The Boaters Checklist – Preparing your boat for summer!
Our boaters checklist.
Well today is the first day of Spring. The snow is melting away by the hour, the daffodil heads are starting to push through, the sky has turned blue again with hardly a cloud in sight. For those of you who are still landlubbers no doubt you will be getting odours of freshly cut grass this coming weekend as people start to get ready for the better weather. For those of you on the water, it will be the sound of a boat engine, maybe even the smell of 2 stroke as outboard engines are brought out of hibernation and given their first bouts of life this year. We thought we would share our boaters checklist with you.
It doesn’t matter whether your boat sports the latest engine or an old favourite, the Volvo Penta. One thing to remember is that they all need a bit of TLC to keep them in optimum condition and to preserve their reliability. Not forgetting though, it’s not just about the engine, the whole boat needs its regular maintenance program which mist cover all off the crucial areas including the deck, the hull and safety gear.
We put this checklist together after speaking to other boaters, researching online and from our own experience and want to share it with you. It’s something everyone should have to hand when getting their boat ready for the forthcoming season. To ensure that your boat is safe for you, your crew and your guests, complete each of the points covered in the list. It will also help to extend the value and life of your boat and avoid any unnecessary and unexpected costs in the future.
So where do we begin? Well seeing what day it is today, how about a Spring clean?
We know, cleaning isn’t the most exciting of things, but, in our opinion its the one to get out of the way first (eat a frog for breakfast!)
Mark Twain once said that if the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all day long!
A good clean and polish will not only make your boat stand out from the rest but will make the remaining steps a bit easier and certainly less messy.
Okay, so its time to get out the hosepipe and buckets, if you have a jet wash you can use that but go carefully, especially if you have teak decks. Start off by giving the hull, deck and topsides a clean. Use a mild detergent and don’t be afraid of getting on your hands and knees and giving it a scrub with a soft sponge. Read the label if using detergent to make sure its compatible with the material of your boat, we don’t want any loss of colour now do we?
Once all that winter muck and grime that has built up over the last few months has been washed away it’s time to apply a loving coat of wax. If you choose carefully you will be able to find one that helps to prevent the damage caused by UV light which can fade your graphics and hull. There has been many a pub discussion over whether waxing the hull will make your boat faster by reducing drag in the water. Maybe some of the racers out there can comment!
While we are in the cleaning mood, don’t forget to give the Bimini, spray hood and any other canvas and cushions a good wash. Take time to check the stitching and re-apply one of the solutions which re-waterproofs and UV protects the material. If there are any minor repairs that need doing, now’s the time to get them re-stitched.
Has there any damage been caused over the winter?
It breaks your heart to find that there are scratches or gouges in the gelcoat. That weekend away when someone came and moored up next to you, not paying attention, or maybe the strong winds over the winter, all take their toll. So although it may have been unavoidable and however deeply pained you may feel, the thing to do is get it fixed asap.
Whilst we are looking for any signs of damage, don’t forget to check for any unseen damage, or wear and tear. Deck joints, stanchion mounts, winches, lines etc are all vulnerable to damage, either accidental or through general usage. Make sure you check them all. Giving the winches a service is always a good idea at the beginning of each season, replacing the grease.
If you are lifting your boat out of the water then now is the time to re-apply your antifouling and at the same time check your sacrificial anodes and if required change them.
One final thing on our boaters checklist is safety equipment.
Again it is easy to become complacent and think, “oh it will be okay” but these are probably the most important items you have on board your boat, and the ones that can mean the difference between life and death.
Life raft – Make sure its in date. Its difficult to check the condition of it with it being in a sealed unit, but you can check its still within the recommended service time, it’s secure to the deck and there doesn’t appear to be any damage to the casing.
Life jackets – Make sure the gas cartridge is still in date, if not get new cartridges and rather than waste the old ones give them a try, just make sure you can repack your lifejacket afterwards once you have fixed in the new gas cartridge. Make sure the lights work, the whistles are attached and the reflective patches are clean, also check the straps for abrasion damage.
Fire extinguishers – These will have a date stamped on when they must be either changed by or recharged. If you have a gauge on the top make sure it read in the green, if not get them serviced or changed.
