bags of stinky clothes to haul them to the closest laundry mat – sometimes miles away! If we did, it’s amazing how expensive it is  – To do a couple weeks wash for us I would have to spend around €20 – €30 to wash and dry them. To have someone else do our laundry, you’re talking about €50 and up.

We have a washing machine that is discretely hidden inside a cupboard (see above). As I write this, we’re wintering on our boat in a marina in Sicily. By far, the most popular ‘wish list’ item within the marina community is a washing machine. Just yesterday I was listening to a couple that is installing a new washing machine on top of their bottom bunk bed.

What non-live-aboards might not recognize is that it’s not just clothes that have to be washed…

…everything in a boat gets dirty quickly. Sheets, duvets, blankets, pillow covers, towels, outdoor cushion covers and even curtains have to be washed on a regular basis.

Top 10 essentials for living on a sailboat

Top 10 essentials for living on a sailboat

Living on a sailboat essential item #4: Watermaker

If you’re going to have a washing machine you’ll also need a watermaker unless you’ll be near a fresh water supply. So, if you go from one marina to the next, this piece of kit isn’t necessary.

For us, however, the plan is to circumnavigate the world so a watermaker is essential

Not only does the watermaker allow us to top up our fresh water for the washing machine, but it also gives us the freedom to stay at anchor far longer than if we were without one. Rather than having to find a marina or a dock with a fresh water tap, we simply make water every time we’re motoring or whenever necessary. And having that self-sufficient feeling is great.

Top 10 essentials for living on a sailboat

Top 10 essentials for living on a sailboat

Living on a sailboat essential item #5: Ipad

We’re fortunate to have two Ipads as we use these devices for a multitude of reasons. Most importantly, it’s a backup to our navigation system. Especially when entering a harbor, we use an app called Navionics. My husband puts it above the steering wheel and has a very close view of our location and the surrounding area.

Additionally, I use the Ipad for reading – all my books from Kindle on are it

Furthermore, when I need inspiration on what to cook, I can search for recipes. Our Ipad is also chock full of educational apps to partially help with our daughters’ homeschooling. We have ABC’s, reading, math’s, science and all sorts of spectacular apps. It’s not our main mode of teaching but it sure is helpful. With an iPad and an Internet connection there’s nothing that can’t be researched. We have several movies to assist with entertainment during long passages.

Lastly, the iPad helps us to stay in touch with family and friends through Facebook and Skype

It’s definitely a sailboat essential item. Special note: Although I can run Kindle off my Ipad it’s only useful when I’m reading below decks. If I want to read in the cockpit my polarized sunglasses prevent me from seeing the screen so…I also have  Kindle on board and love that too!

Top 10 essentials for living on a sailboat

Top 10 essentials for living on a sailboat

Living on a sailboat essential item #5: Hotwater Bottle

Depending on where you’re sailing, a hotwater bottle is an absolute must-have in cooler climates. Even in warm climates the temperatures at night can drop and during the winter evenings can get damp.

If you’ve never used a hot water bottle, it’s a rubber container that you can fill with boiling water

Over the rubber holder, there’s a cover that protects the bottle from getting too hot. Once the container is filled and covered you can use it to hold against your stomach during a night watch, put under your sheets/duvet before getting into bed or simply move it around your body to warm various bits up.

Often during the night time, I’ll start with my hot water bottle around my tummy and then push it down to my feet to make sure I’m nice and cozy. Nothing is worse than being cold and with a hot water bottle, you don’t ever have to suffer. The heat lasts for hours!

Living on a sailboat essential item #6: Camera and Video Recorder

I’m a blogger so a camera and video recorder is absolutely essential…but that being noted, whether you write about your travels/experiences or not, it’s nice to have a physical record of your adventures.

Photo’s and video’s help to show friends and family of your adventures and they create a journey for you to look back upon to relive the experience. I use my iPhone and Nikon SLR camera as if they were a part of my body now – I’m never without one or the other.

Top 10 essentials for living on a sailboat

Top 10 essentials for living on a sailboat

Living on a sailboat essential item #7: Galley helpers

I’m going to bundle the following items into one essential item as they’re all equally important. I’d be lost without my blender/mixer, sandwich maker/grill and a bread maker.

All of these tools are used on a weekly if not daily basis

The mixer I have is a soup blender that also comes with small bladed slicer/chopper – contained in a attachable bowl. I use the blender on soups and juices and the blade is very handy with onions, celery, etc. Regarding the sandwich maker – we have a Foreman grill. It’s great because you can plug it in and make a grilled cheese sandwich or grill a chicken fillet without having to use the stove/oven. It’s fast, easy to clean up and you can store it in a cupboard.

