¡El Best Seller de Amazon nº1 en ventas ya disponible en español! (Now available in Spanish!)

¡El Best Seller de Amazon nº1 en ventas ya disponible en español! (Originalmente publicado en inglés bajo el título “Get Real, Get Gone”)

“Ni se te ocurra pensar en comprarte un barco hasta que hayas leído este libro”.Tom Cunliffe (legendario marinero y autor de “The Complete Yachtmaster”

La idea de que para viajar por el mundo en tu propio yate tienes que ser rico es tan universal, que rara vez se cuestiona. La imagen tan extendida de hombres ricos en superyates bebiendo Martinis no hace más que reforzar esa idea. Este libro pretende cambiar todo eso.

En una aparición reciente en “New Lives in the Wild” de Ben Fogles, Rick compartió su estilo de vida y aventuras de bajo costo a bordo del Calypso, e introdujeron la idea de que es posible navegar de forma económica a un público totalmente nuevo, un público que quizá nunca hubiera considerado la posibilidad de que un sueño así pudiera hacerse realidad con una cantidad tan pequeña de dinero. Este libro es para ellos y para cualquier marinero experimentado que quiera liberarse del yugo de la navegación de recreo consumista y volver a lo que de verdad importa en el mar.

Si no eres rico pero sueñas con ver nuestro hermoso mundo desde la cubierta de tu propio barco, este libro está repleto de consejos prácticos y espirituales para ayudarte a mirar más allá del marketing e identificar lo que realmente necesitas para convertirte en un nómada de mar de nuestros tiempos y embarcarte en la mayor aventura de tu vida…

Disponible en electrónica y tapa blanda desde estos sitios:

España 

Mexico

Estados Unidos

 

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I am in the Daily Mail – my life is complete

I was hoping to get through my life without ever being in that ghastly rag, but ‘never say never’.  I suppose.   For non-UK readers, the Daily Mail is a sensationalist, right wing tabloid newspaper popular with xenophobes and extreme conservatives.  With the move to online publishing, Britain lost its greatest source of wrapping for Fish and Chips. 

Read the article here

In true Mail style, the article is absolutely full of spelling mistakes, factual inaccuracies, context errors, bad English etc., and seems to have been cobbled together out of soundbites.   I suppose it could have been worse.  Given their track record, I am lucky that the headline didn’t read:

“WORK-SHY GYPSY WHO HAS NOT PAID UK TAXES IN 30 YEARS, LIVING LIFE OF LUXURY ON YACHT WITH BUXOM BIKINI BABES”

So, every cloud has a silver lining and there is no such thing as bad publicity (or so I am told)

Fair winds to everyone – stay safe out there!

Rick 

 

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Back on the Telly Again!

Ben smiles while I try and lift his wallet from his back pocket

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, the Calypso story forges ahead with another episode on British TV tonight (New Lives in the Wild Revisited, channel 5, 9.00pm)

More than five years after his first visit, celebrity adventurer Ben Fogle drops in on previous hosts to find out whether they are still as enamoured with their chosen off-grid lifestyle and what, if anything, has changed for them.

Well for me, nothing really significant has changed- I am still bobbing away on the ocean, but in quite a different way. Several years have passed since Jasna disembarked Calypso under a bit of a cloud and even the boat itself has been replaced –  the old faithful Hans Christian 36 making way for the much-improved Calypso II, a rather fantastic Island Packet 38 (making this the third boat in my trilogy of ownership and also my favourite). So, as the Kenyans say, ‘same, same, but different’.

Ben and I pretend to be serious for the camera

See the full listing in the Radio Times here

If you live in the UK or have a VPN, you can see this episode online here

What I think will be different about this episode is that they allowed me to rant on a bit more about my favourite subject – the fact that virtually anybody can leave the shore for a new life afloat.

I haven’t seen the program yet and have no idea how it was edited, but it was great fun to make and will hopefully be a little more successful  in promoting the message that was a little lost in the original, namely:

If a doofus like me can do it, then anybody can!

