On the nose


Along the way

Cleaning brown stains off the hull                                                                                                                                       posted 1st January 2012


In the French canals, Yanina's hull - sparkling white from crossing the Atlantic, soon picked up brown staining in the water from the diesel. This also happened when she was in the Mediterranean and appeared most strongly at the bow and the waterline.






Here's our remedy. Coat liberally with lemon juice and leave for a few minutes - if you can do it in the sun, so much better.

 Then rinse off and clean off with your usual hull cleaner.



Taking the mast down in Rouen

Posted 25th June 2011

Until recently, it has been necessary to take a mast down at the coastal ports of Le Havre or Honfleur in order to travel up the river Seine. However we found on an informative site about the French Waterways  Aboard in France that there were now facilities for taking the mast down in Rouen, 10 hours upriver, and we had some good reports from boats we met in Le Havre.

Rouen is a commercial port, with a marina for yachts  that has been open for 3 years now. The yacht basin is tucked away in a quiet and sheltered corner of the port within easy reach of Rouen with it's market and many medieval buildings. We were welcomed by Eric, the manager and found very nice facilites at half the cost of Le Havre with free wifi and laundry too.

It's much easier to take the mast and boom off the boat and either store it till your return, or have it delivered to your destination. However, Yanina's mast is not much taller than her length and that makes it easier to carry on board, and then we don't have a final destination as yet. So there was a lot more dis-assembling of gear to be done, and the mast has to be adequetely supported on deck.

Bob measured our 'air height' and only the wind generator had to come down and he could use a plank across the gantry at the stern as a mast support, and make one at the bow.

We booked the crane with Chris, who speaks excellent English, and headed round at low water.
















            Chris loops  the spreaders                      The mast is held at the base while Bob releases the back stays














   Then the main shrouds are released ....................                     and finally the  furling gear
















The mast is lifted at the spreaders and slowly guided up to rest horizontally on two cradles. The loose stays and rigging are then tidied up by wrapping in cling film - an excellent idea

The mast is lowered onto the plank across the gantry at the stern, and the new support at the bow

Carpentry is not quite finished yet and a mid-support is added




Barrels to the Caribbean

Posted February 9th 2011

During our stay back in England we'd accumulated a  lot of miscellaneous bits and pieces we wanted to take back to our boat in the Caribbean. Boat parts and equipment we knew we couldn't get easily there, stuff we'd been given, like charts and books, even a folding trolley. It weighed 50 kilos in total. With excess baggage costing £10 per kilo, that would be £500.  I googled 'International shipping', a subject that gets horrendously complicated and just as pricey.

I then discovered that there is a service from England to the Caribbean islands, where you can purchase an empty barrel in the UK, fill it up regardless of weight, and ship it for a fixed price. Duty on arrival is exempt for Grenadians, only 2.5% for yachts in transit, 37% otherwise.






So for £90 we could fill a barrel and ship all our stuff  - sounds good.

The first snag was the extra cost of shipping the empty barrel to us in the North of England for us to fill, and then shipping it back to the East India docks in London - £150 each way, a total of £300. We decided to drive down to London to fill the barrel there in the warehouse.

The barrel left England on December 10th and arrived on time in St Georges, Grenada on December 24th, although there was then a 3 day delay for non-payment by the UK shipping company that was subsequently featured on BBC News. Then there were a few niggling additional costs to get the barrel that we hadn't bargained for:-

Entry fee to the port                        £4.00

Rent for keeping the barrel 3 days      £7.00

Brokers fees                                     £10.00

Stamps                                                £4.50

Landing fee                                      £21.50

Duty                                                    £1.00


Barrel Cost                                       £90.00

Car and travel                                  £80.00

Total                                              £218.00


Still not bad we thought.

Chilli powder and antifouling

Posted December 29th 2010

When Bob asked on the Cruisers VHF net here in Grenada recently for a good supply of chilli powder, a yachtie came back, saying he had loads to spare. 'I need about 2 lbs' said Bob, There was a pause, then - 'So what are you cooking with that?' Maybe he was imagining a curry supper for 200 diners...

