We want to help you

live your dream

In the last six years of living aboard and sailing around the world we have learnt one or two things. Mainly how to do it wrong. Hopefully we can help you to live your dream the right way with these FAQ.

We had so many questions

Over five years ago we sold everything to buy Cygnus III and to sail around the world. Even before she became part of our family we had so many questions and worries but we didn’t know where to get the answers.

Along the way we have made plenty of mistakes but we are still here to tell the story and help you get it right. If you have any questions at all, no matter how trivial they seem, we are here to try and help.

Swan

Most cruising people who live aboard boats keep a very closely guarded secret. They may be living the dream but they are also learning something new each day. It is a wonderful existence but every one of us never feels we know enough. There is always the need ask questions and learn more.

Being a live aboard on our boat is perfectly natural but to others we are somewhat of a curiosity. A bit like “road kill”.

Those not used to this life are usually a little apprehensive about asking questions but once they start they tend to get on a bit of a roll.

We are more than happy to answer any questions about our lifestyle and help anyone else with dreams of their own.

If there is anything more you want to know just send us a message.

FAQ

These are some of the questions we get asked more than any others but please feel free to send us a private message. We will be more than please to try and help with anything.

Do you actually live aboard your boat all the time?

Yes. Since we sold our house we have nowhere else to live. Cygnus is our home and anything we could have done there we can do on our boat.

I have to say we do have a few problems when it comes to growing trees and a lawn as we don’t have space for a mower. On the other hand we have the biggest swimming pool and aquarium in the world.

Where are you going to be in a weeks/ months time?

It is something we are always asked but it is so difficult to answer.

Since leaving the UK we have never had any plans on where we are going. A lot of the places we have visited we had never heard of before we ended up there. If we like a somewhere we stay for a while but if we don’t we move on. Try doing that in a house!

We are also very dependant on the weather. We can sail in most conditions but obviously prefer to sail in calm sunny weather. What we now think of as good sailing weather would have scarred us to death a couple of years ago but it is all about getting to know your boat and yourselves.

So in short we don’t even know where we will be tomorrow let alone a months time but if we have arranged to meet someone we will try our best to get there.

 

What do you do at night when you live aboard?

I remember once being asked if we anchored when it got dark. This is often difficult when you are in 4000m of water and you only have 60m of anchor chain.

It really depends on where we are. I personally love sailing at night. If we are out sailing we take it in turns at sleeping and taking watch. We do have a lot of electronics aboard that will steer the boat, tell us when other boats are close by and show us exactly where we are. We don’t have any form of headlights as they would be a waste of time in the blackness of the sea. There is nothing better in this world than sailing during the night when you are away from light pollution. There are literally millions of stars out there, a phosphorescent glow  from the wake behind the boat and only the sound of the wind on the sails and sea under you. Often you will get dolphins playing under your boat. It is truly one of life’s magical moments.

When we are not sailing we will usually be found at anchor in a bay or if it is winter we will be in a marina. We do have power on the boat and enough films on hard drives to keep us going for years. Often we will take the dinghy into town or just mellow out doing our own thing. One thing we do find is that there is never enough hours in the day to do everything we want.

Does it get cold living aboard a boat?

Most boats will have some form of heating. Some run off diesel, others use batteries and there are stoves that burn anything.

Since we have been in the Mediterranean we rarely need the heating as the boat is very well insulated and the sea is often warmer than the air outside.

The biggest problem we have in winter is condensation with the cold air outside and us warm and snug inside. A dehumidifier is a must.

For us we have the opposite problem. Keeping cool during the summer. We do have air conditioning but there are also a few tips and tricks we have learnt on the way. Besides, can you imagine anything better than just being able to jump into crystal clear water any time you want.

What do you do about going to the toilet on a boat?

For people who live aboard their boats or yachts the subject of toilets always comes up.

We have two toilets and showers aboard, three if you count the shower on the stern (back) for when you have been swimming. Both toilets have to be pumped by hand (we did have an electric one but it set on fire). The toilets suck sea water in and then it pumps them into a large tanks so we can take it all with us. When we are well off the coast we can literally “dump” it all in the sea. The fish love it. (I thought I would say that in case you are having a fish supper).

