Home Technical Sailing Videos A Tour Of Ruby Rose

A Tour Of Ruby Rose

written by Terysa May 19, 2015

Our boat, our choices and why we made them

By Nick Fabbri and Terysa Vanderloo

Like most cruising couples, we spent a lot of time contemplating what boat to buy for our sailing adventure. We were living in London at the time- we’re talking 2011/2012- madly researching boat builders, boat design, and all things liveaboard cruising. We had a Hanse 32 (and even considered taking her for about 5 minutes, before we realised that was a terrible idea) and it was a challenge to come up with a list of requirements for our new boat with our limited knowledge and experience. Don’t forget, even though this wasn’t all that long ago, the internet didn’t have the wealth of information it does now. So we relied on internet forums, magazines, sailing DVD’s (such as Distant Shores) and the occasional blog (such as Windtraveler).

Want to know more about how we got into sailing in the first place?

So firstly, let’s talk about the things we originally wanted in a boat:

  • It had to be about 40ft. Enough for 2 of us to handle without relying on masses of electrics, yet stable enough to cut through the waves.
  • It had to have an island berth. Neither of us wanted to have the coffin berth or sleep in a triangular forecabin. Also Terysa has this weird thing where she can’t sleep properly unless she can get her foot out of the bed.
  • Finally it had to be well built. Very well built.
  • After that everything else was a bonus! 

Pretty short list, right? After four years of liveaboard sailing, our requirements for a cruising yacht has increased dramatically. But hey, we didn’t know what we didn’t know. 

So we trotted off to the Southampton boat show in 2011 with a calculator, an overnight bag and a booking for a ridiculously priced hotel (there were no budget options that weekend!). The idea was that we would see the boats on our shortlist, sleep on it and go back the next day, hopefully with a decision.

Three boats made the shortlist. At the time Hanse had just launched the 385, and the staff at Inspiration Marine had been so nice when I bought the 320 that we had to consider it. So a Hanse 385 was our first visit.

It was a lovely modern boat, and we were very happy with the look. However the build seemed a little flimsy. Flimsier than my 320 from a few years earlier. I think that “handsome Phil” (as Terysa calls him) did a stirling job of selling it to us. However it wasn’t right for what we had planned.

The second boat was the Jeanneau 409. Again, lovely to look at but even flimsier than Hanse. We discounted it immediately.

The third was a Southerly 38. This was a bit of a wild card. We knew that we would have to take a marine mortgage to buy one, however the boat was lovely. Very, very well built. Beautiful inside, and it had the island bed that we wanted. It also had a large aft cockpit, which we assumed (correctly) we’d get a lot of use out of, as well as a swing keel which would allow us huge flexibility in where we could sail and anchor.

It was also British built which meant we could easily watch it being built and spec it to our exact requirements.

So we went to a local pub, ordered a pint and sat with a calculator working out if we could afford it. It cost nigh on twice as much as the other boats and it was a difficult decision. Do we buy a boat we could afford outright but deal with the compromises in build quality? Or do we take out a mortgage and buy what we considered to be the ‘perfect’ boat?

The next morning we went back and signed with Southerly.

We have now owned the boat for almost seven years and have sailed about 20,000 miles. We still love everything about her. Given our time again, we would definitely buy the same boat for what we planned at that time, which was an Atlantic circuit. 

The boat isn’t perfect, of course. There are some small niggles regarding the Southerly 38. The first is the top loading fridge. We hate it. It seems like a small thing, but it’s a massive pain. I would have liked to see it moved so that we could gain side access as well. Secondly I would happily have sacrificed a foot of forecabin space (which is a very large cabin for a 38 ft boat) for a separate shower stall. The heads don’t have separate showers and it can be really difficult to keep them clean. We’ve tackled this by turning the forward head into a shower and laundry room, and the aft head into a, well, head. Other limitations are inherent in a sub-40 foot boat, such as the slower sailing speeds, limited storage, and lack of space for plant machinery. However, for Europe and the Caribbean, these compromises have been easily dealt with and offset by the lower running costs of a smaller boat.

So, without further ado, let’s get on with the tour.

We made a video!

