A Captain’s reflections

Sailing these waters at this time of year offer some exciting problems for our journey to the south of Sweden. We studied the same winds on our previous attempt last year and it’s a hard route to sail due to wind directions on days where it’s no rain or strong winds. For these reasons we ended up using the engine for an entire day down from Kristianopel to Sandhamn, the first small village on the mainland for boats going north toward Kalmar. Our plan was to get to Sandhamn before the rain came in from southeast, and although Captain Simen got soaking wet on his shift – we’ve made it to shore. 

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Sailing in rain is not the most pleasurable experience in October. We therefore decided to stand our grounds for two nights before proceeding. In a way this is great, since the guest-harbour here offer showers and free bikes. It was also time for us to clean up the ship again. A couple of miscalculations on the waves have tossed things around a bit, this is not the first time this happens, but we have not figured out all the solutions for where to put everything onboard yet. I suppose I’ve learned now, and will consequently pack stuff away before going out sailing in the future.

A stop like this also give some time to reflect and drink tons of coffee. We are basically sailing through three of the Scandinavian capital areas; Stockholm, Copenhagen and Oslo. Without all the tacking and jibing this calculates to about 1300 kilometers or 700 nautical miles. In other measurements that’s about the same distance as vertically sailing USA on it’s slimmest or a little shorter than the Sahara desert. Of course, we are enjoying our time and is really starting to get back into living on a boat again. That said; this wonderful boat is a whole different story than our previous ones. Here we can actually keep warm, dry and store all our belongings safely, unlike our previous I can now drink my morning coffee in my boxers.

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We don’t have to work everyday to make sure we don’t sink or actually have a functioning engine. Before we purchased this adventure of an home, we had some beautiful boats in wood, but life was more a struggle and the upkeep of an old wooden boat would no doubt eat our entire non-existing budget. Having steel presents its own set of tasks to take care of but none of these have so far been critical. I must applaud Kaj who built this boat for his excellent care and craftsmanship.

qrfOur adventures doesn’t come free and we are always looking for ways to make some quick cash. We are extremely flexible and will be searching out small jobs around, let me know if you need a fence painted or your boat washed. We can do just about anything! If you want to support us, there is plenty of ways to do this. Take a look at our support-page in the menu or click here

We are very lucky to be able to be able to live our lives as free as we are. Having you read and follow our journey is making me feel proud of the choices we have made. There is nothing I’ve experienced that have offered me this kind of peace with myself. Maybe only backpacking, but then you always have to carry your stuff around and you know that it eventually have to come to an end. Slow-traveling by water, with sails and without an end-date, offer the most unique ways to see and have time to experience the world around us.

If I’m to be totally honest – my mental health need this freedom. It need to be experiencing new things and to be moving in order to be healthy. I don’t mind being ‘stuck’ somewhere for a while or even take a job, but in the long run and talking from experience my happiness and love for life disintegrate over time when I feel locked in. I’m sure people probably have thousands of ways to deal with these feelings, this is just the one that works for me at this point in time. Some people ask if this is about running away, and not take responsibility and I can assure you it is not. It’s about the freedom I personally need to do in order to make myself feel that life is valuable.

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Freedom is relative, of course. We have things we need to do onboard a boat as well. But when it comes down to it; Being your own Captain, almost always being able to make the choices that shape your day and at the same time being able to do absolutely nothing is the best life-enhancing recipe I’ve ever know. I will not speak for Captain Simen, but I suppose there is a reason to why we stick together. Having someone like him to share these experiences and this life with make life at the moment just perfect.

When we are ready to leave this place, I hope we can get a good run down the coast. The bay-area ahead of us could get us a long way if the winds are with us. There is also a chance that we might have to back down and turn north, but so far the forecast for tomorrow is very promising.

