Chris Draper · Cruising with kids · Sailing · Travel · Uncategorized

Happy New year

Amazing to think that this time a year ago we were living in Bermuda in the build up to the America’s cup. Now as we hit the new year we’ve been living on the boat for 6months & the pace is certainly a lot different!

We’ve had a lazy few weeks in Martinique with some great great families. From chalking & skateboarding in St.Anne to hikes and runs via nude beaches, we’ve explored real life “pirate ships” and had various beach parties. It’s been a blast.

We met the self proclaimed Cornish pixie pirates & their beautiful scooner that they bought this year here in Martinique. Chris helped Lee, a triathlon coach, with his rigging change and the kids flung themselves off swings and booms left right & centre. They played at ours, on the beach, but always the “pirate ship” won the hearts. Awesome kids with a lot in common with ours. Hopefully we ll hang out over the coming months.

The beach chalking/ graffitiing in St.Anne went down a storm. Rhonda & the kids from party of 5 continued to be seriously good value. We tried to ply Rhonda with enough booze to loose Mexican train dominoes but failed miserably.

Christmas Eve Potluck on the beach saw the zoo of Cruisers hit the beach. We met many many more great characters and probably ruffled the odd feather. The food was varied and rich and in plentiful supply. I’m not sure my body knew what the hell to make of it & it was not happy. The next while was spent having the most unsavoury swim out to sea. However, I made a speedy recovery and manned up. Not how I saw my day panning out!

With an imminent departure on the cards, we made the most of our time & had party of 5 over for drinks. Not even 1 drink in & I walked full chat into our glass door…Doh!! I’ve had a slight black eye hue and delicate nose ever since!

Christmas was spent sinking our boat with all their presents kindly given them from family in the UK. Suddenly there is no where to put anything and a mass declutter is needed! We headed back to the beach with friends from Nomadica, Marie des Isles & a fab French sky diving couple. Eating a boat Christmas dinner on the beach was a unique experience & it nearly made it there warm. Must admit it wasn’t Elbow beach, Bermuda, but that’s going to be hard to beat. A perfect day was finished off by seeing my first green flash as the sunset- it’s not just some urban legend it turns out!

Boxing Day saw us, ok me, get “flip flopped”; it’s a verb for hanging out with Nix & Haig on Flip Flops. It was their son’s 15th birthday & it was pretty large. Their waterline was certainly a tad low with all the people we crammed onboard the 38ft cat (atleast 35). The sprinkler & lawn mower were out in force atop their tables as well as some other great moves to embarrass the kids with my Mum dancing.

Following a spectacular Beach Olympics with kids from 4-14 to celebrate Sol’s 10th birthday (Marie des Isles) the check out cafe was now open and we prised ourselves away from Martinique.

After a windy week we squeezed ourselves into a weather window. It was pretty breezy and bumpy start until we got into the Lee of St.Lucia. With upto 30 Kts we had 2 reefs, some sea sick tabs to pre-empt kids feeling ill & a good bit of surf downwind. We had a bit of compression between the islands as we came down and things got interesting off St Vincent with a tiny leak from the escape hatch to add to the gusts of 30knts which always seem worse in the dark. But let’s face it…it’s not the Southern ocean! Serious respect to our Volvo ocean race friends and heal quick to those off this next leg because the Southern Ocean flung them around.

Harry sneaking up on the night watch
Sunrise in the Grenadines

We made it to Grenada in a little over 24 hours, we pulled back into Prickly Bay in very little breeze. It was a grey old day and the heavens opened, but the water tanks were happy.

The early part of New Year’s Eve was spent celebrating with friends we first met in the cup world with Prada. Adam & Sarah are taking the long way home to New Zealand via boat, having bought “Sailing Latitude” in France. Our plan was to join the party at Port Louis marina, the relative ritz of the cruising world. Subbing in didn’t exactly go to plan, but the fireworks were pretty cool! So good and slightly surreal to see these 2 diamonds & the 5 friends staying with them.

