Lockdown is our "Situation Normal"

Lockdown in Carrickfergus

A news paper man from Liverpool I know asked for our views on Lockdown, so this is what we wrote. Not getting paid as yet but a little bit more publicity for our channel. Link to article.

If you and your family are still getting on well during the Covid 19 situation then according to Gaynor and Beverley, two live-aboard sailors from Liverpool, you have passed the first test needed to be able to consider a different lifestyle on the margins of society.

Gaynor and Beverley ran away to sea and have spent the last two years living on a sail boat cruising the UK and Ireland. To both of them, being confined in a small space for days or weeks at a time is normal life. Their home, a yacht called Salty Lass, is just 4 metres by 11 metres which is about the size of a one bedroom flat.

On the plus side, if do not not like the view, it is easily changed. On the down side, there is no water, no electricity and no gas except for what they can carry aboard. No shops, no internet and sometimes no phone signal either.

“We literally do take the rough with the smooth”, says Beverley, “On the good days it can be magical, but in foul weather you soon start questioning your sanity”

Those of you who are under lockdown may be faced with the prospect of working from home full time. Even in a life on the margins of society, you need a way of earning money away from an office and away from a 9 to 5 job.

Gaynor is a free lance web designer and working on the computer and contacting her clients by phone or email is normal for her, but it is only possible because her job can be flexible and done at a distance.

“I have less clients than before”, she says, “and they have to be able to manage if I am out of contact for days or weeks. Not everywhere has a phone signal”

So, what qualities and skills would you need for a life on the ocean wave?

It helps if you are content with only communicating to your extended circle of friends and family through phone calls and social media. For some people who have really close ties to others then this particular test can be hard, but under lockdown, this is what we are all doing right now. If you are fine with that, then you could move to the margins where you might only see your extended family once a year if that.

Can you cope with unpredictability? Another test that we are all learning to deal with is the shifting sands of our future. In Gaynor and Beverley’s travelling lifestyle, then plans are often junked, sometimes hours after they are made, because they are so reliant on the weather.

According to Beverley, “In Liverpool, if the weather forecast is wrong no one is too bothered. In the middle of the Irish Sea, if the forecast is wrong, all your plans go overboard. All you can do, is make the best decisions you can at the time and then take whatever life throws at you”

“The sea makes realists of us”, says Gaynor, “Our motto has become ‘It is, what it is’. Whatever happens, all we can do is to make the most of the situation we find ourselves in”.

Then there is limited access to shops. This does not mean a queue outside a supermarket, it means no shops, or at least, none without travelling for a day or two. When you are miles away from anywhere, then easy access to shops is a thing of the past.

The recent reports of panic buying simply makes Gaynor smile. “It might be weeks between shopping trips, so we need to be able to cope with that and we do that by packing the boat with food. Rice and pasta keep well. Tinned foods are good as they last for a long time and can be stored in the boat’s bilges. We keep plenty of loo roll aboard as well”.

It is surprising the number of people who are choosing to live in the margins of society, be it on a canal boat, a yacht, or even a converted van.

“It can be socially isolating, like a permanent version of lockdown and you have less ‘stuff’ in your life, but it opens up your eyes to more adventures and experiences.” says Beverley, “Nothing prepares you for when a Minke whale surfaces or a dolphin leaps out of the water just a few metres away.”

So if you can cope with lockdown, you may have passed the first test for life at sea – providing, of course, you do not get seasick!

If you want to find out more, Gaynor and Beverley blog about their life every week on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/sailingYachtSaltyLass