I am super excited to have been nominated for a Leibster Award by my cyber friends Ellen & Scott who write a blog The Cynical Sailor & His Salty Sidekick.
As a relatively new blogger, I was super excited to win an award like this, especially to have been nominated by Ellen who writes a fabulous blog which I love to read. The reason for the award is as follows:
A blog is “nominated” for this “award” by other bloggers. It is a bit like a chain letter, except that the idea is to allow a blogger to introduce or recognize a fellow blogger’s work. So, being nominated is a bit of an honor…or at least an indication that someone else likes your work.
So yay! Thanks Ellen!
Part of accepting the award is to answer some questions posed – so here are the answers and a bit more information about us.
1. Introduce us to your crew – who are they and what roles do they play in your operation?
Well firstly there is me! Viki – a keen sailor with a dream to sail around the world once I have saved up enough money and my son is able to cook dinners for himself.
Then there is Andrew – my partner in crime and fellow keen sailor who thankfully for me is also keen to fulfil this dream, and is also a damn good bow-man. I always wanted a rockstar bowman boyfriend and now I’ve got one!
We are currently race and cruise around Lyttelton Harbour in the South Island of New Zealand and we have a great crew who love to come out cruising and racing with us too!
We have got the lovely Naomi, who is very well known for her pet dolphin Spot, her ability to see whales, UFO’s and other interesting things that no one else ever gets to see, and her most excellent mulled wine, which we all love to drink on the winter series races.
Camilla is our on board geotechnical engineer, jewellery and quiche making expert. Camilla is also a keen blo-karter, and we sometimes get to go for a hoon in her blo-kart around an old airfield – lots of fun!
Justin has been a crew member for many years and is a former boat builder, whose skills come in mighty handy, particularly when there is fibreglassing to be done!
Jon has bought himself a trailer yacht, but still likes to come out sailing with us because he really enjoys our supportive and constructive comments on his love life. He also loves conspiracies, and is a particular non-believer in the moon landings.
Ken is up for anything, give him a rope and he will pull that thing until you tell him to stop. He loves mid-winter swimming, and is up for any challenge and party that comes along.
Kelly is a builder, and comes in particularly handy when tools and technical assistance is required. He loves to be out on, in or under the water in any way shape or form!
Vic sails with us, but is also known to sail with other people as well… we aren’t exclusive…! she had a yacht the same as mine a few years ago and she used to get me in to all sorts of trouble when we got mixed up…!
We nearly lost the lovely Lauren overboard on the first time when she came out, however she still comes back, so it can’t have been that bad. Lauren makes up the American person in our United Nations of crew members.
There are many more people who come and go, but the thing I love most about my wonderful crew is that they are always up for anything. Be it a party, a mid-winter swim, helping in the haulout yard, racing each week or cruising up and down the coast. I am pretty sure it is the beer on board that keeps them coming back – however they are usually the ones who bring the beer so perhaps there is some other reason. Either way I love them to bits.
2. What sort of boat do you have and would you recommend it for other adventurers hoping to live aboard? What do you like the least about your choice?
Currently we have got a Young 88 – called Wildwood. She is a wonderful yacht. She was built in 1985 and was one of about 150 ish boats built in this design in New Zealand. There are lots still around and they are great cruising and racing yachts. Being 30′ long, she is spacious inside and can sleep up to 9 people at an absolute squash in five berths. There is a small galley, a head and a huge fridge for all the beer.
I have owned her for the last eleven years, but we are hoping to get something a bit bigger for when we live aboard. Probably something around 38′ – so small enough for us to handle and manoeuvre as a couple or on our own if the other one is asleep etc, but big enough to have all our friends and family to come and visit!
We really like the Jeanneau Sun Odyssey but we are still shopping around at the moment.
Here is the beautiful Wildwood – who has just had a lovely new boat wrap job done!
3. What are your sailing plans, if you have any, for the future?
For the next few years we are planning on continuing to sail Wildwood around the South Island of New Zealand – Lyttelton, Banks Peninsula, up to the Marlborough Sounds and down to Stewart Island and hopefully Fiordland too.
Once we have saved up enough money, the plan is to buy the bigger yacht in the Mediterranean and cruise around there for a few years, up through the French Canals, the Baltic, UK, Ireland etc, perhaps Greenland, over to Canada/New England, down the coast or ICW, then the Caribbean, through the Panama Canal, perhaps then up to Alaska or down to Patagonia, across the Pacific, catch up with everyone in New Zealand again for a bit, then some more Pacific, Asia perhaps, maybe even over to India, Africa etc – we will just have to see how we go. But the plan will be to see as much of this incredible planet as we possibly can!