The Cabins

Let me start with the cabins. We have two. One at the front and another at the back (fore and aft). Some boats of similar size cram up to four cabins into the space, however just two larger cabins suited our needs perfectly.

I think that the cabins were one of the greatest deciding factors when we chose this boat. We wanted a good sized queen bed. It seems obvious if you have never stayed on a boat. However many boats make compromises regarding the cabins. Either the beds (or berths) are a strange shape, or more often than not one person ends up against a wall and needs to climb over the other to get out of bed. We wanted what is called an “Island Berth”. It looks like a normal bed, and sleeps like a normal bed and has space on either side. It is also really comfortable thanks to our custom marine latex mattress. We have two settees inside the cabin as well as a seat.

We have lockers, drawers and a wardrobe as well as numerous areas under the bed and sofas for all of our clothes, bedding and the like. We also mounted a television against one of the walls (or bulkheads). Terysa at first indicated that this was outrageously decadent. However on dark winter mornings, it is lovely to hide under the duvet, coffee in hand and watch the news without getting up. Or at least, that’s what we used to do when we had dark winter mornings on the boat! Now we generally sit in the cockpit and watch the sun rise over our morning coffee. But we’ll get to the outdoor living space in a moment.

Aft cabin with island berth
Aft cabin with island berth

The fore cabin is similar. We have ample storage space for most of our things under the forecabin bed, including spare sails and other occasionally used bits and bobs.

Both cabins have numerous opening hatches and blinds to keep out the light and let fresh air in. We also have good quality Caframo fans above the bed to provide cool air when it gets too hot.

Finally, both cabins are en-suite. They have separate doors leading into the heads.

The Heads

These are our bathrooms, or rather shower rooms. They both have toilets, hot water, sinks and showers, as well as cabinets. This may seem obvious, however my first boat had no hot water, a basic toilet and no sign of a shower. Both heads are possibly slightly more compact than your average bathroom (unless you live in Hong Kong), but functional, and provide no significant compromise to living on land. The only real compromise is the lack of a separate shower stall, however we deal with this by turning the forward head into a shower room, and keep the aft head for everything else. Of course, when we have guests come to stay we have to rethink this arrangement but for the 95% of the time we’re alone on the boat, it works well.

The Saloon

This area is undoubtedly the most versatile within our home. It has 2 long settees which run the length of the saloon, as well as a table in the middle which extends for eating. We have lockers, cupboards and bookshelves and everything we need fits into these for easy access. The saloon also has our chart table, akin to a desk in a home. We use it for navigation while at sea, but it is a good area to work. It also has the controls and monitors for our solar, wind and hydro power, our radios and our stereo. The boat is all made in cherry wood, and with the pictures on the wall and our books on display, it is as comfortable and homely as the flat we left.

The perfect inside space for chilling with friends

We fitted a television and a blu-ray player and connected it all to a surround sound unit. We also shucked all our DVDs and blu-rays from their cases and brought them with us (seems a bit old school now!). Add to this an Apple TV unit and a hard disk with about 200 movies, we have all of our home comforts with us.

The Galley

Peeling veggies on Christmas morning
Peeling veggies on Christmas morning

The galley in any boat needs to be practical and useable, at all times. Here we had to make some compromises from living on land, but these have been more than offset by the change in lifestyle.

When we left London we gave up our dishwasher, double oven and our microwave. We now have a gas cooker and oven, sink and a fridge, as well as our beloved coffee machine. There is a decent amount of storage in the galley, but we do need to also use lockers in the saloon for dried and canned goods.

A lot of people ask us about our essential galley items. We’ve yet to make a video about this, or write a separate blog, but it’s coming! In the meantime, check out these videos of us cooking some of our favourite boat-friendly recipes.

The Cockpit

DSC_0030_edited-1

As with all areas of our boat, the cockpit has multiple uses. When at anchor or port, or when sailing, it is the area we tend to spend most time in. We have the twin helming positions at the very back of the boat. However forward of these is the cockpit itself. Like the saloon it has a folding teak table which will happily seat 6, although we have managed to cram 14 into the cockpit before. We have cushions to allow lounging in multiple positions. Another set of good quality speakers allow us to listen to music while underway.

