When Free Wifi Becomes Expensive

free wifi

When Free Wifi Becomes Expensive

There was a time when it was difficult to find free wifi and we struggled to get online whilst out and about.  I remember having to constantly seek out McDonalds whilst touring the US in an RV just so that I could download maps.  Now you can’t go 10 yards without your phone searching for the next available public network.   But how safe is public/free wifi?

Well ask any techie and there will be lots of teeth sucking and shaking of heads.  Not so safe, of very low quality it would appear and here’s why.

  1. Encryption – There was many ways the hacker can access your personal data through a free/public wifi network.  Most common is the man-in-the-middle system (MITM).  This is when the hacker, using malware, intercepts information flowing between your computer and the sites you are visiting.  Sensitive data such as passwords and financial information can be gleaned.  Most free or public wifi have poor, if any, data encryption which allows this to take place.
  2. Rogue hotspots – This is when the hacker will make up a false network for you to connect to.  They will use a similar name to the free genuine network you are trying to connect to.  The hacker then uses malware to intercept sensitive information or they can even inject malware into a connecting device.

Even if you are lucky enough to avoid either of the above tricks you then have to contend with the painfully slow speeds that most free/public wifi networks use.  Lets take a coffee shop as our example.  A coffee shop owner is unlikely to pay big money for superfast wifi speeds when he’s only making a few pence/cents on each cup of coffee? They will cheap out, going for a slower, cheaper package.  This also has the added advantage that you are not likely to sit there all day with just your one cup of coffee whilst you download vast amounts of data for free.  This coupled with the number of people in the coffee shop trying to use the free wifi is going to result in a pretty choked up network.

Safety tips

At Lovesail we don’t recommend using free/public wifi networks at all.  We know this can be difficult as some of you will be sailing around remote parts of the world and the rum bar might be your only option. Try and splash out a bit on your data package so that you don’t have to use the free networks.  A few years ago I was finding it difficult to find a data package of more than 5GB, now data is cheap it’s very easy to find packages with 20-30GB of data, more than you will ever need.  If you do need to use a free/public network then follow these tips to reduce the chances of cyber attack.

  1. Ensure all the website you visit have SSL certification.  This means they encrypt data.  These websites can be identified by https:// at the beginning of the url along with a padlock icon.
  2. Do not make online purchases when using a free/public wifi network.
  3. Avoid logging into password protected sites especially banks and financial institutions.
  4. Make sure all your software is up-to-date on all devices.
  5. Use a 4G network.  It’s usually has faster speeds anyway, and is considered to be more secure than a free/public wifi network because it does have a level of data encryption.
  6. Use a VPN.  A Virtual Private Network system is a service that will encrypt your data, however, be warned, they do have a reputation of slowing down your internet speed.

I no longer use free or public wifi when I’m out and about.  If I need to log onto any sites I only use 4G, and make sure I have a data package that is big enough for all my needs.  I use my phone as a personal hotspot if I want to work using my laptop.  The 4G network is so good now that I find it is invariably much quicker than any free/public wifi network.

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Northwood Park Boat and Boot Jumble

Northwood Park Boat and Boot Jumble, Cowes

I wanted to give this boat jumble a special mention as it’s the first one they have held here and it’s to raise money for restoration work to Northwood House and Park, Cowes, Isle of Wight.

DATE: Sunday 7th April 2019 Buyers from 10:00

VENUE: Northwood House & Park, Ward Avenue, Cowes, Isle of Wight, PO31 8AZ

FACILITIES: Refreshments and toilet facilities will be available from the Stable Cafe which is on site.


Car – If you are arriving by car then use the postcode SO31 8AZ.  Parking is available onsite in the field and a £2 donation to the restoration fund is required.

Bus – The No. 1 from Newport to Cowes.  The stop you need is at the Northwood Park Car Park in Park Road.

Red Jet –  Walk out of the terminal and straight ahead to the High Street.  Turn left onto the High Street then the first right into Terminus Road.  After a 5 minute walk you will arrive at Northwood Park on your right.

Taxi – These wait outside the terminal in the taxi rank.

