The past 9 months part I

Wow it has been a while since we have updated this blog! A boat and two kids will do that to you. :) Well here are a few photos from the last nine months and little bits of what we have been up to. James went out to see all the boats we were considering buying. He even flew at the last minute to Lisbon instead of back home to see another potential boat. We ended up being very lucky to find two boats that we really liked and both were sold by the same broker, Michel Charpentier (he is pretty much the Amel specialist in Europe). Since we had found two boats and were happy either way we made a decent but low offer on the newer one saying that if they didn't accept it we would simply make an offer on the other one. Lucky for us the owners wanted to sell and although they weren't pleased (we figured that out during the survey) they accepted our offer. We went down to La Grande Motte in the south of France and had a survey and sea trial. While the boat was out of the water, Michel C. spent the whole hour cleaning off sea life from the hull (he is one dedicated broker). After a whole day of checking the boat out we asked our surveyor for his opinion and decided to buy the boat! SV SeaBean was born. :) Now came the waiting game. We had a boat and

Videos and where we're going next...

To make up for a complete lack of updating of this blog... Chloe has created a couple of videos covering the last few months. Please note, these are mainly for family so feature our kiddos heavily! At the end of this week we are planing to leave Corsica and head west to Gibraltar. Since they are on the way... we will stop in the Balearic Islands and probably the southern coast of Spain. It should take us a week or so, but we are in no rush. You should be able to follow along via MarineTraffic.

We have done it!

We have a boat and we are at anchor in Corsica. This morning I sat in my hammock and had a wonderfully peaceful cup of tea looking out at the beach and tiny islands surrounding us. The water is amazing. It's 5 meters deep, bottom is perfectly clear and we see cuttle fish gliding past... Arthur tries to "fish" off the side of the boat with a bit of old rope. He's copying "Papi" (ChloƩ's Dad). Actually... we have had a boat for a few months. As it turns out, boats have a way of keeping you extremely busy! To the complete and utter detriment of this blog. Anyway, to fill you in... We bought the "plain jane" Amel Super Maramu 2000, mentioned before. She is now called, "SeaBean"! As soon as we took possession the work started. So far we have: Deep cleaned the boat. A boat is a three dimensional space and there is always somewhere you forgot about or never even knew existed. This work is ongoing! Rinsed, re-rinsed, scrubbed and rinsed again the water tanks. This means removing both the fridge and the freezer from the boat to get to the access hatches. Haul out, in ten extremely tiring days (thanks to Jean-Paul for the immense help): Pressure washed the hull. Sand off a layer old antifouling. Re-caulk the keel joint. Clean the small corral reef off the bottom of the keel. Service the C-Drive Clean, sand and paint the prop. Apply 3 coats of (painfully

The boat search

What forms the perfect boat? Is it fast? Roomy? Safe? Sleek? Varnished wood toe rails and acres of teak? One hull, two or even three? The design. When looking for a sailing boat there are so many things to consider. I started narrowing the search by looking for well renowned yachts around 45-50 feet. Much smaller than that and we'd be a little cramped. Any bigger and the forces involved would be too much for Chloe or I to handle. Paramount was the ability for either of us to handle the boat ourselves. With two young children on the boat, one of us will be single handling while the other makes sure the kids are safe. I had noticed Amel's early on in my search. When I showed Chloe, "oh, that's ugly", was the reaction and she wrote them off! We then focused on the Hylas 47 and Hallberg-Rassy 46. It was only after we watched more of SV Delos' amazing youtube videos that Chloe started to come around. And once we managed to experience an Amel ourselves, we were convinced. It has (some!) space, but feels like home. The galley/saloon open plan so the cook (Chloe!) isn't down in some dark tunnel. The boat has an amazing reputation for being safe. And last but not least, there are a lot of them with prices within reach. The search Once we had narrowed down to a make/model of boat, I could start my research in earnest. The Amel

