I chatted to friends about this when I was back in the UK in June. Living the kind of life we have currently chosen doesn’t remove frustrations or worries. They just become different ones. Okay, we don’t have to concern ourselves with getting the bins out on Monday night for a Tuesday morning collection or having to be home between 8am and 6pm to receive a parcel that might arrive today or not.

Our current frustration is that of the metric v imperial reality. In many ways the US and UK are similar and in others so so different. We use gas on the boat to cook. We currently have 3 small Camping Gaz cylinders that fit into a treasure chest style locker on the foredeck of the boat. They have metric fittings. Furthermore we cannot get them refilled in the US as the gas of choice here is propane and Camping Gaz contains butane. In the Caribbean getting them refilled was a piece of cake…. Nobody was at all bothered about what substance went into what tank.

So we seem to have spent several hours (well Dave has to be strictly accurate here) researching propane bottle sizes and fittings. We now have one bottle that fits size wise but the attachments are imperial and not metric. The guy in the hardware store did his best to sort us out but it was a case of ‘nice try, no banana’. We probably have about a week’s supply of gas left before we run out completely. The prospect of no tea will resonate with some of you.

Anyway, to conclude what is turning into a slightly dull story here, we have an adaptor on order, plus another propane bottle and in a few days we should be sorted.

On a much more exciting and less domestic note, we are now in Maine. It’s a bit like Scotland, just much warmer! Although it does rain and the fog can roll in. The scenery is delightful….a mix of deciduous and coniferous trees, hills with views over the sea, trails to walk and bike, granite rocks to climb, inlets and islands to explore and so so many lobster pots to avoid, especially when motoring. We thought Portugal had plenty of pots. Forget it. There are forests of the things everywhere waiting to snag your propellor if you’re unlucky. Blighters.

We bought a year’s pass to the National Park which allows you be the park legitimately but also gives access to a plethora of free buses which crisscross the area. Hop on a bus, travel to the start of your trail, walk the trail and hop on another bus home. So civilised. There are also about 50 miles of carriage roads that were prepared at the beginning of the 20th century which are traffic free and great for cycling.

We spent yesterday anchored in a cove near the village of Winter Harbour and explored the Schoonic Peninsula. We picked wild blueberries and saw a Bald Eagle. Not at the same time.

New England Fogginess

Best made plans and all that. Today was dedicated as a non chores / work day. We’re in Providencetown on the very end of Cape Cod. Or P Town to give it its local name. At present we can see about 100m through the fog. I think we’d need a compass to safely get to the end of the pier to tie up the dinghy. Our bike hire plans are on hold and while I tippy tap away here, Dave is assuming a horizontal position reading and drinking coffee.

P Town seems to garner fame for three reasons.
1. The Mayflower landed here in 1620 with the Pilgrims aboard who later settled nearby
2. There’s a strong artistic presence with lots of galleries and theatres
3. Summer brings holidaymakers swelling the population from 3,000 up to 60,000, the town being a big draw for the gay community

People watching is the main activity on the high street here, with a scattering of attention seeking individuals hanging out. The vibe is buzzy, properties are classic clapperboard and there’s plenty of disposable cash dripping around the place. I like it.

It’s a complete contrast to Cuttyhunk our last port of call. Think Alderney or the Isles of Scilly, a delightful throwback to a previous era. Very few cars, mostly golf carts provide transport otherwise you can walk the whole island in a few hours. We sailed in on a foul evening in heavy rain and while looking to pick up a mooring buoy, ran aground in the mud. What to do….well we are British. Kettle on, tea, wait for the tide to rise. A couple of kind folk came over to help us as the tide rose and we spun the boat around to pick up a mooring. We’d provided some evening entertainment for the onlooking audience. Always good to take your turn.

The fog did lift…here’s a few photos of our walk around the headland.



Tracking Update


We have turned our tracking off for the time being. Almost all of our sailing in the next few months will be coastal so we’ve invested in an American Mobile Phone instead and turned off our sat phone / tracking. So apologies, no red dot to watch for a while ….we’ll be operating in stealth mode instead.




When I contemplate the All American Diner the picture that comes into my head vividly is the one Michael J Fox frequents in Back to the Future, interestingly (to some perhaps) one of my top ten favourite films.

