2018 Boat Projects.

Last year wasn’t just a big year for us personally but another big year for boat projects.  Here’s a list of the big jobs that was carried out.

Aft Cabin and Head.

With the arrival of our little crew member in early March my Mum and step dad Pete was coming to stay on board with us for nearly two months.  This meant Morgan had to get the aft Cabin and head ready for them.  When we left the US this cabin and head was no where near finished.  We had basically just built walls out of Marine ply, and filled both these areas up with wood and supplies. 

The aft section of the boat was such a mess neither of us actually took any pics. Morgan started the project at the end of November 2017 and finally finished minus the door to the hanging locker and the door to the washing machine cupboard (minor details at this point) two days before my parents arrived at the end of February. 

Aft cabin before

Here’s a quick reminder of what this cabin looked like when we bought the boat.  The floor and bed was on the same level. Meaning you had to literally sit on the floor to get into bed.  Also the cabinetry was on the outboard of the cabin and half of the bed was under the cockpit sole.  The Electrical panels was also in this cabin.

So in the US we decided to completely gut out this entire cabin. We lowered the bed frame and the floor and took the electrical panel out completely. It was an empty shell at one point that we primed and painted.

Then Morgan and my Uncle rebuilt the walls before we left the US.

This was the work that Morgan did from November to February.

Luckily Morgan’s brother Jojo came out to see us for two weeks in early February to help Morgan celebrate his 40th Birthday so Morgan got some extra help for that time he was here which was great and so needed.

He utilised all the old doors and the majority of the trims to add to the new cabins look. And here is the end result. A much more practical and bright cabin.

This was the same for the aft Head. We hated all the old cabinetry and formica. So we gutted it out and started over. 

We kept it simple. Used Marine ply for the walls and floor and added a few coats of epoxy to seal it of.  Then painted it. We installed a washing machine under the companion way steps that is accessed via the head and also added a locker space that one day could serve as a wet locker but for now holds our laundry basket etc. 

This is the process. And the end result.

Pilot House Floor.

This was the most used floor on the boat and we think it might have been the original flooring.  The rest of the boats floor was newer in comparison.  So whilst in the US we bought 2 sheets of teak and holly.  Its not 100% finished yet as there is still work to be done to the pilot house however 90% of the existing floor has been changed out for the new. Again sounds simple enough, but try lining up all the stripes from the various pieces. Of cause once the pieces all fit they were given a few coats of vanish.  It looks amazing and lightens this area up quite a bit.

Sewing Projects.

All boat projects came to a halt once our little Gaël arrived and turned our world upside down.  When Morgan finally came up for air about 3 months later he decided to start of slow with some sewing projects. He completed several sewing projects over the last few months.

The first project was a proper mainsail cover.  When we left the US we had on board an oversize mainsail cover belonging to a super yacht.  When we used it we had to tuck it around the sail from all directions.  It really wasn’t an easy task covering the mainsail tidily.  Morgan designed the cover himself and it took him about three interrupted days to complete it.  The end result a perfect fit mainsail cover.

With the new main sail cover on we were left with the gigantic piece of material that we had been using as a cover.  So Morgan made a really great awning out of it that extended from the start of the pilot house back to the back stays.  For a few months of usage this was amazing. It offered so much shade and cooled the pilot house and cockpit down tremendously.

In October Morgan’s mum Jacqueline came out to visit us for a few weeks.  Having her around Morgan decided to tackle the job of pilot house blinds.  Shade for the Pilot house was something we debated about for months. As there is windows all around when the heat is on this area could really heat up.  We enjoyed sitting in the pilot house with its near 360 degree view out but depending on the time of the day it would get pretty hot.  We had material on board so debated about curtains or blinds and then one day Morgan suggested outside screens.   We got the material at a reasonable rate in Martinique and having an extra pair of hands on board over a weekend they got the blinds made. What a game changer.  Its reduced the heat inside tremendously and I also like the privacy aspect of it.  We can see out but no one can see in.  Perfect.

Also whilst having Jacqueline with us Morgan decided to tackle the most difficult sewing project, a dodger.  We knew this project was going to be a tricky one.  They took templates out of plastic and then cut the material to it.  All outside in the elements which made it quite tricky.  Jacqueline returned to France before they could finish it but a few days after Morgan got the final project done.  I think he did a great job. 

Hatch linings.

This was a real pain in the **** project, so much so that I didn’t get many pics of the process.  The original hatch linings were made from laminated wood. The majority of the hatches when we bought the boat had minor leaks from dried up hatch seals that unfortunately meant most of the hatch linings had been destroyed.  They were beyond repair.  However the trims were salvageable. 

51225893_556871681496204_7264404386195963904_nMorgan used packaging cardboard to make a mould of the gap between the hatch frame (lining) and the cabin ceiling/old trims. Once happy with the way it set he removed the mould and fibre glassed the back side of it to the existing trims.  Once the resin was cured the cardboard was removed and the surfaces required minor filling and fairing.  Then it was ready for painting and the trims were varnished. 

It sounds like a easy enough task but it was far from it and took a few trials of what would work to get the right mould.  In total he had to do three big hatch linings (60X60) and 5 small hatch linings (40X30).

