Our involvement with sailing began somewhat lugubriously with a trip to Paradise. Our son was about to turn 5 years old and we were invited by family to go on week-long trip to the Seychelles – a stunning archipelago off the east coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean.
We had no idea what to expect, but we did not expect to encounter a disgruntled crew that had their planned vacation cancelled just to facilitate our visit. We’re still not sure if the sand in the mussels were deliberate or not – the chef was supposed to be Hilton trained!
On top of that we had mother and mother-in-law issues. Plus keeping an eye on a busy 5 year old on a relatively small 50 foot catamaran to ensure he stayed safe and did not make life a misery for the 7 adults on board … we did not exactly have a boatload of fun.
It’s therefore quite strange that we ended up pursuing yacht ownership for ourselves a few years later. Having had some success in business, we were looking for investment opportunities: we first purchased a share in an experimental foiling power catamaran concept that was supposed to revolutionize the industry. That went south (or did it bottom out?) but we managed to roll the investment into a second-hand charter boat with guaranteed investment income.
We completely overpaid.
Realizing our mistake, we sold that and upgraded to a new 50 foot catamaran, also in charter. Then we bought a second one. And then a third which was larger at 60 foot. The point is we kind of just grew into the whole thing, making mistakes along the way but also learning a lot.
With modern technology and the nature of our business, we simply needed an internet connection, working phone and laptop to keep things running smoothly. Our itchy feet also meant we ended up living in 4 different countries and relocated nigh on 10 times in the 20 odd years we’ve been together. Every time we relocate I promise Chef Engineer (my wife): “This is the last time!”.
Until it’s the next time.
Work and the amount of time it took to travel to the boats (located in the Caribbean) from where we lived (in the UK) meant we only spent a few weeks each year sailing. We did manage to do a few sailing trips with friends to other destinations around the world. We also traveled extensively in the more conventional fashion, covering all of Western Europe, the UK, parts of Africa, Australia, Mauritius, the Middle East, Singapore, Bali, Thailand, 15 US states including Hawaii, Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean. Each time we’re on a trip, we’re already planning the next one.
We eventually realized we would never be completely satisfied just living in one place, no matter how much we love it. The decision to go full-time cruising when the time was right with work and family life was therefore an obvious one. It did not require much discussion or any convincing on either part.
We ended up falling in love with boats and sailing despite that first experience, not because of it.
As I am writing this, we are 3 weeks away from changing our lives yet again. Our new boat – S/V DOUBLESTAR – is loaded onto the RoRo Carrier TALISMAN and on its way to Baltimore, Maryland, USA from the port of Zeebrugge in Belgium. She is a Beneteau-built Oceanis Yacht 62, and is a semi-custom 2020 model from their facility in Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie, France.
She was trucked overland to Belgium to make the journey across the Atlantic. This was an unbelievable team effort involving a bunch of amazing folks, including the folks from Beneteau and the transportation company, as well as the private and police outriders who paved the way through some hair-raisingly narrow stretches.
We cannot wait to spend the next period of our lives living aboard full-time, purposefully taking our time with a circumnavigation that will take as long as it takes, or may never happen at all. That’d be OK, as long as we have fun along the way and do it until we don’t want to anymore. There is no real plan. No real schedule. No real rush.
We just want to enjoy having our beautiful home with us, and being able to move to the next destination when we feel like it (and the weather allows us to).