11th May 2022 – Rotherhithe

32 days to go before the Scoresby Sund Expedition starts

Here we are on the remote Arctic Island of Jan Mayen having a little party in the snug cabin with seven of us in utter comfort (ish)

I often have people asking me what it is like sailing on such a small yacht. They are intrigued how everything fits in. Yachts seem to have grown in size a bit like cars, just look at the original Mini against the new monsters.

When I started yachting, the suggested ideal round-the-world yacht would have been around 36 foot long, those for crossing the channel were much smaller. Now I imagine if you asked the question most people would suggest a 46 foot yacht for world cruising and a 36 foot one for Channel hopping. Gradually people seem to think you need a bigger yacht, and yet big yachts can be tiresome. They are expensive, tricky to moor in tight spaces (if there is even a space big enough) and the sails are hard work to sheet in and reef. My little Vertue never tires me out and does everything I have ever wanted. As they say “The smaller the boat, the bigger the smile”

So I’ve made this video which is far too long as I seem to wander off subject and gush about all sorts of slightly irrelevant things. Nevertheless, if you are intrigued by small yachts, it might be worth 35 minutes of your time if there’s nothing better to do!

Put the kettle on, this is rather long!
Matteo asked how we do our washing up with such a small sink. While at sea, we use salt water and wash up in the cockpit using one of these Ortlieb folding bowls. It is a very useful bit of kit for scrubbing potatoes, washing clothes etc. We still use fresh water to wash tumblers and coffee cups.
To save weight we use plastic cups and tumblers. We may want to take them on shore treks so weight is important. Each crew member is allocated a colour so washing up is fairly minimal!
Here is one of the bunks all made up for a nice snooze. Bit of a naff photo, I’ll upgrade it one day.

2 Responses

  1. Impressive how different Vertues are, down below! But isn’t it that your boat is one foot longer than other Vertues? This is where all the space comes from, I’m sure!
    Very clever navigational area!
    How do you wash your dishes with such a small basin?

    I’ve heard people saying that you should add one foot to your boat for every year of age – I think this to be most untrue.
    Paraphrasing Einstein (“models should be as simple as possible, but not simpler than that”), I would say “boats should be as small as possible, but not smaller than that”. This is my definition of a Vertue…

    1. Hi Matteo,
      Nice article about your adventure in Classic Boat by the way.
      I must measure Sumara one day! I’m not sure if she is a foot longer, Terry just said he increased the length, draft and freeboard “slightly”. I’ve had it in my head she is 26 foot long. I was going to mention regarding the basin that all the washing up is done in a folding Ortlieb bowl in the cockpit using sea water, only the coffee cups and tumblers are washed in fresh water in the basin. I like your definition of a Vertue, indeed when I bought Sumara I wanted the smallest boat that will comfortably cross oceans

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