51174348_2149271888429682_3829214496891600896_nThis took about a month to complete but they look absolutely amazing.  We chose to paint the linings white for a cleaner look.  It looks slightly odd with our current ceiling color but it adds a burst of light to our otherwise somewhat dark interior. One day when we have heaps of time on our hands we would like to paint the entire ceiling white.  But thats not happening any time soon.

Dodger and Bimini.

Now that we have had both structures for a few months already I find it so hard to believe we lived with out them.  We had bought some stainless steel frames when we first arrived in the Caribbean with the intention of one day making a dodger. Well in September when we ran south to Grenada for hurricane season this was the main projects Morgan worked on.  A friend of ours offered his workshop for Morgan to work in.  He used two existing frames to make the dodger frame and then built a combing from scratch using marine ply. I was a bit skeptical of it at first when he had three layers of ply glued together and then bent to the shape he wanted. It took quite a bit of fairing and sanding but the end product looks amazing. When he bought it back to the boat I was super impressed. 

We weighed up the options of getting the Bimini made out of Stainless steel or galvanized steel and eventually went with the galvanized steel.  We have a welding machine on board so before we left Martinique Morgan bought all the materials he required and then in Grenada he fabricated the frame.  It took a few trips back and forth to get the frame right and luckily we had friends there that could help manipulate this big frame structure on board.  Once the pre-fit was approved Morgan painted the galvanized steel.  A few coats later it was fixed back on board.  

It was a few months before we sailed up to St Martin where we purchased two additional solar panels to go on the Bimini. Morgan had to once again fabricate a support frame for the panels to fit on. Then epoxy, faired and finally painted.  It isn’t completely finished yet as we would like to make a material/windscreen section to join the Dodger and Bimini and also make roll-able flaps for the Bimini sides to help keep out the sun and rain.  So Nomadica has taken on quite a different look in the last few months.

High output Alternator and bracket.

Whilst Morgan had access to a work shop and machine shop in Grenada he decided to fabricate a bracket on the engine in which he could install a high output alternator. The thought of ever having to motor any distance and not be able to charge the batteries made us cringe so its always been something we wanted to do.  Another great improvement and a few days work to get it all right. 

New Freezer and Refrigeration units.

The original refrigeration/freezer system was a Glacier bay. It worked a charm but boy it really sucked a lot of power.  In order to keep up with its power demands we found we had to run the generator an hour and a half in the morning and the same in the night.  The one massive compressor ran both the refrigeration and freezer so there was always a fear that if it broke we could lose whatever we had in the fridge and freezer.  Also if we lost the generator we could be under powered in running the system. We could never leave the boat unless it was on the dock which is very rare, as we had to turn the system on and off manually twice a day.  Morgan had moaned about this for months so finally at the end of the year he decided to change out the system for a more conventional marine refrigeration and freezer system.  What a game changer these new systems are.  We haven’t ran the generator since and both units works great.  The Glacier Bay came with 2 thick holding plates in each compartment. Once these were taken out we were left with so much space.  So whilst doing the installation Morgan did some modifications to the boxes and added shelves for practicality.  Its fantastic and so much better than before.  Sorry no pics. 

And I think thats it…..I didn’t always get the pics as we pretty much have had our hands full but it’s been a good year all around 🙂

Now that thats done…..Lets sail to Cuba. 🙂

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The last year in review.

A new year a new effort at keeping up with this blog.  A few days ago we paid another years subscription so I am hoping this is the motivation we need to be a little more regular at writing.


1st January 2019.


Also a few days ago we celebrated 6 years of ownership of Nomadica.  It really is crazy how fast that time has flown by. I remember that day so well.  We were so so excited and I think quite nervous to.  Now 6 years on we have been living aboard her for a year and a half already and we are comfortable in our home afloat.   We haven’t travelled that far in that time but we have achieved a lot. 





Nomadica in Martinique.

The first part of 2018 was spent in Martinique, waiting on the arrival of our little crew member and then after his arrival in March we waited a few months to get use to life on board as a family of 3 before we started moving.  Of cause in June hurricane season was once again upon us and after the previous years activity we delayed our plans of heading West.  Instead we did a few runs up and down the Island chain, dodging a few tropical storms and spending the majority of the time in the southern Islands.  In September the height of the hurricane season we went as far south as Grenada.  Morgan had a project that he wanted to do there and it seemed like the perfect time to go. 


The Island chain from Google Maps.

The last few months of 2018 we saw ourselves in Grenada and Carriacou, Union Island, Mayreau, the Tobago Cayes and Bequia which is part of St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Lucia, Martinique, Dominica, The Saints in Guadaloupe and lastly St Martin.  We spent Christmas, which was a special one being Gaël’s first Christmas and the New Year in St Martin and enjoyed bringing in the new year with old cruising friends we had met from years before. 

Really you could spend a few years sailing around the Eastern Caribbean Islands but thats not something we have any desire at all to do.  To be honest we have found the Caribbean to be over crowded and expensive so it felt good to be finally on the move.


Last week we made our first west bound trip to the BVI’s it was nice to finally have the wind at our backs.

