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Blog 001 - Port Solent Marina to Roscoff

We crossed Lyme bay in thick fog and strong winds on the beam.

The forecast was 3-5 with poor visibility but ended up being visibility of less than 15 metres at times and wind up to F6 gusting F7 .





















We left Yarmouth early in the morning setting the sails just outside for the predicted wind direction. We passed the Needles lighthouse without any sight of the light but heard the fog horn.

The Garmin digital Radar was fantastic. It is exceptional, when set up right you can pickup pot buoys, rain, sea states and loads more.

The new AIS tracked vessels that had a transponder and the Radar tracked those that did not. The electronics are great but you can not beat the mark one eyeball! So a sharp

look out was kept by us both, oh and our pooch crew ☺

The last few hours of the Lyme bay crossing were pretty hard with 20+ knots of wind on our nose. Impavidus will sail down to 34 Knots apparent close hauled with high aspect ratio jib pulled back on the windward sheet as an “ inf***er” as the race boys call it.

The trick is to set the jib first, optimise the set and use the tell tails to ensure the jib is working as it should be.


Then set the main, try to mimic the curve in the jib so that the slot between the sails looks the same. The mains tell tails should be flicking out from the luff but, just backing off now and then with the top tell tail curling back momentarily.

The main can be twisted to the leeward every now and then especially when coming out the tack or jibe. Ease it off as the boat finds its rhythm. Using the track or as in our case the twin sheet system.

We arrived at Dartmouth, one of our all time favourite places. There are various marinas (which we tend to avoid) heading for Dittisham to swinging moorings or the public pontoons in the river near the town quay.

We spent two nights at the town quay, just recovering from the rocky rolley crossing and the stress of a blind passage.

We left Dartmouth, at 05:30 hrs, probably an hour after we really wanted to. Headed for Roscoff France, a straight line course of some 95 miles.


The forecast was; 3-4 NE, 5 later veering E, sea state smooth to slight with fog patches.
 Well as always that’s an understatement, we had F6 2 metre swells from the North and hard persistent rainstorms in the last two hours of the crossing.

On arrival at Roscoff the berthing master was brilliant! He saw us to our berth and helped tie us up. The whole team here seem to be focused on the customer. But more about that in our next blog.

Blog No 002 - Roscoff

Well today was a walking day.

We walked the 3km to Roscoff and the church of “Our Lady” which is reputed to be one of the most beautiful in the area. We were not disappointed. It was time to give Oscar and Lady a good walk and get some exercise ourselves.

We both enjoy walking, you see so much more than in a car or on a bike.

Now here’s the things we have noticed straight away. Everyone we passed on our walk gave us a smile and a bonjour, some even stopped to say hello to our little dogs (petit chiens).

















Something else we noticed was the pride people have here in their gardens and the land, paths and verges in front of their homes.

The civic authority put plenty of effort into maintaining borders, flower beds, parks and public open spaces. The level of litter is so low, the availability of bins and even doggy pooh bag dispensers in the parks and open spaces is a much more positive and pro- active attitude than the UK.

We saw a team of workers weeding areas that in the UK would just be left to contractors to spray or cut back once a year.

There is a sense of community, pride and citizenship we don’t see in anything but the smallest communities in England. Is it because the French are citizens not subjects? Yes controversial but discuss!!

Having walked down to the town and had a coffee and a pastry, we decided to head back to what we thought was the supermarket called Casino, we had seen it on the walk into town and it was on the way back to the marina.

You know what they say about assume, it makes an ass out of you and me!!!

The Casino super market is not the Casino we walked past on the way into town near the marina (it was a restaurant and Casino).

In fact its 1.6Km away from the marina in the opposite direction, so we ended up walking back to near the marina and then on to the Casino supermarket shop. After a little light shopping we walked back to the marina another 1.6Km. so today the pooches are just about flaked out after a 9.2 Km walk I think that’s about 5 3/4 Miles?

Are we sinking????

Well here’s some anecdotal boat stuff.

We had a pretty rough crossing from Dartmouth. While there, Oscar decided it would be a good idea to roll in something nasty (to do with sea birds) in the park and we had to give him a transom shower and a rub with shampoo. Having done so, we tucked the transom shower head back in it’s little locker, behind a flappy door thing.....

Later we had noticed that the pressurised water pump was running every half an our or so for a couple of seconds but, we paid little attention to it (mistake No 1) as we were

pretty tired from the Lyme bay crossing and still not fully in retired mode ☺

Leaving Dartmouth at 05:30 the first part of the crossing was pretty benign but it got quite rough the last 4-5 hours with rain storms and wind on the nose. The quartering seas put a lot of water over the deck and kept us rolling. At this point we didn’t think anything was wrong!

Safely in Roscoff the next morning Cid lifted the bilge to get some supplies out of the under floor storage. On opening the bilges we discovered our normally dry and dusty bilges were wet and the trusty Aquavac ended up sucking over 30 Ltrs from the engine bay and two of the other bilge compartments.

It was at this point we feared the worst checking all the sea-cocks, the drive leg seal, the log and depth sounder and all other openings in the hull thinking we were sinking!!!

Turns out that the little O ring on the transom shower head is pants and needs replacing. It had been weeping fresh water into the back of the boat. This migrated forward to the starboard bilges and the auto pump hadn’t despatched the water overboard. We can’t work out why the auto alarm did not notify us and that’s something we need to look at!

So here’s the rub; our aft tank holds 260Lts. (At 1 kg per ltr) If the feed pipe to the transom shower failed, not just an O ring with a slow weep, what would that mean?
 The auto bilge pump alarm did not let us know we have water inside the boat. (and we have just fitted an 1500 Ltr an hour upgraded pump)

So some things to think about... It’s a learning game and despite our years of experience on boats, living aboard is a whole new thing and we have to be in tune with the sounds and noises our home makes.

Ant & Cid xx

Blog number 003 Roscoff to L’Aberwrac’h

We left Roscoff on a dull and gloomy Thursday morning. We filled with Diesel and topped up the aft water tank. The main diesel tank took 100 litres and we also filled up our two 20 litre reserve tanks as we were not sure when we would be able to get fuel in the next few days. Oscar and Lady had a good walk first thing and we collected our baguette and croissants from the marina office having ordered and paid for them the evening before.

We had arrived last Sunday and decide to stay a couple of days as the weather had been mostly rain and breezes in the mornings. Who wants to sail in that? After all we were in no hurry and the tides were better for us later in the week.

When the sun shines the coast of Brittany shows off its magnificent splendour’, hard granite outcrops and white sandy beaches set in a sparkling, clear blue sea. It makes such a difference when the locals make you so welcome too. We can see why the area draws such attraction for the British. By ferry it’s just a few hours from the South coast of England.

We had spent the previous evening watching YouTube on the marina WiFi and said Hi to Carl and Jenny on their live chat for a while. The rest of the evening we had sat down and planned the coming days passages, the old fashioned way, with charts, almanac and tide tables. Once they were recorded in our little yellow passage plan book we switched on the Mac and did the same exercise to confirm the math and calculations were right.

Leaving Roscoff at 10:30 gave us a few hours of beating into the tide but the full effect of the ebb in the afternoon pushing us down the coast to L’Aberwac’h A distance of some 34 nautical miles. Just a short hop really but, good for us and the pooches who don’t get cross-legged and agitated.

We had to motor-sail as the wind was mainly aft of beam and not more than 8 knots. We trolled some lines but the fish failed to hook themselves on.

Pretty uneventful really, overcast and foggy in places the best visibility was about two miles.

After a few hours we turned into the main channel and followed the pilot guide on a bearing of 128 degrees that took us to the outer marks of the marina. Not wanting to raft up or set fenders and lines we took a mooring buoy in the river estuary.

Time for a brew! The sun popped its head through the clouds and the whole place lit up like a picture post card. The granite outcrops sparkled and the water had a thousand dancing fairies on the wavelets. Stunning! Just stunning.........

After a short while watching two other boats attempt to pick up the mooring buoys we were visited by a nice lady in a rib from the marina who duly took 24 of our Euros. (For a river mooring?) Hum, well not to shortchanged we lowered the rib and took the Pooches ashore for a walk and made use of the facilities.

We walked through the town and found a small beach where Oscar and Lady had a good run round. Lady found a stick and happily ran backwards and forwards for half an hour. Oscar on the other hand was not impressed with the sand and after ten minutes he did is immovable object impression. For. A small dog he makes a pretty good land anchor when

he wants to be one :-)
We wandered back to the marina where the rib was docked, taking a small beer in a cafe

on the way.
Back aboard Impavidus we ate, chicken pasta, garlic bread, oh and another beer.

As we write the sun is falling over horizon and the shadows grow longer there is not a sound in the estuary, save for the lapping of wavelets on the transom and the odd birds cry’s somewhere on the shore. Possibly the hint of a fishing boats engine way, way off in the distance but otherwise, nothing, silence. Maybe just another small beer....?

Ant & Cid xx

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Blog No 004 - Cameret.

Sunshine greeted us as we awoke Friday morning. Two Cuckoos were battling it out in song from either side of the estuary. A third joined in way upstream. There were Egrets wading in the tidal margins close to the oyster beds. Time for a brew and to watch the mist burn off the glassy water. Not crystal clear but a deep hue of green. The small fishing boats belonging to the locals started to parade out, some time around 08:00 and it was time to take the pooches for their morning walk ,this walk has now settled them in to a rhythm, so much so that we call it the “the two pooh’s le trek”. We will have to call it something else when we get to Spain or Portugal.



We checked the weather on Predict wind and the BBC's overseas weather pages. Double checked the route on the chart plotter and started the engine. The solar panels were already producing 7 Amps at 13.8 Volts so the charge monitor (Our NASA BM2 ) showed just 10 Amps of alternator current going to the house batteries. Pretty good considering we had the fridge on constantly, the heating on for 2 hours and played around with film, pictures and Facebook on our Macs for 2-3 hours the night before.

Tech stuff.

We run 2 x 100 Watt, Monocrystaline solar panels. Their nominal voltage is 18 volts output @ 100 watts. They run in series, which means they should produce 38 volts right? Wrong! They appear to be producing up to 39.7 Volts and in bright over head sunlight 40 Volts @ 5-7 Amps. The new Victron charge controller then uses an inbuilt inverter, knocking the voltage down to 14.5 Volts max but, at up to 15 Amps. The app we have on the iPhone and the iPad shows over 5 Kw/h produced in the last ten days! Even with the rain and cloudy weather we have had, and plugging in to the mains supply where we can.

Its now 19:00 French summertime. The sun is still bright but low on the upper horizon. The phones are on charge, the cameras, and we sailed for 5 hours today with all the electronics on and the Radar running. Even so the panels are producing 80 Watts @ 34 volts which equates to 3 Amps @ 13.4 Volts into the system. We are stunned, shocked and not little amazed at the performance of the system. It could (we suspect) be even better if the panels we angled towards the sun, rather than flat on the Bimini top.

We left L’Aberwac’h at 10:30 working our way under power down the channel. Which is very rocky on both sides but, wider than the entrance to Portsmouth buy a good quarter mile! The sea state was smooth too slight with a metre or so of swell at a wave period of something like 30 seconds. Some of the swell, the legendary 7th waves, were up to 2 metres but in open water and with a long wave period you honestly don’t notice it until you look back at boats behind you and the hulls disappear in the swell.

Once out past the cardinal markers we turned to Port and motor-sailed into the flooding tide. We had planned to do this so that when we reached the St Matthew passage we would be 20 minutes or so before the tide (High water Brest) flipped and Ebbed back out the passage taking us with it.

Now Cid is a pretty good navigator, I guess it’s a career working with numbers! But she got it absolutely spot on!! ETA within 2-3 mins over 18 or so miles. That’s seamanship! Or should it be “seawomanship”?

As we entered the channel the wind picked up a little and with the tide dragging us through we were able to pull back on the loud leaver. Still maintaining around 6.5 knots, slightly more at some points.