The diner should have a checkered floor, red shiny bench seats plus counter stools too while black and chrome are the only two other colours allowed for any additional furniture or décor. There should be plenty of staff visible to the customers as the preparation area is in full view to all. The menu should be limited to predominantly breakfast items and the diner will shut at 3pm as most of the trade happens at 8am when locals pile in on their to work.

We found such a place in Newport, a local’s hideaway away from the tourist throng. It felt good to know such a place existed and wasn’t just a figment of my imagination. Dave had found the place while I’d been back in the UK and the owner recognised him as we paid up. “How many times do you need to visit to become a local?” Dave asked. “Just once” was the reply. Guess that exceeded my expectations.

Today we had a truly leisurely sail of about 10 miles up to Bristol. The winds were light when be pulled up the hook, maybe 8 knots but we sailed all the way enjoying the scenery and the change of pace. This area is renowned for its sailing history and there are boats everywhere. Motoring would be bad form; sail it properly and feel a bit smug as other yachts motor past not making the effort to work with the light conditions today. Or maybe we just had more time!

Bristol has a museum dedicated to one particular family, more specifically two boat building brothers who designed yachts, some used for the America’s Cup in the early twentieth century. The main designer, was actually blinded by cataracts at the age of 15 but that didn’t stop him having a prolific career.

The best ‘spy’ of our day was by Dave. As we were sailing along he scanned the horizon with the binoculars spotting Airforce One on a runway parallel to the stretch of water we were heading up. Guess it must have been an airforce base but look as we might, no sign of an orange top or tango skin luminescing in the distance. Can’t say we were too disappointed.





Hello US of A

‘Bout time the radio silence ended. My three week trip to the UK is history. The boat has been safely anchored in Newport Rhode Island for a couple of weeks whilst I clocked up work, friends and family mileage around the UK. My schedule felt a bit like military manoeuvres at times. I got to see loads of folk and enjoyed the company of everyone. It was great to catch up face to face, eat some good food, have the odd glass of wine and share some laughs. Inevitably I didn’t get to see everyone… time I hope. I earned a bit of cash too which the boat will gobble up hungrily.

Dave hired a car and came to pick me up in New York. Having someone meet you at the airport after time apart always feels such a joy and I did have a tear in my eye. Softie. We’ve spent a year living in each other’s pockets so three weeks apart felt like a long time.

The hire car was a swanky Mercedes SUV bursting with gadgets and features. It still wasn’t able to teleport us back to Newport instantly and by the time we’d driven for 3.5 hours and tendered out to the boat, I’d been travelling for the best part of 24 hours.

Waking up to a new day brought torrential rain and fog. I’d left a bit of a heat wave in the UK for dampness and miserableness. Hmmm. I also felt a bit under the weather, probably just run down from a non stop itinerary and having to share ‘bugs’ on the plane. Today however, the sun is out, we’re off to a kite festival this afternoon and having people over for dinner tonight. And they’ll be able to have chilled drinks and ice as Dave has reconfigured the fridge and we now have a FREEZER too! It’s been a fiddly job that’s taken many hours but will make a massive difference to how we shop, cook and fish.

The downside, if indeed it is one in my opinion, is that the freezer uses more amps so sticking some solar panels on the boat is now more of a priority. Hence my earlier comment about the boat gobbling up money.

There’s some money around Newport. Several of the properties are linked to the Vanderbilt family who were worth $100m in the 1880’s. They made their money in transportation, firstly carriages and then railways. There was lots of ‘keeping up with the Jones’s’ behaviour. One family member would build a house then another would trump that property with a bigger more ostentatious one. Larry Ellison of Oracle fame, is building a property here to house his 18th and 19th century art work. We were informed the building work has overrun by several years and blown the original budget out of the park. So somethings would appear not to change in Newport.

The town also has a renowned boat building school. There was a big fund raising event happening last night where they expected to raise $1 million. So the site was closed to the public but a great lady called Frances who runs the museum insisted on showing us around their project of restoring a boat called Coronet on discovering we’d come from England. The oak is coming from Sweden and one man is funding the whole project. It’s employing many shipwrights from around the world plus all the apprentices who get to work on the job too. It’s going to take several years and will be stunning once finished as all the original oak panelled walls and furniture will go back in once the hull and deck is sorted.

It will be good to get moving again. Maine is calling.