It's 4:00am and I've been awake for the last hour. So rather than just laying in bed tossing and turning and trying to count sheep backwards, forwards and sideways, I thought I'd use the time to write this blog.
This time next week we'll be living on our new home, a 1995 Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 45.1 and right now that feels a bit surreal. For the last 21 months Aannsha and I have been discussing, researching, reviewing and revising this plan of living on our own yacht and sailing off to explore the world. And now here we are, at the pointy end of the stick, so to speak. It's exciting and slightly scary at the same time.
It's also an ending, but not 'the end', and a new beginning all at once. To be totally frank we have absolutely no idea what it will be like. Sure we've watched other liveaboards on their YouTube channels and those videos do give some insight as to how their lives are lived. But as YouTube video creators ourselves, we understand that a once a week, 20 minute look through the window does not even scratch the surface of what happens for the other 6 days, 23 hours and 40 minutes of the week.
There are so many things that have to be done differently when you're living on a yacht. Let's just take a look at breakfast as an example. Generally I don't eat breakfast as I am rarely hungry in the morning. But when we're raising the anchor at 6:00am to set off on a 10 hour sail to our next destination, I reckon it would be best to have something to eat before we leave. So what to have?
Bacon and eggs? I'm thinking that the bacon in the fridge should be used fairly quickly before it goes off, the eggs should be OK though. But do we really want to clean up the grease splatters and the fry pan every day using our limited water supply? What about toast? Maybe, but we probably won't have an electric toaster on board because they take up too much space for a single function item and they use heaps of electricity. The toast could be put under the gas grill in the oven, but do we want to waste a limited resource like gas just to make toast? Hmmm. There is always good old breakfast cereal. It's doable, but you'd have to have it with UHT milk, not too much milk though, you don't want it sloshing over the sides of the bowl! You can probably see where I'm going with this, we're going to have to rethink almost everything we've done and taken for granted while living in a house with an unlimited supply of water, electricity and gas, a huge fridge and access to a supermarket almost 24/7. To be honest with you I'm actually looking forward to having to think differently, to learning new ways of doing stuff and the whole lifestyle change, it's almost like stepping through a magical doorway into another realm where the rules are different. I think that I may have to write a whole blog about what lifestyle changes we end up making and explain the reasoning behind them.
A few of you who are following along on this journey with us have asked if we could include what sort of costs are involved in buying a pre-owned yacht and we're quite happy to do that. When we were doing our research we really appreciated it when other people included their costs.
The purchase price of our Jeanneau was 75,000 Euros (AU$120,000) tax paid and given how well maintained she is we feel that was a reasonable price. I did mention in Barry's Blog # 13 that she was never actually 'on the market', so there was never an advertised purchase price. Jose the broker showed her to us because she was going to be for sale sometime towards the end of 2018. One of the recurring patterns we noticed during our research of yachts, was that the same vessel is often listed with many brokers. I guess that the owners feel that they're getting more advertising exposure doing it that way and I think it may also be an incentive for each broker to try harder at being first across the line in finding a buyer. So let me share with you something that happened on our survey day. During the late lunch break with our surveyor Frank, we were discussing what he thought she was worth and rather than put an exact figure on her he pulled up a list of eight Jeanneaus of the same age on his phone. Four were in Croatia and were definitely ex-charter vessels. One was in Greece and was possibly ex-charter, one was in France and another was in Italy. There was also one in Spain listed at 89,000 Euros (AU$142,500) tax paid and when I opened up the listing I saw photos of the very yacht that we were having surveyed. It seems that the previous owner was in the process of getting her listed with many brokers, however I have no idea why there was such a price difference. It didn't matter though, as we'd already paid a 10% deposit and unless we pulled out of the deal, no one else could buy her and our agreed price wasn't going to change.
One golden rule of buying a pre-owned vessel, that you don't know anything about, is to have her hauled out and surveyed. This is not a cheap exercise and it's a none refundable cost that you alone pay for. So you have to be very confident that the vessel is obviously not falling apart and that you like the look, layout, liveability and inclusions before you get to the haul out stage. I'm very far from being an expert, but I can see when something is not how it should be and I'm very good at following my gut instinct. Do not let your emotions take control. Always follow your gut instincts.
Our total surveyor cost was 1,240 Euros (AU$1,986) broken down like this;
Travelling Expenses: 160 Euros (AU$256)
Pre-purchase survey: 998 Euros (AU$1,598)
Sea Trial: 82 Euros (AU$131)
(21% Spanish VAT of 215 Euros (AU$344) is included in those prices)
In order to properly check the hull and rudder moisture levels, our surveyor recommended that she be hauled out two days prior to survey day. Whether you do haul out early or on the actual survey day is something you're going to have to make a decision about yourself. We did err on the side of caution and had her hauled out two days before survey. Fortunately her hull and rudder were in excellent condition. But if there had been signs of osmosis (where water molecules diffuse into and pass through the gel coat and into the laminate causing it to break down over time), without her hull being dry it would have been difficult to fully assess the extent of any osmosis problem. In our particular case, because of the extra two days on the hard stand, our haul out cost was 543 Euros (AU$870). We will also have to pay that cost a second time around as she was hauled out again so that the broker could remove the old paint and primer from the keel before applying a new coat of epoxy primer. And while she was out we had her antifouled too, although I don't have a price for that yet.
