The Survival Float

If you happen to find yourself in the water without a flotation device/life jacket then the best way of floating while in rough, open water is the survival float or the face down float. This style of floating allows you to conserve your energy so you can stay in the water for longer.  Variations for individual buoyancy can be accomplished by adjusting the legs by drawing them up toward the chest or extending them out and adjusting the arms by extending them or drawing them in towards the chest. These actions balance the floater around the chest, the center of buoyancy.
In calmer waters lying on your back or back floating is best.

Read more: here

Heaving To

In Sailing, heaving to (to heave to and to be hove to) is a way of slowing a sail boat’s forward progress, as well as fixing the helm and sail positions so that the boat does not actively have to be steered. It is commonly used for a “break”; this may be to wait for the tide before proceeding, to wait out a strong or contrary wind. For a solo or shorthanded sailor it can provide time to go below deck, to attend to issues elsewhere on the boat, or for example to take a lunch break.

see wikipedia for more information here

DIY Wind turbine Gwindoline

I was watching this video by Teresa Carey on their sailing trip from the Florida to the Bahamas on SV Daphne. Teresa mentioned about how they managed using 130W solar panel to recharge their technology onboard.

I then read in the comments section about how to generate more power and so followed the trail to the suggested video added below. Very clever it you are able.

Seriously a wee reality check here

Okay so I could look at boat listings all day long and be quite happy. I get that. But it will not get me any closer to living aboard a yacht, sailing along the coast, let alone the blue water pipe dream. Oh and don’t forget the idea of  buying a boat overseas and sailing it back… let me wipe the coffee you just spilled onto your keyboard, laughing, after a gulp. You should know better.

I know that I put up the Bucket Trip List and a carrot is a good thing.  However there are things that must be done before this dream becomes reality.  See my Training Section.

All I ask when sailing is to be:

  • SAFE
  • FAST

In order to do this I , no, we, need to learn a little bit before getting our feet wet.  We aren’t interested in going fast so cruising sounds ideal. Skill, skill and more skill required. You can have all the skill in the world and still capsize. Why am I mentioning about yachts capsizing? Well I know how easy it is to capsize in a dinghy and wondered if the same thing could happen to larger yachts…

Capsized 30 foot (9m) yacht lost its mast,  in winds 25 knots, swells about three metres, seven kilometres off coast of Tasmania, Australia here 24 March 2013
Rolled 38 foot (11.6m) yacht in conditions of 50mph (75kph) winds and 30ft waves 700km east of Tonga, South Pacific  here 11/11/2012
British man drowns after 30 foot (9m) yacht capsizes off the Coast Galacia in Spain here 15/10/12
Top ocean racing yacht capsizes with crew of 21 people  here 1/11/2012
34 foot (10m) yacht with 27 people on board, three drowned, Oyster Bay, New York, here, 4/7/2012

My condolences to those who have lost loved ones at sea.

Boat Gazing

Catalina 387 yacht

Mass Production Yachts

Bavaria Yachtbau GmbH is a German boat builder, with its headquarters in Giebelstadt, Bavaria.  Production currently split into 60% sailing yachts and 40% motorboats. The shipyard produces yachts ranging from 28 to 55 feet,  built along mass production principles. With approximately 2,500 sailing and motor yachts produced each year by 600 employees, the Bavaria Yachtbau is one of Europe’s biggest yacht manufacturers. In 2008, the company moved from J&J Yacht Design to a collaboration of Farr Yacht Design and BMW Designworks.In June 2007 Bain Capital acquired Bavaria Yachtbau for a rumoured value of €1.3 billion.
A Match 42 lost a keel and one man died in 2005 regatta in Hungary.

Beneteau is a French boat builder with a substantial worldwide market share for sailing yachts, predominately in the United States, France and the United Kingdom. It has five factories in the Vendée region of France and one US plant in Marion, South Carolina. The Beneteau USA plant opened in 1986; since then the factory has nearly doubled in size to about 250,000 square feet (23,000 m2), with roughly 25 million of total capital invested in the US. This is considered to be an advanced marine factory; it is newer than most of its competitors factories. Their brands are Jeanneau, CNB, Lagoon, O’Hara, IRM, Microcar, EYB.

C&C Yachts is a Canadian boat builder of high performance Fiberglass monohull sloop-rigged Sailboats. It was founded in 1969 by a joint venture among several companies and design teams. In 1997, Fairport Yachts, builders of Tartan Yachts, assumed control of C&C.


Catalina Yachts is a U.S.-based boat builder of fiberglass Monohull sloop-rigged Sailboats ranging in sizes from eight to 47 feet in length. It was founded in 1969 in Hollywood, California by Frank Butler (founder).  Today Catalina has one production facility, in Largo Florida, the former home of Morgan Yachts (merged with Catalina).

Dufour Yachts is a French sailboat manufacturer which was founded in 1964 by designer Michael Dufour. Dufour Yachts in La Rochelle is exclusively dedicated to building sailing yachts. Dufour 36 Yacht of the Year 2013

Farr’s cruising yachts have been sold and sailed the world around. His production designs (mass-produced as opposed to custom) have been produced by a variety of yacht manufacturers including Cookson Boats, Carroll Marine, Beneteau, Concordia, Baltic and Nauta.

One of the three largest manufactures of yachts globally, Hanse Yachts part of HanseYachts AG is a German manufacturer of sail yachts and powerboats. The parent group comprises the Moody, Dehler, Varianta and Fjord brands.

Hunter Marine Corporation is a U.S.-based Sailboat builder, now called Marlow-Hunter, LLC., which also produces the Mainship Powerboat brand.