Flares and EPIRB – These will also need checking to make sure they are still in date. Expired flares must be disposed of carefully. Marina’s and some chandlers will have a way of disposing of them. It has been know for people to keep them for bonfire night just to test them! One of the places we have bought safety equipment from is Force 4 Chandlery.
So thats about it. We hope you have found our boaters checklist useful. If you have please leave a comment below. You should now be ready for your summer sailing season. Your boat will be looking top dollar and you should be confident you are safe. Now go out there and enjoy your time on the water.
Don’t forget to watch our latest video
Have a great week
Carl & Jenny
We decided a few weeks ago, well probably a bit more than that, that this year we would get into the sport of stand up paddleboarding.
We tried it out on a friend of ours paddleboard in the marina. Jen took to it really quickly. I was a bit disappointed as I was big into windurfing a few years ago and to be honest found it not as easy as I thought. Maybe due to a long term ankle injury I have which affects my balancing skills now. However not being deterred we decided we would get a couple of boards.
We obviously needed inflatables as storage space on the boat is somewhat restricted. We actually researched them when we were at the boat show in Sept 2017 just before we went out to the boat. After looking at what was on offer we made our minds up that we would buy the RED brand when we were ready.
Now the time is here we researched again and found that the RED paddleboards, although one of the best, were probably too much money bearing in mind we were buying two. So after a lot of reading reviews etc we found that Decathlon had a few boards in their line up and one of them had reviews where owners had put them on a level with RED but at only a third of the cost. Well we’re not naive enough to think they will be quite as good but as beginners in the sport the cheaper ones would suffice, so a couple of days ago we went to Decathlon in Sheffield to pick two up.
We have already booked them in to our flight back at a cost of £28.00 each so not too bad.
Today we gave them a test run!
Let us know what you think, and if you don’t already follow us on instagram you can follow directly from this page.
We are looking forward to getting them out on the water.
Love & Peace,
Carl & Jenny
It’s roadtrip time!
As many people know who visit our various social media pages we now live aboard our yacht which is currently moored in Crete. In addition, we also have our camper van that we converted just before leaving for Crete.
Over the last few weeks, we have been getting quite a few messages asking when we will be sailing, so we thought we’d take a few minutes to talk about it.
We moved down to Crete at the end of November, arriving there on the 1st December by driving down with all of our possessions after selling up in England. We had bought the van and spent just over two weeks converting it to a camper van, the idea behind that is that we had somewhere to stay/sleep on our way to Crete without having the costs of hotels, and also the other thought was that once we had it back in the UK, we would have somewhere to stay and transport when we returned back without having to impose on other people. The fact that out of sailing season we can roadtrip around Europe was also something that made up our minds on buying the van.
So, at the beginning of December, after a week long roadtrip, we arrived in Crete. When we arrived ‘Dream” was on the hard standing as we had her taken out of the water for the survey. It was agreed with the seller that it would be better leaving her out of the water until we returned upon completion of the sale.
On our arrival we were told by the marina that we would have to wait a couple of weeks before our berth would be ready on the pontoon, so this gave us time to antifoam the hull as well as doing a few other jobs such as changing the seacocks and thru deck fittings.
Our boat, DREAM, was launched in the middle of December. Because she has been used over the last few seasons as a holiday home, and not done much, if any, sailing we had a few things to do to get her back to daily sailing status. We have had to renew all of the safety equipment as it was all out of date and to legally sail in Greek waters these had to be done. So we have been waiting for some of the replacement safety gear to be delivered. A few more jobs left, one of which, we still have the flares to replace which will be done on our return. Almost everything else is ready. Our plan is further down the page!
With regards to our van, we wanted to take it back to the UK at the beginning of March. Once it has been in Greece for 6 months then we would have to register it there which can be a minefield and an added expense. We also didn’t want it sitting on the marina car park while we were off sailing for the summer. So, we decided on March to take it back. A few reasons; It was both of our Mum’s birthdays in March, Mothers day, and wedding anniversaries. It’s also Carl’s grandads 106th birthday and we wanted to be back for the celebrations of that.
You can watch our live updates of our roadtrip to Crete here.
Time for another roadtrip.
