I have a plan. A plan to give up work and live on a sailboat. After working for the past 45 years I have come to a point where I’ve had enough and want to get out and about and live a few more adventures while I am still physically capable to do so.
I learnt to swim at a young age and at school swam reasonably well in competition. In my teen years a few of us got together and with the aid of a dad we made a kayak each. Following that we spent a number of weekends out and about kayaking. School didn’t suit me so the NAVY beckoned and I spent a few years there and whilst there got the opportunity to sail a little bit and learned to scuba dive. Lived on the Gold Coast and then worked around a swimming pool and in later years have come back to canoeing and kayaking, swimming and scuba diving. The major influence and interest in my life has been the water so it seems almost natural that I find myself drawn to the thought of spending a few more years on the water living and touring on a sailboat.
For about the past four years I’ve been looking for the right boat. If there is such a thing. Maybe it’s just the one that suits at the time and is within the current budget. The journey up till now has been at times long and tedious and often frustrating. Attractive boats have come and gone whilst I’ve bided my time waiting for the budget to get to the right place. I’ve been a ‘tyre kicker’ going to inspect boats that I knew I wasn’t interested in buying. I am sure the astute brokers could see that in me. But all those inspections helped in two ways.
A picture tells a ‘thousand words’ – not anymore. With the aid of photo enhancement software photos can be touched up, brightened, darkened, cropped and doctored in many other ways to suit the story someone wants told. Hours of looking through online boat sales sites and the myriad of photos attached to each listing coupled with actually seeing and touching the boats advertised enabled a better understanding of the reality of the condition of the boat being promoted.
Similarly all those hours crawling over, around and through boats has been enlightening by reinforcing what it was I desired in my new home. How a boat’s layout functioned, or where one fitting was in relation to the other. How easy it was to get at or over or around things to maintain engines or electronics or plumbing. All of the different boats I inspected inspired different ideas and raised so many more questions. Favourites were tagged, some well beyond the self imposed budget but still they made onto the ‘wish list’ in the faint hope that one day the price may be right.
Then one day it all comes together, all the planets align and a dream is within reach. Living in a regional area there aren’t a lot of options in what I was looking for so the majority of inspections were always a few hours drive. A ‘favourite’ came up and the budget was close to sorting itself out so there was the option of a long drive – a nine hour drive. Call the broker, line up a couple of other boats to look at whilst we’re there, book accommodation and then the long drive north. Arrrghhhhh! All the boats are out sailing and the purpose of going was lost. But a nice weekend in a tropical holiday spot was appreciated.
Work has a horrible way of getting in the way of having fun or doing the things we’d rather be doing so it was a bit of a wait before a second opportunity to inspect the target of my affections came about. So, organise a second trip, arrange all the same things – boat inspection, accommodation and on this visit so much more – a boatyard to lift her out, a marine surveyor to inspect it properly and then a test sail as she goes back in the water. This time the weather intervenes. The Summer monsoons bring flooding rains to the entire north of the State and the main highway is closed in two places. Is this a sign I am not meant to have this boat or is it a test of my patience and resilience?
A third attempt at getting there, fingers toes, eyes, legs, everything crossed for her being still available. This time it was a no holds barred situation and would be the last chance. Again – boat inspection, accommodation, boatyard, surveyor and test sail. The weather looked acceptable, and it all came together. The weather was okay, the lift went well, the surveyors report good, test sail went well. Then afterwards negotiations over a well earned beer and I am now the proud but poor owner of a boat.
My ‘sea-tirement’ beckons.