So the New Year sees us haul out next week for a month. We’re getting some work done on the boat while we take a pretty extravagant trip to the snow in Steamboat Springs Colorado. Secretly I’m not keen to leave our floating home and cannot wait for more adventures on Fille de Joie.

Happy New Year-May you make your dreams a reality for 2018.

The last misadventures of 2017:

-I accidentally dyed my roots ginger & now look like a crap Lindsay Lohan.

-Chris fell down a hatch.

-Harry fell down a hatch.

-I walked into a glass door (only 1 drink).

-I fell off another dinghy (only 2 drinks).

-Thinking 2018 should be the year of no drinks….

Chris Draper · Cruising with kids · Sailing · Travel

Christmas Shot

During our week back in the UK, I feel like the kids and imbibed a shot of Christmas complete with Christmas jumpers & even blooming snow! We camped out in Essex and spent lots of time with my parents, but we also hit up the Harry Potter studios, the Natural History museum with aunty Ellie, London lights and caught a few fab friends and family! I proudly took on new responsibilities as Godmother and intend to be a positively bad influence on Oliver Greenland for ever more…

It was a surreal experience to get back into UK life. Scary how quickly the pace of life consumes you and how the underground still strips you of all personality as soon as you step on a tube! The free flowing hot showers, lights, creature comforts and readily available food were momentarily special. Whilst it was awesome to go home to see my Dad, I struggle to see how we’d fit back in. Life goes on and friends move on and we’d be forging another new life. Transient living has been our life for the last 7 years and whilst sticking down some roots would be fantastic for the kids, I’m not quite sure where those roots will be! Guess I’ll stick to trusting in this nomadic lifestyle and see where we end up… is certainly never dull!

Chris cracked on with solar and battery fitting in between surfs and missing our chaos dreadfully! I’m slightly overexcited that we can now charge the odd appliance and I feel guilty bragging but we can also power the freezer….Christmas really did come early in Martinique!!

We are beginning to spy a few Brit boats since the Arc came across, hopefully we’ll catch some families at a beach soirée soon. Looks like we may chill here for the next few days with kid boats and get the bateau sorted pre-Christmas.

For now I’m watching Harry return from another lion fish hunt, while Lily rocks out with some buddies on the bow, I can see where she gets her aggressive dance moves from and I think it’s about time I joined her up there!

Chris has also done a bit of his own writing it turns out. He only goes and gets his published though! Have a gander at the January edition of yachting world to see our lovely mugs.

Classic kid thoughts in the UK:

-“Mum why is that metal thing by the window really hot when I touch it?”….Lily met a radiator.

-“Mum what is that brown muddy water?”….Harry met the Thames.

-“Mum we’re in London and I can’t see Harry Potter’s night bus anywhere”.

-“Mum in the olden days did you go to school here?”

*All family health chat has been censored by my Mum. Remember we are British after all (she’s probably the only one who reads it!)*

Chris Draper · Cruising with kids · Sailing · Travel

Well hello UK….

We’ve made it through another dreadful week in the Caribbean, which makes it 5 months- hard to know how we cope…!!

We took some back up for lion fish culling this week, it came in the form of our s/v “party of 5” friends. We hit a reef a km south of St.anne and came back with a few. Travis prepped the spiny buggers & we were treated to a mini feast on them. The guys were right they do weirdly taste a bit like popcorn!

We headed back out to St.lucia for a Sunday morning sail as there was swell on the horizon. Lily woke up half way across and literally didn’t know if she was coming or going. This time it was Daddy’s go at the water park and a family affair on the hobie. The kids called for pitch poles the whole way & Chris didn’t disappoint with a capsize for the thrill seekers.

Waves were then had and the kids hung out at the pool at Rodney bay marina. A very civilised affair & we even snuck in a Thai.

The kids picked up some new found friends to hang out with. We met a Norwegian family who were waiting for their boat to come in from the arc+ which heads to St.Lucia via Cape Verde. No wind has significantly slowed play!

