Australia here we come!

After several weeks in Vanuatu, where we enjoyed the people, the volcano, the fire dancing, snorkelling and diving, we have now left for Bundaberg in Australia.

We had hoped to venture to the more northern islands of Vanuatu, but various things conspired against us: Mainly waiting around for packages to come from abroad.

We had also hoped to visit New Caledonia (which we have just sailed past overnight), however with the ongoing unrest we were not convinced it would have been the most sensible decision.

So midday Friday, we left Port Vila and set sail. The weather forecast was not ideal, but it was an improvement over the previous 10 days and if correct there is a window to get us into Bundaberg without getting too beaten up, albeit with far more upwind sailing and motoring than we would like.

Two days in, the seas have calmed down; they were rather confused to the west of Efate and the wind has been variable. We had a lovely morning cruising along under the parasailor yesterday, then the wind changed direction and we had a port tack beat until half an hour ago when it dropped meaning we are currently under engine, which at least keeps the batteries charged. Yesterday saw some short but very wet rain showers, but today, whilst it’s partly cloudy it’s still dry. The temperatures are already dropping and we have both taken to long trousers overnight on watch rather than the swim shorts we have been accustomed to. Unfortunately the temperatures are only going to decrease, which we are not looking forward to. We still have just under 700 nautical miles to go and we expect to arrive on Friday.

Goodbye Fiji

We have now left Fiji and are heading to Vanuatu. We filled up with fuel and checked out at Vuda Marina this afternoon, and are now motor sailing West in about 5 kts of breeze, hoping for it to fill in a little so we can turn the engine off.

Vuda staff gave us an amazing send off, performing a ‘good luck’ song on the dock and attaching a ‘lucky charm’ flower garland to Ocean Blue. We have 500nm to go, have had dinner and are settling into our watches.

Flower garland given by the marina for good luck
Our final view of Musket Cove as the sun went down

Ocean Blue is For Sale!

After 13 amazing years and a journey that has taken us through several continents and half way around the world, it is time for Ocean Blue to have a new owner.

Ocean Blue is a Bill Dixon designed, centre cockpit Moody 54 blue water cruiser built by Princess Yachts and launched in 2002. 16.7m long with a beam of 4.85m, she has a hydraulic bathing platform for easy access to the water or tender.

We have owned her since 2011 and after 5 years cruising the English Channel, Channel Islands and Brittany, we set off on a trip around the world. Leaving the UK, we travelled down the French, Spanish, Portuguese and Moroccan coasts before arriving in the Canary Islands. We sailed from the Canaries to St Lucia with the ARC in 2016 then worked our way up the eastern coast of the USA via Bermuda (for the Americas Cup). The next year we returned to the Caribbean heading south as far as Trinidad via the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands before transiting the Panama Canal. Galapagos followed before a long period in French Polynesia (Covid)! On to New Zealand then up to Tonga and Fiji.

Ocean Blue is cutter rigged with a white painted Selden Mast and Boom (repainted in New Zealand 2023), a slab reefed, fully battened main (replaced 2023), staysail and Yankee. For downwind sailing she has a Parasailor (our favourite sail!), a cruising chute (on a top down furler) and a symmetrical spinnaker, flown off the carbon fibre spinnaker pole. She has beautiful teak decks and a dark blue hull (vinyl wrapped). Under the water she has a moderate draft on a fin keel (2.4m) with a skeg hung rudder. She has Coppercoat antifoul which was replaced in 2023. Fully kitted for extended cruising, she weighs somewhere around 24 tonnes.


The centre cockpit is beautifully sheltered and secure at sea with a fixed plexiglass screen below the vented sprayhood which attaches to the bimini. For the cooler or wetter days there is a full cockpit enclosure and multiple sun screens and shades, extending to the rear arch to keep the boat and crew cool in the tropics. There is a teak foldout table with integral cool box storage in front of the binnacle, and behind the cockpit is a stunning sunbathing area with padded cushions, ideal for those lazy days at anchor and watching the sunset with a sundowner. The cockpit, big enough to seat 8 comfortably, has 4 attachment points for lifeline tethers, two accessible before leaving the companionway.