Halfway down the channel we switched off the engine. In 12-17 knots of wind, on a broad reach Impavidus marched on, even as the current became more from the beam she nailed the 7.8Knts hull speed over and over!

The last turn to port came about 15:00hrs the wind dropped off to 10 Knots. We considered putting the kite up but instead we put some fishing lines over the stern. Would a fish supper be on the cards? (sadly no)

We arrived about 16:40. Camaret is a medium size town with a good harbour and marina. We hooked the mooring buoy, well, Cindy did first attempt. After years of sailing

together as a couple it has become intuitive. We plan the attack picking our target in this case Buoy number A6. Our weapon of choice is a £7.99 line threader. A cam plate hooks the buoy and the small line attached to the plate disconnects the hinge and enables the line to pulled back through the buoys eyelet. The small line is attached to the main mooring line with a bowline knot, which can be very easily and quickly undone. The line is the cleated off, the other end previously being made fast on the opposite bow cleat of the boat.

We don’t shout and holler. My job is to get the boat over the buoy and stationary, holding it there, using the prop thrust over the rudder and the bow thruster. Sometime I have to back off a bit but generally we come into the wind or current whichever is the strongest. A good tip is to approach slowly letting the boat do what it wants to naturally but correcting the passage to bring the buoy just off the starboard bow.

Tips; Always look at the other boats moored. What is their angle to the wind or tide? You need to approach the buoy at a line parallel to the other boats. If you get it wrong just circle back and have another go. If it’s a really tricky mooring there is the “double loop trick” where you literally throw a loop of line that is cleated both ends on the boat, over the buoy. It’s a great temporary trick to get you on the mooring while you get sorted and prepare your main lines.

We have just got back from taking the rib to a deserted beach just along the bay. The pooches had a fantastic time running up and down, barking at the waves, playing ball and generally mucking around.

Cid and I sat for a while watching the waves unyielding advancement against the rocks and sand. A wry and knowing smile crossed both or faces. Why did we not do this sooner!!!!

Blog 5 - Belle Isle

Well we made it to Belle Isle from Lorient with big 2 metre swell the whole way until we were in the lea of the island.

We are moored in Belle Island, Bay of Biscay. Strange way of mooring, bow secure to chains on long lines too the harbour wall. Aft lines to a mooring ball 12 metres from wall.

Saturday we walked the pooch's. Dog blog:

Our humans made us walk about 5 miles around the Citadel, on Belle Isle and the surrounding area. I Oscar loved it there were rabbits everywhere but I wasn’t allowed to chase them, Lady just wanders along criss crossing and always tangling our leads, so we found a grassy path where she could play ball.

The citadel was constructed in the seventh century more about that in our next video. In the mean time its worth a look on google.

The port is very similar to St Valerie sur Somme, it's an inlet not an estuary. No river feeding the harbour.














There are regular ferry services to the main land that create wash in the harbour and plenty of fending and good seamanship are needed to counter the effects. However, the Isle is outstanding in its beauty.

Tomorrow we move on.

Hopefully to somewhere with better wifi Ant & Cid xx

Blog No 6 - Port St Denis ( La Rochelle)


We left Port St Denis early Wednesday morning and headed out in to the open Atlantic. The swell forecast was low and the wind just right. We had spent 6 days in the marina at Port St Denis with our friends from Port Solent, Steve and Julie. It was great to catch up with them after nearly a year not seeing them. The have a Hanse 347, a very capable boat and they spend most of the summer in the bay of Biscay or South Western France.

A tricky and tight exit from the harbour where the pontoon berths and boats are less than our boat length away. The tide was pushing us to Starboard and the wind to Port. We slowly edged out in reverse to assess which had the bigger effect. We lifted Steve’s boat “Echo” (Yes that’s the call sign repeated three times when calling) fenders and used just ours to avoid a tangle on the Port side. The tide was stronger than the wind effect and a few shunts with our bow thruster gave us a classic under control exit from the berth.

Top Tip! The boat will always respond to the greater effect, be that wind or tide so take a look at the boats around you. What are the other boats doing, what lines are they pulling at? Look at flags and mast heads for true wind direction. But, most of all look at the water can you see current, ripples or wavelets?




It may have been early but there were other boats leaving for the same destinations. So despite the hour there were other movements in the marina we needed to be aware of.
 We cleared the shallow bar outside the marina with 2 meters to spare and 5 other boats followed us out.

Dog Blog:

Well the two pooches are adapting to life aboard so well. They have both lost weight and

are responding well to a new cheese based training regime :-) simple and basic commands are reinforced with a small reward and positive behaviour . We ignore bad behaviour and divert attention when it happens .Oscar has calmed down and this latest trip was one of his best, no panting or tail curling and he was alert but settled laying down in his sweet spot under the cockpit table. Every sail he gets better. The lifestyle really seems to be suiting them and the varied diet has settled their tummies. Cod liver oil tablets and loads of walking have made them less stressful and in much better condition generally!

We had a cracking sail all the way to the buoyed channel to Port Royan. And two of the other boats both from the UK joined us as we started up the channel.

The sands and current change in the Channel so attentive regard to the depth is important. We entered the port 3 hours after low water and entered the marina with 500mm to spare under the keel.

We leave at 05:30 hours tomorrow, Friday, for Arcachon through the military ranges that extend 50 miles out to sea. There is no live firing planned. But it is big stuff. Land to sea, sea to air and air to sea. We heard the firing Wednesday on the way in to Port Royan some 30 miles away. But more about that in our YouTube vid next time.

Ant & Cid xx

Blog No 007 - Leaving Port Royan to Archachon.

We left Port Royan at 05:40 It was still dark and we had Nav lights on plus the steaming light. The sea was flat with barely a ripple on the water. The moon was nearly full and there was a faint pink glow in the East. The route we were to follow was shallow and the buoys were unlit. The Radar came in to its own clearly showing the marks for the next 10 miles or so on 50% gain.

Cid had walked the dogs for 20 mins before we left. Another successful “Two poohs le trek”. Ant prepared the boat, and made the first brew of the day.

Engine oil check. Raw water filter check. Nav lights check. Davits and Dingy check. AIS, Radio, and Sat phone Check. Hatches and doors Check. Hand bearing compass and binoculars check. Life raft and grab bag to station check. Ensign at the ready for sunrise check. Fuel check. Start main engine. Cast of springs, cast off aft line. Slow astern and cast off fore line. Port helm and increase revs to 1800. All stop. Starboard helm, ahead 1800 rpm. Centre helm and reduce revs to 1200. Perfect, no bow thruster used and a quiet exit not disturbing any one else too much......

The next few hours were spent ticking off the buoys as we past between them and creeping a careful watch on the depth. The sands in this area shift and so the charts are just a guide. The buoys are moved a few times a year and so they are reasonably accurate. However there is no substitute for the depth gauge and the mark one eyeball!

At 06:00 Cid goes below to make brew. Within a few seconds she emerges through the companion way with a look of horror on her face!

Now there are a few things that spell disaster on a boat. First thing is fire. Plastic boats burn exceedingly well to the waterline in just a few minutes. But the smoke alarm was not sounding.

There are 7 or so holes in the hull of Impavidus. All have various applications for letting water in or out of various systems. The biggest hole is some 350 mm in diameter, the sail drive has a thick seal around it if that fails a lot of water comes in the boat very quickly. But non of the water alarms or bilge pumps were running.

Co2 or gas in the boat can prove lethal. Being heavier than air they sit in the hull and either poison you or explode. No gas alarm and no Co2 alarm sounding.

What is it Ant shouts?

We run out of gas! NO BREW! Disaster!

Now its at times like this that the quickness of thought, presence of mind and a rapier like train of thought, not to mention lightning quick reflexes saved us from the jaws of of a potentially life threatening situation!

Plug the kettle in the inverter babe. 🙂
We are currently 8 hours and 5 brews into an 11 hour trip. Spare gas bottle is located and switched over. But it was a close call......... Ant & Cid xx

Blog No 8 -Bilbao to Santander

Lovely evening, only spoilt by local ferries tearing through the anchorage big boats 100 tons + There are quite a few boats, kids swimming, paddle boarding and folks rowing in little boats. Professional skippers my arse!!! The channel is half a mile wide.
Rant over. There is rain forming over the mountains, behind us there is the slight waft of seafood being cooked by happy families on their beach barbecues.

The swell forecast was 1 metre today but leaving Bilbao it was easily 2.

Heading for deep water of over 100 metres lessens the wave period and this in turn makes the swell less steep, more of an undulating sea than a one of waves.

Lunch of tuna wraps, peppers, onions and large leaf salad was early as we started early this morning.

Arrived at Santander about 15:00 hours. We looked around for an anchorage with land to the north east of us.

We found a spot just off a lovely beach in 6 metres of water at half tide. The tides here today are about 2 metres so with 35 metres of chain out we took our now customary arrival beer 🍻

We have been listening to talking books on our journey. Catching up on classics that we always wanted to read., and also down loading blogs (free ones) from the net.
We are currently listening to "Brave or Stupid" a novel from sailing stories. They are on Facebook and the web. We highly recommend this podcast/book for sailors and non sailors. The true story of two novices who sail the world.

Highly descriptive and both funny and sad. Well worth a google.

Well, the sun has just dipped below the mountains, the ferries have stopped and the Spanish day fishing boats returning have dwindled to a trickle. Fish are jumping off the stern of the boat and we may just plonk a line or two out, and finish this bottle of Tinto.

Sail safe.
Ant and Cid xx

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Blog 009 Ribadeo 

We sailed into Ribadeo yesterday evening after a long yomp from Lastres.

We were directed to a berth by the port captain. Who was very helpful in tying up Impavidus. Our friend and fellow bloggers were here and also helped.

As the last bowline was cleated of Dean (Thesee) noticed a stainless steel split pin on the deck! 

The main rigging on Impavidus, the support for the mast is supported by clevis pins and split pins secure them. The sight of a split pin on the deck could mean a clevis pin is out or about to fall out. If this was from the forestay or back stay the mast could be at risk. 

We secured extra lines to the mast just in case and did a quick visual inspection. Nothing found, and with little or no wind forecast we settled in for the night. 

Up early we walked into town, up the steepest hill I’ve seen in a long time. Half a mile on and with two panting pooches we found the bakery and got the days freshly baked bread and some pastry’s for breakfast. 

Returning to the boat and after a two coffees we decided to stay an extra night and find the source of the split pin.















We had planned to move on the next hop but safety has to be our first priority.

The decision to stay put would put us behind schedule but we were not prepared to move on without finding the issue and dealing with it. 

We carried out a thorough inspection of all the pins at deck level. Then the boom, backstay, and furling system. Nothing was found. 

We then used binoculars to look at the high level rigging. Again nothing found. 

We then secured a Go Pro to the topping lift and put a guide line on it to enable us to video the rigging to the mast head all the way up the mast by playing the video back on the Mac. Again nothing found. 

Ant decided that as all the main pins were in place he would go up the mast in a boatswain’s chair on one of the halyards with a second as a safety line. I (Cid) dutifully did the winching, no mean task! 

Starting at the first set spreaders he worked his way up the mast inspecting every wire, joint, pin, fixing, sheave and stay wire. Nothing found. 

We then started looking at equipment we had used in the last two days. The cruising chute has a block for the long sock that snubs it when we take it down. That has block a clevis pin and split pin. Nothing found. 

The same with our jibe preventer. We use a block line and quick shackle on the main sail when running down wind.

This rig prevents the main sail and boom from whipping from one side of the boat to the other with tremendous force should the wind get the other side of the sail with boat movement, due to swell or a change in wind direction. Nothing found. 

We sat down to a light lunch, salad, cured ham from a local shop and the bread we bought this morning. 

Ant’s not one to let something go. He decided to go through the Selden mast, boom, furling systems parts list. Having measured the split pin with a set of engineers verniers it was a simple process of elimination to find a clevis pin that took that size of split pin. 