I hope it inspires you budding sailors teetering on the edge to make the jump.  Come on in – the water is very warm indeed!

As always, feel free to email me on rick@sailingcalypso.com if you have any questions or just need a good old-fashioned, motivational kick in the pants.

Stay safe everybody and go sailing!

Captain Rick ‘slightly fishy’ Page
Calypso II
Fiji

 

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Self  Isolation Sea-Gypsy Style (or ‘business as usual’)

Calypso II virtually sails herself which means I can even maintain a good social distance from my imaginary friends who tend to appear on long passages.

In these troubling times,  many people have learned that being cooped up at home is not very much fun.  That is, of course, unless your home is a yacht. We nautical nomads have generally suffered  less from the Covid 19 outbreak than our land-based counterparts and there is a very good reason for this.

Yachts are almost perfectly designed for self isolation.  Not only are most yachtsmen mentally equipped for, and accustomed to, long periods of self-sufficiency, a well-found sea-gypsy boat is actually designed with such an eventuality in mind.

Unlike the flashy boats you see permanently plugged into the mains electricity at the marina, a good sea gypsy boat should be self sufficient in electricity (from wind and sun without the need to return to the dock or rely on generators or starting the engine) and have some way of collecting rainfall to keep the tanks topped up. An over-reliance on complicated systems will also scupper any attempts to self isolate as you will need to continually return to shore to chase down parts for your washing machine (bucket is best!) or air conditioner (open a hatch and use a scoop).  Once properly set up, a good sea gypsy boat can travel extensively and have a new view every day without actually coming into contact with anybody at all.

Living in a Castle

Even in a crowded anchorage, you always have a ‘moat’ around you.

Unless you are lucky enough to have been born into the royal family or are planning world domination from your own secret island, the chances are that you do not have the perfect feature for self isolation.  I am, of course, referring to a moat (preferably full of unpleasant beasties). 

Here in the Pacific, anywhere you anchor your yacht is an automatic moat several times larger than most castles and anyone visiting must announce their presence from a long way off.  They then have to get past the marine etiquette of not coming aboard unless asked.  In over a decade of living aboard I have only seen one person broach this convention   (a rather evangelical missionary who came aboard without being asked as he considered the word of his god to be more important than marine etiquette.  He soon learned that is not necessarily the case). So, for sailors, it is beyond easy to maintain correct distancing without really changing one’s lifestyle or invoking new or unfamiliar habits.

Self Entertaining

Sailing my little tender whilst trolling for fish is a great solo activity…..

In Get Real, Get Gone I quote the Hollywood actor and writer Sterling Hayden who claims that, apart from a few pounds of food and six feet to lie down in, a person really only needs some rewarding work for a happy life.  I get the point, but only partially agree as I do not think most of us can go too long without some creative pursuits.  I like to write and play music and if I do this everyday, I find it much easier to forgo, the second essential missed by Mr Hayden – that of the need for human contact. 

….as is exploring remote areas by kayak (but less likely to result in lunch)

Eventually though, we all need some of the old human stuff, but even in that department I think we sea gypsies have an advantage.   For example, I have been anchored in the same three places for over a month now and have come to know those who have also been here for that period, largely isolated in their boat. So when I hear a rap on the hull and an “Ahoy Calypso”  I already know who to invite aboard immediately and who to keep chatting to from the dinghy.

As the borders open up and yachts start to arrive from New Zealand, this lifestyle will continue to offer a protective shield. Those sailors who drop the anchor in Fiji will have already been self-isolating for at least a couple of weeks on passage. Furthermore, they would have had to pass the quarantine checks that have been routine for those arriving by yacht for decades before this most recent pandemic. So, as I have always suspected, largely restricting your contact to fellow sailors really is good for your health (assuming you can maintain proper control of your beverages).

Business as Usual

Having lots of creative pursuits is important. For me it is music and writing, but for others it can be art, photography, film making etc. Isolation is perfect if you ever fancied trying your hand at something new. Let’s face ti -if not now, then when?