Ocean Blue’s teak decks add to the beauty of the boat. At the bow is a huge anchor locker divided into two: Storage to starboard and chain to port. The side decks are wide with good handholds. At the transom is the gas locker with room for two medium gas cylinders and the large lazarette which spans the entire width of the transom. Beneath the lazarette floor is the steering quadrant and autohelm ram. The lazarette contains the hydraulic pumps for the bathing platform and steering as well as the Eberspacher heater, SSB Antenna tuner, emergency tiller and a large amount of storage space.


Ocean Blue’s interior is spacious and airy. The galley is to port as you come down the companionway and has a four burner gas hob with oven and grill, a microwave with grill, one and a half sinks, a large front opening fridge and an equivalent top opening freezer. Since Ocean Blue was designed for worldwide cruising, unlike many of our friend’s boats, the freezer is well insulated and can comfortably freeze ice cream, sorbet and other luxuries! There is plenty of storage in the galley and the Corian worktops provide ample preparation space when preparing meals.

The chart table is to starboard just forward of a wet locker, with the instrument panel above and storage below.

Just forward is the main saloon table which opens out if required to seat many guests. Seating around the table is on a wrap around settee which comfortably seats 6 people and two foldaway chairs provide additional seating if required. To port, just forward of the galley is a further two seater settee. There is loads of storage under and behind the seats and in cupboards around the saloon.

The master suite occupies the entire width of the stern and is huge. An island berth, with access from both sides, two settees, two hanging lockers and several other cupboards and drawers. The master ensuite is spacious with a separate shower compartment, sink and Vacuflush electric toilet. There is good access to the port side of the engine room from the ensuite.

Just forward of the master suite is a bunk room with storage, starboard access to the engine room and the washer dryer.

Forward of the saloon, to starboard is a double bunk cabin with hanging locker and additional storage.

To port there is the guest heads, accessible from both the saloon and directly from the forecabin. The guest heads is spacious with a Vacuflush electric toilet and a separate shower.

Forward of the heads is the large airy guest cabin, with a double bed, two hanging wardrobes, several other wall cupboards and a huge storage locker under the foot of the bed.

Stern Arch

When we left the UK, we never wanted an arch over the transom, but after a season in the Caribbean we realised the error of our ways and were lucky enough to be introduced to a very skilled Stainless fabricator in Trinidad, who built us an extremely strong, but reasonably light arch, fully integrated into our pushpit which supports our 1000w of LG Solar power and two Duogen wind generators. As a bonus, we have a removable engine hoist for the outboard on the side of the arch as well as rear deck lighting and a high level stern light.

Engine and Fuel

Ocean Blue is powered by a very reliable Yanmar 100hp turbocharged diesel engine connected to a 3 blade folding propeller. We carry approximately 1000 litres of diesel in two tanks (which can be isolated if required), which at our chosen engine speed gives us over 10 days motoring (24 hours a day), typically at around 6.5 knots. She can power along at over 8 knots in flattish water but that uses significantly more fuel. This volume of diesel is ideal when cruising more remote locations meaning you can pick and choose where you buy fuel.

Bow Thruster

Side-Power 15 HP Bow Thruster with helm mounted controls

Electrical Systems

Ocean Blue’s electrics are predominantly 24 volt, with 4 100AH 12v batteries for the service bank (powering inverter, winches and bow thruster) and a similar 4 100AH 12v batteries for the domestic bank . The Inverter is a Victron Quattro 24-3000 charger / inverter and there are additional 240v chargers for the domestic and start batteries. Sitting above the engine is the smooth running 1500 rpm Onan 11KVA genset, which has ample power for everything onboard (including the 4 aircon units!) should you want to run them all at anchor. Engine charging is via the 110 AH externally regulated alternator. As mentioned above she also has solar (3 x 360 amp LG panels) and wind power generation (2 x Eclectic Energy D400).