Got It! With only one split pin in the whole rig at the measured dimension Ant dissembled the Jib furling rig and found a pin missing. 

After some time walking here there and everywhere. We could not find a replacement locally. 

Ant dived in to his box of bits and found a shanked stainless bolt that he cut, ground, filed drilled and then cut a new thread on. He replaced the clevis pin with a nyloc nut that will be a much better replacement than the original design. 

By 17:30hrs everything was repaired and it was time to eat. 

Cid made a Chicken curry from scratch, none of that curry in a jar mix! Coconut Yogurt, curry powder, fresh veg from the morning market. A thin sauce nothing padded out with cornflower, paste or padding. 

We sat in outside watching the sunset eating the freshest curry with outstanding taste. 

You know, sometimes things happen. It’s not bad luck, there is no such thing! Things happen for a reason. You don’t need to know why, you just need to figure out the reason. Life is a bit like that, you have to accept that things happen, figure out the reason. Make it a positive. 


We now have a better stronger solution to the furling jib and the whole boats rig has had a thorough inspection, a couple of little things needed looking at, and we found another split pin that had not been fitted properly on the stays a potentially a big problem at a later date. 

What is it the Americans say? Life gives you lemons, make lemonade? 

Sail Safe Guys, Ant, Cid & the pooch crew. 

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Blog 010 La Coruna 

Huesos para nuestros dos perros por favor. Or bones for our two dogs please. Shopping for us and the pooches is the best way to learn a language and interaction with locals and dos perros really breaks the ice. 

We have picked up some language and made a few new friends. 

Sitting on the back of Impavidus at Real club Marina in La Coruna, watching the locals promenade in the evening sunshine, kids, big and small fishing, playing, or just sitting in groups talking, we realised there is a huge cultural difference here. 

While the kids are sometimes loud they are well behaved, Respectful and generally well turned out. Everyone takes pride in their appearance when on the promenade and there is little or no graffiti or antisocial behaviour. All ages mix, mingle and interact. 

Sailors in the marina of all nations interact with the same respect. Helping every new arrival into the berth, even the europeans who do not normally like to interact, (say no more). 

We like La Coruna, a medieval town, with a modern appearance to the buildings and facades. 

But, like the buildings, the people have not forgotten good old fashioned values, and behind the modern facade of the society, there are solid foundations. 

Ant & Cid xx 

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Blog No 011- Still in La Coruna Busy day! 

Well some of you will know from the article we wrote for the BOA (Bavaria Owners Association) that as part of the upgrades to Impavidus we fitted a 5Kw Diesel heater. 

It probably will not be much use in the summer but then even the Med can get cold in the winter. 

The unit is fitted with a DC brushless motor with 5 steps or increments. The air intake is positioned low in the aft of the boat so that it takes air from the coldest part of the boat. 

The air flow is tremendous, on cold nights in the UK the unit from MV Avro really kept us toasty. Once the pre heat cycle had finished it only draws about 3 Amps @ 12 volt. 

Its been pretty hot here, especially in the evenings and nights; so a quick look at the wiring diagram and a call to MV heating confirmed that with the addition of a few simple components we could use the powerful fan to blow cold air around the boat through the 4 outlets, or any combination of them. 

Google search is not much use when it comes to electronic components in a foreign land but we gave it a go. 

Ant got our two folding bikes out of the lazaret. We keep two 20 inch wheeled aluminium framed folding bikes from Halfords in there. A Christmas special got us the two of them for under £150.00 and included the carry bags. 

They take up a surprisingly small amount of room in the huge Starboard locker (lazaret). Impavidus is the “owners version” so the area where there would be an additional aft cabin on the charter or, 3 cabin boat is dedicated to a much larger heads or wet room and a massive locker. 

We also keep our 2.2 K/va generator, pressure washer, spare gas canisters, bow fender, fishing tackle, pumps, scrubbing brushes and 8 large fenders in! 

First stop was an electrical shop the edge of the the town 2 miles away. A few pencil sketches and a bit of banter and we were on our way to the next shop. We were eventually in a proper electronics suppliers shop and with someone that could understand a schematic and a circuit diagram without the need for translation. 

It’s good to know that the basic language of engineering, mechanical and electrical transgress the boundary’s of language and culture. Amps, Volts, Watts, Ohms have a universal language all of their own when it comes to communication. 

Two hours later, 4 miles of cycling and a trip to the most obscure chandlers (with kit going back to the first world war) and as our UK sailing friend Dean said “ the guy that may have worn it”. We were back on the boat........ 

Dog blog: 

Oscar and Lady just go from strength to strength. We are varying their diet and the long walks morning and evening are doing them so much good (us too).
















Oscar has calmed down so much. He now lets people approach the boat and even stroke him over the guard rails when we are there. No gruffs, barks or growls. He’s so relaxed, walking the pontoons without his old aggressive self. He’s even inviting himself abroad other boats to say hello. In fact any empty tender or sailboat un-attended he will jump aboard and have a good sniff round. 

This evening, he escaped through the guard rail gates and took himself off for a walk around the pontoons. He had a chat with a few new friends and claimed a few vertical items as “his”. But, was no trouble and even had a few complements on his good behaviour. Not bad for an eleventy seven year old terrier!!! 

Back on the boat. 

Once again, getting to the wiring harness on Impavidus meant getting behind all the upholstery and moving endless amounts of kit and supplies! From tinned food to toilet rolls! 

The soldering iron seemed to take forever to heat up and after double
 checking our circuit diagram we put together the components. 

A quick check before replacing all the kit and squaring everything away, had cold air from the aft bilge jetting out into the main saloon, aft cabin, heads and forward cabin. After 20 mins or so we had to turn it off as it was cold “down stairs”. 

Using the kit you have in a different way makes for an effective solution that is cost effective and uses less power than some alternatives. And a cool boat!! 

Tomorrow we take the next leg, and then cape “Finisterre”. On to Portugal............. Sail Safe.


Ant & Cid xx 

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Blog No 012 Lexious (Portugal) 

Monday's washing day, is everybody happy? You bet your life we are! 

Impavidus got a jet wash to the decks. They needed it. We did the topsides, cleaned and polished, hovered all throughout and washed all our smalls and t- shirts. And hung them out in the hot wind that blew up this afternoon. Oh and that was after a 6 hour motor sail in F5 on the nose. 

It was cold and foggy when we left the holding pontoon at Viana do Castelo this morning at 07:30 having got up at 06:00, walked the pooches and checked the weather. 

Lady and Oscar were both a little agitated as we cleared the harbour. The wind on the nose and the following tide made for some choppy seas. 

We looked at alternative anchorage's and ports as we just did not want to punch into it or endlessly tack which is more comfortable but extends the day. 

Dog blog : 

Lady would just not settle and eventually we realised from her behaviour she needed a pooh.
We put the green mat down and comforted her with lots of praise and assurance. Eventually she went and we gave her lots of assurances and a treat as positive reinforcement for her behaviour.
So it looks like we have cracked it. Both of them now use the green matt if they need to! It won't stop us walking them both morning and evening but we are reassured they won't be uncomfortable should we need to do the longer passages. 

The marina we are in is 1.65 Euros + vat per metre with water, power and wifi. It gets a mediocre write up on Reeds Almanac, CA just gives a factual review and Bloc gives just the facts. However, it's cheap, has everything we need and so what if it's a major container port. The staff are super friendly and they even provide a local map with all the must have facilities pointed out. 

Just what you need, no swanky stuff just the facts. What more could you ask for? 

Passage planning tomorrow and looking at putting some videos together. May stay an extra day as that will take best part of it. 

Sail safe! Ant & Cid xx 

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Blog No 013 - Helping a fellow sailor (still in Lexious) 

A couple of days ago we were asked if we would mind moving so that the French boat next to us could be towed to an area where it could be worked on without disturbing the other vessels.

Apparently the owner had lost power to the starter motor and all the batteries were flat. Too flat to start the engine.

Ant and I started to get the boat ready to move but before I could move a fender or loose a line “Mr Fixit” was off the boat with his electrical tools and head first in an engine bay. I 


did shout “That’s your last clean T shirt” but Ant has selective hearing 🙂
 I will let him explain what happened next... Cid. 


I did hear you my dear 🙂
A repair principals blog; for those who fear electrics .... 

Electricity is not a black art. Boat systems like cars and lorries predominantly work on either 12 volt or 24 volt systems. Many people pay a lot of money to so called experts to work on their boats only to find a short while later that the work needs to be done again or as in this poor chaps case the work was not carried out correctly and this caused yet more damage. 

For those of you who don’t get electricity, there are some fundamentals that once you understand will help you not just fix a problem but diagnose them too.

Like all things electrical and mechanical, if you understand how it works you have a good chance of fixing it. 


I’ll try to explain this so it helps non experts so if you are an electrician look away 🙂 

Let’s start with the battery (s) Batteries store electrical energy, this energy essentially sits there like a tank of water.

To use the energy it has to be released or turned on just like a tap. The energy just like your house needs plumbing or pipes.

With electricity these pipes are called cables. Like pipes they need to be of different sizes. Big cables like big pipes can carry a lot. Big cables carry big current and we measure this flow using the term Amps. The bigger the pipe or cable the more Amps it can carry.

So a small pipe or cable cannot carry a lot of Amps 

The pressure of the water in the pipe (or electricity in the cable) we call the Volts.
Whether or not the cable or pipe is big or small the pressure or volts can be high. 


So a big water tank high up in the air gives higher pressure, if it has big pipes it can deliver a lot of water. Make sense? In the same way we could link lots of batteries together and get lots of volts and lots of Amps. Bigger the tank the more power Or more water... The total amount of water delivered is gallons or litres, in electricity the energy delivered we call Watts. 

The amount of water you use at home is measured in litres or gallons.

With electricity we call this Watts. A 2 bar electric fire will consume 2000 watts an hour or 2 Kilowatts. You are charged by the Watts you use. 

The pressure, (volts) rate of flow (Amps) and the amount used (Watts) are all interconnected. 

If you divide the Watts by the Volts the result is equal to the Amps. If you time’s the Amps by the Volts the result is equal to the Watts. 

Using the same analogy of plumbing, if we had a big pipe and we squeezed it down we would be restricting the flow and again this restriction in electricity has a name. It’s called “resistance” or Ohms, it too has a direct link to the other 3. (Ohms law). When ever electricity is flowing or working there is a resistance in the cables or pipes and the thing that is working, like a bulb or a motor, that causes a resistance. 

Just like water electricity always wants to run to the lowest level or lowest ground. And it will take the shortest path with the least resistance to do this. With electricity; We call this path to ground, a circuit. 

So getting back to our battery (without going into the complexities for you experts of electron flow. 

To do “work” electricity from the battery flows from the red terminal or the + Positive as we call it, through the cables to the work place and then back to ground. We call the negative - terminal of the battery its ground it’s normally black. In doing work the electricity travels a circuit or loop. 

If there is no loop or circuit, no resistance in that circuit or no voltage to the bulb, motor or other component; No work can be done. 

A switch breaks the circuit and a fuse limits the amount of current or work a circuit can do or have. Flick the switch and break the circuit power cannot flow round it. If the circuit uses too much current the fuse blows, or put simply breaks the circuit stopping the flow. No circuit no power and no work can be done. 

If you use this as a basic rule you are now able to find faults. You are looking for one of those things to be missing. Circuit flow or resistance. 

All of these are measurable and as such you just need look for the missing one using a measuring tool. Or a meter that can multi task a “multimeter” 

Climbing on board our neighbours boat with a multimeter I measured the batteries voltage. It was low but not low enough to stop the starter motor turning.

I then went to the battery fuses. They were OK not blown. 

The battery switch was closed so there was a path from the battery to form that part of the circuit. 

Getting to the starter motor was a tight squeeze but cables were ok up to the motor. There was a resistance across the motor and a path for the power to flow to ground.

Got it! As I went to measure the volts at the starter I found a loose terminal on the starter solenoid. This had been worked on a few days ago and the engineer had not ensured the nut to the cable / crimp was secured correctly. 