The roadtrip begins! We set off and got the ferry from Heraklion to Athens. We then spent a couple of days parked up on a sandy beach, just a few metres from the waters edge. It was great. A nice beach front bar a minutes walk away serving beautiful food and drinks, free use of their facilities whilst we were camped even during the night. We then had to head up to Patras to get the next ferry which would take us all the way to Venice.
The next couple of days were spent in Venice and then decided, as it was still snowing in the UK, to drive down to Monte Carlo, Monaco and Nice. We saw some of the sites and camped out right next to the waters edge again. Great scenery and good weather.
In a couple of days it would be Mothers day. We had planned to be back at the end of that coming week so that is when everyone was expecting us. We looked at the map and worked out that if we set off that afternoon, drove for a few hours we could get up to Calais by Sunday morning and get on the Eurotunnel. If we didn’t hang about we could be back in our home town by Sunday afternoon! What a surprise for our Mothers’ day! We got rolling.
The crossing went without problems and after a short stop near the Dartford crossing to drop off a pedal cycle we were bringing back for a friend we were soon on the M1 motorway heading North. Luckily all the snow that had plagued the UK for the last week had gone and it was clear bright weather all the way.
We arrived at Carl’s Mum and Dads just after 4pm. A big surprise, and worth making the trip for. A couple of hours later the same experience at Jen’s parents.
We are now parked up at our son’s on his drive, camping still in the van. The trip was made all the the better when on Wednesday he passed his driving test. He has suffered from epilepsy since birth and didn’t think that he would ever be able to drive. Two years ago we went through a massive stress flu situation where he had to have part of his brain removed to stop his seizures. The operation is only carried out a couple of times a year as the risk is so high, and is only done if the life change improvement outweigh the risks. His operation was a complete success and now he has been fit free for over 18 months which meant he could have a driving licence and learn to drive. The world is now his oyster 🙂
So onto the plan for the summer;
We will be setting off at the beginning of May and heading to Rhodes. Mid May we will be picking our daughter and partner up who will spend the next week with us exploring a few of the local islands there. We will be dropping them off in Kos. The plan is to then continue up the Eastern side and getting as far North as we can before the Meltemi wind starts. We will then cross to the western side and then go with the wind back south exploring islands as we go. The plan is to get back to Crete mid September/October.
We will continue to update our YouTube channel with our adventures, as well as our blog, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages so please continue to follow.
We are looking forward to the summer and meeting lots of people on our travels.
You can see our latest video here
Love and Peace,
Carl & Jenny
Well the weather this morning in Agios Nikolaos is beautiful..again! The sun is shining, the sky is blue. Days like this make you sit back and wonder why you took retirement instead of staying at work and live in a not so great climate….NOT!
If you follow our other social media outlets you will know that we are now settling in to this new lifestyle, we are loving it. Yes we are missing our kids, (well both adults now, but they will always be our kids), and yes we are missing family, but in all honesty thats it.
We have been moored up in the marina since we put Dream back in the water, but have a shake down sail planned pretty soon. We have been getting the boat ready for the sailing season. Dream is a beautiful boat and is a credit to her previous owner, but she has not been sailed much in the last few years so we have been spending our time getting her back to shipshape and giving her the once over, and making small changes to make her ours.
We still have a few jobs to do before the end of April. We are replacing the service batteries, all 4 of them. Two were on their way out and we are not too sure how old the other two are, but its best to have all new ones. The two good ones we have remaining will be fitted to our van to give us more available power in there. Also we have a spare solar panel on the boat which is also being utilised in the van. No waste here 🙂
Some of you who are Patrons, may not be aware but Patron has updated its mobile app. A nice little feature they’ve added is the “Lens” feature. Basically it allows us to post 30 second video clips via our mobile app. It then shows up in your app and is available for 24hrs. It’s a cool little feature that we will be using to put up regular short behind the scene/what we are up to clips. We will try to put one up each day while ever we have internet connection.
As you may have seen we have also introduced a “Fix It Friday” video which goes out, yes you’ve guessed it, on a Friday. From the feedback we have received it is quite popular so we will continue with it until we run out of jobs, but as we are on a boat that won’t be soon lol!
Don’t forget you can get regular updates to whats happening by our email newsletter which you can subscribe to using the form on this site.