Cheryl, Morgan and Gaël.


A New Life for Us…..

A year ago today our lives changed.  A year ago Nomadica was launched and we started our lives a float. 

We had dreamt about living aboard our own boat again for years.  Its been a bit of a whirlwind as it has not always been easy.  But when I look back on what we have achieved in the last year, the projects and goals a head are nothing in comparison.  I will write more on that later.

In March we welcomed into our lives our new addition.  Our son Gaël Kai Morice was born on the 4th March here in Martinique.  We couldn’t have been happier.  Our hearts are full and our lives have been busy.  After a short hospital stay we bought him straight home to the boat.  My Mum and Stepdad made the long journey from St Helena Island to be with us for the occasion.  They arrived on the 1st March for nearly an 8 week stay on board.  Just 3 days after they arrived Gaël decided to make his arrival.

We are still in Martinique at the moment, but will be moving along the Island chain soon. Its wonderful to finally be a family a float.  Our little boy has already had his first sail to St Lucia and back.  

The  first of many adventures a head.


Christmas in Martinique.

I’ll be the first to admit that I have officially suck at keeping up to date with Blog posts. Months ago I thought I would have so much time on my hands and that this would be an easy task.  But since June, since we have been living on Nomadica I have been struggling with writing and more enjoy living this life we have been dreaming about for so many years.  I guess a part of me also don’t want to fall in to the trap of writing about something rather than experiencing it first hand. I’ve seen it where arrivals and departures and significant moments have been missed simply because one has been too engrossed in writing about it.  Sometimes its nice to look up and appreciate life around you instead.


Enjoying a Caribbean Sunset on the beach with friends for Christmas Eve. 

So a year ago today we arrived back in Charleston full of excitement and motivation.  It hasn’t been the easiest of years but we have enjoyed doing everything for ourselves as appose to living the life as professional crew.

This Christmas was the first time we have spent in our own place, our own home in 13 years, the last time being aboard our little Noa in Brazil where we spent our first official Christmas together anchored of Itaparica.  Crazy how time has passed.


Christmas Eve 2004 anchored in Brazil with Noa.

This year we spent Christmas eve and Christmas on a beach here in Martinique with new and old friends.  The oldest friends being a couple we met 13 years ago when we first started sailing together.  We met them in Ascension Island and at the time were the only two boats anchored there.  Adrian and Hiltrut had been sailing for many years together and had at the time a 5 year old son Eric.  We spent some fun times together then and departed Ascension the same day they bound for the Caribbean and we for Brazil.  That following year we met up a few times in various locations in the Caribbean and then years passed again before we met them in St Lucia when we were officially working on one of the Gunboats.  It was nice to see them here again in Martinique and its like time has never passed. Although their son Eric is now an eighteen year old which reminds us of how time has really passed. 

One of the things I enjoy immensely about this life is the people you meet.  Unlike land life where you might never meet your neighbor.  On a boat that is almost impossible and if anything once on anchor its quite common to go and say hello to those around you.  We’ve met some wonderful people in the last few months and have started to build great friendships.  This Christmas we spent with those on a beach having a cruisers pot luck. It was a great day filled with good company and excellent food to share in a beautiful location.

For those that don’t follow us on Facebook, its time for me to also admit one of the reasons why I have been slacking.  Life for us is about to change.  In less than 10 weeks we our adding to our crew list.  Yep Baby Morice will be arriving in early March :-).  We couldn’t be happier and this new addition has been a long time coming.  Being in the early stages of pregnancy in our last month in Charleston was not easy.  Loading the boat, finalising work, changing rigging and the mountain of other things we had to do whilst suffering with nausea and fatigue was not much fun.  On the 2000 mile sail to the Caribbean I was far from my usual self and totally out of balance.  So for now we have decided to put down our roots for the next few months and continue the pregnancy here in Martinique where the medical facilities are the best in the Caribbean. 

It hasn’t been a smooth journey but we are grateful.  A new chapter in our lives will soon begin. 

Merry Christmas from Martinique

Seasons Greetings from the Caribbean. 

Boat Projects under the Caribbean Sun.

So we haven’t been completely lazy here. Morgan’s been keeping busy continuously twigging systems and finishing jobs on board and of cause we don’t stop with general maintenance.  Its such a pleasure though to be working on our future, our dreams, our boat.  

So here’s a summary of the major projects he’s accomplished so far.

Solar Panel.

IMG_0195A few days before leaving Charleston we made the decision to get a solar panel shipped to us.  Not having the time to install it, we stuck it in the aft cabin with the rest of the materials we were carrying.  This was one of the first jobs Morgan got to on arrival here.  He made a bracket on the solar panel and secured it on the aft cross beam between the two stern poles.  It works a charm and also creates a nice shaded area in the aft section when sailing. 

Swim Platform.

You will remember the swim platform frame that Morgan got Jimmy to make quite a few months back.  Just days before our departure we bought some sapele wood for this platform.  This was one of the priority projects he tackled which made getting in and out of the water such a pleasure.  The planks were quite thick so he got these cut down on the dock the day before we left Charleston.  Once we arrived he cut the planks to size to fit in the frame and evenly spaced them on the frame.  It was tough work drilling the holes necessary to secure the planks, it even ended up with a trip to the ER and 8 stitches later which was the result from hot metal fillings slicing his finger like butter. 


