Article in the Norwegian magazine "Vi over 60"

The Norwegian magazine "Vi over 60" (Us over 60's) has just published an article about me entitled "Seilte fra sorgen" (Sailed away from sorrow), written by the journalist Karin Mogård. She tells the readers at first about how the interview took place amongst stacks of paintings in the middle of my preparations for the annual open studio event.

She then went on to write about my background and my difficult period as newly widowed and how important I felt it was to look forward instead of backwards and to plan and take on new challenges for the future.
The article also mentions this blog and how writing it has been a kind of therapy for me after the trauma of losing my husband. Karin also visited me on my boat in Greece this summer so she could describe how my life on board the boat is and some of the experiences I have had. I am glad she also tells about how I now try to inspire others by traveling around holding talks and lectures about my life as a 70 year old, widowed and solo-sailing artist. 
(When I was asked to hold my first talk in front of a large audience I didn't think it was anything special and I was terribly embarrassed. Now I'm getting requests all the time so it apparently is something worth doing.) I have a new purpose in life!

Talk show

Talking to Ceclia Nebel at the talk show Late Night Helsingborg
On the 1. Dec. I was invited to be one of the guests in a talk show " Late night HBG" arranged by the swedish newspaper HD-Sydsvenskan.
The interview (unfortunately only in Swedish for the time being) can be seen here:  talkshow on YouTube
The show, which was broadcasted live, was hosted by Cecilia Nebel who interviewed me about my escapades as a solosailing artist. The other participants were the voluntary refugee helpers Valon Cakolli and Marie Osberg, the film director and author Osmond Karim and the 3 x world record holder in precision shooting Christina Bengtsson. So I was in really very interesting company and it was quite an experience. Despite my nervousness at first the host Cecilia made me relax and I then enjoyed it tremendously.

4 months of sailing and painting in a 5 minute video

This video entitled "Sommer of a solo sailing artist in Greece" I made during the course of four months. The whole summer I sailed, stayed at anchor in sheltered bays, painted and filmed sequences for a new DVD about watercolour painting.

 ( For HD quality or if the video shown on the left doesn't start try this link instead)

Because I wanted to share some of these very special moments and experiences with others I continually filmed what I was doing. For this I rigged up four different cameras on the boat or ashore. Firstly my Canon 5Dlll either with a 100-400mm zoom or a 17-40mm lens. Shown here with also a Hahnel mk 100 microphone with a windshield of synthetic fur to eliminate wind noise.

For detailed work a Sony pocket camera DSC RX100 with zeiss lens came in handy.

Then I used a Gopro mounted on a Phantom DJ 2 drone for areal footage
and not to forget the iphone which has quite a good camera.  Here mounted on a selfie stick

To keep the cameras steady in different situations I used a Gorilla tripod, a mini tripod, the selfie stick and several different clamps combined and attached to anything on board.
Every painting I made took a lot of extra time because the different cameras had to be rigged securely to whatever they were attached to, at the right distance and angle and put on self timer, shooting over and over again.

Back to Kilada

On my way with "George" the autopilot steering. Spetses island in the background.

The lighthouse on the island of Dokus
After 4 wonderful months of sailing, anchoring, filming, photographing, painting and meeting fantastic people it was time to go home. I gradually made my way back to the Basimakopolou boatyard in Kilada where Aquarella is kept safely ashore for the winter.  The two day trip was mostly motorsailing into a light headwind. OK, I must admit, I chose the weather and waited until the forecast predicted light winds. Being alone onboard and a coward, I didn't want to fight with the elements all the way but just have a relaxing trip. However there were some great hours of real sailing when I could stop the engine and enjoy the sound of the sea. Here are some glimpses from the voyage back.
I ran into a pod of dolphins on the way 

The island of Hydra

I was keeping out of the way of this Hydrofoil doing 33 knots compared with my 4.

This is how I keep track on my ipad of the commercial traffic which use AIS.   It's a cheap app called Boat Beacon which updates about every minute. I can click on the boat name to see details such as speed, type of boat etc. Unfortunately they can't see me because I don't have a transmitter but I should show up on the radar or old fashioned line of sight .  I  just make sure to keep out of their way.

Unprovocated attack by malicious seaweed!