For Navigation Instruments, Ocean Blue has two Raymarine Axiom Pro touchscreen chartplotters in the cockpit (12″ and 9″). One at the helm station and the second under the sprayhood. On passage, when the boat is steered by autopilot, the crew on watch are far more frequently sheltered at the front of the cockpit, so a chartplotter there makes a lot of sense. Coupled to the chartplotters are the Raymarine Quantum Radar, and additional displays including the Raymarine autohelm controller driving the hydraulic autohelm. AIS and VHF is via the new generation Garmin Cortex which has fixed and wireless handsets, colour instrument display and an excellent anchor watch and remote systems monitoring. There is an ICOM SSB for long range communication, using the insulated backstay as the antenna.

Sail Control

Sail control is easy for short handed sailing. Two Lewmar 48 electric winches at the front of the cockpit are for the mainsheet, reefing lines, main halyard, spinnaker halyard, topping lift, kicker and staysail sheet. Reefing can be done without leaving the cockpit. Two Lewmar 64 large electric winches are either side of the cockpit for the Yankee sheets as well as two Lewmar manual 54 winches for spinnaker sheets. The mainsheet track is safely behind the cockpit and has a small Lewmar 16 winch at either end for control of the traveller. The headsails are both furled on Furlex 400 furlers with the tails coming back to either the electric or manual winches beside the cockpit as desired. A second spinnaker halyard is rigged as a spare. The carbon fibre spinnaker pole runs on a Selden track on the front of the mast and there is a Selden prodder for the cruising chute. Fixed mounted spinnaker turning blocks are provided for the spinnaker sheets as well as soft shackled blocks forward for the Parasailor guys.

Safety Equipment

Safety equipment on deck comprises, full length jackstays, stainless guardrails with gate openings either side for dockside access, 2 horseshoe man overboard devices with drogues and strobes, two danbuoys and a four man liferaft (new in 2023). Beneath the companionway steps is an Epirb. The engine room has an automatic fire extinguisher system and there are several smoke detectors and fire extinguishers throughout the cabins. The bilge has a high water alarm and a gas alarm. There are automatic bilge pumps in the main bilge and the lazarette. The Master suite, and bunk rooms have lee cloths on the berths.


The Selden white painted mast is keel stepped with new standing rigging in 2016. It has 4 folding steps above deck and a hydraulic backstay tensioner. The rig is triple spreader with the optional diamond spreaders at the staysail, eliminating the need for using the running backstays (dyneema) whenever the staysail is deployed. In practice we only use the running backstays when going upwind into a short chop in high winds to prevent any pounding of the rig.

Fresh Water

Ocean Blue has two water tanks, which can be isolated on passage if required. Total fresh water storage is approximately 500 litres. She has a top of the range Spectra Newport 1000 watermaker capable of producing up to 150 litres per hour. Being an energy recovery unit, the low current draw means that the water maker can be run from the inverter without running the generator or engine. There is a hot water calorifier feeding the galley, both heads and the cockpit shower. The calorifier is heated from both the engine and the electrics.

Ground Tackle

For safe and secure anchoring she has an amazing Rocna anchor on 85 metres of 12mm chain, running through an upgraded Lewmar Windlass (replaced 2021).

Dinghy / Tender

Getting to and from the shore and exploring the surroundings is via her AB Lamina 10 tender with a 20 hp Mercury electric start 4 stroke outboard (new 2021). After all these years of driving around in friend’s tenders, I still believe the AB is the driest and most comfortable tender I have ever used. The tender is hung off the transom on Simpson Electric Davits.