Regarding the bread maker – this is mandatory if you’re sailing around the world

Once in the Pacific there will be weeks/months without seeing a store. Nothing is more spirit-lifting and comforting the smell and taste of fresh bread. With a bread maker, you simply add the ingredients and let the machine do the rest. I’ve also been told that a pressure cooker is also a ‘must-have’ but thus far I’ve only made a few things in ours. Pressure cookers cook food very quickly and preserve more nutrients so they’re a serious essential on a sailboat.

Top 10 essentials for living on a sailboat

Top 10 essentials for living on a sailboat

Living on a sailboat essential item #8: Slippers

During the summer or in hot climates you won’t be likely to use slippers but in areas like the Mediterranean, that cool down in the winter, slipper not only keep your feet warm but they also provide that nice homey feeling. We have a no shoes below decks policy so it’s nice to take off our footwear and then put some cozy non-slip slippers on to protect our feet from the cold floors. I purchased the above ‘bad boys’ at Carfour in Palma, Mallorca for €5 – bargain!

Living on a sailboat essential item #9: Portable DVD Player

We’re very fortunate as we have a TV and DVD player in our saloon. My husband and I rarely use it during the summer but when our daughter has friends over we’ll put on a Disney movie. And on the days when it rains, or during winter nights when it gets dark early, we’ll sit around in our pajamas and have a movie marathon. Days like this are very far and few between.

That being noted, however, we’ve used our portable DVD player far more often than the TV in the saloon

With the portable player, we can cuddle up in bed and watch a movie or take it up on the deck in the hammock. Or…my daughter spends hours laying on top of our main sail in our boom. She creates tree houses (boom houses) by pegging towels around the lazy lines. Once her house is made, she’ll watch a movie.

We have movies on the Ipad but there’s a limit to the amount you have

With the DVD’s we can play them on the portable or the normal player. That being said, we also have a few external hard drives with 1000’s of movies on them that we play over our laptop. Boaties are often very happy to share their movies with you so it’s not uncommon to see people dropping off hard drives to other boaties to get loaded up with movies or the latest popular TV series.

Top 10 essentials for living on a sailboat

Top 10 essentials for living on a sailboat

Living on a sailboat essential item #10: Fold up bicycle

My husband and I debated over getting bicycles for weeks.

The two issues we debated were whether or not we’d use them AND storage space

The fold up bicycles are space saving however they’re still very large! In most places, you can rent a bicycle so we felt that rental made more sense. Throughout the summer, while in the Mediterranean, we hired a bicycle to go for short sightseeing trips or to reduce the time it took to go to the grocery store.

Rental worked well as we didn’t feel the need for a bike that often

However, once we got to Marina di Ragusa, Sicily we started to see more of a value in having a bike. For the winter, we booked a spot in the marina to stay for 6 months. The Med is not a year-round sailing spot contrary to what many people might think. From October to April the weather can be very unsettled. All the tourist destinations shut up shop and you’ll only see a sailboat out on the water for a day sail.

That being noted, and after taking the 15 minute walk to the marina bathrooms, we started to seriously contemplate getting some bikes

When we found an opportunity for our daughter to go to an Italian pre-school (up a hill!), the decision was easy to make. Transportation was an obvious need. So, we hired a car, went to a sporting store called Decathalon and purchased two fold-up bicycles. We had the option of getting the lowest cost bike, having no gears for around €150 or the €280 option with gears and storage areas.

We went for the more expensive bikes

There are quite a few hills around us and I figured I’d need to use various gears. Our decision was a good one! Since getting our bikes over a month ago not one day has gone by without us using them. It was an excellent purchase and now I consider my bicycle an absolute essential.

What about you? What essentials do you have on your sailboat?

Please leave a comment below as I’m sure I’m missing some things and would love to add to my list ?

You might also be interested in readying: 12 Non-essentials for long passage sailing that make the journey easier, more comfortable and increase enjoyment

Come fishing with me on a traditional Sicilian fishing boat – VIDEO

I’ve always wanted to go out on a traditional Mediterranean fishing boat to see how they lay the nets

More interestingly, I also wanted to see what comes up when they pull the nets in

I’ve always wondered how many fish come up? And what kind of fish do they pull up? Do they keep them all or throw some back? I’ve also wondered how the nets actually work.

Watch this video and you’ll see the whole start to finish fishing net process

You’ll also see some amazing sea creatures – an octopus, flying fish, jelly fish, a very dangerous fish, stingray and the ‘Common Torpedo,’ a fish that gives off an electric shock.