We also have a bimini and sprayhood. The bimini keeps the sun off and allows a cool breeze to circulate. It also does a fair job of keeping the rain off when the skies open. We now also have an entire cockpit enclosure that Nick made which does an excellent job of protecting us from the elements while underway and in port.

Want more information on our boat and it’s features? Our Technical Tuesday series might be for you.

The Sails and Rig

The Southerly 38 comes with a self-tacking jib and an oversized main. It’s definitely a main-driven boat, designed for quick and easy tacking upwind. We’ve had to increase our sail wardrobe in order to get the best performance out of her while sailing in light winds and downwind.

We have three other headsails in addition to the jib: a storm jib (which we’ve never used, and hope to never need), a Code Zero, and a Parasailor.

The Code Zero is a flat-cut 150% sail which is a cross between a spinnaker and a genoa. It performs amazingly well in light winds between 60 through to 160 degrees (when it was new we could sail it far closer to the wind, around 40 degrees). Once our apparent wind strength starts to hit 10-11 knots however, we take it down and rely on white sails; it really is for those light wind days only. Some sailors leave the Code 0 up in stronger winds, but we find that our boat is overpowered in anything more than 11 knots apparent. This is our favourite sail as it gives us excellent performance in light winds and it’s very easy to use.

Sunset sailing with our Parasailor

The Parasailor is a type of spinnaker which has an opening about a third of the way down, with a wing on the leeward side (the ‘front’ of the sail). Therefore, when wind fills the sail, it flows out of the opening and the wing creates upwind lift. This means that the pressure on the bow is minimised (and prevents broaching), and the sailing performance is improved. We use our Parasailor both symmetrically and asymmetrically with a cuff. We get very good performance with our Parasailor and she’s easy to manage once she’s up and flying. We’ve learned a few tricks over the years that make using this sail easier for us on our particular boat, and when the conditions are perfect, flying this beauty is a lot of fun.

Further information

Our renewable energy sources:

Communications onboard:

Specialised equipment for offshore sailing:

Tools and spares:

Got any more questions? Comment below and we’ll be sure to answer them!

Cheers,

Nick & Terysa

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30 comments

Adelheid Greven March 10, 2016 at 4:23 pm

I love this story about how you bought your boat! Enjoy the sailing!

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Terysa April 2, 2016 at 7:46 pm

Thankyou! 🙂

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james smith July 23, 2017 at 5:48 pm

Very well explained reasoning behind the purchase process. It is amazing that a company would allow itself to be hurt through such a poor sales staff. It would be easier to understand, although still unreasonable, if the company had more sales than boats to sell but who knows the why of some things. Thank you for the information, very exciting for dreamers like myself.

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Jade April 9, 2017 at 3:06 am

Enjoyed last episode on youtube. I’m looking at all types of yachts I see people cruise to see what will fit for me eventually when I take the plunge. I noticed that your Southerly is up for sale on Yachtworld, are you looking to go a different direction yacht wise?

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Terysa April 9, 2017 at 12:17 pm

Hi Jade,

Thanks for commenting! We love our boat but it’s up for sale because we are considering upscaling to something with more storage space. We’re fully prepared to continue to cruise with her but as we intend to head to more remote areas, more storage would be good.

Any other questions, please ask 😊

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Jade April 11, 2017 at 12:24 am

Thank you and good luck!

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albane May 10, 2017 at 4:47 pm

Interesting what you say about the sales people. I remember very well visiting Southerly at Southampton boatshow a few years back on my own and they were quite rude and dismissive. Being a woman didn’t help but since I am the one choosing the boat, they should have paid more attention! Anyway! We took our children on a yearly trip with our Ovni and we are very happy with it. The customer relationship is great and we are well looked after every time we need something or have a question.

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Terysa May 10, 2017 at 8:59 pm

Well, that’s sad to hear but I’m not surprised. We had already decided on the boat so we were going to buy it no matter how disinterested the sales people were. And yes, I barely got a glance.
Happily, the aftercare at Southerly (different team) is fantastic.
Terysa

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Lawrence June 6, 2017 at 9:36 am

Hello Nick,

I just found your web site- thank you for documenting your experiences. I am about to put a house up for sale and hopefully be boat shopping before end of year, so I have a question for you.

