Gelcoat Repair | Checklist & Video Instructions

A gelcoat repair on a boat can be inexpensive and easy. Here you’ll find step-by-step instructions and a video on how to use a gelcoat repair kit to make a nick, scratch or chip disappear.

Gelcoat Repair Kit Instructions

  1. Clean the damaged area using acetone to eliminate dirt, grease and wax. Make sure to avoid getting acetone on the non-damaged area. If possible, tape up the area not damaged.
  2. Squeeze the polyester resin gel into a plastic mixing cup.
  3. For colored gelcoat put a small amount of base color into the gel. Keep adding until the desired color is obtained. Mix thoroughly.
  4. Once mixed, add 4 drops of hardener for every teaspoon of blended gelcoat paste (or as per the directions provided on from the manufacturer). Mix thoroughly.
  5. Having around 15 minutes before the gelcoat hardens, apply the mixture to the damaged area. Use a mixing stick or flat surface to smooth the gelcoat.
  6. Lay a piece of plastic film or wax paper over the repair area. Ensure that there are no air bubbles.
  7. After one hour, remove the wax paper.
  8. Sand repaired area with wet 600-grit sandpaper and buff with a fine polishing compound and wax.

Note: that we used the West Marine Gelcoat Repair Kit when making our repairs. At the time of the repair it cost us $34.99 and we were very pleased with the results.

Gel Coat Repair Kit
Gel Coat Repair Kit

Gelcoat Repair Tips

  • Make sure to do your gelcoat repair on a day with low winds. Various chemicals have to be mixed and wind will easily cause them to fly off the boat. The mixture is goopy and it could be inadvertently blown onto undamaged areas of the boat. Furthermore, wax paper will blow away in windy conditions.
  • Before mixing the chemicals, open each item and inspect them. In some cases, you’ll need scissors to cut a tube end off or a pin to poke through a tube.
  • Try your best to match the color of the hull or gelcoat but remember that over time the area will match better once exposed to the weather.
  • Some of the chemicals in gelcoat are extremely dangerous. Make sure to dispose carefully of any leftovers and ensure that unused portions are kept away from children.

Gelcoat Repair Video

Stories of gelcoat mishaps

First, before I let you in on our gelcoat mishaps it’s important to know what gelcoat actually is! So…gelcoat is the outermost structural layer on a fiberglass boat hull, designed to protect the underlying fiberglass layers. Gelcoat is a compound that produces a high-quality finish on fiberglass surfaces and incorporates epoxy, polyester resin, a catalyst, and other chemicals to achieve its strength and water-resistant properties. When dried, gelcoat combines with fiberglass to produce a smooth and durable surface that retards hull weakening from water intrusion and ultraviolet light.

So on with some gelcoat stories….

When Simon and I were Sailing around Rethymno Crete (island in the south Mediterranean) we had a heck of a time docking the boat. There were no marina attendants available, it was windy and there was a massive lack of working ‘lazy lines’ or ropes used to secure the front of the boat.

Traditionally, in the Mediterranean, boaters back the boat up to a jetty affixing two stern warps to the dock and one lazy line to the bow. Unfortunately for us, it took a while to find a lazy line and once we did it was so large that I couldn’t lift it!

If you’ve never used a lazy line, they’re found by pulling up a small rope attached to the jetty that often leads to a larger rope anchored by concrete on the sea floor (in front of the bow of the boat). To grab the rope, you’ll need to use a pole, pull the rope up and then quickly walk to the bow of the boat pulling more and more rope up as you progress.

After a 45 minute struggle and some help from a neighboring boat, we managed to secure Britican.

We learned about comradeship amongst sailors that day as our neighbors worked hard to help us. Our experience wasn’t, however, without mishap. Unfortunately the stern bottom of the hull scrapped the dock. There was a tiny bit of damage. For us it physically hurts when we see our boat get scratched or nicked. It’s like watching your child fall and not being able to catch them before they hit the ground.

Errrr, actually, I think it’s worse.