The good, the bad and the ugly

I have been wondering a lot about what our new life is going to look like. There is the obvious, being together all the time and discovering ourselves and each other while also discovering the world and new cultures. But so much proximity can also get ugly and I am trying to think of ways to minimize that possibility. I want our little family to work in harmony and happiness as much as possible, Now I didn't say calmness as I am not expecting much of that with two little kiddos:) I also want to avoid being those people trying to anchor and turning ugly on each other when everything starts to go wrong. We will definitely have to come up with a way to communicate while staying calm, Hand signals? walky talkies? or just practice practice practice while no one is around and we can scream at each other all we like until we figure it out! Hopefully my dad's friend, who has been a captain on Amel boats for most of his life will be available to teach us the ins and outs of our new home. And hopefully we make it through the first six month and still love it enough to keep going. I have my eyes on the South Pacific and I intend to make it!!

It's hitting home...

The irony is not lost on me, that leaving our home for the last 6 years is "hitting home". I had to say goodbye to the first of my close friends today. He is off on a wonderfully adventurous holiday to Vietnam and Myanmar. We will be gone by the time he gets back. If our trip is successful I will be saying goodbye to friends on a regular basis. Saying goodbye I've done before but after staying put for 6 years I had conveniently forgotten how hard it is. By the end of the month we'll have undertaken an epic longhaul flight with 8 massive suitcases, 2 child car seats, 2 strollers, 4 carry on bags, 2 children and 3 adults. We will have said goodbye to all of our close friends in the US. BUT... we will be back in Europe and the adventure can really begin.

Cruise RO Water Maker

The boats we can afford are around 15 years old. This means an old water maker that makes a dribble of water. One of ChloƩ's must haves for the trip was ample water. And with two kids screaming around I can't help but agree. Sadly, waters makers are not cheap. They are big, complicated bits of equipment. I read many reviews of water makers and settled on one that reviewed exceptionally well, had great support and seemed like I could both install and fix it. In the, hopefully near, future I'll follow up with a post about installing the water maker.

Iridum Go!

There are multiple ways of staying in contact while in the middle of an ocean. Single Side Band radio (aka, SSB), satellite phone, message in a bottle... that might be it actually. The VHF radio you may have heard of can only transmit a few short miles. We have chosen to go for a satellite phone. The Iridium Go! handset acts as a Wifi hotspot. With it we are able to make seemingly normal mobile phone calls, receive text messages and sorta kinda, look at the Internet. The gadget costs around $1200 with the various bits and bobs you need to mount it securely out of the weather. On top of that there are monthly subscriber fees. $125 a month nets you a optimistically named Unlimited Plan. The 1980s era (I'm not kidding) download speed of the device means that at best, should you run it all month 24x7, you will have downloaded a few hundred megabytes. Not very Unlimited. Thankfully the kind of data we need, weather and email, are usually small. Just about small enough. We do have a SSB on board. To be honest, we've ended up using the Iridium go to organise SSB calls... and then fallen back to just calling with the Iridium because for one reason or another the SSB wasn't working... or wasn't working well enough to have a conversation. This could easily be ignorance of how to use the SSB on my part, but... the Iridium really is very good for basic

The beginning

It all started with a kiss! Well it actually all started with this little guy. After Arthur was born we realized how little time we spent as a family and how little time James had to see our little bean. I can't remember now how exactly this came about but somehow we started talking about buying a boat and sailing as a family. The idea behind this, at least for me, is a chance for Arthur and Ewan to have both their mom and dad present everyday. Now I knew this would appeal to James as he has always loved sailing and, even though I don't really care how we do it, sailing sounded like a great way to see the world, raise amazing kiddos by spending time together as a family. So here we are now, selling everything we own to go and explore the world together. James has now officially turned in his notice and we are flying back to Europe at the end of the month. We have a list of all the Amel Super Maramu we are thinking could be a good fit and I hope one of them will be ours before the new year begins. Right now I am trying to concentrate and getting rid of all the stuff we won't need and it is proving harder then I thought...