If you wish to sell boat jumble then you will need to book online in advance.  This can be carried out on the Northwood House and Park website, normal boot sale stuff does not require advance booking.  Here are the prices for the boat jumble:




Sellers need to arrive between 08:30 and 09:30 and not before.

This looks to be a great day out and also a chance to visit Northwood House and Park, a beautiful location right in the heart of Cowes.

northwood park boat and boot jumble

Crewing Events Spring 2019

crewing events spring 2019

Crewing Events Spring 2019 – From Lovesail Members

Here are a few of the crewing events that have been posted on Lovesail. To view these and more log into your account and go to the Crewing and Sailing Events section. If you are not a member you can still view these events by visiting our home page and clicking on the link at the top of the page.


Scottish Hospitality for H2O

Lovesail member H2O is visiting Edinburgh in March – “will be visiting Edinburgh, Scotland starting March 20 to April 3, 2019. I am looking for an opportunity to day sail in the area. Thanks!!”

Sailing St Lucia to St Marten

Username sailcrx is looking for someone to join him in April – “Cruising opportunity for the right gal. Join me in St Lucia starting April 1 or April 7 2019 & cruise with me to St Marten. ETA St Marten April 21, 2019 Separate cabin available so easy to check things out for both of us. Heading offshore to Bermuda after that, then Canada.”

Fancy the Wild Atlantic Way?

David_of_Fern would like some company on his Falmouth Pilot this Spring/Summer “Hiya! I’m looking to *slowly* sail the Wild Atlantic Way off the west coast of Ireland in Spring/Summer 2019. My little boat is a classic Falmouth Pilot and I usually travel alone, but I’m open to somebody joining me this year. Currently based less than an hour from Cork airport. Novice or experienced welcome. I like to anchor a lot and explore each place along the way, with occasional long stints at sea to make the next port. If this sounds like the kind of thing you’re interested in, then please do let me know”.

Montenegro to UK

IndigoBlue has been helping with dolphin research with his Discovery 55 for a few years now.  He is returning to the UK and has some spaces for crew.  “Crewing opportunity. Montenegro to UK (approx 2,500 to 3,000 nm) Chance Discovery (a Discovery 55) will be departing Montenegro at the beginning of September en route to the UK via, Sicily, the Volcanic Aeolian Islands, across the Tyrrhenian Sea to Sardinia and North to Corsica to explore the Pelagos Marine Sanctuary. Thereafter heading West to the Balearics, Gibralter and then north to cross Biscay to arrive Lymington in late October. Many opportunities along the route to see and learn about the diverse whale and dolphin populations and the threats to their lives and the ocean environment in general. We will have an MSc qualified marine biologist / guide on board at all times. We have a master stateroom with en-suite. There is also a forward double and twin bunk Pullman cabin that share the second heads /shower with the sea berth. The two month journey will be split into 7 x one week legs. Some with shorter one day hops and some with longer non stop multiple day passages. Participants joining as crew will be expected to contribute towards the cost of the trip. Some previous sailing experience is required and for some longer legs you will be required to stand watches. A great opportunity to sail an ocean going yacht and add to your skills and experience. If you are interested in crewing please contact me for further details.”

crewing events spring 2019

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What is Scouse?

Why it’s the dialect or accent of people from Liverpool I hear you cry! Yes you are correct but it is also a type of beef or lamb stew and is indeed why inhabitants from Liverpool are known as Scousers.

It’s uncertain where the word originated from but possibly lobscouse (later shortened to scouse) was corrupted from the Norwegian lapskaus, Swedish lapskojs and Danish labskovs or the Low German Labskaus, and refers to a stew commonly eaten by sailors. Liverpool being a very important port in the 18th and 19th Century, would have been the destination of many a overseas sailor and thus influenced by these visitor’s different cultures, habits and food.

In the days of sail lobscouse was made from the dried meat and dried ship’s biscuits from the stores. Making these staple foods into a stew would have improved the texture and flavour of these bland ingredients. Once adopted on land and with more ingredients available, carrots, potatoes and onions were added. Some will say (but not in ear shot of a Scouser) it is very much like a Lancashire Hotpot!