Usually with a child the body will heal itself. With a boat, the miracle of cellular rejuvenation doesn’t exist 🙁

Within a week, the damage was fixed by our dear friend, Admiral Stefano. Stefan Stefano flew over the Crete to help us sail the boat back to Sicily. Lucky for us, he had done many gelcoat repairs in the past so he offered to do the fix. After Stefano worked his magic it was impossible to find the area that was previously damaged.

Another story is about how I managed to nick the bow of the boat with the anchor (twice!).

While anchoring in a very turbulent bay the anchor started swinging too much and hit the hull – twice. When I saw the damage I wanted to die. Instantly, I thought, ‘Great – there’s another ££££’ For months I simply ignored the damage and secretly hoped the gelcoat ferries would appear or cellular rejuvenation would kick in and fix the issue.

And then there was the episode where a crew member was on the boom tightening a reefing line and a tool dropped onto the coach roof putting a nice tiny nick in the gelcoat. Every time something like this happens I feel so sick. There’s the cosmetic damage, the unknown cost associated with fixing it and the knowledge that you may just have to live with it.

For about a year Simon and I avoided looking at the small but annoying damaged spots. Since the Admiral did the original gelcoat repair we didn’t know how to do it ourselves.

I find that Simon and I avoid things that we don’t know how to do.

It’s so hard to learn things for the first time. Especially when you know the result won’t be perfect. Sure, we are often outside our comfort zone and trying new things. For some reason, however, with these gelcoat repair jobs we just didn’t want to make a hash of it.

Finally the day came where the weather conditions were right and we had a gelcoat repair kit. Not only did Simon give it a go, he let me video him. I suppose the pain of things gets to a point where we think, ‘who cares…I’m going to go for it and if it’s crap, so be it.’

Gelcoat Repair

Well… Simon and I were both surprised at how easy and inexpensive it was for us to repair the gelcoat.

The kit cost $34.99 and it took around one hour to learn, mix and apply the gelcoat and another hour to sand and polish the repaired area.

In the end the fix isn’t perfect but it’s not bad. In fact, I have to work hard to find the once damaged area.

The important lesson that we learned (once again) is to not be afraid of doing things. It’s okay to be imperfect. It’s okay to learn…

No longer do we have to avoid looking at our damaged areas. A 1 ½ hour job removed a bit of weight and anger I had hovering over my shoulders.

Do you have any tips on gelcoat repairs? If yes, please add a comment below so we can all benefit.

Want more checklists?! Check this out…

Voyaging with Kids – Homeschooling

What’s it like to sail around the world with a child or children? What happens with education? What’s the scoop with voyaging with kids?

When we tell someone that we’re in the process of sailing around the world, the person often has many questions. When we tell someone that we have a six-year-old daughter there’s usually one main question. That question is, ‘what do you do about your daughters education?’

Voyaging with Kids – Homeschooling

The quick answer is homeschooling.

Our daughter, Sienna, is just like any of the other 1 1/2 million kids in America currently being taught at home. The long answer is that we also make use of traditional schools when the opportunity presents itself.

For example, while we wintered in the Mediterranean in Sicily for six months, Sienna went to an Italian pre-school. She was 4 at the time. And for the past year, while we’ve been preparing for our next leg of the trip – heading out into the Pacific, Sienna has been going to 1st grade in Charleston, South Carolina.

Homeschooling, for us, consists of curriculum-based workbooks, project based learning (which this video will demonstrate for you) and loads of experiential learning.

What I mean by experiential learning is that Sienna learns whenever the opportunity presents itself.

And those opportunities are often. For example, when we see a whale, we pull out our book on whales and learn about what they eat, how large they grow and what we can do to ensure their environment thrives. When we climb up a volcano we later reflect back on an iPad app that lets us climb inside the volcano to find out how it’s actually functioning.

What I’ve come to realize with homeschooling, and voyaging with kids in general, is that it’s not a 8 to 3 job or something that necessarily gets done within a few hours. Homeschooling, for us, is a lifestyle. We’re always guiding and teaching and I have to say that Sienna is often guiding and teaching us too.

The above video that I’ve created for you to watch will hopefully give you an example of how we allow Sienna to choose her own projects and then guide her on them.

