Laundry Day

Posted in: Featured, Living aboard, Marina Life on Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

In my land life I hated laundry and didn’t do it as often as I should have. Consequently there was usually a giant pile of it lurking around somewhere.  Which didn’t bother me too much as I had a large selection of clothes to choose from.

When we moved aboard Tygress we had to downsize our wardrobes considerably, a lot of our clothes were just not practical for boating life not to mention we don’t have a lot of space aboard to store clothes.  All of this means I have to actually do my washing regularly,it also means we have redefined our concept of dirty clothes.  Once one or two wears would count as dirty, now though, dirty is defined as ‘obvious stains and/or emitting unpleasant odours’.

My cute, fully automatic washing machine

Even with our extended wear periods I still have to do laundry more than I like.  Thankfully though it’s not too hard to do the washing while berthed at a marina.  Especially since my MIL bought us a cute little 2.5kg fully automatic washing machine.  It won’t be much use to us cruising (I have a a small hand cranked washing machine for that, also thanks to the MIL) but for our current life at the marina it’s perfect.  It’s light and easy to manoeuvre, there’s plenty of space to use it in the cockpit and thanks to Skipper’s handy work it fits snuggly under the companionway stairs when not in use.

All I have to do is plug it into a water supply (garden hose) and power point (our power board connected to shore power) and away she goes.  I use an environmentally friendly detergent that can be safely drained overboard and has the added benefit of keeping my conscience light and guilt free.

You might ask why I don’t use the marina’s laundry facilities.  And I would answer that I would if they weren’t so expensive, $4 a load of washing and $4 to dry your clothes.  So I hang my washing out to dry on the lifelines, thankfully the sparrows have seen fit not to crap on it. You’d be surprised how quickly the washing dries on a sunny day, and even quicker when there is a breeze blowing.  So far I haven’t lost anything overboard, barring one blue peg which hopefully Neptune can find a use for.

Our clothes out to dry on the starboard lifelines.



Sheets ropes and lines

Posted in: Featured on Thursday, August 9th, 2012

I had no experience with boats or the world of sailing before buying Tygress and moving aboard.

I don’t come from a long line of salty sailors, there were no summers spent messing around in boats at the local dam, no fishing trips in the humble little dinghy. I was and in some ways still am, thoroughly a land lubber.

One very steep learning curve of boating life for the uninitiated is understanding and using the wonderfully rich vocabulary of the sea.

In the planning stages of our escape I bought any book I could find related to sailing, one of which was a hardcover dictionary for yachtsman.  I don’t normally read dictionaries, other than to refer to them as needed, but a quick flick through this one soon had me engrossed in the vast and quirky world of nautical terminology.

On my casual flicks through the dictionary’s pages, and particularly yesterday when posting the photo of the day it’s become apparent how little sailing lingo I know despite living daily on and amongst boats.

Time to begin my education. My teachers? Books, the internet and fellow sailors.

Today’s lesson, sheets, ropes or lines? The definitions are:

Sheet A rope attached to the clew of a sail and used to trim it / A rope used to control the setting of a sail in relation to the direction of the wind.

Line A small rope capacle of many functions, each with its descriptive prefix, eg gantline, heaving line, etc. Some are also described by their weight, and others by their functions in fishing / The correct nautical term for the majority of the cordage or “ropes” used on a vessel. A line will always have a more specific name, such as mizzen topsail halyard, which describes its use.

Rope Cordage of 1in circumference or more, made from yarns of hemp, jute, manila, sisal, coir, etc. Threads of fibre are spun into right-handed yarns that are twisted left-handed into strands, and the strands are laid up right-handed into a right-handed rope / A rope is a linear collection of plies, yarns or strands which are twisted or braided together in order to combine them into a larger and stronger form.

By my understanding of these definitions, and my limited first hand experience sailing, since the ropes in yesterday’s photo of the day are not primarily used to trim the sail or change it’s setting they are referred to as lines.  Their descriptive prefix would be furling because they’re function is to furl and unfurl the headsail.

But since they could also be used to trim and set the sail maybe they should be called furling sheet lines or furling line sheets.


Now the ropes in this picture to the left are coiled and not currently in use, so have no present function. I think it’s safe to call them ropes.

The ropes in the right hand picture are sheets because they adjust or set the main sail.

Main sail sheets

Hopefully with this knowledge under my belt I will be able to quickly and correctly identify sheets, lines and plain old ropes in future.

If any more knowledgeable sailors are reading this (who are hopefully not shaking their heads at my ignorance), please feel free to correct me or educate me further.

‘A Dictionary for Yachtsman’ by Francis H Burgess



My old friend

Posted in: Featured, Photography on Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

I remember the day I bought my first camera, it was a Canon 350D with a silver body, it came with two lenses and I got whole 1gig CF card to go with it, bought from Rainer’s Camera house on Adelaide St for around $1,800.  That was over six years ago and it is (barring an incident of theft and generous replacement by my father) still the camera that I use today, although now it’s black not silver.

Many newer models and better lenses have been released and some of my friends are lucky enough to have them, but my trusty old 350D works beautifully, has all the features I need (and some still that I haven’t used) and has met my slowly changing needs well.

It’s been dropped a few times and probably endured more car heat than a camera should, it’s been carted from pillar to post, on straps, in bags, by hand; shoved into it’s case hundreds of times, operated while drunk, operated by many while drunk. It’s lived a tough life but it has lived well and served faithfully.

It’s the camera that has shot and recorded thousands of happy memories, birthdays, picnics and holidays with family, parties with friends, Christmas mornings and other special, all too rare occasions when families come together.  It is the camera that has documented (prolifically) the changing faces and smiles of our two beautiful nieces as they’ve grown just as it’s captured the furry cuteness of our beloved pet cat (when his sits still for the camera that is).

It has allowed me to share with others the things I’ve seen, to show the colours of places I’ve been and to reveal the hidden beauty, the different angle of the everyday that otherwise may go unnoticed.  It has allowed me to capture fleeting moments in time to be held and cherished through the years to come. It is the camera that has given me a foothold in the world of photography and has started me on the path to fulfilling a long held ambition of being a competent, if not accomplished photographer (renowned the world over might be asking a bit much, but hey, if it happens Great!!).

If you follow this blog you will know that wildlife photography is becoming a new passion of mine, as evidenced by the growing number of bird photos taken and I think I’m doing well to get the shots that I have with the lenses that I have.  Most of my wildlife photos are currently captured using a Canon 90-300mm zoom lens (and a good deal of luck) but ideally I’d love to use one of these, a Canon-EF-100-400mm, which is better suited to wildlife photography. I just know my photos would only get better and better with better equipment.  But for now I’ll hone my skills with the equipment that I have and be grateful for it.

The latest model Canon cameras are HD video capable (see video below) as well and very covetable, we’ve been in love with them since we saw what they could do, the quality of the video (especially when used with special mounts) is breathtaking.  One day hopefully you’ll be able to view videos on this blog that have been shot with a Canon HD camera and the colour and quality will impress you too.

I, like many others, am a creature of habits and routine and have become a loyal brand consumer over the years.  Canon was my first camera, and will most likely be the only brand of camera I ever use.

Old friends like my little canon camera are rare and hard to find, so I’ll be hanging dearly onto mine.