A seasoned Caribbean cruiser named Lynne took me on some exploration runs. We went to the other side of the island And picked up a trail and some dogs to run with at Cas en Bas beach. On the way up-to the coastal path I spied a laid back beach bar in a c-shaped bay that had kiting written all over it. Up the hill some way were massive cactus barley, rolling hills, wild horses and a stunning view over the coast- totally unspoilt & totally different to the other side of the Island.

After some negotiation I brought the family back across for the day, which turned into 2. Harry got his first kitesurfing lesson with a legend called Simon of aquaholics and Lily was thrilled with a horse ride along the beach from the local stables. We then stumbled across a YouTube chef who specialises in outdoor or bush cooking. Really interesting and obviously super talented guy. Look him up if you’re in the area (chefSherlock). All this thanks to Lynne and her running routes! Cheers Lynne!

The plan was then to head back to Martinique, finally fit solar panels and batteries and hot foot it to Antigua…….bbuuuttt plans change! Even the word “plan” seems to be a dirty word among the cruising fraternity. It evokes the odd twitch in people when you mention it. You can plan your route all you want but for the most part you can add a massive pinch of salt. Now I did think our mini-plan for the short term was fairly cast iron but no!

We had comms from outside our cruising bubble. Apparently way over there in the real world there is family and everything. So right now the kids and I are on our way to the UK. We’re off to see Grandad who will kill me for writing this. I’m sure as always he’ll tell us “I’m lovely” when we arrive and ask how he is.

We are Essex bound to the town I grew up in. For all the travelling Harry’s done I’ve only just realised he has never visited Essex, mostly because my parents have been off cruising for 10 years! We won’t take him on the pub tour of Burnham-on-Crouch(BOC) just yet and he’s lucky I won’t be making him short tack up the river Crouch in the raging tide and probably bitter December wind.

We’ll wait for Otter week or RB week one summer to induct the kids into Burnham sailing scene, only then will either of them truly know that BOC really stands for “Better than Orange County”…..

So we’ll be back to our boat home and gorgeous Daddy sooooonnn, I’m sure he’ll enjoy some peace and quiet! Who knows where we’ll end up for Christmas. We’re cherishing everyday on this journey.

Chris Draper · Cruising with kids · Sailing · Travel

The Great Crab Robbery….


We’ve spent a fair amount of time up on the North East coast of Martinique in the last 10 days. Basing the boat in St. Anne has meant we’ve had the chance to catch up with our friends on Nomadica and meet more boat families.

Not a bad spot for homeschool last week in St. Anne

Tartane had a big swell last tuesday and Chris got the best of it. We then had a cracking family night in Decathlon and Bricolage. The kids were beyond excited to be in a store with the possibility of purchasing anything, it was like we’d taken them into a free candy store. Consumerism isn’t dead it would seem and a beach football was the best thing ever.

Chris had quite the adventure off surfing back up at Tartane on the wednesday. In his eager rush to get in the waves he hid the car key behind a curb, apparently he took note of a nearby crab hole but didn’t think much of it (Who still leaves their keys by their car on the beach by the way?!). A few hours later he came back to no keys but a crab poking itself menacingly from its hole. A wrestle ensued between Chris and crab, with eyes on the prize of key treasure. Chris allegedly won the tussle but after an hour and half of digging all crab holes in the vicinity he admitted defeat and rang the hire car company on a fellow surfers phone. Some 2 hours later a spare key was delivered from 30 miles away, at the potential cost of 400 euro! Meanwhile the kids and I had entertained ourselves on the boat all day with no tender. Fortunately “A-car” hire company in St. Anne were legends and have waved the fee, probably on account of the ridiculous story- use them if you go!

Complete with new hire car, the whole family headed back up to Tartane at the end of the week. Harry got some great overhead waves and Lily, bored of waiting her turn, became quite the beach diva and was convinced everyone was just showing off. There were some seriously good surfers out including a local boat captain called Virgile from Le Marin. We also discovered Cocoa Beach restaurant, which is famed for its yummy food and setting.