This terminal also takes a feed from the alternator. As the engine ran and vibrated the nut had come loose disconnecting the starter and alternator from the circuit. The result, no circuit no power to the batteries or starter even though the engine was running. Reconnecting the terminal properly it was only a few seconds before the engine was turning over. 

However, the lack of a circuit for the Alternator to work with caused the rectifier inside to fail. 

How did I test that? Same principals. An alternator generates power. Remember we said that when work is being done there needs to be a few things in place?













A simple check of the alternators circuit by measuring for a resistance. There should be about 550 Ohms of resistance from + to - across an alternator

This one had zero Ohms or open circuit. No circuit or resistance = no work can be done. 

The Lucas alternator had parts that were available locally for just a few euros. We showed the owner how to change out the rectifier and he managed to do the work himself from an exploded diagram I printed off the net. 

The owner, with a few pointers was able to do the work himself, the boat did not need to be moved and he was up and running the next day. 

We talked about these principals and the way to look for things and he sailed away with a new found skills

What is it they say? Teach a man to fish? 

As we travel, move from place to place, both of us are finding the skills we have accumulated are a gift we can share and pass on to others. 

Sharing the little you have with those in need can turn around a life without you realising it. (Hermann J Steinherr) 

Oh and I kept the T shirt clean!



Ant & Cid SV Impavidus 

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Blog No 014 - Lexious 


We are currently sitting out big swells in Leixous Marina near Porto Portugal. We can hear the surf breaking on the beach and rocks the other side of the sea wall and see the spray from the bigger waves. We have been here since sailing in on the 23rd July.

We spotted that there was going to be a couple of Atlantic lows far out in the North of the Azores high. This weather pattern causes swell to travel East across the Atlantic, with nothing to break it up ie, no land, the swell hits the coast and causes big waves inshore. In over 100 metres of water these are just swell but, in less than that depth they can start to roll over and break. 


Many Portuguese ports close to yachts on this part of the coast when this happens as they generally have shallow entrances.

The best thing to do is to stay put and watch the swell forecast on Predict wind or Windy TY. The latter giving more information, it has been invaluable. 

We could have pushed on another 150 + miles but looking at our Pilot guides and various almanacs the ports further down were 40+ euros a night. This marina is well sheltered has reasonable facilities and at 24 Euros a night, one of the cheapest on the Northern Portuguese coast. 

Dog blog;

Our days are set to timetable that’s revolves around the pooches. A morning walk followed by our breakfast starts the day. Oscar still has to be kept on a lead as he’s just too unpredictable being a terrier. It’s not fair to him or any one else to grant him the freedom to roam. One day he can be fine making friends with everyone, the next, like today, he wants jump ship and take a lump out of the local maritime police who’s patrol boat is moored at the end of the jetty. Having said that, he’s a great guard dog and we are sure he is, and would be, a deterrent to anyone converting something shiny on our Impavidus.

Lady or Lou Lou, as she is generally referred to, can be let off the lead in the appropriate places. He fixation with sticks and balls means she takes no notice of anyone else or any other dogs. She will run and fetch till her feet bleed and then some if you let her. However, she still barks frantically at the TV if anything resembling a four legged animal is on the screen. Mad as a hatter when a dog comes on the telly!

We are gathering a pile of sticks on the pontoon that she brings home that may be useful

 at some point we are sure 😁

Information, and reference tips;

The best information is always first hand so sailors of all nationalities freely trade anecdotes and findings from their travels. There are few boats traveling North at this time of year so it tends to be those that have done the trip before that are the main source of this.

The problem is that many ports or marinas change policy regularly or the availability of anchorages or moorings in favor of pontoon berths where they can charge higher rates for walk ashore berths, and you become a captive audience as it were. Especially where there are limited safe harbours to anchor, such as here. Having said that there are six boats currently sitting at anchor in the busy outer harbour only a few hundred feet from us. These numbers are limited by the harbour authority as the port is very busy with oil and container vessels as well as a big fishing fleet.

Our Cruising Association almanac has been quite useful slightly better than the Reeds along with the RCC cruising club pilot book kindly donated to us by some friends we met on the way, although it is over ten years old they have carefully added many useful notes on various ports and anchorages. But all of the books are limited to small chart-lets and information as text many of the telephone numbers, email addresses and depths given have proven to be incorrect. Especially where the harbours are busy or estuaries likely to change. 

The best book so far has been the French “Bloc”. The information is clear, quick to find and the chart-lets bigger; in most cases almost a full page per port. The Bloc also give’s detailed charts for the area it covers. These in conjunction with the detail in the chart-lets make paper charts almost obsolete. 

There are several Bloc’s each covering a different area, the one we are using at the moment covers the south of Biscay, Spain, Portugal and down to Gibraltar. The next one in the series covers the Mediterranean.

Our Bloc is in Spanish and French so we have to translate but even so its a far better publication than both our UK almanacs when it comes to quick info that is easy to pick up. Apparently there are English print runs to so when we get to our winter berth we will be looking into getting those, to add to the book shelf. 

We were given a copy of the Imray pilot Spain and Portugal. This copy is over ten years old however, the penciled notes that the previous owner put in have been a great source of information and we are grateful to Colin and Sandy for this gift. 

Next blog we will tell you how we use data and apps for local knowledge. Until then; Sail Safe! 

Ant & Cid xx 

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Blog No 015 - Lagos ( We meet Ruby Rose)



Where to start?

We ran down the Portuguese cost from Sines (pronounced Sin-in-ce) on a broad reach.
We started out about half past six or as near to that as we could. Lowering the anchor ball and pulling the anchor that was set well in six metres of water on a sand and gravel seabed. 

For those of you who are not sailors there is a rule of thumb called “anchor scope”. The anchor needs to have a minimum of 3.5 times the depth of water to get a good hold. This is because the chain is technically the thing that keeps the boat secure and the anchor is the thing that secures the chain. 

Boat anchors; 

In 6 metres of water we need to apply the following Formula; 6 mtrs depth x 3.5 scope + height of anchor roller (the bit at the front of the boat ) + the height that the tide will rise in the time we will be anchored. In our case at Sines this was 6 x 3.5 + 1.8 + 2.3 or about 21 metres. At night or in bad weather we increase this scope to 5 times. Or roughly 35 metres in this case. 

If the wind changes direction or the tide pulls you in a different direction as when anchoring in a river or estuary. You need to have enough room to swing round on the anchor and be confident that you will not hit any immovable object or other boat in doing so. 

There is a lot of anchor pride among salty sailors and every one of them will tell you their anchor is the best. Or it’s never let them down (yet). But the simple truth is all anchors and chains will drag given sufficient force to overcome the friction. Or simply put, if the load you put on it exceeds its holding power you will not wake up in the same location you went to sleep in! 

Impavidus is our home. We want to sleep with confidence so we did a lot of research into anchor holding and the theory behind it some time ago, before we sailed off into the sunset.











Modern roll bar anchors are far superior to the traditional fisherman’s anchor. They set (dig in) quicker, do not drag or plough as some of the delta shaped anchors do in mud or sand and they bury themselves deeper as force comes on them. This increases the friction or load area of the holding. Basically giving your boat a bigger thing to hold on to. 

The problem then becomes removing the set anchor when you want to move on. Modern anchors have a design that allows you to pull in the chain until your boat is almost over the anchor at which point it tips backwards or trips. The best of these have a long slot cut in the shank of the anchor in which a shackle with a tripping line can be fitted. Once over the anchor the line is pulled and the anchor can be tripped or, if really dug in pulled out the way it went in with the tripping line.

Our anchor is two sizes bigger than the recommended size for the boat, we carry 60 Metres of 8mm short link chain with another 75 metres of rode (anchor line) that we can attach to the chain if things get all wobbly.

We set the anchor and reverse hard to dig it in. It sets first time every time.

We set the chart plotter up to watch our position in detail and leave the engine running until we are sure the boat is only moving in an arc equal to the length of chain out. This can vary slightly as any load comes on, or off the chain. But generally it’s not more than a few metres forward or back from the point the anchor bites and the chain is out less the curve of the chain weight. 

We sleep well but if the weather picks up we set an alarm on the GPS that will wake us if the movement is outside our chosen parameter. And we get up in turn just to check when its rough. 

Our old anchor, which came with the boat (and yes it dragged) is confined to the bottom of the locker. It is a Delta from a well known anchor producer ☺ 

We were discussing anchoring with YouTube friends the other day, unfortunately there is no side by side data for these modern anchors in different conditions which, is a such a shame. It would kill all the anchor pride and set off a new term “anchor envy”. There is a challenge for someone!! 

Cook/food blog; 

Not having a freezer on board means that we have to watch consume by dates carefully when buying food as, you would in normal day to day life. Supermarkets always put the shortest dates at the top or front of the display so we are often to be found headfirst in the meat chillier looking for the illusive best before or consume by date. Fresh fruit and veggies last a varying amount of time, but we tend to now go for the less ripe items and allow them to ripen on board. When something is ripe, we simply add it to the day’s menu regardless. (This has led to some interesting meals). 

Living full time on a boat takes a lot more planning and prep, and it has been a big learning curve for me (Cid) I was used to weekend, long weekend sailing or a couple of weeks planning at the most. Plus, the added factor that we may go several days without going ashore to go shopping, preferring to anchor, which is generally “free”. We do have a supply of tinned food as back up but as yet have not had to use it. 

Many of the food stuffs that we took for granted in the UK have rarely been available so far on our travels ie HP sauce (Ant lives on it) baked beans, Marmite to name but a few, however in many ways its made us open up our minds and find alternatives (although Ant was overjoyed to find HP Sauce in a supermarket in Cascais and promptly put 6 bottles in the trolley) twice the price of the UK though!! 

Storage has been another major factor; for example some foods need to be stored in set locations; bottled water, beer, wine and tinned goods need to be located centrally low down in the boat as near to the keel as possible and evenly distributed.

This helps with stability and performance of our moving home. So generally this is under the floor in the bilges where it is also cooler, never rising above 20 degrees Celsius. However, I wrongly assumed that for example potatoes would be great to store in one of the under floor lockers, what I didn’t consider was that it was near the engine and so a few days later I went to retrieve some and they had all but cooked in their jackets because of the engine heat.... I have now found a new locker!! 

Overall our eating habits have changed dramatically mainly as it’s been so hot and we are eating less and less consequently coupled with the fact that we walk everywhere we 

have both lost weight 😄 and have not had a takeaway since 25th May!! We have eaten out twice since we left England on 1st June 2018. Once in France and once in Portugal, both times we were not terribly impressed with our meals although it is so much cheaper than the UK. Therefore I prepare all our meals in my tiny galley, it is small but it’s just a case of being organised, I only have the most basic cooking utensils, two burners and a small oven and if I really need it a small microwave that can run from our inverter, other than that no other gadgets, but I manage just fine (Ant eats everything put in front of him!). 

In answer to a question Lesley asked: Yes I do have an iron but no ironing board. The iron hasn’t moved since we left Portsmouth though... We live in shorts and T shirts that dry crease free in the sun. 

Live-a-board blog; 

We have made so many new friends. The liveaboard lifestyle makes people different. Hard to explain but here goes...

Typically we are all in the same boat as it were; there is no pressure of work life balance and all that stress. Ant used to spend hours after work researching things writing reports talking to customers, staff, and suppliers. Even, weekends and on our holidays! It used to sometimes drive me (Cid) mad. There was no “our time”. Or very little of it. When we were not sailing, he would disappear into the workshop making everything from bits for friends to working on his steam models.

The steps we have taken have dramatically changed the level of stress and we only get 


up at four thirty if the tide or weather dictates. Not to get to Petersfield station for the 05:35 into London. Ant has become his old self. He sees someone needing help or struggling and he’s off the boat to help like a shot. We have time to talk and have both enjoyed blogging and making videos. Blogging is still all new to us and while we are nowhere near the standards of some V-bloggers we are enjoying the challenge and working together to pass on info and tips to the folks of the great hive mind. 