Please define “a little flimsy” & “flimsier.” Based upon these adjectives alone, one gets the impression of serious compromise in deference to safety.

I have been on both the Hanse & the Jeanneau you spoke of and [personally] would feel comfortable doing ocean crossings in either, w/o hesitation. The Beneteau Oceanis 41 is also in the running. Of note, these manufacturers remain in business, while offering outstanding pre-purchase service, as well as post-purchase support. No factory support presents a deal-breaker for me & most sailors I know. For what it’s worth, both Southerlys & Ovnis are beyond my budget and I don’t care for their layouts either, so no love lost.

Granted, my only Pacific crossing thus far [San Diego to Honolulu] took place on a friend’s 24 year old Beneteau 44, which is somewhat similar to the aforementioned flimsies…yet the vessel was rock solid. Several days of ~12-18′ seas & a couple squalls pushing 40+ knot gusts posed no threat to the vessel, although that same weather did subject two of the crew to illness. Reefing the large standard main was a chore, so a furler setup would’ve been nice, and safer [looking back now]. The passage’s only failure: the refrigerator’s compressor clutch stopped engaging a few days prior to arrival, which we jury-rigged by screwing the clutch to the pulley.

Anyway, I commend you for your courage to take on the world. Good on you. I’ve met a good many sailors who’ve spoken of a cruising life & even have bought their boats, yet are reluctant to leave San Diego for Cabo. Go figure.

Fair winds,
Lawrence
PS, top loading fridges & showering by/on the toilet seat do seriously suck.

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Terysa June 10, 2017 at 1:48 pm

Hi Lawrence,

Thankyou so much for your thoughts and taking the time to comment. All the very best of luck with your sailing plans!

Nick & Terysa

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Liam August 6, 2017 at 8:06 pm

Guys I have watched all your videos and follow you two! I have been dying to buy and live in a boat for years now I used to sail for Scotland in 42p dingys. Loved it . I have been trying to pursued my gf for years and she is only starting to like it now. Perhaps old age =))).
I am not the most experienced sailor by any means but I understand the wind and would intend on spending a good few years at sea (hols obv).
I am about to turn 40 and my partner will be 43 soon. We have two cats and a dog and about 100000 to spend! Have you any good ideas on boats to look at or anything really that’d help!!??? =))) XxxX.

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Terysa August 7, 2017 at 9:09 pm

Hey Liam- well that’s a very big question. If you’re able to go to a boat show, that’s a great way of seeing a load of boats all together. From there, you could narrow down the manufacturers, size and layouts you like, and then look at the second hand market. YouTube also have a LOT of boat tours. It all comes down to personal taste, so can’t advise you much further! You’ll definitely be able to get a great, seaworthy boat with your budget. Good luck!

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Brian Green August 13, 2017 at 4:21 pm

Back in 1978 we considered a Southerly versus a Westerly. The Southerly sales attitude was just as arrogant then. We enjoyed good sailing in our new Westerly!!

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Jean-Philippe August 29, 2017 at 8:30 pm

Hello happy sailors
Since long time I read and follow lot you in youtube who described your circulum trip. You’re happy and it’s great. I would like to make the same and live my dream. I’m not very experimented at the moment but i take lessons in a sailing club and in two years i hope to have my own sailing boat.
How do you manage your time together when the wind is very calm (or the reverse) and you are in the middle of nowhere . How do you you manage your quarells. I thing when the tiredness come true you must take on you . This situation could be a brake for your next trip? What is your feeling ?

I have a lot a similar questions because we don’t know my wife and I if we will are able to live together in a narrow area for a long time and having for only friends fish and birds.

My best whises for your trip
Jean-Philippe.

Sorry for my poor english

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Terysa August 30, 2017 at 12:15 am

Hello Jean-Philippe! Thanks for commenting! We’ve found that it’s really important to make friends with other sailing couples so that we get a break from just having each other to talk to! We do quarrel sometimes, but we accept that it’s normal and we’re not too hard on ourselves (or each other) when that happens. I would advise to start your cruising life somewhere that is popular with other cruisers so that you can make friends. Good luck and fair winds!