IMG_2045 2
Watching for sets at Tartane

Last week I finally made it out on my first long run in what feels like a lifetime. Having convinced Morgan (S/V Nomadic) to come out running with me, we discovered a beautiful trail round the south of the island and towards Anse Trabaud. We coursed beaches, across salt flats, over rocks that looked like the moon and then ended up in what looked like Beachy head in East Sussex! I best go and do it again as I didn’t take a camera!! The day got better as the kids went to play on another kid boat for a few hours. Thank you Rhonda and S/v”Party of 5″ for having them! I realised its been a few months since the kids have been anywhere without us….

Harry and I took his friend Quincy out knee boarding and skirfing much to Harry’s delight. So good to see the kids hanging out. They are reluctant to try and speak with French kids at the moment but will attempt French in shops, particularly if croissants are involved! Hats off to all the amazing kids we’ve met who speak a number of languages. We might have to tap up the duo lingo app.


Courtesy of Virgile, Chris was super fortunate to get the opportunity to go sailing in one of the local boats last weekend. The “Yole” is a one design boat of the Caribbean, we saw similar boats in Bequia too. This boat had 5 wooden outriggers that you need to tack over, the rudder was a big oar and the best technique involved a massive turning motion. The kids and I watched eagerly from the wooden chase boat. With minimal breeze around the chase boat driver got a little bored and started circling the yole at pace, creating a decent wake with  the predictable outcome of capsizing the boat! Turns out its a full mission to right one. A tow to the nearest beach was needed to empty the nearly sunk boat and get the rig back in! This gave plenty of time for the wind to fill in and for Chris to have a go on the helm. Great morning out and the kids and I were suitability jealous.

Did they really just capsize??!!
Chris on the stick

Harry cracked out his Hawaiian sling on a mission to save the planet. Seems counterintuitive but he caught two lion fish. They are a venomous invasive species of fish. Harry tells me that whilst they are pretty stunning not only are their spines deadly, they are also responsible for eating truck loads of reef fish. With few predators they reduce young juvenile reef fish populations and have a negative impact on the coral reefs by eating the important grazers and cleaners of the reef. The reefs are fragile enough and there is a big drive to cull them.



The call of the waves resumed on sunday and we had very relaxed 4 hour run along the coast with the kite up. We headed 4 miles past Saint Pierre on the North West coast to 3 right hand points around Le Precheur area. Not enough swell the afternoon we arrived but the black sand beach hidden under the rainforest was a sight to see. Just off shore we found a reef teeming with life and ready for us to snorkel until dusk.

This week we’ve hung out with new friends and are patiently awaiting delivery of some gucci batteries and a solar panel (feel like I’ve been saying this for weeks). It is slightly delaying our journey north but will be worth it we hope. We woke up on Wednesday and made the split decision to head to St. Lucia for the day, as you do! Our main purpose was to fill up with gas. We have the wrong kind of tank for exchange in Martinique and couldn’t source anyone to fill our US style tank, plus a little explore is what we like. I think we could name ourselves uncruisy cruisers the amount of random miles we log. But hey, just like life on land you got to do what’s right for you. There are definitely a lot of ways to skin the proverbial cruising cat.

Rodney Bay was our destination and a mere 4 hour downwind sail away. There were approximately 10 boats moored up in a pretty bay with pigeon Island and beach at one end and a few hotels further down the beach near the marina entrance. Chris got a surf in at a decent sized wave, of which we’re told there are plenty of. We also saw an actual shopping mall which slightly blew our minds. We came away with mozzie repellant for a friend!

Before we dashed back to Martinique for a dinner date, Harry and I squeezed in an epic morning at Splash waterpark. This was not the rare morning to have lathered myself in cocoa butter; I was as slippy as a new born baby in the bath! Awesome fun had by all, I won’t be signing up for ninja warriors anytime soon though. Sadly Lily was too young (and short) for the park, much to her disgust. She had to make do with hobie sailing with Chris. She bossed the helming which was fab to see.

