Weather Bombs And Marina Living
We’ve now been in the marina for nearly 2 months and Gleda is no longer a sail boat, she’s now a houseboat and not a particularly good one, she’s out of her element and so am I, but that’s how it has to be for now and I’m finally getting used to the idea.
First off though thanks for all the comments on my last post, I’m really grateful to you all for taking the time to send your thoughts and ideas. I’ve considered all of them and it’s only right that I too take some time to answer individually;
Roger – Thank you for your words of encouragement, I’m not sure I deserve them but they provided their own particular kind of warmth.
Jacques – As always your words are wise and welcome. I’ve seen that Southern France has been suffering from crazy weather and I hope you and yours came through OK. I remember you suffering from the epoxy allergy before, that sucks, I can only wish that it clears up quickly and that work on your strengthened mast case is completed in time for Spring. I’m thinking there is a strong possibility that Gleda and Pilgrim could sail in company sometime this Summer, how cool would that be eh?
Ifor – I know you’ve been through the mill and I’m full of admiration for your progress, good luck with the next stages and I look forward to hearing that she’s out of the shed.
Andy – I feel bad when folks need to remind me that I’m already somewhere that others are fighting to get to, it’s a fault of mine that I can sometimes focus on the negative aspects of life whilst at the same time ignoring the positives. I could blame the SAD affliction I’m sure I suffer from but be assured, I still love the life I’m leading right now and I’m super excited for what’s to come. With regard to your suggestions about condensation control, the 12v fan is an interesting one and I may yet try it but I’ve decided against de-humidifiers, The good ones are still expensive both to buy and to run and I simply can’t afford it.
Budge – Brilliant suggestions from someone who’s been there and got the T-shirt, thanks. I don’t know why I didn’t think of an electric blanket before, we’ve now got one on top of the mattress and it’s brilliant, what a difference it makes getting into a pre-warmed bed. So far the winter grade duvet is keeping us toasty whilst asleep but if temperatures really start to fall then I won’t hesitate to add another one. I did research rocket stoves and yes i’m sure I could probably knock one up but our little fan heaters are doing OK whilst we’re plugged into shore power so I’ll hold off hacking holes in my coachroofs for now. Will try the firebricks in the oven later though.
Simon – We tried the nested flowerpots/nightlights jobby and it did work fairly well a few months back but now the temperatures have fallen we just can’t get enough heat out of it. As mentioned above warmth in bed isn’t an issue so no need for sleeping bags yet.
Ed – Thanks for the thought, really appreciated it.
Alan – Interesting, didn’t know that some free lekky might have been available. Too late for this year but filed for the future, thanks.
Jon – As said to Simon, it worked just not that well and I certainly wouldn’t use them at sea!
Philip – There’s a boat just down from us with a little charcoal burner in the cabin, I walk past in the evening and there’s always a little bit of gorgeous smelling smoke drifting out of the slim shiny stainless chimney, I’m very jealous. If Gleda was staying in Northern climes I’d find a way to buy and fit one of these or the ones you suggested but their as rare as rocking horse crap secondhand and I haven’t got thousands to spend so I’ll just have to carry on fantasising. As for planning that first cruise it’s already done. Biscay will be crossed this Spring.
So as I said in my intro, I’m slowly getting used to our new home, Falmouth marina is in a good location, we’re pretty sheltered from the worst winds and quite a long way up the Penryn river so sea state is not an issue, we’ve had cause to be grateful for that already and will be again, tonight without doubt and before the Winter is out I’m sure, I’ll say more on that in a minute.
The marina has all the facilities you’d expect and we’ve now got used to not having to think about getting showers, doing laundry, finding water, ditching gash (sorry…. disposing of rubbish) etc. We have two large supermarkets less that 10 minutes walk away and the towns of Falmouth and Penryn are each about 20 minutes walk. There are chandlers, sailmakers and every other trade we could possibly need close at hand. We couldn’t be in a better place anywhere in the UK.