And just before I get started, a bit of background.

Sienna and I decided to make fake Playdough cookies to sell to the boats in our area. We went as far as creating the cookies, making a promotional video to share and drawing up a sign. Once were finished Sienna asked me if she could make real cookies and sell them for real money.

One thing led to another and Simon and I found ourselves mentoring a 6 year old on how to start her first company.

What I love about project-based learning is that it’s play for the student. Sienna didn’t realize that we were making sure she did her writing, spelling, math, reading, and so forth. She just thought she was starting a business…So, I’ll leave you with that. Watch the video and find out whether a profit was made or not!

One last note – Sienna also wants her own YouTube channel.

I have mixed feelings about that. But it’s important to realize that on top of learning her age appropriate academics, Sienna is also learning about business and social media.

My hope with the video above is to perhaps provide entertain as Sienna is a natural entertainer. But to also inspire you if you’re thinking of doing a long-term trip with your child or children or even grandchildren.

There are no rules. The limitations we live by are in place because we put them there… So…on with the show.

If you prefer to read rather than watch the video, allow me to describe the journey we took with Sienna’s business creation. The above is the script I used to create the introduction to our Voyaging with kids – Homeschooling project but the below is off script.

Sienna decided that she wanted to sell real cookies for real money.

Previous to Sienna’s decision we role-played with Playdough. Sienna made Playdough cookies, created an advert displaying the name of the company, a logo/picture of the product and the cost. Sienna also made a short video explaining the benefits of the product in addition to the cost.

After spending several hours role-playing Sienna, Simon and I started to discuss what it would take to sell real cookies. Within a couple days of the initial brainstorm, Sienna and Simon went to a café for WIFI to find the best cookie recipe.

A recipe for chocolate chocolate chip cookies was found and a list of ingredients was created. Thus far Sienna has had to use the following skills (to name a few): reading, research, writing, decision-making…

Voyaging with Kids

Voyaging with Kids

With the list of ingredients in hand, Simon took Sienna to the store to buy everything she needed.

A loan was granted for Sienna to get her set up but the money would be paid back over time.

Once Sienna was back on the boat I helped her get organized. We laid all the ingredients out on the table and discussed what everything was. She was excited to taste the various raw ingredients – especially the coco. And of course, I was eager to see her reaction!

Sienna and I followed the recipe and tasted most items as we went along. She was surprised with the taste of the coco, vanilla extract and backing soda. Sienna certainly learned an important lesson that ingredients, alone, might not taste very good but when you add them together not only do they change shape and consistency but they also form to create something worthy of taste sensations.

Once the cookies were done we extended our R&D (research and development) to include Charleston Harbor Marina ‘B Dock’ testers. Sienna notified a few of our neighbors that ‘tasters’ were required. Within minutes we had three boats and five people for the tasting session.

Voyaging with kids

Voyaging with kids

The vote was unanimous – the cookies were excellent.

Sienna and I then tallied up all the costs of making the cookies and estimated the actual cost of each cookie. We came up with the figure of 30 cents per cookie. We then designed the packaging. Sienna thought the cookies would look best wrapped in a light plastic back with a gold twist-tie (not silver!). We also created a card using printable business cards listing Sienna’s company name, Sienna’s Sweets,’ in addition to instructions on how to reorder and how to follow our blog.

Once the cookies were all packaged up, Simon spent an hour role-playing how to deal with orders, take money and offer change. It was an excellent way for Sienna to understand how to make change and work with American currency. She also started to gain a perspective on how much work is involved to create an income. And then how much money it takes out of the income to pay for new ingredients. Finally, what profits are left over to spend on something she wants.

Sienna’s goal was to achieve $400 to put towards a trip to the Harry Potter attraction in Florida.

We discussed the importance of also ‘giving back’ and charity so Sienna decided that 10% of profits would go to the local animal shelter.