If you haven’t already, go and watch our videos and please, like subscribe and most of all leave a comment or give us feedback. 

We have as we said met some lovely people. The liveaboard philosophy is if you have something, a skill, a piece of kit, knowledge or a spare bottle of red, you share it. We have been given charts, almanacs, pilot guides and information that has proved invaluable. We will not mention names but you folks know who you are and we in turn are passing on what we can. Pass it forward for those of you who know the film...

The merest hint of an offer to pay can bring indignation amongst live-a-boards. Only when something is new does the offer of the cost price get agreed. (Eventually). 

The down side is, people move on or have a different destination’s and while it may sound soppy, you are really sad to see boats, people and families move on or left behind. Living aboard crosses the culture and language gap too and we have made friends with people from all walks of life and countries from Russia in the north to Portugal in the south. Long may it continue!!! 


Just as we got into Lagos (pronounced Ley Gossh) after a pretty tough sail of 14 hours + we got notification one of our YouTube channel favourites were going live. We had to check in to the marina, present all our documentation and then get to the berth we were assigned so we missed the broadcast. However, we logged on and watch the recorded version and made a comment. We were immediately invited to go and say hello. 

Nick and Terysa from sailing Ruby Rose were just 2 pontoons away. We were pretty knackered from the sail that day and next morning we had to get the caffeine levels up and walk the pooches. After our walk we wandered over to say hi.

We were immediately invited aboard (with Oscar and Lady) and given a boat tour. Nick gave Ant lots of good advice on anchorages and other things. I swapped info with Terysa. They have a wealth of information having crossed the Atlantic twice and been YouTube’ers for some time with a big following. They are just like their videos. Straight talkers, no waffle, genuine, what you see is what you get. Oscar headed straight for Nick and had a man cuddle. Not something he does with strangers normally! They left port today but are going the same way as us so we may meet up again. 



Thanks Nick and Terysa if your reading this; your travels are inspiring and like thousands of others we have to say, you deliver on the entertainment front. 

Check out their channel; Sailing Ruby Rose on YouTube. 

Well its been a longer than usual blog and we are off in the morning. We have used 75% of our 20 Gb data this month already posting to the various media sites so no pictures today folks ☹ 

Sail safe!


If it’s on your mind to live aboard do it now! Ant & Cid xx 

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Blog No 016 - Cadiz Spain to Gibraltar 74 Nautical miles. 

The alarm went off at 05:00hrs local time and we snoozed it for 5 min’s before getting up and putting the kettle on; Cid filled the kettle so that the water would be hot for a coffee after walking the dogs. Hot water is then decanted into the gas kettle saving on our use of gas on board. 

Ant had checked the engine oil and raw water-cooling filter the night before last thing. Along with his in head check list of items he does before we set sail. 

As we had returned our gate key card the previous afternoon to avoid loosing the €15 deposit Cid walked the pooches while Ant prepped the boat. Awaiting her return and being able to open the gate from the inside. Although, as as it happened the gate closure ram had seen better days and it did not fully close..... 

We have a set routine of checks and duties that we both do and then cross check with each other. On early morning starts we always do the engine checks the night before. 

We clear the saloon and put away any kit that need’s securing or stowing.
The interior lights are switched to red “night mode” then the fore and aft lights are turned on, along with the deck light and steaming light.
AIS, Radio, Chart plotter and our second GPS. 

We double check the weather via the internet before securing the Ant’s Mac in the aft cabin. 

Ant takes off the extra shorelines and starts the engine before walking 50 metres (or more) to let Cid in the gate.
Dogs secured, we both then set about removing lines. The last line is the mid cleat line which Cid will loop back to the mid cleat on board. If there is wind or tide that may draw the boat away from the pontoon the boat is fully under control with the application of the engine thrust and a swing of the rudder/wheels. 

A quick burst from the bow thruster takes the bow away from the pontoon and Cid releases the mid cleat line pulling it through the pontoon cleat and back on-board Impavidus. Good bye Cadiz, thanks for having us. Not a single beard singed this time..... 

As we clear the marina Cid pulls the fenders on board where we leave them behind the netting we fitted back in Portsmouth. 

This may be viewed as lazy by “sailing purist’s” but it saves a lot of leg work and gives us a lot more room in the lazeret’s (Ships lockers).
Eight 600x200mm fenders, a 400mm ball fender and an 800x330 big boy fender take up a lot of space. We have plenty of deck space and all our control lines feed aft to the cockpit so, we do not need the space to leap about at sea. 

We motored out to the first fairway marks tracing our inward track on the GPS/chart plotter. While, keeping an eye on the lights and marks looming out of the darkness. We kept the speed down to 3 knots as on the way in we had seen many illegal pot markers and net markers that had neither flags or bright colours. Being mainly plastic oil canisters and water bottles attached to that cheap blue stranded plastic rope the BT use so much of in the UK they would be invisible in the dark. 

By 07:15hrs the sun was quickly breaking over the eastern horizon. By 07:30hrs we were able to turn the lights off, throttle up and set the main, the wind being just off the nose at 25 degrees apparent and 4-6 Knots.
Bringing the engine RPM up to 1800 puts Impavidus at about 6.25 knots and with a little wind assist from the main we were doing 6.5-6.7 knots until, the first major turn some miles out. 

The water around Cadiz is shallow and in shore there are many rocks, shoals and pinnacles even a few miles out. So we took a deeper water, off shore route. While this was a slightly longer passage of some 74 nautical miles, it is safer and avoids the pot buoys and nets that appear off the bow quickly when the sea is anything but smooth. 

As we turned more West from Southwest, the wind strengthened and turned more Easterly. Just as the forecast had predicted. By 10:00hrs the wind was a healthy 10 knots + at 45 apparent and the sails were full to the point we were able to shut down the engine. 

At Mid-day Cindy made some tuna wraps with onion and peppers and some low fat mayonnaise. Yummy! 

There was a lot of “chat” on the VHF Radio, with frequent Pan-Pan alerts from Tarifa Radio alerting all ships to a number of small boats, dinghy’s and other floating objects in the straights of Gibraltar. These were apparently, full of people attempting to cross to Spain the night before from Morocco (North Africa), which is only 12 miles away its towering cliffs and mountains can clearly be seen. We saw not one. How anyone could endeavour to undertake that journey in such busy, turbulent and shark infested waters seems madness. Yes shark whale and dolphin are prevalent in these waters from June to late August. 

The marine traffic is more frequent than red buses in Oxford Street with one or two passing through every few minutes in both directions. The AIS on our chart plotter showed over 100 vessels in range. With more just out of range only showing their presence rather than full details of course speed direction of travel etc. 

We were buzzed a couple of times a mile or so away by Spanish patrol boats who constantly patrol this area. Circling us then moving off. We suspect this is more drug traffic related than people traffic. 

Once around Tarifa headland the wind picked up and we put two reefs in the foresail and took a metre or so off the mains outhaul as the wind was now 16-18 Knots and the tide was running in our favour within an hour this changed to 27 knots and 2 knots of tide in the same direction, East. 

With the current running through the narrows and the wind over it in the same direction the sea was reasonably flat but with small odd shaped wavelets, visible eddies and even small whirlpools on the surface. 

Impavidus was making good time with 8+ knots through the water and a peak speed over ground of 10.2 knots. 

As the rock of Gibraltar became visible from behind the Spanish mountains we lowered the Spanish courtesy flag. Hidden until the last few miles the rock is stunning and formidable as it reveals itself from the curtain that first obscures it. 

There were now hundreds of dolphins all around the boat. Their fins were visible as far as we could see. However, they were not there to great us as we quickly found out. As the boat surged forward through the now deep blue and turquoise sea the air just above its surface was thick with gossamer wings, crystal colours shimmering in the bright sun. 

No we were not away with the fairies, and the angels were not planning to take us to our maker. The sharp slim outlines and the sparkling skin was that of “flying fish”. Thousands of them!
As the dolphins chased them they broke surface at speed and with a slight whizzing of wind, wings or scales they would pass by in the opposite direction. Gliding the full length of the boat and much more before disappearing into the deep blue. 

If like us you have never seen this it will be one of those life time wonder moments when you first see it. 

In bright sunlight they appear almost transparent or bright silver as though covered in iridescent sequins. Their long wings are shaped like a chefs knife, elliptical to the point on the back edge and straight, thin and strong on the leading edge. These are formed from an oversized pectoral fin.
They are streamline in body shape, long and narrow with a large-ish tails.
The first and second dorsal fins are quite small. The anal fins are also enlarged to form a second set of wings or almost a tail plane. While not big, we would say no longer than 

300mm or a foot, they are the most magnificent flyers and stunning to see for the first time. 

The wind abated somewhat as we entered the bay of Gibraltar, the air was now quite grey with smoke from wild fires on the Spanish mainland. The bay was occupied by a dozen or more large cargo ships and bulk carriers, of various types all at anchor. 

The Rock as it’s known locally stands high above the bay and commands a most strategic viewpoint across the straights. Every ship that enters or leaves the Med has to pass this point (other than via the Suez) and would be in range of well placed modern 50 mm ordinance. It’s not hard to see why it continues even to this day to be coveted ground, with some very large cannons protecting it. However, it has a long and bloody history and remains British with on going claims to Sovereignty ........ 

If you like our blogs please share them. Comment and suggest content. If you like our Videos please like and share them too on YouTube. 

Sail Safe! Ant & Cid xx Info added.... 

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Blog no 017 - Arriving at Almerimar (Winter Mooring) 

We are in Almerimar marina. We arrived on Friday intending to look at the place stay a few nights and generally check it out before committing to a contract for 6 months over the winter.
We were then going to head a bit further East and do some exploring before returning around the 1st Oct but the weather says no and the marina gave us a free 7 days so obviously we stayed....... 

The marina is great with good protection. There are 3 darsena’s. 1 is lively with the restaurants and clubs near by - 2 Is central to everything and again quite lively. 3 is quieter with the best all round protection. Its near the beach and doggy walks so we chose 3. The mooring rings and bollards are a little tired but nothing we cannot sort. There is a big supermarket 5 mins walk away, a half decent chandlers and a few takeaways. There is no port free wifi it’s pay as you go but our 4g dongle is cheaper per month and faster. We may look at pay as you go data when we get in the main town. 

We found ourselves and the pooches suffering in the heat we have had since Gib and the humidity was starting to affect things below decks. We got a mains fan from the Jumbo stores in Cadiz and that worked for a while but as we got further East it just seemed to push hot air about. In the end we decided that we needed air con and we got a portable unit that is also a de humidifier and has a heat pump so we can use it for heating in the winter rather than our diesel heater. Its quite a lump but we have room and the difference it makes is outstanding. Peak it uses 1Kw so we can run it of 

the generator if we have to but water and electric are free here 😃 so it's a no brainer...... We also got a two hob electrical plate so we won’t need gas in the winter. Again electric is free 😃

It’s been 29 degrees here today with no wind after mid day it was just about impossible to do anything without breaking into a full on sweat and needing a cold shower. The water temp is 31 degrees at the moment so swimming is like being in the bath only with jelly fish to keep you company. They do apparently sting it’s painful but not lethal! 

Once in, and past Gib it’s all stern to mooring with lazy lines. Much easier to do than we anticipated. The only downside is the rib can’t hang on the davits for the moment until we build a folding gangplank. 

We are still being plagued by mosquitos, although we now have the little perishers under control but the odd one or two still get in now and then through an open hatch or the companion way when we forget to put the nets across. The air con has helped as we can set it low and just shut all the openings. 

The Bloc has been a great help! If your a sailor and cross the channel get the Bloc almanacs!! With this and the Imray pilot (Mediterranean Spain) we got in Gib we have found some lovely places. And some free! 

