Get out on the water from just £10!

I was pleased today to see a picture of myself and my son on the water to promote a week long series of events aimed at getting families into watersports!

As you can probably tell, I’m a big advocate of getting mums, dads and kids into boating.


There are obviously other bits of water, aside from the canals, that offer fun and adventure, and other ways to take to the water than trusty old motorboating, if being a diesel head isn’t your cup of tea!

In Lancashire we’re lucky enough to have the picturesque Anderton Centre, an accredited RYA (Royal Yachting Association) training centre, on our doorstep.

This year, from May 13, it’s again taking part in Push The Boat Out, a national scheme by the RYA to get more people to try sailing, canoeing and other water based activities

It has exclusive use of the lovely Lower Rivington reservoir for sailing, kayaking, canoeing and raft-building – and if you are quick you can get a very reasonably priced taster session for a number of  activities.

Visit for more, or if you live too far away, check out sessions closer to you via

Have fun!



The transformation…

Drum roll please!

When I bought Bobatu, she still had most of what we think is the original wood inside. However the galley was very dark and dull.

I’ll admit I was torn – do I leave her interior with the traditional but dark and marked wood, or should I lighten her up and try to modernise her a bit?

This is how dark it was before…sandpapered, hence the marks



For the first year, I left the wood alone, I liked my old boat and didn’t want to change her. But I kept seeing lovely ideas on Pintrest, and I am a sucker for duck egg blue.

Boats are obviously prone to damp and condensation and so ideally you need to use specialist paints, inside and out. They come at a price, obviously. See my previous post about a cheaper marine paint supplier.

I explained my issue to a woman at a local marina, who said she had used cream bilge paint, which costs around £11.95 a tin, to paint her fibreglass interior.

So I set off rubbing away with sandpaper to give the wood a key, and then slapped it on.


I was heartbroken when I saw what a sticky dribbly mess it looked – what on earth had I done. Awful isn’t it??!!



But it had done one thing, acted as a base coat ready for me to paint with a lighter colour.

I thought I’d try and experiment. I used Wilko cupboard paint on top of it. Now I know I’m not an expert by any means, and hardened DIY experts and boaters will be cursing this idea. But think about it…cupboard paint is designed for damp places like kitchens, where there is condensation isn’t it?

Let’s see what happens over the next year and whether it is as good as it says on the tin!

My last job was to replace my smelly damp carpet, which got damp when the rainwater rose up in the bottom of the boat over winter. Although many people use carpet to insulate their cabins and keep them warmer (some even have it on the walls), I thought it would be more practical to opt for non slip vinyl (lino). I bought one metre of a three metre roll for about £25.

Technically if you are buying a wooden plank patterned vinyl and want the pattern to run the length of the cabin you’d have to buy more. Why didn’t I?

To save money obviously BUT there is another reason.

In my opinion running the pattern widthways means it makes the cabin look slightly wider and more spacious.

But see what you think. This is the end result of everything – new foam, cushion covers, Fablon surfaces, paint job and lino.  I think she looks pretty shipshape now! Hope you approve too!

Ta da!



Before, during and after…




Stitch and bitch…

Hello pirates!

Sewing my new box cushion covers has been….umm….rather stressful!!!

My sewing machine broke halfway through my second offering – argh!!! Lots of stomping and swearing this weekend. So although I still saved cash doing this mini project myself, I ended up (or rather, my husband,) ended up forking out £70 for a new machine!!!

shopping (1)

Funky design though, and it did get the job done. You’ll see that boat cushions, especially the ones in a front cabin, are usually an odd shape – so that’s a bit tricky to begin with if you aren’t great at sewing.

Still, don’t be disheartened. Mine are a bit wonky, and the fastening ends don’t look great, but when that end is against the next cushion, or cabin wall,  it’s virtually hidden from view. I’ve still saved a small fortune doing it myself.

You can see how I replaced my foam (the chunks that fills the cushions) in another post – but in a nutshell, I had been quoted £180 for two pieces in my main cabin and there is no way I was going to pay that!!!

Nor was I going to fork out for someone else to sew the cushion covers because it would end up costing a small fortune.

I brought my old foam cushions home and drew around it onto my new fabric as a template – then added another 2cm all the way around for a hem.

My foam was 10 cm thick so I cut the cushion ‘sides’ at 9cm but again added a 2cm hem all the way around (that makes 13cm if I’m confusing you, x whatever length you need.) There’s plenty of ‘how to’ tutorials on how to make your own online. If a blonde like me can do it, I’m sure you can!

I was actually pretty pleased with the result – much lighter, and goes really well with my paint scheme. I think. 🙂

So this is what the front cabin ended up like…wish I’d tucked in the left hand side a bit  better, but you get the gist.


And this is the galley – modelled by my beautiful daughter!



Tune in to my next post to see the complete transformation of the galley. Later sailors!

Lancaster Canal guide published

The book I’ve been waiting for! The sixth edition of the Complete Guide to the Lancaster Canal has been published and I’ve just received my copy! I can’t wait to settle down with a brew and plan what I’m going to see in May aboard Bobatu.


The illustrated 92 page guide opens with articles on the history, engineering and ecology of the canal. It then guides readers on each stage of a journey from South to North, starting with the Ribble Link in Preston  and ending with an unnavigable section north of Tewitfield, near Carnforth, which was severed by the M6 in the 1960s.

The handy guide, which costs just £6.50, gives up-to-date information on nearby places of interest, shops, services, restaurants and pubs – great if you have, or are thinking of getting, a boat on the Lancaster Canal. It’s a great place for newbies to start as it has no locks for 42 miles!

The guide is available from local bookshops and tourist information centres or through the Lancaster Canal Trust website here.