Today scouse can be found in restaurants and cafes all over Liverpool. There are many recipes proclaiming to be the best scouse recipe so which one to choose? Well I think perhaps the best place to look should be none other than Premier League leaders, Liverpool Football Club. Since 1892 LFC has been serving scouse to players and supporters alike. Here is their “world’s best” scouse recipe:

Ingredients for Scouse (serves four)

  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 700g of diced steak (preferably chuck)
  • 2 couple of bay leaves
  • a sprig of thyme
  • 400g of diced onion (seems a awful lot!)
  • 350g diced carrot
  • 350g of diced swede
  • 600g potatoes peeled and diced
  • 1.2l of beef stock
  • 500ml bitter

Then you need to heat the oil in a large saucepan on a medium heat and brown the steak on all sides, season with salt and pepper.

Once the steak is browned add the onion and and cook until soft. Stir to make sure these do not stick.

Add the bitter to the steak and onions and boil until the bitter has reduced by half the volume.

Add the carrots, swede, half the potatoes, the bay leaves, thyme and beef stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes.

Add the remaining potatoes and simmer for one and a half hours until the meat is tender. Check the seasoning adding more salt and pepper if needed.

Serve with chunky bread and butter and if you are a real Scouser then you may want to include sides of pickled beetroot and pickled cabbage!


Image Credit: Liverpool Football Club

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Nautical Slang in Everyday Use

nautical slang

Nautical slang we use in everyday speech

There are hundreds of expressions and words we use in everyday conversations that have nautical origins.  Here are just a few.  For more see our related posts: Nautical Sayings and their origins; Nautical Terms and Sailing Terms.

Under the Weather – This phrase was originally “under the weather bow” and refers to the side of a ship from which the severe weather is hitting it.  If a crew member was keeping a weather watch this was the least favourite side to keep watch.   If you were assigned this watch you were known to be under the weather and would finish the watch feeling cold, wet and possibly seasick.  This phrase now means a person who is feeling ill or sickly.

Squared Away – On an old square-rigged vessels, when the sails were squared away they were properly trimmed and optimised to the wind.   To square away means to complete all necessary arrangements for something or someone.

Loose Cannon – Cannons on the deck of a ship were tied down with rope to control recoil when firing and also hold in place when the ship was pitching and rolling.  Even a small 6 pounder cannon would weigh half a tonne, so if a cannon became loose it would roll around the deck causing severe damage unless it could be restrained.  A loose cannon is a person or thing that appears to be beyond control and is potentially a source of unintentional damage.

Ship-shape and Bristol fashion – This phrase is compiled from two phrases.  Shipshape was a term used to describe something as clean, neat and tidy.  Sailors were expected to keep their quarters tidy and neat.  The second phrase, Bristol fashioned referred to Bristol in England.  In the 1800’s, Bristol was a port of great significance.  It’s chandlery had a reputation as being one of the highest quality.  Bristol fashioned become synonymous for something that was of high quality.  Therefore, shipshape and Bristol fashion, means something that is neat and tidy and of good quality.

Son of a gun – In the days of sail and when in port, the ship’s crew could be confined to the ship for extended periods.  Wives, girlfriends and prostitutes were allowed on board to stay and keep crew company, unoffically!  Crew would eat, sleep and socialise (if they had the time) on the gun decks, and this inevitably lead to children being born on the ships between the guns.  If the newborn child’s father was unknown, they were entered in the ship’s log as “son of a gun”.

Aloof – This word is defined as something or someone that is at a distance, or placed away from a person or area.  It originates from the old middle English word loof (now spelled luff), which refers to the windward side of a ship.  If there was a hazard on the windward side a sailor would shout “a loof”.  This would mean to turn away from the hazard and into the wind.

Credit Image: Royal Museum Greenwich

Ida Lewis

ida lewis

Ida Lewis – Lighthouse Keeper

Ida Lewis was an extraordinary woman who rescued and saved many people in trouble in the seas off Newport, Rhode Island, during the late 19th century and early 20th. Her acts of heroism became folklore and hundreds of people would come to grab a glimpse of her at the lighthouse she operated at Lime Rock, where she lived from 1854 until her death in 1911. At the age of 12 she is reported to have gone out to sea and rescued four boys who had capsized, setting the stage for numerous more acts of selfless bravery over the years to come. Officially she is said to have saved 18 peoples lives, though some say it was as many as 36.