Having said all that, Fiji has not really had the virus, so life has not really changed that much – but it is good to know that, should the situation change, we have been unconsciously practicing how to cope with it for it for years.

Covid Spike

This lockdown seems to have led a great many people to re-evaluate their lifestyle choices – or so it would seem if my book sales are anything to go by.  Maybe it has been a close encounter with mortality, a reminder of how short our lives are or just a little shock therapy, but my inbox has taken quite a pounding since the pandemic took hold.  Some people have already made the jump and are asking for practical advice, but the majority are first timers who have been spurred on by recent events to make the leap and are simply waiting for the restrictions to ease in order to make the jump to Nautical Nomad status. Many seem to believe that the restrictions are going to be a permanent fixture of the ‘new normal’ and are therefore keen to take this opportunity to leave the land before the next spike in infections. (I cannot see this happening personally, but I am, by design, increasingly out of touch with the ‘real’ world and only capable of answering nautical questions, so what do I know?)

Speaking of which, if you are considering leaving the lubbers to become a watery wanderer and need a push, I am happy to answer all questions (might take a bit longer than usual, but I will get there). I also do a very fine line in motivational butt-kicking, should it be required.

Social distancing is easy when your swimming pool occupies 75% of the earth’s surface

Silver Lining

Even before this pandemic, there were an overwhelming amount of good reasons to embark on the life of a peripatetic puddle jumper  (as laid out ad nauseum in my book).  If it takes this virus to kick you into action and join us out here on the big blue wobbly thing, then at least some good will have come of it.

Good luck everyone – stay safe, keep calm and last one left on land, turn out the lights.

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It’s Official! Calypso II “Ninth Best Cruising Boat in the World”

According to Cruising World,  the Island Packet 38 is the ninth best cruising boat in the world.  Not a bad position! 

9. Island Packet 38
Though it’s difficult to single out any particular Bob Johnson-designed Island Packet, the 38 is especially notable as it was the company’s first “big” boat, introduced in 1986, after 26-, 31- and 27-foot models. With its full-foil keel, reasonable draft, and versatile cutter rig, the IP 38 incorporated many of the features that personify the popular and much admired brand.(Stock photo. Text and photo courtesy of Cruising World)

Not bad at all when you consider that the study also included  lightly built coastal cruisers.  I have been so impressed with the Island Packet 38, that I am confident that if Cruising World were to run the survey again for bluewater boats only, then Calypso II  might find herself in an even more exalted position.  Having said that, I don’t think (even with my biased opinion) that she could knock the Valiant 40 off the top spot!

To read the full article, click here.

Calypso II at anchor, Savusavu, Fiji

 

 

 

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Return to the Wild – the Fogleator is back…..!

It has been my great pleasure this week to welcome back Ben Fogle and the team for another visit.  

Back in 2015, Ben Fogle and the team spent a couple of weeks on board Calypso to get a taste of the sea gypsy lifestyle in the remote Marquesas Islands of French Polynesia for an episode of the popular TV show New Lives in the Wild. 

Filming ‘New Lives in the Wild’ with Ben Fogle in the Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia, 2015

This week, Ben and the team flew out to the far less remote islands of Fiji for a brief visit to catch up with the exploits of Calypso (now Calypso II, see here) to find out what has changed in the lifestyle of this particular watery wanderer and to shoot some footage for  Return to the Wild –  a kind of  “where is he now?” section which will be weaved into the original documentary (in place of the less interesting parts) and re-broadcast under the new title.

The smiles are back as we pick up on the theme of general silliness in Fiji, 2019

Despite the brevity of the visit, it was heaps of fun. I hit it off really well with Ben and the crew last time, so it was a great reunion with lots of silliness and general piss-taking.  The weather was totally uncooperative, but the actual vibe was great, so hopefully that will come across in the edit even if the beauty of Fiji does not get the recognition it thoroughly deserves in reality. 

I don’t have the broadcast dates yet, but I will publish them as soon as they are available.

Blue Skies and Massive Hugs to Everyone!

