• June 1, 2020 at 3:55 pm#46955
    Debs Mitchell

    Hi Liz and Jamie, and Millie

    Love your videos about life on and off Esper, with all the everyday stuff you include not just the glamour idea of sailing 😁

    while we are waiting to start our adventures I am watching and rewatching the ones that concern living in such a confined space and the way you have made it into such a beautiful comfortable home for you.

    my question is, back in the days you were deciding to live on the boat as oppose to just sail her around, and you were doing the downsizing and packing, what essentials did you take from your daily life that you absolutely positively had to take as you couldn’t live without them, and then decided after they cluttered up the place you could live without them after all…. and what didn’t you take then desperately needed once it was too late?  Not boat essentials, personal life stuff.

    also, I saw on another video (nowhere near as good as yours!!🤣) a mention of the understandable damage from seawater, salt etc on possessions aboard a boat, like to books etc…. as an avid reader, although I do have a kindle, I don’t fancy its chances when I drop it so I plan on taking books too (which I am sure will rapidly become non essentials) what is your experience of sea v possessions?

    Stay safe and sane…. massive hugs to Millie, will be waving at you when I watch your next videos xx


    June 1, 2020 at 4:38 pm#46957

    Hey Debs,

    This post sounds like a job for Liz to answer, so she’ll get back to you with a more comprehensive reply. I just wanted to make the point about minimising books on board. In a recent at-sea rescue (the poor couple were literally 150nm from completing a circumnavigation – can you believe that?), the wife recounted the issue of a knock-down causing the books to fall from the shelves, onto the floor, which was covered in sea-water, disintigrating and then ending up in the bilge. This can potentially block your bilges at the most crucial time you need it.

    This is an extreme case, it doesn’t happen often, but after reading this we started clearing our bookshelves! Like you Liz is an avid reader, so I understand how hard this was for her. We still have many books in our collection, but sadly for Liz they’re all boat maintenance manuals!

    I’ll let Liz take over when she stirs…

    Peace and fair winds!

    June 1, 2020 at 4:47 pm#46958
    Debs Mitchell

    Eeeek…. not sure if I am more sorry for the books or the bilge…. what a horrible demise for them both!!!!

    think I will have a dedicated waterproof as possible book bag then that will be securely stored for safekeeping.

    obviously I will have to pack and leave a lot of stuff…. I can’t really see my salt lamp lasting and apparently candles are not advised…. lmao…. but am looking forward to Liz’s take on the little things us girls really really think we need… lol

    thanks Jamie…. x


    June 3, 2020 at 3:42 pm#46992

    am looking forward to Liz’s take on the little things us girls really really think we need… lol

    It’s such a long time ago!

    Just one more point on books, I’d say get rid of them all. I read on my phone, kindle and tablet. Before the sea life I had a wall in my house packed to the ceiling with books, over a thousand of ’em (that’s the ex librarian in me, I suppose). We boxed them all up and put them in storage. After about 10 years I eventually gave them all to charity. It was a wrench. The other thing to remember is that there are book swaps galore around the world. Cruisers swap them between themselves and many marinas have shelves of books – you take one and donate another.

    Back to girly things. Put your ruthless hat on, think practical first. It’s ultimately about having a finite storage area and packing it with stuff you will actually use…

    Clothes. Being in the fashion industry for a long time, you can imagine what my wardrobes/drawers were like. I sold and gave away all the pretty and impractical stuff. It was bloody cathartic not worrying about always looking ‘on trend’, haha!

    In a hot climate:

    • T-shirts and sleeveless Ts are king, along with all kinds of shorts (cut-offs, drawstring pj bottoms, swimwear). I have loads of all these (too many)!
    • Lots of sarongs in various thicknesses and colours, which can be turned into skirts, tops, wraps and dresses with just a few twists (easy to learn how online) – and they don’t take up much room in the locker.
    • You only need one jacket (unless you’re happy to wear your sailing jacket) – I have an unlined waterproof jacket from Uniqlo + a ‘pocketable’ navy roll-up short parka from there too.
    • I don’t have any skirts, but I do have a few simple cotton dresses (some jersey, some woven) in various lengths, some with sleeves below the elbows for Muslim countries where I need to cover up and can wear them over loose drawstring trousers. It depends where you’re going to be.
    • For very hot climates, go for the most lightweight fabrics you can find. Generally, woven fabrics breathe better, but there are some really fine cotton t-shirts available too these days, which I love. I have quite a few very loose tops for when it’s really hot and you need some air. In fact, most of my clothes are pretty loose, it’s just more comfortable (sometimes I buy bigger sizes).
    • You don’t need jumpers/sweaters, but a couple of lightweight fleeces may come in handy when the storms come in while you’re sailing.
    • Get a few swimsuits/bikinis, but don’t spend a fortune. The elastic is not designed to last for 365 days at sea, so you need to replace them more frequently. I use rashies a lot, mostly for sun protection because the sun’s a skin killer and you just can’t stop the sunscreen from sliding off.
    • Hats too for protection, I prefer caps with a decent peak to shield my face.
    • Having said all that, my skin is now ruined from a decade in the tropics, so be careful!

