Monday 8 September 2014

Living the Dream

Sailing around the Mediterranean on our beautiful boat, not a care in the world; a number of people have commented that we are ‘living the dream’. And so we are, but this phrase has developed a new meaning on Juno. I don’t expect any sympathy from those who are reading this standing on a commuter train, but life on a boat isn’t always as you might imagine.

I think the hardest thing to adapt to, is always being on the move. We all like the familiarity and stability of returning home after a difficult day.  It allows us to relax, in a secure and safe environment, and although we might hanker for a more exotic life from our base in the home counties, there are many attractions of a stable home life: a trip to the pub for supper to meet friends, a walk through the woods with the dogs, even sitting down to watch the TV on a Sunday evening. I think that the impression of a life on a yacht is of beautiful anchorages, calm seas and gentle sails, visiting new places and experiences. All this is true, but in practice, the realities are much tougher.

First, the boat. Lovely though Juno is, she is a complicated machine and things do go wrong – quite often. Even something as simple as the washing machine pump, or the solenoid that controls the loo flush, or the hatch hinge that won’t stay open.  Then there are more serious matters such as a bow thruster switch that locks on port just as we are docking, the primary winch that packs up on a windy evening off the island of Ischia, or the black smoke pouring from the engine room in the middle of the night off Cadiz. All these things get fixed but I can’t just call a plumber or a mechanic, so mostly it gets fixed by me, with the invaluable support of the Oyster customer support team.  Everything goes on a list, some times the list is short, but at the moment, with the World ARC in prospect the list is alarmingly long.

Then there is the daily business of finding somewhere to spend the night; something we take for granted at home but on a boat it’s a daily issue. Marinas in the Mediterranean summer are painfully expensive, never less than 150 Euros per night just for a patch of water, with power and water sometimes included, but sometimes not. The wifi is inexplicably useless in every marina – how hard can it be? - and we rely heavily on the internet for emails, weather forecasts and for booking the next marina somewhere along our route. We much prefer to anchor but its not easy to find an anchorage in the Med where the wind is fickle and the swell is persistent, working its way around headlands and into even the most sheltered bays. Every afternoon as the land heats up an onshore wind develops and suddenly the sheltered anchorage becomes untenable until darkness falls and the wind dies.  

And of course the most important aspect of living on a boat is who we are living with. Ones relationship with ones partner is very intense: twenty four hours per day, seven days per week with no let up. No chance for Fatty to nip out for lunch with a friend, no opportunity for me to spend a day in London on business or to have a sharpener with Harry at the pub. Most of the time it’s great; in fact better than at home once we get used to each other, but when its bad – its horrid because there is no escape.

So now when I have my head in the bilges trying to repair a recalcitrant float switch, or when Fatty is trying to make supper while Juno rolls from side to side in a heavy swell, we sometimes glare at each other and say ‘Living the dream’. 


  1. Ah Paul

    How I relate to every word in your latest blog!

    Currently 'living the dream' comfortable in Marina Grande, Prochida.



  2. Hail Frew! Get that head back in the bilges, I would - I'll let you know when the coast is clear!

  3. I chuckled when I read this one. I know it so well. Could be worse - you could be "living the dream / nightmare in Arbroath". Get down the florist / shoe shop / chandlers (delete where appropriate!). Gill and Lisa xxx