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Aannsha’s Blog #20 – What we love about our new home

Our new home

Six days before we move onto our yacht in Spain, I’d like to review why we chose her and what we still have to add to get her ready to sail away. But first, let’s have a little look at the house we left behind in Oz.

Our previous home

Our last home was an open plan brick low-set house with 3 bedrooms and an office on a half-acre block of land at the foot of one of the Glasshouse Mountains in the Sunshine Coast hinterland of Queensland in Australia. It had a rain forest and pond at the front and national park behind. We lived there for 16 years and absolutely loved the surroundings.

Our last home

We didn’t do much to the old girl over the years we lived in her though, except repaint the walls. The usual financial and daily living issues that many home owners face came into play for us and we just existed there day in, day out. Sure we made any necessary repairs and always treated the home well, so structurally it was in excellent condition, but she looked very dowdy. So a fair amount of effort was needed to bring her up to scratch for sale. When we left her, we ensured that we brought her back to pristine condition, with new paint, floor coverings, kitchen cupboards, and generally gave her a jolly good clean, so that when we sold her to her new owners, she was in immaculate condition and set to stand proud for many years. If you’d like to read my blog post about the renovations, click here: Aannsha's Blog #4 - Getting dirty and colourful.

“I don’t want to do that again”

Remembering that we’d done a similar thing in our previous house on Brisbane’s south side – lived in it, done necessary repairs along the way, but then brought her to beautiful perfection only just before selling her, Barry and I realised this was a bit of a pattern. We also realised we didn’t want to repeat that pattern, but wanted to reap the rewards of all that hard work we’d just put into our last home, and that meant finding a boat that was in as good a condition as the house we’d just sold in Australia.

“I don’t want to do that again Baz,” I stated firmly. “We’ve worked hard while we’ve been together. We worked hard to make our house great for the new owners. We deserve a beautiful boat too. I don’t mind doing a few things to the inside, but honestly, I’m over renovating. Let’s not just ‘settle’ for an okay boat. I want a boat that has an interior we will love to look at from day one.”

Baz agreed wholeheartedly.

So along with all of the safety aspects anyone sane would be looking for in a yacht that they were going to sail and live aboard, we also searched for one that had been looked after down below.

If you’re read our previous blogs, you’ll know that the boat we have bought is actually the very first one we viewed, and even though we looked at a few others, none of them compared to the one we’re going to call home. These are some of the reasons we chose her.

On deck

  • Standard, crisp white GRP fibreglass and no teak to look after on the decks. Teak is high maintenance and while it looks good, it is a pain to maintain.

  • Both sails have been replaced and are just two years old and little used. These are a high cost item, and it was a relief to know we wouldn’t need to change them for a few years.

  • Furling main (as opposed to a slab battened mainsail). While I honestly get a thrill bouncing around on deck while reefing the main when I’m part of a four person sailing team, Baz and I realised it would be safer and saner to get a furling main as we wouldn’t need to leave the safety of the cockpit to ‘reef’ the main when sailing as just the two of us. We’re not sailing purists, and safety is high on our list.

  • The moment we saw the yacht, we could tell she had been well looked after.While there were little things that needed attending to, her overall condition is amazing. I actually fell in love with her the very first time I stepped on board.

  • The broker offered to fix a lot of the issues immediately at his cost. For instance, some of the stanchions had worked loose, one of the wooden hand rails needed fixing down, and some of the wiring at the base of the mast that was sun damaged needed replacing.

  • The running rigging is in great condition, there are as-new covers for the wheels, table, bimini and dodger, plus there are canvas privacy sides that pretty much enclose the cockpit.

  • There are cockpit cushions, including two for lounging on the forward deck.

  • The survey showed a strong, sturdy hull and all other aspects of the boat are in excellent condition for her age, with only the original standing rigging needing replacing, which the broker agreed to pay half to replace. Also, the broker immediately replaced all the zinc sacrificial anodes, once it became apparent that they were very worn.

  • Out of the water our yacht has the most beautiful hull and putting my hands on her, she felt so safe and steady. And she’s got a lovely beam!

  • All necessary instruments are present and working, and the test sail was sound.

  • She has a bow thruster, which for two sailing noobs like us, is a godsend for mooring when there are strong winds and/or currents. We intend to practise until we get reversing down to a fine art, but to save accidents we won’t be too proud to turn that bow thrusters on.

Down below

Going down below, well, what a picture!

  • While it was obvious the yacht hadn’t been used for a while and will need a spring clean from bow to stern, as we’d do in any new home, down below was in as good a condition as the home we’d just left. For example, the varnish and polish on all wooden surfaces is gleaming and the cream leather-type upholstery is unscratched.

  • All of the hatch blinds have been replaced and apart from a little mildew on one blind in the master cabin, all are spotless, as are the curtains.

  • All portholes are sound with no sign of leaks.

  • The bilge is dry.

  • The electric toilets look and smell clean.

  • The galley bench tops are as new – no scratches or wearing that you might expect for a well used galley.