Heating and Ventilation

For warmer climates Ocean Blue has four aircon units. Two in the saloon, one serving the front two cabins, and one serving the master suite and adjacent cabins. The unit in the master suite is a new (2023) inverter unit that can be run from the inverter at anchor overnight to ensure the owners cabin is at a comfortable temperature all night long. For cooler climates she has an Eberspacher Hydronic heating system with outlets in all cabins. There are several fans, strategically placed to provide fresh air where needed, six Lewmar deck hatches and six dorade vents.

Price and availability

Ocean Blue is for sale at an asking price of £240,000 (US$300,000) plus any additional local taxes as applicable. She is a 22 year old fast comfortable, safe, bluewater cruiser, which has been our home for many years. She is not a brand new boat, but considering the usage, her condition is good for her age. Cosmetically there are some aspects of her that could do with some improvement which is reflected in the asking price; a new similar sized bluewater cruiser equipped to the same specification would probably cost in excess of a million pounds! Currently she is cruising the South Pacific with an itinerary for the 2024 season most likely being Fiji, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Australia.

For further information

Download Brochure
Whatsapp: +44 7836 748343

French Polynesia to New Zealand


The last few days have been pretty uneventful. We have had a mix of no wind, and some beautiful sailing under clear blue skies. Our routing has meant we can’t make the most of the sailing opportunities, we are instructed to maintain a certain course and certain speed to ensure that we don’t arrive at the low pressure system too early. The grib files show it now directly ahead of us about 120 miles away and we are already experiencing the weather associate with it. The sky is now cloudy, the wind has picked up a little and is slowly backing as the low pressure moves from west of us to south west of us.

We have had no luck landing fish, though we haven’t tried very hard. We lost a second one two days ago – something large that ran off 900m of line. We recovered 800 then it simple dumped the hook and took off. It was a pretty good workout anyway!

Other than that we have been amusing ourselves with jewellery making (Lesley), working for Derek and stowing all the light weather sailing stuff in preparation for the next 36 hours of passing behind the low. We have a great little tablet loaded with movies to watch and our kindles have many books on them so we are keeping busy.

Our satellite communication allows us unlimited messaging with the two other boats sailing with us so we can keep in touch with them too throughout the day to compare weather and share information and trivia.

All round things are going pretty well. Its slightly frustrating not to be heading towards New Zealand for the last few days but we anticipated it. At some point tomorrow we expect to make that left turn, the it will be full speed ahead direct to Opua.

DTG: 835nm

French Polynesia to New Zealand


Our router has now given us a new waypoint (somewhere to aim for), which is much further north of the rhumb line. This is needed because there is a weather system developing to the north west of us which will travel across our route around the 12/13 January and we need to be behind it (to the north) to remain comfortable. In addition the forecast lack of wind has become a reality. So we are now traveling much more slowly and not directly towards New Zealand – bugger! In reality we knew this was likely to happen, but it is still a little frustrating. The plus side is that is now quite calm and flat – even the washing machine was on this afternoon. Everything is working well on board and we are both fit and well. We are in regular contact with the other two boats and although we are a bit more spread out now its good to know there are other vessels in the vicinity – we haven’t seen anything or anyone else since we lost sight of the other boats shortly after leaving Maupihaa.

DTG 1210NM

Arrived in the Tuamotus

POS: 16 04.7S 142 22.327W

Yesterday afternoon we arrived in Raroia after 2 days 9 hours at sea. We entered the Atoll and crossed to the Eastern side for the most peaceful night we have enjoyed for many weeks. No ocean rollers and almost no chop. What a pleasure.

As for the scenery – simply stunning. The water is a clear blue, becoming turquoise as it shallows and the palm trees gentle sway in the trades on the islets. We can see why the guidebooks call these the ‘Islands of Paradise’. When we get some real internet we will post pictures from the Marquesas and here.

Galapagos to Marquesas – Days 16

POS: 9 23.4S 137 09.3W

The daily pattern of the wind remains the same – a slight increase after dark, then a slight moderation in the early hours.