Captain Jack

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Hard days at sea

The nice old couple that let us use their dock proved not to be as nice after all the next morning. The old man was cool enough, but his wife was screaming something in Swedish about calling the police in the background. So I told her we would move the boat. After breakfast. “That’s a late breakfast!” she yelled back – I didn’t bother explaining to her that her husband had given us permission the night before, something he obviously hadn’t informed her of. Or maybe he did and she just wouldn’t listen. I started the engine and powered about 150 meters down-shore and anchored there, making sure we were clearly visible from the dock. Take that – you xenophobic hag.

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There was still no wind. Not a breeze – and the forecast was scattered rain, so we settle in for another night in the area. Luckily for us this was an area with an OK internet coverage, read; we got to catch up on some visual entertainment. We also have plenty of books to read and yours truly was in the mood to get some writing done. The deck seem to be a perfect nurturing ground for moss and algae so I have done my best to scrub it with saltwater. This is supposed to do the job but I have a feeling that the problem is growing a bit deeper. We will have to sand down everything and coat it well with some sort of natural oil, but that’s a long term project as it at the moment is way too wet to do any good sanding.

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Captain Simen climbed the mast again. This time it was to make an attempt on switching the VHF antenna with the one we had on our last boat. When I say he climbed the mast that mean I winched him up in a harness and of course he forgot the antenna on the boat, but it didn’t matter since it wouldn’t fit the connection after all.

We had a nice evening and went pretty early to bed in order to be well rested for the day to come. According to the weather Gods the wind was supposed to be in our favor and we were looking forward to get moving south.

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We woke up to a tiny breeze. Once again we were forced to make use of the engine. It’s not like it use a ton of diesel, but we are at the moment in a situation where every drop counts. This is of course part of the reason for us to start up our Patreon which you are welcome to support us at if you feel like it. You can do so by following this link. Simen is still working on making it pretty and up to date, but it’s otherwise fully operational 🙂

As the day progressed the wind picked up to something at least sailable, the problem was that whatever course we sat the wind turned with us so we always had to sail straight into the wind.

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Not a happy Captain

The good old engine had to take over and I was in my worst mood so far on this journey. It didn’t get much better as we anchored up just outside Västervik. Because we can’t really pay any marina, we found a nice spot just outside of one. Because the weather was supposed to pick up much more this evening we secured ourselves by also stretching a line into the rocky shore. Pulling our boat with my teeth while rowing our tiny dinghy toward land was not my favorite moment either.

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With the boat finally secure we decided to take the boat into land again. This time to spend the very rest of our cash on a box of snus. As we sat down in the dinghy it started pouring down. We were wet within the minute, but nothing stops us when there is snus on the line. First we went ashore in an area that was strictly fenced in and secured by Securitas and barb-wire. Our next try led us right into a dense forest-area with thorns and bushes everywhere. We tried for a bit, but after plenty of scratches and slippery rocks and whatnot we were forced to turn around again. As the rain came down heavy with full force we finally found a place with clear access to the road.

After about twenty minutes we found a store, did our business and our mood lightened. Life is not a dance on roses, but my hands and legs are full of their thorns at the moment. Tomorrow will be a new day, a new month. September ends here in Västervik and I can’t wait to see what October holds for us. Hopefully a more cooperating wind. Good night.

Captain Jack

Real pirates will never give up!

There was ice this morning. It has been a very cold night onboard the Harry Louella. The three pirates left onboard to finnish up the preparations for our wintering of the ship are sleeping with double covers, hats and jackets to keep out the cold. It is time for us to get moving, but before we can do that – the ship must come out of the water and we need to know where to sleep the next couple of days. Not to forget where in the world will we find our next ship?

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Waking up to slippery deck and frost all over.

Our fourth pirates for peace-pirate has once again taken off to Nynäshamn to take care of some business. We will go there one of the next days. Yesterday we were towed from Fyrudden to Gryt early in the morning and later in the day we detached our beautiful mast and sent it to storage. But for now, we are waiting for the people of the wharf to make the time of lifting our boat ashore so we can cover it up and prepare the engine for winter.

