Tuesday, 29 June 2010


The first point on any journey is where you start, so here's a little about Catabout's home.

Tollesbury is on the east coast of England, on the River Blackwater. It has a long history of sailing here, and was home at the beginning of the last century to some of the J class yachts, the early racers for people like Lipton etc and early competitors for the America's Cup. The old sail lofts have been restored, and make a distinctive feature on the waterside.

Tollesbury, Village of Plough and Sail

Although greatly reduced in number, there are still some working fishing boats in the area, and there is a thriving oyster industry. Many of the creeks have oyster beds marked by withies or long sticks. Woe betide the stranger who moors there! The old style fishing boats and cargo boats that served the area are preserved by passionate groups, and the traditional regattas make a wonderful sight.

Thames Barge
The marina has been here since 1970. Before then there was a small basin in the saltings, or saltmarshes. Many boats still moor in the creeks that riddle the saltings and tideway. But your boat has to be able to cope with drying out and sitting on the thick east coast mud between tides.

51 45.48'N 00 51.10'E

Sunday, 27 June 2010

It's stowed!

By 10am this morning it was all away. Just hope I can find it again! You wouldn't believe how many hidden places there are on a boat, and with two hulls you can double that.

Apart from the space taken up by the extra batteries Robin installed so that I could have the freezer.

Along with the wind generator and the engine alternator when we are motoring we should get most of our electricity "for free", and plenty of hot water when we run the engine as well, so life should be fairly civilised

Robin, bless him, is sitting in full sun on the hottest day of the year so far fixing the new anchor chain. Our old one was showing signs of rust, were the galvanising was failing, so had to be replaced.

We have a Bruce and a Danforth as our main anchors, depending upon the nature of the seabed, and a smaller Bruce as a kedge anchor. For those of a technical bent here's pictures of the two types and information on anchoring.


Bruce Anchor Bruce Anchor

Danforth Anchor Danforth Anchor

Saturday, 26 June 2010

How many tubes of toothpaste in two months?

On the boat for the last time before we go. To be honest, I wish we could just go.

Waiting at the moment for the main stores delivery, which then has to be sorted and stowed. Robin keeps asking me how much all this weighs, but I'm more worried about have I ordered enough of the right stuff and not too much, that we're living on the excess for the next two years. Equally I don't want to run out of toilet roll in the middle of nowhere.

But we are going around Britain, not across the Atlantic, so there should be opportunities to pick up stuff as we go.

At least when we are underway, the decisions are made, and we've got to work with what we've got.

I can feel myself getting stressed, and my symptoms are ramping up.

The delivery arrived, and even the driver thought there was a lot. Managed to get the freezer full to the brim, and half of the rest stowed tonight. The balance is going to have to wait 'til the morning, Robin and I are bushed. At least the heavy and bulky stuff is done. Three hours!

Now , oven on, feet up and a bottle of wine with dinner. Boy will we sleep tonight.

Friday, 25 June 2010

One Week to go


What to take. Where it's stowed. What to bring home - not wanted on voyage.

Food. Clothes. Tools. Charts. Anchor chain, engine spares.

Oh, god, what if we forget something?

Need to get some new underwear. Can they deliver in time?

And then there is pouring over the weather maps and forecasts. Is there going to be a high over the British Isles? Clockwise winds, so down the channel first. Or what about that low? Will the winds favour going up the east coast first?

Picked up the scripts from our GP this morning. Hopefully once we're off, the stress is lower and my symptoms ease. Only two more HBO sessions, and then nothing for 8 weeks.

And see mum before we go. Not driving is a bugger.

My mind hops from one thing to another as we both try to cover everything before we go. And Robin's colleagues have just realised the long holiday he booked is here, and there is so much to do.

I am so looking forward to that moment when we slip our moorings and are gone. What we haven't got we'll do without, or maybe pick up at some harbour town en route. And the pace of life is driven by the wind and tides, not schedules, teleconferences and critical paths. Life is so much simpler.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Incompetant crew

First of all, Robin has pointed out we have 58 days to complete our voyage, not 56, so you can see why he is skipper and I am crew.

Less than four weeks to go and the pressure is on. The liferaft has been serviced, the new bunk cushions are ready to be picked up and the first supplies have been ordered. I can't believe how quickly it has come round.

Soon I've got to see the doctor to sort out our meds for the trip.

The magnitude of the whole thing is just setting in.