See what happens when our host fisherman gets zapped aboard the traditional Sicilian Fishing boat!

After you’re done watching the video, read below for the full story. And just a couple notes: You might get seasick watching this video – It was very hard to gain any sort of stability so you’ll see that the footage is all over the place. Furthermore, I was too scared to bring my 35mm camera so the photo’s are not very good. I took everything on my iPhone and the light was not good. That being said, I hope you can at least get an appreciation for our amazing trip ?

Being a sailor, we always give fishing boats and nets a wide berth

The last thing a boater wants is a net caught in a prop. In fact, while sailing our last boat out of Portsmouth Harbor, we experienced a fishing net caught in the prop first hand! It prevented us from using our engine – we lost control in one of the busiest harbors in the world. Read this for the full story: Experiencing engine failure and living to tell the tale

On the flip side, however, fishing nets are good thing – how else would we be able to taste the amazing variety of fish and seafood without them?

My dear friend, Mark Roope, from a neighboring sailboat, Cygnus III, mentioned that he wanted to go out with one of the fishermen from the Marina. At Marina di Ragusa there’s a whole row of traditional fishing boats that exit and enter the marina throughout the day and night.

Fortunate for Mark and I, his lovely wife Angelina loves to make friends with everyone

Knowing the son of one of the fishermen, she did her magic.

Around 1pm on the 17th of November, I heard Angelia yelling out “Kim” from the jetty through to my companionway. I jumped up on deck and exchanged our usual pleasantries. Then Angelina explained, “I’ve arranged for you and Mark to go out on a fishing boat today – is 4pm okay to lay the nets? And then tomorrow at 6am to pull up the nets?”

My head started to search for excuses – my immediate reaction was fear

I’m afraid of everything! One on hand I wanted to go out and on the other I worried about getting seasick, being unable to cope and the dreadfully simple fear of the unknown.

Without letting myself think too much, I responded with a ‘Yes – as long as Mark is going!’

I figured that if it all went bad and I was laying on the deck puking, I could at least have him affix a seasickness patch behind my ear and make sure I was returned to land.

For the few hours I had to wait I just kept telling myself to think of something else. An hour before the trip, I pulled out all my wet weather gear, a life jacket, and filled my backpack with crackers, seasickness pills and patches.

I also filled a hot water bottle just in case it got really cold

When Mark met me at the end of my boat to collect me, I didn’t feel too overdressed. He had his wet weather gear on too! When we saw the fishermen, Horatio and his son, Lorenzo, we then however realized that we perhaps overdressed. The two men were in t-shirts! They must have looked at us and thought we were hitching a ride to the North Pole.

The first trip out was incredible

We went out for no more than a couple hours. Horatio looked for fish on the fish finder and then decided to start laying the net. On board there were two separate nets. I believe that one was for small fish and the other was for larger fish.

As you’ll notice on the video the fishing net is simply fed out the back of the boat

We seemed to go in a moderately straight line. Once one net was out, Horatio chose another location and let out the second net.

When all the net was out, we went back to the marina to wait until the following day when the net would be pulled up.

Horatio and his son were so kind. They showed us everything that we pointed at or presented an interest in. Fortunately, Horatio did speak a lot more English than Mark and I could speak Italian so we did enjoy a few laughs.

I’m so much more comfortable with charades these days – if I can’t speak it, I act it out

The next morning at 6am, Mark and I climbed aboard the fishing boat once again to see the second phase of net fishing. I was so excited – the anticipation of what might be in the nets caused me to feel like a little kid.

Furthermore, it was my 40th birthday so I couldn’t think of anything more memorable to do on the special date

The net gets pulled back onto the boat by using a circular contraption to wind them onboard. For a few minutes nothing came up and then I saw a tiny fish. I started to think that there wasn’t going to be anything but soon after another fish appeared and then all sorts of things started to come up.

I assumed we would catch just fish but up came octopus’s, crabs, conch sells, starfish and jelly fish. The fish that surprised me the most was the sea creature called a ‘Common Torpedo.’ As shown on the video this creature electrocutes you if you touch any one of the black spots on it’s back.

Horatio got zapped and then he tried to get me to touch a black spot

I really wanted to do it but chickened out. I did, however, touch the creature and it felt soft and mushy. For some reason the fishermen kept it off to the side rather than putting it in with the other fish. I notice that Mark kept eyeing the Common Torpedo. I’m totally speculating on Marks thoughts but his body language looked as if he was having an internal dilemma over touching the fish.

