I have been so busy describing the amazing sights, the guests and the food, that I have completely missed describing our boat, the gorgeous Sea Princess! Which is an oversight indeed, as she is now our floating home and what a beautiful floating home she is.
She is a Jeaneau Sun Odyssey 49i, 49 feet long and 2.2 metres deep with four double cabins and four heads. Her galley is spacious, with lots of bench space, a fridge AND generous freezer, which runs along the port side. On the starboard side is a large saloon (great for a good game of cards!) and the chart table, where all the magic planning and scheming happens. Her interior is a light lacquered wooden finish, making everything feel classy and nautical, without the closed in feeling of a darker wood stain.
She is a cruiser, so up on top she is equipped with a mast furling mainsail and a furling genoa headsail. This means that instead of hoisting her sails and letting them down every time we want to sail, we simply unfurl the sails to sail and them wrap them back up again when we’re done.
There is plenty of room in her cockpit for 8 persons, whether it be a civilised sit down breakfast or just chilling out with a beer during a relaxed sail between islands. We fly the Cyprus flag on the starboard back stay, as she’s registered in Cyprus. And because we’re cruising in Croatia, we fly the Croatian courtesy flag at midships on starboard. They’re not the only two flags we fly either! We also fly a tall flag that shows the company logo, Med Sailing Holidays, AND we have a good old silver fern on a black flag to show that we’re a Kiwi crewed boat. The silver fern is looking a wee bit daggy, to be honest. She’s done a good chuck of last season and has had a couple of pretty blustery nights this season already. As Kiwi’s we fly our colours pretty proudly and we didn’t really want to take the silver fern down, even though she is looking a bit worse for wear. And then our guests that arrived yesterday brought us a proper New Zealand flag, with stars and the union jack and everything! So now that’s proudly flying too, just above the Med Sailing Holidays flag! So we’re all flagged out! It’s hard to miss us in a crowd of boats, that’s for sure.
Cooking in Sea Princess’ galley is always an interesting exercise. The main fridge door is also part of the bench space, accessible like a chest fridge. There is also another door to the fridge on the side, where we tend to keep things like wine, beer and soft drinks. When you’re cooking and spread out all over the bench and you realise you’ve left something in the fridge that you need, it requires a bit of rearranging to get back into the fridge again!
The stove/oven is gimble, which means that you can unlock it so that it sways and adjusts with the angle of the boat. You can also lock things like the kettle or a small pot onto the top of the stove, which is really handy when you might want a cup of tea and the boat is moving around a bit.
All of the cupboards have locks on them that need to be engaged so that the cupboards don’t pop open when the boat is on an angle, or on a heel. Every now and then, especially with new guests on board, a cupboard won’t be locked and we’ll get some good wind on, the boat will heel over and the contents of a cupboard will spill out! It’s quite noisy when it happens and everyone gets a fright, so it’s actually a good way to learn to engage the locks next time!
Each cabin has it’s own head. Head is the marine name for the small bathroom/toilet/shower space, and it takes a little getting used to if you haven’t spent much time on yachts. The whole enclosed space is a wet room and designed to get completely wet. Toilet paper and other commodities are kept in lockers under the sink or behind the mirrors to stop them from getting wet when the space is used as a shower. The faucet in the sink comes right out and attaches to the wall, and voila you have a shower! The toilet is a marine head that doesn’t flush. There is a handle to the side of the seat that you pump to get rid of waste. And our rule on Sea Princess is that only things that come out of your body go down the loo. Anything else goes into a small modesty rubbish bags that’s in one of the bathroom cupboards, and we change these out every day to keep everything eco-friendly and fresh!
There are definitely a few tricks to living or staying on a boat. We always recommend to new guests to move slowly during the first few days, as smaller spaces tend to incite banging heads or stubbing toes on doorways and fixed furniture. Every locker is used and there are lockers in every little nook of the boat. Ingenious storage spaces are a yacht’s speciality! Things like what we affectionately call the wine cellar, a space built into the saloon table where you can store safely four wine bottles. Even the space under the floor and seats are all used to store things like safety equipment, extra food, first aid gear, tools, and so much more! And this is where keeping a boat clean inside and out makes such a difference to the comfort and ease of everyone on board. We take the time to give Sea Princess a quick clean (inside: a sweep, a wipe down and a hoover. outside: a wash down, a quick scrub and getting a long bristled brush into some nooks and crannies that seem to collect the gunk) every stop that we make. Not only does it make it a nicer trip for guests, it also makes the big clean at the end of the week much easer! And it helps everything on board to last just a little bit longer. Which is really important, because replacing boat parts is neither easy nor cheap!
I’m really enjoying the warmer nights and sleeping up in the cockpit. I lug a squab from the saloon up onto one of the cockpit benches, cover it in a blanket so I don’t stick to the squab, then wrap myself in a blanket and I’m happy as a pig in mud! My feet hang way past the end of the squab, but then I always stick my feet out of the bed anyway so it works for me. Sleeping in the cabin can get hot and sticky once summer really gets underway. And sleeping up on deck always makes sure I’m up nice and early! Sleeping past sunrise just gets stupidly hot so I might as well get up and get breakfast started. Maybe when it gets way too warm in the cabin, Nick and I will roll out two rubber mats side by side and sleep under the boom. I can’t wait!
Living on a yacht isn’t for everyone. It helps if you’re meticulous about everything having a place and about cleaning up after yourself. Which is actually quite funny given how messy and untidy I am in every other living situation!!! But on a yacht, I feel at home and once I have found a place where everything belongs, it really helps me to settle and get comfy. Come on holiday with us and I can show you. You can get a taste of what it’s like to have a floating home like we do!