If we are in a marina they usually have the facilities in place to pump it out and dispose of it.

The trouble with toilets on boats is that the sea water used to flush the system causes the pipes to gradually fur up. This means that you have to dismantle everything and install new pipes. Not a pleasant job but get used to it.

The biggest problem we have with toilets is caused by “guests”. They never know how to use them and no matter how many times you tell them not to put anything down them that has not first passed through the body they still do. One of our toilet (heads) is currently out of use waiting for me to dismantle it after the last guest blocked it with face wipes…well I hope it was face wipes!

What are your biggest concerns about your lifestyle?

Humans need to worry so there is always something new that concerns you.

All of the problems we had with houses and jobs have vaporised so we have to worry about something else.

When we set off we were going into the unknown so I worried about my sailing skills, the boat, being abroad and numerous other things. Angelina worried about not feeling needed, missing her family and friends and what she would do. All these problems have been overcome so we have to find others to think about.

At the moment we are so content we don’t want to give this live aboard life up. We know that one day we will have to move back ashore for one reason or another and we worry if we will be happy or could cope with it. We have even talked about living on a canal boat but that is all in the future.

One concern we always have is family and getting back to them if something goes wrong. With so many airports and cheap flights we now realise we can be there in hours.

The one concern we have always had is money. We do live on a very tight budget but there is little we can do about that so why worry.

What do you do if really bad weather is forecast?

The internet and boat radio are excellent for getting regular weather updates. When we are sailing it becomes a preoccupation not just for bad weather but for winds and sea state.

The more we have sailed on our boat the more faith we have in her and ourselves. This summer we had a guest aboard who was really worried by high the waves were. To us we knew we could cope easily but two years ago we would never have left the marina.

We have been caught several times in unexpected bad weather and were bounced up and down more than a kangaroos testicles but we are still hear to tell the tale. At the time we were pretty scared and talked a lot to the boat promising her all sorts if she looked after us. Cygnus always has and I always keep my promises to her.

Of course if bad weather is forecast we will look to see if we can shelter in a bay or get out the way. If we have no choice the best place to be is often at sea,

We are pretty lucky in that none of us get sea sick… if you do try ginger..it is the best thing for it.

What do you do in winter when you cannot sail?

Each winter we book into a marina for several months. The prices are very cheap compared to summer.

It may be surprising but there are a lot of people out there of differing nationalities that live on their boat. We all tend to go to the same marinas over winter and have our own community.We have a radio net each morning to say what is going on and make sure no one has any problems. We have writing clubs, music clubs, exercise clubs, film nights, excursions out, and general drinking nights to name just a few activities.

There is a lot of drinking and meals on others boats when you learn so much about the lives of people from other countries and who can drink the most!

It is hard to find time to yourself sometimes but I have started my own yoga class. There is only me in it, it takes place in my bed and consists of occasionally moving from side to side with your eyes closed. I say it is spiritual but other may class it as sleep.

What do you do if you get sick when you are abroad?

I have to say that since we took up the live aboard lifestyle on our boat we have become far less prone to being sick. I don’t know if it is being in the fresh air more, a healthier diet or more exercise but whatever it is it seems to work.

If we do get sick we can always visit the doctor or dentist who will usually speak English.

Of all the countries we have visited we have found the health care is on par or better than in the UK. The dentists are usually far cheaper, more modern and it is quiet easy to see one.

How much does it cost to live on a boat?

Probably the most frequently asked question and the hardest to answer.

There are so many variables involved and to a certain extent it depends on your budget.

A smaller boat will be cheaper on maintenance, fuel and marinas. It will also usually be cheaper to buy in the first place.

We spent most of last year anchoring rather than going into marinas which saved us a large fortune. We don’t use restaurants preferring to cook local produce on the boat. We walk a lot and use the excellent and cheap buses to spend days out sight seeing.

We do have to constantly try and balance the books but being able to live this lifestyle on one of the best live aboard boats makes it all worth while.