Born Idawalley Zorada Lewis in 1842, Ida came to Lime Rock when her father was made lighthouse keeper there in 1854. Sadly he was to suffer a stroke within four months and as the oldest of four siblings much of the responsibility for operating the lighthouse fell on to Ida alongside her mother. Indeed she would keep watch all night before rowing her siblings to the shore for school each day, having dropped out herself, before returning to sleep ahead of her night-time duties. She became the official lighthouse keeper in 1879 when her mother’s health was failing, her father having passed away in 1872.

The importance and responsibility of this job for the safety of passing ships was huge. Yet accidents and mistakes happen and this was when Ida Lewis came in to her own. It was unusual for a woman at this time to have such boat skills and it was these she used to venture out to help those in need, much of which went relatively unreported until 1869. On this occasion she saved two soldiers who were heading to Fort Adams during a snowstorm, their boat overturning in rough waters. Apparently without even putting on her coat or shoes Ida took to her boat and, helped by her younger brother, managed to get the soldiers safely back to the lighthouse. This remarkable women carried on saving lives throughout her life with her last recorded rescue when she was well in to her 60’s.

Following her 1869 rescue Ida began to get the recognition she fully deserved. She was awarded the congressional medal for her bravery and just as touching the grateful soldiers at Fort Adams raised $218 as a mark of their appreciation in saving their two comrades. A feature in Harpers Weekly was to bring her to the attention of a national audience, bringing an almost celebrity status, while she also met the President, Ulysses S. Grant. The fact that Ida came to earn $750 a year, the highest in the country including men, points to how well she was regarded. Although her incredible life ended in October 1911 her memory lives on, and in 1924 Lime Rock was changed to Ida Lewis Rock by Rhode Island’s State legislature in her honour.

Winter Crewing Posts 2018

Winter Crewing Posts 2018

Here are a few of the winter crewing posts 2018 that have been submitted by the Lovesail members.  To find out more about an individual crewing post just log into your Lovesail account and click on the crewing section.  If you are not a member yet, come and have a look at our friendly sailing community.


Wanted: First mate/stew in the Caribbean

Looking to team up with a female sailor that wants to sail in the Caribbean for the next few months.  If you like sailing yachts, bluewater, beaches, or showing people a good time send me a message.


Crew wanted for Boat trips from Newhaven

Hi. I have a 30 foot motor cruiser that I keep in Newhaven and I am looking for Crew\Friends to take her out for regular cruises, Fishing trips, Jollies to other surrounding ports etc etc. I am also open to any suggestions.
In the future I am looking to change the Cruiser for a Sail boat.


Sailing South – Maine to Bahamas

LeComte Fastnet 45′ yawl well outfitted for offshore sailing. Have 7,500+ miles experience. Looking 1 or 2 crew for passage(s). Likely sail from Maine to Beaufort, NC and then from Beaufort to Bahamas. Must be OK with cat as she is my First Mate.


Portugal-Madeira- GC – possible circumnavigation

Looking for crew member for my circumnavigation . Since I am seeking on lovesail.com-preferable female crew. You would like to / love to sail on my beautiful HR 38. But its important to feel good so why don’t try a shorter leg first. Leaving Algarve coast in Portugal about 18 October heading for Madeira. Send me a message and we can chat more about it. Skipper/owner is from Norway.

winter crewing posts 2018

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The Dinghy

The Dinghy

Here is another work of fiction by talented member Gandalpuss.   If you have any stories or articles you would like to write for the Lovesail blog then just email us at admin@lovesail.com.  You don’t need to be a member it just has to be sailing related and around 400-500 words long.

