Monday, 16 September 2013

Time for an Upgrade: Spray is for sale !

The onset of fall and rainy day reveries have led us to several conclusions:  1)  We love the cruising life and want to expand our time and space horizons,  2)  Spray is not the right boat for such a live-aboard cruising lifestyle, and  3)  The clock is ticking and we aren’t getting any younger. 

You can see the announcement (in French) at: www.dehler34vannes.blogspot.com   

Five years ago when we were building our plans to stop working early and go sailing, the strategy was to buy a 27-32 foot boat and spend 1-2 years cruising locally to see if we really wanted to do more ambitious sailing.  We ended up buying a 34 foot boat and cruising further than we thought we would in our first year.  We thought Spray would be the right size to carry us all around Europe and the Med, but with approximately 2500 nautical miles sailed on her in this first year, we’ve decided she’s just not the right boat for us.  It’s not just about size; she’s also too light, fast and furious for the long tranquil cruising we want to do.  If we were to modify her to suit our needs, it would completely de-nature her original character.  She deserves owners who will use her full capabilities, not two old farts who reef her down when she wants to fly.

So what would an appropriate old-fart retirement-home cruising boat look like?  In general, it would look like the floating camping cars we’ve always made fun of:  heavy (>8 tons), long (40 feet minimum), with easy-to-handle sails (2 headsails on furlers, big winches, and maybe even the mainsail furled in the mast.)  It would also have a real “owner’s stateroom,” very important if we plan to live onboard 6-8 months out of the year, and a galley that allows you to stand up fully while cooking.  Hot water and a shower would not be luxuries, and the water tank would have capacity for more than a week of autonomy for 2 people.  Bonus points for a bow thruster and heavy ground tackle with lots of chain.  At the same time, we don’t want to abandon sailing performance, but the combination of comfort and performance is quite pricey.  We also really like the center cockpit boats that offer more protection and security, not to mention kick-ass aft cabins. 

So we’ve taken the plunge, put Spray up for sale, and started looking around for our next home-away-from-home.  We’ve already had several calls from interested potential new owners, and we’ve placed several calls to sellers of floating camping car boats ourselves.  We know that this will be a painful transition, since any boat we buy will need months of fixing-up and shaking down to get it into the shape we want.  I also fear that having another boat ready to go by late spring of next year may be too ambitious.  But simply knowing that we do, indeed, love the cruising life will make the work much easier than it was the first time around when we weren’t really sure what we were getting into.

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