Bossing the helm

We had been reluctant to visit St. Lucia after a number of reported boardings/robberies of boats in the far south. However, after our quick visit we’ll definitely be back and yes we just might take care after dark (as we would anywhere). Just before we left a local said I’d love the event on the friday night and must come back apparently its “Strip night”……she’d only met me for 5mins so her judge of my character was a concern! Turns out she was referring to the area of the town the party is in…

Happy friyay from Fille de Joie!!



Chris Draper · Cruising with kids · Sailing · Travel

Not all plain sailing!

What a week! The top of the week saw us do a bit of island exploring here in Martinique. We hired a car & drove an hour & half to a science and earth exploration centre at the base of Mount Pelee volcano, but it’s shut on a Monday…doh!

On the way there my scheming kids decided to give me a little hair cut with pocket knife scissors!! As you can imagine I was utterly delighted to find a chunk of hair missing…..Just wow….I gave birth to savages! I guess I’ll get my own back by cutting off Harry’s Liam Gallagher “do” one day soon mwhahaha!

To be fair the car journey to the shut science centre was a novelty. There were dual carriageways involved, traffic near forte de France and everything! We affirmed that whilst boarding school sounds like a solid option in the kids immediate future, a return to full civilisation is not currently appealing. As we headed further north the hills got steeper and the vegetation denser. Then we glimpsed the Mt. Pelee volcano through the clouds.

We did manage to visit the volcano museum in St.Pierre and see some relics from the eruption of 1902. Harry’s photo diary was left wanting as there was a no photo policy, by order of the mayor apparently but not related to preserving the objects…maybe the reason was lost in translation. Think I mentioned my French is crap.

I couldn’t convince anyone to do the epic sounding 5 hour hike up the volcano, so we crossed to the east of the island in search of waves. Tartane was the spot of the day. My mothering pride returned sufficiently to be super pleased for Harry catching some waves on his Dad’s board.

Tuesday saw a bit more homeschool trauma then we headed out on a kiteboarding adventure towards Anse Travaud. The road was a bump fest and then you pay to cross a guy’s land. A bit more bumping and head butting surfboards, a navigation across quicksand and we finally arrived to a deserted beach and Chris had a quick kitesurf. I stumbled past a few palm trees with the kids and across a naked Frenchman. Not a problem. But a) where do you look? and b) where do you look?

The later part of the week we had a few more dinghy rides into Port Plassainse at le Marin to ogle a plethora of chandleries and chat boat bits. We were blown away by the number of boats moored up there & in the Marina’s! Reminded me a lot of Cowes week. I was quite taken by the ingenious Pizza oven on the back of a Cat in the harbour, it even does deliveries!

The skate park was a nice 15 minute jaunt from the dock at le Marin. The kids were having a great arvo until Daddy cool went splat! Safe to say he came off worse than the ramp.

Friday saw us fill our water tanks from the sky and hot foot it to Saint Pierre. A speedy downwind leg with some decent waves and probably a bit more sail up than we needed. Chris forgot we weren’t in the 2nd leg of the Volvo and giggled to himself as he got our home up to 15.4knots! The scenery up the West coast is green, lush and mountainous. So nice to get some pace and be heading downwind.

After a 4 hour sail and a half an hour walk up the base of Mount Pelee Volcano we arrived at the Science and earth museum that was shut on Monday! We learned all about the 1902 eruption that devastated Saint Pierre and killed 30,000 people. The term “Nuee Ardentes” was coined by Mr La Croix who extensively researched the type of eruption that occurred in Mount Pelee. It was a fantastic interactive spot with loads of learning opportunities, particularly if you are fluent in French! The kids did get a lot out of it though & the “make your own animation” zone kept them entertained until we got kicked out at closing time.

