Preparing for our grand tour on Verano Azul.
How we have prepared our Prestige 550 for a multi-year trip to and around the whole Med.
In early 2015 we had the germ of an idea that as keen motor yachts people, qualified skippers and with grown up kids and retirement from work on the horizon we should take our boat to and around the Med (and possibly the Black Sea & Suez). We didn’t have a gap year when we were younger so this is our opportunity for our own adventure. Four years on we are ready to depart and this is the first part of our story – getting ready to go…
Buying a big enough boat
My husband quickly decided that our 43 ft Astondoa was neither big enough nor sufficiently spec’d for such a trip so at the September 2015 Southampton Boat show we bought our new Prestige 550 from the team at Ancasta. In March 2016 we took delivery of our dream and have spent the last 3 years mastering her with just the two of us as crew and getting her ready to go. Our planned departure is 20th March or first good weather day to take Verano Azul to Cherbourg and into Europe before Brexit !
What does our boat need to enable us to live comfortably for 6/7 months at a time?
Verano Azul was well spec’d for the Med but there are a number of things we have added to make our lives easier. Our kit list continues to grow but key investments to date include:-
Passerelle – a must for the Med and stern to mooring. Verano Azul didn’t have one on delivery so we post fitted it and now have a fabulous and very useful bridge and crane.
Tender and electric engine – we opted for a very clever Russian Rib style tender and a German electric outboard that stow nicely on the hydraulic bathing platform and are easily deployed from it.
Water maker – we don’t want to be in a marina every night on our trip. In fact, the less time we are in marinas, the better. So, anchoring is part of our plan, and the ability to make our own fresh water to replenish our boat’s enormous water tanks is important.
Wifi extender and internet Connectivity – to keep in touch with friends, family and the world.
Two foldable electric bikes – for easy exploration of the areas we visit. We have no time plan so expect to stay in places we like as long as we want and to move on only when we have seen all we want to see.
Inflatable paddle board and kayak – for exploring the coast, estuaries and Spanish rias.
Fishing gear – for all types of fishing – if we can mostly live off the sea then we will.
Spares and technical yacht management – we plan to be away for several years so need to have a full set of spares on board. We have also installed a Yacht Sentinel system to monitor power and batteries etc remotely.
Additional anchors – Verano Azul is a big boat so we upgraded the anchor and have added a couple of extra anchors for peace of mind
EPIRB, Life raft, life jackets, fire extinguishers, first aid kits (and up to date first aid at sea training) – everything has been serviced and up dated, we need to be prepared for anything.
When we depart from Royal Clarence Marina later this month for our first leg to Gibraltar (estimated arrival October 2019) we need to have everything heavy on board. Once we start we will be relying on flights back and forth and will have weight limits for what we can carry. Our plan is to buy and cook local produce, when in France we eat French, when in Spain… etc so we are not storing much food but have stocked up on staples like washing tablets, dishwasher tablets, loo rolls and kitchen roll etc – bulky things that are hard to carry on a bike. We also have a good stock of books, music (including a full sized keyboard), films, language courses and lots of things to entertain and educate us as we travel.
We will update our progress in the summer by when we expect to be somewhere on the North Spanish/Portuguese coast (who knows?).
Andrew & Emma Muir