Enjoy the day.
Carl and Jenny
A couple of days ago the weather forecast for the sea of Crete wasn’t looking too good. We use several different weather apps but find “Windy” is quite accurate for this area. According to Windy the wind on Thursday night was going to pick up to the late 40’s knots.
We spent the day sorting out our AIS system. When we moved aboard Dream we found an AIS receiver wrapped up in bubble wrap with a letter from the manufacturers saying it had been tested and was working okay. It just required re-connecting…or so we thought! It was re-connected and although power was showing on the unit, the channel lights were not flashing and the display on the Raymarine chart plotter was saying “no AIS”!
A neighbour of ours is quite a whizz with electrical stuff and after a thorough examination and exploration we deduced it was a fault with the antenna, either the cable or the antenna itself. So we had to lower down the aluminium mast pole that supports the radar and our antennas to investigate further. We made up a bit of a temporary antenna using just wire and after fiddling with the connector that sends the signal to the plotter we finally got boats showing up on the display..success!
The next thing was to put new cable to the existing antenna. Once done it was then the job of raising the pole, which I must add was straddled now between the rear deck of the boat and the pontoon. This is easier to talk about than actually do because of the angles it had to be lifted at and the leverage we had. We had Paeter on the pontoon, Jenny was at the rear of the boat pulling on a rope and I was on the rear deck supporting the full weight at the bottom of the pole. Jenny pulled on the rope, I lifted and Paeter lost his balance and was flapping his arms around trying not to fall into the water. It was funny, but could have had ended quite differently.
By now the wind had started to increase and the sky had started going really dark with rain clouds. It was as though someone had switched off the lights. No sooner had we got the top bolt into the retaining bracket on the pole than the rain started after a massive clap of thunder and a lightning bolt. A metal pole is the last thing to be hanging onto in a thunder storm so the fastening was expedited and we went below whilst the thunderstorm blew over.
We had a break in the rain and finished making the pole secure. By now the swell had increased and so had the wind, the rain was starting to get heavy again.
Paeter made a dash for his boat and we battened down the hatches in readiness for what was about to come.
Around 10.30pm the boat was rolling about a bit, but we were quite happy the boat was safe and we were safe. All of sudden we felt the boat roll to starboard and things on the side were sliding about. We knew we couldn’t go anywhere as we were securely tied up, I went up into the cockpit and looked at the wind monitor, we were getting winds of 46-48 knots constant. I checked the highest recording and we had just recorded 50.6 Knots! We were rolling around quite a bit but decided it was time to go to bed and sleep through it. We woke up the following morning at 10.30am!
Facebook the following morning had pictures from around the town and there had been structural damage to some of the restaurant fronts and seating areas, luckily everyone in the marina came out unscathed.
This morning, we have rolled up all the sides on the winter cockpit tent, sat here again in T-shirts and shorts, the sun is on my back and its warm with blue skies again. There is just about enough breeze to move the Greek courtesy flag we have flying. Jen has just got back from washing som clothes and now hanging them out around the boat to dry.
Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel. We are now a few weeks behind real time but catching up.
Have a great day,
Carl & Jenny
Whats been happening in Ag Nik?
Well Christmas is almost upon us, but here in Crete, it really doesn’t feel like Christmas to us and what we have been accustomed to so it will certainly be a bit different this year!
We have put lights on our boat to get with the festive spirit and we picked up an 18 inch high xmas tree along with baubles and trimmed it with some battery lights we brought from home so it looks nice, but it doesn’t have the same ambience that you get back home with all the excitement from everyone.
Having said that we went shopping today and got a couple of gifts. The thing is because we’ve moved onto a boat we got rid of all the stuff we didn’t need or use any more so just buying more “stuff” seems pointless. If we don’t need it we don’t buy it, plus we don’t have the same to store it now. So, for Jen, she has wanted to learn how to do calligraphy writing, so I bought her a beautiful calligraphy pen with interchangeable nibs, and of cause some ink. We will be getting a paddle board for her when the weather is right for it.
