cir­cum­nav­i­ga­tiOn facts and fig­ures

Practical Boat Owner - - Cruising -

The en­gine

Men­tor cruised at 11 knots at 1,400rpm with two 300hp Ford Mer­maid en­gines, achiev­ing two miles per gal­lon. We had a gen­er­a­tor too, which we’d run for an hour to keep the bat­ter­ies topped up if we were at an­chor. The big­gest con­sump­tion was our 24V fridge. When it died on us, we re­alised just how much bat­tery power it had been draw­ing. Hav­ing big wa­ter tanks and fuel tanks (2,500lt) gave us a lot of free­dom. We re­fu­elled only four times on the voy­age and only ever used one tank of wa­ter.

Boat owner’s bible

We re­ally liked the prac­ti­cal chal­lenges. Joe’s very elec­tri­cal minded. His bible was Nigel Calder’s Boa­town­ers Me­chan­i­cal and Elec­tri­cal Man­ual. He read it ev­ery night. What­ever went wrong, we could look it up and the book would help us fix it. Often boat­yards had wait­ing times of two weeks or more, so when some­thing broke we learned to fix it our­selves. That was re­ally sat­is­fy­ing.

Food

We went a month with­out a fridge. This forced us to use tinned pro­vi­sions more and ex­plore dif­fer­ent towns each day, even if they were an hour’s walk away from the an­chor­age. In the He­brides we had to think ‘OK, this will be a week – we need longlife milk, tins, and wa­ter.’ Some of our reg­u­lar meals were chilli, spaghetti bolog­naise and veg­etable curry where we could throw in any­thing.

Gear

We had radar and a Navion­ics Plat­inum chart­plot­ter with the lat­est elec­tronic charts. As well as this, we bought all of the Ad­mi­ralty fo­lios. It cost about £700 for all the charts and ti­dal at­lases but if we had elec­tri­cal fail­ure at least we would know where we were. We also bought a new EPIRB. Ev­ery morn­ing we’d look at the chart and pas­sage plan for the day, not­ing haz­ards and also an­chor­age op­tions

Pre-voy­age checks

How­ever good a buyer’s sur­vey is, it’s not un­til you sail a boat that you re­alise there are still some sur­prises. We spent a week bring­ing Men­tor back to life. The bilge pump float switches weren’t work­ing, and the first time we used the toi­let the mo­tor packed in. The wa­ter pump broke, as did the aux­il­iary bilge pump, which we took apart and ser­viced. We also had to re­place cor­roded wiring. The blad­der in the wa­ter tank was leak­ing. It held it for a while, then de­posited 400 litres of fresh wa­ter in the bilges.

Safety kit

Each day Joe called the Coast­guard to let them know our pas­sage plan, and to in­form them there were two kitesurfers in the wa­ter. On our per­son we each had a PLB and VHF ra­dio. We went through four al­to­gether! They didn’t work well in the swells. Blue­tooth head­sets were our pri­mary means of com­mu­ni­ca­tion. It was im­por­tant that Joe knew where we were at all times. If he was los­ing sight of us or we were out of range he’d call us to slow down.

Broad­band

Skomer was only one place on the en­tire voy­age that we didn’t have any mo­bile, VHF or In­ter­net re­cep­tion. For the rest of the voy­age, we used 200GB of mo­bile broad­band a month (£60), us­ing an aerial on Men­tor. We needed this to keep our friends, fam­ily and spon­sors up­dated on so­cial me­dia. For weather, we used the Windy app most of the trip. All the apps you’d nor­mally use – such as XC Weather or Wind Guru – give you spot weather fore­casts but we wanted an over­view of whole coast­line, and how it would change through­out the day. Be­cause Men­tor had a ra­dio Joe would tune in to the ship­ping fore­cast, which we’d lis­ten to on our head­sets while kit­ing.

The joys of kit­ing

When there was good wind we av­er­aged about 50 miles a day, though we’d never kitesurf faster than Men­tor. Some days we’d only do five miles and spend a lot of time on the wa­ter wait­ing for the wind to reap­pear. At the start of the trip we could only man­age about three hours’ kitesurf­ing be­fore we needed to rest, but by the end of the we could com­fort­ably man­age eight hours on the wa­ter. We’d take breaks and sit on the RIB with Os­car (who joined us for the first month) or Jeremy to have a sand­wich. Kit­ing was never bor­ing. It was al­ways chang­ing. We were on the lookout for dol­phins or puffins… and the light­houses, they

were beau­ti­ful!

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