Repairs and Renovations

Repairs and renovations make up a big part of being a boat owner. Apart from the glaring obvious that cars don’t float, Boats are not like cars in the fact that they age much better than cars. A 20 year old boat is still very serviceable where as a 20 year old car is likely to be a rust bucket.

But like anything that gets old everything tends to date and show their age. We bought JESSICA a year ago and she is a 1998 build making her 18 years old. Like any teenager she was in need of a cosmetic make over.

Before I go any further you need to know an important fact. That is this……  BOAT stands for Break Out Another Thousand.

Marine retailers think we boaters are all minted  and they  have a nasty habit of adding an extra zero to all prices. Go to a caravan/motorhome retailer and the prices are not so eye wateringly obscene. Same products though.

Cabin Carpet

First to go was the cabin carpet. It was minging. Salty, sticky, smelly, just plain revolting.

We went and got quotes for marine carpeting. “How Much” we shrieked indignantly after picking ourselves up off the floor in horror

I’m thinking – It can’t be that  hard. So off we trot to the Carpet Warehouse. We find exactly what we want at a fraction of the price quoted. eBay produces the carpet binding. So far so good. We cut a patten from the old carpet, use paper clips to pin the binding in place and whip out the sewing machine.

Carpet Binding
Carpet Binding

I have to stress at this point that my sewing machine is from Tesco’s, not an industrial flat bed. We also see that the dinning room table is not big enough to swing large pieces of carpet through. So in the spirit of DIY  we move everything to the conservatory floor were Roger helps to feed the carpet around.

It was  a labour of love to say the least. a few domestic arguments later and we have a lovely new cabin carpet.

My thoughts move to the upholstery…..


Southampton Boat Show

Its Southampton Boat Show week!! After years in the pharmaceutical industry I am a bit blasé about attending trade shows or exhibitions. The Motor Show held no interest to me at all because there were no freebies.. I have been to the Ideal Home Exhibition, great for free fruit tea bags  but how many fancy vegetable spirializers does one girl need. The Ski show  is fun even if it is just for a free vin chaud and a crepe but the SBS is so much more.

Gizmo and Gadgets

Obviously I love nosing around fabulous boats I can’t even dream of owning but what holds my fascination is all the gizmo and gadgets on display. Do sailors really need them all? Here are a few of my favourites.

  • The little man who spends all week transferring liquid from one bucket to another with a plastic tube that has a ball bearing at each end. Roger has a name for this tube but its not printable here, but it sounds like a “hank” tube! Actually they do work and we do own one
  • The little headsets that allows the person at the helm to talk to the crew. No longer does everyone have to listen to the abuse being hurled at you because yet again you have missed lassoing the cleat. Its just screamed into your ear. The off button would be very regularly used in my case.
  • Those little bits of sticky silicone designed to stop your coffee cup from spilling all over the dashboard. never works but seems to accumulate every stray bit of fluff and dog hair  instead.
  • Folding dish racks. Whats that all about? Use a tea towel.
  •  The worlds most lethal weapon. Those key rings designed to explode a balloon and float your keys to the surface should they get dropped in. NEVER EVER put one of these in your pocket if its raining. I narrowly missed getting a nasty leg wound when the bloody thing went off driving a door key into my leg.
  • Freaky real life looking stuffed ships cats – please get a life.

And finally my favourite of all time. Loo seats for the heads that light up in the dark so you can aim straight in a force 7.
I jest not…..

  • toilet seat lights

Toilet Seat Light

3rd September – Universal Marina

Back home to Universal Marina. We leave Poole early to race the incoming weather front. A quick refuel at Yarmouth and we slip into the Hamble.

All good things have to come to an end. So this will be my last blog.

This trip has made me aware of quite a few things.

  • How pampered we are to sail in the confined comparatively safe waters of the Solent.
  • Fear of the unknown is healthy and empowering.
  • Never ever underestimate the power of Mother Nature. Sea and Weather can change in a blink of an eye
  • The sense of achievement on completing a challenge.

Trip Numbers

Let me bore you with of the trip data. In 9 days we

  • covered 247 nms
  • burnt 313 litres of diesel
  • Spent 14 hours at the helm
  • stayed in 4 different marinas
  • visited 2 countries
  • Ate our weight in pain au chocolat
  • Demolished 2 cases of fizz.

And had an amazing time

Roger and I would like to thank Peter and Wendy Furby for allowing us to hijack their holiday and especially to Peter who did all the planning. His eye for detail and the weather would have put Michael Fish and Wincey Willis to shame (showing my age) Without them we would have had second thoughts about making this trip.

I have a heavy date with the washing machine.

crossing the channel - temp

crossing the channel - wind
We don’t care anymore

crossing the channel - cloudy

2nd September – Poole

Today we start our journey back to Poole. The weather forecast is not looking good. First stop is the fuel berth. Along with half the marina it is a bit of a bun fight. Yachts and motor boats all trying to queue jump. At 54p a litre I wish we could fill up here more often.

Ou return journey takes us the other side of Alderney towards the Casquets. If we are to see Dolphins this is where they will be. Not today it seems, never mind.

Les Casquets or Casquets; is a group of rocks 13 km northwest of Alderney and are part of an underwater sandstone ridge


As we exit north of the Casquets, down comes the cloud and the rain. This makes crossing the shipping lanes much more fun as the visibility is now limited! Tankers and container ships travelling at 20 knots  take no prisoners. The rain continues all the way to Poole. We stupidly have removed all the canopies so are open to the elements. We close the the roof covers but bouncing around makes doing the press studs up impossible. I resign myself to getting wet.

Old Harry

The UK coast line and old Harry looms up out of the gloom.

Old Harry Rocks are three chalk formations, including a stack and a stump, located at Handfast Point, on the Isle of Purbeck in Dorset, southern England. They mark the most easterly point of the Jurassic Coast

We pass Old Harry and make our way into Poole. For once I get to see the expensive properties on Sandbanks. If you go by road all you see are high fences and electronic gates.

The rain has stopped but still very grey. Tonight will be our  “last supper”.

Tomorrow we will nose our way back to Universal Marina


crossing the channel - temp

crossing the channel - wind
W 10knts Breezy

crossing the channel - heavy rain
Pissing Down

1st September – Rest & Relaxation

Finally a day to rest and relax! No trips, no walking, just a day doing nothing. Well not quite. I have to wash out the cool box as it smells like something has died in there and there is a little matter of stuffing errant laundry into a bag. It has escaped from various lockers and is strewn all over the place.

Bauble buying

We wander into town as Wendy has seen a bijou bauble she rather fancies and I need bread and milk. I am being spoilt. Roger buys me a lovely bracelet.

lucky me
Lucky me!

Back to the boat and a quick chat with the terribly frightfully charming gentleman moored next to us. He is a member of the Royal Yacht Squadron, what what don’t you know.

And off to lunch. We find a super restaurant on the end of the pier called Pier 17!!! Moules and fish cakes, yummy.

The afternoon passes, snoozing, reading and people watching. For people watching read bitching at mooring skills. Don’t you just love gongoozlers. If you have no idea what I mean…

A person who idly watches the labours of others while declining to offer assistance or becoming involved. Traditionally a term used by canal bargees when referring to onlookers found clustering around locks and moorings where barges have to stop and the crew engage in sometimes hard physical activity to make progress.

It is a well known boating fact that if you do something right there will be no one around to witness it. The minute you cock up they will have bussed in thousands of spectators to watch you.

Tomorrow is an early start as we return to Blighty.


crossing the channel - temp

crossing the channel - wind
3 knts WSW slight breeze

crossing the channel - sunny