Shortly after an increase in the wind there is typically an increase in the sea state. The seas are coming from the quarter – about 30 – 45 degrees from the back of the boat, and they overtake the boat. They pick up the stern sending us on a bit of a sleigh ride (depending on their size), then pass by and we wait for the next one. If they come from exactly behind the boat just pitches and accelerates, whereas if they come from one side, the boat also rolls – sometimes it seems quite violent, especially in the pitch black. Its not harmful, but can be a little unnerving especially for Lesley who much prefers slow and steady to fast and furious. I was greeted in the companionway by a somewhat traumatized face at about 23.30. The movement of the boat had woken Lesley and she was clearly not best pleased with the idea of watch duty in the current conditions! We were being rolled from one side to the other and the rumbling and roar of the water passing down the sides of the boat as we surfed at up to 12 kts down the faces of the waves with the sky so black you couldn’t even see the horizon was not her ideal choice of midnight past time! Of course if necessary she would have taken over, but I was enjoying it so settled in for a long night.

Come 3 am the breeze had died down a little and consequently so had the waves so Lesley appeared and I got some rest and by the morning she was in fine spirits having declared that despite the conditions, she had not had to trim the Parasailor or alter the course once during the watch and it was actually quite fine – she had done some work, watched some recorded TV and read her book. Its all down to familiarity and experience – ocean sailing sometimes pushes the bounds of your comfort zone but the more you do it the more you get used to it and hopefully the less you fear it. Toasted freshly baked bread and Tea saw Lesley retire for a well deserved rest.
Considering just a few years ago even the thought of crossing the Atlantic on a fully crewed boat terrified Lesley, to now be so close to finishing the longest ocean crossing people normally do anywhere in the world just two up, meaning she is basically single handedly sailing the boat whenever I am off watch is an amazing achievement!

For the rest of the day the routing software showed a pretty much straight line to Hiva Oa, our destination, so there was little to be done regarding sailing the boat – a few tweaks to sheet angles and course and enjoy the sunshine and catch up on a bit of sleep. With flatter seas we both managed to do so.

Nothing broke and we made good speed – we took another 193 nm off the distance to go so a successful day all round.

As I write this, somewhat belatedly we have 109 nm to go so with any luck today will be our final day of this journey!

All is good on board.

Galapagos to Marquesas – Days 15

POS: 8 27.3S 134 48.6W

With a dull thud a spinnaker sheet parted. One of the benefits of Dyneema is it stretches very little so when it snaps there is virtually no recoil and very little noise. Little enough not even to wake Lesley who was about an hour and a half into her off watch period – probably the most frustrating time to be woken. So I wasn’t greeted initially by the biggest smile as I shouted down to say I needed her on deck to help replace the sheet.

The sheets came with the boat and have done a lot of miles. In 2016 when we crossed the Atlantic they took a bit of a hammering and we noticed wear on the splice where the quick release shackle is joined to the end. These are the only sheets that we have joined by metal shackles. They are very expensive shackles that can be ‘spiked’ by ramming a conical rod into a circular hole in them and they will open under full load instantly releasing the spinnaker for a quick drop. However that technique requires a fully crewed boat with a crew out on the end of the spinnaker pole. The race boats do it all the time but short handed its not an option.

For three years we have been watching the splice deteriorate. Unfortunately after several year’s use it becomes virtually impossible to re splice the working end of a rope – the fibres harden and get ingrained with salt etc.. And the rest of the sheet is fine so we keep putting off changing them. So it was of no real surprise that it snapped as the wind had increased and hence the forces. We had hoped it would last this trip but it wasn’t to be. Knowing that it was a possibility we had thought about what we would do if it broke so it was a relatively easy task to re-attach it although it did require dropping the spinnaker pole to re thread it. Such is the joy of the Parasailor though, that throughout the job it kept flying (from the fore guy) and kept driving us onward at over 7 kts. Quite a remarkable sail.