The Dinghy

A neighbour three doors away on our council estate of Wythenshawe in South
Manchester had died. Ron Hepburn had died of a heart attack. My mother learned this
from another neighbour who was collecting for the funeral. We knew Mrs Hepburn
would not be allowed to remain in her Council house. The death triggered a reaction
from the council well known among the tenants. On such occasions, the family would
be re-housed in a smaller home. The council’s policy had in turn over the years
triggered a custom among the tenants of the estate. The custom was for immediate
friends of the family to help themselves from the items left in the front garden. It was a
sort of parting gift, a memento from those who once occupied the house. There were no
charity shops or house clearance companies in the period not long after the Second
World War.

Later, others, also neighbours but not immediate friends of the family leaving,
could help themselves to what remained. Everyone knew the council workmen would
come with a large two wheeled hand cart to empty the house, make repairs and clear
gardens in readiness for a new tenant’s family. It was common knowledge this
represented an ideal opportunity in the days before fly tipping to tip into the garden
whatever items other neighbours found difficult to dispose of for one reason or another.
Ancient cast iron gas cookers, old lawn mowers and washing mangles – even First
World War Lee Enfield rifles, now rusting and dangerous, might mysteriously appear,
then disappear, ghostlike. This was a sort of recycling precursor to today’s community
managed waste management.

My younger brother came running up to me, “Mrs Hepburn’s garden has a
square boat in it,” he shouted.  Over a low privet hedge, I saw what at first looked like a bath upside down. The object, discoloured with green moss and the trace marks of dead plants, lay among sticks of
furniture, old carpets, bits of rusty bicycles and broken backed chairs. Except this bath
was gently curved from back to front, made of wood and had no feet, taps or plughole.
The dark blue paint was for the most part blistered by the weathering of many winters in
the Hepburn’s back garden. A threadbare red coloured patch of the canvas of a sail
attached to a pole flapped in the tame air of the council estate. The pole, once a
varnished surface, was now dirty and scored with haphazard spiders’ webs of cracks.
The object that looked like a bath tub had already been examined and rejected
by all who saw it. Another scavenging neighbour pulled from under it a complete set of
pram wheels with solid white rubber tyres only half worn down from years of usage.
The wheels were still attached to their axles which in turn were attached to the curved
tubular pram supports having been hack sawn off long ago. Tilting the object which
looked like a bathtub, my eyes confirmed my brother’s assertion to be correct. The
shiny varnished underside of ply, though discoloured with plant and insect dirt and
black fungal mould, was unmistakable as the insides of a boat. Yet, oddly, this boat
seemed to lack a proper boat’s pointed bow. Someone had either chopped the bow off
or had not enough wood to construct a bow. Having lifted the vessel to see what was
inside, to my sixteen and a half year old mind, she felt solid. For all the neglect and
detritus covering the hull she felt firm and intact.

I had established, by dragging this object into our garden, my ownership of the boat to all around.
My pulse quickened.  Not having a clue what I was looking for, I returned to the deceased neighbour’s garden
and sifted through piles of bundled newspapers. I searched inside dirty old wooden
orange boxes. I sought anything of the same colour as the boat or made of wood which
might match with something on the boat’s hull. This way I, found a badly rotted rudder
and a tiller and dagger board. I found some pulleys and bits of neatly coiled twine yet
thicker and grey with a red fleck not normally used in a garden.
I knew my Father would not allow me to keep the boat in its sorry-looking state
in our back garden.

I was not disappointed. I was given three days to get rid of it. The only person I knew
who might know what it was that lay in our back garden was my Uncle Tom. My Uncle
had been an Able Seaman in the Royal Navy during the war. Uncle Tom had regaled
me with tales of his time in the Navy and encouraged my interest in boats, yet was
adamant in his opposition to my joining the Navy. My uncle agreed to having the boat
in his garden for he was well aware of my Father’s views. This was the real reason for
my visit – I hoped my relative might show me how to restore the boat. Not daring to ask
my Father for help transporting the dirty old hull, I removed what dirt I could with a
bucket of water and a stiff scrubbing brush. I persuaded my best friend, David Copsey,
to help hand carry the dinghy three quarters of a mile across the council estate to my
Uncle’s house. Uncle Tom was unable to tell me anything about my boat except that it
appeared to be a plywood sailing dinghy which lacking a pointed bow. He thought it
might be called a ‘pram dinghy’.