Voyaging with kids

Voyaging with kids

With a basket full of cookies and her change purse Sienna went to an Oyster Festival put on by the resort we’re currently berthed at. Within five minutes she sold out making over $64.00 for 20 cookies. Many people offered her money and told her to keep the cookie, which was interesting (I’m still trying to figure out what lesson I need to extract from that…help!)

All in all, however, she experienced success.

We took around $20 from the proceeds to buy a few more ingredients and the business moves on.

Reflecting back over the process, the whole family enjoyed working on the project. Sienna had loads of support and learning lessons. And it was very interesting to watch Sienna think of marketing ideas and extra profit earners. For example, she thought it would be a good idea to make coffee on the boat and invite customers to eat on our back deck. Sienna also offered a boat delivery service for $1 delivery charge.

Sienna’s Sweets is still going but interest has waned somewhat.

Sienna probably needs to sell cookies at eight more events and I’m not sure if a six-year-old has the tenacity to keep going. I’ll do my best to push her along but on the other hand I don’t want her to become disengaged. I don’t want her to be put off by real work. Am I being too protective?! I mean she is only six-years-old!!

Voyaging with kids

Voyaging with kids

Looking back I think it would have been better if I guided her to select a goal with a lower price point? Perhaps instead of $400 I could have suggested $100. And then Sienna could have gone to the store and spent a bit of profit more immediately. Then again, our world is already too focused on instant gratification. Perhaps the higher amount and longer journey is better?!

The project has thus far lasted over three weeks. We’ve concentrated our efforts in bursts of one to two hour time slots. Around the dinner table we discuss ideas. But we’ve discovered it’s good to do a little work, get something finished and then let that sit for a while before moving on to the next step.

The project flowed very well and Sienna benefited academically, socially, mentally and more.

Furthermore it was great to do something as a family.

So…when voyaging with kids, education is an interesting topic. There are families that work solely with company supplied curriculums. And then there are families that don’t have any formal education guidelines knowing that their child or children will simply learn by life itself.

But voyaging with kids isn’t just about education!

Gosh – there’s loads that needs to be considered and I’m definitely not the best person (or only person) to learn from. My friend Behan Gifford co-wrote an excellent book titled ‘Voyaging with Kids – A Guide to Family Life Afloat. If you have children and are going to sail/live on a boat, this is a must have guide:

28 Seasickness Remedies to easily buy from Amazon.com

Seasickness Remedies

Seasickness Remedies


Getting seasick is horrible. I know because I’m a sufferer. Even after living and cruising full time on a sailboat since 2014 I still have episodes where I turn green and have to use some sort of seasick remedy. Listed below is everything I’ve ever tried and/or have given to crew members afflicted with the debilitating issue.

The best thing to do about seasickness is to prepare for it to happen

Some drugs and tablets can be taken before a trip. Others can be used when the symptoms of seasickness presents itself. Sometimes particular remedies will work in certain conditions and sometimes they won’t.

It’s also possible for some seasickness remedies to create other issues – perhaps side effects that are far worse. For example, when I crossed the Atlantic Ocean (18 days of nonstop sailing and swells) I took a drug for nine days. On the 9th day my ears plugged up. I then developed an earache that was excruciatingly painful. After that, I used the chemical patch to reduce my various bouts with nausea and dizziness but that left a rash on my skin for over three months!

The next thing to do is to get a few different remedies and try them out

Start with natural seasick remedies as they are least likely to have harmful side effects. Furthermore, it’s important to realize that seasickness will reduce over time. Once your body gets used to being on a boat it will improve. When I first started out, I puked every trip. Now, I no longer puke at all and I often won’t feel sick unless I’m in a side to side motion swell. Perhaps when I’m 80 I’ll be rid of seasickness once and for all?!

Seasickness Food Products

For me, I often chew quite a bit of gum. For some reason it settles my stomach. Hard candies also work well.

Acupressure

Whenever I feel seasick or car sick I rub the points on my wrist that are supposed to alleviate motion sickness. I find that it works for a few minutes and can often ward off vomiting but it doesn’t miraculously make me feel better. I do have the watch listed here but it’s one of the last things on my list to try…I’m’ afraid to try it and fail so I just keep it in my jewelry case for the day when I am truly desperate. I will eventually test it out!

