Today was the day.
We have been talking about this for a number of years. It may even be as many as ten.
Planning to get to this day started just under a year ago. We cannot give the exact date. It has been a bit fluid. Things crystallised for us on a visit to the UK where we shared a couple of rather nice New Zealand wines with our mates Steve and Rach in March 2016. We came to the conclusion that life is very short indeed and that we needed to go out and live our dreams.
There has been a lot of water under the bridge since then. We originally gave ourselves three years to get to where we are today, but we are both far too impatient. So today, a mere 10 months after we set our goal, we are now full time liveaboards.
Since November, we have sold every bit of furniture, leased our house, handed in our respective notices at work and are now officially ‘retired’.
We are expert armchair sailors and have been taking sailing lessons (not enough!) researching boats, and making various offers, before settling on a two year old Fontaine Pajot Lipari 41 Evolution.
We made offers on four other boats, all different models and ages.
A Lagoon 380 was the first model we looked at. We had an option on a 2 year old boat in Greece with a lovely American couple. However we thought it was going to be too complicated to join the boat in Europe, or arranging the shipping without a broker.
We heard about a slightly older Lagoon 380 for sale in Townsville, two hours flight north of Brisbane. So we flew up and spent the morning looking at the boat and chatting with the owners. We could not agree on the price, and with hindsight, I am glad we passed on this deal.
The third boat was a very nice 2013 lightwave 38. It was an immaculate Australian built catamaran with a galley down arrangement. Again, we made an offer, which got knocked back on price and settlement date.
Boat number four was a leopard 40 which had been travelling through the Pacific for the last couple of years and was fully set up for blue water cruising. The broker raved about the boat, so we immediately put an offer together, subject to inspection. When it arrived in from the islands it was certainly fully loaded, with genset, diving compressor but looked like the owners had simply walked off the boat with their clothes and not much else. It was filthy and had a number of things that we were concerned with, including cracks through the windows. It was also nearly 10 years old, so rig maintenance/replacement was soon to become an issue. We politely withdrew our offer.
The more boats we viewed and researched, the more we were able to fine-tune what our priorities in a boat were. We were looking for an ‘owners’ version ( i.e 3 cabins rather than 4) which had not been chartered and was less than five years old. We were increasingly finding this a challenge in the Australian market, especially with the budget we had set ourselves.
Before our boat buying journey ‘officially’ began, we had visited the Sanctuary Cove Boat Show in May 2016. Whilst looking at the the new Fountaine Pajot ‘Lucia’ we met up with Michael Crook (a Pom, with a nickname of ‘Nod’) from Multihull Solutions . He put us in touch with one of his used boat dealers, Ant , who had been trying hard to find us a deal. He mentioned that a two year old Fontaine Pajot ‘Lipari 41 Evolution’ was on the market in Greece. This was a boat we had seen online months earlier, but thought it had been sold.
We had never set foot onto a Lipari, so were not prepared to even begin making an offer until we have viewed one of the same type. Ant managed to get us an invite onto a lovely boat called ‘Waterloo Sunset’ on the Gold Coast. It was with some excitement that we realised this boat was ticking a lot of boxes! This model was a great size and layout for us. It had more load carrying ability than the Lightwave and the Lagoon 380 plus as it was slightly bigger, the layout and setup seemed much better for our needs.
We immediately put the paperwork together and made an offer. We managed to get a deal together over the next week or so and worked out some logistics for getting the boat to Sydney. The boat had been travelling around Greece and the owner agreed to sail from Lefkas to Genoa in Italy so it could be loaded on a container ship. After many weeks of logistical headaches and organizing shipping quotes and surveys, we finally settled on our new purchase.
After a thirty day crossing, the boat arrived into Sydney early in December. We sailed up the coast to Brisbane with Tim, our delivery captain and his lovely partner, Sandy and berthed at Manly Marina. The next few weeks were spent selling most of our worldly goods and getting the house ready to rent out while Rob finished up his notice period at work.
So here we are. It is February the 12th 2017 and we are officially full time liveaboards.
There were a couple of interesting coincidences with the boat. The first is that it is actually registered in New Zealand. This suits us perfectly, as we were able to retain the registration as we are New Zealand citizens. We will have to leave Australian waters after 12 months, but that also works with our travel plans, as we are planning on exploring the Whitsundays for six months before heading offshore. Also, the boat is called ‘Double Trouble’ , which is so apt we did not consider any other names!