True to my expectations, Uncle Tom rolled up his sleeves after returning from
work and we spent hours cleaning, sanding, painting and varnishing the hull. He
showed me how to replace rotten parts, providing materials from his capacious shed. I
learned a lot during those precious evenings at my Uncle’s. Not the least of which he
taught me how to use hand tools. More than this, in my Uncle’s company, his
infectious enthusiasm, his ’can do’ spirit and his unstinting generosity – in later years I
found common to many in the sailing community. The time flew by. The day of the
launch of the ‘mirror dinghy’ approached.

The nearest stretch of open water was the River Bolin. This river was several
miles away accessed down a wooded track from a bend in a lane not far from
Manchester Airport. It was too far to carry the dinghy by hand. My uncle called in a
favour of a friend who drove a small flat bed lorry for a greengrocery supplies
warehouse in Manchester.

In those days, shops were not allowed, for religious reasons, to open on Sundays, so the
lorry was available for the launch. Life jackets only existed at that time on ships so, as
a precaution, a half inflated scooter tyre’s inner tube of black rubber was positioned and
held by string across my chest below my arms.

The day of the launch was raining and windy. The dinghy now had a
rudimentary sail cut and shaped and stitched on my Auntie Irene’s cast iron foot treadle
operated sewing machine from a template of the original ragged red canvas. This sail,  as with the jib sail, was made from dark red marquee tent canvass which, with a wink of
his eye, my Uncle told me had fallen off the back of a lorry.
Knowing nothing about sailing I had come to assume Uncle Tom would instruct
me once afloat. With the confidence of youth, I soaked up my Uncle’s instructions full
in the knowledge of the all shining certainty that what this man said would come to
pass. Both my Uncle and I were relieved to get out of his friend’s chain smoking,
cigarette fog, of a smoke filled cab. Using his friend’s sack barrow we all three eased
the dinghy down the track to the river.

I was instructed to row to the middle of the river where I would lower a thirty
pound greengrocer’s scales weight borrowed from the lorry now reborn as my anchor.
The anchor was attached to a length of clothes line secured to the bow of the boat. I was
thrilled to heave on the oars as the dinghy ploughed forward under the power of my
arms toward the centre of the river. I was told to lower the dagger board within its’
central housing and attach the rudder on its pintles. I was oblivious to the rain and wind
of that day. Once at anchor, my uncle shouted instructions over the noise of the swelling
surge of water. I raised the main sail and its Gunter boom, cleating off the main halyard.
The sail flapped like a frightened beast in the rain, its lower boom banging against my
leg. Next, the jib sail was hoisted as instructed. I was only just able to catch my
Uncle’s instructions above the combined din of the flapping sails and rush of river

I hauled up the grocer’s weight anchor. By the time I reached the stern my
companions were racing along the bank. This was how fast the current had swept my
craft. Caught in the surging water the boat rocked. The main sail filled and jammed,
forcing the boat sideways on to the river’s flow. Unaware, I was standing on the jib’s
controlling rope called the jib sheet. The jib sail filled and bellied. Unable to flap, it
caused the dinghy to tilt at a crazy angle.

Through my grip of the tiller, I felt the raw power of these sails pull the dinghy towards
an overhang of trees as the river approached a bend.
The speed of movement made the dinghy all but leap sideways, taking the boat under
the lower branches of the canopy of trees.
The wind here became light, the mast shot up vertical taking me off balance.
The main sail’s upper Gunter boom struck the lower branches of the canopy, shaking a
deluge of water which soaked me inside the boat.
I slipped ….. SPLASH! In I went.

I surfaced with the inner tube partially covering my face, spitting out the brown
river water. My companions ceased running – falling about in paroxysms of laughter as
the now tangled jib formed, to them, what looked like a nun’s wimple against the black
of the inner tube. My feet found the river’s bottom as I stood up, presenting an even
more comical sight, for I had become the anchor for my boat.
It occurred to me – a boat owner I might be, but I was far from being a sailor.


Copyright “Gandalpuss” member of Lovesail.com


the dinghy

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