Keep Fit and Have Fun Onboard!

Looking for a way to keep fit and have fun onboard?

Fitness Afloat Heather FrancisIn my June BWS column, Heather Francis Onboard, I talk about how to stay fit afloat. If you missed it on the news stands you can check it out here, or get a digital subscription via Zinio and never miss an issue.

Holidays Onboard

This month in my Blue Water Sailing Column, Heather Francis Onboard, talk to several sailing families about how they celebrate holidays onboard. Check out the December Issue on news stands or today! Celebrate the holidays this year with subscription for hour favourite sailor and never miss a story!



10 Down, 1 to Go 

When we first bought Kate in 2008 I had no expectations about what life onboard would be like. I hadn’t been dreaming of sailing the world since childhood, hadn’t furiously read any and all books related to sailing and I wasn’t an armchair sailor who leafed through a pile of sailing mags every month. I didn’t know anyone who’d tossed it all in and gone sailing, Facebook was in its infancy and if there were sailing blogs out there I didn’t know about them.

I wasn’t (too) worried.

I had enough experience sailing dinghies that I knew the pointy end was called the bow (thank goodness we didn’t buy a double ender!), the difference between a tack and a gybe and basic reefing techniques. I had been working on big boats (30-50M) for four years so I had done ocean passages, sat watches and tried to learn as much about navigation and radar as I could.

Besides I had Steve who had tonnes of sailing experience, who drove high speed catamaran passenger ferries for almost a decade, who had racked up more sea time and miles working on those big boats then I could count. I figured we’d make it through the 18 months we planned to take off work and find ourselves on solid ground in Aus ready for the next adventure.

But then things changed. We fell love; with our home, with our life, with sailing. 18 months floated by and we hadn’t even left Panama. It was obvious we needed to rethink the plan. And it was more obvious still that we would need money to fund our new plan. So when Steve got an unexpected offer of 8 weeks work we jumped, carefully, at the opportunity to fill the coffers. It meant I would be left taking care of the boat. A proposition I was a little nervous about but a challenge I agreed to face. Continue reading

Stove Top Bread Baking

Want fresh baked bread onboad but don’t have an oven? Or maybe you’re just looking for a way to cut down on fuel used and heat in the galley.  Learn all my tricks for successful STOVE TOP baking in the August issue of Blue Water Sailing. Available on news stands now!

Is that…normal?

As of the end of June I have been a high school graduate for 20 years, and in keeping with tradition there was supposed to be a reunion. Somehow the powers that be failed to organize anything in time so in lieu of an actually gathering someone started a Facebook group and graduates were invited to post about their lives.

I am not sure which I found more frightening; the idea of spending an evening with a bunch of almost 40 year olds who want to relive their teen years or trying to sum up my life thus far in a paragraph for a social media site.

I have to admit it was interesting seeing what people decided to say but I couldn’t figure out what to write. I didn’t fit the template; university/job/spouse/children/house. All of which seems normal to most people and (now) completely foreign to me.

I got to thinking about our life onboard, and what our normal is. I got to thinking how many people – family/friends/readers – probably don’t really know what life onboard is like. So here is my attempt to give you a glimpse.

We live on a 41’ or 12.4M, sailboat. Living on a yacht is an amazing way to travel, we are not constrained by roads, or even blocks of land. We can escape to some of the most beautiful places in the world but sleep in our own bed. And, if we don’t like our neighbours we can just pull up anchor and move. We’ve been onboard for 8 years and Kate is definitely home. In fact she is EVERYTHING. There is no storage unit full of furniture, no car on loan to a relative and no house to return to. So, while I am enjoying those beautiful vistas the idea that something could go wrong and we could lose absolutely everything we own and hold dear constantly looms in the back of my mind.

Kate (the original name and I won’t go into the superstitions of changing a name of a boat) was built in 1973. She can hold her own in a race around the cans and has proven her worth during blue water passages. She is sea-kindly and strong. If she were a car she would be a Volvo; well-built and practical, elegant but not exactly luxurious. But back then they made boats with more of a mind for sail performance and practical living quarters than spaciousness.

The main cabin is 11’ X 11’. That’s smaller than most single car garages, and nowadays that’s smaller than most SUV’s. When I put down my yoga mat it takes up almost all the floor space in the cabin. We have 6’ head space in the centre of the cabin, works for us (except when doing yoga poses with hands above head) but if any of the men in my family ever get a chance to visit they won’t be able stand up straight inside.

Galaxy Dump May 2016 2165

View from the companionway (door) with yoga mat on the floor. Galley on left, nav station on right and bunk all the way forward

Continue reading

2-4-1 in thw BWS Feburary Issue

There is still a few days to pick up the February issue of Blue Water Sailing magazine where you’ll find information about building an onboard medical kit in my regular column, Heather Francis Onboard, as well as a story about our time in New Caledonia earlier this year! You can also subscribe to the digital addition at so you never miss an issue!

BWS Feb ColumnBWS New Caledonia

And you can find these articles and more of my publishing writing on

“Heather Francis Onboard” in BWS

I am very excited and proud to announce that you can now find me in Blue Water Sailing Magazine every other month!

Look for my new column “Heather Francis Onboard” in the August issue.

I will be tackling crew health and welfare issues; everything from tips for cooking underway, healthy entertaining and how to start fermenting and sprouting to advice on medical kits,keeping fit while sailing and how to deal with seasickness.

Pick up a copy now or better yet sign up for a subscription and never miss an article!

The new column; Heather Francis Onboard

The new column; Heather Francis Onboard