Having accepted that Gleda isn’t moving anywhere for a few months I’ve spent time making her as comfortable as I can. I managed to rig a WiFi aerial in the starboard side shrouds so that I can get a reasonable connection aboard, Gail bought a little TV and consequently there’s now an aerial hanging in the port side shrouds. We have a couple of small tube heaters and a couple of small fan heaters that run on thermostats that keep the cabins warm and we’ve found that leaving one on low in our sleeping cabin overnight seems to reduce the condensation a little.
I’ve experimented with foil and polystyrene, closed cell foam and cork tiles as cabin lining to try and provide some insulation and cut down on condensation but to be honest none of them have made any real difference. It’s an almost impossible job to do properly whilst we’re on board and I’m not going to waste time and money for the sake of a few months hardship. I spent a long time researching the subject and it seems the only product worth using is something called ‘Armourflex’. It’s on the wish list but a ways down. We’ve painted the worst mould areas with anti-mould paint which at least keeps things fresh and there are other areas that need doing now as well but unless things get silly over Winter I think we’re going to be OK as we are, we’ve adapted, and even as I sit here in a cold hull typing in two sweaters my big coat and a woolly hat it actually seem quite normal. Mind you Gail is over in the other hull watching TV with the fan heater on!
Gail is looking for work but without any success so far and as for me, well as I hinted in my last post I’ve had to remind myself that I’m now unemployable, at least in any ‘normal’ line of work, I’m cool with that now it just took me a while to get my head around the fact that the old templates don’t fit me anymore and that I have to completely re-think how I should be approaching this new life as a boat gypsy. I came to the conclusion that as we’re scraping along financially there wasn’t in fact any desperate need for me to do anything about getting in extra money now. If I did we might well have a bit more cash but it’d get spent just the same and I’d be pissed with myself for selling out as a result. That led me to think more about how I wanted to spend my time and the conclusion I came to was that I wanted to write.
Now I’m not saying I’m any good at it and I’d be very surprised if I can earn any money doing it but that doesn’t matter. That’s what this project has been about from the start, building a boat was the means to an end and the end is living the life I want to lead without any restriction. So for a month now I’ve been a writer, I’ve sat my ass down in coffee shops, my navigation desk, and yes, even the occasional pub and I’ve written. I set targets and I work towards them, I try to be a pro. It’s hard and I’ve faltered but right now I’m drawing towards the end of the first draft of a book about my adventures on ‘Mor Gwas’. I’m up to 44,000 words, it’s more than I’ve ever written in my life. The working title is ‘A Foolish Voyage’ and it’s my intention to self-publish early in the New Year, will anyone buy it? Will anyone like it? I have no idea, but just seeing a book ‘wot I rote’ out there will be a buzz and who knows it might be the start of something.
Next time I’ll tell you more about the Winter boat projects I’ve got lined up, self-steering for one…. fun!
Oh and finally back to the weather, this week the media has been full of stories about the ‘weather bomb’ heading across the Atlantic set to wreak mayhem on these fair isles.
Where this phrase came from I have no idea, we had mega-storms last Winter but I never heard mention of any ‘weather bombs’ but apparently it can be defined as an intense low pressure system with a central pressure that falls 24 millibars in a 24-hour period in meteorological terminology it’s called and explosive cyclogenesis, I like that better. Anyway the storm battered the coasts of Scotland and Ireland yesterday and we’re due to get a taste tonight. As is usual during these event the press can easily go into overdrive with hyperbole but there’s no doubt that what happened up North yesterday was exceptional. There is a network of weather buoys surrounding the UK, one of which is situated in the North Atlantic West of the Hebrides. Yesterday at 06:30 it reported ’Significant Wave Height’ of 15.87m (52ft) with an average wave period of 13.9 seconds. That’s downright frightening, the picture below gives you an idea of how big those waves would be if they were a woman straddling a flyover!
Joking apart though these waves were at the time the biggest anywhere on the planet as this screenshot shows, I’ll not be complaining about being tied up in a marina tonight.