Thursday, 5 May 2011

“Stuff it. Let’s just go sailing anyway.”

Where it all started

 
We finally set our minds to it. Everything must be sold, just like you read in the garage sale adds, “Going overseas everything must be SOLD”, but for us this also meant the kitchen sink in fact two of them. We worked our butts off renovating two houses to fund our dream of travelling the world under sail. We started renovating a house in November 2009. With the intention of earning a few dollars of capital growth from our hard work. We were enjoying the rebuilding of the 1st derelict property so much that we couldn’t resist the temptation to do another. In 12 months we have completed two total renovations transforming these homes. We hoped to sell both quickly and buy our dream.
We just got them on the market when the land was hit by some of the worst disasters in a lifetime. The South East Queensland Floods are now written in the history books claiming over 3000 homes and cyclone Yasi destroyed township after township in the north. Although our homes in Ipswich stayed dry above the flood levels  it seems our timing is pretty bad for the real estate market. We only needed two buyers to fall in love with the houses we renovated but the whole real estate world seems to have stopped turning here.
Karen takes up the story
“Our dream is not unique, it’s what most people we know dream of, freedom, time to spend together and to discover the world through travel. Only our dream has a twist, Rob and I want to travel the sea on a yacht. Our dream is to purchase a yacht and sail away into the sunset, to discover the oceans and the people of this amazing world. All a bit romantic. We don’t know how long we will be away or how far our travels will take us. We are both dreamers and I think this is one of our strongest connections. I have been asking myself over and over this past few months if the dream will become reality and if we are both completely mad. To sell up and sail away. But the desire is so great and it burns so deeply that it could only be the truth in our hearts. After all we will be leaving a lot behind a great life full of family and friends and both with passionate interests that cannot be pursued on a boat. Though our children have flown the coop they are very close and have given us four beautiful grandchildren, one of which, our first granddaughter has only just been born. The mixed emotion I have been feeling lately I believe stem from the fact that we have decided to leave it all behind.
 My parents did this back in the 70’s packing up us kids and heading north along the Queensland coast in a 36 foot boat to places we had never seen or heard of before. I am not sure if they either had a plan on how long they would be gone but we arrived in a small coastal town called Airlie Beach and after more than 30 years of running charter boats and a number of other business they moved back to the big smoke and family.
Though we have waited for our children to have grown, pursued careers and we are now headed for our golden years I am sure the uncertainty and the lure of the unknown is and was much the same for my parents. I feel this energy is driving us forward we have given our kids their start in life and now however selfish it sounds we want ours. Rob has been endlessly looking at boat brokers and sale guides we have clambered over so many boats I have forgotten the count in search of the boat of our dreams. At the moment we have settled on a Jeaneau or Beneateau 40-43 Foot sloop. Ideally we would like three cabins and two heads as we are hoping for family and friends to join us at times. Our thoughts were confirmed when we told our eldest son (Rod) and his wife (Kath) of our plans and explained one of the hardest thing for us to do will be to leave the grandchildren, but as they Caleb now 13 and Ethan now 8 would be old enough to fly unaccompanied to us for school holidays. Kath's immediate reaction was that the boys could stay with their other grandparents and they themselves would be coming for holiday. Cabin layout settled we will need 3 cabins 2 heads.
Rob has done most of his sailing BCM (before children and marriage), and though I was brought up on boats and know the basic running of a stink boat my sail experience was limited to the Airlie Beach Sail School for children some 30 odd years ago. So we needed to brush up on our skills that will be need to keep both us and the boat safe. Doing our theory on safety, navigation, helmsman ship, sails, motors etc.... and then following with our practicals in comp crew, day skipper, coastal skipper and taking every opportunity to sail has kept us busy and financially strapped as these courses are costly but worth every cent. Whilst not at sea our time seems to be consumed with ridding ourselves of a lifelong accumulation of stuff. The HSV was sold, the Mustang and my Yamaha are next and after countless garage sales and trips to welfare stores we still have enough stuff to fill two 6x6 sheds, how did all this stuff become part of our lives.
OH NO!! We have found the boat of our dreams and she is currently laid up in Barcelona Spain for the winter. A 40 foot Benateau fully kitted for our cruising needs. Currently the buying is so good in Europe compared to Australia we can purchase her for less than half the cost here leaving us a lot more capital to sail on. Now we need to do our research on the Mediterranean. Who could ask for a better place to start our travels, heaven on earth for sailors, language, culture, history, every 100 NM or so a new country, great food, great wine, excellent marinas and bays. An adventure we are after. Countless books on the med are purchased, read and reread to keep the dream alive. Each day Rob logs on to see if the yacht we so want is still for sale. Yes she is still sitting there and the Euro is a little weaker, great stuff. We finally contact the owners to say we are interested and tell them of the situation we are in. They understand totally as they are waiting for the sale of the boat to continue their dream (Catch twenty two). They have sailed the med for 9 years and now moving back to Sydney wishing to buy a boat here to sail the Pacific. The great thing is we are conversing with people that have lived our dream, they are full of information and inform us all of their pilot books and research of the Mediterranean stays on the boat, after nine years the boat should know its own way around. We seek any blog, book, DVD or the like to keep us focused we feel that the need to immerse ourselves so that everyday life does not suck us back into normality. I even go to the extent of cooking Mediterranean food from one of the fantastic books we have been reading. Anything to keep dreaming! Rob has now finished full time work and will be doing a little consultancy to earn a little needed cash. One month later we get word from Sydney that the boat in Barcelona has been sold. Nothing we can do other than to wish the new owners a safe journey a great adventure and we will be sure to look out for them when we finally get there. Darn! Darn! Darn!
Why are these houses not selling. We take immediate action look at the finances and come to the understanding that living here is costing us our dream. We take a radical step and phone the estate agent and lower the sale price on one property by $50K. We battle with this action as we know the extra money is equivalent to 2 years sailing, but we are serious about this and we don’t want to wait. Waiting is the hardest. OK back to eliminating clutter, next is the mustang and my bike. We will keep Robs Harley as we will need wheels when we come back to visit and one bike to store at my parents isn’t a problem. I take a part-time job and find this is at least filling in some of those hours if not boring."
OK. We find another perfect boat. A near new Beneteau 40 sitting in Split, Croatia at a price almost too good to be true. One small problem, we still own two too many houses.
Time for a board meeting to decide what the next move is for Oberg Inc. Minutes of the meeting read “Stuff it. Let’s just go sailing anyway.”
All we had to do was work out how. Enter the internet of course. Simply register on http://www.findacrew.net/ and http://www.crewseekers.net/ and find a boat to sail on and where. The Med  still looked good but then an offer too good to refuse.
As a result the two houses are now on the rental market and we are heading to sea as crew members on a Beneteau 57 "Nae Hassle" with a British and Malaysian couple on June 16 for the next four months or so. We will head north from Cairns, around Cape York and across to Darwin. From there we join the Sail Indonesia Rally leaving Darwin on July 23 and sailing through the beautiful Indonesian Islands through to Malaysia.
We WILL still get our own yacht eventually but in the meantime - no boat doesn't mean no dreamtime.
This blog is for those interested in sharing our dream by following our travels. Read on through subsequent chapters to see whether we get to live our dream or experience a nightmare. Welcome aboard!

