Old boat to future boat: “Third Aye” versus a 2005 Leopard 43, comparing layouts of two very different boats.

In July of 2008, I purchased a 1976 monohulled 30 foot Irwin Sloop for 5,100 USD on Ebay. I used it as a livaboard vessel while working in Key West as a SNUBA guide. I later changed the name to “Third Aye.”

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There was just enough headroom for me to walk upright and not hit my head on the “domelight” in the saloon, which looked like something from my first car in high school.

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As you can see from the “accommodation plan” and “inboard profile” below, the boat is pretty much divided into thirds from bow to stern.

1976 Irwin 30 layout
1976 Irwin 30 layout

In the bow, one third of the length is taken up by the v-berth and head on port with sink and locker on the starboard side.

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The middle third is the saloon with a table that folds down and settees on either side. This needs to be raised up and everything stowed when a meal is finished. Storage lockers for personal items and clothing are stored behind and below the seats.

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On the starboard side just down the companionway is the galley for one with an ice box I converted to a freezer. On the port side is a chart table and navigation station. Behind that is a tiny aft berth for crew to rest while underway.

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The remaining third of the interior is for the engine room, which is inconveniently located under a bonnet or hood on the interior of the boat, between the galley and the chart table. This was very tight and I had to use mirrors and flashlights to see where to put the screwdriver or wrench when replacing parts. In the stern is the steering linkage and a large locker on the starboard which is accessed from the cockpit above.

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In 2009, when Lindsay and I spent quite a bit of time and money fixing her up and finally sailed away, we got along very well aboard despite the small space.

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After purchasing the dive shop in 2012, we rented an apartment in Puerto Morelos, Mexico. Not living aboard any longer, she was being neglected on a mooring at the El Cid marina, and costing us money. Besides, it was too small for us to use for our future travel goals, and we wanted something larger and safer. We sold her for 10,000 USD, with a clause that she be delivered to Rio Dulce, Guatemala before final payment. That in an of itself is another great fiasco, a good story to tell now about how delivery captains can seriously affect your life. Ask me about it sometime.

Goodbye Third Aye!
Goodbye Third Aye!

The next boat we buy, after selling the dive shop, will hopefully be a Leopard 43. Architect Alex Simonis and builders Robertson & Caine won praise for this catamaran’s speed, windward ability, ease of handling, innovative design features, and phenomenal robustness. The maximum hull speed is 8 knots through the water, if the waves are from behind, in “following seas”, the boat is pushed faster than that over ground. This is over twice as fast as “Third Aye.” They were built with the robust South African standards, received glowing reviews in major sailing magazines, sailed to the Caribbean on their own bottoms, not shipped over. They are a very popular charter boat and currently there are two available right now on Yachtworld.com. I will provide the links to them at the end of this post.

2005 Leopard 43 under sail

This drawing of the layout with shadowing vividly shows the spacious cabins.

2005 Leopard 43 BVI layout

There are four cabins, four queen sized beds, two quarter berths in the forward cabins, and the v-shaped settee in the saloon converts into a double bed. Therefore, this model sleeps up to 8 adults on the queen sized beds, 2 children in the quarter berth, and 2 young adults in the saloon. That’s 12 people on a 43 foot boat, provided everybody packed light in soft luggage. What a layout!

There are four bathrooms, or “heads” with showers, and an additional fresh water shower outside at the swim platform.

The Leopards are famous for incorporating the cooking space into the dining space, called a “galley up” design. We love this concept of bringing the chef into the room, instead of being trapped in a hallway of one of the pontoons. For dining space, there are two options. Inside for windy or rainy conditions and the v-shaped settee seats 8. 2005 Leopard 43 Saloon BVI

Outside in the cockpit, which is preferrable for cruisers, seats 6 on benches with backs and 2 more on a cooler, with cushions provided for all seats. That’s a total of 16, which is 4 more than can sleep aboard! Again, what a layout!

2005 Leopard cockpit seating

Catamarans have over twice the deck space, and the “trampolines” are every charter guests dream come true. There are even dolphin-watching seats installed up front at the “pushpits.”

