The wait for our new life, and our around the world sailing trip, is around the two-month mark now. With the sale of our house, move to temporary accommodation, sale of our old boat, purchase of our new boat (Oyster 56′), and Christmas out of the way we thought we’d have time to relax.
I must admit that things are a lot less stressful yet there is never a dull moment
Everywhere around the house are checklists! Most of our snag list repairs are getting sorted. The boat is currently in Gibraltar, a tax-free haven, so we’re having our engine serviced, one leaking hatch reseated, another leak fixed, our two toilets reseated, our whole-filled tender patched and a new inverter fitted. Insurance is all set up. We’ve enjoyed a trip to Ikea to buy bits and bobs that we can’t easily source inexpensively in Gibraltar – dish rack, potato peeler, Tupperware, and various other kitchen supplies.
We also attended the London Boat Show at Excel
While at the show, we filled out the paperwork to get the boat registered in our name. Fortunately, our broker was at the show and it was nice to see him and get things finalised. We also put in a request to change the boats name from Pearl Fisher to Britican. Britican is a mixture of the words ‘British’ and ‘American’ – hubby is British, I’m American and our daughter is both!
At first, I thought that changing a boats name was unlucky but that’s not true
What’s unlucky is covering up a boats name with another name. For example, if you painted another boat name over the current one located on the stern that would be unlucky. The name has to be removed and replaced – or so I’m told!
For years and years, my husband and I have been talking about Britican! We didn’t know that she was going to be a 56′ Oyster. It’s nice to finally put our name to something real!
In addition to doing the paperwork for the boat registration, we’ve also been in touch with Ofcom, the organization that regulates radios and emergency devices like EPIRB’s. All those have to be put in our name with our details.
And for tax reasons, we’re making arrangements to pay our VAT in Malta
The whole VAT situation is an interesting one. After looking at all our options, registering to pay VAT in Malta was the least expensive option. That being said there’s a massive stipulation. We have to sail to Malta to set things up and at some point we need to return, preferably within one year. It cost more of we fail to return around the 1-year mark to settle our debt. The downside is that we’ll have to do the Mediterranean and then the Caribbean and then back to the Med to once again return to the Caribbean and onwards around the world.
I’m not complaining. I’m just wondering if I can handle two Atlantic crossings within a year. Time will tell.
One major ‘to-do’ that we just ticked off was to secure a professional skipper to take us from Gibraltar to Malta – a 7 to 9 day non-stop sail. By the time we leave in March, my husband will have his Yacht Masters qualification and therefore have the ‘professional,’ license, however, we’re still a bit wet behind the ears. One of the requirements from Malta is that we sail in with a professional on board.
Furthermore we really want someone with us for a bit longer before we leave and go solo. When we purchased our first boat, a Moody 36, my husband hired a skipper to help him sail the boat from Oben, Scotland down to the South Coast of England. The trip took several days, the weather was harsh and there was one mechanical failure that laid them up for a couple of days. Needless to say, a new friendship was born. ‘Skipper Mike’ became ‘good friend Mike’.
Upon hearing the news that we needed a professional, Simon put the call into Mike
No answer. Simon sent an email and we both waited patiently. While I was at the coffee shop, an email came through from Simon saying, ‘Mike says Yes!’ and within the contents of the email there was talk about stopping in Africa.
First of all, I was delighted to hear that Mike would join us. After spending time with him on our boat, I felt so at ease with him. Furthermore, he’s a natural-born water person. He’s been on a boat his whole life. So from a safety perspective, I knew that we’d be in good hands.
Secondly, when I heard the idea of going to Africa, I instantly felt giddy. My mind raced and I thought, ‘Is it safe? Can we actually stop off in Africa? Are there pirates? Can Americans and Brits get into Africa?’
OMG, OMG… Africa!
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m impressed with Europe and absolutely love Greece, Italy, Turkey, Spain, France and on and on however I’ve done that, been there, got the t-shirt. Africa was a whole new world for me. A world that I’ve always dreamed about seeing. And the thought of being able to sail my own boat to Africa floors me. Talk about feeling like a little kid before Christmas. I haven’t felt this excited in years. I feel life finally oozing through my body and it’s amazing. Freaking amazing.
And then there’s the whole packing bit…
In addition to sorting out our boat remotely in Gibraltar, getting essentials and packing, doing necessary paperwork, getting a skipper for our next voyage, I’ve also been hard at work getting a blog set up to document our adventure. I’m secretly hoping that people might be interested in our story and a large company will ask if they can sponsor us. Perhaps Musto, Nautica, or even a boat manufacturer (Oyster?!?). We have enough money saved up to last a few years but when the money is gone, it’s gone.
Between now and then I need to find a way to create an income
Just yesterday, I agreed on a logo for the website in addition to a layout, menu structure, and general gist of what the site will contain. Coming from a web and marketing background, I love, love, love this kind of stuff. In my previous life, I enjoyed marketing immensely but now that I’m going to do it for a passion, it’s even more exciting.
My twitter account has been growing and I’m awestruck by all the well-wishers that are tweeting me. Once they hear about my trip, they send all sorts of tips, suggestions, and best wishes. I’ve never felt such a sense of community that felt so genuine.
For the first time in my life, it feels as if my professional and personal life are coming together in a way where my heart sings. I really think I’m proving that you can find a way to live a fulfilling life – a life where everything flows.
Or…if you’d like to carry on reading all about our journey from selling up and sailing away, you can purchase my book, ‘Changing Lifestyles – Trading the Rat Race in For A Sail Around The World,’