We are Ruth and Duncan and this blog is about our endeavours.  We've started it in anticipation of beginning our adventures aboard our Alajuela '38 sailing boat 'Impetuous' although the adventure of buying her and restoring her began a while back...

'Easter spot' the Kennet and Avon Canal
We met at the beginning of 2008 and bought Impetuous at the beginning of 2009.  Since then we have been working towards getting her ready to go sailing.  As she is on the land in Texas this has meant visiting for up to 6 month stretches (Visa regulations) in winter 2009, winter 2011 and now; winter 2012 with the intervening time spent back in the UK working for money and fitting out our narrowboat 'Seth'.

Our Boats

Ruby at Dundas Aquaduct K&A canal
I first met Duncan at Avoncliff on the Kennnet and Avon canal when I was on my little wooden topped narrowboat 'Nellie'.  Duncan was on 'Ruby' his self fitted out narrowboat and I helped him tie her up.  These boats have since been sold. 

Seth still fairly disheveled stocking up for winter
We now live between 'Seth' our newly built pretty and small steel narrowboat which I bought as a shell and remains far from complete near Bath, and 'Impetuous' wherever she is (so far in Dickinson, Texas).

Duncan has owned "Star Shell" his 1959 Stella since 1999 which currently rests at St Winnow on the river Fowey in Cornwall awaiting a little tlc before she can next go on a soujourn possibly to Scotland.

How did we end up here?

I have always loved the sea and bought my narrowboat as a way of ameliorating the shock of moving from Scarborough; where I walked down the cliff side to the beach every day I was there, to Leeds.  I never knew that it was a reasonable proposition to own a sailing boat but that changed when I met Duncan.

Duncan has been around boats his whole life.  His parents have cruised together to many places in their holidays and at weekends and didn't feel that having a family should stop them. 

Do we know what we're doing?

We have an idea but we don't 'know'.  I have now lived on a narrowboat almost ten years, Duncan built his over five years before selling it and gave Starshell a complete refit including knees, refastening and engine reconditioning together with all the maintenance a wooden boat requires.  Duncan is a qualified RYA sailing instructor and can teach up to yachtmaster level.  

However, we have no formal training and certainly no qualifications in boat building.  We are learning as we go along and trying our best.  We do not have all the answers but try to keep the minutiae pondering within reason so that we can get on with it.  There is no doubt that Duncan is much better at this than me.  It's so easy for a potentially simple job to get extremely complicated and over think the problem.  This said, we would hope to do a better job if we did many of our tasks again, having learnt the first time.  Certainly the whole project would go faster knowing what we now know.  Neither of us begrudge this time spent on getting Impetuous ready.  It's been a great learning curve; not only increasing our skills and confidence massively but also we feel that knowing your boat well is imperative.  Sure it's been fun too but maybe not ALL that sanding!

What's the plan?

The plan is to get Impetuous in the water here in Kemah (where Nasa control is, near Houston) around the beginning of March.  Once we're in the water we've got some rigging, testing and finishing off jobs to do before we leave for good, perhaps mid April. 

First port of call, all being well with rig and engine will be Cuba.  We plan to stay a while to congratulate ourselves and fix anything that breaks before we head off towards wherever next feels right.  The most likely contenders are Mexico or Belize in order to get to Guatemala around the end of June. 

These plans are far from cast and as always we are flexible as to how things turn out.  In July, wherever we are, we'll get Impetuous all safely tucked up and leave her whilst we go back to our Narrowboat in England to do some building of that and go to work to earn some money!

Our plan for our life to come is to roughly divide our time between 'Seth' in England and 'Impetuous' wherever she is.  We'd like to go to the Pacific in 2014 and we'd like to see some more of the English canals if we can make time. 

How do we do it?

We're not exactly sure except that we chose to, so we do.  I'm a qualified Nurse and Duncan is a qualified school teacher, as well as sailing instructor.  Living in England neither of us have yet struggled to find work when we've wanted it.  We know we are lucky that what we like to do can be so flexible and it certainly makes us appreciate our jobs all the more.  Seth, Impetuous and Star shell all need moorings while we are away, so in the future we would hope to rent out Seth, our narrowboat when we are on Impetuous. 

We do not live like most people; ask anyone who knows us and they will agree.  We are very happy to exist in situations others would not dream of for long periods of time in order to achieve our goals and work towards what we want.  We are extremely frugal and have mostly simple wants.  We are willing to sacrifice what others would consider essential comforts in order to live the lives we choose. 


Lizzie said...

I hope that this will get to you both and especially Duncan on his BIRTHDAY - Happy Birthday. I had no difficulty finding this site - you seem to be well up at the top for googling. fascinating to see what you are up to - I am envious!
I'm off to walk through La Gomera on Sunday (back on 10th) I'll log in again in my return. Much love to you both Lizzie xxxx

Kelley - Sailing Chance said...

Thanks for reaching out to us! I am so excited to follow your journey and hope we'll get to meet up at some point along the way. We're taking a similar path and will be cruising down Central America. Good luck with the rest of your refit!

Bath dialysis staff said...

Hi Ruth & Duncan, great to see your blog and follow you on your journey and adventure. Best wishes from all at Bath Dialysis unit (hope you remember us Ruth!!)Maggie x

Anonymous said...

Hey guys, sweeeeeet blog, I spent 798 days in the boatyard rebuilding a little classic. Love every day, its all about the journey. Come find me and I'll cook you an amazingly average dinner washed down with crappy wine and good times. Cheers

ianb said...

Hey guys - Ian & Jodi here - just checking to see if you guys will be in Bath on October 20th - will be in Bath that day and would love to pop in as it were and catch up with your adventures.
I assume that you are formulating the chicken bus plans to Cancun about now so hopefully that is going well.
Take care and hopefully see you both soon :-)



Anonymous said...

A huge Texas "Howdy" to you both!
I am not surprised at your well-deserved accomplishments. I absolutely filled with smiles reading about your journey. You are both hard working, lovable, and fantastic folks! All of us on F-Dock at Clear Lake Marine Center miss you and send all our best wishes!! Pete Sullivan, "One Spin",

Anonymous said...

Hi Ruth and Duncan,
What a great blog! In 2011 my husband and I (and our daughters, then aged 2 and 1) sold our house, car and pretty much everything else, moved from Cambridge to Exeter, and bought a 36 foot Westerly Conway in Plymouth. We've lived aboard on and off over the past two years, and spent a lot of time in southwest Ireland and northern France. We're about to move aboard for good in April, and when my current job contract ends in May we're setting sail for the Mediterranean. Like you, we don't really have a plan, just some general ideas and big dreams.
Best of luck, and I look forward to reading more about your adventures.

Jason Folkers said...

Hi Folks! Sounds like I just missed you... I've just bought an Alajuela (#64) and am bringing her to Clear Lake in a month. I'll be following your posts to see what fun is. :)


tveta said...

You are amazing!!...
I am glad i could remember the name of your blog, so now i am reading this...

We met in Santiago de Cuba, i am a Russian girl who was on board Perle with Polish flag.


Fresh Breeze said...

Nice blog.
I'd be interested to hear about how you manage to sail with your little one onboard.