Fair to say we had a rough week with the kiddos, which had has trying not to call in the yacht brokers. They pushed us to the max with attempts at school and fought like billio over everything from Lego to fishing bait. So frustrating at times. Boggles my mind the tantrums, tears and resistance at a few tasks (not all the tantrums were mine). As much as we try to engage Harry in the process on a project he likes, the act of writing is painful for him. Video projects where he spontaneously writes his own notes or writing letters to his friends does get a pen on paper. Lily pretty much makes up her own work and we attempt to gently steer her occasionally, much to her big brothers dismay! Resurrecting the old star chart, whilst it didn’t bring my locks back, brought back a tiny bit of sanity to the ship. We’re on the lookout for some other boat kids in Martinique too!

We had a chilled sail back South to Grande Anse. We had 6 to 20 knots in a matter of mins which kept me on my toes. A mini bar hop for sundowners in the chilled picturesque bay was the perfect end to the day.

Yesterday we beat 4hrs back upto St.Anne. Our main agenda this week is battery replacement and surf….probably not in that order!

Chris Draper · Cruising with kids · Sailing · Travel

Bequia and beyond

We anchored up and stayed put in beautiful Bequia for the best part of a windless week.

Controversially it is one of 3 places in the world where whaling is still permitted. 4 whales a year can be killed. An aboriginal law is used that upholds the heritage of the island. It would seem to me that these days tourists provide a more sustainable income for the island & the container ships bring in food that can’t be grown on the lush island, but then I don’t sit on the whaling commission….

The model whaling boats at Sargeants model boat shop are a sight to behold. Harry was mildly disappointed the models don’t sail or hydrofoil like his Grandpa’s though.

Our neighbours in Port Elizabeth were friends from Grenada. “The red boat” Nomadica with gorgeous Cheryl and Morgan one side & the “SAGO” family the other side, which was perfect for Halloween action. A resident turtle also paid us daily visits and sprat flung themselves into our dinghy desperate to join the party.


Dinghy issues this week were sorted by a local legend & chaps made up at Grenada sails. Hopefully this will extend the life of our dinghy, assuming I don’t let it float away again!

I pulled myself out of slothsville and took on a few runs on some hilly terrain across to the other side of the Island (no it isn’t a big Island). I might have stalked a French couple and joined them for their run one morning…such a weirdo. I appreciated the company even if they didn’t.

Going ashore at Port Elizabeth we were met by a walkway full of vibrant colours. Laid back sellers on a small stretch don’t force their wares on you. A unique bunch of bars and cafes littered the waters edge. The kids were partial to the ice cream at the Gingerbread hotel & cafe, and were pretty taken with the parrot at the next door dive shop too..

If you continue on past the Beach hotel up & down streps on the side of a cliff you reach “Jacks bar” on princess Margaret beach. We were anchored just off here. Our true find was at the far end of the beach where “Len the Lion” will cook the meat you bring & seat you for $5EC a BBQ use. His beer somehow tastes even better! We had a great Friday afternoon here with fellow cruisers.

I took the whole school of Draper on 2 trips this week. The avid marine biologist took notes and asked Mr Orton King a million questions at the Turtle sanctuary. He was particularly confused as to why you’d take baby turtles from the beach if they weren’t ill. Mr.King explained that his aim was to increase dwindling Hawksbill numbers. 20% of his turtles survive to be released by 5years old or when he deems them large enough to survive. In the wild only 1 in 3000 survive to 40 yrs old. Not really comparable stats but Harry was satisfied this is a good thing to do. The larger turtles kept in small tanks were unable to fend for themselves in the wild and so would stay at the sanctuary and be scrubbed once a fortnight, be gawped at by the likes of us and continue on a diet of canned tuna for life.

The other trip was to the Firefly hotel and restaurant. Ok so the drinks were pretty good! I promise the kids learned a thing or 2!! The hotel is on the site of an old sugar plantation but now grows a variety of fruits etc. Our personal tour kept the kids interested for 45mins (better than I ever manage). We munched on whatever we could try from passion fruit to star fruits and a lot in between, but the best was pulverising our own sugar cane and drinking it- yum.

