One of around 40 Sun Odyssey 47’s built by Jeanneau, ‘Temptress of Down’ originally owned by a solicitor was registered as ‘Laragh‘ in Eire and was berthed in Crosshaven. After two years she was sold to a UK businessman who renamed her ‘Temptress’. The boat was kept in Lymington for several years until they part exchanged her for a brand new Westerly in 1998. Kevin and Susie bought her from the Westerly brokerage in March 2000. We renamed her ‘Temptress of Down’ in order to have a unique name for part I registry in the UK. Her port of registry is Belfast, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland and Kevin's home town is just across the loch in Co. Down.
What is life on board like?
Temptress is just 4.3m wide at her widest point (in the saloon). Aft (ie at the back) there are two double cabins, the port-hand one has been converted to stowage. Between these is a head (bathroom with loo and shower). The main saloon has settee-style seating to port and the galley and chart table to starboard. In the galley we have a four burner gas stove with oven and grill (rarely used as it produces stripped toast!), fridge, cool box and double sink. The fridge and coolbox are cavernous top-opening lockers so we use stacking plastic baskets to organise things – not always very practical at sea but better than nothing at all. Forward of the saloon is the master cabin with a very spacious double berth to port and two small armchairs separated by a desk/dressing table to starboard. Ahead of this is the other head again with shower and forward of that is the forepeak where we stow sails, ropes, fenders, two fold up bikes and on occasions the dirty laundry!
All in all we have far more space than many boats and a good amount of storage space – almost every nook and cranny can be used and we have never really exploited it all. Wine, bottled water etc lives under the floor by the chart table and tinned food on the opposite side. On the whole living on board is easier if everything has a ‘home’ and is returned to it after use – fortunately both of us are fairly tidy by nature so it is not too difficult. Books, we have hundreds of them on board, fill shelves above every bunk and crockery fills the main galley cupboard. At sea everything has to be stowed so that it cannot fall over, slide off or jump out of its perch. It is also more conducive to a good nights sleep if it doesn’t rattle either as even berthed alongside in a marina the boat can move quite a lot.
If we are sailing then before we leave port the hatches are closed and their plugs put in (to stop water coming through the air vents in the event of waves breaking over the deck). The portholes in the topsides are checked to ensure they are closed tight and the sink in forward head has its seacock closed as it is on the side of the boat just below the waterline so when the boat heels water is forced up, filling the sink. It used to do the same on the opposite side in the galley and we found out the hard way that we could fill the cupboards above the pair of sinks here with seawater, nowadays there a valve permits the galley sinks to drain but nothing to come up.
Cruising implies sailing but actually much of life is spent at rest, at anchor off some busy port or in a quiet, deserted cove or if we can afford it alongside in a marina. Getting ashore from an anchorage means inflating the dinghy, launching it and attaching the outboard then deciding where to land without getting too wet. If the waves are breaking on the nearby beach then a pontoon or quayside is preferable. It also has to be somewhere safe, it would be terrible to come back from a nice lunch ashore to find the dinghy gone.
In port the saloon table usually has a Moroccan carpet covering, fruit bowl and whatever paraphernalia the hobbies currently being worked on require – at sea all this has to be stowed. Early on we decided that if we were living on the boat it was not to be camping-style so although we have melamine mugs, plates and bowls for use at sea, we also have china mugs, plates and a few glasses for use in harbour. In Portugal we acquired six (now only five) highly decorated terracotta dishes which are used most supper times.
Whether anchored or tied up we usually do a few jobs early morning – a market shop, laundry, boat care etc and then spend some time exploring the local town or walking on the beach or fishing (not that we ever catch much). With no TV we read a great deal, swapping books with other boat to renew our supply or downloading onto a Kindle. When we lived on board in 2001-2 with our son Will he had a guitar (actually two cos he was bought a new one in Gibraltar), a complete collection of Terry Prachett’s novels which we all read and could recite from memory, plus some computer games to occupy his time when he wasn't hanging out with other liveaboard teenagers. In many marinas and anchorages there is a good social life with drinks and even meals on other boats and of course we welcome lots of visiting crew.
Laundry is something that took us ages to sort properly and we continue to refine this particular chore. In 2001-2 (and on many holiday cruises since) Susie did a little hand washing a couple of times per week whilst Kevin carried the bulk to a launderette every so often. In some marinas there are machines (mainly France and Portugal), in Spain we had to rely on ‘lavanderias’ – a proper laundry – which can be very expensive (around £20 for a sailing bag full, 10 years ago) and also means you may have to hang around in a port longer than you wanted too plus it was a bit hit or miss. Now we have a Wonderwash - a sort of vacuum butter churner for laundry - simply drop in some dirty laundry (duvets & towels are too big), add a small amount of detergent and a couple of litres of hot water, screw down the lid and churn for a few minutes. Rinsing is easier done in an extra large bucket, then squeeze and hang out to dry on lines strung between the rigging. Larger items are soaked in our big purple builders trug placed on the floor of the aft head, usually whilst sailing to given them a bit of a agitation.
Weather information is acquired in various ways; we get Navtex sporadically depending on local geography, most marinas post a local forecast for the day and the local port traffic control usually broadcast short updates every couple of hours or so on VHF if you understand the lingo. For slightly longer term forecasts we've often resorted to buying an English newspaper or visiting an internet café to get a synoptic chart. In the middle of the ocean we are our own weather forecaster, keeping a regular eye on the barometer trends and the skies though we do have the ability to download weather information via our shortwave radio. For navigation we've paper charts (maps), computer software, several GPS's, a sextant plus almanacs for tides and celestial data. Hopefully we should have some idea of where we are and how to get to where we want to be with that lot!