Island Packet
Island Packet Yachts is a United States-based builder of Sailing and powerboats. They are based in Largo, Florida. The incorporated name for the company is Traditional Watercraft, Inc. Production facilities are located on nine acres of ground with 125,000 square feet (11,600 m2) of covered manufacturing space in central Pinellas County. According to the company’s website, the name Island Packet Yachts is a subsidiary of Traditional Watercraft, Inc., founded by Naval architect Bob Johnson. Johnson is currently CEO and owner of the company.

A brand of Beneteau.
Henri Jeanneau’s boat building began in 1957. In 1961, Jeanneau’s first fibreglass powerboat made its début. The first Jeanneau sailboats were launched in 1964, and then pleasure cruising was brought to the masses in the 1970s. Today Jeanneau manufactures sail and power boats with 2500 employees and a network of over 300 distributors world-wide.

A brand of HanseYachts AG.
Swanwick on the River Hamble has been home to Moody-Yachts since the middle of the 18th century. Began building dinghys and fishing boats. Bill Dixon has been designing Moodys since 1981. HanseYachts AG has been the parent company of Moody since 2007.

Tim Jackett, Tartan’s in-house designer, set to work designing a new line of boats that would preserve the design characteristics and performance of the C&C brand. Since 1997, C&C Yachts has introduced four new models- the C&C 99, 110, 115, and 121, producing over 150 boats under the new leadership. In 2002, C&C built its entire line with post-cured, foam-cored epoxy hulls with uni-directional “E”-glass and carbon local reinforcements. Beginning in 2004, C&C started equipping all models with carbon-fiber masts as standard equipment.

The Reef (2010)


The Reef (2010)

Australian Horror Film, based on true events of a similar incident in 1983.
A very good B rate suspense film.
Watching this film from a boating perspective gave it an extra dimension. I did go to sleep thinking briefly that I would never go in the sea again. But by morning all was forgotten. Brilliant short term memory!

A delivery skipper is moving a sailing vessel from Australia to Indonesia. He invites along for the ride, one experienced sailor,  a former girlfriend, and her brother and his wife. Making a total of five people. And things go wrong….

I learnt something while watching a horror film. No, no, no, it wasn’t to run towards the strange sound in the darkness. I mean something practical like finding direction using your watch. It’s a pity at the moment that I prefer to use my digital watch while at sea which wouldn’t be very helpful in an emergency. Oh well at least I would know the time and it is waterproof after all.  There is a difference  between whether you are in the southern or northern hemispheres though. In the film they were in Australia so the skipper held his watch horizontally, pointed the number twelve on his watch towards the sun, noted the direction between the hour hand and the twelve and that was north. You can check for yourself if you happen to be in the northern hemisphere. But tell me what happens if you are near the equator? What then?

One point I did take away with me in the film was that having flippers and a snorkel mask on board is rather handy. A wet suit would be useful too if you are into diving or snorkeling or boat bottom cleaning.

If you happen to be in the water with a shark nearby, and there are other people in the water with you, you should all come together in a huddle, giving the appearance of being larger than reality. Facing the shark might deter it. But I personally would rather look away. They say with a bear you should always face it and walk away slowly. Not that I have ever encountered a bear or a shark.

But what went wrong?

(SPOILER ALERT – kind of)

The skipper wanting to impress his ex-girlfriend and takes them on a detour to an island with a reef on the first day of the journey. A reef that he has never been to before. He doesn’t check the tides properly or the depth of the water for anchoring. He is too busy trying to impress.

He is skippering a boat into international waters, he needs to have a life raft surely to be able to leave Australian waters.

OLD EPRIB (Emergency Position Radio Indicating Beacon)
He has one on board but it only works if there is a plane flying overhead according to the skipper in the film.

How he can be a skipper I have no idea. There were no life jackets on board. They did however have wetsuits for all on board.

Skipper and others swam away to find Turtle Island without water. They had one tiny bottle between five people. Dehydration alert.

There was no VHF radio, no portable secondary mode of communication.


The skipper lined up the 12 hand on his watch and found north, but part way through his swimming to the island he had to deal with a shark and he was facing all directions under the sun. Disorientated I would say. He then swam off again towards Turtle Island, an island that you couldn’t see on the horizon. So in theory he should have been checking each time they stopped.

There may have been more errors but that’s enough I think to get into a spot of trouble. Could there be more? Watch it yourself. Enjoy!

Water water everywhere

Oh to cruise off into the sunset and stay away for a week or so, just along the coast and come back someday next week or stay longer if the weather is great or the fish are biting.

When buying a boat is the water tank below the waterline?
YES. Lucky you. You have a natural water cooling function. The lower the better to have a lower centre of gravity.

What size water tank is best?
Calculate 6-8 litres per person per day for a coastal cruise. So a week for 2 people is 112litres. Factor in showers, toilet, cooking, brushing teeth.

What material should the tank be, plastic or stainless steel?
If plastic then it needs to be Food Grade Polyethylene.
If stainless steel then use 316L Grade.

One large tank or two smaller ones?
Separate tanks offer advantages such as the reduced need for baffles. Two smaller tanks don’t “slosh” as much as a single larger tank, so the loads are reduced, allowing lighter construction.

Do you have a saltwater tap in the kitchen?
YES. Excellent.
No. Well all that precious fresh water that you brought on board doesn’t need to go down the plughole to wash plates.

Water leaks don’t just come from below on a boat they can just as easily come from above. To keep a watertight boat keep maintenance up to date on seals around portholes/portlights and hatches.

A seacock is a value on the hull of the boat allowing water/liquid to flow into/out of your boat. It is always above the waterline.
A seacock is used for a saltwater faucet, toilet, water coolant for the engine
When in port the seacock for the saltwater faucet may be manually opened and then closed when going to sea.
Water can enter the boat through a seacock that should be closed.