Sailing The West Coast Of Scotland, Part 2

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Sailing ‘off-grid’ is all about getting away from the crowds, and the west of Scotland can certainly offer that – during my first fortnight in charge of a charter boat in the Hebrides back in the spring of 1992 we saw one other yacht in two weeks. And in those

Sailing The West Coast Of Scotland, Part 1

Reading Time: 2 minutes

A hardy perennial in sailing magazines has always been some well-known individual describing their ‘favourite secret anchorage’. I’ve never fully understood the rationale for taking part in such an exercise.  After all, if it’s no longer a secret, won’t that make it as busy as any other place as a

New Versus Old

Reading Time: 4 minutes
It’s taken us a long time to get here – rounding Cape St Vincent in company

When we arrived in Lagos, Portugal, I recognised a very smart looking cutter berthed near us as belonging to people I knew, so when I could see there was someone aboard I wandered over to say hello. After a brief chat, I was told that this obviously ocean-ready yacht was now up for sale due to a change of plans. Somebody’s going to get a great boat here, I thought, and this got me thinking about our own experience.

Pèlerin, an Ovni 435 from the French builder Alubat, is our fourth yacht, and the first new build that we’ve ever owned. And that hadn’t been our intention at all, as we’d been dead set on finding a nearly new boat, fully kitted out if at all possible. It was only when that proved too difficult (we simply couldn’t find a boat close enough to our spec at a sensible price) that we decided to go for new. And that has had its good and bad sides, as may be expected.

Cruising With A Purpose

Reading Time: 3 minutes
Unfriendly dolphin – a common dolphin takes aim at another

The liveaboard life appeals on many levels, but in common with many cruising couples that we have encountered, we have found that it can feel a little purposeless at times. This is partly due to us still shaking off many years of frenetic career work, but we’ve found we’re far from alone in this regard.

So as a means of keeping us busy and engaged after too many years spent aboard research yachts, we have kept up the habit of constantly scanning the horizon for signs of wildlife, with the undoubted benefit that we see far more spectacular creatures as a result.

Rudder Options, Staying In Control

Reading Time: 5 minutes
OVNIs always attract attention

Whenever we lift our OVNI out at a boatyard, she soon attracts a lot of attention. Partly that’s due to the sight of a sizeable boat (seemingly) without a keel, sitting on her bottom, but especially the rudder in its kicked up position, pointing out behind her.

“Vagabond”—An Extraordinary Polar Yacht

Reading Time: 4 minutes
French Arctic expedition yacht "Vagabond"
Vagabond is no ordinary yacht

There’s no mistaking the profile of certain boats, so it was easy for us to recognise the red yacht transiting the Caledonian Canal one day in early April, despite the near blizzard conditions at the time. Vagabond is a well-known yacht in polar circles, and there is really nothing quite like her visually.

A Glimpse Of The Future?

Reading Time: 5 minutes
Deserted on a Sunday

Many yachtsmen who have visited the Rias of Galicia have remarked that they resemble the sea lochs of Scotland (but without the rain or the midges!). And they do, although they are far busier than Scotland, not just in terms of population and boat traffic, but also because of one of the cornerstones of the local economy – fishing, and, most specifically, fish farming.

Learning The Hard Way

Reading Time: 3 minutes
Rainy Night In Spain

After nearly 20 years of going North, our decision for 2010 was to head South in search of new horizons and the sun. Last year in the Hebrides was wonderful, but when the weather broke in August we were glad to move on, and we know we’ll be back one day.

Peace At Last?

Reading Time: 3 minutes
Our Superwind with the new blades in action
Our Superwind with the new blades in action

Readers of my previous post on the subject will be aware that we try to generate as much power as possible via renewable resources – wind and solar. This is driven by a desire to keep the boat as simple as possible, and to avoid the need to run our engine at rest for charging – a real no-no for us.