There are times where our adventure seem to be a hard nut to crack. But let it be said that this crew will never give up the journey toward world peace. We are not the first pirates to be temporary without a ship – and even in these dark times our crew is masters of keeping up hope and the fight for our cause and will once again, mark my words, soon be back at the sea!

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Being towed in early rainy mornings.

This said, we have lost the fight against the winter and will have to move ourselves in some other way down to a warmer climate. Where, how and when still has to be determined and this will be done within a few short days. The last of our tasks will be to pack whatever we can carry from Harry Louella but it look like there will be a lot of tools, equipment and other useful things left for the next lucky owners of this amazing boat. Let us know if you are interested in a cheap pirate-ship!

This also means that we will not be able to sail down through Europe in this turn around. This is very sad of course – since we have met a lot of great Europeans this summer that it would be a privilege to meet up with on our way south.

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The last voyage for us onboard Harry Louella.

For now however, feel free to check in on the blog for updates. I will keep you posted on our progress for better or worse, but know that we are pirates with great hope and this adventure will go on for a very long time into the future – until we reach our goal of world peace or longer.

Captain Jack

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Abandon ship!

When your pirate-ship is under attack, in waters toward warmer climates and undiscovered treasures, by enemies and dangers you can’t even imagine – All Captains onboard will have to work as the perfect team we are in order to make it south. 

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A normal sight onboard Harry Louella

A few days ago we were attacked by the gruesome Transition-monster about five nautical miles out from our current safe harbour. It came out of nowhere – probably as the natural result of our previous two sinkings last week in the harbour of Nynäshamn. We suddenly lost all power of the engine and had to rise the jib with what I would like to refer to as no-wind-whatsoever to sail ourselves into safe shore on an abandoned island.

After having been rescued for the third time on this amazing ship we got into Fyrudden harbour where we are currently located. After having checked and rechecked, gone through all of our scenarios we have collectively among the Captains given the order of abandon ship. Harry Louella is being towed from here to Gryts Varv in 24 hours where it will most likely be spending it’s time until someone in this world have the time to fix this relative simple problem, which we simply don’t have time for if we want to get south before winter arrives.

Dear reader, do not fear! We are not by any chance giving up. I must admit that we have kind of gotten of course the last few weeks and should by the plan have already entered the Kiel-kanal. But as the temperature is pushing for snow we are simply not taking any chances and have decided to skip a few chapters ahead head south on friday morning. Check in at next post to see where our adventures has taken us!

Captain Jack

Game over

Yes. This ship has had it’s better days, we knew that when we got it. We’ve had a great run – but it seems like the current harbour is the final stop for us on this ship. After having been rescued 3 times, sunk twise, countless fixes and weeks of gentle care has not even gotten us out of the kingdom of Sweden.

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Sea rescue to the rescue.

Harry Louella isn’t working anymore. Transmission is totally scrucked and we are stuck in yet another harbour, and this time it seems final. There is of course a chance that we can get it running, but the time and cost of this fix might just be what pull us out of the game with this ship.

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Harry Louella at what might be her last stop.

This do not mean that we are giving up. We need a few days to reconfigure the plan – but I can promise you that we are not of those who give up. We have made some sort of plan, as we spent a few hours on a deserted island about an our tow out in nowhere yesterday. The sea rescue pulled us in to Fyrudden where we now are tied up to the guest harbour.

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Towed by sea rescue.

Lucky for us, there is a grocery-store here and the bus comes several times a day. We should be able to survive in this village for the time being. We even made a friend here allready. Felix, a island-owner across the bay that came over last night, bringing champagne and beer from his fathers brewery up north.

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The colors of a great morning.

In short – it’s hard to say what to say at this point. We are once again stranded fighting for a plan to make this work for all of us. I suppose this is a turn for the worse. But we are pirates, we never give up!