For me, there is a big live aboard musical interest with a few guitarists and drummers but no keyboard players, so although I have brought one of my guitars my Xmas present is a new keyboard/synthesizer that can be connected to my Mackbook Pro via midi to make some great music (hopefully). I had to leave three keyboards at home because they were too big and heavy to bring on the boat, but this new one is ultra lightweight as it uses the computer for its sounds. Plus side is that I can start to create our own backing music for our videos 🙂 I suppose Jen could use the calligraphy set to write down the music score 😉
It’s going to be none stop activities here in the marina over the next few days! Tomorrow we have a party in the clubhouse. Christmas day there are 40 of us going out for a Christmas meal, starting at 1645 and going on until Santa gets stuck up the chimney, Boxing Day there is another get together, then a few days rest.
So let us take this opportunity to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year.
Carl & Jenny. x.
So we have now been in Agios Nikolaos for 2 weeks. So far we have been on the hard. Tomorrow we will be launching Dream back into the water. At last!
It’s not been as bad as we thought for settling into this new way of life,although I suppose you could say it’s not really started yet, not till we start cruising anyway.
We have made friends with quite a few people here from all nationalities and have been made really welcome. A few people we met earlier in the year when we first came down to get the boat surveyed. We now have our scooter for local trips around town, rather than keep using the van which I have now nicknamed my land yacht!
Jen has joined the marina walking club which goes out on a Thursday walking through the gorges, and then a couple of mornings a week she goes for a shorter walk with a few of the ladies from the other boats. The walk up to a local beach,a few exercises on the beach then a walk back, sets her up for the day.
There’s quite an active social calendar here, Sunday afternoons is BBQ time. You take a dish to share and whatever else you want to eat and drink. A few people bring down there guitars and everyone joins in with a bit of a song. It starts at 2pm and goeson until the last drunken sailor staggers back to their boat!
Friday evenings is what is called Happy Hour. The local taverna next to the marina puts on food for everyone who goes, all at no charge. While ever you are buying drinks the food keeps coming. At the end of the night you tell George how many drinks you have had and he tells you what the final cost is. Can you imagine a British pub operating like that, they’d be out of business in a night!!
The weather at the moment is beautiful. I am sat here in the cockpit in just shorts and t-shirt, not a cloud in the sky with just a very gentle breeze Jen has just gone for a short walk.
We have completed the jobs that we had to do before Dream gets splashed tomorrow. We’ve changed the two main seacocks along with the pipework, sorted through all the lockers and spent a couple of days putting a new anti-fouling coating on the hull. She looks as good as new.
Once we are on our berth and have direct connection to the water we will give the boat a good clean down using the pressure washer. At the moment we have mains electricity but no direct connectin to water so have been reliant on what was in the tanks. Our aft tank is now empty and we have about 40% left in the forward tank, so we can survive a few more days.
Well it’s time for another cuppa so time to sign off for now. We have another episode of our van conversion video ready for uploading to YouTube so keep an eye out for that. There will be one more episode of the conversion then the next episode will be our trip here. After that it will be boat life!
Have a great day everyone we are thinking of everyone back home but can say we are not missing the weather there!
Carl and Jenny
Just a quick update
Well folks, at long last we finally made it to Dream, and Agios Nikolaus on the beautiful island of Crete.
We are are bit behind on blog updates due the the van conversion and travelling to get here but those of you who follow our other social media updates will know whats been happening without us having to repeat it all here 🙂
We have been doing daily live broadcasts on YouTube during our trip here so it seems a bit strange now to revert back to our weekly one. The wifi we are picking up here is a bit hit and miss so we are having to use our data on the phone so just need to be a bit careful!
We will be doing our usual Sunday Sundowner chat tonight. We are 2 hrs ahead of UK time here but will aim to start at 7pm UK time tonight so be sure to check in.
Thats all for now, time for breakfast.
See you all later on YT.
Have a great day,
Carl & Jenny x
Well we did it!! We spent the week emptying the house, numerous trips to the refuse centre putting loads of stuff from the attic into the skips. It took us three days almost to clear the attic space, and a couple of days to clear the rest of the house.
The new van we have bought came into its own to help with the clearance, without it we really would have been struggling. We were starting early in the morning and finishing late on, it was non-stop. It was easier than we thought to get rid of some of the stuff and eventually we got to the point where if it didn’t have sentimental value and no purpose on the boat then it was going in the skip! It got easier throughout the week.