2005 Leopard Front of deck

To see more pictures and videos of this boat design, follow this link: 2005 Leopard 43 on yachtworld.com in BVIs. And a second boat for sale here: Another 2005 Leopard 32 on yachtworld.com in BVIs.

Abandoning the Rat Race

Around the world in 36 years: Couple who cast off rat race in 70s and embarked on a 100,000 mile odyssey finally drop anchor back in Blighty

But Bill Cooper and his wife Laurel actually did it – and, 36 years later, can say they have lived the dream.

Mr Cooper, 83, a former City broker who used to advise Harold Wilson, decided to cast off for good as he made his daily commute to work in 1974.

Bill and Laurel Cooper aboard their current and third boat Faraway, which they started building in 2005, now tied up at their final berth on the river Medway in Kent

Bill and Laurel Cooper aboard their current and third boat Faraway, which they started building in 2005, now tied up at their final berth on the river Medway in Kent

On the high seas: Bill and Laurel on the Phoenix in 1954 before they  decided to travel the world

On the high seas: Bill and Laurel on the Phoenix in 1954 before they decided to travel the world

He returned home from the railway station and asked Mrs Cooper to call his office and tell his colleagues he would not be coming in. Ever.

Over the next two years, they built a boat before selling their house, bidding farewell to family and friends, and setting sail for a life of adventure.

Now, after an odyssey spanning  more than three decades and 100,000 miles, berthing in 45 different countries, they have returned to drop anchor  back home.

Age and ill-health have brought their astonishing journey to an end, although they still plan to remain afloat – on the calmer waters of the River Medway in Rochester, Kent.

It is a well-deserved rest for a couple who have crossed seven seas, negotiated 22,000 miles of canals and rivers, and coped with storms bringing 25ft waves and 100mph winds.

Boat number one: The couple's first boat, called Fare Well, at sea in Spanish waters, in 1977

Boat number one: The couple’s first boat, called Fare Well, at sea in Spanish waters, in 1977

Boat number two: The couple's second vessel, 87ft barge Hosanna, in Moudros Bay, Greece, in 1993

Boat number two: The couple’s second vessel, 87ft barge Hosanna, in Moudros Bay, Greece, in 1993

Boat number three: The launching of the couple's third and current boat Faraway in 2007

Boat number three: The launching of the couple’s third and current boat Faraway in 2007

Mr Cooper, a former Royal Navy officer, became disillusioned with his high-flying career as a gilts broker and government adviser in London.

He recalled how, on the day he changed the course of his life,  he set off for work and was half- way to the station in Chatham, Kent, when ‘I said to myself, “I’m not going in today – I’m fed up with it” ’.

He added: ‘I said to Laurel, “I’m giving up, tell my partners I’m not coming in any more”.

‘I’d been working as an informal adviser to Harold Wilson and there came a point where I decided I couldn’t get on with it.

‘Swanning around the City with a top hat on is all very well, but you don’t get much pleasure from it and I wanted a bit more from life.’

With Mr Cooper in charge of the woodwork and his wife taking care of the painting, the couple built a boat together, and in 1976 sold their detached, six-bedroom house and gave the money to their  children Shelley, now 58, and  Benedick, 54.

Funded by a Navy pension and the proceeds of selling Mr Cooper’s partnership, they set sail on their 50ft steel ketch Fare Well and never looked back. The first ten years were spent sailing the Mediterranean and Caribbean, across the Atlantic and along the American Intracoastal Waterway from New York to Florida.

The happy couple on their wedding day in 1952
Working man: Bill in the 1960's while at his desk job as a bonds broker

The happy couple on their wedding day in 1952, left, and Bill in the 1960s when he worked as a London broker

The pair, who once kept a one-eyed cat called Nelson on board, even received a medal for crewing the only vessel to survive the devastating Hurricane Alberto north of Bermuda in 1982 without calling a lifeboat for help.

In 1986, they bought a new vessel, an 87ft former industrial barge which they named Hosanna. They then spent the next two decades cruising around canals in France, Belgium and the Netherlands, and sailing the Aegean.

The couple, who have three grandchildren, returned numerous times over the years for Christmases and other family occasions.

In 2005, they took on their  third and final boat, the 40ft  Faraway, which will continue to be their home.