Captain Jack

 

Problemsolving life

We are getting used to being stuck in random places. I suppose that’s a good thing since the only real plan we have is to get south and to get started on our ‘Pirates for peace-fundation’. It seems that our plan of sailing around the country of Portugal has changed – most likely we will be journeying through the canals of Europe until we hit the Mediterranean. The months we are entering simply don’t go well with us or Harry Louella entering the open water featuring the Atlantic ocean. 

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Entering harbour at night.

We are standing by in Öxelösund, a small industry town with not much going on east in Sweden. We’ve had to stop for some maintainance of our vessel. It was a planned stop, but it doesn’t seem like we’ll be moving for another day. Conny is working hard to repair our jib-sail that took a hit when were sailing against the wind a week ago. This is an easy fix but we have to put the hours into it.

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Conny our very own sailmaker putting in some hours.

Yesterday the fog was so thick that it would be straight out dangerous for us to go out through the waters we are now sailing. I doubt there is many places on earth with this many reefs and tiny islands. Today it is of course raining – making Conny’s sowing-job on deck a bit more uncomfortable. But we’ve got time.. The snow isn’t here yet and we still have to get the engine started.

It looks like we found the problem to why we kept losing the engine all the time. The diesel-filters were all clogged up. I mean for real clogged up. Totally black with cloggy clogging-materials built up through the years. Lucky for us we found a gas-station wich was more of a garage and they had in a dark corner of their storage only two filters left that would fit our engine. Of course the guy behind the counter warned us about getting air into the system and the mechanics, being Captain Simen and David, did their best. But this engine is old – and have a hard time being friendly to young pirates. It sucked in whatever air it could handle and here we are. Stranded once again – in a guest harbour of Sweden, forced to push a button every five-minute, hoping that the air will pass through the system.

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Here we are…

It’s not all bad of course. We finally got to wash our clothes and take showers ad lib. David holds the record of almost two hours in the showers. The guest-harbour is closed but we were lucky enough to get the codes and stuff from some other people who had been here earlier this year and can therefore enjoy the liberty of the good life of a washing-room and nice clean toilets.

Well, I have to get back to work. We have talked to a mechanic, the guy that sold us our new diesel-filters, and hopefully we can easily ease ourselves out of this within a couple of hours. If you by any chance have it in you to help us out in this increasingly costly journey feel free to use the paypal-button below or share our blog with some friends around the world!

Will keep you posted!

Captain Jack

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The day everything went according to plan

We have just experienced our first day with no noticeable problems. There was that one point were the engine cut out just as the wind picked up making us sail instead – that was just awesome. The reason was that we are still running on our old diesel-filters – but apart from this tiny winy problem and the hour were the bilge-pump stopped working because of our very much dirty bilge.

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The wonderful view on deck.

We are of course counting on having a fair deal of problems with a wooden boat from 1957, and an engine even older. The old Bedford has been dry-docked for years, so no wonders that it require som love and care from four inexperienced sailors on their journey south. Apart from these two problems and the fact that I couldn’t catch anything but a nice pile of sea-weed – the day started with some of the calmest waters we’ve experienced, warm sunny weather and perfect conditions for anything but sailing. It was so calm that the engine was the only way to go.

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Conny on watch while David maneuver us graciously.

Lucky for us the fix we had been working on to stop exhaust filling up the cockpit proved to be working. For the first day in forever we reached our goal and have transported ourselves a fair bit south of Nynäshamn and into the guest harbour of Öxelösund.

The day has been as perfect as perfect can be on the water this time of the year. When the engine stopped and we raised the sail we made a whole 3,5 knots in only 3 ms wind. That was awesome. Starting at 10, we arrived at our destination exactly at the time we had planned out.

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Captain Simen writing the text for our first message in a bottle.

Last week felt mostly like a training-week with all the crap that happened but I am proud to say that this crew stood positive through the whole thing. We are really coming together as the crew we set out to be – which of course is essential for our mission for the coming months.