Jose the broker is having some other small issues either repaired or replaced at his cost, but there is one big ticket item that needs to be completely replaced; the standing rigging (these are the stainless steel wires that hold the mast upright). It is the original 1995 steel wire rigging and the broker has agreed to go 50/50 with us on the cost of replacement. The total cost for that is still unknown.
Whenever we're talking to other yachties, one of the first questions they ask us is "Which Mediterranean marina will you be sailing out of?" There is always a split second of none comprehension when we say "We won't have a home marina, we're just going to sail and pull into marinas only when we need to for fuel, water or repairs."
In order for us to achieve a self sufficient, nomadic lifestyle there are a few extras that we're having added to our yacht. The most important of these is a custom made stainless steel arch fixed to her stern. This arch serves two main purposes. Firstly it will support four polycrystalline solar panels which, whenever the sun is shining, will constantly charge our bank of batteries. Secondly the arch will incorporate davits which our dinghy will hang from. We have read many blogs written by full time liveaboards and the majority have all said how much easier it is to get your dinghy in and out of the water with a davit system. Those without davits, who store their dinghy on the foredeck, have all said how tiresome it quickly becomes getting their dinghy in and out of the water using a halyard to haul it over the rails. I don't know about you, but I'm all for an easy life plus there's the added safety feature of our dinghy being able to be launched by a single person very quickly.
Put the words, 'custom made' and 'stainless steel' together and you end up at 'expensive'. The arch is costing 4,598 Euros (AU$7,365) including Spanish VAT, however the installation is an extra cost, which is unknown at this time. The solar panels system is relatively inexpensive at 1,459 Euros (AU$2,337). That's for 3 x 12v/150w polycrystalline panels, the cables and connector kit, a 30amp MPPT controller and installation. Two computers editing and rendering videos, plus all the other electrical systems on board, especially the fridge and radar, will chew through a lot of power which is why we went for 450watts total.
As the previous owner did not include the dinghy and outboard in the sale, because he wanted them for use on his new yacht, we have to buy those items too. We imagine that our dinghy will be used almost every day for things like visiting beaches, going shopping, topping up the water and diesel tanks via jerry cans and trips to scuba diving locations. It's going to do a lot of hard work and carry lots of heavy stuff so we decided to buy a Zodiac Cadet 330 with an aluminium floor and a polyester hull. This is going to be powered by a Mercury F8M 8hp outboard engine.
The cost for both items is 5,510 Euros (AU$8,826) and it breaks down like this;
Zodiac Cadet 330: 2,600 Euros (AU$4,165)
Mercury F8M: 2,759 Euros (AU$4,419)
Delivery cost: 151 Euros (AU$242)
We will also need a petrol driven compressor on board to refill our own scuba tanks, currently we are considering the Bauer Junior, but that is something we will organise once we're on board and we can have a good look at where it can be stored. Scuba gear is another future cost, we will initially need 4 x 80 litre aluminium scuba tanks, they are 200 Euros (AU$320) each. Aannsha will need to be fully kitted out with scuba gear, as she used hired equipment to do her open water course. Luckily I managed to bring all of my scuba equipment from Australia, except the lead weights. We will need to buy about 36 kilos of lead, which will give us enough for three divers in the water at the same time.
The included life raft is also getting close to the end of its use by date and we will get an expert opinion as to whether it will need replacing or just a regular service. Although we sincerely hope that we never have the need to use our life raft, we want the peace of mind of knowing that it's ready to do what it says on the box. It is a cost that should not be skimped on, after all what price do you put on your own life?
This adventure that we're on is not for the faint hearted, the costs involved are scary, but we've only got one shot at this and we want to get it as right as possible from the beginning. And although we haven't gone for the most expensive items, we didn't want to go cheap either. History tells us that cheap stuff needs replacing far too often, because you get what you pay for and it usually breaks just when you need it the most.
I know that this particular blog is not light and cheerful reading by any stretch of the imagination, but maybe its contents will be useful and insightful to anyone who's considering a similar escapade to ours. Hopefully by the time I'm writing my next blog I'll have something more lighthearted to share with you. For now though I can hear the birds happily chirping outside the windows, as it's just after 8:00am. It's definitely too late to go back to bed, but maybe I'll grab a nana nap later today, I can do things like that now I'm 'retired'.
I don't actually count sheep to try to get to sleep. I did try it once, but my brain decided to take it as a challenge to see how high a number it could count to and sleep was avoided altogether. True story!