4. How do you support your lifestyle while sailing and cruising?
Well at this stage, we are both working full time, and madly saving and paying off mortgages etc. I have a few rental properties which I am hoping to have paid off and will ultimately then provide a nice passive income while we are away.
We have also started learning about the share market, so with any luck that might also be a source of income, and we are both pretty adaptable people, and if we need to we might try and pick up work along the way when it suits.
5. What’s the best experience you’ve had while living aboard?
While we don’t technically live aboard at the moment, we do spend as much time as we can on the boat. There are so many best experiences it is hard to narrow it down to just one. But special times are seeing the sun rise or sun set over the water, the sense of achievement after a long delivery trip up the coast, the time alone on watch at night when you can see so many stars that you can’t believe your eyes, and spending fun times with the crew, drinking beer and listening to music as we sail along, visiting places that you can’t get to by road – all just magic!
6. Name the most challenging experience you have had while living aboard and what did you do to overcome it?
Ellen mentioned this in her answer and I think mine is the same – the weather and the sea is the greatest challenge. Spending a week on board with three kids in a confined area in the rain is one way of defining ‘challenging’. So is navigating Tory Channel’s notorious tidal steam – against the current, with your motor at full revs, dodging rocks and only just making headway – that added to the collection of grey hairs sprouting on my head!
I have got a great respect for the sea, and have had my butt kicked by it on a number of occasions – if you try to think of the situations that may arise in advance, and ensure you are as best prepared – mentally and boat wise, then I think that is the only way to overcome the challenges. After all it would be so easy to stay at home wrapped up in cotton wool – or you can accept that there as with all amazing things, there are going to be some challenges – so get out there and get amongst it!
7. Is living aboard and sailing an alternative way of life for you, an escape from the system, or is it just a temporary adventure?
I am hoping that it will be a way of life for us, but at the moment we have to make do with short adventures while we save and do the responsible parenting thing! I love Ellen’s quote in her answer – What are you earning money for – stuff you don’t really want or need or freedom to enjoy life?
8. Any big mistakes you have learned from that others may learn from too?
I think you can read as much as you want, listen to as much advice as you can, plan and prepare, but at the end of the day, making mistakes is the best way to learn – and you are going to make them! I have had more than my share – starting with the day that I got Wildwood, she was unloaded off the ship and in to the water and I then promptly got a rope wrapped around the propeller and then lost the dinghy as I hadn’t tied it on properly. It was the middle of the night in the middle of winter and we were technically stuck. (lesson you can learn from this is – don’t get ropes round the prop, tie the dinghy on properly, have a knife on board, and you can skull a yacht with the tiller around a marina to retrieve the dinghy if it isn’t very windy)
Other mistakes I have made – failing to check that we had enough diesel for a trip home and running out of fuel, reattaching the battery terminals incorrectly, nearly starting a fire, and ruining the alternator, getting stuck on a rock in front of the yacht club and having to be towed off by the top of the mast in front of everyone… I am sure there are more…!
9. What advice would you give to those that may be interested in following in your footsteps and living aboard and/or cruising?
For starters – learn to sail! Meet as many people as possible who are sailors, learn as much as you possibly can – do all the Coastguard or RYA courses you can get your hands on, read people’s blogs, buy a yacht and then sail off in to the sunset! Easy!
10. What motivates you to blog and what tips can you offer fellow bloggers?
Initially I started my blog as a place to store all the bits of valuable information I had cut out of magazines, read online, heard at the yacht club etc. Then I somehow got a few followers who seemed to like what I was writing, and now I have got about 900 odd people following! I am really enjoying writing and documenting our plans and current adventures. I am hoping it will also be a useful resource for other people.
My advice for fellow future bloggers is to start early before you start travelling, as there is lots to learn. Also make sure you have also got a Facebook page or a way for people to follow – I get frustrated when I find a blog I want to follow, but there is no easy way to do so via Social Media or whatever!
So there you have it! Thanks again Ellen for nominating me! I would now like to nominate a few of the other blogs that I follow and enjoy – they are:
SY Sophia – My friends Phil and Astrid from Lyttelton and their adventures around the Pacific and Asia
Noel & Jackie’s Journeys – currently cruising the French canals
Gone Floatabout – Ellen & Seth who are currently adventuring towards the North West Passage – awesome blog!
Cygnus III – Mark writes a hilarious blog about his adventures at sea.
If you see your blog listed above, just follow these simple rules to accept your own Liebster Award:
- Refer back to the blog that you nominated you
- Answer questions posed by the nominator (same ones as above)
- Nominate other blogs you believe are worthwhile