Captain Rick ‘Well Fishy’ Page 
Calypso II
Fiji

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Anyone fancy the trip to Fortuna?

Anyone fancy joining me and one other for the trip from Fiji to Fortuna and back? Leaving the end of the month/early June and should take about 3 weeks or so and be quite good fun. 

  • Leaving Fiji at the end of the month/ early June and making the 3 day passage to Fortuna
  • Having a wee explore and returning to Fiji via some of the legendary Lau Islands (weather permitting).  If you are interested, have a read of this and get in touch .  See you out there!
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All change at Sailing Calypso!

Calypso has been sold! 

Actually, she was sold over 18 months ago but the new owner kept me waiting for a while, eventually taking over back in September.  Sorry to be so tardy in posting, but the sale of the boat was all wrapped up with Jasna’s rather unforseen behaviour which ultimately lead to our separation, so I didn’t feel like writing about it (or anything else) for a while – at least until I had something positive to say and now I do….!

Calyps0 II – an Island Packet 38

I know, I know, she looks very similar to the first Calypso (even the same beige colour)  but that is a good thing because there was much to like about Calypso  and I have not fundamentally changed my philosophy as to what constitutes a good voyaging boat as the laws of physics have not changed.  Calypso II still has the necessities of a good voyaging boat as laid out in Get Real, Get Gone and embodied by the original Calypso (and Marutji before her). Namely:

  • A decent, long keel (integral in this case)
  • A fully supported rudder (No dreaded spade rudders, ever!)
  • A heavy lay up – built to get you there, not win races
  • Small, tough portholes
  • Strong rigging and sails
  • Relatively short, sturdy mast
  • The ability to heave-to quietly in foul weather so I can watch Downton Abbey on the BBC iplayer

Calypso II also has some other things that I would recommend to other voyagers.

  • Less external wood.  I know it looks lovely, but at least half my maintenance time  on Calypso was taken up with keeping the wood nice and insect-free.  If you ignore that task in the tropics, then trouble will soon follow.
  • Oversized rigging and chainplates.  In 2014, the nice chaps at Port Townsend  Rigging whipped out the old chain plates and replaced them with a heavy duty version and did the same to the entire rig.  Gives one a great deal of confidence.
  • Monitor Windvane.   Don’t get me wrong, any windvane is an improvement on an

    Photo courtesy of Scanmar

    electric autopilot and they all work their magic.  Yet only Monitor (and some Aries models. Hydrovanes too, but they are not servo type systems) have solved the ‘big wave problem’.  This is where a big wave slides under the boat and knocks the servo blade out of the water so it is no longer steering the boat. Our Cape Horn on Calypso (although a fantastic system in many ways) was vulnerable to that, as iare all the others). Monitor’s stainless cage prevents that from happening – it weighs a bit more than others, but it is good to know that it will continue to steer in all conditions particularly as it would seem that (however unplanned) some solo sailing is likely to feature in my future.

  • Hard Sailing/Rowing Tender Say goodbye to the endless bullshit that comes with dinghy/outboard maintenance and have a heap of fun too.  Also serves as my sail training vessel for new crew.  A much easier and fun way to teach the basics  – chuck the new crew out with a copy of “sailing for dummies” and go and have a beer.  A great trolling vessel too because you can scoot quietly across the water dragging a lure at a decent speed under sail alone which doesn’t scare the fish off.  You can really fight with the bigger ones too as there is no possibility of holing your dinghy landing any fish that is less than keen about becoming lunch.  Say goodbye to hunger and boredom and much expensive maintenance all in one go.

    Calypso ll is fairly similar to Calypso with the long keel and fully protected rudder. However, the cutaway forefoot dramatically improves her close quarters handling – I actually came into a marina in reverse (solo) without peeing myself – something one could never have hoped to do in most long keelers – including Calypso.