Fishing is somewhat limited when the Parasailor is up because its a bit tricky to slow the boat down to land the fish and if we hook a large one, it can strip the 1000m of line off the reel in just a few minutes if we can’t stop the boat. A little before sunrise yesterday we were going quite slowly in the light winds and the sky was bright enough to make rigging the lure easy, so I took a gamble and threw it in. Less than 2 minutes later,the reel was screaming – even before I had settled back into the cockpit and 10 minutes later a small black fin Tuna was filleted and chilling in the fridge. Lesley made Cerviche as a starter for dinner.

The wind built as the day progressed and the speed picked up, resulting in a daily run of a little over 150nm. Fair, considering that we had been dawdling at about 4 kts for significant periods in the night.

As the distance to go comes down, thoughts are turning towards sleep in periods longer than 3 hours and beds that are relatively stationary rather than rolling and pitching to every wave. We expect to arrive |Wednesday night or Thursday, all depending what the wind does over the next few days so we have a few more nights of short shifts first.

All is good on board.

Galapagos to Marquesas – Days 13 & 14

POS: 7 42S 132 12.7W

Things break on boats. It doesn’t matter if we are talking dinghies or super yachts, things regularly break on them all. The only difference is the cost to replace or fix them.

We have a lot of ropes and wires supporting and controlling things and inevitably from time to time they wear out. In a post a few days back we mentioned a guardwire snapped. Its made of stainless steel and subjected to cyclic loading every time the boat flexes. One second its tight, the next its just that tiny bit slacker, and stainless steel corrodes. Eventually it had had enough and parted where the flexible wire went into a solid fitting. Not a big issue but a breakage all the same.

We join ropes onto sails and other fittings in a number of different ways. Sometimes we tie them, sometimes they are spliced and sometimes we use shackles. Shackles come in many forms. Standard metal ones that need tools to tighten them and undo them, fancy metal ones with spring plungers allowing them to be fastened and released by hand and Dyneema soft shackles. Metal shackles are heavy and can damage things when they fly around on the loose corners of sails. Dyneema is an amazing material. Weight for weight its something like 9 times stronger than steel. Its like a very light strong rope (which is also very UV resistant). We attach almost all our sheets and guys to the sails with Dyneema shackles. They require no tools, are very light and super strong. They are readily available in chandleries but also easy to make so we make our own.

However like anything, eventually they wear out and snap. We swap them around from one use to another because each different task has different wear points and different loads, and although we do daily inspections of anything and everything that might wear, there are some things that are difficult to inspect under sail. We also double them up in high load, high wear areas (such as genoa sheets), so if one fails the other takes up the role.

Overnight we lost one of the spinnaker guys. The soft shackle wore through where it was attached to the clew of the Parasailor. No drama, the sail flew comfortably without it, just not quite so stable, we carry spares, so at first light we replaced it (safer and easier to do in the light and with both of us on deck). We needed to gybe anyway so we combined the two tasks.

So apart from fixing the water generator (a 5 minute job), that was pretty much the excitement for the last two days. The winds have varied, we have had a little rain, plenty of sun and we are closing in on the Marquesas, albeit frustratingly slowly at times. We hear from friends behind that they have had consistent winds all the way, whereas friends in front and ourselves have had to pick our way around the holes. That’s sailing.

We continue to eat well, we now have cup cakes again, fresh bread and we celebrated the 500 miles to go mark (slightly prematurely as it was going to occur in the small hours) last night.

The nights are starting off very dark now, as the moon is not rising until several hours after sunset, but its still very big and almost full, so we have nights of two parts: After sunset, a pitch black start, where the stars are super bright, but the horizon and approaching waves are not visible, it can be slightly spooky hearing approaching waves but not being able to see them, followed by an amazing moon rise as the yellow circle gradually appears out of the darkness brightening over the next half hour or so to give a dim light making everything around visible. This remains until the eastern sky starts showing a golden glow as the sun nears the horizon, and daylight begins. We do see nature at its best.

All is good on board.