Apparently there is a big ex-pat community here and theres a facebook page with the usual posts, questions, for sales and other “stuff”. We want to get settled in and a few things sorted from or “F 

to do” list as we now call it, before we get to know every one and attend the bingo nights🙂 Here is a recommendation and we do not make these often... Get on to I tunes or your favourite 

podcast supplier or visit; 

There is a free download of a book by Tracey Christiansen about Calle Andersson & Yanne Larsson. It’s a brilliant talking book to listen to on passage or at home. There are 19 sections of about an hour or more and it really is gripping stuff that you will laugh at, and have empathy with being a sailor. if your not a sailor its a wonderful story of a world cruise taking 3 years, its about people, places change and relationships. we have now listened to it 3 times. What's more they visited places we have been to. Yes its free!!!!!! Our favourite word!!! 

Being paid up for the next six months means we can look at our budget. We have to say we spent a lot more on diesel than we anticipated and marinas too. The biggest factor was the Atlantic swell. We had to sit out days of big swell in marinas. When we say big we mean more than 2 metres. Why? Well, the boat and us two can cope with much more. However the pooches just got too agitated. Poor old Oscar he really does not like the first hour at sea in a swell. He jamb’s himself against something or tries to sit on a lap for comfort and a cuddle. 

After an hour or so he calms down wedging himself in a corner of the cockpit or under the table. But every flap of the sail or surf down a wave sees him pacing the deck. Listing like a drunken sailor on a wharf next to his ship. 

Sailors, If you have any info or feedback on portable freezers like the Dometic 50 ltr let us know. We think as we have spare power from solar it will be an investment and mean we can store a few 

bits longer mainly meat. And get more beers in the fridge :-) 

Hope you enjoy our blogs and YouTube videos. If you have not done recently pop over to YouTube and watch a few. Give us a thumbs up and share with your friends. We are up to 185 subscribers now and 4800+ views, when we get to 10,000 . Views we will get a little income which will pay for the internet time on YouTube and Facebook we currently finance ourselves. 

Sail safe,
Ant & Cid xx 

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Blog no 018 - Out of the water Boat Work in Almerimar 

Well despite the windy weather today we were up and at the boat by 07:15 hrs. We had decided to rent a local apartment for the week we were on the hard. Our good friend David Scott was due to be lifted at the same time so it made sense to share the cost of a two bedroom local residence and not have to try to live aboard in the yard. 

David has been delayed in his relaunch due to issues with work carried out on his keel finish last year in the UK. We will let him explain. However, he's been delayed a few days. He's working really hard, learning new skills and gaining technical knowledge that he can pass on when the time comes. David has embraced our pass it on philosophy and saved a few £ by sourcing materials and parts form non marine parts providers. E.G. We managed to get an injection pump solenoid for his MD 1-30B for £65 odd rather the £150 + VP wanted (David please correct or confirm numbers it's been a while) 

Now, those of you that know us know we don't recommend people or service unless we have excellent service or the business goes beyond and above. Like Stuart at Arcglow here in Almerimar.
Chris at Almerimar marine services has been excellent also. 

Why? Well we needed solvent free zinc rich primer for the keel. We needed small amounts of Coppercoat, less than standard tins and amounts most other suppliers would have you buy. Chris even put the components into plastic cups and delivered the components along with sound advice to Impavidus. 

Chris and I have some common ground in engineering. We had some chats about precision engineering, turning, and bending moments in stainless steel. He knows his stuff! Anyway, we needed to hire a scaffold to work on Impavidus. The multifunction ladder, workbench, Passerele, Hop-up, we made was needed in ladder mode to gain access to the boat. 

Now get this!!
Chris did not have a spare scaffolding free. But did have one that needed new wheels fitting, and the wheels in stock that needed fitting by removing the old rusty, broken sockets and refitting the new wheels with a drilled and bolted fixing. Chris suggested that if we replace and repair the tower it was ours for two days FOC!!
Impavidus got her topsides polished. The keel repairs we did and we relaunched this morning. The apartment was cleaned and vacated by 10:30hrs and by 13:00 we had everything back to the boat if not stowed👍 

Over the next week or two we have a list of jobs to do.
Fit the new PA speaker and wiring for the PA and fog horn.
Fit the Solar panels fuse, breaker and conduit so the cables are protected now we are happy with the installation.
Fit the relay, and transmitter/ receiver for the windlass remote.
Fit the new stainless steel exhaust elbow.
Wash clean and polish the deck.
Clean and oil the teak cockpit.
Bend on the sails.
Change the raw water impeller and replace pump seals. Also reface the pump faceplate by hand scraping and finishing on wet stone.
Winch service. All five.
Main and jib furling systems service.
Windlass service.
Lights and nav gear checks. 

Oh and edit the next 3 videos we have in the can for YouTube. Some 400 Gb of 4K footage! The next video is on anti foul is about 50% done.
There's a lot of film and technical details in it. If your a sailor your love it, if your not, you will see 

the lengths us yotties have to go through to keeps our bottoms clean 🤣 🤣 🤣 

Meanwhile, we are putting together a video of our daughters wedding with footage we took during our recent quick trip back to the UK. Luke and Roxie Bonner, we are so proud!!! This retirement thing is hard work! How did we ever find time to work???
Sail Safe. 

Ant & Cid 

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Blog No 019- Coppercoat 

Today we looked at the Coppercoat on Impavidus. That's our copper based antifoul that keeps the bottom clean and helps the boat slip through the water. We had some growth near the bow and in the Bowthuster tunnel that was more than usual. On close inspection and a gentle rub down, as Coppercoat's maintenance recommendations it looks like we did not rub it down enough on our last lift to bring the copper to the surface sufficiently. It's sorted now so we will keep an eye on it. 

The keel is a different matter. A year after buying Impavidus we noticed the Coppercoat on the keel was in ineffective and almost transparent. Both the application specialist (Osmotec of Hamble) and the Boat supplier (Clipper Marine) tried to back away from the warranty. 

Coppercoat stepped in after we contacted them and provided evidence that the keel coating was only 60 microns thick, compared to their 5 coat recommendations at 60+ microns per coat! Reluctantly it was stripped back and re applied by Osmotech. During this work we asked why the keel was not sand blasted to SA 2.5 and were told by Osmotech it was not required? Only heavy abraded. Coppercoat confirmed the prep was ok and the zinc rich primer from 3M was applied. We did not supervise this work and on our next inspection the 5 layers of Coppercoat were applied and cured. 

It looked ok. Fast forward to today. Areas of the keel the Coppercoat has come off including the zinc primer. On further inspection it appears the primer coat is only 30-50 microns and only one coat. The surface prep was insufficient in areas. 

Those of you who work with surface finishes will know it's all in the preparation. When I was working with metals on major projects, we always specified SA2.5 and first coat within 20 mins of zinc rich epoxy primer to prevent flash rusting and 5 costs primer with minimum 30 microns per coat. 

We have locally treated the areas over the last 2 days. However, at some point we are going to have to strip back and do the job properly. 5 years into the 10 year expected lifespan our Coppercoat is going to need replacing on the keel having been replaced just three years ago but not done properly. Cost to us to date is £3k for the initial job. 3 lifts and weeks of loss of use. The proper job we will do ourselves but just just materials and blasting will be £1-1.5k 

Moral of the tale. Never let someone else work on your boat! Undertake or Supervise all the work yourself. Preparing for any paint finish is 80% of the work if not more. Insists on industry standards as a minimum.
Coppercoat is a great coating. But, every one we talk to who has a problem with it had the work done under contract by others. Those that did the work themselves, followed the recommendations and industry standards. They don't have any problems and love their bottom paint. 

Sail safe. Ant & Cid xx 

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Blog No 20 - Teak Repair 

 How we replaced the teak after reinforcing the davit tube sockets. The same principals will apply to deck repair. 

NB; some Bavaria’s have teak bonded to a substrate in the cockpit, floors, locker lids, and other areas. This is Urea-formaldehyde (Formica type product) and this is bonded to the fibreglass and the teak to it. In these locations the teak is thinner than others. Be sure you check before ordering any teak strips or shapes. Elsewhere the teak is 6-7 mm thick unless a previous owner had a love of brown wood and endless supply of sand paper. 

WARNING! Teak dust is not good for you so use dust collection bag or hoover to minimise. Or at least wear a mask when cutting or sanding. 

The links below are for the tools and materials I used. Plus the two videos I put up. 


1. Remove the old caulking carefully with a Stanley knife. Cutting along the sides of the teak strips, then using a narrow chisel scrape the caulking out. If I did this again I would sharpen a 4 inch nail to a flat tip and use that set in a short broom handle. It is just the right thickness and the round edge prevents damage to the good teak that is staying in place.

2. Using the multi tool work outwards across the bad teak area to remove it from the substrate. You can use a sharp chisel to get started or the multi tool. If you are cutting into a long length of teak, square off a cut line at 90 degrees and cut through the teak carefully. Remembering that the teak will be less than 6 mm thick. Watch the dust as this will change colour from the teak if you start going too deep.

3. Once a small strip is removed you can then use the multi tool to de-bond the teak strips from the deck / substrate. If they are already de-bonded, work back to a solid bond. Adjusting your cut line accordingly.

4. Inspect the substrate below and repair if there is any damage using the west system below. NB; some later Bavaria’s have teak bonded to a substrate in the cockpit, floors, locker lids, and other areas. This is Urea-formaldehyde (Formica type product) and this is bonded to the fibreglass and the teak to this.

5. Clean and sand the repairs. You must sand any areas that have epoxy repairs carried out.

6. Cut and arrange the teak strips in a dry run. Laying out the area using spacers to get the required joint sizes. Laying them out will help with any awkward or shaped areas allowing you to cut and shape to get just the right look and layout. For shaped or rounded strips cut oversize by 3-4 mm then sand to shape using a rounding sander. If not you can use a Dremmel tool with a rotary sanding cylinder. This can get you a really neat finish, just try to keep the cylinder at 90 degrees to the teak face to avoid any under cut or over cut. Wooden clothes pegs make good spacers. However you could use floor tile spacers if they the right thickness.

7. When you are sure you have the layout right and your happy all the spacing is ok you can mix your epoxy and thickener. Take note of the temperature you are working in. if its colder then use; the 205 fast hardener. If its warm; use the 206 slow hardener. Details on temps are on the data sheets that are downloadable from West system website.

8. Mix the epoxy to a consistency of peanut butter or just slightly thiner adding the thickener (406) after a few minutes mixing as this is easier.

9. Apply the mixture using a notched spreader. Just like tiling.

10. Press the teak strips down into the epoxy carefully and space them out as before. You will get time to make slight movements or adjust the strips. If you need to adjust a gap slightly cut a few mm off the wooden clothes peg so that it is slightly wider. But remember you are looking for uniformity in the gaps. Wipe off any overspill with acetone, if you have the thickness of the epoxy right there should be no overspill and an even coat under the teak. You may want to do a little test or practice on a bit of ply first to get this right. Tip is to angle the comb to make the epoxy thinner, at 90 degrees the epoxy will be in its thickest bands. You can adjust the size of notches in a plastic comb using sharp 

scissors or tin snips to make the beads of epoxy thicker if needed.

11. After 24-48 hours the epoxy will have cured. Remove the spacers.

12. Using a good quality masking tape mask the teak strips. Where there are bends or curves in the strips overlay the masking and gently trim the tape to the joint. You are looking to have a good edge cover and adhesion over the teak. This prevents the caulking creeping under the tape and staining the wood.

13. Using the Sika in the link caulk the joints. Use a back stroke application where you fill the joint away from the nozzle. You are looking to fill the gap entirely without any air gaps or bubbles. Again you could use your test piece to practice this. Use a flat rubber or silicone caulking tool to remove any excess and smooth the joints. But, don’t worry if the caulking appears to relax and bulge slightly over the joint. This is normal as it starts to cure and can be removed later.

14. After 48 hours the caulking will have hardened. Remove the tape. Do not continue if some caulk has not cured in places. Wait and let it cure!

15. After removing the tape use a vey sharp chisel or Stanley blade to remove any high spots in the caulk. Top tip; keep the blade at a very low angle to the teak or it will dig in. somewhere around 10 degrees or less. There will be a few places the caulk has over spilled. Do not try to remove this with a blade it will sand out later.