Humidity seems to have dropped a tad in the last few days. Yesterday we headed north in a very civilised 10-15knts passed St.Vincent and towards St.Lucia. The wind then crapped out repeatedly & unsurprisingly we ended up motoring upwind for a while. Our aim was to anchor at Rodney Bay in the north and explore. We had been keen to visit the reknowned Pitons in the South, but a spate of boats being boarded at night and robbed had put us off. What actually happened was that it got late and we decided to push onto Martinique as the wind picked up!

So we woke up this morning in St.Anne’s near Le Marin after a 16 hour crossing. We’ve made the most of the play equipment and paved area ideal for skateboarding just off the dock. There may have been a croissant or two consumed and a post carb slump has occurred. A pretty different day to running the New York marathon this time last year! Miss you Lorna.

It seems time is cranking on and we’ll be having a Christmas knees up in Antigua before we know it!

Chris Draper · Cruising with kids · Sailing · Travel

Grenadine Fever

Last Sunday after a family surf at Prickly bay we headed off in another down pour towards Carriacou. Looking at the forecast a pit stop in Halifax harbour for the night seemed the sensible option…but then we changed our minds and headed up anyway.

We shot past the underwater volcano exclusion zone, past the natural arch of London Bridge, past the Sisters and Kick ‘em Jenny rock. The sails were up and down like a strippers knickers, but we arrived to a beautiful sunset in Carriacou. The kids convinced us to get off the bateau for dinner & the “Lazy Turtle” was a welcome treat.

After a lazy morning on the boat of yoga, fishing, fort building & hide & seek I went for a jog & we cleared customs. We had a little starboard hitch up to Sandy island which led into a tough beginning of the week…We snorkelled with sting rays, turtles, shoals of fish had a family beach run & beach clean followed by cocktails with the Garrett family.

Salinas was our next stop after a short sail back towards Tyrell Bay. More reef exploration meant the kids covered a lot of ground. The tucked away bay was full of charm, turtles & a great coral reef garden. The downside was the mozzies!!

We bid farewell to the Garrett’s with a lobster dinner as they leave the cruising world after 11 months and head home to Oz. We wish them safe travels & hope to see you there one day.

A night back in Union was called for. We hear that we narrowly missed a local stabbing incident in Clifton, right in the spot we had been with the kids for ice cream! Mild wake up call, but we’ve enjoyed our time on Union. These isolated local incidents that could happen anywhere wouldn’t stop us going back to the Island.

After nearly 4 months on the boat we got off for 2 nights…It felt weird with our home just outside!! Great timing though as I’ve been randomly suffering with vertigo this last week & it had got worse. The feeling took me back to my Uni days when I’d swear that I never got ill, only for the whole room to spin after a night out with predictable consequences. This is not a good feeling when you live on a boat or want to move your head. Must be the dizzy heights of 10 years marriage!!

Salt whistle bay was a gem of the Grenadines & a stunning spot to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary! We were the only guests in one of a handful of cottages with a glamping tent outside for extra kid beds. Ralph the dog was a friendly security guard, as were the actual 24hr security that looked after us. Justin was a fab host & chef. The locals were super friendly & a trip to the small village got us acquainted with the reknowned Rasta Righteous Richard & his quirky bar. A epic clash of steel pans played over a backdrop of Celine Dion….The rum punch definitely was special too!

Lily & Harry adored their glamping experience in the tent. Lily unpacked pretty much all her possessions for the 2 night stay. She then set up a beach stall selling shells, rope, flowers & general tat. Fortunately she took leaves & sand for payment as we were all out of cash.

There were 10 boats anchored up in the small picture postcard bay. The charter season has started! Turns out there are some benefits of cruising in the summer- empty anchorage’s. Think we’ll need to do some adjusting.

We’re pleased to be back on our home. After a tight fetch to West Cay in Bequia (3 hours ish). Chris then short tacked up the shore against the Sunday dinghy racers in true competitive style! We’re now in Princess Margaret bay, one of the few anchorages on this little Island. Loving the vibe of this funky place and it’s been great to catch up with some fellow cruisers here, especially when they have us over for a fresh tuna feast!

We plan to head to St Lucia, then Martinique next, before trickling back to Antigua.