During our first summer in the Mediterranean sea, we were always scrubbing weed off Yanina's waterline, and the hull and propeller rapidly collected weed and barnacles. The problem became worse if the boat was stationary for too long. 

Bob had read a tale in YM about fishermen in Indonesia who just used ordinary paint on their boat hulls and mixed chilli powder in with it - apparently marine growth doesn't like it.  On discussing this with other yachties, it seemed a lot of them routinely mixed some chilli powder in with the antifouling, so we decided to give it a try and the difference was amazing - hardly any weed or barnacles appeared.

This was in 2005 and we have been doing it ever since. We have had no trouble either in African and Caribbean waters.

Here's the recipe we used this time, bearing in mind that we are using US measurements here:

Ingredients: 1lb of chilli powder to 1 gallon of antifouling paint



In a separate bowl, add small quantities of chilli powder and antifouling paint at a time and stir until smooth.

Repeat until the whole 1lb of chilli powder has been used.

Transfer the mixture back into the can, add some antifoul thinners and stir thoroughly.





The mixture can be applied with a roller and brush as normal.

The finish will be textured. We've no idea if this slows the boat down any more or less than the weed and barnacles would.

The nice thing was walking around Yanina after a heavy shower and smelling a faint aroma of curry, where the rain had leached out some of the powder that hadn't quite mixed in.


Terry's mould beating tip

Posted December 26th 2010

 We have heard lots of stories about leaving a yacht in the hurricane season in a humid climate, and coming back to find everything in the interior - wood, cushions, bedding, clothes - covered with a growth of mould. It's a serious problem in Trinidad for example, and the boatyards will rent you fans, air conditioners and de-humidifiers to leave running. Nobody has really reported great results and a de-humidifier can cause the woodwork to shrink.

Terry was an experienced Australian sailor. 'It's simple,  Just leave a bottle of bleach with the top off - stand it in a bowl, and the fumes will stop the mould.'

Homemade remedies were also being passed around that included standing the cushions on end, bagging all clothes in polythene, wiping every surface down with lemon or vinegar, leaving out silica gel crystals etc. We passed on the wiping, but did all the rest, including Terry's tip, leaving three bowls - one in each cabin.

Coming back to Yanina 18 months later, there was not a scrap of mould anywhere.                                                                                                                    Terry's top tip

'Bang on the nose' at Southampton Boat Show, 10th - 19th September 2010






























'Bang on the nose', the long-awaited follow-up to 'On the nose', is with the printers, and we should get copies by the end of August ready for the Southampton Boat Show. Bob will be on the Kelvin Hughes stand, No J001, on Friday 10th, Saturday 11th, and most of Sunday 13th signing copies and handing out bookmarks. If you're going to the show, please come along and say hello. We'll email everyone we know about the book, but word-of-mouth is after all the best form of publicity, so please feel free to tell all your friends. Meanwhile...



Sailing round Britain with a brain tumour

...Bob was asked to do a cartoon for a couple who are doing exactly this. Roger and Josie are sailing their Contessa 32, Nordlys, around Britain to raise funds and awareness for Brain Tumour and Cancer charities and to complete a great personal challenge for Josie. It's a very difficult subject for a cartoon, but Roger and Josie's great sense of humour made it possible. Have a look at their website www.contessa32.co.uk



The London Boat Show, January 2010 at Excel

Posted December 16th

We will be at the London Boat Show at Excel at the Kelvin Hughes stand on the following days:

Friday January 8th

Saturday January 9th 

Sunday January 10th 

Bob will be signing copies of 'On the nose' and Liz will be handing out

bookmarks - come and see us if you can.


Live on BBC Radio Leeds

Posted 11th December 2009

We had an interview on the Graham Liver show at BBC Radio Leeds this morning.
















You can listen to us on Radio Leeds iPlayer for a limited period till December 18th (scroll to about 1015am).


The Southampton Boat Show 11th-20th September 2009

Posted on 1st September 2009

We’re in England at the moment. Bob needed somewhere to write the next book and it’s the hurricane season in the Caribbean, so it seemed to fit that we come back to the UK. 

