I’ve known the Lavery’s since I was a little girl, and they are one of our family friends. I got to speak to them about their new lives aboard their yacht and how things are going. Robin, born and raised in Salt Rock, and Charlotte have lived together in Sheffield for 14 years before packing up and leaving in 2019 with their daughter, Moya, to live and travel aboard their yacht.
The Lavery’s bought their yacht, SeaScape, in the little sailing village of Gocek in Turkey. They love Turkey and had sailed around the beautiful bays before heading through the Greek Islands, then to Malta, where they spent a month. They take the road less travelled and plot their course for North Africa, Tunisia! Then Sardinia for a few weeks, then to Mallorca, and across to mainland Spain. They made their way down the Spanish coast to Gibraltar. Spent two weeks on the Spanish side at La Linea before heading up to the Algave region of Portugal. A beautiful place with quaint little fishing villages before sailing down to the Canary Islands. They spent time on Lanzarote and then hid behind an island off Furteventure called Isla de Lobos while waiting for winds to die down so they could carry on to Gran Canaria.
“Here, the girls flew back to South Africa, and I, then with two crew members, sailed down to Cape Verde Islands and then across the Atlantic to Brazil. We spent three days in Brazil and then set sail for Cape Town, a 30-day trip!” Robin said.
“Being off the boat and apart from Robin for over two months was the hardest thing for all of us. Especially since the only contact we had was a text message once a week,” Charlotte explained, “The girls joined me in Cape Town and then the hard COVID lockdown came. We ended up spending about seven months in Simonstown, which was a great experience, such a lovely little town!”
They then started heading up the coast and stopped at Mossel Bay. “Mossel Bay is an old favourite place of mine. Great surf, great weather, and a lovely town. We spent the summer of 2020 there, three months of bliss!” Robin says. “I especially loved being able to walk to the beach, and at every Spring Tide, we would harvest mussels, an absolute treat!” adds Charlotte.
Then, they headed up to St. Francis, got there just in time to get good waves at Jefferey’s Bay, then a short sail up to Port Elizabeth, onto East London and spent about two weeks on the Buffalo River watching and waiting for the best weather to sail up the Wild Coast and then onto Durban. They spent a month in Durban catching up with friends and family while enjoying the local surf! Then finally up to Richards Bay, where they are now.
“Zululand Yacht Club is by far the best, most peaceful and friendly club we have been to,” says Charlotte.
Living on a yacht and travelling the world sounds like a dream, but can be a financial strain, right?
“Finance is always a consideration. Running and maintaining a yacht is not cheap!” Robin explains, “You also need to be happy in small spaces, enjoy repairing things, understand the weather and the ocean.” Financially, they live off the rental of their house in Sheffield Beach, and Robin has some investments.
With the lows, there are highs. They get to experience amazing sunsets, meet beautiful people, and will never get tired of seeing dolphins swim happily alongside the bow of their home.
When living on a boat, there are some “how’s”, like, how do you power everything on the boat? “We have 315amp/hr gel deep cycle batteries that run all of our electrical needs. The fridge, auto-pilot, lights etc. The batteries are charged by 640 watts of solar panels. If we have a run of bad weather, then we run the motor to charge the batteries – this isn’t often.”
Family life on the boat must be a huge adjustment, especially with a young daughter. From their “previous life” working long, hard hours and Moya going to school and aftercare, they felt ‘disconnected’ as a family and really wanted more family time. Sailing together has changed that big time! “When you sail together, across oceans, you need to be a team, and that is what we have become: a team, and every day is appreciated.”
This amazing family, with their many stories and cute furry friend, Midnight – Moya’s pet cat, love showing it all on YouTube. “Our YouTube channel is about our life and adventures living on a yacht and the places we visit. It shows you the beauty and realities of living on the ocean. We’ve also got a few “boat tour” episodes which go into detail about the different aspects of SeaScape. There is also something we call “Coffee Time” – shorter videos sharing where we are and what we’re up to.” Charlotte explains. Follow the Lavery’s, find out their next stop, and follow their journeys on their channel.