16. You can now get into the glorious sanding. Start with an 80 grit or so just to flatten out the teak to get it near the surrounding wood then change to 120 grit to finish and dress. Top tip; even with an orbital sander work with the grain moving up and down its length. Where the grain changes direction stop short and use a hand sanding block. Again following the grain. If you have cut the teak slightly thicker say, .5mm thicker than the original it will not take long to get them down. The caulking will sand along with the wood to give a good even finish.

17. Coat with two coats of good quality teak oil 3 days apart. It may be tempting to do all the connected areas IE sand them too. However, my advice would be to leave well alone. It will all blend in within a few months. And go that lovely silver colour as the rest of the teak. The inner wood has the oil protection the outer is fine with its silver finish. 

Bosch Multi cutter; Blades; 

Timber supplies; 

How to Videos; 

West system epoxy 105, 205 & 406; .../B00BAX1UI2 

Sail safe. Ant & Cid 

Blog No 021 - Back to mainland Spain (Badalona) 

Well, we are rested and in a marina just outside Barcelona ( End of July 2019) We decided we had done the Balearics and while the islands are beautiful, the winds are inconsistent and the swell can change in a few hours making the very best anchorage very uncomfortable. The need to predict, anticipate, and change plans at short notice while finding space in what can be a busy place because of the aforementioned, can be a real pain. Add to this the numbers of boats that head for the islands from July to August, the constant hire boats and small power boats that wizz through the peaceful anchorages... Then there are the jet-ski's and banana boats. As we said before the locals have but a few months to make enough revenue to sustain them for the whole year. However, the marina prices are double that of the UK south coast in peak season charging up to €108 a night for 11.3 Mtrs of boat. 

Some anchorages, have good holding and some do not. Checking you have a good holding and room to swing is key as the winds can change 360 degrees in 12 hours and go from F2 to F6 in less than an hour. A good anchor watch app or a plotter that has anchor watch is a must. The History of all of the islands is astounding, especially Minorca. A quick trip to Wikipedia on Mahon, Minorca will reveal a checkered history of occupation and a military history that resulted in death by firing squad of a senior naval officer in the British navy!
So we have now “done” the Balearics, and there were good points and bad points. We made many new friends and met other YouTube video bloggers. We helped out a few folks and had had others that just did not care about the environment or our floating home. Would we do it again? Yes in a heartbeat! But, maybe out of season when things are not so busy.
We left Port de Pollença at 03:00 heading for Barcelona or more precisely Badalona on the Spanish mainland. A 15 hour crossing . We motor sailed the whole trip at 2000 RPM hitting max GPS speeds of 10.7 Knots (course over ground) and a max speed of 11 Knots through the water. Our average speed was 7.2 Knots over the 109 Miles. The first few hours there was little or no wind but by 11:00 the wind was good enough to put up the main sail and by 12:00 we could put out the jib with an apparent wind angle of 36 degrees. By mid afternoon we were on a broad reach and the speeds were up well above 7.8 Knots. The average speed for the trip was 7.2 Knots. Thats good going as we were motoring at 6+ before the sun came up and and there was generally 1-2 Knots of current in the last 50 miles against us. Yes there are no tides in the Med but there are currents. Our thoughts are now on our wintering and the things we need to look at to spend longer at anchor and less time in marinas. We are thinking of building our own water maker. A pure sine wave inverter (3000 Watts, 6000 peek).
On the YouTube front we are just 2 subscribers short of 600. But we are still making nothing from the videos. However, the feedback is brilliant and we seem to be helping folks out and saving them a fortune in costs and preventive maintenance. We are giving back and passing forward knowledge and experiences. For us thats priceless!!! Sail safe,

Live your dream.

Ant & Cid xx 

Blog No 022 - French Riviera 

Well, if you think sailing the Mediterranean is all sun, sea and sangria, think again. In this blog we tell you about motor sailing fast and hard to avoid seasonal winds. The French Riviera, super yachts, and endless wake swells from powerboats (again). And equipment failure! 

We made Marseille, with buddy boat Eternité. She’s a Bavaria 37 from c. 2007. David and partner Caroline have been buddy boating with us from the start of this season. Other than a couple of weeks in July when David’s daughter flew over for a visit and we spent a couple of weeks in Minorca while they stayed In Majorca touring the island. 

The mistral winds blow from the North from the Spanish boarder, to Marseilles and further East. The winds are cyclonic. They blow for roughly five days or sometimes weeks at a time. Generally these are blowing from the North in 4-5 day cycles. The system that causes these wind starts well in land in the mountains. The cold air has a tendency to fall while the warm Med air rises. This difference causes a thermal in balance which peaks every few days or weeks. When the winds abate there can be onshore winds from the South that can be as strong. 

So how strong are they? The Northerly Mistrals are off shore blowing 30+ knots or 35 mph they can gust to 50 knots or 55 mph.
As the Northerly are off shore the wave height is not so high. But the period between each wave can be as little as 2-3 seconds. They are steep and the crests break. Making sailing possible but, uncomfortable. Even for longer and bigger boats. 

When the wind changes the lighter winds and the fact the winds are on shore makes the swell bigger with a longer wave period of 9-12 seconds. No breaking crests.
If you time it right, there are periods of no wind, glassy seas and only a breeze about lunchtime. 

The trick is to get the timing right and then fast motor sail through the area with a plan B to hide out any winds in protected bays or a marina, if and when the winds change, which they do frequently and with little warning. 

The French Riviera is beautiful. The bays are beautiful with golden sands of coarse sand set in rocky outcrops on the beaches. 

The rich and famous all have villas and yachts in the Marina’s. Smaller yachts and mainly power boats, day boats, and weekenders wizz through the bays and the anchorages. With the big powerboats and super yachts doing much the same further out causing a constant series of waves and wash during the day from about 10:00 hrs to dusk and beyond. 

The seabed is generally weedy with sea grass and occasional sand. Picking the right place and sea-bed type is critical to a good nights sleep and the anchor alarm (s) not going off. I have Anchor pro on an iPhone app and Cindy has Anchor mate on her android. We set both at anchor. They use very little power on the phone and so far have proved useful. 

We have seen few British boats other than the big ones and the super yachts which are 90% British or over seas territory registered.
Our good friends Dean and Linda are catching us up in their yacht Thesee and are only a few days sailing from us after returning to the UK for a family wedding. It will be good to catch up with them. 

Our other friends that we spent time in Almerimar last winter took a different route via Sardinia and Corsica. “Bora la” Philip and Christina are reporting stunning anchorages, beautiful sites and backdrops and views that are breathtaking. Hopefully we can meet up in the winter. 

You may enjoy blogs and videos from our vblogger friends: Ryan & Sophie. Mothership adrift. Sailing Chelsea and SV Compromise. All great family sailing channels. We have other favourites too. You can find these on our YouTube channel on our community page. Too many to mention. If you're into sailing, living aboard or 

just something entertaining. Look them up on your pc, smart phone tablet or smart TV. You won’t be disappointed!! 


During our fast hard motor sails the autopilot failed. Giving various faults on the chart plotter screen. It meant we had to hand steer for long periods. In the long swells it was tiring but doable. My knees, ankles and wrists were swollen by the end of the day and quite painful the following day. When we had to overnight in a marina it was time to find the problem. 

The fuse, 7.5 amp, had blown indicating an electrical fault. Perhaps an overload on the rudder. Before replacing the fuse I checked the steering system on both wheels and the rudder post and arms. All were free and no problems. Although the rudder seemed slightly stiff, or was it my imagination? 

I removed the steering ram and stripped it down to its components, reassembling it with caution and new lubricant. Again no issues found.
Now we have seen barnacles jamb up rudders growing between the rudder top and the hull. So I dropped the rudder on the bearing by a millimetre to see if it made any difference. None! 

With no issues found I was scratching my head.
Finally I went through all the cable connections at the waterproof socket connections. I found one socket that was not fully engaged. The same day I upgraded the software.
The next day all was well. Autopilot working. Was it the connection or the software? We are keeping an eye on it. 

Next problem.
Waking one morning we put the inverter on to run the microwave. The air fan was plugged in from the night before. The inverter just sat there bleeping a fault code or other flashing LEDs
Stripped down it appears a transformer has shorted destroying two capacitors. There is also heat damage to diodes and resistors. While we could replace these components there is an integrated circuit that we can’t identify which is also toasted. We were going to upgrade our 2000 watt Quasi sine wave inverter this winter to full sine wave 2000 watt (4000 watt peak). The price of full sine wave inverters has fallen dramatically in the last few years. So we are having to use the generator for an hour a day to charge 230 volt items like our macs, tooth brushes, run the shop vac, smart tv. We are getting a small inverter of 600 watts as a temp solution and as a spare when we get the big one. 

Our windlass, the winch that pulls our anchor up, failed when we had big winds due and 30 metres of chain out! We were in a bay where sea grass stops all anchors getting a good grip!! 

As luck would have it the bay has mooring buoys at €20 a night and is well sheltered from all but the SE. 

With help from David we managed to pull 30+ metres of chain up and get a buoy on the bow lines.
It took 2 hours to fault find and then strip the windlass down.
Diagnosis. Armature winding on one lobe burnt out 60 amp fuse blown. A few hours on the internet an a conversation with Lewmar UK and Tecmar France, their distributor in Europe got us a new motor on order and delivered to a marina just 18 miles from us. 

So if you think it’s all sunbathing, sun sea and sand. It’s not.
However, every day we realise despite the challenges we have we actually enjoy overcoming them. We are so lucky and blessed to be on this journey. Meeting new friends, learning about the places we visit and sharing it with so many people around the world through Facebook and YouTube. 

With the failure of the inverter we can’t edit or post videos. We have loads of solar power but no way to convert it to AC for the Mac’s. Something we we need to address this winter. 

We will post more on YT when we have power sorted. Hopefully this Thursday. 

Sail safe folks. Ant, Cid and the pooch crew..
Posted from my new iPhone 7 oh that’s another failure story!! 

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Blog 25 




Well it's been quite awhile since we did a blog we are currently sitting on the south-east corner of Sicily in fact slightly towards more towards the east having rounded the south-east tip the land very different here it's quite flat and shallow seas as well. Our current positions position is 36° 40 minutes 7 seconds north by 15° 16 minutes and 45 seconds East, we've had a few days of quite strong winds from the west we have been trying to hide in some shelter bays in fact we've actually had to go into a marina and for a couple of days which was nice but the marinas far apart and as a result they are quite expensive! But we filled up with water and charged the batteries. 


It’s been an hour sitting at anchor I'm reading the battery monitor from our solar charger and we are currently putting 22 Amps into into her batteries while that might seem quite a lot but I'm using the Mac to dictate this blog! While sorting video footage and rendering a video. The Macs are quite power hungry so it is best to do it while we have sunlight. The freezer is running and the fridge too so despite us producing 30 Amps + and having full batteries the monitor is showing +22 Amps or use. 


It's the first time I've used the dictation function but seems to be working well it has a little trouble understanding my scruffy southern accent if you can call it that.  


The water is clear blue and we can see the bottom, it's 3 m depth quite hard sand with scattered rocks a little weed here and there but the anchors dug in well and we've got 25 m of chain out almost 27 actually with the height of the bow roller.


The latest video goes live on Sunday, Patrons already seen it but it's a part one of the two part series on Anchors and Anchoring. This is one of the big things that we get asked about probably only 2nd to electrical issues based around batteries and solar power. It's amazing that we did a whole series on boat electrical for people and although the videos have done quite well and had an awful lot of take-up we were expecting it to be better but Hayhoe. If you have not seen them there is a play list on our YouTube Chanel called Boat Electrical made easy. The idea was to give the non electrically minded an understanding of boat electrical systems and how they work. We see a lot of people getting ripped off by so called electrical specialists and we wanted to give them  knowledge to prevent this happening and empower them to do their own work. What's more it's free! My favourite word! 