To add an extra touch he also routed out the planks which not only looked good but helps with grip.  The end product looks amazing. 


Deck Hardware and Tracks.

When we left Charleston we installed the minimum deck hardware.  Once time allowed here it was time to get the rest of the deck blocks and tracks installed.  You might think thats an easy enough task.  However installing the 4 tracks on the gunnel took us quite a few days and lots of prep.  Firstly we had to drill 140 holes through the 8mm steel gunnel where the tracks were going to be placed.  Once this was done we had to treat the metal and the holes, prime and paint the area.  Then 140 bolts later our tracks were finally on.


It was great to see the boat kitted out again and it was nice to take away the temporary blocks we had been using.  Whilst we did this Morgan also treated areas of the gunnel that had some rust spots showing. Yes its a steel boat and we will be doing this continuously.

Now that we’ve sailed the boat a fair bit it also gave us a chance to see what we actually wanted to reinstall and what we felt would no longer work without the teak deck adding some height. 


Installation of Deck Hatches.

In our haste to get out of the USA we didn’t install all of the deck hatches. Instead Morgan made epoxy ply wood covers that he secured over the openings instead. It wasn’t exactly pretty but it was the best we could do.  So since arriving he has been installing the last few hatches.  The Master Cabin hatch had originally had a teak frame around it which had since been removed.  So this was the trickiest one.  However after lots of thought he came up with a solution and its was a fantastic treat to have a operating forward hatch. 


Our nights our now cool and our days are bright with all the hatches on deck finally in place.


Installation of deck wash/anchor windless box.

IMG_8424With the removal of the teak deck came few alterations that needed to be made. Originally there was a stainless steel box bolted to the teak with the deck wash and anchor windless box installed in.  Of cause with no teak we needed to make a solution. Its a simple one but it works well.




Building of Forward Head.

This has been the project that has given me the most to smile about.  When we moved on board Nomadica in June the head area’s was still two blank spaces.  Just weeks before departure I begged Morgan to at least install the toilet in the forward head.  Using the yard facilities was OK but it got a little old after a while.   This is how we lived for a few months, with just a toilet and one sink in the galley.  So when Morgan finally started on the forward head I was so please.  We had a few delays due to the weather.  Of cause just when he needed to prime or paint we had like two weeks of continuous rain which hindered progress.  He couldn’t exactly paint with the boat closed up and us locked in side. 


Originally this head was terribly old fashioned with lots of unpractical storage spaces.  Most of the wood work was also covered in formica which had pulled away.  We had to get access to the hull when we did the welding work so decided to strip this entire area out.   It was a blank space and we had discussed the plans for this at great length. 


I could never imagine it would look the way it does today.  There is still a few fine details but I am totally happy with the end result.  I’m also amazed at how the space feels bigger than originally imagined.  Its got me excited about the build projects ahead.


So thats it.  As I write work has finally started on the aft cabin and head.  Its going to be a few weeks if not months but I know we will get there. Slow steps whilst we enjoy life on board. 


Life in the Caribbean.

Seriously has it been over a month since my last post.  I have been slacking and time is getting away from me. 

Sunset in the Caribbean

Beautiful Caribbean Sunsets.

A friend mentioned recently about my lack of blogging which prompted me to get back into it.  I have no real excuse 🙂 apart from the fact that I have gone into complete relax mode.  I think we do deserve that a little after the last few months.


Enjoying life in the Caribbean.


I guess we are also enjoying life to the fullest which makes it hard to sit down and write about it….well I find that the case anyway. 

Anyway here’s to making a better effort from my side.  Its hard to believe we’ve been here in the Caribbean for over three months already. Initially it wasn’t our intention to be in the Caribbean this early, but its been an interesting experience.  Heading south to the Caribbean in the height of hurricane season was definitely not on my priority list but it was too late to head north to Canada and Central America had quite a bit of tropical depression activity at the time of our departure.  Looking back on this hurricane season I had every right to feel the way I did.  This hurricane season has officially sucked and probably ranks high on the the list of worse seasons to date.  Not wanting to mess with the weather in August we headed straight south to Grenada.  Of cause if anything came close to us we were prepared to run even further south or at least in the opposite direction.  We are still prepared to do that. 

IMG_0294A few mere weeks after our arrival in Grenada hurricane Irma and Maria created absolute havoc on several of the Caribbean Islands.  Both were category five hurricanes that caused catastrophic damage and numerous deaths.  We watched both hurricanes track north of the Island chain with our hearts in the our mouths. It was hard to imagine just a few hundred miles away peoples lives and the Islands they called home were being changed and destroyed.  So many yachts were also lost and destroyed during this time. The pictures and footage that followed was heartbreaking.


Early morning colours.

However life for us continued.  Our days on board Nomadica have slowed down quite a bit.  Of cause sunrise is early here in the Caribbean so we are awake most days super early as the first signs of light comes streaming into our hatch. Its a beautiful time of the day where everything seems so calm and still.  Our mornings are spent leisurely before we start on boat projects. 