Friday morning came and we got the telephone call from the solicitor to say the money from the house sale had been transferred into our bank account. We could now pay for the boat! We gave the new owners of the house a phone call and arranged to hand over the keys at 5pm.
We continued emptying the last few things throughout the day and at 5pm the one of the new owners arrived. We handed over a key, the others were left on the table. The new owner didn’t want to go into the house until she was with her partner who was still at work. So she was quite happy for us to finish off and then when we had done, lock up and put the key through the letterbox.
We were homeless!! Well not quite, we are currently staying with our son and his girlfriend at their house, just while we do the conversion on the van. I am sleeping in the van and Jenny is sleeping in their spare single bedroom. As this week has gone on the insulation has been completed, the electrical wiring has been installed along with the leisure battery, fuse box, invertor and mains. Part of the roof lining has been installed and this week we are hoping to get it almost finished. We are filming it as we go so will put out a video of the conversion progress.
On Wednesday morning we paid the balance on the boat and were now the new owners of a Bavaria 47 named “DREAM” She is now our boat! We have now insured the boat, sorted out the registration with the Small Ship Register and sorted out the ships radio licence. We know there will be other formalities to sort when we get to the boat. We have liaised with the marina and let them know an approximate date when we expect to arrive at the marina and requested that our berth is ready for us to put the boat back in the water once we have anti-fouled it.
So that’s an update on the last week or two. Don’t forget to tune into our live chats on You Tube on a Sunday evening. We have had to schedule this weekends for 9pm UK time again due to hospital visits to see my Dad who is still there.
We have also put out a special offer draw on our Patreon page to draw out two names to come and stay for a long weekend on the boat. Details on our Patreon page.
Thats it for now.
Carl & Jenny.
Well it’s all official now!
We’ve just got back from our solicitors. There’s no going back now, we’ve just signed the contracts for our house sale!
Our completion date is next Friday. Once we receive the call from the solicitor on Friday morning to say our funds have been transferred into our bank that’s it. We are of no fixed abode! Although we do have a temporary residing address for mail and stuff.
The boat transfer is scheduled for the 1st November so from that day onwards we will be the legal owners of our “Dream”.
So where will we stay in the meantime?
Earlier today we went and paid for our new van, so we are now the official owners of a Nov 2014 Vauxhall Movano 2.3 CDTI High roof LWB van which we will be converting into a full camper van hopefully within the next two weeks. Side windows are being fitted today so once we pick it up tomorrow we have a trip up to North Yorkshire to pick up the carpet liner. Then once we get back the work starts on insulating and lining it out. We’ll be doing a video series about the conversion. We will be staying in the van until completion and then driving it down to Crete so we will have a week or so camper van road trip to get down to the boat.
When we get to Crete the first thing will be to antifoul the boat and get her back in the water. We’ll then spend some time getting used to boat life. Because we won’t be doing much sailing over the winter we are planning on doing a road trip a road trip to explore Crete. The beauty of having the van with us is that the only extra cost will be fuel. We are going to be land and sea gypsies!
We’ve been waiting all year for this and now it seems to have come around all at once. We’ve still a fair few things to get rid of, pass on, sell etc but there is light at the end of the tunnel.
On a final note, the weather here at home is now starting to turn quite Autumnal rapidly. The drizzly days have started, along with colder evenings, i’ve now had to pack my flip flops as i’ve had to start wearing socks for the first time since March. We are also starting to lose the light around 6pm, the sign of season change, so it won’t be quite so hard to drive off towards sunnier climes! The first few weeks are going to be rally hard emotionally we think, because it will be the first time we will have left the family for any time other than the holidays, so it may be easier for everyone if we all just say we are on an extended holiday. It will only be a few weeks till we are back visiting anyway, although this will be the first Christmas ever we wont have spent it with family. We will make sure we have Skype set up before we leave for our parents and kids so we can at least keep in touch that way.
Oh, and one last thing, just realised, this Sundays “Sunday Sundowner chat” will be the last one from our house, so we may have to open a bottle of bubbly. The ones following will be from on the road and then the boat, so join us for that.
See you all on Sunday.
Carl & Jenny.