4 comments:

  1. As you know we are very envious of you both but at the same time wish you all the best, fair winds, calm seas and lots of fun.
    We can but live the same dream but through your experiences.
    Please remember to leave the ute when you go, I know how that will be the hardest thing to give up but it might get home sick.
    Chris

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  2. Wise words "“Stuff it. Let’s just go and do it.”
    Enjoy your travels, stay safe
    John W

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  3. May the sun be always on your face and the wind at your back! Happy sailing.

    Cheers,
    Cam.

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  4. Dear Rob and Karen,
    I found your blog quite by chance and am completely astonished since you are exactly a year ahead of us and thus it makes fascinating reading. I retired from my medical practice last Friday and my wife and I have planned for many years to sail in the Mediterranean. We are Australians and keen sailors and race our one year old Beneteau First 35 up to three times a week on Sydney Harbour.
    After intensive internet searching I have discovered that the best place to buy a boat seems to be Mallorca and so, after a few days in the UK we are booked to fly in to Las Palmas in the middle of May. You can thus imagine with what considerable interest we read the account of your adventures in buying your boat there.
    We are looking for something similar to your Jeanneau, although my absolute stipulation is an island bed - we have spent too many nights crawling over each other in tiny forpeaks. Also an in mast furler.
    I would be most grateful if you could give us the contacts of the apartment you stayed in, as we have only three days booked in a hotel and also any one else who was particularly helpful to you in your purchase. My email is clarke@pnc.com.au
    We will continue to follow your adventures and hope to emulate them.
    Best wishes, Terry Clarke

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