Things are getting done but slowly.  More on that later.

Another friend asked a few weeks back what is the best thing I enjoy about being in the Caribbean on our own boat and I have to say its the people we meet. We’ve been to the Caribbean several times before, so the we are no strangers to the Islands.  However life on a boat is so much different to that on land.  You get to know your neighbours and making new friends or acquaintances is just so much easier in this life.  Already we’ve met some great people and get togethers to enjoy sun set drinks seems to be a frequent happening now.

We’ve noticed a change in the weather in the last few months.  August was hot and humid, September it cooled slightly and then October bought more frequent rain squalls and cooler evenings.  November the temperature at night has dropped which makes it so much more comfortable for sleeping under the stars.  Even the sea temperature have dipped a few degrees which makes swimming in the azure waters a real treat.

By far our favourite time of the day is as the sun sets. We love to light up the BBQ and take thanks for the day that has past. 

We stayed in Grenada for just over two months before slowly hopping up the Island chain to Martinique where we’re currently at.

Life is simple out here and we are loving it.


Throw back Thursday – The Hull and Transom.

The Hull and Transom.

Rather than dwell on what we still have to do, lets see how far we’ve come. 

When we first saw Nomadica, then Kata Brava in October 2012 she was unfortunately in a bit of a sorry state.  Pretty much rotting away and destined for the scrap yard.   


I for one will admit that I wasn’t at all interested in her, I remember driving up to the back of the boat, the transom, and looking up at a lot of holes.  Her lines were beautiful there’s no denying that but I just saw a lot of work. 

Morgan on the other hand was not phased by it at all, he’s not afraid of a lot of work and he got more excited as we looked around.  He saw the potential in her before I did and it took a little persuading on his part for me to agree to finally put in a offer. 


We worked on Nomadica full time for an approximate 11 months in total in the yard.  Four months back in 2013 and for seven months this year (2017).  This is what we have achieved so far.

The day we purchased her we also got the hull audio gauged to check for thickness and weakness’s.  Apart from the obvious which was the transom there was just one weak spot on the stringer in the pilot house that had had water sitting in for god knows how long.  So this piece was cut out and renewed.  Also there was a cut out in the keel that we assumed was done to inspect inside of it.  Otherwise apart from small pitting everywhere she was in good shape.

Of cause with any welding work that could infiltrate into the interior we had to get access to this area from the inside as well. So there was a lot of cutting out of panels to do this.  Whilst the welders worked on the outside I would sit on the inside with a fire extinguisher just incase.

Once the welding work in this area was done we got the entire bottom of the boat sand blasted.  When this was completed and cleaned we added 4 coats of primer to the hull almost immediately.


We practically had to rebuild an entire rudder as the existing rudder was of the boat when we bought it and in a sad state also.  We had originally thought we could repair it but as Morgan looked at it further he felt it was better and probably easier to just rebuild the entire piece.


This year when we returned to the boat we gave the entire bottom a light sand again a little more TLC before adding another two coats of primer.


Days prior to the launch and the day after the last coat of primer we finally got the anti-fouling applied.  This was the part I was so looking forward to.  I had dreamt of what she would look like with a black bottom.  We were not disappointed.


The transom was our biggest issue on the hull.  As I mentioned it was full of holes which meant water was getting into the boat.  We looked at cutting out the various sections but then in the end we decided to change the entire plate.


With a clean slate we figured we could do anything we wanted with the transom.  We didn’t want to have the same as what was originally there and Morgan came up with the idea of adding the back steps and platform.  Which is just a fantastic feature.  I’ll have more about this finished product in another post.


The topsides were in fairly good condition.  There had been a few dinks on the port side, but nothing that a grinder and filler couldn’t fix.


We didn’t do very much else to the top sides until this year.  Then the mammoth job of sanding it all down came.  We spent hours, days, perhaps even weeks doing it until we were happy.


After the initially sand down then Morgan would go and add filler to any spots that was slightly uneven.  Any slight cracks was grinded out and fillered in.  The process seemed never ending at the time.  Once we were happy with this we finally got a coat of primer on it.  It was great to see the uniformed hull again, even though it was a sickly grey.

Over the course of a few weeks the hull changed colour again and again with the meticulous sanding and fillering in.  It wasn’t easy working out in the elements and with the intense Summer heat and with the notorious bugs.  We were happy the day we finally got the first top coat on.

Here’s a summary of the hull colour change in the last few months.

In all we applied six thin top coats in total before we called it a day.

We are completely happy with the vivid red.  It definitely stands out here in the Caribbean.

On anchor here in the Caribbean.

I think that gives a good summary of what we have done in regards to the hull and transom.  Stay with us for the next Throwback Thursday.


The last few weeks in Charleston.

Its crazy to think that it has been over six weeks already since we arrived in the Caribbean.  Time has just flown by.  I’ve been slacking, so before I get lost with tropical scenery, sunshine, sandy beaches and amazing sunsets, I figured it was time to look back on the last few weeks that we were in Charleston.  I know it feels like such a long time ago already.

