Externally Severn Swan has some beautiful varnished brightwork which took us a while
to renovate a few years ago but is not as onerous as it would at first appear. We
have laid down many coats of varnish on everything and now find that a light sand
and re-coat once every couple of years is sufficient to keep it looking good. For
nearly all of the exterior wood we use a 2-pack “clear paint”, rather than conventional
varnish (after having experimented with many different brands). It is easy to apply,
is touch dry in less than 30 minutes and hard within a few hours. It is also very
durable. We have found this to be far easier than oil-based varnish which can take
hours to dry and usually manages to gather up dust and fluff in the process and/or
someone puts their hands in it.
We have used multiple coats of an oil-based exterior varnish for our interior woodwork
and have not had to touch this up at all over a period of several years. The parquet
flooring is varnished with the most durable water-based product that we could find.
That too has lasted well, is not slippery underfoot and has protected the wood.
Being built from ferro, there in not much noise transfer through the hull compared
with GRP, aluminium or steel boats. Because of her overall size she is more gentle
at anchor when a chop develops or that annoying motor boat goes past. With her spotlessly
clean engine room and dry bilges, she does not smell “musty” as many older boats
do and, having been insulated she is not damp inside. As she is spacious too, it
really is like living in a house, or perhaps the biggest Winnebago you could imagine.
We use the cockpit with some or all of its covers (see section “Pilot House and Cockpit”)
as a conservatory. With just a little sun it is warm even on cooler days and is an
excellent spot to have lunch or a sundowner. We have entertained relatively frequently
on board as we have a large saloon table and spare bunks for sleepovers.
Although circumstances have prevented us from undertaking any long sea passages recently,
we have been living on board and wandering around the West Country and the Isles
of Scilly where we usually find quiet anchorages. Over time we have fine-tuned the
systems on board which allow us to live comfortably and independently. We have a
vast amount of storage for tinned, bottled and dried goods and having a good-sized
fridge and a freezer along with bread-making ability and a water-maker means that
we can live independently of marinas and supermarkets for a considerable time. This
independence has allowed us to stay in some wonderful out of the way places where
we’ve been able to commune with nature in peace and quiet!
We use a dongle for on-board wi-fi, which has proven itself to be very reliable and
has given us a good signal almost everywhere we’ve been in the UK. Having a 240V
electricity supply, either from the inverter or generator, allows us to use all the
normal domestic gizmos (laptops, TV, food blenders, the bread-maker, hairdryer, electric
toothbrush, washing machine and power tools for example) and we have a diesel generator,
wind generator and solar panels to keep pace with our power usage when at anchor.