Both Liz and Bob will be on the Kelvin Hughes stand at the Southampton Boat show on the following days:

Sunday September 13th from 11am -7pm

Monday September 14th from 11am -7pm

Tuesday September 15th from 1pm -7pm

Bob will be signing books and Liz will be handing out these bookmarks -  if you aren't going to be there, why not print out your own and enter our prize draw to win immortality in print. Bob's currently writing Bang on the nose, the follow-up to On the nose, and the winner's face will be drawn as one of the characters in the book. Just email [email protected], send your name and a photo, and we'll do the rest. More news later.

Click here or on the bookmark to download a PDF of the bookmark

How much to cruise the Med?

Posted on August 5th 2009


People are always asking about the cost of living aboard a boat. Liz wrote a very informative article, based on our experience, about the costs involved in cruising in the Mediterranean. The article appeared in  the recent June 2009 issue of Yachting Monthly - go to http://www.ybw.com/ for a look at Yachting Monthly and a range of other yachting and boating magazines.


Click on the image to read a PDF of the article now.


 Reviews and Articles

And for examples of 'On the nose' reviews and cartoons that have appeared in magazines, look at the new section of our website Reviews and Articles

Now available - 'On the nose' galley cloths from Nauticalia

Posted on March 4th 2009

To landlubbers this means tea towels. We are happy to announce that you can now follow up your purchase of the book with these two galley cloths showing cartoons from the book from the Nauticalia Catalogue www.nauticalia.com

Special Offer one of each as a set, retail price £9.95 (per set).

Enter Product code 99195



Some people...

Posted on 2nd December 2008 

One nice thing about this life on board is the characters you come across. Usually they're on other boats, but when I (Bob) went back to the Southampton Boat Show for a few days in September to flog some books, I met a few more. The Kelvin Hughes stand at the show had a table for authors to sit at and sign books, so I found myself sitting next to Tom Cunliffe, author of numerous books and magazine articles on all aspects of sailing, in fact the yachting guru for most British sailors. And what's more, he comes from Stockport, that mecca for the sailing fraternity (well, the Mersey does run beneath the shopping centre). Also sharing the authors' table were Geoff Holt and Nick Ward. Geoff is permanently in a wheelchair, but that hasn't stopped him from sailing around Britain in a 16-foot trimaran, and writing about it in his book Walking on Water. Nick's book, Left for Dead, describes in unnerving detail how he was literally left for dead on a sinking boat in the disastrous 1979 Fastnet Race. Nick survived only by continually baling out the boat for hours at a time. So there I was in the midst of all these inspiring writers flogging a collection of cartoons about pootling round the Med. Hmmm. Fortunately they were all very nice to me and we had a great time.

Someone I haven't actually met but is equally inspiring is Duncan Wells. Duncan saw the first article from On the nose in the August Yachting Monthly, ordered the book, laughed his socks off and sent me a very nice complimentary email. He turns out to be not only a brilliant voice-over actor (check out the audio samples on Duncan's website), but a Yachtmaster. In 2006, while making a safety film, Duncan was demonstrating the use of flares when the one he was holding literally backfired, causing extremely severe internal injuries and resulting in nine months in hospital, four of them in intensive care and 6 weeks in a coma. Had Duncan been at sea he would certainly have died. Most of us would throw in the towel there and then but Duncan not only survived but went on to raise over £50,000 for the hospital.

There are some remarkable people out there...

Yachting Monthly Magazine

 Posted on 22nd October 2008

And here's a copy of the Article featuring extracts from the book 'On the nose' that appeared in the October 2008 edition of Yachting Monthly.

Latitudes and Attitudes Magazine

 Posted on 16th October 2008

Bob's cartoons are now appearing every month in 'Latitudes and Attitudes', a  US, California-based sailing magazine. You can read the whole magazine online at www.latsandatts.net/magazine/

Yachting Monthly Magazine

 Posted on 6th September 2008

Here's a copy of the Article featuring extracts from the book 'On the nose' that appeared in the August 2008 edition of Yachting Monthly. There will be another one in the October issue.

The Southampton Boat Show 12th-21st September 2008 

 Posted on 2nd September 2008

 Bob will be on the Kelvin Hughes stand at the Southampton Boat show signing books on the following days:

Sunday September 14th from 1-5 pm

Monday September 15th from 1-5 pm

If you want a signed copy and you can’t catch him at those times, please email us at  [email protected] and we’ll try and arrange something.

