Tuesday the 4th February 2014 our girl of the ocean will be officially born.
On the Tuesday her morning will start with a hair raising ride on her side via large transport truck to the waters of La Rochelle 12 kms away from the factory. Once in La Rochelle she will enter the water for the very first time and it will be the day that marks her new life as a French Born Beauty who has been adopted by Australian Parents.
We won’t be there to drink a toast to those who have created our girl. Our budget has been stretched to make this dream a reality, so unfortunately like a late father, we are going to miss the birth….
This new adventure has already changed us.
This project has pushed us to learn new and more, has introduced us to new people who I know will be friends for a very long time. It’s motivated me to learn two new languages. The language of the sea as well as the language of the French. Buying a boat, means I now walk around a marina as though I belong, I walk by a chandlery and look at the item with a little sense of knowing and I am happy.
Buying a boat, has made my world view so much bigger already.
I now have a website and a loyal audience that come from near and far. The fact that so many have already started on this journey with me, humbles me every time I read a comment or look at the statistics on Google analytic. I am only days away from my 2000th visitor from 400 different cities having only started this site mid September 2013.
This fact terrifies and delights.
The fact that people from all over the world actually follow our adventure is too incredible and ridiculous for words. Don’t fear, I won’t however get a big head from this site though, as my children keep me well and truly in check. My three are yet to think this site is anything special and my daughter has so far made a point of never coming to visit and my boys only the once to humour me.
Nothing like family to keep you honest and well and truly grounded.
The Miss View Of Buying A Boat Overseas
Dealing with Catana, for us, has been an arms length distance experience. We as the buyers don’t get to talk directly to the people who design, organise, order, build and manage our boat. This part is my only regret. Our experience of the build progress has been second hand through our agent Patrick who is the world’s biggest island away, or via our (heaven sent) Mike, Man of International Waters who lives in France and not far from the boat.
I can honestly say the entire process has been fairly smooth thanks to the people who have assisted. It could have been chaos without the external assistance we have received and often from unexpected sources.
If you are considering buying a boat overseas, I have a few observations that may be of interest.
Be prepared to say you are willing to do it. Put your name on the line, your money across the table and your name on a new hull. For us this has been HUGE. A huge leap of faith into life. A time when we have been willing to exchange what we have, know and love to taste the unknown, risk it all for an adventure. A swap for a life that will be worthy.
Be prepared to understand the differences between exchange rates. Currently Glen Stevens (Chairman of Australia’s Central Bank) is doing a mighty fine job of making the currency pleasure disappear. However, the AU is still much better than the 80’s when our dollar first floated, we can be grateful of that.
Be prepared for lack of sleep on some occasions. Building overseas, means for the most part, your new family member is being constructed on a completely different clock to the one you wake up to. My view is when I need to be up late or wake up to talk about boat gear for instance,this is great training. Like peeing constantly before the baby is born, this lack of or broken sleep is perfect training for night sailing.
Be prepared to be surprised by learning things about yourself and your partner that you didn’t know. For instance buying the dingy has been a painful process for my captain. Buying a Catana 42 in comparison was a piece of cake.
Be prepared to pay handsomely for the privilege of buying a new boat, as every little piece of equipment you buy costs. It’s just the way it is.
Be prepared to pay for the privilege of ease if you order any additional extras via the yard in comparison to buying via local a chandlery. However you then have to be able to understand the language, transport and install, and every other implication of ordering yourself. I understand why people take the easier more expensive option and we couldn’t have done it without Mike Man of International Waters help. Everything has a cost.
Be prepared to an international shopper. It was easier and cheaper to buy in the UK or elsewhere for some items than to buy local.
Be prepared to read and understand maps. The world will become smaller very quickly as you start to know your way around a little.
Be prepared to ask. If you don’t know ask someone. Talk to those in the know and seek their opinions. It is deeply satisfying talking to others with a shared passion, or others who are doing it already.
Be prepared to be gobsmacked by the huge amount of stuff on offer for you to buy to make your boat just right.
Be prepared to spend a hellishly huge amount of time researching what’s hot and what’s not, also know what’s the right price to pay when you finally make your decision.
Be prepared to back yourself. Sure, not every decision will be right but it was right at the time.
Be prepared for things to take more time than you would expect, things will cost more than you thought and getting things from A to Z will always take longer than it should. “Such is life”
Be prepared to get online, read, connect and interact with other cruisers via cruising forums, especially your own boat type forums. The advice I have received as well as friendship with truly amazing people has surprised me and made me feel very positive about joining such a community.
Be prepared to stand up for yourself, insisting upon common sense and reasonable outcomes staying in the room. This is more difficult for some of us, compared to others. I the Miss have required a some coaching and guidance to get better at this skill.
Be prepared to use Skype. I hadn’t used this modern marvel before and like sliced bread, it is now an intricate aspect of my days.
Be prepared to be surprised and awed by the good nature of people and there willingness to share, to assist and be totally amazing. These people can be in the room next door, the local yacht club, or online and living overseas.
Be prepared to pass it on. All this good that comes your way needs to be paid on. “Be a Lannister and always pay your debts.”
Be prepared to use and understand a basic Excel spreadsheet so you have a budget and try to keep to it.
Be prepared to put yourself out there and say to strangers who own boats “do you want non competent but willing crew.”
Be prepared to learn, enroll and commit to learning new skills. This is presuming your starting point has been zero as has mine.
Be prepared to learn and then learn some more. This process has involved gaining a few new bruises, whilst twilight sailing in a full on racing division one boat, hanging on for dear life and using a winch at the same time.
Be prepared to enjoy the ride.
Happy days and a Happy Birthday Miss Catana.
PS I the Miss Am Prepared. My bags are packed in preparation for the unlikely event that Catana yard will call me and say “Come over to see your new girl on the water”. If for there 30th anniversary Catana decide to invite there most enthusiastic and newest recruit I am happy to take one for the team. It would make for a great tale, one I’d be very happy to share for the price of a ticket over and back. Call me.