However quite a few important jobs got done those last few weeks, and for our own sake it would be a shame to not document this.  So here goes in no particular order.

Aft Starboard Cabin.

IMG_9969Originally we had hoped our departure from the USA would have been a relaxed one and we would have been able to hop down the coast to Florida and get to see my Aunt and Uncle in Florida again.  However things didn’t pan out that way so my Uncle came up for 6 days to see us and to also help us out.

It was perfect timing.  Back in February we had ordered our wood for the interior work thinking we would be working on that first.  However priorities changed with the Immigration restrictions and interior work was pushed aside.  So there was still a good 10 sheets of wood that was sitting in our container waiting to be used.  The thought of carrying that load was making us cringe. 

My Uncle is also a carpenter by trade so of cause this was his area of expertise.  So the idea was to get as many wood panels up in the aft starboard cabin as we could.  Now this sounds pretty straight forward and if you were doing four straight square walls it would be pretty easy.  But we all know that things on a boat is far from straight forward and not many walls are straight.  So for 4 days they worked tirelessly on that one cabin.  Taking measurements, going out to the dock to cut panels, bringing them back in for dry fitting numerous times, and then finally securing the panel’s in place. 

During this process we loss one of the sides to the main companion way doorway to.  All rather stressful when we were weeks away from departing. Even my Uncle commented that everything was taking a lot longer than he would have anticipated.  Ha that’s life on a boat for you. 

We didn’t get all the area’s completed that we wanted to, but at least a fair majority was done.  That lessoned the amount of sheets we ended up carrying.


We had absolutely no clue how old the rigging was on Nomadica.  At best it could have been 12 years old, which is as long as she had been roughly sitting in the yard and at worse it could have been as old as the boat itself, which is 31 years old.  So we decided to get all of this changed.  Originally our plan was to take the rig down, remove all the parts for servicing, repaint the mast white and then reinstall with new standing rigging.  We had estimated that this job could take us an easy 6-8 weeks plus.  Time we didn’t have so we went with just changing the Standing rigging and will hopefully get to the rest when time allows. 

Unfortunately we couldn’t measure the standing rigging or go up the mast when the boat was on the hard so we had to wait until we were in the water before we could get the current rigging measured.  We did this on the 4th July when there was no one around and a slightly quieter day.  Morgan went up the rig in his harness and I stayed below with the end of the tape measure. It wasn’t easy with the slight breeze and it took us a few hours to get all 13 cables of rigging measured and documented. 

A week later our rigging slowly arrived. It was perfect timing as my Uncle was still with us.  One by one we took the existing standing rigging down, cut the new rigging to size, we fitted the mechanical end fittings to the cables and then hoisted the new standing rigging into place. Again it sounds straight forward but it took the three of us about 3 days to get it all completed.  I was grateful to have my Uncle there to help as it was quite hard work hoisting the cables which at the longest was 69ft.

At least we now know the Standing rigging is good for a while.

Running Rigging.


Working until late at night. 

We had quite a few second hand halyards and sheets.  Alot of the existing halyards and sheets were left on the boat for years in the elements so these were all pretty fried and useless.  So in the evenings Morgan would spend his time splicing the new halyards and sheets.  It felt at the time like he never stopped.

Bilge pumps.

We got two out of the four manual bilge pumps installed along with 3 out of four electric pumps.  We figured with a boat that hadn’t sailed for nearly 12 years this was a must.  There was already mounting holes for the two manual bilge pumps in the cockpit.  One situated on the port side of the aft cockpit combing behind the steering wheel and another by the lazarette locker.  The aft is to pump out the aft steering locker and the lazarette one has hoses ran to the engine room.  So along with the pumps being installed all the plumbing for these had to be run to. 

For the electric bilge pumps we installed one in the forward peak under the master bed.  The anchor chain locker that is in the peak runs aft to a small section under the master bed.  Not quite practically but easily accessible, so there’s a pump there.  The second pump was installed in the engine room at the lowest point and the third pump was installed in the steering locker.  Again plumbing had to be run for these.

image1 (2)We also invested in a Honda water pump which can act as a fire aid to get water into the boat quickly or to speed up the process of emptying a water filtrated area.  We had one of these pumps on Louise.  It wasn’t until our last passage up the Atlantic that we utilize it, but that one time having to use it justified having one on board. 

Although structurally sound we know all to well that things happen fast and if they get out of control water enters a boat super fast to. 

I’m kinda hoping that if we have it, we won’t need it.  We were fortunate that in our first and last passage from Charleston everything stayed dry.  But you can never be too safe right.


Our electronics package that was received weeks earlier was installed prior to our departure.  This took Morgan a few days to do.  He wants to eventually make a new dash board for the instruments, but again pushed for time we made do with what we had. 

The entire installation he carried out himself, running all the electrical wires require.  This installation included a new B&G Radar and Chart Plotter Display, new B&G wind and depth instruments, Garmin AIS, Icom VHF, Iridium antenna and radar. He fired all the system’s up before departing and everything worked great.

Along with the instruments installed we also got the navigational lights on the pilot house replaced and a stern light installed on one of the aft poles, along with a new Tri-colour light installed at the top of the mast. 