Chris Draper · Cruising with kids · Sailing · Uncategorized

Back to the plan with a southern charge

Look at those lovely lazy bones bean bags!

When even the laundry lady at “Sam & Dave’s” is giving you local rates and doesn’t believe you’re ever going to leave…. its time to go. We finally left Antigua on monday afternoon after hauling the boat in at Antigua slipway first thing. We’d been a great source of irritation there as we were last out and in the way, BUT we were pleased they accommodated us for Irma and the threat of Jose.

We were so grateful for 2 nights in the Antigua Marina hotel with Carlo Falcone and it gave the Greensmith’s a break from family Draper after an extended hurricane party of 5 nights (The kids couldn’t believe their luck with that mega sleepover!). Carlo was one of the first to take a private boat to Barbuda to help with the relief effort and subsequent evacuation as hurricane Jose threatened. Chris went to help and the realisation of the situation there and many other islands is sobering, read his thoughts here. Shannon Falcone flew straight in after winning the maxi worlds and took his boat straight to the BVIs, again doing everything to offer some relief and supplies to the people there. There is something very special about these great Islanders and the show of solidarity. These selfless acts restore your faith in our crazy species.

Antigua Yacht Club Hotel

We truly did weather the storm together with some of those families in Antigua and it’s a time we will never forget. We spent days recovering from the adrenalin at Papa’s restaurant with the kids fishing off the dock, swimming, scooting, rip surfing and having too much tech time before returning to “normality” once Jose headed north.

Before we left the kids were also treated to a pottery demo by the very talented Nancy Nicholson ( whose work I love. Visiting the stunning location she works from was enough. The view across Falmouth harbour was panoramic and her creativity is almost catching.

Yesterday morning we arrived in Grenada. It was a 300 mile dash with a pit stop for a stroll on the beach and sleep on anchor in Martinique.



It was a varied trip. Not exactly run of the mill trade winds. Some really lovely sailing but the first night was nasty with a fair old sea between Guadeloupe and Martinique. The next morning we had some lovely breeze and covered some mileage. We were then treated to an unexpected tropical wave and wind on the nose for 12 hours passing St.Vincent. The last 18 hours were stunning with Fille de Joie charging along at 8-9 knots eating up the miles.


The usual shizzle occurred, this time an aerial fell off the mast etc etc. Probably a hangover from Irma (I think it’s best to blame that witch for everything). So we hugged the coast of the Islands as we went down to stay in mobile range.

The trip was quick and no time to explore this Islands as Chris heads to an event in Europe on Sunday and we re keen to be set up before that.

Turns out we’re turning into storm chasers (funny not funny). There are two more systems brewing way out East. Lets be honest no one said we were in the clear down here… If everyone could stop heating up the ocean that would be great!

Any top tips to explore in Grenada most welcome….

Chris Draper · Cruising with kids · Sailing · Travel · Uncategorized

Hello Fille de Joie…


Yesterday we said goodbye to Bermuda after two awesome years. The past 6 weeks has been an emotional rollercoaster as only the America’s Cup can be. The highs, the lows, the pack up, the goodbyes all so intense.

Last night we arrived in Nanny Cay (British Virgin Islands) to begin the next  adventure on our Lipari 41 Cat. As we rocked up at the marina in a taxi with two sleeping kids during a torrential down pour I’ll admit I was nervous to say the least. However, turns out agreeing to buy a boat I’d never seen has panned our pretty damn well. Smiles all around as we boarded our new home.


Today was was all about getting the kids settled. Just us….all day….together. I think the last time that happened was due to a hurricane! We stashed all the useless junk that it was really important to bring 24hours ago & hit Nanny Cay pool & beaches. Day 1 rocked. Tomorrow it’s time to go sailing.


Each blog we’re keen to not sugar coat this experience completely, so will give you a taste of the not so great…

  • Our little blondie is now more green haired.
  • Despite her best efforts Lily still has a little finger after she shut it in a rather large door-doh!
  • Harry had some hanger issues- should be resolved when we’re properly provisioned.