We’ve lived full time on Emerald since 2004 and started blogging in 2006 via the sailblogs.com platform, documenting the work we were doing on Emerald whilst we still held down full time jobs.
In the first few years of living on Emerald, we both had full time jobs and lived as normal a life as you do with a job, except we lived on a boat. This brought it’s own challenges, such as storing and maintaining a wardrobe suitable for work – it was a happy day when Colin threw out his last tie.
To help us through this time we had a countdown plan: to rent out our houses, continue working, upgrade Emerald for full time life aboard and save, save, save in order to embark on the sailing lifestyle in a few years time.
The escape plan stretched out beyond it’s original goal as we discovered some issues with Emerald, but having jobs helped us fund the repairs and replacements, such as installing a new engine and upgrading the rigging. We also found the time to get married.
By early 2009 we had both left our jobs and decided to set out on our first summer cruise. Since then (to end 2019), we’ve covered around 16,000nm. Currently in the Mediterranean, the original 3 year plan has stretched to at least 7. We do intend to head further afield, however we found the Mediterranean kept us in it’s thrall with so many diverse countries and cultures to explore.
For full details of where we’ve travelled and the associated blogs, select the TIMELINE menu option. Our earlier blogs (until 2015) are hosted on the sailblogs platform. Click on the green links to go to the blogs for that year.
- 2009: Our cruising life began with a three month trip along the south coast of England to Falmouth and back to Brighton.
- 2010: Our first major cruise outside the UK took us to the western Baltic (Denmark, Sweden and Norway) and back to Falmouth for the winter via the Caledonian Canal in Scotland and Ireland.
- 2011: Back to Scotland, via the Isle of Man and Northern Ireland. Visits to the Outer Hebrides and our furthest north yet: the Orkney Islands. Travelling down the east coast of the UK to Essex completed our full circumnavigation of the UK in two parts.
- 2012: Refit time again: eighteen months in a boatyard in the River Crouch, Essex. Work included removal and replacement of all remaining water tanks, installation of new genoa tracks, repair and rebuild of the rudder and a myriad of smaller, yet no less time consuming tasks.
- 2013: Departure from the UK for Portugal crossing direct from Falmouth to northern Spain, followed by a leisurely cruise along the Spanish and Portuguese Atlantic coast. Wintered in Lagos, Portugal.
- 2014: Into the Mediterranean: Lagos to Marina di Ragusa, Sicily via the Balearic Islands, Sardinia and north Sicily.
- 2015: A summer in the Greek Ionian before returning for a second winter to Marina di Ragusa.
- 2016: Heading on east – Croatia and Montenegro and on via the Peloponnese to the island of Crete for the winter.
- 2017: East to the Asian continent: Turkey, and return west via the Aegean and the Corinth Canal, wintering in Roccella Ionica, southern Italy.
- 2018: A Western Mediterranean cruise taking in Sardinia, Corsica, and Elba with a third winter in Marina di Ragusa.
- 2019: Our first visit to the African continent with a month in Tunisia, followed by two months in the south of France and a voyage along the Mediterranean coast of Spain to winter in Cartagena.
- 2020: This year we were due to begin a major refit to Emerald, with a year on the hard; however Covid19 has delayed this plan. We took the opportunity for a summer cruise before the hard work begins. This year we spent our first winter at anchor rather than in a marina.
- 2021: After spending the winter months at anchor in the Rio Guadiana, in Portugal, we headed to a boatyard to tackle the long list of out-of-the-water jobs.
- 2022: The time in the boatyard stretched way beyond what we had planned and we didn’t leave until May. However, we completed many big jobs on Emerald, including painting the top sides and Coppercoating the underwater hull. After launch we spent a few weeks on the Algarve before sailing to Porto Santo, in the Madeira archipelago.
- 2023: Unfortunately, during our sail to Porto Santo, saltwater found its way into the engine. Subsequently it wouldn’t start on arrival. We were able to lift out into the boatyard to work on cleaning and rebuilding the engine.