I think Mark really wanted to man-up and get a zapp but he just couldn’t bring himself to even touch the mushy creature

After all the nets were pulled in and things were tidied up, the boat headed back for the marina. They fishermen pulled up around 30 fish, six calamari, a couple octopuses and range of crustaceans.

Overall, the experience was absolutely amazing. It was great to have my friend, Mark, with me – we tried our best to figure things out and have a joke and a giggle. If you haven’t met Mark from Cygnus III, he’s hysterical. Mark has a great blog and his write up about our adventure will make anyone laugh out loud. Read it here: Mark and Kim’s Bogus Fishing Journey

And Horatio and Lorenzo were so accommodating

Every fish that they pulled up was put on momentary display for our cameras. Once again, I couldn’t help but feel extreme gratitude for the incredible events of my life.

Skipper Mikes Potatoes – Undoubtedly the BEST meal for sailors

This is the story of the man who inspired one of Britican’s most loved and enjoyed meals of all time – and the special woman that cooked the meal for us (over and over again). The recipe is included so read on!

Introducing Skipper Mike and my lovely cousin, Loryn Bennett

Skipper Mikes Potatoes

Skipper Mikes Potatoes

Let me start first with Skipper Mike…Back in 2011 when we purchased our first sailboat, a 35’ Moody, my husband, Simon, flew from London to Oban, Scotland to take possession of the boat.

His intention was to sail the boat down to the south coast of England and moor it at Port Solent Marina

Not knowing the local waters or feeling comfortable sailing a boat for such a long passage, he asked around for a skipper to help him. The first name that came up was Mike Murray. After a few phone calls everything was set and the duo took two trips to get the boat to the south coast.

Unfortunately due to bad weather the Moody was moored in Northern Ireland for a couple weeks to wait out a storm

Both Simon and Mike flew to their respective homes to wait for good weather to come back. Eventually, a break in the weather arrived and the duo left North Ireland and made it to Salcombe, England, when the engine broke down. Salcombe is right down near the bottom western corner of England.

After a few repairs and a three-day ‘vacation’ Simon and Mike finished the journey arriving to Port Solent on the 16th of November, 2011 – three years ago.

During the journey, Simon and Skipper Mike became good friends

Mike stayed with us on the Moody a year later. And when we sold the Moody, purchased our Oyster and needed a skipper to help us move the boat from Gibraltar to Malta (850+ miles), Mike was the man we called.

In April 2014, our Oyster named Britican (BRITish and amerICAN together) set sail for what became an epic journey

On board, we had hubby, Simon, Mike, my 3-year-old daughter, Sienna, my cousin, Loryn and my dear friend Eneka (Loryn, Eneka and Mike pictured below – notice that there’s nothing left on the plates!)

Skipper Mikes Pototoes

Skipper Mikes Pototoes

Through the course of the journey we saw several pods of dolphins, were visited by various birds in-transit, saw one whale, experience a Force 10 storm, had our front sail rip, got our mainsail jammed up, broke our generator and became stormbound in Algiers, Algeria and then again in Tunisia – both in Northern Africa, a continent that we didn’t intend to stop on. To read the full story to to: Our First Sailing Adventure

In the end, we arrived in Malta – all of us gaining an enormous amount of experience

During the journey Skipper Mike and my cousin Loryn were paired up for night watches and Simon and Eneka doubled up too. Every three hours one pair would take charge of navigating the sailboat.

During a particular stormy evening Loryn asked Mike about his favorite meal

Skipper Mikes Potatoes

Skipper Mikes Potatoes

Mike explained his most loved meal consisted of a baked potato covered with butter, bacon, onions, peppers and a poached egg…and Loryn’s taste buds became activated. A few days later, we were graced with what is now deemed as ‘Skipper Mike’s Potatoes’ – see the recipe below.

When Skipper Mike tasted Loryn’s version of his most loved meal his response was, ‘The potato’s I made never tasted nearly as nice!’

From that moment on we had Skipper Mikes potatoes at least every two weeks.

As show above, my daughter ate all the good stuff off the top and left only a bit of the potato! Loryn even made them for six Italians during a dinner party that we hosted. Not knowing what they would make of the dish, Loryn served up the meal and we all watched for a reaction.

The Italians loved Skipper Mikes potatoes!

Perhaps it gave them a bit of respite from all the pasta and pizza they’re accustom to? Anyway, it was great to see friends and family united over an amazingly wonderful meal.

Let me leave you with one last picture. The below photo was taken after finally arriving in Malta after a week long adventure. As you can see, we were all still in good spirits – perhaps thanks to the amazing food suggestions from the crew and my cousins ability to turn all our meals into a serious taste sensation.

Email me for the recipe: Kim@SailingBritican.com