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Captain Simen practising his amazing guitar-skills.

Right now it’s so foggy around us that we can’t see the other boat around us, this is the weather for the night – but tomorrow is supposed to be just as good as what we’ve seen today. We feel we are finally making progress. Captain Simen has even got the diesel-heater that caught on fire the other day back in order. There was quite i bit of water there going into the system when we flooded the engine. We are waiting for dinner made by first-mate David tonight, enjoying some rest after a completely perfect day in the beginning of this adventure. We have officially left Stockholm county.

Captain Jack

 

 

Dealing with an old lady

You wouldn’t think we were about to spend several days in Dalarö as we were passing through the other day. Since then we have tried to leave several times, but it seems that this little place of an island has caught us pretty good. Once we fix one problem – another one is pushing through. At times we are about to give up and when everything is looking good we try – and fail again. 

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Us passing time after long days of work.

We’ve got to remember that this ship is something like 70 years old. We are in theory running a nursing-home, having to medicate the old lady – treating her for all the symptoms. To make it easier for you to understand I have made this list of problems we’ve dealt with since we were last rescued:

  • Nobody told us that there was supposed to be oil in the gear-box. Maybe too obvious to most, we didn’t get the memo. By help of a local we discovered this (hopefully just in time) and filled it with oil that now have to be drained cause it proved to be water in there.
  • The exhaust has been leaking inside the cockpit – making it a bit of a foggy dream to navigate the beast, but we have managed so far. The leaks have been located.
  • The diesel-filters are not working. Probably being the reason for our engine-fail that lead to us having to be rescued the other day. They’ll have to be changed in order for us to continue. We are currently waiting for our friend, the Norwegian pirate, to deliver these after he have fixed his own ship back in Spillersboda.
  • After the fire we’ve had to clean out the kamin in order to stay warm. This should however be back in order.
  • All the water had to be carried all across the harbour since the people running this place have not installed water to the guest harbour.
  • The air-filter has seen better days, it is basically dead – but we have got a new one ready to install.
  • There is still water coming in. We will have to plaster the ship from the inside in places we can reach. It’s totally under control, but we need to keep an eye out for the leaks.
  • There was a hole in the saltwater-cooling system that brought in water. This was solved yesterday.
  • Other problems are not listed here because we want to keep some of them to ourselves.

We are currently 3 crew-members onboard. The fourth left us yesterday to eat veal in Nyneshamn – The harbour we’ve been trying to get to the last week or so. His name is Conny, one of the guys we met on our journey to Finland and back last week. He is an awesome chain smoker with history in hospitality and life. Born in Sweden and previous citizen of Nyneshamn he went to take care of some business until the rest of us can get there.

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In lack of things happening, here’s a picture of the blogging-view.

We tried to make a go for it a couple of mornings ago and made it one-third of the way before the engine let us down. Making us having to sail into the night back to Dalarö. If the winds would go south we might have made it. But that’s not our luck.. not that the winds were strong in the other direction either. We had barely wind in the sails and moved in approximately 1 knot all the way back. When the wind left us drifting we had David, the other new guy onboard, paddle with a homemade paddle we made of a fender and a stick. David has proven to be a great asset onboard – making protein-rich meals and second Captain Simen with the engine. His history of years in the American army gave him, in addition to speaking arabic, the skill set we needed right now.

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David making sure we don’t crash.

It’s another day. We are trying again. Maybe we’ll get there tonight. Maybe not. But we know for sure that snow is coming. The next week, however, is supposed to be pretty warm.

Captain Jack

Starting south

It’s been busy for a few days. We’ve had to train two new crewmembers onboard, an American and a Swedish man we happend to find while cruising to Turku, Finland. They were going south toward France and were sitting in the cigar-bar debating wether to get airplane-tickets when we got chatting. After 20 minutes of sharing our stories we decided to travel south together. They left all their belongings, only bringing whatever they were carrying, in Stockholm and came along to Spillersboda where we started our venture south the next morning.

