There’s an old sailor’s saying that sailing plans are written in the sand at low tide and it is proving to be very true indeed. See, Kane and I are not on a boat and I am writing this from the kitchen table in the home of our very patient friends on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. We have been here for nearly two months and, as seems obvious given our land-bounded-ness, plans have changed for what seems like the hundredth time.
Starting in November of 2021, we started seriously looking at boats, but it did not get off to a promising start as the very first boat we walked on (which, sadly, turned out to be perfect and reasonably priced) had gone under offer 24 hours before we were able to view it. Losing out on that Manta 42 was very frustrating and did not endear me to boat brokers, but I was able to ignore that for a while as we only had a week to boat hunt before pausing to spend the holidays back at home in the United States. While we were abroad we kept a close eye on the market and were further disheartened when a good boat would come up and go under offer within days. Luckily, holidays in the US mean copious food and booze to drown one’s feelings in so we were able to weather those frustrations well (and bring back a few more kilos on our waistlines).
When we made it back to Australia at the end of January we jumped back into the market in earnest, walking on every boat that even vaguely fit our parameters. We saw a lot of boats, from one off self-builds (not our cup of tea) to gorgeous monstrosities (too big and too expensive) to a handful of possibilities (there was an overpriced, too low of bridgedeck, 38ft catamaran we seriously considered). However, at the end of the day nothing was perfect.
Our main concerns were 1) the overpriced nature of the boat market at the moment and 2) Kane’s knee. Kane had surgery number two in August 2021 and we had hoped that it would solve the problem. Unfortunately, this has not proven to be the case and after months of studious rehab, it is likely that we will be looking at surgery number 3 in the middle of this year. The main issues are that his knee is too painful to sail small boats at the moment (crouching and bracing make it extra pissy) so we can’t do the practice we’d hoped we’d be able to on our friend’s boat and that this next (and hopefully final) surgery on the horizon comes with a hard, at least three month recovery that simply would not go well on a moving platform of a sailboat. Add on top of all that the market craziness that means people are trying to make money on depreciating assets (note to the world – boats are not houses, age makes them cheaper, not more expensive) and that’s the picture we have been looking at these past few weeks.
So, instead of potentially losing hundreds of thousands of dollars buying an overpriced boat at the top of the market then possibly having to sell after the house of cards has collapsed in a few years, we have decided to wait to give Kane’s knee and the market time to get their shit in order.
What that looks like is 2022 becoming our vagabond year, bouncing from land travel to crewing opportunities to crashing in friend’s spare rooms while recovering from major surgery (hopefully only one of us will be doing the recovering) to finishing my long neglected novel. It wasn’t in the original plans, but let’s be honest the original plan was to buy a boat in the Caribbean and sail back over four years, so the plans have already changed a fair bit.
The plans current iteration is to pop over to Malaysia once they open in April and spend a month eating, diving, and exploring. Then we’ll swing around to Western Australia to see Kane’s family and try to get more of our stuff over east because freighting what was left became nearly impossible when massive flooding washed away the main train line across Australia. After that it’s off to Europe with us to live our best lives sailing in the Greek Islands and eating our way across Italy with my family. Hopefully, we won’t be too broke by the time we arrive in France to hang out with my very dear friend Adrian who I have not seen since I got married in 2018 (damn you COVID). Kane will likely go in for surgery after we return and will need at least three months recovery – we plan to bribe our wonderful friends on the Sunny Coast to let us back with promises of their own hull on our future catamaran and plentiful beer purchases (though these days filling up the car is almost more exciting than buying a carton of beer). Laura and Joe will likely be here sometime in August and hopefully Laura and I will run away to the Great Barrier Reef on a diving girls trip.
After that, well your guess is as good as mine. Depending on how Kane’s surgery and the market goes, we’ll be back in serious boat buying mode or we’ll be crashing at Leo and Soph’s doing more waiting, I’ve stopped pretending to know. What I do know and what I do have control of is that I will be writing my novel and I will finish it this year (given I started it in 2017, this has been a long time coming). Kane will take the time he needs to let his body heal and we will both tick some destinations off our bucket lists. In the meantime, I’ll be here, there, and everywhere, typing away on my laptop, eating too much good food, and keeping an eagle eye on the second hand catamaran market in Australia.
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