In the Greek summer the afternoon temperature often rises to over 30c. The great advantage of being at a swinging mooring or at anchor is that you can take a swim any time to cool down. With all the fenders hanging over the side I always have something to grab hold of in case of cramp or if the boat suddenly swings away in a gust of wind.
Yesterday as I swam around the bow of the boat for the 2nd time I accidentally bumped into the mooring line with my legs. There was no danger of being entangled as it was only a single, thick length of rope. I kicked myself away but at the same time noticed a burning sensation on my thighs. The pain quickly got worse so I swam to the bathing ladder and got out of the water. I thought I might have been stung by a jelly fish which could have been caught on the mooring line but I didn't see one. Even though I showered in fresh water and applied Calamine lotion to the reddening rash, nothing helped. The pain was excruciating! 
I quickly got myself down into the dinghy and went ashore to a Cafe where there are friends I could ask for help if the situation got worse. By that time I had difficulty walking because of the pain in my legs. When Dimitri, the proprietor of Cafe Fresco, saw me and understood the situation he dropped everything, let the customers look after themselves and took his quadbike to the nearest pharmacy for help. He came back with a cortisone cream and very strong pain killers. (Where else in the world but Greece would you find help like that?)
Apparently it was a special sort of seaweed called Lyngbya I was stung by and although the pain can be almost unbearable it is not deadly dangerous.
Gradually the pain subsided and after about 9 hours it disappeared.

Fouled anchor

The wreck with Aquarella anchored in the bay 
Today I motorsailed a few miles across to the western end of Limenos Poghonos where there is an old shipwreck I thought would be a good subject to paint. The weather was calm and I anchored about a hundred meters from the wreck. Taking the dinghy over to get a closer look I photographed the picturesque wreck from different angles. After a swim, lunch, a rest and another swim the wind started getting up so I decided it was time to leave. The other boats that were anchored here had already left. Although I like the peace and quiet of a secluded place I felt rather insecure. If anything happened I would be quite alone and left to my own resources.
Something did happen.
While taking the 30 meters of chain up I heard a scraping noise and noticed the windlass was using more effort than usual. I thought at first it was the gusts of wind causing the trouble. The windlass then moaned and jolted to a full stop as the anchor broke the surface. A thick rusty cable was hooked onto it.
Fortunately I had a so called trip hook on board which I bought last year thinking it might come in handy. 
The trip hook

This would be the first time I would put it to use. With a line from both ends the idea is to attach each end to the boat, then sink the hook down under the chain or whatever you've fished up. When I did that I pulled it up as tight as I could and then let my anchor down a little so it was freed. Then it was only a matter of using the other trip line to unhook the hook.
Wow, it worked ! I was afraid I would have to wait until tomorrow to get help from other boats.
My next problem was getting back to my mooring buoy and picking it up in the gusty wind. I thought I would try a few times and if I didn't succeed in stopping 6 tons of boat without pulling my arms off, I would go to a nearby anchorage and stay there the night or until the wind died down. On arrival I went up in the wind and got so near the buoy I couldn't see it anymore in front of the bow. With the engine in neutral I dashed forward grabbing the boathook on the way. Leaning over as far as I could get, I managed to reach the the buoy's lines, hook them up on deck and thread my mooring lines through the buoys ropes before the boat started shying away in the next gust.
My "buoy" consists of a canister and a fender with lines attach to a thick rope.
The rope goes down to a chain on the sea bed, connected to two oil drums filled with cement.

My most successful manoeuvre and nobody saw it!
I can't even brag about my  achievement of picking up a buoy (pronounced boy in british english) without people thinking I'm promiscuous...  

