Once again we have switched over back to a caravan. This time we have bought a Buccaneer Cutter. Our reasons are several. Age, Licence,transport, convenience – not necessarily in that order. If you browse through our trips you will notice that we like to “get out and about” to visit places. We have never been the sort to stick to one place year after year. Over the years we have used several modes of transport to get around from Quad bike, motorbike, trike, bicycles and electric bicycles as well as walking and making use of public transport. Our Hymer was great and suited us fine however having fallen off our motorbike and resorted to bicycles we found that for a number of reasons cycling to and from places was becoming too much. I had to bear in mind that my C1 licence was up for renewal this year and not confident I would get through this time. We were sad to see the Hymer go but but our love for getting out and about is still strong and given we don’t know how long our health will last we want to continue seeing as much as we can while we can.
One reason for moving on the Bailey was the sleeping arrangement. Making the bed up each night (and falling through the cushions) became a niggle. We liked the Bailey and would have gone back to another but with a fixed bed however all the ones we liked were outside our budget so we listed our “must haves” and looked around. Our must haves included the Alde heating system, an onboard fresh water tank, the Alko ATC and a motor mover. The Buccaneer ticked all our boxes and added a couple of bonuses.- one bonus was the standard fit of the hydraulic corner steadies. Another was the extra couple of inches in width – this makes a massive difference inside, particularly around the kitchen area and being able to walk around the bed. On the downside I do have to be more careful when driving up and out of our twisty drive. The Bailey had a 17 litre internal water tank which we used all the time and never bothered with an aquaroll – just used a watering can. The Buccaneer has a 40 litre tank so will be very useful, particularly when linked into our 50 litre Water Hog. The Buccaneer also has the Truma connection so you can connect directly to the mains water supply.
The Buccaneer also has a 100w solar panel that should come in useful when off grid. We also have out 2kw battery bank that can be charged by the onboard 12 volt battery, 240v when on EHU or by the Truma Solar charge controller. This should be very effective when staying on CL’s or CS sites. We are really niggled with the recent price hikes by the Caravan and Motorhome club. These prices, coupled with the ludicrous multiple pricing structure means the average nightly price can range from £40 to almost £70. Compared with our French campsite charges last year were around £15 per night – and that included a swimming pool, bar, restaurant and take away.
Having managed to get away a couple of times in the Buccaneer our first impressions are very positive. The layout (for us) is excellent. The hydraulic self levelling system is marvellous and features 6 jacks making the van ultra stable when pitched. The Alde heating is even better than our last as this now includes the underfloor heating strips so all the floor is nice and toasty. It also includes the Alde load monitoring option that prevent you from overloading the site EHU rating. Towing took a bit of getting used to as the Buccaneer is a big van. Fortunately our 3 litre Rang Rover is powerful enough to cope and the lowering and raising of the rear suspension is marvellous when hitching and unhitching. This is the first time we have had a cooker with the built in electric hob as fitted to most UK spec caravans and Motorhomes and we are finding it very useful. The full width washroom is also a boon as was the Bailey and more practical than the Hymer. The shower cubicle is as big as our one at home.