Having said all the above, we did not start the complicated process of selling a boat we knew (and immersing ourselves into the heavily mined arena of buying one we did not) for any of the above reasons.  The motivation came principally from the desire to accommodate the many readers who contacted us asking if they could join the boat for a while and get a bit of a taste for the lifestyle.  We did try it a few times with Calypso, but she was just too small.  So we set out to look for a boat that  was about the same size overall as Calypso but had an aft cabin and better interior volume, but did not sacrifice any sea-going ability to achieve it.  A very tall order indeed!  The Island Packet 38 turned out be a very good answer to this problem. Whilst less than a foot longer (LOA) than Calypso, she has excellent interior volume with two decent sized cabins and voluminous storage.  In other words, all the advantages of a charter yoghurt pot but with top of the line build quality,

The real cause of the overheating – corrosion in the heat exchanger/manifold allows the coolant to mix with the exhaust gasses and be expelled out the back of the boat with the raw water/exhaust cocktail. If you are losing coolant and there is no obvious leak, this is usually where it is going.

The aft cabin can fit two singles or can be turned into a romantic double with the addition of a centre infill piece.  The forward Pullman berth  is truly the most comfy bed I have ever slept in. The forward head has been removed and turned into a man-cave. Oh yes!  how many sailors are lucky enough to have their own man-cave!  A second head is rather excessive on a small boat and the man-cave means that all my tools, gooey stuff and fasteners are all in the same place rather than strewn out all over the boat getting lost and pissing off my partner (should I ever be of a mood for another) as grease and oil finds its way into the potatoes and clothes.  I am still sorting it out and I wish to add a permanent vice, stand drill and grind wheel, but it is a real life -changer. Makes me smile just looking at it :).

Generally, the bones of the boat were in excellent shape, but she had been neglected for long enough to make her a bit of a bargain.  The gel coat had gone dull and chalky, the windlass and one furler had seized and the varnish was peeling off exactly to the extent that it was difficult to remove and impossible to repair.  The overheating problem in the engine had been cured by removing the wires from the temperature alarm. (sometimes known as the “Hillbilly Tune-Up”) and the head was leaking and making the boat smell like the toilets at Milwall Football Club.  This of course was my first job and proved fairly easy to repair and then I moved on to all the others in more fragrant surroundings.

Restoring the chalky gel coat with the help of these wonderful fun-lovin guys……

……Kelly (1) Kelly (2) and Peter. Hard to imagine nicer guys

With the help of three really funny Fijian guys, I have now removed every single scrap of varnish from the exterior of the boat and I will be replacing it with nothing.  Teak loves salt air and sunshine and leaving it bare reduces the maintenance significantly in the tropics.

I have been slowing going through the boat stem to stern and fixing whatever I don’t like and cataloging the enormous amount of spares the previous owner was kind enough to leave me with (thanks Daryl!) but generally speaking I am absolutely amazed with the build quality and presence of mind that Island Packet put into these boats – almost every time I think “wouldn’t if be a good idea if…” Island Packet seem to have already done it.  

 

Easy to singlehand – simple and predictable.

She is a delight to sail and surprisingly close-winded fro a long keeler.  Johnny (friend visiting from Tonga) and I were amazed how smartly she tacked and at tight angles that were beyond anything I had hoped for (certainly much closer winded than Calypso).

So my friends!  In a few weeks I will be ready to sail.  I am not yet feeling up to inviting any readers on board at the moment though.  This forum is not really the place to discuss what happened between me and Jasna, but suffice it to say, the more you trust somebody, the greater the pain of betrayal , so I doubt I would make the best company.  But I look forward to meeting you all out here later in the year when I have (inevitably) bounced back a bit and am closer to my usual fluffy, fun-loving self!   Despite upgrading the boat, I will still be running on a ‘not for profit’ basis so I expect a decent bottle of wine (or two bottles of cheap Londis plonk)!

As always, any questions  stick them below in the comments.

Cheers Everyone and Fair Winds to All!

Rick 

Calypso II

Fiji

 
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Get Real, Get Gone – now available in German!

Nr. 1 Bestseller jetzt auch auf Deutsch erhältlich !!

As promised, Get Real, Get Gone  is now available in German.  You can download the ebook or order the paperback here. Coming soon… Spanish, French and Portuguese!