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David Pickford September 13, 2017 at 10:09 pm

Hi Teresa
Just found your blog , Phil also sold me Hanse 315 then a370 and then a 430 e in 2007 she’s fully prepared and ready to go, unfortunately I’ve not managed to break away from work and still dreaming .
Great to read other people’s blogs , one day I will be following in your wake.
Regards
David

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Terysa September 15, 2017 at 1:35 am

Awesome Dave, good to hear!

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Don McKinnon September 16, 2017 at 7:33 pm

I really enjoy your videos!
I haven’t looked at them all as yet but will certainly do so. You both are doing a really great job of documenting your sailing adventures. A lovely approach for all to enjoy.
I haven’t found the video yet that takes a person on a tour of your Ruby Rose. I know I’ll really enjoy that one for sure.
Thought you’d like to know that I live in landlocked Calgary, Alberta, Canada. I had a sailboat here in my younger days that my wife and I sailed on our local water reservoir but we haven’t sailed in many years now. We’re both in our 70’s and I have many fond memories of my sailing days.
All the best to both of you!
Don

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Mandy on SV Bellavita January 16, 2019 at 3:03 pm

Hello fellow Aussie! We have a Hunter 33, plan to sail and learn on her til retirement, then get a better boat to sail further afield (or should that be asea). Trying to get my ahead around a tilting keel in relation to strength/safety… it seems to be only for coastal cruising, but you have shown not so. Any comments or explanations welcome! PS we love your Southerly, thanks for sharing.

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Terysa January 16, 2019 at 11:31 pm

Hi Mandy! The swing keel is one of Southerly’s USPs- it’s a feature that has been built into their boats for years and years and as such the quality of the build- just like everything else on our boat- is extremely high. There are absolutely no safety issues in regards to the swing keel; we believe it is actually safer than a fixed keel because if we were to hit something- a whale or a shipping container or whatever- with our keel, it would simply swing backwards, rather than causing potentially catastrophic damage to the keel itself. It’s also gives us great options when sailing, whether that’s offshore or coastal, because we can adjust the length of our keel depending on the wind angle. For example, sailing upwind we obviously have it fully down, which gives us excellent pointing ability. Downwind sailing, we generally lift the keel about half way up to improve performance and reduce drag. Paul Shard of Distant Shores has written an excellent article on the swing keels of his Southerlys (he and his wife Sheryl have owned three over the course of about 20 years, and are definitely experts in this field). Check it out for a more in depth explanation!

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Daniel Parker January 16, 2019 at 8:37 pm

The bright work looks great!

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Terysa January 16, 2019 at 11:32 pm

Thankyou Daniel!

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Elyse Chugg January 16, 2019 at 10:22 pm

Hi Guys
Thank you for the time you take to make such interesting and fun movies to watch. We wish you both well in future ventures and look forward to the next season.

All the best

Elyse and Granton

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Terysa January 16, 2019 at 11:32 pm

Thankyou so much Elyse and Granton!

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Josh January 17, 2019 at 3:23 am

I’m the same way about having a foot out. I don’t know why. Videos are great. Keep it up.

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Terysa January 17, 2019 at 3:46 am

Haha, right!? It’s not weird at all!

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Ron February 4, 2019 at 6:35 am

Hi Terysa and Nick!
Love your videos and looking at a southerly myself. What year is yours? Unless I missed it, that might be the only thing I didn’t catch in your explanation.

Thanks so much!
Ron.

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Maurice April 14, 2019 at 10:33 am

Love you two and the wonderful sailing life you have had so far. You are one of the two yachts I follow….. the other being S V Delos.
Would love to be out there to, we had a Beneteau 35 in NZ for a few years but just did coastal. If you ever get down here Bay of Islands is fantastic and Whangarei is one of the haul out and repair etc areas in the world.

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Terysa April 17, 2019 at 1:08 pm

We very much hope to sail to New Zealand one day Maurice! Thanks for the comment. 🙂

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Joe maingot address Trinidad October 30, 2019 at 8:14 pm

Been following you guys so very interesting your utube v come accross great best of luck to you both. Hope to see more of your sailing.

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