    In a cold climate:

    • We started in Turkey where they have proper seasons and it gets cold in winter, so you need to have seasonal wardrobes.
    • You have a lot more bulky clothes to fill the same small space, so really be choosy about what you take.
    • I had jeans in two colours for colder weather, fewer t-shirts which I layered in winter with long sleeve versions, more fleeces and jumpers, warm dresses/skirts and tights (yuk!).
    • We used vacuum bags to store the bulky winter clothes during the summer months, it worked.

    Shoes. I had a great shoe and boot collection, most of which went.

    In a hot climate:

    • You’ll be barefoot most of the time.
    • You’ll need some flip-flops (Jamie and I have tons of cheap ones from SE Asia so there’s always at least one back-up pair for when they break, which they do.)
    • Maybe walking boots/trainers for exploring and walking in town
    • Beach shoes (i.e. those rubbery shoes that slip on and off easily for when there are nasties you don’t want to tread on, either underwater or on shore) Remember the hookworm Jamie caught in the Anambas? That was from the sand. I pretty much always wear them on beaches which have people on them to avoid parasites.
    • Maybe keep one pair of flat, nice shoes (I just use my pretty-ish Birkenstocks) for the occasions where you don’t feel right in flip-flops.

    In a cold climate:

    • Deck shoes/boots because you’ll be too cold to go barefoot when sailing
    • Decent boots for walking ashore, either the walking boots or something classier for evenings. 🙂
    • Trainers


    It took me a while, but I binned it all! It’s just so wrong on a boat, and I always feel embarrassed when women look all dolled up on board, it’s unnecessary. A light tan makes everyone look good. The only thing I use is lip balm and occasionally some lipstick if going to a bar. One thing I used to do was dye my eyelashes and brows – you can do it yourself, it’s not difficult. Mine are fine and fair, so the dye helps. I must start that again…

    A note on hair

    This is a difficult one.

    • Keeping it short is best for practical reasons (it’s out of the way, dries quickly and doesn’t whip your eyes in the wind). But you have to keep having it cut, so unless you have a partner who’s good with scissors and clippers that means doing it yourself or waiting to find someone ashore to do it for you.
    • Keeping it long is also an option because you can tie it back out of the way. The problem with long hair in the tropics is it’s bloody hot! It also requires more maintenance, needs conditioning and trimming…
    • Dyeing hair. There’s a woman here who is locked in the marina with long, thick, dark hair. She’s of a certain age and likes to dye the roots to stop the grey from showing. She’s in the bloody changing room dying it every week! To avoid this problem, I used to get mine highlighted every so often, but it was only ever any good when done in a proper salon back in London. I eventually gave up dying it and now just go natural. It’s amazing what the sun does – the grey goes golden and you end up with lovely highlights! Having said that, dyeing hair on board is not a problem, if you have plenty of water and are happy to do it yourself.
    • The other kind of hair. Before sailing, I used to spend a fortune having it pulled out with wax in a smart clinic. Now I just use a razor. But I’m lucky, my body hair is also fine and fair, so I can go natural for a lot of the time. Unless you’re a whizz with wax or a similar product, just use a razor, you can buy the blades everywhere.


    • This is where you can go to town because jewellery and scarves don’t take up much room. They can change a simple t-shirt or dress into something special. Whether you’re a skulls-on-leather type or pretty-pearls kind of girl, this is where you can change and have fun with your look.
    • Bags, on the other hand, do take up room. Leather ones will get mouldy in the tropics (like leather belts) but you can stay on top of it if you can’t leave them at home. Cruisers have waterproof bags in different sizes and shapes to take ashore in the dinghy. You really don’t want to drop your camera/laptop/vape/fags/phone in the water as the dinghy crash-lands on (or off) the beach! I have a small cross-body bag for the essentials as well as big waterproofs for the other stuff. I also have a couple of normal bags for when we’re tied alongside somewhere.


    If you can’t bolt it down or screw it to the wall, leave it at home. We have artworks and photos on the walls on the boat, but all the rest of our favourite bits and pieces are in storage back in the UK. I have a massive amount of old family photos and mementos which I wouldn’t want to lose, so they are safe from seawater and I can look at them when I visit.


    As mentioned above, we have a storage facility in the UK where we keep all the stuff we can’t bear to be parted from but don’t want on the boat. We pay GBP150 a month for a small room. It’s also where I keep a wardrobe of winter clothes for when I’m visiting the UK. I used to keep everything at Mum’s house, but when she died I needed somewhere to put stuff, so this storage facility near Jamie’s parents house is useful. Jamie is able to keep some of his stuff at his parents place.

    Well, that’s all I can think of right now. I hope it goes some way to answering your questions. I can’t think of anything I didn’t take, but realised I needed. I’m sure there’s loads more I could write, so if you have any specific questions, don’t be afraid to ask!

    Peace and fair winds!

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