Our blog serves as a personal record of our adventures and experiences since leaving the UK in 2012 whilst allowing family and friends to keep up-to-date with our whereabouts. [...]We hope that our blog provides some useful information for other sailors who may be planning a similar adventure to ours.
Our dream to take early retirement and cruise slowly down and into the Med unexpectedly came early... 15 year's early, due to us being made redundant (we both worked for the same company). At the time we could have 'played it safe', got new employment and continued working until retirement however with the death of a grand parent, a beloved dad and friends of similar age to us being diagnosed with cancer we reconsidered our options, decided that life is too short and that we should take the risk and see where it takes us.
We've been liveaboards since 2012 and love our cruising lifestyle, the freedom and outdoor experiences are priceless but we do miss our family dearly.
Flirtie is a Voyager 40, built in 1990 by Trident Marine Ltd, Portsmouth. The flagship of Trident Marine's fleet, designed by Bill Dixon. Other yachts manufactured by Trident Marine include the 'Challenger 35', 'Voyager 35', 'Warrior 40', 'Voyager 40' and 'Voyager 45'.
Flirtie is quite unique in that she has two cockpits. The one cockpit is solely for working the boat with no interuptions. Unfurling the mainsail and genoa can all be done from the safety of the cockpit.
The second cockpit (the leisure cockpit) provides plenty of room to relax and enjoy the sunshine with no ropes to tangle or trip over. Two companionways allow easy access for all and with a transom door and boarding platform there's no excuse not to go for a swim!
Below decks there is an aft cabin with ensuite, galley, chart table, chair and internal wheel for steering when the weather gets rough. Opposite the chart table is the saloon where one can lounge in comfort. Going forward there is a bunk room (our store room), heads with separate shower cubicle and a forward V-berth.
On paper she can sleep 6 in her three cabins, although we don't ever plan to test this out. Four persons aboard is enough and with anymore you would certainly feel cramped!
We left the UK in April 2012 in 'Distant Drummer' our Heavenly Twins catamaran with the intention to slowly cruise along the western coastline of France, Spain and Portugal and into the Mediterranean.
When we reached La Rochelle, France to spend the winter we unexpectedly fell in love with another yacht, a monohull named 'Flirtie'. Her size, voluptuous lines and deck saloon seemed to tick all of the boxes on our 'dream wish list' despite not actually actively looking to change yachts. She also had two engines. By April 2013 we owned two yachts in France. It made life easy to relocate from one yacht to the other but we felt it prudent to put our travel plans on hold and focus on advertising 'Distant Drummer' whilst acquainting ourselves with 'Flirtie' by cruising around the surrounding area.
In 2014 and with 'Distant Drummer' safely tucked up in the confines of a boatyard we decided to continue our adventure aboard 'Flirtie', across Biscay to Northern Spain where we slowly explored the Spanish Ria's before heading down Portugal and onto Portimao marina in the Algarve to spend the winter.
In 2015 'Flirtie' was lifted out and given some TLC. Seacocks and stern seals were replaced and both her cutlass bearing housings were rebedded. All of the hoses to the toilets, sinks and taps were replaced as well as the cockpit drain hoses. Finally she was given a good polish and wax and three coats of antifouling. At the same time all her ground tackle was replaced with new and the anchor windlass given a good overhaul so we could sleep at night safe in that knowledge. Just as we were preparing to launch, we received news that 'Distant Drummer' was sold subject to a final viewing and survey. We flew back to France to complete the sale, launch 'Distant Drummer' and prepared her for her trip back to the UK by a delivery company. By the time we returned to Portugal and relaunched 'Flirtie' the season was well advanced so we spent the time cruising along the Portuguese coastline and neighbouring Spain, returning back to Portugal for a second winter.
In 2016 we left Portugal to resume our adventures aboard 'Flirtie' and finally entered the Mediterranean where we now plan to cruise for the next few years.