Aromatherapy

With aromatherapy I find that it either works or it makes the situation far worse. I tried the Quease Ease and it almost made me puke instantly. For me, strong smells are not a good thing when I’m feeling ill. I have, however had friends where aromatherapy worked very well.

Natural Pills and Patches

Note that these patches are not the drug patch, otherwise referred to as Scopolamine. These are natural remedies. Ginger has always worked for me. Every morning I have a ginger pill and on the days when I forget to take it I don’t fair very well. By far, ginger has been a fantastically inexpensive and natural remedy that I swear by.

Over-The-Counter-Drugs

Regarding Scopolamine – Call your doctor to request a prescription if in the USA or Canada. In Europe it can be purchased at most drugstores/pharmacies over the counter. Otherwise, here are the common seasickness drugs that are available at any drug store.

Other options worth considering

I haven’t tried the head rest thing yet but I’m certainly going to give it a go. When I feel sick my head gets heavy so this might just help by keeping my head up! For that price, however, I went a head rest and an massive improvement in my overall condition. Regarding the Louise Hay Book, it has some affirmations that you can use for seasickness and motion sickness. And the copper bracelets – again, some people swear by them! Whatever works…If someone told me to hand a potato around my neck I’d give it a try!

Seasickness remedies for children

My daughter has been sailing since she’s been one year old. At first she wasn’t affected at all. As she got older I noticed that she’d get seasickness the first day we sailed if there had been quite a bit of time between sails. What usually happened is that she’d puke for the first day but after that she’d be fine. Hyland’s Motion Sickness Relief Tablets worked well. And sleep is a good remedy too!

For Dehydration

Sailors are more apt to get seasickness if they’re dehydrated. And once someone is sick dehydration becomes a massive issue. It’s bad enough to feel motion sickness but by adding dehydration to your situation you’ll want to die. Avoid this at all costs!

If you’ve ever tried something that’s not listed here and it’s worked for you, please add a comment below letting us know about it. I’m always on the search for new seasickness remedies.

And if you’re very serious about preparing for and dealing with seasickness, for yourself and your family/crew, consider purchasing my guide on Seasickness.

The objectives of my Preparing for Seasickness guide are to:

  • explain how to prepare for someone getting seasick – It’s going to happen!
  • help you and your crew/guests understand the symptoms of seasickness so measures can be taken to mitigate affects
  • highlight ways that seasickness can be prevented or stalled
  • list several remedies available that can be instigated before or during a seasickness episode

How we sold up and sailed away

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

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

How we sold up and sailed away – Video

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

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

Are you ready to sell up and sail away?

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

Leaving Boat Checklist – Short Term

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

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

Buy why leave the boat?

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

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

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

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

Leaving Boat Video

Leaving Boat Checklist – Short Term

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

What else?!

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

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

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

NEW: Sailing Questions Answered – A Video Series

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

The new series has been designed to provide followers with…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to clean a boat water tank

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

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

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

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

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

How to Clean A Boat Water Tank Video

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

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

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

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

We then spent another couple hours getting the caps off.

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

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

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

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

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

Clean a boat water tank

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

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

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

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

Clean a boat water tank

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

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

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

Clean a boat water tank

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

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

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

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

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

Comments & Suggestions on Make Money While Sailing Guide

free-report-square

free-report-square

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to make or buy the best boat pillows


Boat Pillows

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Boat Pillows – How to Video

To visit my Etsy shop where I list all my nautical gifts, please visit: Etsy.com/shop/SailingBritican

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

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

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

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

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

Boat Pillows

Boat Pillows

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Boat Pillows
Boat Pillows

Sailing Britican Update

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

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

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

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

Sailing Britican Update

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

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

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

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

I now know what I’m getting into!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sailing Britican Update

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

I will certainly miss the feeling of stability.

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

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

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

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

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

Just today I uploaded my first YouTube Trailer.

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

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

Sailing Britican Update Channel Trailer

And what about Simon?!

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

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

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

Sailing Britican Update

And on the list to come is:

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

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

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