How to make your boat do exactly what you want it to do


Remember the end of term time when you took your school report home and you had to show it to your parents? Did you ever get a comment “Needs more effort” or “should apply himself/herself better.” I think that kind of applies to me and boating for this term. I am enjoying myself but I want the boat to do exactly what I want it to do. It’s not doing that yet.
If it were swimming then I have dipped my toes into the water. I have splashed about, done some handstands,  starfishes and doggy paddle but now I need to learn how to swim.
I don’t mean that the fun is over for me and boating but I want to get more out of it. I borrowed this book, “Powerboat Handling Illustrated, How to make your boat do exactly what you want it to do” by Bob Sweet, from the library to see if it will do what it says. We liked it so much we downloaded the kindle version.
Give me till the end of next term and I hope I can report back with a “making excellent progress.”

Title:  Powerboat Handling Illustrated, How to make your boat do exactly what you want it to do
Author:  Bob Sweet
Publisher:  International Marine/ McGraw-Hill
Date Published: 2007
Cost: US$22.95
Pages: 173 pages, illustrated in colour

Watching the clouds go by

The fish weren’t biting today.  I gave up fishing after about 5 drops of the sinker. The fish were not there.  I wasn’t too bothered. Good weather, great company.

I opened the hatch, enjoyed the breeze and alternated between reading and watching the clouds go by. A perfect way to pass the afternoon.

Oscar the John Dory pillow

International Flag Letter “O” for “OSCAR,” or the flag for “Man Overboard.”
Red and yellow triangles to form a square.

Our boat came with cushions., generic blue ones which are so small they do not warrant a position on the boat. They fill no  purpose. They need to be stored on land. Replacements have been made. Two of them. I have made them with pockets so that eye masks can be stored and non bulky things.  Colourful side for show and the other side for resting the head. I just used a regular pillow case and sewed on the coloured material. the John Dory fish image was screen printed.
Can’t wait to use them!

Eye masks are great if you want to have a lie in on the boat. Some days you just want an extra hour or two. Other days it is fun waking up with the sun. Depends on the day.



A grilling onboard


From sea to the plate. Jack mackerel was on the blackboard menu. It couldn’t have been fresher if we tried.
I had a few learning curves on preparing fish on board.

When cutting fish on board a boat seagulls tend to hover about expectantly. They love fish heads and will scavenge what you throw into the water. Nature’s way of cleaning up. Do not leave fish unattended on the boat as it tends to look like an offering.
Have a sharp knife. Have a grinding stone.

To remove the scales I began by leaning over the rail and holding the fish in one hand while I scraped with the other. Whoops. You guessed it. I dropped the fish and it sank to the bottom. I decided after that to use a bucket half filled with seawater to scale the fish. The best lessons are learned on the job. What a waste.

Using a tooth brush to remove the blood down the spine after removing the guts is also easier to do in the bucket.


Turn the grill on earlier than you need to warm up the hot plate.
Use chopsticks to turn the fish.
With mackerel cook well so that the fish meat is easier to pick off the bone.


jack mackerel
salt and pepper

  1. Remove the head by cutting just behind the pectoral fin, see parts of the fish for more.
  2. Remove the guts by cutting in front of the anal fin forward. Remove guts.
  3. Use a toothbrush to scrub along the spine of the fish inside, working your way from back to front. This may take 2-3 brushes. Rinse well.
  4. Remove the back half of the lateral line (spiny ridge along the side of the fish).
  5. Partially cut the fish just before the tail to make a cut. Cut too far and you cut the tail off so a light cut, but not too light. This takes practice.
    Run your knife along under the lateral line to about half way.
  6. Salt and pepper each side of the fish
  7. Grill each side until well cooked. Chopsticks are easiest to use.
  8. Transfer fish to the plate.
  9. Squeeze lemon juice on the fish.
  10. Enjoy!

A light that straps onto your head is ideal for cooking at night.
Your hands are free and you can see what you are doing.
Have spare batteries for the light. LED lights are best.

The bright lights of Squid fishing


Salt, pepper, lemon and garlic are all packed.
I have the gas burner and the plate for cooking.
The only thing missing now is the squid.

I have a light to attract the squid and I have the squid hooks. I am ready. I have checked to see about the fishing rod movement to see what seems to be best. The jerk 5-6 times and then hold, then repeat will be a good place to start. And to go shallow. They are after all coming to the light. The fancy squid hooks look like mini double grappling hooks.squid1



Preparation is the key is life, but sometimes the unexpected give life the edge.
I thought I would get the light out of the box and turn it on.  I unscrewed the light and pushed the “Key” button.
And then magic….
Wow. Beautiful. I am going to enjoy squid fishing. It feels like Christmas.
Wish me luck!





Morning calm

I haven’t been on the boat for what seems like ages. I am having boat withdrawal symptoms.
Too much swell and wind lately.
I took this photograph just after dawn last time out. It’s a pleasure to wake up early on a boat.
Beautiful and calm.
I have been daydreaming researching  a scuba diving course in Vanuatu. How nice to swim in 27 C water. No need for a wet suit.
It doesn’t have to be Vanuatu. It could be Fiji, or Samoa, or Tonga. I wonder?
PADI Open Water course… that’s on the TO DO wish list.  I could do a sailing course at the same time….