Whilst working up the rig installing the new Tri-colour light we also ran a new cable for the new wind indicator.  It wasn’t much fun trying to squeeze a wire in an already filled conduit. 

Refrigeration & Freezer System.


Early 2013 when the system was removed. 

The Compressor, RFD and Condenser for the Refrigeration and Freezer system was taken out of the boat in 2013.  Not thinking we would keep this system Morgan cut all the copper pipes and removed the entire system from the Engine Room compartment. 

Once we learnt that this was a fairly new system and that Glacier Bay was in fact a good system we decided to give the unit a try, not really knowing if it would work or not.  You will remember a few months earlier I took everything apart, cleaned all the components, and painted the majority.  Not really knowing how it would all be put back together again I just left everything in a container for Morgan to deal with.  It baffled me how he was thinking of putting it all back together again with the hope of it working.

Again just before leaving he got this unit put back together.  It was a tight squeeze getting the very heavy unit back in to its location.  He then soldered the copper pipes back together again. 

He had wanted to hire a Refrigeration specialist to come in and check and charge the system but unfortunately it would seem that no one was interested in coming out in the South Carolina heat to deal with refrigeration when their priority at that time of the year was air conditioning.  So he went and bought the gas and equipment and did it himself.  Low and behold when he fired the system up it all worked.  Amazing.

There’s been a few continuous adjustments but we are happy with how everything works.  The freezer in particular holds the cold well and anything close to the plates freezes pretty quickly.  So ice is always readily available. 


Our sails we put on just before our departure.  It took the two of us a day and a half to get everything on right and we were absolutely amazed and delighted when all three of our sails fitted perfectly. 

Our sail package was ordered months before through Zoom Sails in Malaysia.  Morgan had made the order via email with Zoom Sails Owner Phil Auger.  Our sails were received 4 weeks after the order was placed and we can both say we are absolutely thrilled with them. 

We went out for a two hour sail trial in the harbor the last Friday in Charleston and was pleased with everything and how Nomadica performed. 

Thats about it, the last four crazy weeks in Charleston.  We were running around like headless chickens for most of that time and our days were long and tiring.  Gladly its all well behind us now and our new work location is like a world away. 


The Maiden Voyage.

We woke early on the 2nd August before light and our friend Lane was there on the dock to see us.  Frantically we rushed around, basically loaded up the last of the items from the dock and cleaned up our mess.  Did one last quick weather check jumping on Lanes 3G hotspot and then said our goodbyes and released the dock lines.  Just like that we left, we were on our way.  It was a real surreal moment and I am forever grateful to Lane for coming out at such a hour to see us of.  It made it feel like we were really leaving, it was for real. 

For days before I kept saying to Morgan are we really going to do this?? We weren’t ready and realistically Nomadica wasn’t quite ready either. Half of her interior is still in a mess, there was minimum plumbing, minimum electric’s connected and a ton of material packed chucked in the boat.  But what choice did we have.  Morgan’s 2 month visa was due to expire the following day on the 3rd of August.  We have always been people that stuck by the rules and although realistically we could probably have stayed a few extra days, the thought of being controlled leaving later outweighed our readiness.  We had done everything in our power to make Nomadica safe, the rest was up to us and the weather a head.  We were also tired of working against the clock.

As we motored down the channel, I thought back to 4 years ago when we watched our friends on ‘Silver Shoes’ motor down the channel out of sight and thought ‘Wow this is happening, its our turn’.  We exited the breakwater and continue slowly out of the channel.   We didn’t look back.  We tried to do some auto pilot calibrations, but it just wasn’t working, so we hoisted the sails and started slowly sailing east.  There was a gentle 10-11 knots of wind from the north and we sailed slowly away from shore.  It was quite a liberating feeling. 

Originally we had toyed with the idea of heading south along the coast, and then hang a right towards Mexico and Belize.  This would have been the quicker 1000 mile trip.  However the days leading up to our departure there was a tropical depression forming in the Gulf of Mexico and we had to delay our departure as it was by a day to wait on the weather to pass up the East Coast.  The long range forecast showed more disturbance in the area for the days to come to.  Not wanting to risk it, we just thought East.  Head East. 


Dolphins of the bow.

It was a great first day.  We even had a pod of dolphins play of Nomadica’s bow.  Something that hasn’t happened in years.  It was beautiful.  With no auto pilot we found that if we trimmed the sails right and tied the wheel in place, she held a steady course.  As the day turned into night the wind slowly dropped of.  By Midnight that same wind came from the East and we were plowing into a light breeze and building sea.  We were being tossed around under low RPM’s.  The night turned dark and squally. It wasn’t at all what we imagined our first night out would be like.  With each squall the wind would intensify and we would have to take over the steering.  We were soaked more times than I wished to remember.  Winds often reached 30-35 knots in these squalls.  As dawn came in the skies around us stayed dark and heavy and the day carried on relentless and squally. By the end of the day we were both a little exhausted.  As we prepared ourselves for another long dark night a head I really wondered if it was really the right direction to be going.  Luckily the second night was better and the squalls became less and less and the skies slowed cleared and the winds once again shifted back in our favour.  Friday we were back to sailing slowly east with a beautiful sunny day. 