‘Denke nicht einmal daran ein Boot zu kaufen, bis du dieses Buch gelesen hast’ Tom Cunliffe (legendärer Segler und Autor von The Complete Yachtmaster). 

Der Gedanke, dass man reich sein muss, um auf seiner eigenen Yacht die Welt zu bereisen, ist so weitverbreitet, dass er größtenteils nicht hinterfragt wird. Die allgegenwärtigen Bilder von Martini-schlürfenden reichen Männern auf Superyachten festigen diese Vorstellung nur noch mehr. Dieses Buch hofft, all das zu ändern. Rick und Jasnas kürzliches Erscheinen in Ben Fogles ‚New Lives in the Wild’* zeigte ihren kostengünstigen Lebensstil und ihre Abenteuer an Bord der Calypso und stellte die Idee des Segelns auf geringem Budget einem ganz neuen Publikum vor – einem Publikum, welches es vielleicht niemals in Erwägung gezogen hätte, dass ein solcher Traum in der Realität mit nur so wenig finanziellen Mitteln umgesetzt werden könnte. Dieses Buch ist für sie und für alle erfahrenen Segler, die sich vom Joch des konsumorientierten Segelns befreien wollen und sich darauf zurückbesinnen möchten, was auf See wirklich wichtig ist…

Fair winds everybody – Guten Wind und eine ruhige See!

Cheers/Prost!

Rick  🙂

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The Boatyard Vava’u, Tonga

All boat owners share the same two desires when they haul out:

  1. Get your stuff done
  2. Get back in the water

Boatyards are pretty much a means to an end and certainly not a place to linger if your psychological or financial health are important to you.

The Boatyard Vava'u

Boats safely stored for the cyclone season in the Boatyard Vava’u

 

So when we hauled out at the boatyard in Vava’u, we were surprised to find that once we had got the essentials done (new engine and antifouling) that we were in no desperate hurry to get back in the water.

Sure, we were not going to dawdle there forever (after all, there are no free days) but the people who run that boatyard had made the experience so pleasant that we found ourselves in the rare position of not actually being desperate to leave.

 

Jasna checking the sails in the Boatyard Vava'u

Unusually for a boatyard, there is plenty of loan to spread out the sails

The boatyard guys get creative - lowering the engine down to Rick gearbox first

The boatyard guys get creative – lowering the engine down to Rick gearbox first

The carpenter Cyril trying out his last masterpiece - a boat shaped cradle

The carpenter Cyril trying out his last masterpiece – a boat shaped cradle

Jasna getting help sanding the windlass

Jasna getting help sanding the windlass

There is very good snorkeling just off the boat ramp

There is very good snorkeling just off the boat ramp

The Boatyard Vava’u in Tonga is owned and run by two couples – one Brit and one South African – and despite being open a mere 2 years is certainly the nicest boatyard we have ever hauled in.

Set on a lush green lawn in the lee of a mountain, the idyllic setting is complimented by a good little chandlery and that rarest of boatyard beasts, the hot shower.

For those that prefer not to get dirty, there are great services here too – mechanics, carpenters, painters, sanders and fibreglass experts. But what makes this little corner of paradise truly special is the helpful nature of everybody there.  Not once did we even get a hint of the ‘don’t bother me’ attitude that is increasingly common in such places.

The secret of their success lies in their background. The owners (Joe, Kate, Al and Bo) all arrived here under sail  – their boats are hauled out in the yard. Their previous experience as boatyard customers means they know exactly what a sailor needs and the conditions we are operating under.  While landlubber tradesmen might lose patience with the inevitable barrage of questions that arrive with every new sailor, these guys have not forgotten what it is like to be constantly attempting the impossible in an environment so unfamiliar you don’t even know where to buy a pencil.

So a big thank you to Vava’u Boatyard for introducing us to a rare experience – being slightly sad to go back in the water.

 

Us with The Boatyard Vava'u Crew

Us with The Boatyard Vava’u Crew

Click below to watch a short video of us hauling out in Tonga.

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