how not to park a boat

My watercolour Red Boat painted from the cockpit
I have stayed at the mooring I hired in the middle of the Poros channel in order to work on some paintings and produce a new video about watercolour. 
I was fascinated by a red wooden boat moored quite close to me. Especially before dawn and after sunset the small boat had a warm glow in contrast to the cooler colours of the sea. Before I managed to finish the painting though someone came and moved the boat away so I had to take my dinghy over to it to check the final details. 
The channel at Poros is deep enough for cruise ships to pass on the northeast side but shallows quickly up to various depths or next to nothing on the south side. The moorings here are laid in the no-mans-land along the middle. Nearly every day a yacht runs aground trying to take a short cut across. The local taxi boat owners earn a good amount of tax free money pulling boats off the mud. 
After the little red boat was moved from the nearby shallow mooring a taxiboat came along heading for it with an empty yacht on tow. Needless to say the keelboat stuck in the mud but the taxiboat  increased its revs,  churning the mud up and forcing the yacht to heel over. When it couldn't get any further the two men tied the yacht to the mooring and disappeared. The yacht was standing still knee deep in the mud,without moving, whereas yachts on the nearby moorings, including mine, were swinging in the changing wind. This meant that if the wind increased in strength there most certainly would have been a collision. 
I thought the whole manoeuvre seemed strange so I googled the danish yacht name and home port to get hold of the owners. In the end I got contact with them and they rang to the taxiboat owner. It turned out that they had hired a mooring in deep water, left the boat to be looked after by him and went home to Denmark for a few weeks. The day after they left and without their knowledge the boat was then moved to shallow water in order to hire the deep water mooring out once more.
After the phone call the yacht was forcefully dragged through the mud again and returned to the original safe mooring. 
Now I suppose I am commonly known here as the stupid bitch who ruins a good greek business.

The taxi-boatmans assistent loosening the tow-ropes,
you can see the mud in the water
The taxiboat trying to drag the yacht off the mud bank again

High flying

After a few more days in Porto Heli I sailed alone the 30 miles to Poros which took 7 hours. There were very high and confused seas to begin with and I thought of turning back but on the other hand there was only a little wind so the situation was not dangerous. Then the sea flattened out to small ripples and the breeze became a flat calm so I used the engine most of the way. Strong winds and gusts came for last few miles so I did actually sail for a couple of hours. At Poros I managed to grab a mooring buoy on the second try which I was very proud of. The water at the edge of the channel here is very shallow so there's not much room for mistakes.

"Aquarella" (upper right) at the mooring buoy at Poros 

Some days later I decided to try the drone again. I wanted to have some footage from the air of myself painting on the beach. This is to be used in a coming art education video as a follow up for the ones I have produced for Pulsar Productions in Australia. 
The first scene is a general, arial view of the area, this I could do myself although it wasn't easy. After taking the drone up to quite a high altitude and turning left and right I wanted to take it back but it had other plans. It carried on going over the sea. On and on.
I panicked! 
I tried back and down on the remote.
Nothing happened
I tried turning left
It carried on sideways, but still over the sea. 
Then as a last resort I switched off the remote to automatically put it in GPS homing mode.
It obediently turned around and flew back to me, slowly descended and landed at my feet. 
Sigh of relief, good dog!
Me flying the Dji Phantom 2 drone with GoPro hero 3 camera at Poros                                  photo: Sam Butt

The next day I got my good friends Mike and Sam to help me with the scenes at the beach. The place I had found as subject matter for my painting was ideal with multicoloured stones at the water's edge. 
It was far from ideal for flying the drone. 
There, hanging right above the spot where I sat, were the main electricity cables from the mainland to Poros. Apart from that it was only a couple of yards from the road with heavy traffic! Then there was of course the water to avoid landing in. So the drone had to be flown and landed with utmost precision. Mike hadn't either tried a drone before but he quickly got the hang of it and manoeuvred it like an ace pilot with no mishaps at all.
After editing the sequences and encoding the video I had to go ashore to a cafe, with a good internet connection, to upload it to YouTube. After an hour YouTube informed me that I had 2456 minutes remaining. It was a nice cafe but I didn't want to stay there for 40 hours! I gave up, dinghied back to the boat and re-encoded the video in a smaller resolution.  
So here it is, the first short trial video. It's far from perfect but however it has given me a small impression of how I can make use of the drone and gopro camera's great potential.
Best seen at HD resolution 720p

And. we. have. lift off!