  • Fridge/ freezer is a great size and there are two good sized galley sinks with both fresh and salt water.

  • Microwave for use only when in marinas (which won’t be that often!) but it will be handy when we can use it.

  • There is a separate shower in the master suite.

  • The master suite has a fabulous queen sized bed, which I can already picture myself lounging in!

  • There’s a safe for valuables.Like we have lots hahaha! But it’s good to know we’ve got safe storage.

  • It has two separate water tanks, both of which are made of stainless steel

  • The fuel tank is also of stainless steel

  • There is plenty of storage

  • The two aft double cabins are a great size

  • The saloon is also very roomy with plenty of soft comfy seating, and the table is large enough for both of us to work on with a laptop each

  • There is a dedicated nav station with all the necessary instruments and good storage space.

  • The whole down below area has a large, light, airy feel, which will be important as we’re going to live in her 24/7.

  • There are good quality covers on each of the beds and there is a set of bedding for each cabin.

We do have a large To Do and To Buy list

As with any yacht, there are things we will need to do and purchase before we begin our sailing life. Some of these are important safety items. Some are for our ‘livelihood’ including scuba and filming gear and art materials (which aren’t listed here). Some items are for general living. The choice of many of these things will need to take into account that we will have limited water, often no access to shore power, with the only power sources being solar, engine and propane gas (for cooking). The list below is not exhaustive, but is a good representation of the next major cash outlay after the purchase of the boat, insurance, boat name change and RYA membership. Prices quoted are in UK Pounds, and exchange rate to the Australian Dollar is 1 UKP = 1.83 AUD (on 10 April 2018) ... And I've included a few links to some of the items in case you're interested in more information. Affiliate links help us out at no cost to you.

Safety first

  • First aid kit (Ocean first aid kits begin at around UKP55)

  • Flares as the ones on the boat are out of date (Ocean flare kits begin at UKP120)

  • More fire extinguishers (UKP20+ each) and three fire blankets (UKP15 each)

  • Possibly a new life raft, depending on the state of the one already on board. No expense will be spared on this item for obvious reasons! (4-6 person offshore life rafts begin around UKP1500)

  • Spinlock life vests for Baz and myself UKP280 each

  • Two jacklines to hook onto when we’re walking along the side decks when sailing (UKP80 each)

Large items

  • A new tender and outboard as the owner took the old one for his new yacht.

  • We are having a stainless steel arch custom made for the stern of the boat so we can have three solar panels mounted, along with davits that we will use to store the tender

Items for general living

Basically, in terms of household items it is as if we are kitting out our first home.

  • Barbecue (BBQ) will be mounted on the aft rail. We’re still researching the best one for us. (UKP330-600 depending on make/model)

  • Kitchen ware, as only basic, old utensils were left on board. (Pans, crockery must be stable/unbreakable, cutlery, plastic glassware etc) (UKP currently unknown)

  • Pillows and extra bedding (UKP currently unknown)

  • Small battery powered vacuum cleaner (UKP100+)

  • Pressure cooker (UKP30+)

  • Solar cooker (Solarvore Sport – UKP140)

  • Low wattage electric kettle (to save using propane wherever possible) (UKP20)

  • Correct cleaning products for each of the different surfaces, e.g. GRP, chrome, varnished wood, polished wood etc. (UKP currently unknown)

Scuba and wet weather gear

  • Tanks (UKP currently unknown)

  • Compressor (UKP currently unknown)

  • Total scuba gear for me (Baz has his from Australia) (UKP currently unknown)

  • Wet weather gear (foulies) for me – Baz found a set on sale in Denia that fit him (Gills OS3 Coastal Jacket UKP160 and Women’s Waterproof IN12 Coast Bibs – UKP115)

Other necessities

  • Charts (paper and electronic) for the Mediterranean (UKP currently unknown)

  • Flags for all the countries we’re going to visit (UKP currently unknown)

  • Inflatable stand up paddle-board (SUP) (UKP280)

  • 2 Butchers gloves - cut resistant - for gutting fish (UKP6)

  • Slipping/mooring lines (UKP currently unknown)

  • Extra chain for the anchor (UKP currently unknown)

  • Walkie talkies for communicating when someone is aft and one is forward, or when one is up the mast (UKP45+)

  • Waterproof housing and mounts for some of the cameras (UKP currently unknown)

  • Handheld VHF (UKP125+)

  • Handheld depth sounder (UKP100+)

  • Printer/scanner (UKP currently unknown)

  • Dymo label maker for labelling jammers, storage spaces etc (UKP20)

  • Full tool kit (UKP currently unknown)

So there you have it! All the reasons we chose our yacht, and all the extras we have yet to purchase. As you can see, we’ve still got oodles of moolah to pay out on what we consider necessities. But this is an upfront expense that we’ve been prepared for as part of our start up costs.

At any rate, I’m sure you can expect us to be talking about some of these features over the next few weeks, along with generally settling into our new home, and learning to sail her.

I look forward to keeping you updated with the next stage in our adventure!

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