The next few days the winds dropped completely and the ocean became like a milk pond.  The only thing with no wind was that we had to hand steer which in the heat of the day became pretty intense.  At one point whilst I was at the helm I saw a whale heading straight for us.  I clicked the engine in neutral and watched in awe as this magnificent creature approached within twenty meters of us, it was a Sperm Whale.  It hovered on the surface for a few seconds before diving into the depths.  We stayed drifting for a few minutes more and watched as she surfaced again.  Its moments like these that will stick with us forever.  A few days when we both got tired or jobs aboard became over whelming we just switched of the engine and drifted.  This allowed us both to fix, clean and sleep.  At this point we also took the time to put out the fishing lines and caught two small Mahi Mahi’s.  It was nice to have fresh fish again and something we both have missed about life on the sea. 

The forecast that first weekend showed a possible depression building in the Atlantic with a possible trajectory of the northern Islands of Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic.  Well there went our second possible destination.  No way were we able to head south at that point as the winds around the system would be against us.  So we continued East until it had passed and in fact by that following Wednesday it had dissipated.  By this point we had headed East for a whole week and had covered nearly 1000 nautical miles. 


1000 miles down 1000+ to go.

The next day on Thursday we had our window to point south.  There’s something about Thursday’s as this was another black and squally day.  As we altered course we found ourselves in a stiff breeze and another 24 hours of squall after squall. 

Conditions pointing South was completely different to the week before.  As we continued the easterly trades really kicked in.  Luckily Nomadica held a good course in a stronger breeze.  Anything from 7-25 knots and we could get a hour or two of not touching the wheel before having to untie and re-adjust.


Beautiful night skies. 

Originally we wanted to go as far east to allow a course outside of the Island chain.  However conditions didn’t allow us to point that far.  Once again looking at the long range forecast for the week a head we could see yet again another system forming in the Atlantic  and once again heading towards the Island chain later in the week.  This gave us only a short week to get pass the depressions trajectory.  Not wanting to waste anymore time struggling against the winds, we decided on a course to cut directly through the Island chain. 

As Sunday became Monday we entered the Caribbean Sea and with it conditions stiffened.  As we observed the the glow of Anguilla and St Maarten in the distance we were reaching along in 25-30 knots of breeze.  With waves breaking over the side of the boat.  It was a wet and windy ride.  The days weren’t a lot better and as we pushed on through the Island chain the conditions persisted.  We saw very little of the Islands themselves as there was a thick haze all around.  Making a bee line south we pushed on during the day with as much sail as we felt safe and then at night was vigilant with our sail choice based on the nights skies.  A few nights Morgan slept in the pilot house so that he could assist me quicker when the winds picked up out of no where.  The last few days was pretty tiring, it felt like we did sail changes with every passing cloud, and they rolled through quickly.  Finally on Wednesday, exactly two weeks after we had departed we broke through the barrier of weather with a good 40 knot blow and driving rain.  Luckily we had rolled up both head sails and reefed the main significantly.  We saw the grey thickness approaching and the force in which it hit was impressive.  The rain stung our skin and we had to turn our backs against it to function. Nomadica heeled over and stood her ground.  And then just like that it was gone and conditions lifted.  At this point we were running parallel with the Island chain but 40 miles of shore from them.

Land was sighted just before lunch on Thursday.  In the distance the silhouette of the Island came into view.  The winds had dropped at this point and we were being headed so progress was slow.  It was a wonderful sight to see the grayness of the distant Island turn to colour.  The sun started to set behind us as we pushed the last few miles and the pinks and oranges lit up the sky a head.  As the last of the day faded we slowly made our way into the crowded anchorage.  The lights ashore started to light up the coast line and the smell of lush vegetation was a welcoming change.  After exactly 15 days and 12 hours here we were for the first time with Nomadica dropping anchor in the shallow waters of the Caribbean. 

We couldn’t have been more happier.  We keep grinning at one another in disbelief.  We did it, the hardest part is over.  Most of all we couldn’t be more please with Nomadica.  She performed brilliantly and proved to be strong and steady.  We kept saying she felt a live.  Who would have thought she had spent the last 12 years in a ship yard and 4 years ago prior to us buying her she was destined for the scrap yard. 

After a 2 hour motor trial and a 2 hour sail trial back in Charleston here we are having just completed a 2000 nautical mile maiden voyage.  Sitting in the cockpit gently rocking on anchor and looking up at the stars….this is what we have been dreaming of. 

Grenada couldn’t look any prettier.


A new beginning…….a new name.

Tonight we bid farewell to KATA BRAVA and ask that Neptune the god of the sea welcome into his Kingdom NOMADICA.


We ask the mighty and great ruler of the seas and oceans to keep her and all who sails upon her safe.

We ask the gods of the winds, Great Boreas (North Wind), Great Zephyrus (West Wind), Great Eurus (East Wind) and Great Notus (South Wind) to grant this worthy vessel NOMADICA the benefits and pleasures of your bounty. 

May there be fair winds and smooth seas.

Cheryl & Morgan