Aquarella at Porto Heli

The small town of Porto Heli lies in one corner of a large and almost landlocked bay.
It's an ideal spot to anchor or take a mooring en route to the islands of the Saronic gulf.
After using a few days here for boat maintenance and painting a watercolour while in calm waters, I decided it was time to try a bit of fun.
I let go of the mooring I had hired and motored across the bay near a secluded beach where I could try out my latest acquisition: a drone. 
After setting the anchor at a depth of 3 meters I put my new drone into a sail bag, loaded it in the dinghy and went ashore. I chose a small beach between some bushes where I could secretly launch the drone safely without being seen. I had read that dignitaries such as President Putin, Ex King Constantine and Sean Connery have property right here so I considered the danger of my drone being shot down by security guards.
I had practised using it before in my garden in Sweden. The first time it landed in the flower bed and beheaded of all my tulips, but after a few trial runs I felt I had mastered the noble art of drone manoeuvring. I still didn't feel confident enough to launch it from the boat though as the landing space is too small and the boat moves even at anchor.
Hiding behind a bush to send the drone up.

 After calibrating the drone's GPS by walking with it around in circles, I started the camera and powered it up. And up it went! It was my idea to fly it over the boat to get some lovely footage from the air of Aquarella in the sunset. However I was apprehensive about taking it over the water in case I lost control. I just took it up high enough to get an overall view of the bay. Using the remote to turn it around I did actually loose control in that it went into a crazy spin. I got it down OK though without crashing and with a great relief switched the dam thing off. Just as I did that,  I heard a voice behind me saying "Kali Spera!" ( good evening)  
I nearly wet my pants! The old Greek gentleman looked at me as if I was mad. 
I probably am.
PS. The footage didn't turn out so good because a wire to the gimbal, which should have held the camera horizontal, had loosened. But I'm sure I'll get it to work next time.
Still image from a very dizzy Gopro 

Rome wasn't built in a day.

to be continued...

A goat, a boat and afloat again

(Oh crap! this isn't the farmyard ladies, it's the boatyard!)
This will be my 3rd season as single handed sailor aboard my boat Aquarella in Greece.

As before, my late husband's brother Uffe has been helping me for the first week, getting the boat shipshape and ready to launch from Basimakopulou shipyard in the small fishing village of Kilada, Peloponnesos. The yard's nearest neighbour is a goat farm.
Aquarella at Basimakopulou Shipyard waiting to be gently lowered into the water.
After launching, the first visitors on board were the norwegian journalist Karin Mogård and her husband Olle who happened to be in the area.  Karin has written two articles about my life as a single-handed sailing widow. These are published in the norwegian magazines "Seilas" and "Vi over 60". We had never met before in real life, only over Skype so It was so nice to meet up over lunch on board Aquarella.
Ollle and Uffe, Karin and I at anchor in the bay of Kilada.

Before flying home, Uffe accompanied me on the summers first voyage to check all was OK. 
It wasn't.
I am very dependant on the autopilot (called George) when sailing alone, so I can leave the wheel if needed. On this trip George was stubbornly insisting on steering 20 degrees off course. I thought I would probably have to embark on the tedious chore of calibrating it and started looking for the instruction book which hadn't been used for years.The autopilot has it's own designated fluxgate compass mounted under a seat in the saloon. I have always been careful not to stow anything of metal in that locker so there would be no danger of magnetic interference.
It suddenly dawned on me that my bag with my computer, camera and hard disk etc. was standing under the table right next to that seat!
I moved it.
With a screech, whine and a bang George gleefully wrenched the boat back on course. So now the GPS, compass and autopilot are agreeing with each other and combining forces to fulfil my every command.
Problem solved. 
Photos by Uffe


During the winter months for the past 2 years I have held several lectures about my adventures, trials and errors as a single handed sailor in Greece. My talks with slide-shows have also included my other passion as a painter. At first I felt it was more of a challenge to speak in front of a large audience than it was sailing alone. Now after many hours of creating keynote presentations and lots of practise I have begun to enjoy it. I also find it very rewarding to know that I can inspire other women, singles, widows and widowers to do the same thing.
Feel free to contact me if you would like me to come and speak at your sailing club or art society. Although I live in southern Sweden and am mostly in the Nordic countries I also travel abroad a lot in connection with my art exhibitions, so I have the possibility of combining a lecture with an exhibition.
I hold lectures in English, Swedish or Danish.
See also: talkshow
Radio interview  This interview (in Swedish with English subtitles) is shown here with slides and video footage
You can contact me at elizabethtyler (at)