 Order your advance copy

 2nd June 2008

There will be an article about the book in the August issue of Yachting Monthly that will nicely coincide with the publishing date of the 1st of August 2008....

....and you can order an advance copy right now. On the nose is available online now from Kelvin Hughes Distributors website  price £9-99. We also hope to be at the Southampton Boat Show in September to sign copies on the Kelvin Hughes stand there.

On the nose has been a long time in the making; a lot of fun and hard work too. We'd like to take this opportunity to thank all our friends who've shown their interest and support and generously given us their time with proof reading, introductions to printers, distributors, media and press and links to their websites. Thanks to everybody who has emailed their support and would like to buy a copy. We've had interest from all over the world from Thailand to Canada.

And any more help would be greatly appreciated. If you have a mailing list and think your friends may be interested, then please forward them the link to our website. If you order your copy from your local bookshop.... then they may stock a few too. The book has an ISBN number for this 978-0-9559256-0-3 and the shop can also email [email protected] 

If you would still like to register your interest and comments, please email us at: [email protected]  

Publish and be damned

14th May 2008

There's been a tremendous amount of interest in our book 'On the nose' over the last four months, including all you people who emailed from this site to [email protected] 

Thanks to Paul Gelder, Yachting Monthly want to do a series of articles and cartoons from it starting in the August issue, and Kelvin Hughes, the leading UK nautical book distributors are 'delighted' to help sell the book for us.

Our sailing plans meant time was running out for us to find a gullible publisher so the obvious way forward seemed now to get it printed ourselves. Instead of getting our boat jobs done, we've spent the last few weeks learning how to be publishers, and good grief, is that hard work. We've re-scanned drawings, re-written text, Liz has learned about page layout, JPGs, PDFs, headers and footers, and bleeding into the gutter (it's a messy business this publishing). Bob's done all the other boring bits like getting an ISBN number and generating a barcode for the back cover (thanks to John Owen Smith, at http://www.johnowensmith.co.uk/books/ a self-publishing author and guru), registering with Bookdata and British libraries, and generally ensuring it will be a 'proper' book that the trade can get hold of easily for their customers.

Artist on Board

14th May 2008

That's what the sign says, and the artist is Jenny who came to Almerimar with her husband Nuno, family Tiago and Tassa, and dog Spirit, all on a 10 metre yacht.  Look at their website to see her paintings and her eclectic gallery of art and photograpy.


Almerimar movies

March 24th 2008

We're not the only ones being creative on board. During his 2 month stay here, Sam Steer has been making a new animation video and we were invited to an onboard screening of this and others. Here's my favourite.

The Very Amazing Tiger.

A stop-frame animation by Sam Steer for the song 'Tiger' by Serafina Steer. Music available on Static Caravan records.




Yanina's photography shoot

March 24th 2008


We needed a good quality photograph of ourselves and Yanina for Yachting Monthly. Thanks Katie on Tenaya for your time and excellent photography skills.



Nearly famous...

 February 20th 2008

This is a cutting from Rod Heikell's article in the February issue of Yachting Monthly.

We had the good fortune to meet Rod and Lu Heikell when they spent a few days in Almerimar last November. For those who don't know, Rod has written just about every pilot book for the eastern Med that you will ever need, and a good few more besides. After telling them both what a lovely boat they had, they were putty in our hands, and we went in for the kill, brazenly and shamelessly thrusting a copy of 'On the nose' into their hands.

Rod, bless him, has since put us in touch with lots of contacts in the publishing industry, so watch this space...

The other couple are Jim and Katie Thomsen, close neighbours in the marina. They're Californian dudes and they generously let us stay in their brand new Hallberg-Rassy 40 (the Porsche Cayenne of the boating world) while they were away, and while we stripped and varnished every single piece of wood inside Yanina (well, I say 'we' but actually Liz did most of the hard work while I was finishing all those cartoons in comfort on Tenaya). Thanks, you two!

Have a look at their website at http://www.tenayatravels.com/

Rod's website is www.freewebs.com/seawrite  

Derek the dove doesn't have a website yet.