Easter 2017 we decided to move full-time aboard Sandpiper our 36ft yacht, simply to ensure Gary and I could live in the same space 24/7. Our dream was to sail the oceans later in 2020 and you have to start somewhere. It was a crazy idea I know but why not and you only have one life and the timing is never perfect. Few items were transferred from our house to the boat but I did bring Edward the ted and way too many shoes haha! Detaching from the house and its assets was important if we really wanted to make the dream happen. The transition was made a whole lot easier because Sandpiper is indeed a stunning yacht and there is no grass to cut here only waves!
The initial move happened without too much hassle as Gary had changed jobs and was working only 3 miles up the road from Whitehaven Marina. My work colleagues, however, found it a strange decision on my behalf as the move to living onboard meant I would be completing a journey time of 2 hours a day. I believe the journey to be a really small sacrifice for such a new experience and after all, it was another step forward in the overall plan. Although I do appreciate why others would think this a little bonkers, after all, our house was only a 2-minute walk from my workplace. The journey time did have some great advantages though, I was able to listen to many sailing books, plan my day and plan for the next without taking work home. Finding time to think and energise is an essential ingredient to success and all too often we forsake this for more chaotic activities. This was my time to declutter, think deeply and listen to my mind with the beauty of some silence – bliss!
We bought a new cooker for the galley to help with the cooking timings onboard and got used to the clothes washing routine which does consume way more time than when we lived in a house. 2 hours minimum and the facility machines ate one pound coins and twenty pence's like they were going out of fashion. Initially, we decided not to change much in the galley and saloon as living in these surroundings would teach us a lot about how we used the space. Turned out we changed very little as time evolved, just small tweaks here and there, which says a lot for the initial design of the boat.
Separating from the house and the assets was painless, probably as we saw this as an opportunity to commit to something that seemed impossible and yet we were making it happen step by step, bit by bit. Easter 2019 saw our commitment to selling the house, giving up our jobs and preparing Sandpiper and ourselves for a life at sea. I dedicated my efforts to selling the house and Gary to the task of preparing Sandpiper for her voyages ahead.
Selling up and leaving our jobs was unbelievably difficult and emotional but a decision that Gary and I felt necessary to progress forward and fully commit. It would be way too easy to turn and go back to the old way of living when the going got tough so we burnt our bridges! With all 4 feet firmly in the cockpit, Gary and I gave our employers 15 months’ notice, a bit extreme I know but we wanted to be upfront and honest with those that had supported us in our careers. Gary left his role in December 2019 and I in the midst of COVID in May 2020.
The 15 months flew by and I can personally say I must be bonkers as my career at Story Contracting
was tremendous. I would never have left my job if it had not been for the lure of a once in a lifetime opportunity to scare myself witless and push my boundaries past their limits. Well, after all, I am scared of drowning, crap swimmer and a 7 stone weakling but why let that get in the way of great adventures and a simpler life. I do intend to continue coaching clients remotely but let’s get this show on the water first.
One of the many goodbyes with my team during COVID.
As for selling the house, the challenge came with the furnishings, put in storage or sell (AKA give away!) The idea of placing it in storage was a one that seemed to be expensive and also many had told us that when we came back we would wonder why we had kept it or that it would have grown a disgusting mouldy beard whilst we were away. We opted for Sell and over the final month of the sale of our house that’s just what we did. Memories came flooding back and many tears were shed but all in the spirit of new adventures.
Whilst all this was going on we dedicated our weekends to sailing on the Irish sea, completing Sandpiper upgrades, taking our Yacht Masters theory exams and planning a sail to Spain on a delivery passage. I look forward to sharing the highlights in future articles, in the meantime take care and keep smiling.