Articles by Jill Schinas

About Jill Schinas

Jill started sailing at the age of three weeks and spent her formative years messing about in racing dinghies in Chichester Harbour. She made her first blue-water passage at the age of 18 but it was to be a further ten years before she was shanghaied by the skipper and started her career as an ocean-going hobo.
Jill has written a handful of books and has many more in the pipeline, but her true vocation is as an artist.

Read more about Jill

For the Sake of Auld Lang Syne

Nick gathered up the paperwork, and prepared to set off to do our clearance. Finally, after weeks and months of talking about leaving, we ready to go – more or less. Leaving with us aboard Mollymawk would be two Chilean friends: Manu, a hippy from Concepcion, and Yona, a fisherman and lost soul from the fiords. It just so happened that it was Manu’s birthday, and she suddenly realised that this meant that her ID card was due for renewal.…

Farewell and Adieu

The tide was expected to turn at 17.00 – and so that was the hour at which we planned to cast off our lines and begin our journey away from Valdivia. To be exact, we would flow down the river on a current swollen by the moon’s additional influence. But in the river’s entrance we would pause for a moment or three; because, to be frank, we were still not ready to set off across the ocean. After a year…


I knew, as soon as I got the message from Mikael, that something bad had happened. “Look at our website” – that was all he said. Thinking back, there seems no reason why I should have suspected a calamity. Thinking back, I wonder why I didn’t assume that Mikael wanted to share some happy news or some information about a favourite island. But, as I say, I knew. “They’ve lost the boat,” I thought to myself as I opened the…

It’s Been a Funny Year

It’s been six months since we posted a new article on the website, and people are beginning to wonder: “Have they given up cruising?” “Maybe they sank…” The answer is, no. Mollymawk is fine. Four-fifths of the family are still passionate about travelling under sail; and three-fifths of us still have the boat as our Primary Residence. The fourth fifth is on the point of investing in her own boat. But, despite this, the past year has been spent Not…

Barracuda 200ZW v. Sailrite LSZ1

For the past 25 years and more I’ve dreamt of owning a Sailrite. This is the sewing machine that everybody in the cruising community talks about, because, they say, it can romp through eight layers of heavy-duty terylene cloth. For independent-minded liveaboards who want to be able to mend their sails mid-ocean or make dodgers and awnings, such prowess is invaluable. Having waited for almost three decades to encounter a second-hand machine, I finally gave up. I finally decided that…

The Roof of the Americas

Part Seven of the tale of an Overland Journey through Chile This tale seems to be dragging on – whereas the journey itself did not – so I’ve decided to wrap up the last three days of the adventure in one post.


Part Six of the tale of an Overland Journey through Chile It’s all Lewis Carroll’s fault. Other people watching flamingoes marvel at the bird’s grace. They remark upon the fabulous plumage; they see elegance and beauty. But I see croquet mallets.

A Visit to the Moon

Part Five of the tale of an Overland Journey through Chile Orange mountains; a clear blue sky; and pinned to the blue sky, ahead of the mountains, two colourful hot-air balloons. This was the sight which greeted me when I peeped my head out of our roof-top tent after our night on the salt-pan.

Altitude Sickness

Part Four of the tale of an Overland Journey through Chile “Anyone going higher than 3,000m needs to be aware of the risks of altitude sickness.” So reads the health section in our old and very ‘pre-loved’ edition of the Rough Guide to Chile. The author goes on to explain how the reduced atmospheric pressure at high altitude leads to a corresponding reduction in oxygen. “Don’t be tempted to whizz straight up to the altiplano from sea level,” he explains…

Conquering Armies

Part Three of the tale of an Overland Journey through Chile Although we had zipped up the door in order to stay warm, the next morning when we awoke there was no condensation on the nylon walls of our roof-top tent. So arid is the air flowing over the Atacama Desert that the damp breath from four bodies was easily absorbed. We wriggled into our clothes, squirmed our way out of the door, and dropped down the ladder, one by…