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The fleet resting after the first day of the journey south.

There was of course a lot to organize before we were able to actually see if the engine would actually take us anywhere. And then there is the case of our old ship. There was this man came to see the boat an hour before we left the shipyard in Spillersboda, paid for it – but didn’t actually take it.. meaning we are now towing it with us toward the Swedish capital. Today will probably be our last day doing this. Straining our new engine towing another boat seems a bit over the top, but we have the nicest convoy around. We’re trying to give it away to friends of friends we have met from Stockholm.

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Boat for sale, free or cheap!

We did 13 nautical miles yesterday, going pretty slow for about five hours. We are heading for our first port of call; Nyneshavn where will probably stock up, wait out some wind and for another Norwegian pirate that is going to escort us over some parts with open water.

Since the engine started to smoke a lot last night we decided to dock at some Swedish millionairs private island. We needed a place to fix the problem it turned out to be our best solution. It was an easy fix, we just needed to change the totally worn down impeller, but had to wait till the morning for the engine to cool down. The owner of course came speeding toward us, but proved to be a very nice guy and even let us use his bathroom while we were there.

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New crew David showing off a departure gift from Spillersboda.

Todays mission is to get rid of FF Harry. We have been debating options, but it looks like we will leave it for whoever is in need of a free boat. Contact us if you want the coordinates!

That’s it for this short update. There is too much to learn onboard and we are rising the sails for the first time in a few hours. Write you soon.

Captain Jack

Let the winds take us south!

Around midnight last night we had an alarm go off in the ship. It beeped for a whole minute – notifying us that we have reached the point of zero degree celsius outside. Lucky for us there was no ice but it’s really getting a bit to cold for us around here. There will still be another week before we can actually start our journey, it all depends on the engine, if it runs smoothly you will most likely see us head south within next saturday.

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Our wind-engine!

 

One of the neighbours, a couple with two kids invited us over for dinner the other night. It was a warming experience spending an evening with them. He is a former world traveller, now a carpenter with a side job of marking baby eagles in the area. She was until the end of December a stay-at-home mom with their two adorable kids, one at the age of three, the other just learning to walk at the age of one. A very nice little family focusing on living sustainable in a modern Sweden. We were served self-shot Bambi with creamed potatoes from the garden. Thank you for a perfect evening!

Yesterday we took the time needed to install our sails. We hadn’t actually checked them out yet, just taking for good that they were both in a sailing condition. Since none of us had even touched a sail in our lives until yesterday, there was a need to scratch our heads a few times before we could figure out the basics. But in a couple of hours we had made up a pretty good understanding of how they’re supposed to work and I’m proud to announce that the ship is now able to sail. In theory.

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Never touched a sail before, it will be fine.

There is no way to steer this ship without having to run the engines. The steering is sadly running on a hydraulic system, which we are hoping also is in a working condition. We will have to find a solution for this little problem. But if we could do it on FF Harry we can do it with Harry Louella. First step now is either way to fuel up with oil and make sure the engine is running. We haven’t had it started in the water yet, only on land, so this should be interesting. We should all have our little projects for the weekends!

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Laundry is a nice activity in the rain.

FF Harry and the trailer is still out for sale. We’ve had no luck so far getting them sold, can you imagine? The old boat is selling to the highest bidder, you can litterary get a perfectly working pirate-ship for nada..! What we did get sold was the pile of free materials used to hold Harry Louella dry during the last four years. Not much cash in those though, we sold them for a six-pack of light beer. If you don’t feel like buying a ship but still feel like supporting our mission you can use the paypal-function below.

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That will be the blog of the day! Thank you for reading, keep following our journey and please share with your friends using the icons below! We appreciate all our new and old readers and can happily annonce that since this blog started we have surpassed the previous number of readers every single month! 10 points for sharing!

Captain Jack