We spent a lot of the time in the marina doing odd jobs on the boat for example we cleaned all the decks down and polished top sides above the waterline we've also cleaned up our Highfield rib. The Highfield has stood up to wear and tear really well. We are very impressed with it. It cleans up well it's solid rugged I mean it gets towed up onto rocky shores and sandy beaches every day twice a day; okay we've got the wheels on the transom but they're not so good in soft sand there okay on hard slipways on that but because there is no tide in the Med the slipways from the waterline down are quite literally slipways so we tend to avoid them getting out of the rib on one of these slippy slipways can be a nightmare and we've already fallen over twice. Even Oscar with four legs finds it difficult to balance on them so we tend to use  beaches. 


The downside of using beaches to walk Oscar up to gain access to the land is whenever we get back into the rib will take half the beach with us and every time we get from the rid onto in paradise we end up having to wash her shoes down up feet down the rip down the tailgate down and of course wash Oscar down as well okay I hear you say that's not much of a chore? But if you're doing it with fresh water twice a day and can then put a big drain on our water supply and although we carry nearly 400 L you soon go through it so we tend to do it with salt water we have a bucket on a string that we launch over the back of the boat and then before we lift the Highfield back on its debits we take the bum out and wash the time I feel down we can then wash all the cockpit down the deck and the seats.


With all the things been going on we haven't been able to get out of Italy and Sicily. We were hoping to get across to Malta it's one of the places on our bucket list but unfortunately they seem to have had a well another outbreak of the Covid that means we can't get over there or if we could get over there we could end up in quarantine or not be able to get back to Italy so we've taken the decision not to go. The Italian coast has been our cruising grounds for the season. We've decided where we're going to stay this winter and hopefully we can get back to the UK at some point as well. I'm not going to tell you where it is yet but you'll see it in upcoming videos. We've actually stayed there a couple of days just to make sure that was what we were looking for All four boats that's Théseé Éternité and Bor La  are going to be parked up for the winter in this marina. We have managed to secure a deal for all of us. 


Travelling as a mini flotilla allows us to have quite a lot of bargaining power, buying power and it's been great to travel with other folks. Dean and Linda on Théseé  have a little terrier called Saffy she's quite a bit older than Oscar but Oscar looks forward to bumping noses with her on the beach both of them are going a bit deaf now days, Oscar is really showing his age He is as gray as George Clooney, but we are so grateful to the veterinary surgeon in Gaeta who saved his life, he's been well, like a puppy. Although, he doesn't like his new diet he's doing really well on it. He's lost a bit of weight and seems to have a lot more energy and pulling power as well.  He's always been a strong dog but I don't know he just seems to be well younger and fitter and stronger again.


Well, the Mac started bleeping now that means the video I was rendering seems to be finish. I better go and take a look and make sure that it's all okay be uploading it later this evening hopefully from a bar or restaurant where we can sneak away a bit of Wi-Fi. So until next time folks from Cindy and I and of course Oscar sail safe take care.  xx



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I wrote this for the BOA but I thought it may bring a smile to a face or two.



A tale of woe and a holding tank

Before I get started there are a few concepts that you have to understand.


1  Its not possible to compress black water in your holding tank.

2   However, you can compress any air in the pipes or the top of the tank.

3   Under pressure from the toilet pump the tank and the pipes will expand if the sea valve is closed or there is a blockage.

4   Under compression the holding tank will inflate like a balloon, acting as a reservoir.

5  On our B37 there is no facility to divert black water straight from the toilet to the sea, it has a single ball valve that either opens the tank to the sea or not depending if it is open or closed. (Some older boats have a Y valve that allows you to divert the waste directly to the sea avoiding the tank).


The layout of Impavidus’s holding tank .












So, to tale of woe??.


The holding tank sensor on Impavidus has never worked. Clipper have replaced it twice but it still gives false readings and sets off the tank alarm. So we disconnected it at the sensor and keep an eye on the tank level through the access hatch. Generally we keep the tank dump valve closed. Only opening it to empty the tank when we are well away from land.


This year we took 3 weeks off work in the summer to sail across to the continent with the idea we may get down to the Med and leave Impavidus there so we could fly down to her on Easy jet or the like. The weather had been really good for a few weeks, the boat had been provisioned and made ready in the evenings of the weeks before. On the Friday evening after work we sailed down to Lymington hoping to get a sling shot with the tide down to Dartmouth then across the channel . On the Saturday morning the forecast worsened and a big Atlantic low started dumping rain and even hail stones on Lymington. Winds were forecast up to F8 in open water so, needless to say we stayed put. With the holding tank valve closed.


In the town we did the usual market thing and some shopping in Tesco. I even brought on of those Toilet duck dispensers that put a rose shaped gel on the toilet bowl. That will keep the air sweeter in the heads I thought?..  I did not read the instructions, it a bloke thing, you only read instructions when all else fails or something goes wrong?


After 3 days the weather turned again and we set off for Dartmouth. However, the sea state was horrendous, with big swells and breaking waves through the needles. Even though the wind was a gentle F3-4. We decided to put in to Studland and wait for the swell to abate. After all we had 3 weeks? We crossed Christchurch bay, which was quite lumpy especially where the water shallows over the ledge. As we were quite close to land in shallow water the holding tank valve remained closed.


Next morning we were woken by the battery alarm telling us the house batteries were low.  At the time I thought little of it as we had been using power for the TV/DVD, fridge, lights, anchor drag alarm etc, etc. We motored off around old Harry and Cindy made a bacon sandwich and a coffee. The wind was F3-4 with the possibility of F5 later or around exposed headlands. 

As soon as the bow cleared the cliffs at Swanage the swell got up again with really quite big seas breaking over the bow on the starboard side. By the time we got to Anvil point we had had enough wind on the nose and a hard beat to make headway. I turned Impavidus round and we headed for Poole. After all we had 3 weeks?..



A night in Pool quay yacht haven, a meal out and the chance to get a good forecast, look on the web at the wave heights, and give the batteries a good charge seemed the best idea. At for £52 a night including electric, a bargain!!!!! After our evening meal and some web surfing. We decided that we would coast hop down to the Scilly isles.  Via Salcombe, Fowey, Falmouth and Newlyn. Leave the Med for another year.


Setting off the next morning we were in Ideal conditions. The wind had turned over night and a F4-5 North Westerly took us romping across Lyme bay and into Salcome.  While out in the bay we opened the seacock on the holding tank. I remember thinking that it emptied quickly. The aqua blue and special toilet paper at £2 a roll must be helping???..


We were still having to run the engine every 4 hours or so, as the batteries did not seem to be coping with the loads we were putting on them when sailing. But we were on holiday and I did not worry about it.

We got in to Falmouth, the weather was holding and we had some fantastic days getting there.




Falmouth Marina is away from the town, but being a Premier marina it is a free night for us. We decided to stay the next day too, go into town for provisions and of course you cannot go to Falmouth without a visit to Traygo mills?


That evening we noticed the holding tank was full. The toilet was difficult to pump and the breather tube actually had black water coming out of it.


Ooops, funny that, because we emptied the tank before we came in to Falmouth     Anyway I decided to empty it again on the way to Newlyn the next morning.

We cleared Falmouth early and well off shore I opened the valve. There was a gurgling sound but no slick behind us. I gave the toilet a few pumps but the result was black water coming out the breather for a minute or two then nothing. I then went to check the tank level. But the tank was swollen and I could not get the access panel off.

Ooops! After another hour or so of sailing we decided to return to Falmouth and get a pump out at Premier, after all it would be free??? And those batteries were very low again.


Thinks; Best to head back and sort it where we have all the things we may need easy to hand. Newlyn is a proper fishing port and we know there is just about nothing for the cruising sailor there?


Back in the same birth as the previous two nights by mid-day, I discovered Falmouth does not have a pump out facility. Not Falmouth marina, Falmouth the port not one! The nearest was back at Fowey.


Ah ha me thinks;  I can make my own pump. Cannot be difficult after all it’s probably just some paper blocking the bottom of the tank?


I got up the chandlers  and £35 later I had a large dingy bailing pump some fittings and various off cuts of hose that would enable me to form a seal between the pump out fitting and the large bore of the pump. A extra metre of 40mm hose for the outlet of the pump that would allow me to pump the waste over the side effortlessly?


We could not get out of the marina until 17:00 hrs as the entrance is pretty shallow. So I decided to have a look at those batteries. I found nothing lose or missing and being just a year old AGM batteries there was no top-up holes so it must be something else? Probably?  At 17:00 we left the marina telling them we would be back in an hour or so and not to allocate our berth.


Clear of the Harbour entrance and about 4 mile off land, Cindy held Impavidus into the waves on tick-over and I went on deck to remove the pump-out cap.(It’ s at this point you may need to refer to the my first paragraph again).


Thinks; Crikey that cap is tight?. But it started to turn, half a turn, one turn, two turns and nearly there. Whooosh!!!!!!


Now the holding tank when full, holds 75 litres. It was at that precise moment I remembered something about not being able to compress a liquid, and how when I was a kid, the lady next door had forgotten that the pressure cooker was on and it exploded putting its entire contents of beef stew in to an interesting collage of colours across the entire kitchen.



Cindy was in hysterics. I must admit my newly delivered sewage farm camouflage outfit must have looked quite good. Unfortunately it did not smell that great, and it had run into my flip-flops too.  Nothing for it, I stripped off and standing on the side deck in my jockeys and bear feet attached the pump to the outlet and started pumping. The swell offshore was only ½ a metre or so, but it was enough make holding the pump on the outlet and standing upright quite a challenge. Indeed several times I did not quite achieve verticality and full pump contact.  You can guess the result.


After twenty minutes of pumping, or what seemed at least that time, we were not seeing any sign that the tank was empty. And there was still that gut wrenching smell. Cindy went below and was able to remove the access hatch. The tank still appeared to be half full. It was at this time that 4 guys in a speed boat who were fishing ½ a mile away decided they would go and see that lovely sailing boat with the strange guy in a pair of pants feeding a flock of seagulls was doing.  They got to within 50 yards before the first one started heaving over the back of the little Fletcher. They sped off pretty quick.


It was then I decided this was not that funny, well not really funny. Cindy turned the inverter on and passed up the Aqua-vac.  My brain wave was to use the vacuum to pump out the tank the way it was designed to work. It would mean having to empty the contents of the Aqua-vac into the sea a dozen times or so? But hey, it could not get worse could it? 


The answer is yes, it could!  Remember I said we had prepared the boat in the evenings before we left? Given Impavidus a good clean, hovered up the dog hairs, all that fluff and dust that seems to come from nowhere on a boat? It is amazing how much there is?    Hummm! The Aqua-vac as I opened it, in the rolling seas, on the slippery deck, in the light breeze, deposited its contents all over my new camouflage suit!  I was now the sewage equivalent of tarred and feathered!



Sometime later the tank started to show signs of clear water in the bottom although there were strange plates of lime scale in there too.  Another few bucket loads, and clear water was being sucked up through the outlet, into the tank and into the Aqua-vac. Job done.


A shower off the transom and some disinfectant on me and Impavidus returned us to

some level of normality and eventually back to Falmouth marina.


Lessons learned ?


1  Well you should always read the instructions.

2  Toilet duck contains a descaler, very good at removing big lumps of lime-scale from holding tanks and their associated pipes and plumbing.

3  These fall to the bottom of the tank and very effectively block the waste outlet.

4  When the tank is full if you keep pumping the black water will come out the air vent along with any solids, until that too blocks.

4  If you continue to use the toilet pump, even with a dry bowl, you will pressurise the tank.

5   If the tank is pressurised and you take the lid off you will wear the contents of the first ¼ of the tank.

6  Sailing is the most fun you can have with your clothes on.

7  Exide AGM batteries are not as good as you may think, but that’s another story.



Impavidus: 2015 Bavaria Cruiser 37. 


Anthony Kirkby (Vice Commodore BOA)     

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