An early morning shot of Ravensdale at Maryport Marina, Cumbria, UK
We’ve spent a lot of time thinking this week – about where we want to be for the next few years and what happens to our boat when we die.
Phil and I are trying to sort out our wills and are struggling to work out how to deal with our 43ft seagoing cruiser Ravensdale.
We’ve also been missing the Scottish mountains, having lived in the Highlands for 16 years before selling our house and moving onto our boat 17 months ago.
We’ve been based at Maryport Marina in Cumbria, UK, ever since, but we’re now looking at marinas in Scotland with a view to heading up that way.
We’re also considering a move to Wales, where we’d be closer to our families.
Meanwhile, we’ve been totally amazed by the reappearance of a deck brush that Phil lost overboard while cleaning Ravensdale in the marina last week.
Our will dilemma
The death of a fellow liveaboard has left us trying to decide what happens to our boat when we die.
For some time, Phil and I have been thinking that our wills needed revising as they were written 18 years ago.
There have been many changes in our lives since then, the biggest of which was probably selling our house and buying the boat that is now our home. If one of us went first, the boat would go to the other one. Our concern is what happens if we both go together.
Our Neptunus 133 at Maryport Marina
We can’t help thinking that leaving someone a boat, or even a part share in a boat, is very different to leaving them a house.
For a start, selling a house is usually considerably easier than selling a boat.
Also, a boat costs a small fortune in mooring fees, insurance and maintenance that would have to be financed until she was sold, which could take months or even years.
I’ve heard it said that you only leave a boat to your worst enemy. Thankfully, we don’t have any of those (as far as we’re aware 😊) and we certainly wouldn’t want Ravensdale to become a millstone around the necks of any of our family.
I posted a question on a couple of Facebook liveaboard groups in the hope that someone had found a good solution to this problem and got a wide variety of answers.
As always, I was amazed at how helpful other folk are when we ask for help and advice and amused, but not in the least bit surprised, by the number of people who offered to solve our problem by taking Ravensdale off our hands when we go 😊
Some even offered to take ownership of her now, but I pointed out that we’re hoping to spend many more happy years living aboard before she needs to be rehomed.
Phil and I enjoying some winter sunshine on Ravensdale's foredeck while at anchor
And a few people recommended a Viking funeral, which could be appropriate given my husband's Norwegian roots 😊
The sensible suggestions included asking our families whether they would want her, which we’d intended to do anyway, but we were trying to get a clearer picture of how it could work before asking them.
Others put forward the idea of leaving her to charity, which is a definite possibility if none of the family wants to take her on.
Another option was to set up some sort of trust fund to pay her expenses until she could be sold and the money raised could then be divided as stipulated in our wills.
We’ve now spoken to our relatives about this and are planning to take legal advice on the best way to ensure things go smoothly when we're gone.
Having written this, I’m feeling a little bit guilty talking about Ravensdale in this way. I sort of feel I should be covering her ears, so she doesn’t hear our discussions about her future 😊
The Swan Man
It was the death of Phil Lee, who became known locally as the Swan Man because he fed the pair of swans that were regular visitors to our marina, that set us thinking about our own wills.
The Swan Man with the swans at Maryport Marina
I attended his funeral last month and we offered to scatter his ashes at sea if that was what the family wanted.
We got to know his sister, who’s his only surviving relative, while she and her husband were here removing his belongings from his boat.
They’re not boating people and are having to deal with things like mooring fees, insurance and selling the boat, which is now on the market.
And they’ve left an urn containing his ashes with us to take out to sea next time we go.
Meanwhile, the swans have still not returned since he died and I volunteered to feed them, but I’m sure they’ll be back once the nesting season is over.
A cygnet hitching a ride on Mum's back
And, when they return, I’m hoping they’ll bring their cygnets with them as they did last year.
Marina thoughts – do we stay, or do we go?
Every time I see photos of the Scottish mountains, I have a hankering to return.
Phil and I at the summit of 3,274ft Ben More Assynt in April 2007
This week, I asked Phil if he felt the same way and he said he did.
We first moved to Scotland in 2000 because we loved the mountains and the stunning landscapes. And we spent a lot our free time while living there out in the hills.
During that time, we lived in Sutherland, Easter Ross and latterly near Fort William in Lochaber, where I never got tired of seeing Ben Nevis on my way to work every day.
This conversation set us thinking about whether we should consider moving our boat up to Scotland, so we’ve been researching suitable marinas that would give us easy access to the hills, including the possibility of Tarbert in Argyll, where we have friends with boats.
Tarbert Marina on the west coast of Scotland
We’re also looking at marinas in Wales – north Wales would mean we’d still be close to mountains, but west or south Wales would mean we’d be closer to my children and grandchildren and Phil’s brother.
Or we might just stay put as we like it here too.
But at least living on a boat, we can move our home anywhere we want without having to go through the palaver of selling one house and buying another 😊
Creatures of habit
Is it only me or do other people who regularly use the toilet and shower facilities at their marina tend to use the same one and consider it “their toilet” or "their shower"?
I know it’s unreasonable to even think this way.
The toilet and shower block at Maryport Marina
However, if I walk into the toilet and shower block and somebody is in the shower I use, even if I’m not planning to have a shower at that time, I can’t help thinking: “There’s somebody in my shower!”
And it’s happening more often since the marina caravan site reopened at Easter.
Actually, I know it isn’t only me as I was speaking to a liveaboard from another marina recently who told me she’s exactly the same, which was a huge relief as I thought I was the only one 😊
Return of the missing brush
After two tides had come in and gone out again, the deck brush that fell overboard while Phil was cleaning Ravensdale Friday lunchtime, turned up at the far end of the marina on Saturday morning.
Phil washing Ravensdale with the brush that went missing
That would have been amazing enough, but even more so was its location and the way in which it had come to rest.
It was upright, leaning against the wall at the bottom of a flight of stone steps down into the water next to an old trawler, called the Sara Maria, which is more than 100 yards from our boat and right next to the marina gate.
View from Ravensdale's aft deck showing the Sara Maria at the far end of the marina
We can only think that the wooden handle was lighter than the head causing it to float in an upright position and it came to rest on a ledge at the bottom of the steps, where the head was tangled up in the seaweed.
Phil retrieving the brush from the other end of the marina
As the handle had been out of the water for some time, it had almost dried out. Phil rinsed out the head in the marina water and it’s as good as new – well, not quite as it wasn’t that good when he lost it, but it’s no worse than it was.
And, as it was his favourite soft deck brush, which holds water, we were very happy to get it back.
We just couldn’t believe how and where it was when we found it.
How lucky was that? 😊
Pelican of London
I’ve been wanting to take a trip to Whitehaven Marina, which is about 15 miles from Maryport, ever since a tall ship, called Pelican of London, arrived there Easter weekend.
However, since then, most of the time the weather wasn’t good for photographs and, when it was, we were busy doing other things.
The light still wasn’t great on Monday, but we decided to go anyway as we also needed some cleaning materials from the chandlery at the marina as we don't have one here.
Pelican of London at Whitehaven Marina in Cumbria
The 34.6m long, 21.2m high square rigger is a sail training ship based in Weymouth, Dorset, in the UK.
Built in 1948 as Pelican, she served as an Arctic trawler and then a coastal trading vessel named Kadett until 1995.