But on its maiden sea voyage to North Africa in 2007, Mr Cooper began suffering eye problems and was forced to stop in France.

Bill sailing in 1948
Bill and Laurel on board the Phoenix in 1954

Bill, pictured left in his Captain’s hat, and Laurel, pictured right, on the Phoenix in 1954, both love the ocean

The couple's Transat team enjoying the sunshine up on the deck of the Fare Well in 1981

The couple’s Transat team enjoying the sunshine up on the deck of the Fare Well in 1981

After several years of travelling back and forth to England for treatment for macular degeneration, he has now decided it’s time to moor up for good.

He said: ‘We’ve had a wonderful time but I’m afraid I have been overtaken by ill-health.

‘When I got to about 78, I thought, “This isn’t going to go on forever”, so we built a boat we could manage when old age really strikes. We call it the geriatric boat.

‘We will have to get used to the life here. I plan to write a book and decay gently.’

He added: ‘I really think we have had the best of it.

‘We’ve had modern materials to build the boats, but we did most of our sailing before health and safety really started up.

‘Now I’m not walking as well as I used to when I was young, so we’ve had to come back to England.

Laurel with shipmate Nelson the cat  boarding Fare Well in 1976
Laurel makes a turkey dinner in 1978

All aboard: Laurel with fellow shipmate Nelson the cat boarding the Fare Well in 1976, left, and Laurel making a turkey dinner at sea in the ship’s small kitchen in 1978

Laurel on deck during Hurricane Alberto, in 1982, which resulted in the pair receiving a medal for being the only vessel to survive the devastating without calling a lifeboat for help

Laurel on deck during Hurricane Alberto, in 1982, which resulted in the pair receiving a medal for being the only vessel to survive the devastating without calling a lifeboat for help

Laurel enjoys the trade winds in the tropics in 1981 aboard the Fare Well
Laurel leaving her mark on the old wall Horta, The Azores, 1983

Globe-trotters: Laurel enjoying the trade winds in the tropics aboard the Fare Well in 1981, left, and Laural again leaving her marks as she paints boat’s name on the old wall Horta in The Azores in 1983, right

‘And why would we spend a quarter of a million pounds on a house that isn’t built to our requirements? Everything on the boat fits us perfectly – even the galley is designed to be the perfect height for Laurel.’

Mrs Cooper, 82, said: ‘I’m like  a cat, I can be comfortable anywhere – it’s how I have survived all this time.

‘Bill’s a brilliant sailor. He was very much the captain and I was the mate – he would always steer and I dropped the anchor.

‘We have had an absolutely amazing life. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

‘I’m very happy looking back at all the wonderful places we’ve been, the people we’ve met and the adventures we’ve had.

‘We have been very lucky, but  we always knew that it wouldn’t last forever.’

Laurel and Bill stand infront of the 87ft barge Hosanna in Levkas, Greece, in 2005

Laurel and Bill stand infront of the 87ft barge Hosanna in Levkas, Greece, in 2005

The couple took this image of Mirina, in Limnos, during a visit in 1985

The couple took this image of Mirina, in Limnos, during a visit in 1985

The couple travelled down canals as well as the on the high seas and took this picture of Bachausen Lock Rhein Donau Kanal in 1995

The couple travelled down canals as well as the on the high seas and took this picture of Bachausen Lock Rhein Donau Kanal in 1995

TRAVELLING AROUND THE WORLD IN 36 YEARS

After sailing 100,000 nautical miles in boats they made themselves, Bill and Laurel have travelled to varied and unusual locations around the globe, taking in sights that many of us can only dream of.

The countries they have visited include:

Gibraltar, Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Crete, Turkey, Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovenia, Sicily, Sardinia, Majorca, Menorca, Ibiza, Canary Islands, Caribbean islands, Rhode Island, the US coast, Portugal, Cadiz, Morocco, Greek islands, Monaco, Azores, Lowestoft, Corsica, Holland, Germany, Belgium, Luxemburg, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Yugoslavia, Tunisia and Cambrai

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2102585/Couple-quit-jobs-sailing-finally-return-UK–marathon-36-YEAR-trip.html#ixzz3Opb5ITyT
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