“Dad, I’m a good boat girl, aren’t I?” Oh, those words from my 4 year old legend, whilst wielding a stainless steel polishing cloth, brings tears of joy to my eyes. Our new life feels pretty sweet right now! Luella has been hard at work for the last week, because she’s now a really truly proper “boat girl”. Two blood noses and a few minor (ish) injuries later. Note… socks are not your friend.
We moved aboard a week ago and have been settling in. It’s been completely chaotic, and absolutely wonderful. There have been many, many parcels delivered from various online chandleries, and the share price of Amazon France has been decidedly bullish of late as well.
Our commissioning agent Sailing Atlantic Services have been exceptional in helping us out. The crowning achievement was when our tender, ordered from a third party, was delivered to their warehouse. I had been scratching my head as to just how we’d get it inflated, the engine installed, and transported to the boat. The next morning SAS knocked on our hull towing our tender, all set up and ready to go. There was nothing in it for them, just a random act of kindness!
Adjusting to life aboard has been a relatively smooth process so far, bearing in mind we’re still plugged into the creature comforts of shore power and water in a marina. Having said that it’s been freezing cold and rainy most of the time, so I think our new liveaboard high fives have been well deserved.
Now I know are few of you are going to make fun of me (Lara) but one of the main issues I had with moving onboard was the new boat smell. I have heard all the jokes (about how to replace it with old boat bilge stench) but in all seriousness the fiberglass resin odour really bothered me, especially with two little bubbas onboard. Also keep in mind it was 7 degrees max with constant rain so we couldn’t just open the hatches. After a lot of research we ended up with an air purifier that almost instantaneously removed the strong smell thankfully – as long as we are connected to shore power anyway.
We “marked” the boat in between rain squalls, a process of trying to adhere a 1.3 meter long sticker to each bow without any wrinkles. Not as easy as it sounds but we reckon Sabella was happy with the end result.
To do this necessitated turning her around in order to reach the other bow from the dock, a perfect excuse to take her out “solo” for the first time. Aaron and I have never sailed by ourselves before so doing it with a brand new boat with a 1 and 4 year old in a foreign country seemed like insanity at best. In true “flying instructor” style Aaron and I briefed a plan of attack as to how on earth we were going to come back into dock with the two children onboard. They have proven that they’re most definitely not self-sufficient or very obedient (ie. would take any opportunity to leap joyously into the near freezing cold water if given the chance). It was obvious Aaron needed to be at the helm which meant I needed to be ready with the stern line getting ready to jump / step calmly with composure onto the dock. Amazingly (possibly with the help of the wind) we completely nailed it first try. Beginners luck… I think not 😉
We also managed to get a washing machine fitted this week! We had thought this was going to be a complex process (as it is an aftermarket fit) but we were able to get an 8kg washing machine installed into our existing cabinetry with next to no fuss. When we removed the panelling to install the machine we discovered that Lagoon had pre-wired a 230v plug and a fresh water line to where they would normally install a factory fitted machine, so this made our installation relatively easy. After travelling with 2 kids for over 2 months this finally felt like things got a little less ‘luxury camping’ and more ‘home sweet home’. We now have everything we need packed into one seriously sexy boat… in my opinion anyway 🙂
After a week aboard the forecast stated “Max 3 degrees, snow” so we decided to get the hell outa dodge to get everyone to Lisbon in preparation for Aaron and a delivery skipper to bring the boat south to warmer climes. We’re now waiting for a weather window to depart Les Sables d’Olonne safely out through the Bay of Biscay.